Posts from 1st October 2003

Oct 03

TONY BENNETT – “Stranger In Paradise”

Popular9 comments • 2,616 views

#32, 13th May 1955

When Tony Bennett had his mini-revival in the wake of the 90s student lounge boom, I couldn’t help but think it was barrel-scraping: the biggest names in that scene were unavailable or dead, so Bennett gamely stepped up to meet the demand. He knew a few good stories and still looked terrific in a good suit, which was more than enough for the magazine editors pushing a trend to sell bad stories and OK suits. That “Stranger In Paradise” doesn’t do much to make me reconsider is hardly Bennett’s fault, he does his best against a smothering production. Actually I take that back a bit ‘ the opening 10 seconds are memorably wide-eyed and widescreen despite the rest of the record’s determination to do them in, and part of that is down to Bennett and his slightly rumpled delivery. So there you go.

Yes, yes, I really really enjoyed Cinemania

Do You SeePost a comment • 313 views

Yes, New York film buffs with their obsessive film viewing habits and lack of any other sort of life were amusing to watch and the film was paced perfectly. But I am not sure if I had such a position of superiority when it was the fourth film I had seen that day.

Go see, at the ICA while stocks last.

Just to be doubly clear

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 228 views

Just to be doubly clear: I never said I didn’t like the Japanese Pizza. Or for that matter the Ni(prawn)pori Chicken Madras. But then I am well known not to be particularly discerning in food matters. I cannot tell the difference between an orange and an apple sometimes.


I Hate MusicPost a comment • 1,198 views


My army grows….

Just to be clear

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 321 views

Just to be clear: my delight at the modes of Japanese pizza reflects my delight at the complexity that ideas of “real” pizza are fast developing (viz an Asian vision of what a “Nordic” topping of this Italian staple might be). I see absolutely no reason why pizzaness must be assumed to reside in i. presence of dough base, ii. presence of mozarella, iii. presence of tomato sauce. A fetish for any of these three merely material symbols of an excellence (a quality which – being cultural – is a mutating consequence of time’s passing and encounter’s inevitable effects) may keep us from the best excellence available

To follow on from Mark’s amused at Japanese Pizza link

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 306 views

To follow on from Mark’s amused at Japanese Pizza link, I have to hold my hand up. I have eaten Pizza in Japan. Kyoto to be precise, just down the street from the central Kyoto post office (very near the tremendous edifice that is Kyoto Train Station – wait til we start the architecture blog round here for more rhapsodies on this). Why – in a land of great food like Japan did I stoop to the pizza? Call it ignorance, but it was more based on enquiry. In as much as it is exactly the same reason I have had Indian food in Japan. After all, imagine a foreign visitor to England only eating English food: the mind boggles.

This Kyoto Pizza joint used a cheese not a million miles from kraft slices, and was mighty afeared of the tomato. The dough was more akin to pastry which gave the whole affair more of the feel of a tart than actually a pizza. But the main attraction was merely the knowledge of how to eat the damn thing. I had spent four days wrestling with chopsticks and slurping soups to the polite but obviously amused eye of the locals. After a somewhat stressful bath-house experience (why do they have the baths with electric current running through them) I needed comfort food. I need something I could point at on the menu and know exactly what it was. As it happened I didn’t but it was fun all the same.

And the Japanese Indian meal. Not very spicy, and served with oddly sticky pilau rice. The mango lassi was heavenly though. But heavenly nevertheless. I love Japanese food, but lurching from soup noodles to tempura day in day out can jade the palette. After breakfasting at the fish market I returned to Nipori and entered the Indian which earlier in the week I had guffawed at. And I am sure they laugh at our idea of Japanese food. Wagamama!


I Hate MusicPost a comment • 1,941 views


“I’m gonna write a classic
I’m gonna write it in an attic”

There is a suggestion here that some good person heard Mr Gurvitz’s claim, followed him home on the day he finally decided to write said classic, and put a big fuck-off padlock on the attic door. In a Victoria Andrews sort of way, Adrian is still in there, being tortured by his own genius songwriting, with the knowledge that due to this somewhat stupid venue for songwriting, he has been doomed to keep his classic to himself. His ghost lingers still, humming his classic, humming it in his attic after he starved to death.

Any suggestion that the order for big fuck-off padlocks that I made in the early eighties is related to Adrian’s one hit-wonderliness is sheer coincidence. But is Fran out of Travis wants to tell me where he is going to write his next ‘Classic’, I am sure a similar kind of accident can be arranged.

Here Are Some More Links

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 343 views

Here Are Some More Links: Somnolence, Simple Pleasures, Rock Critics Daily. They will be added to the sidebar when I’m next on a fast connection (even at high-speed NYLPM’s archives are so colossal updates take about 20 minutes). I will also add K-Punk who has a complicated new web address my tiny brain cannot remember: everybody else links him though so that’s OK. And to complete my litany of rub, I got the URLs wrong for Land Of A Thousand Dances and Spizzazz. Apologies all round. More omissions no doubt to follow.

No Surprises with the return of Dirty Den

Do You SeePost a comment • 347 views

No Surprises with the return of Dirty Den. The storyliners have been torpidly at work for the last n-1 months* coming up with a plausible reason why someone would be out of the country and never in touch again with his adopted daughter. The storyliners pass it on to the scriptwriters, who in turn pull out none of the stops, to give us a confrontation between father and porcine daughter that they HAVE TO SHOW, but which we don’t care about. The scriptwriters pass it on to the actors who get to revel in the pyrotechnics of it all, unaware that we’re impatient to get the all important mechanics out of the way. Sharon (turning purple and dribbling sick and snot) “Why didn’t you get in touch, even when X bad thing happened?” Boyard (for it is he) “Well Princess, it’s because even the scriptwriters at the time thought I was dead”

A real surprise could have been pulled out of the hat/scraped out of the barrel, if just as Den steps out of the shadows “Hello, Princess” he turns to another character also lurking in the shadows “Hello, Ang”**. With all the Den’s Return publicity they could have been using it as a stalking horse for any number of returning characters for a genuine shock. Why not Angie? Among all the superfluous dialogue dedicated to explaining away D’s return, we, the viewers, are casually reminded that just as Den’s realactual Death was only alluded to and not shown***, Angie’s passing away was done, less teasingly, entirely off-screen and down the phone.

Storyliners – why stop here? There are real challenges in bringing back more palpably dead characters. If you could manage a Jonathan Creek crossover, it would be ace to see Alan Davis mumbling a hand-waved “of course” explanation of how, with loads of witnesses (including the camera), a man completely-exploded to bits in a car that rockets up in the air turning end-over-end into scrap could… and out of the shadows steps Steve Owen. Would that be way too desperate?

* Where n is the number it would actually take
** Why didn’t Den comment on the hilariously named “Angie’s Den” where he first re-appears, eh?
**Reminding me at least of all those fan-fiction explanations of how Avon escapes at the end of B****s 7.

As a student, I once went to a philosophy of science lecture,

Proven By SciencePost a comment • 433 views

As a student, I once went to a philosophy of science lecture, expecting that I might become a regular attendee. The nervous and ill-prepared lecturer was clearly a science fan, but revealed himself as a charlatan within fifteen minutes when, while talking about the March of Progress, he stated that Einstein had proved Newton wrong: that Izzy’s quaint notions of falling apples and inclined planes were no match for clever ole Al’s warped space-time and bending torch-beams. Newton had not only been labouring under a hopeless delusion when he really should have known better, he was also now as irrelevant as a Flat-Earther. This had me spluttering – not only was it disrespect for one of my heroes (not to mention the venerable Platygeans), there was also the fact that mechanics was alive and well and I had a test on it the following day. Worst of all was the ignorance of what a useful scientific model was and its relationship (or otherwise) to truth, which I had thought would be at the core of the philosophy of science. I got up and left. I had come to the lecture to get away from what I saw as the blinkeredness of my own engineering courses, not to find a misplaced version of the same. What can I say, I was a high-minded first-year.

Of course it occurred to me later that this had been just an introductory talk, and perhaps I had missed the all-important BUT at the lecture’s thirty-minute mark. However, the experience did awaken me to the dangers of science fandom. Yes, Einstein was very clever, and all of us who were born in the twentieth century have been told this before. But be cool about it for God’s sake. Better a Flat-Earther than a sir-please-sir toady.