Posts from May 2012
All good things come to an end, as do admittedly most bad things. Wherever you pitch out weekly trip to the Lost Property Office on the quality spectrum, its sad to say that this is the last episode of the season. But what an episode! Tales of air/land/sea rescue, family feuds and family secrets, Promethean tales of making fire, philosophical discussions on bits of broken pot. Its all here, with a guest who did some prep (take note – it shows!) Dani Neal. Also birthday card etiquette, the return of an old item – what kind of a person lost this – and a Korean iPod stuffed with surprises.
If you recognise any of the stuff, or indeed any of the tracks on the Korean iPod, let us know. And if you are interested in joining in on the next series let me know. You have a couple of months to amusingly lose items for the express purpose of a good annecdote!
I’m going to try and get new Popular entries up too, but there will be a LOT of writing about pop by me this week on the One Week One Band blog, which I’m taking over for a second time – this time to talk about ABBA. Rather than pick songs to write about all by myself, I asked people on Tumblr for suggestions, so I’ve got a very eclectic range of assignments – from “Soldiers” to “Happy Hawaii”. I’m starting later on today – wander over and have a look!
Welcome back to the Lost Property Office, where no mention at all is made of a certain track on a new Saint Etienne album, but we do honour the warming crackle of real vinyl on the air. Instead Rob Brennan is my guest who was the first man in space on his street, and had the proof too. We also consider the difficulties of navigating London when you are new, the occasionally pornographic covers of National Geographic Magazine, the biggest disappointment of our shared childhoods and the appeal of cricket is patiently explained to a disbeliever. We also take Michael Gove to task of education and then are instantly silly about it as if to undermine our point.
Music comes from the sleeve of a Mike Sarne singers album, but salty revelations are discovered along the way. If you have any info about the music, objects, trams in Bath or want to book a trip into the office feel free to let me know in the comments, you’ve all been quiet of late…
Huge weepy thanks to Bob, Pete and Sarah for immortalising us in song. And thanks to commenters past and present for making it worth immortalising.
I was suspicious of Live Action Role Playing for a long time. I had three excellent reasons: it couldn’t possibly work, it verged dangerously close to SPORTS, and most of all White Dwarf strongly hinted it was a stupid idea. At the time I took White Dwarf very seriously. There was a whole underworld of role-playing fanzines who saw White Dwarf as the enemy of all that was righteous in the hobby, intent on straitjacketing the minds of infant games with their barely disguised pimping of glossy, shallow Games Workshop products. These fanzines were broadly right. But I didn’t read them: as far I was concerned, the Dwarf was mega and skill.
Games Workshop – White Dwarf’s publishers (hence the pimping) – had placed certain bets on the direction the HOBBY OF THE 80S was going to swing in. Their bets involved carefully painted dioramas rather than minibus rides to wet caves, so the magazine spent a lot of time taking the piss out of LARP. Some of this was also the unslakable thirst of the nerd to find someone they can look down on – sad we may be, but we don’t wave rubber swords around (we only paint lead ones). And some of it, it must be said, was justified. Like a lot of geek businesses in the 80s, LARP attracted a few thrusting young Thatcherites whose bold entrepreneurial spirit was matched only by their willingness to scarper with the money at the first opportunity. It gained a reputation for spivviness.
After last weeks unfortunate unplanned hiatus, we are back, back, back with a thoughtful contemplative episode which stretches the format to the edges of acceptability. Along the way we discuss the stupid naming of stations on the Chicago subway, if “finding £20 in the street” is a satisfactory story for even the most banal of radio shows, how to make a flump, the joys of soft furnishings and Bath Moles is yet again name checked. Music comes from the big floppy folder (people just don’t lost mp3 players any more), and an artist whose name is either really Niel Armstrong, or the person who wrote on the CD can’t spell Neil. In English at least.
Oh, the guest is “Carsmile” Steve Hewitt of FreakyTrigger. And I took all the swears out of the rapping so your kids can listen to it and everything (unless they listen to the show backwards in a Dark Side Of The Moon way in which case the only legible words will be the swears. Perhaps worth doing?
At this point, what differentiates the hip-hop that tops the UK charts from the stuff which peeks in lower down is legibility: not too much slang, metaphors spelled out, a flow any kid could follow. At a time when the public face of rap in Britain was Snoop Dogg on the front page of the Daily Star – “KICK THIS EVIL BASTARD OUT!” – the material crossing over commercially wasn’t likely to cause any moral panics. So the “harder edge” promised by DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince on their final album, Code Red, was highly relative.
There is a game that is played between critics and films sometimes. Occasionally a film comes along which is kicked to death in the street like some sort of cathartic act of bullying. I can only imagine critics walking out of certain films with some sort of mob mentality dropping on them like a Derren Brown collective piece of mind control. What causes this is the perfect storm often of excess onscreen, excess offscreen (in particular the press notes) and the film itself being no good. There are other things that will help this along. A commercially successful director who has never really produced anything all that brilliant. Use of the word vision: as in “from the visionary director”, or his own “unique vision”. Sometimes I wonder if it is just a matter of critical flexing of their otherwise weedy and Vitamin D deprived muscles. Certainly we saw it earlier this year with John Carter, a perfectly amiable folly which I rather enjoyed. Because that is the thing with these follies, they often aren’t the worst thing in the world, they are often rehabilitated, enjoyed for what they were, or even ironically taken up. As I said above it’s a game, and getting to the end of this list it is a game I am playing for the second time. I already slagged this film of last year, and had a perfectly good time in doing so. And a year on, I am starting to feel a bit bad about it, whilst having committed to playing this game one last time.
Marcello and Lena have both reported getting either “you just posted that” (when they didn’t) or “You are posting comments too quickly. Slow down” messages from the WordPress bots. Is anyone else routinely getting these? I had a quick trawl through the support forums and this issue seems widespread (tho not very recently). I don’t understand the explanation myself, but I didn’t expect to.
(If you’re having trouble posting in this comment thread, email me! marksink3r at g00glemail d0t c0m)
There’s been some discussion on the latest Popular post about 1993 being a particular musical doldrum. I was 20 at the time – so enormously biased of course – but I don’t remember it like that, so I’m republishing an old post I wrote on my Tumblr about it.
1993 in Britain was the apex of scene-a-week genremaking by the UK music press: history focuses now on the proto-Britpop stuff (because it ‘won’ and because it was pretty good) but at the time that wasn’t such a sure thing at all and there was a forest of other stuff going on.* Such as!
New wave of new wave – reputationally poor punkiness, aggressive and political (SMASH, These Animal Men) – all the bands involved released second records which were apparently a lot better than their first ones but by that time Britpop had come along and their fate was oblivion.
Collision pop – sample-heavy ravey rock, hip-hop influences, aggressive and political though also danceable – Senser, Back To The Planet, Chumbawamba, Credit To The Nation, Hustlers HC
Any excuse for a Back To The Planet picture.