Posts from 12th January 2006

Jan 06

JIM REEVES – “Distant Drums”

Popular38 comments • 4,306 views

#224, 24th September 1966

The lullaby pace hides a strange mix of emotions: encroaching doom, self-conscious nobility, hustling chivalry and honeyed reassurance. It’s a manipulative song – the guy’s off to war and he wants to get the girl before he goes – and it sounds almost nostalgic for war, and I think it’s a failure. Reeves’ voice has smoothness but no kindness and the ghastly bugles break any spell he’s managed to weave. But it sat at Number 1 for 5 weeks in the middle of one of pop’s most vibrant years so it hit some kind of button. As the success of death songs in the 60s and 70s show there was a steady market for fated romance, and what fates it here is adult duty not teenage folly – maybe that helped “Distant Drums” find an audience, or maybe it got the balance between sad and seductive usefully right. Even if so, there’s not much use for it now.

Day 57: Tokyo Mon Amour

I Hate MusicPost a comment • 326 views

I had resigned to going to Japan, despite David Sylvian. Can you really go around the world and not visit the land of the rising sun? I had already been to the House Of The Rising Sun as a girl and was partially responsible for its forced name change to the House Of The Just Burnt Down.

But Tokyo is a major transport hub, and it is difficult to keep going east without it. Furthermore I like eating sushi (despite the Neneh Cherry album) mainly because the idea of eating Fish raw appeals. That and shooting him in a barrel. Indeed any way of torturing the ex Marillion lead singer cheers me up.

That said I was not ready for the full on lights, noise and indecipherable script of Tokyo. I ended up walking around in a daze, the bright lights of Ginza confusing me. I ended up wandering through the Ueno backstreets, trying to find somewhere to stay, just to put the noise out of my mind. In the end I found what appeared to be a hotel and book a room – even though I felt paying by the hour was a bit extortionate.

Imagine my surprise and horror when after three hours of blissful sleep some girls dressed as sailors broke in, found a microphone and started singing. HORROR: I had accidentally booked a karaoke box thinking it was a hotel room!

PIZZICATO FIVE – Tokyo Mon Amour

Hey look kids, its a craaazzeee Japanese Band. They are singing in foreign but who cares when its all kitschy retro soundtrackee stuff like this. Remember one member of Dee-lite was Japanese, and they were great, weren’t they? Weren’t they?

NO. DEE-LITE were bubblegum corpse robbers whose hip-hop sensibilities just about allowed them to spell hip-hop, but not get beyond one song whose only legitimate selling point was the sound of a swanee whistle. And yet this seems to be the only justification for people even considering listening to the Pizzicato Five. People were listening to them ironically perhaps? Well why couldn’t they listen to them silently as well?

But okay, if that’s not enough reason to consign the Japanese Other Two to the Yo! Sushi discard pile, how about this sorry fact. There are only two members of the Pizzicato Five. Only one other band has ever thought it really funny to have a band made up of less than five members be referred to as a “five”. And that band was led by Ben Folds.

I rest my case. There is no more damning evidence.

11 Reasons To Love Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes

Pumpkin Publog2 comments • 767 views

1: Its open til 1am Monday – Wednesday, 2am the rest of the week.

2: It does White Russians for £3.50. Most other cocktails are £4.00.

3: It has a free sequential jukebox.

4: They are adding two karaoke boxes to the venue as we speak.

5: The food is good. And £10 for dinner and a game of bowling is not bad at all.

6: Darts, pool, OutRun and Mortal Combat.

7: Draft lagers include BitBurger (Germany), Bernard Pilsner (Czech) and Bloomsbury Lager (the source of which is apparently, and tantilisingly UNKNOWN)

8: They do a hot dog for £1.25 which is only fifteen pence more than IKEA.

9: Its in Tavistock Square in the heart of London’s Literary Bloomsbury and underneath a hotel so there are always whacked our American kids in there.

10: The bottled beers include beers from Vietnam (Hue), Estonia, Peru and Argentina. Oh and Yorkshire – that’s the bottle conditioned ale.

11: Its a bowling alley! In the middle of town! That used to be a carpark! What’s not to love?

Spread it, Big Man!*

TMFD1 comment • 704 views

At the risk of sounding like Julie Burchill, Football is a bit gay. Tom highlights the interesting references in the Runciman piece about this, and it really is a subject that doesn’t get much coverage**.

Slavoj Zizek once persuasively argued that the reason why the military were so against letting gay men into the forces was not homophobia, pure and simple. It was that the military is all about being gay anyway, but only works is everyone has the cover that it has nothing to do with homosexuality whatsoever. Letting out gay men risks making clear what everyone needs to stay implicit.

I think the same is true in football. The language is revealing here. Players caress the ball, and stroke it around. They’re routinely asked to talk of love and commitment, and are in ecstasy on a regular basis. Footballers don’t seem to be able to have sex without having their mates around to watch and join in. And they have bonding rituals which, like the military and the old Axa comic strip in the Sun, seem to be full of ridiculous opportunities to see someone get their kit off.

Like the military, teams are always about the sum of their parts. They all have to work together, and have to think of the greater good rather than their individual wishes. Indeed, part of the training of both appears to deliberately deaden the ability to think independently and follow orders, intelligence and critical thinking are actively derided; players shouldn’t say anything of interest ever. You don’t want to get all clever.

But you do want to be flash. Players are obsessed with each other’s outward signs, like peacocks eyeing each other up – the attractiveness of someone’s cars, clothes, houses and such like. It’s more, much more, than simple materialistic bragging common to any golf club or workplace.

The idea that Mourinho’s style creates something that players want to be close to, to retain the favour of is eminently feasible. The same is true of Cantona, and both have a charismatic element that comes from more than just accented English. When an opposition player spoke of ‘fucking Cantona’, it was more than an insult.

* – As heard at a Celtic pub in 2002 when Bobo Balde had the ball and was being urged to give it to Didier Agathe

** – There was, of course the Footballer Wives storyline about this, which was incredibly well researched and true-to-line; whoever advised them really earned their cash that week.

More Manager Stuff

TMFDPost a comment • 257 views

Coming out of the previous argument on the efficacy of football managers, comes a nice little podcast from the University of Warwick on changes made in managerial practice. That is all dinky and possibly not as significant as Dr Sue Bridgewater thinks, however the stats she presents us with the stark stat of 678 managerial changes in the four English leagues in the last thirteen years. Which in average (and hey, we know averages mean nothing in this game) means every club changes its manager every two years or less. Worth eighteen minutes of your time.

Where’s The Story (About Morning Glory)

Do You SeePost a comment • 298 views

For some time I had heard rumour of Channel Four dipping their toes back into the Breakfast TV market. I had even been telling people about it happening without realising IT HAD ALREADY STARTED. And my general prediction about it was correct. Morning Glory is a Dermot O’Leary helmed breakfast show which is a kind of UK Little Brother. However unlike standard breakfast TV shows, it has not pretence at rolling magazine goodness, it is just a daily half hour shot of celebness. A low impact chatshow if you will. And is on at the probably not earth shatteringly useful time of 8:30am (fine for me, but I know I get into work a bit later than others).

So will this stealth programming continue? It currently slots in nicely around Celebrity Big Brother shows, but when they go, will it be extended? Will they feel the need to add news, thus turning it into something resembling RI:SE in its final days? All I know is, nobody is talking about it – which maybe the best thing for it (nice Jessica Stevenson appearance this morning though).

Okay, Kings Lynn Today is talking about it, in conjunction with CAR PARK NEWS.