Posts from 31st August 2006

Aug 06

Poptimism – Lesson Twelve – with Pete Baran

Poptimism Podcast1 comment • 706 views

sugar and spice – Cryan shames

Step back in time – Kylie

Your Honor – Regina Spektor

Noyfriend – Shimura Curves

Movin Day – Holy Modal Roundels


I want a rainbow rubber with Che Guevara on it

FT2 comments • 769 views

Never accuse over-priced stationer Paperchase of tardiness – the very second the season flipped over from the death-throes of Summer to crispy fresh Autumn, the window display in the Tottenham Court Road branch had an instant revamp. Any schoolchild who left their purchase of a new Back To Skull pencil case to the last minute will now encounter a rather different marketing strategy, aimed not at them but at the great unwashed student demographic, leaving home for the first time on their quest for cheap beer and new friends who will never know about that embarrassing incident in infant school when they ended up having to go home wearing the spare pants from the lost property bin.

Top Marx stationery will no doubt ensure our universities will churn out even more filthy commies than they do at the moment. Or possibly incite a bloody revolution, forcing everyone to file their course notes in some glorious new egalitarian manner. Fidel might be on his last legs but in the world of A4 ring binders, communism still lives!


JOE COCKER – “With A Little Help From My Friends”

FT + Popular36 comments • 5,523 views

#260, 9th November 1968


First appearance at Number One for this hardy perennial: probably the best version to reach the top, which is saying something about the others as I still can’t stand it. The charm of the Beatles’ original – yet another Beatles song about togetherness, friendship, the importance of not being lonely – is that it’s Ringo singing it, and he’s not very good at singing so the help is tangibly needed.

So what happens when a great bluesy ox of a singer gets hold of it? The track gets quite a lot longer, and a great deal louder, and you can feel the charm being steamrollered out: who needs charm when you have force on your side? Ian Macdonald in Revolution In The Head mentions that the song became an anthem for “Woodstock Nation” and it certainly has an epic quality: everything in the song is massive, with Cocker’s performance probably the subtlest thing here. He stumbles and howls convincingly, but I still can’t help but regret that a sweet and hopeful song has got this Samson in the temple treatment. For me it’s an illustration of Cover Version Rule#1: if you slow something down, it becomes more serious. But that doesn’t make it more meaningful, and it surely doesn’t make it better.

Carmodise That!

Blog 7 + FT + The Brown Wedge2 comments • 688 views

Oh I say.Just started reading Dominic Sandbrook’s White Heat – as with the previous volume (a third is planned on the 1970s, hurrah), the anecdotes and local colour are easily as interesting as the analysis.

– Mary Whitehouse: ‘she especially criticised Doctor Who for its reliance on “strangulation – by hand, by claw, by obscene vegetable matter”‘

The 1964 election campaign: “The greatest debacle, however, was Home’s final set-piece speech of the campaign at the Bull Ring  in Birmingham, where the Prime Minister was systematically shouted down by hundreds of hecklers shouting “Tories out! We want Wilson!”…To make matters worse, he was also confronted by an alarming apparition in the front row of the crowd: a Homosaurus, a cardboard monster with ‘the body of a prehistoric reptile and the face of Sir Alec’. It was hardly surprising that, with the Homosaurus staring back at him, he should have found it so difficult to quell the hecklers.”

He also has a very good nose for the slightly clunky feel that a lot of 1960s public language has – caught halfway between Pathe News RP and a newer, more informal type of discourse. (Rejected 1964 election slogan: Tories Dodgy – Labour Swinging).