Posts from 18th December 2003

Dec 03

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

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The shame of the (not-so) secret RI:SE fan 1 day left… Everyone else
Oddly I never warmed to Dougie Anderson, RI:SE’s “other” presenter. Something about Dougie seems to suggest he’s about to break down and cry, plus his interview technique while gratifyingly unconventional, seems to tread the same eggshells of self-hatred. This is probably just me though.

I’d like to send thank to the other regulars: to James the Big Brother Monitor who was smashing, the Big Brother evictees that weren’t vile in the studio*, little Remi and the lovely Kingsmill duo, Mel:Sue.

[I could go back and edit the entry 2 days back, but Instead I’ll add here that I finally decided that Iain defintely is OK by me. I found the following quote in a Channel 4 chat thing “The best computer game is a game called Elite on the BBC micro, they should bring out a huge internet-based version of it now.” Make that man TV KING of all things COMPUTER]

*Fed and Justine were loathsome

Touching The Void is great,

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Touching The Void is great, if just for the loony British mountaineers doing the stiff upper lip thing. The choice o documentary with mock-ups works surprisingly well in the cinema. The visuals are sumptuous and no-one tells this story better than the two men involved. But nothing quite compares to the Boney M bit. Any film that manages to radically re-interpret the way I will forever hear a song is strong in my book.

Brown Girl In The Ring will forever be associated with delirium and madness to me now. Which isn’t a huge shift granted in my previous perception…

Computer can spot a hit.

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Computer can spot a hit. This is nylpm heaven of course, the hours of fun we could have feeding tunes into this computer to see whether it was proven by science to be a hit or not. I like the way the whole thing works too, comparing tunes to previous hits, seeing if in some arcane (and it seems happy with the arcane) way the music reminds us of past glories. I am not even sure about the doom-monger at the end of the article. We have always been at the whim of the record companies largely over what we get to hear, why not take that power out of the hand of A&R guys who might want to shag the singer and into the cold, calculating pop computah.

Except, Norah Jones? Cripes, this machine needs work.

Well done, Great British Public!

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Well done, Great British Public!

The Nation’s Favourite Xmas Food as revealed last night on BBC2 was possibly the least surprising top 11 (and it was only 11 to squeeze nut roast in, political correctness gone mad etc…) ever. When it comes to christmas, innovation is an absolute no-no it seems. However, it seems that we can finally use non-traditional music in the background for xmas programmes, unless the festiveness of the Wedding Present’s Bizzarro album has somehow passed me by…

Also, top fact of the evening, an average goose contains more fat than THREE PACKS OF LARD! Quick! To the goosery! mmm, faaaaat!!

OUTKAST – “Hey Ya”

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OUTKAST – “Hey Ya”

I’m guessing you might have heard “Hey Ya” so I’ll skip the introductions. What “Hey Ya” does is re-introduce funk to nerdiness, to spazziness; and in particular to a specific kind of stiff-necked, clever, uptight, indie, white nerdiness. This is part of why some people adore it; other people loathe it; and is surely why the Internet got onto it so quick too. The initial choppy strum and nasal vox are pure Frank Black; the acoustic and trombone (or synth-bone) mesh is They Might Be Giants; the stuttery jerky vocal tics (“I- I- I’m – just being honest”; “What makes – what makes – what makes”) are David Byrne; the whole thing has reminded at least some people of the Flaming Lips (!), though to be fair in that case it’s the best Flaming Lips song by a light year. And the video gives you a clue, too – Andre’s in there playing the loverman-in-beret, but he’s playing the jumper-wearing preppy guy, too: Outkast reimagined as Brit Invasion pop-show squares.

That’s why “Hey Ya!” is ‘innovative’ I suppose; also why it’s a ‘novelty’ (there is no point in separating these terms). But the other part of its success is that even with these nerd-genes it still makes me dance – that trombone may be goofy as fuck but it’s also a delight as sound and as groove. It’s a sign of the track’s effectiveness as a party tune that it’s one of those songs I refuse to get any emotional kick from – I just tune out the lyrics, except as catchphrases.

I can see why people hate it. There’s a degree of smarm in the delivery, dramatically boosted if you sit through the whole Love Below album: it took seeing the video, bright and snappy amidst hours of dreary Polish hip-hop, to make me like it again. I’m also sympathetic to the idea that if “Hey Ya” is the start of something then it’s the start of something lame: I’m no more looking forward to everybody doing a wacky guitar track than I am to checking out the Darkness clone bands. But that doesn’t stop me liking The Darkness and it shouldn’t stop me liking “Hey Ya”. Besides, my hunch is this single is a one-off, a freak – it’s not hard to imagine people being able to rip it off, but it’s difficult to guess who would, lacking Dre’s career trajectory. That’s the main reason I don’t buy it as the most important single of the year; my ears can confirm it’s not the best either.