Posts from 12th July 2000

Jul 00

Turn the fish up, smash the dish up

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Turn the fish up…smash the dish up

While there are bands like the Charlatans who falsely seek to underplay their dubious talents with an ironic name, there are those who try the other tactic of needlessly bigging-up their meagre musical resources. I am speaking here of none other than THE PRODIGY . The early career of The Prodigy (Experience – yeah!) while laughable with its toy-town-esque poinging, has nothing on the meat cart they unleashed later in their years. I give you laydeez and gents – ‘The Narcotic Suite’. Thanks for nothing guys.

The musical career of a group of crusties from Braintree in Essex can only be viewed through the veneer of the hopelessly naďve inner sleeve of “Music for the Jilted Generation” (Man alive, there they go again – about as cool as a cardi). For those in need of a memory-jog, what we have is a beautifully airbrushed scene with an arresting image of a long-haired gentleman with a cutlass, hacking away at a rope bridge traversing a gorge. On the other side of the gorge, we have the filth, the rozzers, the pigs, the peelers, the bobbies in full-riot attire inexplicably backgrounded with Gotham-like city in flame. On the greener-side, with cutlass-man, we have some kind of peaceful gathering involving young people, camper-vans and a sound-system. Just in the corner you can make out a dwarvy figure with a didgeridoo. And I do declare – our cutlass man is giving the law-enforcers ‘THE FINGER’! How rude! In context, ‘our hero’ is probably listening to Ozric Tentacles, and who can blame him, from trying to exclude the coppers and ‘Their Law’ from his fun?

As for band members, despite valiant efforts from the dancers – Keith and the black tattoo dude, both are outweirded by the brains of this shrivelled organ: quiet Liam with his stern keyboard performances. Chris Lowe must have been an idol.

So, in sum – the Prodigy = toys, crusties and the one with the crab. Now that’s a career to be very proud of.


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In nineties Britain (which can be distinguished from eightees Britain largely through the proliferation of royal indiscretion) everything from the past was made new again. The fact that most people’s conception of the past doesn’t get much further than The Beatles’ Revolver was loudly criticised by your more artsy, intellectual types. And why not? Oarseis and their troupe of dimwitted followers can all go throw themselves off a wonderwall for all I care (and yes Fran Healy you too, your concerns regarding grammar notwithstanding). But resurrecting the obvious has one saving grace, if you can call it that, which is that at least your insipid imitation will only be dull and tedious, rather than actively evil.

Which is where No Man step in. Or rather, flounce. Speculations as to the origins of their annoying name center around the last surving testimony of an old midwife in Camden, who recounted that one cold stormy evening, singer Tim Bowness and instrumentalist Steve Wilson met on a high, craggy hilltop and debated the form that their freshly minted band would take. After chewing contemplatively on some particularly strong skankweed (which imparts dubious insight, doncha know), Wilson jumped up and shouted “I’ve got it! We could combine the pointless wankery of Genesis with the pouting arrogance of Simon le Bon, only with some vague dance beats so that we’d be, like, relevant! No one’s ever done that before!” At which point the clouds parted and God himself stared down at them, proclaiming darkly, “That is because no man has ever attempted this and survived my holy wrath!” Tim Bowness started to cry – in the excitement he’d received a paper cut from a blade of grass.

Still, heavenly vengeance ain’t what it used to be, and No Man’s name stands as a grim reminder that ever since then the world has been party to an infection that prior to these dark times wasn’t even allowed to exist.

My theory? God went away and thought about it, eventually coming to this conclusion: No Man were undoubtedly evil – a scourge on the musical landscape – but they were a necessary one, for every moment Wilson spent creating tedious “genre-fusing” (more like the pidgeon-rat Bart’s evil brother created than any genuine hybridisation) soundscapes for Bowness to whimper over was time away from Porcupine Tree, his outfit for peddling loathsome neo-anything-bad prog rock… which is an altogether more devillish proposition.

Paul Morley interviews Duran Duran

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Paul Morley interviews Duran Duran: oh for the paragraph tag. One of his classic pieces, nonetheless.

Samantha Fox reviews The Fall

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Samantha Fox reviews The Fall: and there’s a listing of Sam’s own work here. Naughty girls, you’ll recall, need love too.


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MOTORHEAD FOR LIFE: I’ve not much stomach for blogging today so you get random links like this (on the official site, lovely). We expect the Dismemberment Plan to follow Motorhead’s lead shortly.


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Sometimes my vitriol (not My Vitriol – their time is coming) combined with this damn cough lets me miss the obvious. So as a final word on Tom Waits I shall bring up exhibit E : “In The Neighbourhood”. Its a song from Sesame Street. Now you can argue til Robbie Williams comes out (that’s twelve years away on the George Michael career-o-meter) that Tom was subverting said original kiddies song. Much like paedophilia is subverting the usual practice of kissing your kids before they go to bed at night. The truth is plain, he may have changed the words but in tune, plot and title – its a two minute segment from Sesame Street. I’d love to see the old wino tackle “Rubber Duckie” whilst he swigs meths from a brown paper bag. Truth is Tom Waits wishes he was Oscar The Grouch, he just can’t find a trash can big enough to house his encypheloxylophone. Tom Waits – for no man: as the lowest form of wit would have it.