Posts from 7th February 2002

Feb 02

Return of The International Pop War.

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Return of The International Pop War. Ian at Bleeding Ears has brought back the feature that inspired the Freaky Trigger anti-Charlotte Raven comparison of the charts of 2000 and 1981 here . OVer the next couple of weeks he will be taking the UK and US charts to task to see which is better. And – three days in – the UK is winning 2-1, huzzah! There is something particular unsatisfying about the Top 40 best selling records of the year list which Ian has decided to base his one on one death match on. It will unfortunately miss out much of the novelty and one week wonders of the UK charts. But the project is as arbitrary as any similar kind of exercise, really does not mean anything and is subject to the vagaries of taste. All this does not stop it from being excellent reading.

That said I already want to call a stewards enquiry on the Janet vs Crazy Town bitch fight. He may well be right about the crystilline qualities of the Janet record but Crazy Town. “Come my lady, come come my lady” is a lyrical treat which will stay with me to the end of time. And not just because of a certain karaoke rendition. Still to have the UK winning 3-0 at such an early stage would probably remove some of the excitement. Go UK!

The ten nominees in a day

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 584 views

The ten nominees in a day sounds like a tall order to me. I mean, it’s clearly achievable within the space of a drinking day, with a bit of planning, discipline, careful use of the transport options available and so on. The Eastern (Limehouse) and Western (Portobello Road) extremities are the obvious problem areas. Well, that and the fact that this quasi-military operation would have to be carried out by a bunch of drunks.

Oh, and the Royal Oak is closed on Saturdays and Sundays. And the Portobello Road? At the weekend? Do me a favour, guv.

I Hate Music lyric watch #9: Nas – “Hate Me Now”

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It’s a thin line between paper and hate
friends and snakes, nine millis and thirty-eights

Now it is relatively unclear what Mr Nastradamus is trying to say here. I would agree that when it comes to automatic weaponry and their armaments that possibly there is a similarity between a nine millimetre and a thirty-eight. Though actually the different is 29 mm, which is actually quite a thick line if you were going to draw it. Nevertheless his other comparisons beggar belief. Is there really a thin line between paper and hate? I must admit that I never considered calling this site I Paper Music. Paper cuts can be annoying but it is certainly not a synonym.

If I was a friend of Nas I would be a bit pissed off too. Unless I was too preoccupied dislocating my jaw so I could eat a whole egg and shedding my skin. In which case I would be happy to slither over to Nas’s place to hang with him like a vine until my unfortunately bestial nature overtook and forced me to pump my deadly venom into him – causing paralysis and death within seconds. Still, its a hard knock life eh Nas, and you did tell me to Hate Me Now. Encouragement that I frankly did not need.

The Seven Stars

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The Seven Stars I knew Tim had reviewed this last year but I couldn’t find the review, else I would have linked it. I had forgotten about the toilets, so I didn’t check ’em out.

Evening Standard Top Pubs It would require an awful lot of legwork but perhaps a day’s crawl around the so-called top pubs of London might be in order..?

I’m reminded

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I’m reminded that one of the things I praised in that review of the Seven Stars was the absence of a jukebox. I also note that, of the pubs I know on the Standard’s shortlist, I’m not sure any has a jukebox. Is there a pattern here? Is close control of (or absence of) music in a pub a key to the Standard rating your boozer?

I think it should be one of the aims of this publog to rehabilitate the responsible use of the juker as a feature of some really good pubs. A bad jukebox at a deafening volume can ruin the pub experience. Certainly it’s easy to achieve a control of the ambience of a pub if you choose a stereo, or a music-free environment. But one of the key elements of pub-ness is a sense of the random: these are public spaces and their character changes according to which members of the public are present at any given time. Allowing the clientele to choose their music reflects and enhances that sense of chance. A judiciously-stocked juker at a sensible volume is a joy forever.

Looking down Tim’s list

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Looking down Tim’s list I am in a pretty similar position to him with regards to visiting this selection of pubs (and certainly a publog outing should be on the cards). However I can add knowledge of The Bedford in Balham. It was the last pub on a short Balhamese pub crawl, started by a friend who lived in Clapham who proved the truism that there are no good pubs in Clapham. The short review on the Standard site is correct in as much as the Bedford is a large, sprawling, multi-roomed pub.

The time I and another publogger was there we were in the smallish Public Bar, the one without the view to the Sainsbury’s. The bitter was off and it took an age for the bar staff to serve us as they were busy in the other bars. The whole place had a degree of charm, but it also had fake books on a bookcase which is a crime against humanity. We stayed for one and then wandered back round the corner to the much nicer Young’s pub. Its quite clear that we went at a bad time, but still I hope The Bedford does not win.

The Seven Stars is lovely – so lovely that I’m off there tomorrow to start a little Fleet Street crawl. Tim wrote a

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The Seven Stars is lovely – so lovely that I’m off there tomorrow to start a little Fleet Street crawl. Tim wrote a little review of it last year . Since that time some restructuring work has been done to it. The loo with the shower is now designated as the Ladies. Men have a windowless affair, though it does have a carpet, which I think maintains the originality of their facilities.

Why is this? I suppose it depends on who uses it in the first place. My own theory was the legal eagles wanted to freshen up before resuming cases over the road after some lunchtime case conference in the pub. It could be that there’s more demand for this sort of thing from female clientele. It could be that they were sick of men coming down the stairs saying ‘you’ll never believe what’s in the lavs’. Anyone got any useful info to share? If not, I think I’ll have to ask.

(A fairly desperate attempt to restore some reviews of actual current and forthcoming singles to NYLPM begins…)

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(A fairly desperate attempt to restore some reviews of actual current and forthcoming singles to NYLPM begins…)

CORNERSHOP – “Lessons Learned From Rocky I to Rocky III”

A sub-circle of pop hell is surely reserved for songwriters who write songs about the iniquities of ‘the biz’ and the dire state of pop – yes indeed it is full of liars whores crooks and thieves but talking shop about it on record rarely makes for compelling listening. The results tend to be either grotesquely patronising (XTC: “The young today are mistakes”; Gorky’s “Young Girls And Happy Endings”), self-righteous (Pink complaining that her record company tried to – shudder – market her) or just bizarre (Eminem: “radio won’t even play my jam”).

So respect I suppose to Cornershop for making a biz-based single which avoids these traps and bounces along rather winningly. For a start they’ve recognised that the problem right now is in the album, not the single charts – “We’re bored of this soft rock shit” has to be about Dido and the ‘Phonics. “TSB Rock School – the overblown supershit” I mean surely! Oh alright, I’m projecting – and by being the hundredth indie band lately to throw their song together round a Stones riff C-Shop aren’t immune to charges of same-old-same-old. There is a kind of formula at work – shambolic rock fun, cheesy backing vox, Tjinder’s shrugged-off singing, and 70s/80s pop cult references any time the lyric flags. It’s got less heart and more punch than “Brimful Of Asha”, though, and I like it in a noncommittal way.

In the Library

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In the Library Pubs are ideal locations for a solitary read. As I had reached a very interesting bit in the book I’m currently reading while coming in on the tube today, it seemed reasonable that I go to a pub to continue perusing at lunchtime. In the end, I couldn’t have picked a better pub for the job.

The Seven Stars is a wee pub opposite the tradesmen’s entrance to the High Court, just off Chancery Lane. Despite its location, only minutes away from my place of work, I had never been there before today. I was going to have a pint of their bitter (Adnams), until I realised that it also sold Bitburger, my favourite German lager. So I had a pint of BB and a pricey-but-nicey ham and mustard sandwich. The menu veers towards gastropubbery (kedgeree, mussels) but it gave me the impression they’d be able to get away with it.

As it is just round the corner from the courts, the pub has a clientele made up of , not surprisingly, lawyers and clerks. The decor is distinctly legal – caricatures of judges, posters of Brit films featuring lawyers. While I was expecting to overhear all manner of lawful anecdotes, what I ended up hearing was a long conversation about Pop Idol between two geezers. One of them was drinking out of his own special pewter tankard, which I assume was kept behind the bar for him – classy!

On first visit, this seems to be a terrific little pub, atmospheric but not prepossessing, bustling but not too noisy to have a read in. I look forward to returning and may well be there for its four hundredth anniversary party in the summer (est. 1602, would you believe).


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STRIPEOUT!!!! If you love old school style computer games and the White Stripes (imagine that Venn diagram if you will) then you can play Stripeout, a new online game from the White Stripes. The two-piece have thought of this absurd gimmick to get a bit of publicity but also to offload some trash to the biggest online winner. And check out those graphics.

Expect to see a Strokes version of Pac-Man in the near future. Wacca-wacca-chomp-chomp.