Posts from 7th March 2002

Mar 02

WOODY GUTHRIE – This Land Is Your Land

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WOODY GUTHRIE – This Land Is Your Land

Teaching children to sing folk songs might be about as rewarding as assigning them book reports on The Abridged Moby Dick. (Kudos goes out to the Langley Schools Music Project one more time, for bucking the status quo; honorable mention to my Choir teacher in high school, trying desperately to pull a decent version of “When I’m Sixty Four” from a pack of disenfranchised hormonal teenagers.) Recollections of various elementary school run-throughs of this particular song aren’t that memorable – bunch of kids, singing listlessly, some off-key (of course), going through the motions. America’s grand & beautiful, yeah. This land is ours – OK. Somewhere underneath those rotaries & cookie-cutter raised ranches, those golden valleys swoon beneath the gentle gaze of the endless skyway. Uh huh. (Kids are so much smarter when they think they know everything.) One more time, on 4. First verse, second verse, repeat the first, and there you are. Time for recess.

Little did I know, twenty years down the road, that I’d hear a scratchy version of this song (performed by Mr. Guthrie himself, perhaps) on a local college radio station. Recasting the a capella ramshackle choir version I always envisioned as a solemn ballad etched on crackling vinyl didn’t prove to be as shocking as the thought a bunch of 3rd graders singing the 4th verse of this song (from lyrics written in 1940):

Was a high wall there that tried to stop me
A sign was painted said: Private Property,
But on the back side it didn’t say nothing —
This land was made for you & me.

The kind of person who goes to the pub for a game of giant Jenga

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 1,155 views

The kind of person who goes to the pub for a game of giant Jenga is called “a student”.

Number of articles matching “Giant Jenga students” on Google = 69.
Number of articles matching “Giant Jenga taxpayers” on Google = 0.

I rest my case.

Why is it that Outkast records

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Why is it that Outkast records sound so unlike anything else going on in hip-hop and yet sound so right? The Whole World is a bouncy barnyard of a single, infectious and as singalong as anything Outkast have released previously. But more importantly there is again their other stock in trade, lyrical depth. Yes I’m quite happy listening to the hook, but now on my fourth or fifth hearing I am really engaging with the complex and political lyrics. Top marks.

The pool table research is interesting

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 408 views

The pool table research is interesting, as running a bar it is the only area where we have ahad any fights in the last two years. The question arises though on a like-on-like comparison between pubs with pool tables and pubs with giant Jenga, which causes more fights. Cos those wooden blocks would be useful in a fight and frankly its a game where everyone cheats. Not to mention that the kind of person who goes to pub with giant Jenga is asking for a scrap.


I Hate Music1 comment • 721 views


Narrowly beating out The Dum-Dums at having the most fitting band name, The Blockheads managed to pick on a fizgog which summed them up to a remarkable degree. I would always hate them of course, since not only were they were musicians but they were that particularly vile branch – technically accomplished musicians. Your average pop musician tends not to practice too much, right realising the more he hears his own painful playing the less he would want to do it. The TAM is so evil and vile that he wallows in mastering his instrument – even if it is the saxophone.

The Blockheads were also vile for almost inventing Jazz/Funk, and certainly responsible for smuggling it into the charts when everyone was distracted by their polio stricken lead singer. Now I have no intention of beating about the poor figure of Ian Dury with a rythmn stick, or even a shitty stick – leaving that for another time. Just to say though that his voice was like hearing Marvin The Paranoid Android made out of sandpaper on uppers. Certainly the one thing a bunch of technically accomplished musicians would not want over their oh so clever licks was a man making crap puns and swearing like a five year old. Instead they firmly tied their flag to the rusty ship that was Ian Dury so much so that they are still peddling his tunes whilst he has gone to Davy Jones locker (if only Davy Jones would). The only difference now is they let comedians like Mark Lamarr or Phill Jupitus take the role of court jester more undermining them and this so called great body of work.

Blockheads indeed.

Duel 2002 Round 1 Match 7

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Duel 2002 Round 1 Match 7

Which Of These Two Bands Is Worse?
The Stereophonics
The Strokes

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A handbag full of tar and a gladrag soaked in chloroform — Jesus, where do you even begin to talk about the Stereophonics? You could start with that drooling chump of a drummer, maybe? Or that bleating idiot Kelly Jones, who grumbles in every interview about how the press don’t like him and how the charts are full of pop, despite the fact that his gangrenous howlings have shifted in volumes as uncountable as the stars in the sky. Stereophonics got to the semis of the last Duel! and that was BEFORE ‘Mr. Writer’ came out! Have a nice vote!

That said if anyone can stop Kelly and the boys at the first hurdle it’s surely The Strokes, New York City fops whose study of Chapter 1 of Punk For Dummies has paid such great dividends over the last year. ‘I view a successful career in rock as like being a successful businessman or banker’, says Julian Casablancas. But there’s a crucial difference — bankers also make their money from the fruits of others’ labours, but unlike the Strokes they add interest.

Yesterday’s Result — BADLY DRAWN BOY 69% – Spiritualized 31%

An easy victory for the indie Jamiroquai — your remarks follow:

‘The case against wool hats begins here! I’m reduced to talking about accessories because the music is so thoroughly unremarkable.’

‘At least BDB knows when to shut up. ‘

‘Listening to Spiritualized is like taking a particularly painful dump – the process is execrable and it’s a huge relief when it’s over. ‘

‘and surely 9000-piece orchestras are worse than shit hats? Not by much, admittedly… ‘

‘former next big thing BDB gets my vote here. Writing the sort of songs that bono would write if he were the singer in a pub-rock band (well, he almost is) can get you very far in this duel’

‘it’s spiritualized, but only cos Jason’s a bit further up his own arse than Damon is up his. Plus, I like wooly hats. ‘

‘I voted spiritualized as I thought one of their songs was a blur song. Plus I have the Badly Drawn Boy Ep’s 2 and 3, which I’m hoping might be valuable. I bet they aren’t anymore! grrr! Plus, that BDB lokks like my old geography teacher, who I always thought was cool. ‘

‘at least pierce knows more than four chords. ‘

‘Crap hat, crap songs, crap beard. Worse than that he has a face like a horse, which is worse than taking horse, just. ‘

‘It’s not that I hate wooly hats, it’s just that Damon Gough is a disgrace to wool hats. I feel ashamed to walk down the street in my chococat hat for fear of people associating me with that shiftless no account appalling crusty ‘

‘I was going to say “Badly Drawn Boy smells like wee,” but someone already used that word. ARGH.’

‘BDB smells like moldy bread and goats, not wee.’

Behind the 8-ball

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 334 views

Behind the 8-ball This research is fascinating but it isn’t the only report that SIRC have published on pub life. The seminal work Conflict and Violence in Pubs has some interesting comments on how to design pubs to avoid trouble between the customers.

A key finding was that 20% of all violent incidents related to confrontations around pool tables. Three reasons are given for this:

– pool is played by 18-25 year olds, the group most likely to be involved in a fracas
– pool tables provide a ongoing source of arguments (turn-taking, cheating etc)
– the tables also provide a source of weapons (balls, cues, erm chalk) which could lead to an escalation of events.

Apparently, conflict is also more likely in pubs where the decor is predominantly red or reddish (although the authors think the importance of this factor has been exagerrated in the past).

Right, I’m just off to The Red Cow for a pint, a game of pool and a RUMBLE.