Posts from 13th October 2000

Oct 00

Sir Cliff admits youth jabs

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Sir Cliff admits youth jabs: what is shocking about this is that Sir Cliff believes the media when it talks about his ‘ever-youthful image’. Cliff, man, wake up to yourself! Nobody thinks you’re young! At the very very most they might get your age five years out, but it’s hardly as if you don’t look like a grinning dyed-to-death freak-man as it stands.

I want Nick Mirov’s job

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I want Nick Mirov’s job: the most entertaining part of Pitchfork lately has been the reader mail, since the site has obviously hit that critical mass of readership where it gets flowery and indignant letters from people who secretly wish they were rock critics, too. Also, the one side benefit of its endless parade of indie-no-mark-side-project reviews is that members of the bands themselves write in to the mag to complain with, as they say, hilarious consequences.

WHEATUS – Teenage Dirtbag

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WHEATUS – Teenage Dirtbag

What if LFO had written “Creep”?

THE COMMODORES – Easy (Like Sunday Morning)

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THE COMMODORES – Easy (Like Sunday Morning)

What are the Commodores talking about in this record? Certainly in the mid-eighties when the track got hijacked (much like hijacking a hot-air balloon) by the Halifax Building Society the consensus was that Sunday mornings are chilled, everyone asleep, yuppies in loft flat, buying milk for cats sort of things. This was nonsense: in the mid-eighties you would be hard pushed to find a shop open on a Sunday morning selling milk. Anyone who has been to a Catholic service on a Sunday morning will tell you there is nothing easy about the hellfire and brimstone services often doled out for elevenses.

So what was the band with the original man with Orange for a surname in pop talking about? As far as I’m concerned I haven’t even seen a Sunday morning to note how easy it is. If they had said “Easy (Like An Eighteen Year Old Girl From Leeds Drinking Southern Comfort In Ritzy’s)” I would have known exactly what they meant. But instead the story of Easy is one of inter band rivalry. For when Lionel Ritchie croons that he is easy like Sunday morning, he does not mean the time between 4am and 12pm. He does not even mean the bit of time after midnight Saturday which most people consider as an extension of Saturday night but is strictly Sunday morning – and is oddly when a large number of people become easier due to excessive alcohol. But Ritchie is talking of none of these. He is not even talking about how easy the blind girl in Hello was – though she must have been to let Ritchie get away with following up that greeting with the thoroughly insensitive “Is it me you’re looking for”.

Nope, the Commodores are actually putting a sly dig in at everybodies favourite cause of art music wankery – The Velvet Underground. Whilst the Commodores had wrassled out hits like Three Times A Lady and other soft soaped mid seventies Motown slushfests, they felt they were not taken seriously. Unlike the VU who got most of their kudos from having known a bloke with Einstein hair and a German bird. Hence thid attack at the kiddy piano snoozeathon that is Sunday Morning. Which like Perfect Day, Last Great American Whale and everything else Lou Reed has had a hand in (except Heroin) is about taking heroin. Probably. The soul singers felt that they could have written a song like Sunday Morning with a mouth full of gravel and a selection of Fisher Price instruments. Which is pretty much what it sounds like. Wheras they write a soulful ballad about someone changing sex three times (or is it five times becaue she would have to change into a man twice) and people laughed at them. Funny that.

What The Commodores never understood was that their very name consigned them to their critical mauling. The name being a combination of:
a) The Comode : Victorian toilet in a wooden box
b) The Doors: Sixties toilet in a wooden box. (At least Jim Morrison is).

MOTT THE HOOPLE – “Saturday Gigs”

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MOTT THE HOOPLE – “Saturday Gigs”

“Saturday Gigs” was Mott The Hoople’s farewell single. Farewell records occupy a special place in my heart, because….well, you can probably guess why, actually. On this track Mott bid a tearful adieu to their small and foolish body of fans, with a versified look-back over their star-studded career, from “All The Young Dudes” to “All The Young Dudes” and back again. Now, truthful lyrics would have run as follows:

“I was in a pub prog band
Nobody wanted to know me
Then I went off cap in hand
To scrounge from David Bowie.”

Actually, the real “Saturday Gigs” is still brutally honest. And, predictably, stupid with it. “Do you remember the Saturday gigs? We do! We do!” yell Mott. Yes, of course you fucking do, you sock-brained gimps, you’re the band! You were the only ones there! But in the end the song founders on the simple fact that aside from one undeserved brush with fame, Mott were no-hope circuit sloggers. The proof? As the first verse builds to a climax, Ian Hunter tells of the band’s early struggles, culminating in a glorious, triumphant cry…“AND THEN WE WENT TO CROYDON!”

At least they left us laughing.

THE CURE – Friday I’m In Love

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THE CURE – Friday I’m In Love

Some cynic has just e-mailed me to say that this whole worlds worst week of pop was constructed so I could get yet another dig in at the corpulent kings of goth rock. To you sir I say – you can never bash Fat Bob enough (that amount of gut protection makes him difficult to bruise), and secondly do you really think a grown man should be going round in an outsize jumper knitted by someone without fingers. To shame.

I will leave aside though the faux whimsicality of the track, the catawauling singing and the thesis of the song which suggests that Bob cannot be in love any other day of the week (he just don’t have the stamina of Craig David). With Bob its Saturday…Wait (delayed/no ejaculation), wheras Sunday always – ahem – comes too late. Only on Friday can he synchronise his sexual ability. But all that is rent assunder by the glib admission that on Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s he always has a heart attack.

As loathe as I am to save an individual pop stars life, I am no believer in the death penalty. Not even for All The Cats Are Grey. That said, if you are regularily having heart attacks on two days of the week I think a trip to a cardiologist is in order. Of course its easy to guess what said heart doctor will say when he sees the lumbering form of Mr Smith loll toward him. “Mr Smith, your constant heart murmurs taking place on a nigh on weekly basis is probably due to the fact that you appear to have eaten all of the pies. Cut back, slim down and maybe we can restrict the heart attacks to once a week, or even once a month.”

He might also enquire if Bob has a history of some form of motor neurone disease, or the early onset of Parkinsons, since his lippy seems awfully messy.

BRIAN ENO – Thursday Afternoon

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BRIAN ENO – Thursday Afternoon

It’s possible – nay, likely – that, had you bought Thursday Afternoon back in 1982, you’d have taken it back to the shop. “Hold on,” you might have said, “I expected the innovative new record by Brian Eno, the cleverest man in pop and the groundbreaking father of ambient music. What I have purchased is the Most Boring Album Of All Time. It consists of sixty minutes of some bald bastard playing ‘sonic clusters’, or to give them their layman’s name, chords, very slowly and with big gaps in between. Might I suggest that instead of stocking any more copies of this disc you repackage them as sophisticated implements of torture and send them to doubtful overseas regimes to the future embarassment of the UK Government?”

Such would have been your case, and the facts would have been accurate. But a refund would not have been forthcoming. Let us examine the evidence.

A: It’s by Brian Eno. You should by 1982 have known what to expect with a Brian Eno record, being as the man’s based a lucrative career on being too incompetent to even make proper lift music, and on being a keyboard player. A swift digression on keyboard players: generally they join for album #3, nobody can remember who they are, and their advent heralds the rapid decline of any group into terminal insignificance. Roxy Music however had their keyboard player on board from the start, which made them revolutionary and he famous, despite looking like a ninny. Eno’s every record is like a shovel smack in the face of Dame Quality, from his student-revue lyrical caperings to the poxy new age ones he made with his equally benighted brother (imagine being called Roger Eno. I blame the parents). And Thursday Afternoon is no exception.

B: It’s called Thursday Afternoon, for God’s sakes. What is the most tedious time of the week, eh readers? Sunday? No, you’ve got a hangover but you’ve also got tine to sleep it off, you can have a fry-up, it’s all rather civilised. Wednesday? Wednesday is horrible, to be sure, but at least it’s actively agonising. It lacks the sheer absolute pointlessness of 2PM-5PM, Thursday. Nothing has ever happened between those hours and nothing ever will. So when Brian Eno named an album after this weekly dead zone it’s hardly bloody surprising that it turned out to be so disembowellingly dull that you can feel your brain fossilize as you listen to it. Frankly, reader, if you do own this record I have even less sympathy for you than usual. Get out of my site.

There was something about Mary

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There was something about Mary: also from the Guardian, this extract from Al Green’s upcoming autobiography, dealing with the ex-lover/hot grits/hurling/resultant suicide incident. A dramatic enough story without the slight over-writing that seems to come with the ghost-writer’s territory, but very readable nonetheless. Green is honest with himself and comes across as a man whose bad judgement (of character, of situations) resulted in tragedy. He came back from it to record the extraordinary Al Green Is Love, which you really should all have a copy of.

Much amusement to be had

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Much amusement to be had from the unintentionally funny interview with Alan McGee, which finds him wildly enthusing about a lot of knackered old music. “Genius!” he says, of everyone, before rambling offensively about how Ian Curtis was “not playing at it, right” because he had epilepsy. The interview ends with a ringing declaration: “I don’t mind being called a ruthless twat, or socially dysfunctional, and I’m guilty of a lot of things – I was a drug addict in my younger years and I could do an A-Z of most of the brothels in Europe – but you cannot call me boring.” Really, Alan? Just look at your record collection.

JAMIE WEDNESDAY – “We Three Kings Of Orient Aren’t”

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JAMIE WEDNESDAY – “We Three Kings Of Orient Aren’t”

This ill-advised week of wank ™ comes to its hinterland now as we enter the not oft sung about days of the week Wednesday and Thursday. This could well be because many a pop star is making love by Wednesday – not for the sultry reasons that Craig David’s “7 Days” suggests, more because there is nothing much on the television. This lack of songs though make Wednesday and Thursday easily my favourite days of the week. Note that my updates rarely come on these two days, because I am too full of the joys of not hearing any music that my embittered rage can be with-held. Its only Thursday night when the gin proportion of my body is raised to near equalling blood levels that some fool suggests we go to a club – and the lure of more alcohol just wins over the horror of facing loud, pumping music.

Last nights horror was within an indie club – the idea being that if I was going to have to listen to music it might as well be one dimensional, four to the floor, meaningless lyrics, homogeneous crap. That said, when they played a Carter USM track I went into one of my occasional music triggered fits and was in a pretty bad state. Of course no-one else in the club could tell the difference between my grand mal and the ridiculously over aged indie kids dancing, so I was left to seize in the corner for half an hour. I shall reserve full judgement on the Unstoppable Sex Machine until a later date (don’t want to get mouth foam on someone elses keyboard) but they do give both a nice link to Tuesday’s record and Wednesday’s band.

I do not think that anyone can deny that the lyrics “Goodbye Ruby Tuesday/Come home you silly cow” do very little to educate or illucidate the problems of child and spousal abuse. Yet the two man-children which made up the band pushed this aspect of “After The Watershed to the exclusion of its other qualities”. Those other qualities being appaling puns, wholesale theft of lyrics, lumpen tune and shouting. The only plus point of any Carter track was its nice and crisp percussion, which finally brings us to Jamie Wednesday.

Y’see before Carter there was a band which had all the rubbish members of Carter, and replacing their good members (the drum machine) with real, live human fools. The lyrics were as appalling, just the rythmn section were terrible. And they released one single whose title today brings a chill dread to my heart. You thought comedy titles were dead, well meet the song that killed them. “We Three Kings Of Orient Aren’t”. Let us examine said title. There were not three members of Jamie Wednesday. They were not kings. They were not from either the orient (for which read the inscrutable east in the simplistic South London mindset), or from Leyton Orient – football team of the East London region served by the Waltham Forest borough. So the song stressed three things which the band blatently were not. You get the feeling maybe it came from a back of a beermat discussion in a boozer.

Why not be proactive Jamie, why not say what you were. “We Five Talentless Fuckwits Whom Two Of Will Surf The Zeitgeist Of The Worse Downturn In English Pop For Two Years But Who Will All Be Queueing For Our Dole Money In The Peckham Job Centre By The Year 1998. ARE”. Works for me.