Posts from 20th January 2005

Jan 05


I Hate MusicPost a comment • 985 views

Day 8: Desert Island

I was awoken the next day by a small furry creature nuzzling up against me. Leaping back in fear in case it was a member of ZZ Top without the name beard, i discovered it was some kind of muskrat. Well to be precise, it was a large rodent of a type I had never seen before. But I am not rodent collector.

I shooed the thing away and cleared my eyes. Sunlight was streaming into the container, and the far door was swinging open in the breeze. Tentatively I took a look out and then emerged on to the sandy shore. (Not Sandy Shaw, who I would have jumped up and down on in hobnail boots if she had turned out to be underfoot). Blinking in the harsh but chilled sunlight I took stock of the situation.

I and my bright red container appear to have washed up on a deserted, and hence I suppose, desert island. Not all that warm, I was glag for the chunky sweater Captain Jack had given me before locking me in the makeshift cell. A wind was whipping up as well on the beach. It was a natural cove, bordered by rocks at both ends and a somewhat foreboding coniferous forest at the perimeter. It appears that this situation may well cause me some impediment to traveling around the world. My first priority must be survival and rescue.

After some time taken to gather flotsam to set a fire (a girl never travels without a box of matches, if only for lighting flaming spoons of absinthe), I took stock. The Jonah, was missing, potentially sunk. I thought about my own Man Friday, Crispian, who no doubt would have been urging kit-off Blue Lagoon excesses if he had been here. I was alone on this island, and island where strange noises were coming from the interior. And when examined the container again I made a startling discovery. It appears that the door had not come open by itself. Rather someone, or something tremendously strong had levered the door open, leaving large claw marks behind.

XTC: Desert Island

There are few things more soul destroying than being shipwrecked on a desert island with next to no hope of escape. Few things, but one of them is bonus tracks on reissues of already appalling albums. Desert Island is track sixteen on the re-release of Mummer by XTC, the last of the extra tracks. Which logically means that not only is it worse than anything else on the album, but it is the worst of the worst things on the album. And this is an album that has a track called Funk Pop A Roll on it.

If you have ever seen the Agony and The Ecstacy you may have some idea about how XTC misappropriated their name. Surely better titled AGNY, XTC were a punk band that never really did punk, a post-punk band that did not do really do post-punk, and some sort of maypole fetishists. Certainly by the time Mummer came out the band had given up touring (too much abuse) and were almost exclusively writing songs about going scumping and fancying the lass from the farm down t’road. XTC were often a band accused of being too clever for their own good, which I find surprising considering that would mean the perfect state of affairs would be for them to be single celled organisms.

Desert Island is one of those “clever” songs which suggests that Great Britain is a desert island. The lack of desert would be the first thing I would point out to them, plus the large number of supermarkets – which Andy Partridge seems to rail against. A political song without any ostensible politics, this is just a rant which the world could have done without hearing. Or being re-released as the worst track of the worst tracks that were not released when they made Mummer. Don’t say you were not warned.


Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 386 views


The scene:
Goose Island brewpub on Clybourn, in Chicago’s “bustling” (if by that you mean ‘full of yuppies buying organic’) Lincoln Park neighbourhood.
The mood:
not entirely subdued, with cheer in the shape of a frazzled homebrewer – to our side – with opinions. he appreciates the CAMRA magazine, fresh from Stockport branch.
Politics at the bar:
seems to be of the leftwing conspiracies variety, if Wednesday lunchtime is any judge. the odd environmentalist and ACLU subber. some inauguration punning. telly showing gridiron and baseball, no cricket, one PPV ad for the FA Cup Tournament, Fourth Stage.
the weather is wintry and gales rage, snow collects.
a reasonable scoop is served [current draughts], of which the juniper tones of Baltic lass Sahti perhaps star. the Christmas Ale is decent too.

Your correspondent exits the scene, avec some haste, after a coupla hours useful supping, late again.

Stupid, stupid, stupid, on waking this morning one cannot recall if the bill was settled.
Did the girl take our credit card?
Where is any receipt?
Can one walk out of establishments like that, without twinge of conscience?

Oh dear.

There are a couple of words that go together well to describe this situation and one of those words is problem.
I think my new name rhymes with Clucking Mule.
Anglo-American booze comparisons: four pints of drink UK equals five pints of drink USA (American jar generally 16oz. as against the Imperial 20oz.). This might explain something about Americans and beer. Also the one food&drink measurement, AFAIK, in which the USA is a world leader in slimline portions. Curious.
A swift return beckons, if only to sort out the tab…

From George Melly,

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 459 views

From George Melly, Revolt Into Style


“Band followed band from 9.30 PM until 7.30 AM the next morning. The audience were dressed almost without exception in ‘rave gear’. As the essence of ‘rave gear’ is a stylised shabbiness, the general effect was of a crowd scene from a biblical epic. To describe an individual couple, the boy was wearing a top hat with ‘Acker’ painted on it, a shift made out of a sugar sack with a CND symbol painted on the back, jeans, and no shoes. The girl, a bowler hat with a CND symbol on it, a man’s shirt worn outside her black woollen tights.”

This is a great book. I have lost the address of the kind person who sent it to me, unfortunately. There is a paragraph a page later where Melly (somewhat shamefacedly) quotes some old reviews of his comparing Bernard Cribbins records to New Wave Cinema. Top man!

The like that dare not speak it’s name

TMFDPost a comment • 377 views

The like that dare not speak it’s name

There are worse players who have played for England and Manchester United than Phil Neville, and better ones too. But he seems to me to be singled out as he forms several functions.

He’s the archetypal player who everyone’s granny is better than, proof of the idiocy / fallibility of whatever manager happens to pick them; the Carlton Palmer of the late 1990s, if you like.

He’s a convenient scapegoat for all things a team might not be doing well. I’ve marvelled at how whenever he gives the ball away, he’s excoriated much more than when other players do that. It’s like a whole heap of hate gets unleashed thanks to the pass going into touch, and it’s only him who gets it. Even when he has good games, which he does, because he’s a very good footballer, it’s not noticed. Or if it is, it’s noticeable by it’s supposed novelty, up with George Bush not making an ass of himself in a press conference.

I’ve heard someone display how he wasn’t an arrogant Manchester United fan of the lazy stereotype, but humble. His proof – he was embarrassed on behalf of the club that Phil Neville got picked for England.

Some would argue that giving away a penalty in the final minutes of the England-Romania game in Euro2000 started it. I disagree; the fact that he got singled out is instructive, as I was almost glad we went out of that tournament as we were so awful. The blame could have been apportioned with Nigel Martyn for fumbling the second goal, Kevin Keegan for not playing Kevin Phillips, Kevin Keegan for being tactically inept, or Kevin Keegan for just not having a clue. But nope. Lets blame Phil instead.

He’s had this heap of hate on him for a long time, and I can’t help thinking that the reason he gets it is because he’s not the prettiest lad. People take a great degree of joy these days from ugly players. Luke Chadwick got lots of approbrium for not having superstar looks. They’re footballers, not icons. Modern media might make them icons, but they’re in teams because they’re good at football.

Thinking about why, all I could think of was simple schadenfreude. They’re rich, but ugly – hahahaha. Hating people because they’re not so pretty? Now that’s ugly.

Remarkable discovery

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 237 views

Remarkable discovery: we’re DJing my work company party in a couple of weeks and being paid for the privilege. Should be a good night, expecially as I have just discovered that one of our new Group Client Directors (i.e. bigwigs) used




KULA SHAKER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(before they were famous).

But the question is, which track should be played to publically humiliate commemorate his achievements? “Tattva”? “Hey Dude”? “Sound of Drums”?????

There is little point in linking this HA HA – ART IS RUBBISH story

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 229 views

There is little point in linking this HA HA – ART IS RUBBISH story on the BBC website, except for the fact that it appears that house style has been driven to extremes. The actual story itself is a classic Philstinian piece about dustmen being sent on an art appreciation course. It is unclear how this will help. Unless Frankfurt is going to be installing more and more rubbish based art on its streets.

No, much more interesting is the way the piece is warped by BBC Online house style to become the shortest, pithiest, one sentence paragraphs. Scroll to the bottom and you get this exchange:

The disappearing sculptures had brought the artist great publicity in Germany.

And he said that he had no ill feeling towards the refuse collectors at all.

“I thought it was quite funny that they took it away.

“I wasn’t shouting or angry at all.”

The binmen’s art lessons will be in Frankfurt school that Beutler himself attended.

“It’s a very good school,” he said.

“I’m OK with their opinion. It wasn’t written on that it is art – there was no sign saying something about it.”

Maybe the carriage return button was stuck.

On the computer that was used to write it.

THE FT TOP 100 SONGS94. Al Green – “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart?”

FT + New York London Paris Munich/Post a comment • 2,237 views

94. Al Green – “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart?”

Martin Skidmore, who nominated this song, has written exhaustively and excellently on it for us here. I don’t have anything to add except a heartfelt cry of “CHOOOON!”.

wive$watch (us style)

Do You SeePost a comment • 431 views

wive$watch (us style):

it still all seems a bit slow and so-what BUT this is a secret-history dimension i like: eg that the true hidden stars are the munster manse, the leave-it-to-beaver home &c. &c.


Proven By Science1 comment • 1,073 views

(from memory, since i can’t find any links on the net)

i. METRO’s headline wz the um possibly taxonomically imprecise “Tyrannosaurus Quacks”
ii. the fossil beast in question was a small dinosaur, w.feathers, strong arms and short stubby legs (possibly a bill also, i forget)

yes it’s true i get my science updates from the ephemeral lower reaches of CeeFax and over ppl’s shoulder’s on the bus: and WHAT OF THAT?