Posts from 19th April 2005

Apr 05

Sun Records night at the Barbican

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 222 views

1. Clothes. I’m a middle aged man who pays less attention to clothes than just about anyone: but I have never seen so many unappealing looking old people at any gig. The audience was 100% white, as far as I can tell, maybe 80% male, with lots of old people in jeans (white ones in some cases), bomber jackets, corduroys. Then the first act came on, Sonny Burgess and his band, all tubby old men (actually one was youngish) in bright blue jackets. It would have looked like a holiday camp were it not for a few unironic trucker hats. Billy Lee Riley’s band was very young (the pianist looked about 15) and in black suits, Billy Lee looking rather wannabe Vegas in a white jacket. The Kings Of Rhythm looked great in terrific maroon suits over black t-shirts, the old trumpeter and sexy young bald tenor saxophonist looking like two of the world’s coolest men. Then there was Ike: a 73 year old, looking much the same as always, in a white jumpsuit with romance-comic women and splashes of pink on it.

2. Old-time music. I’m very resistant to nostalgia. I’m not generally interested in people rehashing long-past glories (and attempts to move with the times are almost always appalling) but I couldn’t resist Ike in concert. The support acts did a good job of reproducing their ’50s sounds, Burgess with mainline mid-’50s rock ‘n’ roll, Riley with rockabilly, Cowboy Jack Clement singing with Burgess’s band trying to do a more country style, not very happily. The newest sounds in Ike’s set were some pseudo-synthy organ on Nutbush City Limits, and otherwise it was all old styles – but varied styles, even some shitkicking country picking, and with Ike finding fresh sounds and flourishes.

3. Backing musicians. These were all very good indeed. Charles Watson stole the first half of the night with a stellar fiddling performance on ‘Orange Blossom Special’ by Sonny Burgess and his band. The twat on sax balanced him – just because you’re only in your ’50s doesn’t make you young and cool and fun. Riley’s band were tight and organised, and allowed little scope to shine. Ike’s band is one of the best I’ve ever seen, often dazzling. If I had to highlight one it would be veteran pianist Ernest Lane, but the bassist, organist and both sax players were great too.

4. No Tina. Ike seeks new Tina. Similar looking, similar dancing, but a third the age, sexier, blonde, much more powerful singer. You wouldn’t think an ad like that had much chance, but he has found someone who fits that. Audrey Madison looks like a cross between Tina and Rosie Perez, and seems breathtaking at first, until the roaring and bellowing became rather wearing. I was in the front row, and did enjoy her singing “Do I love you my oh my” straight at me at one point.

5. Ike. The fact that I was thrilled to be just a few feet from him as he came onstage may indicate my objectivity may be lacking. He started with some fine, varied and exciting piano work, but I was glad when he picked up a guitar. He’s one of my all-time favourite guitarists, and this was the best guitar performance I’ve ever seen, and maybe the most fun too. I had a sense that every note was controlled and deliberate, just right in its context, but also often thrilling and surprising. There were too many songs and not enough instrumentals (no ‘Ho Ho’, my favourite of his), but it was magnificent nonetheless. There was rather too much of Audrey for me – the band became more contained when playing songs behind a big voice, less inspired.

I’d just seen a gig where the combined age of the four performers was 291. I had a great time, but when Sean Paul came on my walkman on the walk to the station, that felt like a much-needed refresher.

Who Should I Vote For 2

Blog 7Post a comment • 994 views

After the shocking revelation below that the Who Should I Vote For website is mere Lib Dem propaganda (despite claims otherwise here). It struck me that we could do a similar kind of questionaire and be much more impartial. So here is the Freaky Trigger Blog 7 Who Should I Vote For


Are you
a) Under 18
b) Over 18

DO you think there should be an imediate halt of all asylum and immigration in the UK?
a) Yes
b) No

If you answered a) to any question you unfortunately are not allowed to vote. If you got two b)’s you should avoid any party with the name of a country in its title or has the involvement of Robert Kilroy-Silk in it.

By the way, what with Kilroy and George Galloway almost certainly going the way of the ballot-box dinosaur* at this election, would it not be great if they presented a mid-morning rant-a-long a studio discussion show. It would be the ugly, unpleasant version of Morgan & Platell. IMAGINE!!!

*ie Being unelectable, rather than physically extinct

Who Should I Vote For?

Blog 7Post a comment • 394 views

I wondered.

So I asked:
and in the space of 23 simple questions it told me I should vote Lib Dem. It did not ask me anything about the economy beyond if we should join the Euro, and nothing on House Of Lords reforms. Perhsp not big issues, but big issues for me.

Of course it is just a bit of fun (especially the immigration questions). I hope to soon find out via the interweb what Star Wars character I am, and what I should eat for breakfast.

Cheese Idea

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 457 views

Stressed PM turns to cheese

No, not a radical world domination plan wherein the modern day equivalent to Goldfinger has a ray which can literally turn world leaders into cheese. Rather a small story about how we can deal with stress with cheese. Good to know he doesn’t get nightmares.

(Great Wall Of) China Crisis

Proven By SciencePost a comment • 616 views

China is heaving a collective sigh of relief today* as it appears that the Great Wall Of China can be seen with the naked eye from space after all. Of course when they say naked eye, they mean an eye behind at least one inch of reinforced plastiglass, as the naked eye does not operate all that well when in contact with the arid vacumn of space. Also this statistic is not as impressive as it once was, because you can see most the pyramids and Heathrow Airport from space too. So let us hope that this recent rediscovery does not lead to the entire Cinese nation jumping up and down with joy.

*Which of course will be felt in the west as a force ten gale.

Sub-Saharan Quality

Do You SeePost a comment • 262 views

Unfair title. Sorry. Sahara is great. Well the last hour is when the fights happen and things blow up. Yes, it is silly but as action movies go, you have a few heroes who sepnd most of the film being implacable and enjoying the adventure. Death of the emo hero is a good thing.

Also, and this may seem an odd thing to say, Sahara is a more politically bold film than The Interpreter. In this year of films about Africa (of which Hotel Rwanda is the winner on historical significance) Sahara stakes the biggest claim at representing an Africa that exists. It does not do it very well, we still have bits of exoticism and the white guys saving the day. But at least in Sahara
a) The countries are real
b) The white saviours come from two different colonial nations (Spain and the US)

WHat is nice about Sahara is it is more than clear that the rest of the world does not actually give a shiot about Africa. This point is clearly highlighted in Hotel Rwanda, but then that takes place in the past, and it is a serious movie. When the US Ambassador refuses to do anything in Sahara, you only feel that 20% of that decision was so that Dirk Pitt and gang can save the world themselves. 80% is just, yep, that’s what would happen.


The Brown WedgePost a comment • 196 views

robots on strike has made a short video, with a small ambient soundtrack, black and white, blury scenes of nebraska, hand wound and sped up–sounds almost dull and horribly prententiuos, but there is something road trippy in the absence of men and the presence of men, the subtle suggestion of narrative, the explictness of human interaction into a landscape, and also a robert frank aesthtic of looking in terms of things like cars and cattle, pick up trucks and trailer homes–i wonder how he does it techincally ?