I Hate Music
Consider, if you will, the plight of being Britain’s premiere Destiny’s Child cover band and their trial in love. On “All I Want”, they tell quite clearly that “all I want, is to be with you“. Which is fine and dandy but it appears that their romeo’s (or actual Romeo) is running at a speed of knots to get away from the garage bandwagon jumpin’ jumpin’ threesome. Which is why they then had to change their tune (twice) – if not precisely the meaning – with B With Me where they say “What I want is for you – to be with me.” Sorry girls – he obviously doesn’t want to be with you and frankly you would be better off stopping obsessing and writing songs which say something more. Like Independant Woman Part 3?
MOUNTAIN – Nantucket Sleigh Ride
I’ve never been to Nantucket – but I’ve always assumed it would just be a mixed up version of Kentucky. Not having been there I cannot comment of the quality or not of a sleigh ride there. However if Mountain’s opus pretends to approximate it I would imagine that going on a ride on a sleigh in the environs of Nantucket is somewhat akin to settling down in a nice bath of hydrocloric acid whilst having your intestines threaded out of your belly button. For half an hour.
As I’ve said before music is wretched enough as it is without making it go on forever. That said there is at last some subtle irony that a thirty second snippet (hence about 0.0001 percent of the song) was used as the theme to Weekend World. After all if you had a TV news show on which you wanted to show all manner of depraved, frightening horrors of the world its best to put a big, fuck-off warning up front.
RICK WAKEMAN’S 1975 FOLLOW-UP PROJECT
How do you follow The Six Wives Of Henry The Eighth and King Arthur And The Nights Of The Round Table On Ice. Well this is a sorry tale and one which explains his scraggly beard and red faced gait. Rick Wakeman – keyboard master extraordinary and fat cockney barrow boy – was searching around for a new live spectacular to bolster his coffers. But what did the fake ivory tinkler come up with?
The Magna Carta – On Fire.
What would I have given to see the Yes-man running out of the arena with his bushy beard on fire.
EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER – Tarkus
Sometimes I despair for the online company I keep. “Ho ho ho” – went the people over on the much despised in Headon Towers I Love Music.” Isn’t Tarkus funny. Its a tank, its an aardvark”, its bloody crap album is the only think I can confirm. Leaving aside the imagery on its front cover as the typical type of excess of the prog era we are left with an album which makes no sense. Be it side ones movement “Tarkus” (and Mike Skinner – this is what is meant by a movement, as in bowel movement), or the jollier song based excretions of side two including Jeremy Bender and deep questions relating to God and the holocaust.
So to side one which is about twenty five minutes long and purports to tell the tale of one Tarkus. Giant aardvark/pig/tank creature born in a volcano. He then trundles the land fighting antatsical beast such as the Manticore and a Pterodactyl with machine guns until metamorphosing into Aquatarkus (or Tarkus when wet) and sailing into the distance. Why this sub-five year old fantasy needs to be told at all is irrelevant, how it is told is equally shaky. Erruption f’rinstance (birth of Tarkus) consists of erruption type noises and a bit of guitar wankery. The fight with the manticore is equally fight-like. And Aquatarkus is someone playing with the blob-blob-blob button on a Fairlight – it sounds a lot less like an amphibeous tank and more like Tarkus The Otter. In truth the only way we could work out what this track is about is to look at the inside cover comic strip.
At least side one has little in the way of lyrical content. It soon becomes clear than when ELP are allowed to sing – well the correct respon is ‘Elp. Jeremy Bender is a sort of neanderthal, not really very clever at allusions copy of The Kink’s “Lola”. It is, thankfully, very short but still manages to slip in this line: “talk with the Sister, spoke in a whisper, threatened to fist her if she didn’t come clean” – though they oddly sing it in a way to suggest they don’t really know what fisting is. Equally clueless are the lyrics to Hymn – The Only Way: “Can you believe, God makes you breathe, Why did he lose six million Jews.” – which is G’n’T spurting out ridiculous. Tarkus is an album whic fits into the Progressive Canon perfectly, it marks the progress from being five years old to six perfectly – songs about tanks and big imponderables.
IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING – AN OBSERVATION BY KING CRIMSON
An album by King Crimson, I would understand. A CD, an LP, even a work by King Crimson would make sense. But an observation? An observation is something made by lousy alternative comedians when they bang on about how toast (by Streetband featuring Paul Young) always lands butter side down on the carpet or how white people always dance badly. It is not a forty-five minute five song opus of noodling prog nonsense. Though observational comedians at least share a peculiar type of crapness with King Crimson.
The cover puts you in the right mood. A ten year olds painting of a man with very big nostrils with a pained expression on his face. Obviously observed from someone listening to the album. The original 1969 vinyl edition had a fold out poster of this monstrosity to give your kids nightmare – in case the music had not already suceeded. For the music itself is reprehensible tosh. You read above correctly, forty five minutes, five songs. That’s an average of nine minutes a song – which may not be so bad if they were any good, or weren’t subdivided arbitrarily into sub songs like The Dream and The Illusion, but really each track outstays its welcome by on average eight minute fifty nine seconds.
21st Century Schizoid Man – the opener – sounds like the kind of song written by someone who doesn’t think he’ll make it into the 21st Century, and doesn’t know what Schizoid means. The beginning would be impressive if it weren’t for the fact that it sounds like its played on a chorus of kazoos. Followed by I Talk To the Wind, which would be better titled I Piss Into The Wind for the good it does them. And lo – we are already over a third of the way through the album.
Really though the only thing worth mentioning on Observations is “The Court Of The Crimson KING including The Return Of The Fire Witch and The Dance Of The Puppets”. Its worth mentioning mainly because of its ludicrous title and its ridiculously portentous delivery where everytime a doggeral rhyme is set up – Robert Fripp intonates “The Court Of The Crimson KING” as if to congratulate himself. Indeed Sing, String, Begin and Ring are such clever rhymes for king that he really should be slapping himself on the back. Luckily he did more than that and split the band up and went to make lousy ambient records with Brian Eno. And that is an observation.
PROGGY WENT A COURTING
Yet again rumours of my death are exagerrated. Its true that all that breakfast has caused a significant clogging of my arteries, but nothing a stint of watching Celebrity Fat Club and a gin dialysis won’t cure. This however is not the reason why I have not written anything for a month or so. There hangs a tale.
It was just after my musings on the Streetband (pah – Pigeon Streetband more like) that I was accosted whilst sauntering up Tottenham Court Road on my usual pastime of breaking all the Hi-Fi’s in Shysonics. “Ho – are you Tanya Headon” he said, garnering himself a slap round his chops which turned out to be copiously covered in acres of beard. I after wiping my hand on what looked like a cape hung around his neck I asked him if he wanted to buy me a drink. Instead he came out with the following:
“Ms Headon, you are a well known hater of all sorts of music, and have never kow-towed to an intelligent argument on the potential good of the artform.” (I spluttered at this suggestion). “That said I agree that much of what has been presented to you has been abject tripe, stuck in the past and evolutioonary dead. What I have to play you will truly unblock your jaded ears once and for all.”
Now loathe as I am to listen to a grown man in a wizards hat with falafel spunk stains down his robes, I must admit in a moment of weakness the bloke intrigued me. I’m the last person who would want to listen any form of music, especially if I’m going to give it the benefit of my critical opinion, but in this moment my curiosity was piqued and I allowed him to drag me into an audition room. At which point he tied me down telling me that this was the ideal way to listen to this din. Smelling more than a bit of a rat I naively asked him what this radically new form of music was called.
“Its pushing the boundaries of music forward, taking all the Fisher-Price notions of tune and tempo and subjecting them to the scrutiny of the finest minds that the world can offer. This music is truly progressive.”
Dear reader that was on the 30 August and the track has only just finished. Progressive my arse. It was PROG. And if I ever catch up with that beardy bastard I’ll try some progressive assault and battery on him. I’m not sure what the violence equivalent of Nantucket Sleight Ride is, but if there is any justice it will be similar to dropping a fucking Mountain on his head. ANd so in dubious honour of my month of torture I welcome you to the baroque and in no way associated with wizards and fairies world known as TANYA’S PROG ROCK HELL.