Posts from December 2003

Dec 03

Interesting response (plus comments) to my “Hey Ya!” review

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Interesting response (plus comments) to my “Hey Ya!” review: I should make one thing clear though which is that I LIKE THE SONG! I was trying to describe it (and how I think it’s different), not dismiss it. “White” amazingly enough is not an automatic negative in my book, and nor is “indie” – well, not danceably nerdy indie anyway. I seem to like it way less than most people online, but if I was doing a Download This! Top 100 this year then I’m sure it would find its way in. Just not at #1.


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GREAT NEWS FOR ALL OUR READERS! Well, great in the longer term. Freaky Trigger is moving over the next few days – the URL for most stuff will stay the same but we will be being hosted by the marvellous and generous Steve M. On the plus side this means:

– more webspace!
– less money spent by me!
– lots of potential for photos and making the site more colourful!
– unifying the FT site!

This latter will mean that NYLPM’s ancient tilde-strewn web address will change, probably to This is something I’ve wanted to do for AGES but have not had the space to, NYLPM’s archives being huge. It will however mean that you might have to update your links/bookmarks – watch this space for details.

The minus side is that for the next four or five days (maybe less, hopefully not more) we won’t be able to post anything on the Freaky Trigger site as the domain name and IP get freed up and transferred. So no updates for the other weblogs or for Popular for a little while.

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,

Do You SeePost a comment • 820 views

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.

Dec 03

JERRY LEE LEWIS – “Great Balls Of Fire”

Popular10 comments • 3,073 views

#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

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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.