Posts from 2018

21
May 18

the invisible dandy:
scribbled farewell notes on TOM WOLFE

FT + Hidden Landscapes1 comment • 91 views

(originally posted at my PATREON, where i’ll be posting weekly alongside the fortnightly podcasts — if you subscribe you get to read the posts a few days early, and obviously help offset the podcast costs etc)

kandy koloredYou only have to read the titles and the trend-naming — ‘Tiny Mummies’, the Tycoon of Teen, Radical Chic, From Bauhaus to Our House, the Me Generation, The Right Stuff — to see, instantly, that there was something here. Like some motormouth manager promoting the new pop group he was making famous and secretly ripping off, he had the liveliest huckster’s imagination. Here was a energy that made thing happen: Wolfe watched and listened and took notes and got inside heads — some heads — and when he got back to the page, delivered an intensely vivid cartoon sketch of a scene, sound effects in place among capitals, italics, dots, dashes and exclamation marks, the main narration often broadcast as if from behind the eyes of its participants, an inner-monologue ventriloquism that enabled the writer subtly to imply unreliability or even foolishness in a scenester.

14
May 18

other jacksons in your house

FT + Hidden Landscapes18 comments • 966 views

… or how when we made Morrissey we made him bad

(originally posted at my PATREON, where i’ll be posting weekly alongside the fortnightly podcasts — if you subscribe you get to read the posts a few days early, and obviously help offset the podcast costs etc)

panic | hang the DJA bitter office quarrel — the so-called the ‘HipHop Wars’ — had been making life at the NME miserable from some time. At issue was the current and future direction of the paper — how to give the readers what they wanted to read, week on week, while staying abreast of music’s future trends — so when the Smiths released ‘Panic’ in late 1986, it crystallised everything. “Hang the DJ!” sang Morrissey: “Burn down the disco!” Those who cared for black music at all — future and past — were appalled: to them it was very clear who this talk of burning and hanging was aimed at. His supporters scrambled for a less ugly reading: not that kind of DJ! Not those discos! Much was made of Steve Wright following a news report about Chernobyl with a Wham! song. Concluding statement for the defence: He’s not anti black musicians, he’s anti bland music — and that goes for us all, surely?

10
May 18

SUGABABES – “Round Round”

Popular17 comments • 1,049 views

#933, 24th August 2002

sugaround Xenomania – the songwriting and production team on “Round Round”, led by Miranda Cooper and Brian Higgins – defined 00s British pop, at least in the eyes of chart-friendly critics. Their magpie approach to genre, their patchwork song structures, their knack for a resonant line, all added up to music that wore its artfulness and populism with equal pride. If you believed that pop was worth celebrating, Xenomania provided gift-wrapped proof.

The Inaugural FreakyTrigger TV Poll: #12 – #1

Do You See + FT5 comments • 303 views

hqdefault“Hi, I’m the Ghost Of The 1979 ITV Strike, and I am here to resurrect and complete the somewhat delayed (due to strikes probably) Freaky Trigger TV Poll. Imagine if you can the landscape of 1979 British television. Three channels, BBC1, BBC2 and ITV – and then suddenly one of those channels being off. Its like a third of your choice taken away. Because it is. Up and down the country member of ACTT (Association of Cinematograph, Television and Allied Technicians) withdrew their labour in a pay dispute for three months, leaving in most places this blue title card to be displayed. Which still got more viewers than much of BBC2. Anyway it was a fun time I can tell you and a civilised picket the likes of which British TV has barely seen since. And given the option of the twelve shows below or a blue title card what would you watch. (Doctor Who’s Planet Of Death was the answer in my day – interesting to see that is still going.)”

Thanks, Ghost Of A TV Strike, and huge apologies for the delay in the publishing of this. If I do it next year I may get help… But in the meantime here is the top twelve:

8
May 18

HIDDEN LANDSCAPES: THE PODCAST

FT + Hidden Landscapes1 comment • 51 views

two eps now up of the Rambling Conversation of the Book of the Conference, feat. me and hazel southwell and what sounds like a GIANT bottle of wine which was in fact just normal-sized yes

pod 1: the pilot!
pod 2: uh merry memories of the nme!

plz to let ppl know far and wide, esp.yr wealthy pals and work-chums if yr strapped! it’s been fun to record it and the soundcloud costs and admin (=basically hazel editing it) and will not be a chore if ppl are throwing a tiny bit of money towards it, here: patreon

(the patreon will also go towards me blogging MUCH more regularly, here and at hashtag tashlan: big post on MORRISSEY dropping soon

Plus here is the COVER courtesy SAVAGE PENCIL — this is due out in a month or three!

hiddenlandscape-web

7
Apr 18

eagle-god turned trickster gremlin

FT1 comment • 232 views

This was originally published in The Wire in 1999, in their EPIPHANIES section. RIP Cecil T 1929-2018

It began in 1977, at second-hand: I knew before I heard a note of it that I’d love Cecil Taylor’s music. In a jazz encyclopaedia I’d already read of a pianist “zipping and unzipping the keyboard” — but first contact came from a sideways leap out of bent chartpop. Across Bowie’s Aladdin Sane, Mike Garson’s cocktail piano clichés mutate towards cancerous splinters, which rock reviewer Charles Shaar Murray approvingly compared to Taylor. I needed to know more.

Photograph @ Charles Rotmil, 1960s

Photograph @ Charles Rotmil, 1960s

With other princes of the Utterly Out — Ornette, Coltrane, Beefheart — I was, I confess it, puzzled by how tame they seemed against the buzz of advance promo. But Cecil — on Black Lion/Freedom’s 1975 Silent Tongues, his 1974 Montreux Festival solo performance — did not disappoint. Perversely, far more subsequent time was spent addressing Coleman and the good Captain, battling to discover ways to hear their sound as deranged delight, learning tolerance for the well-meant overreactions of enthusiasts. And so my response to these others to this day sometimes seems suspect, post-fabricated out of a need to be wowed, or to seem weird; the pianoman, by contrast, I always knew I could trust, to swoop in, connect instantly, and transfigure. With Cecil, no need to fake it.

8
Mar 18

I Used The NME

FT8 comments • 285 views

sugarpuffins My NME was rubbish. I wasn’t there for the underground press invation, or for the Titanic sailing, or the Kinderbunker. I missed the post-structuralist years. I never read about Youth Suicide. I was even too late for C86. My NME was go-karting with the Senseless Things and Birdland covers.

Because I read every word of it, my NME was also fantastic. I read, and tried to understand, the Orbit column about dance music. I pushed my way through Jungle Brothers reviews and double-page Tone Loc interviews, and gradually pieced together the bones of an appreciation of hip-hop, at least on paper. I read interviews with old warhorses, never-weres, no-hopers. I turned lines from reviews over in my mind, trying to translate them into the investment – or not – of £5.49 at Our Price. I insisted on spending my holiday pocket money on a Stone Roses cassingle from the Arndale Centre in Manchester, because it was the Arndale Centre in Manchester. I taped and retaped Peel. I told myself I cared about go-karting.

5
Mar 18

In praise of Thatcher.

Do You See + TMFDPost a comment • 324 views

No, not that one, it’s okay.  I mean Timothy Thatcher, the wrestling one.  No?  The one with the mean face.  No?  Let’s start this story again.

Thatcher1

I love professional wrestling.  It can be looked at in so many ways, on so many levels.  It can be gazed upon in childlike wonder as the 8-year olds cheer for the perennial babyface, action figure in hand, head to toe in WWE official merchandise.  It can be a much-needed way to remove oneself from reality for the duration of a match or a 3-hour show, thinking back to the story-lines of the past two months and how this might play out in the run-up to Wrestlemania [points at sign].  You can be a Johnny come lately, beer in hand, cheering “For whoever I fuckin’ like – I paid my money.”  Or you can take your starting point and … well, just run with it, devouring everything in your path; let it envelope you like a warm blanket or a Yokozuna bearhug, read biography after autobiography, watch Bruiser Brody swing his chain at the terrified fans in Tokyo in the 1980’s, laugh out loud at Ric Flair’s astonishing backstage promos, obsessively research Andy Kaufman’s feud with Jerry Lawler and explore the origins of pro wrestling in the travelling carnivals of America.

You may have guessed which category of fan I fall into and that’s why I’m so intrigued by this Thatcher character and what makes this chap tick.

1
Mar 18

2018 Music Diary Week 8: The Week Of The East

New York London Paris Munich5 comments • 347 views

NEW MUSIC

fischerspooner sir

Day 52: FISCHERSPOONER – Sir: Compelling, in a glum sort of way – meandering, thoughtful synth-pop outlining the late-night territories where desire, and weariness, and resentment of desire, and resentment of weariness, all run together.

23
Feb 18

2018 Music Diary Week 7: The Week Of Unsettlement

FTPost a comment • 173 views

This is late, and brief, as I’ve been in France helping my parents as my Dad’s been ill.

NEW MUSIC

tal national

Day 43: TAL NATIONAL – Tantabara: Pell-mell afro/jazz/rock from Niger, teetering on the line between exciting and exhausting. Everything sounds on the verge of shaking itself to pieces like a speeding jalopy, but this is, of course, a bluff, and the band well know how far they can take things. Found via a Rolling Stone albums list.