Posts from 5th October 2003

Oct 03

Come as You Are-Nirvana, White Label House Remix

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Come as You Are-Nirvana, White Label House Remix

There is nothing here that reminds one of Mr Cobain for the first minute and a half, its ibiza ca 1996 but Kurt is strong and charasmatic , proof of that is in this preformance, because once his voice starts the genre cementing ends. It becomes a strangely moving reminder that grunge was also all about escaping genre.


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Tufluv: best new blog in ages (OK, weeks) – good work Simon R. for finding it. New-focussed, review-focussed, etc.

JIMMY YOUNG – “The Man From Laramie”

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#37, 14th October 1955

One of the great record industry myths is that British consumers don’t get, or like, country music. We’ve rarely been massive consumers of the style’s rawer end, and there’s not really the loyalist core audience country finds in the States, but every now and then the record buying public has gone through a cowboy phase and country records (or odd imitations like this one) have topped the charts regularly. The mid-50s was obviously one such time – the arrival of rock and roll rightly dominates most histories, but before “Rock Around The Clock” were a string of western chart-toppers.

So? Well, for one thing the success of country and western shows that there was a demand for Americana before rock and roll hit – not surprising, given the countries’ political and economic closeness and the gut appeal of American confidence and post-war prosperity. But these records also mark a big change in musical fashion, away from the massive orchestral arrangements that were the engine of most early-50s hits and towards more spartan recordings. “The Man From Laramie” stars Jimmy Young, his guitar, and that’s about it.

The sparse arrangement is about all this song has in musical common with country or rock and roll, though. “The Man From Laramie” is entertaining quick-draw hokum, or would be if Jimmy Young wasn’t such a terrible singer, of country or anything. The song’s internal rhyme schemes (fighting/frightening/lightning, for instance) demand wit and brio and poor wooden Jimmy just can’t provide. Brits having hits with US songs had been common practise, but while ballads and novelties like “How Much Is That Doggie?” survived the Atlantic crossing, country songs had a harder time with it. The British did and do like listening to country music: performing it is another matter entirely.

CHEAP FOOD I LOVE #3: Scampi And Lemon Nik-Naks

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CHEAP FOOD I LOVE #3: Scampi And Lemon Nik-Naks

Observational comedy is the bane of pub conversation. It is despite everything still possible to have a three-hour discussion of kids’ TV, but not without a high level of self-consciousness and a certain shame. Nuggets of childhood memory were most valuable when they were shared among a circle of intimates, not trotted-out in a three-page Guardian Guide article.

Every 80s schoolchild probably knew that the Scampi Nik-Nak was the A-Bomb of the crisp world, but nobody would have thought the fact worthy of national broadcast. Now they’ve been brought back and the packet itself crows about how horribly intense the flavour – and associated smell – is. There are even warnings not to eat the things in a confined space, which I have so far scrupulously obeyed, even though walking down Oxford Street eating crisps makes you feel like a fool.

The crisps themselves (actually ‘snacks’ but we’ll get to that) are as extraordinary as ever, but this self-knowledge makes them rather charmless. Back in the 80s though the ‘corn snack’ was in its prime, battering the trad crisps market by means of novelty shapes and a flavouring arms race: Nik-Naks, Monster Munch, even the humble Frazzle would be whole firework displays in your mouth compared to the squibs G. Wonder etc were offering. The Scampi Nik-Nak was the boggling culmination of this – in memory it was like stuffing raw glutamate into your gob, you could tell by the crumbly texture that the flavour atoms had been packed in so tightly as to almost destroy the entire structure of each Nik-Nak. Actually it’s much crunchier than I recall, but the scouringly sweet-and-sour flavour hit is intact.

Like proper bands and sensible haircuts, the real crisp resurged in the drab 1990s, with flavour freaks forced to buy nasty mustard Brannigans. Thankfully crisp manufacturers are starting to loosen up – witness Golden Wonder’s takeaway range (troublingly authentic) and the McCoys Spice range (uniformly disgusting but a good try) – perhaps the 00s will be when the crisp-making imagination once again takes wing?

thorts whilst watching top of the pops

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thorts whilst watching top of the pops

1. Clea – Download it – DID THAT REALLY JUST HAPPEN? Another Hollyoaks-Gurls band but with a ludicrous cyber-sex premise. Also one of them hasn’t developed the art of looking into the camera and I am sure she is THE BORG (hurrah)!

1b. An all female Kraftwerk style band needs to be formed which dresses like the Borg all the time. And DANCES like the Borg. Bring back robot dancing!

2. I think I’m glad Emma Bunton didn’t give up after the Spice Girls after all, but perhaps that’s only cos I like nerdy blokes in suits and glasses dancing like spacks. I bet Geri is weeping that yet another gimmick has been grabbed before she could do it. I’m all for a full-on sixties revival, anything that stops mullets spreading *out* of Hoxton.

3. And speaking of weeping into your Flying V’s – an open message to Metallica – We have The Darkness now!!

4. ULTRAVOX are in the charts? Faakkk off!

5. And you, Elton.

6. S****y from work knows Sean Paul’s dad! Says he’s better looking than his son.

7. JXL is BACK. Hear it bellowing from red-face men with kipper ties in over-priced Covent Garden bars and Hamilton Hall… very evocative of HATERS.

8. Oh the sodding Black Eyed Peas AGANE? Who is still buying this?? Is this FOUR WEEKS at number one now or are we up to five?? Colour me flabbergasted. Indeed WHERE is the bloody love?! I am going to stake out the chart section in HMV and do a pre-focus group focus group. God the singing bint is ANNOYING. Yep, it’s five weeks, if it’s number one next week it beats Cher. Is that legal?

9. It’s over, thank god.

10. The kinda spazzy blonde girl (Fern something?) on Top of the Pop’s Saturday is like a low-rent Toss DailyTess Daley (or indeed even Kay these day). I know, I didn’t think it was possible either. EW! I mean I’m not going all Dickon Orlando and eugenics here but can’t we have a freeze on blondes on telly? At least it means we’d get rid of snotty Sharon on Eastenders.