Posts from 17th December 2003

Dec 03

JERRY LEE LEWIS – “Great Balls Of Fire”

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#66, 10th January 1958

Scrape the crust of legend off this record and you might be surprised, like I was, at how goofy it is. What did I know about this song? I knew that Jerry Lee was a hellraiser and married his cousin. And I knew the chorus, mostly from a 70s Edam advert which went “Goodness Gracious, great balls of cheese!”. So what was I expecting? The chorus and a bit of snarling. And what do I get? A great ball of cheese ‘ and I mean that in the very best way.

Playing a song at the same time as laughing at it – and still having it come out great – is a terribly hard trick. But listen to “Great Balls” and tell me that Lewis is doing it with a straight face. Of course, this is before straight faces became compulsory (a rule that’s troubled the albums chart more than the singles one, thankfully) – even so, Lewis’ deliveries of “She broke my will / But what a thrill” are so gleefully arch I can’t help but grin along. Rocky Horror is born here. So is The Darkness, for that matter.

The music is as hellbent on entertainment as the singing ‘ the teasing intro phrases, the demented arpeggios, that awesome one-note solo thing. And the way Lewis rides his music can be electric ‘ his long possessed “oooooooooh” ties the whole song together before it rolls in triumph to the final chorus. There’s a word for Jerry Lee Lewis on this record, a fine old word that pop music should never stray too far from: showman.

The shame of the (not-so) secret RI:SE fan

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The shame of the (not-so) secret RI:SE fan 2 days left… Zora Suleman
“Officially FunJunkie’s most popular referring search term”

“But when the axed Channel 4 programme comes to an end next week, newsreader Zora Suleman reckons she will leave TV for good – because of her cleavage.” thisislondon

The newsreader with the biggest… shoulders in television. Fuck me, I nearly said tits. The general atmosphere of smut* on RI:SE naturally has meant that Zora’s bosom gets a lot of attention, but if the thisislondon article is to be believed, she’s taken it with much good humour. A lot of Zora web-gossip goes on about her being a little chubby and that never comes up on the show, soI can believe it is all quite good natured in person ”but I daresay this doesn’t excuse such behaviour ON MY TELLY.

Of course there is something unsettlingly misogynistic going on, but oddly enough I’ve seen her cause more volatile reactions with women. Usually something like (and I paraphrase) “GET THAT PAINTED WHORE OFF MY TELEVISION”. Which, I feel, is unfair. It’s something to do with the incredibly flirty style of reading the news that she has. Her relaxed style and prose (assuming she writes the stuff too) suits the show ”but should her dreams come true and she ends up presenting Crimewatch, I think she should lay off the head turned looking upwards through fringe pose.

Magnificent shoulders

* This morning Iain Lee alluded to Kate Lawler’s grandmother maybe “eating him for breakfast” with eyebrows raised.

The Pumpkin Publog Advent Calendar of Alcohol: 16-17% – Amontillado Sherry

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 581 views

I love the idea of fortified wines. That someone felt that wine by itself was just not strong enough to be satisfying. Sherry is a perfect example of this, a Spanish drink certainly but also a very British one. In the 19th century when everyone was looking down their noses at the hoi polloi in the gin palaces, the great and the good were knocking back barrels of sherry before dinner in some sort of vain attempt to be sophisticated. At least gin is honest, sherry is wine with more alcohol added.

The ubiquity of a certain brand of sherry in the UK – Harvey’s Bristol Cream – means that to most people this blue bottle is the start and end. The ubiquity of certain kind of sherry drinker that probably equates to the grandmothers of this isle makes this drink an even less popular. But the first time I had some Amontillado I was blown away. My mother, whose previous sherry knowledge was sweet or nothing was equally impressed. I was at a food and drink fair, the same place my mother fell on her arse due to the quality of a fifty year old bottle of port, and the stall was trying to make the world of sherry more attractive and relevant to a new audience. Sounds horrific doesn’t it.

Every year CAMRA try and make real ale more attractive and relevant to younger (and often female) audiences. The problem is that the key to enjoying ale is often appreciating the complexities of the various flavours in its taste. These complexities are often what it taste less nice. With Sherry this problem is not as pronounced. You like wine, but wish it were a bit stronger? You’ll like sherry. Of course there are fabulous complexities to the flavour but the tag line is already there. Sherry: Like wine, but stronger. Even now I get strange looks when I take a bottle to a party. Said strange looks usually mean I get to drink most of it too. Which means that me on sherry is like me on wine, just drunker.

A side note. The word Amontillado looks a bit like the word Armadillo. If you are from Devon. I’ll say no more.

KYLIE – ‘Slow’ vs. KELIS – ‘Milkshake’

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KYLIE – ‘Slow’ vs. KELIS – ‘Milkshake’

I’ve gotta say I’m pretty disappointed with that new Kylie single ‘Slow’ — it sounds like she’s trying too hard to be sexy. I like her better when more is left to the imagination, when she’s in hot-high-school-English-teacher mode, when you feel strangely attracted to her fembot-ness but you know not exactly why. But this song — it’s like overpoweringly strong perfume. Lipstick all done up in an effort to look ‘pouty’. Hair that’s been ironed and severely sculpted for that tousled, ‘just-got-out-of-bed’ look. I just can’t get into it. Kelis’ creepy-queasy-seasick-loping ‘Milkshake’, on the other hand, is way sexier than ‘Slow’. It also scares the bejesus out of me (reference point: Edvard Grieg’s ‘In the Hall of the Mountain King’?!) See, she doesn’t want you. Damn right — it’s better than yours.

‘I could teach you, but I’d have to charge.’

A Japanese study

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A Japanese study published last month in the journal Physiologic Behavior has indicated that kissing might reduce skin allergies in certain patients with rhinitis and dermatitis. It makes you wonder whether labcoat-clad scientists were watching the kissers through an observation window, while writing serious notes in their notebooks critiquing the subjects’ technique. The experimental design sounds bewildering — to quote the abstract: “The subject kissed freely during 30 min with their lover or spouse alone in a room with closed doors while listening to soft music.” Before and after kissing, the subjects underwent various skin tests and had blood drawn so that levels of various neurotrophins could be measured from their plasma. The author also noted this of the subjects in the study: “they do not kiss habitually.” Hmm.

The heroic era of my Pringle consumption

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 317 views

The heroic era of my Pringle consumption is behind me, of course. Those were the days when it was discovered that Sour Cream and Chive pringles must contain heroin as a secret ingredient, so addictive were they – and also that eating a whole barrel last thing at night was the sleepful equivalent of two strong cups of coffee.

Anyway I still like and also I am I must admit fond of Lord of the Rings, but I have to say that putting scenes from The Return of the King – which is to say of a fantasy war in which thousands will die horribly – on the container kind of totally uglifies the primary colourness of their design sense, plus puts totally the wrong things in your head as regards brainless snacking, plus haha is that spinning I hear down in that grave?