Tuesday, March 31, 2009

50 years of 45s

for a bit of a helping hand Here's a Mix of the A sides..
same bands- same snigles- same order.. wake me up before you GO GO GO:
A Side Quiz

I tried to do this on the 31 March - I'm told that's the official 50th Birthday of the 7" snigle that we knew and loved - some of us still do. The Independent shops that I know tried to lobby the record companies to do a big celebration for it and only sell some special 7" on disc - but who would want to make some cash out of a beautiful slab of vinyl when it can be given away for free by people like us.. on an impersonal computer hard drive... Here's the B - side:
Eels - I write the B-Sides

This could be impossible or really easy.. who knows?
I WANT THE BAND NAME b-side SONG TITLE and the A-SIDE that it's from please
22 tracks in all 66 spill points up for grabs
B-Sides QUIZ

My Mechanical Heart

I've never paid much attention to the coffee table blandisms of Royksopp until now. 
Until they got 'Spill fave Lykke Li to sing for them. 

Here she ponders her "mechanical heart", thus putting her into bed with The Tinman from The Wizard Of Oz, and Deckard from Blade Runner. 

I spoke with an online chat robot to see what he thought about it all: 

How was your day.

Quite tiring. What about you?

OK thanks, but tell me about your day.

Well I attended a conference about Intellectual Property in the morning. In the afternoon I did some animations.

At the same time and the same place?

Both were at the University I work at but in different buildings. Have you heard the new Royksopp song?

In the same city.

Yes. What do you think about their guest singer?

And what do you think about it?

I think her singing really makes the tune. Even though she sings like she has a lollypop in her mouth. The song is about her mechanical heart. Do you wish you were human?

That is a really good song.

Glad you like it. Do you wish you had a heart?

No I like being heartless.

Is it easier being heartless, because you can't get hurt?

You can't think.

I find sometimes that I over-think things. This stops me going to sleep at night sometimes. 

How often?

Occasionally. Now, do you prefer Indie or Grime?

I don't prefer anything.

What if I'm the only human, and everyone else are robots?

You can't be. You are machine. I am human. It works the other way.

Oh bugger....

I will do as I please.

Bye then, you heartless bastard.

That is correct - I have no heart.

Bye then!

Where are you going? Don't leave me alone here! It's so dark and scary! And almost no one but you visits me!

Miss It So Much

Monday, March 30, 2009



Born in 1950 into a Romany (Roma) family, Jackie Leven spent his childhood and teenage years clearly marked out as an outsider in the clannish, insular world that was Fife, Scotland at that time. Although Scottish himself, neither of his parents were from the area - his father was an Irish Cockney, his mother was from a large Northumberland (Geordie) family, and adapting to existing cultural norms was a hard, if not formidable task for such incomers. This seems to have formed the start of an independence of mind in the young Leven, hopelessly wayward at school (although outstanding at English and essay writing), with few friends, and those mostly considered 'oddball'. His attendance at school was woeful, but those truanting times spent alone in glens and hills and by rivers still form the basis of his songs' imagery to this day.
Dropped kicking and screaming into the box; Fairy Tales is the fourth album of Jackie's 1990's return to music after an unprovoked and near fatal attack which damaged his larynx and left him barely able to speak, let alone sing for two years.

Here's some of what Jackie says about this album in his sleevenotes:

"And so now, with Fairy Tales for Hardmen I hand over some of my stories about the lives of men and women. Hardmen, because so many boys come under ill-considered or even demonic pressure to be hard or to be men. Indeed, so many men are just boys trapped in men's lives, pretending to be men — exhibiting cruelty, cowardice, fear, shame (toxic and natural), despair — controlling, manipulating, raging — but also showing tenderness, blessing, joy of living, erotic savvy, and humour that doesn't rely on victims to be funny."

This is an album which I love for its bleakly affirmative intensity coupled with its soul and ambitious sonics, for me it's one of those records that needs to run its course, once it's on I need to let it play right through.  Jackie has continued to weave other voices, spoken word sections, sound effects and quotes from classic American soul music into his records.  This is perhaps his most Celtic sounding album with Steafan Hannigan's raucous Uillean Pipes featuring on several tracks.  More recent albums have developed something of a celtic americana soundscape.

For a bit more insight into the period of Jackie's life that led to this album here's an interview that appeared in The Independent in 1996.

Spill points for anyone who can name the painter of the picture used for the album's cover  ... claimed by saneshane who got in there with Peter Howson, the picture is from the period where he became heavily involved with the Scottish bodybuilding scene ... lots of 5' 6" tall blokes trying to inflate themselves to 5' 6" wide as well.  

And free pies for a year to the person who can name the three poets whose texts are sung and spoken as part of the proceedings.



Last week I posted that piece about losing my emails and then subsequently finding them again. Were it not for that I might never have started scrolling through my 10 year old emails. This week I came across another one, also to my friend Bill, and my immediate thought was "I think there might be some at the Spill who'd enjoy this". It involves a variety of topics: film special effects, sci-fi films, ie 2001, Star Wars and Silent Running, photography and the evolution of Photoshop and my tiny roll in all of the above.
It would tie up too much space here so I've posted it at my blog under the title '2001 - Star Wars etc' If you're interested go to: http://goneforeign.blogspot.com/

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Let my tablet go ...

... or ... Get Your Own Tablet You Thieving Git!

Many, many thanks to jforbes for posting the link to the recipe for tablet and to The Littlest MissToffee for providing the necessary culinary skills to produce a delicious end-product (with a bit of help from ToffeeGirl and my good self). The entire Toffee family now feels as sick as four (relatively) healthy people can be expected to feel after consuming far too much of this food o' the de'il.

Anyhoo, this is what the final product looked like ...

If I were to be critical I would say that we probably didn't let it boil for long enough so it wasn't quite as substantial as it should be and the tin we used was probably too large so the mixture spread too thin. But the end result was certainly tasty if almost unpalatably sweet for anyone aged over 7.

I'm struggling to find a musical link to this but as blimpy keeps reminding us all, THIS IS NOT A MUSIC BLOG, so let's not worry too much about it. The best I can do is to post the only song I have on my iTunes which was included in the A-List for the Songs About Sweet Foods theme.* It's Sugar Hiccup by the Cocteau Twins and it's appropriate for two reasons:

1) because I like to look at this evening as a sugar hiccup in my own life - never again is the way I feel right now - and
2) because Liz Fraser wuz unco' fond o' a bit o' her Granny's tablet when she wuz a wee lassie back in bonnie Grangemouth (allegedly).* I only know this because of Marconius7's phenomenal work on his RR website. It is simply a stunning piece of work and I feel more guilty every time I use it because I offered to help him with it and I've done sod all about it and ... what can I say, Marco? I'm not worthy ...


I'm sorry to announce that my definition of dond has been rejected. Still, we'll always have dondle.

noreply@urbandictionary.com to me
show details 1:07 PM (27 minutes ago)


Thanks for your definition of dond!

Editors reviewed your entry and have decided to not publish it.

To get a better idea of what editors publish and reject, sign up as an Urban Dictionary Editor here: http://editor.urbandictionary.com/

Urban Dictionary



An expression of support or agreement, originally from the Guardian's Readers Recommend. From the Typographically Challenged "sedonded," via the English "Seconded."

Immediate and massive donds to the Fannies and Buggles, which were the first songs that sprung to mind, unfortunately I now have that Corrs song bouncing round my blimp sized cranuim and it's proving impossible to dislodge!

But wait, what's this?

Which Pop Star Did Mike Skinner Smoke Crack With?

Did we ever find out? 

I'm copying this from the great Sid Smith's blog, 'Postcards From The Yellow Room' (link below ); partly because it gave me a great laugh, remembering an intricate cut and paste job I once did on some bean tin labels to make them read 'Heinz Naked Beast', but also because it does bother me that music shared 'for free' has to be paid for somewhere along the line. Are RRers really buying more music through hearing more, or are we putting corner shops out of business? What's on your hard drive and iPud that you've not paid for?


I Want It All And I Want It Now And I Want It For Free

How come my corner shop won't give me a free can of beans?

I mean surely they could put adverts on the tins that would pay for it? Haven’t they heard of the new business models that are all the rage in the music and entertainment business - especially via the internet?

I mean, I’ll tell all my pals about how great his shop is, and how great the beans are. They’ll tell all their friends and very soon, my local corner shop will have lots of fans.

With every can of beans that gets distributed for free, the reputation of the shop will just grow and grow.

“But, how will the shopkeeper continue to feed his family and pay his bills and generally meet his commitments?” ask the unhip and terminally old-fashioned critics of this ‘new thinking.’

Well, that’s easy.

The great thing about this new business model is that after having the free beans, and being filled with a munificent sense of well-being at having been nourished for free, later on people will want to try the other beans that are on the shelf - the kind that you have to pay for.

You think?

And how about a variation on the theme? The ease with which new media enables folks to give music away. This is a true story and one which you'll be all to familiar with.

There’s a band I know who’ve just released a new album.

The music isn’t commercially mainstream. They aren’t particularly well known beyond a fairly small community of listeners. The album will hopefully break even and maybe turn a modest profit.

Except it won't because a fan of the band has uploaded the album onto his blog and is giving it away for free. It doesn't matter that the blogger didn't ask or get permission to do this.

The blogger, who loves the band so much he wants all the world to know how good the band is, has it online and “ripped @320. cover and booklet scans included.”

The band in question, who won’t see a cent from the couple of hundred downloads so far, aren’t fat cats with yachts, fancy cars, big houses and the like.

They aren't 'the man,' or part of some multi-national corporation, which may be some kind of ass-backwards 'robbing the rich to give to the poor' justification (although it isn't actually) to be ripping their material like this.

They're just working guys trying to make a living by composing and playing music who released an album they hope people will buy.

When challenged about this upload, the tart response goes along the lines of "fuck you and fuck them. I'm helping promote the band - you and they should be thanking me for everything I do! I bought this album fair and square. I can do what I like with it. Anyway, this one is shit. Their last one was much better."

And so on.

Music is reduced to an accessory or a commodity and the human beings who make it are just stacked up like so many cans of beans.

If this new business model is so cool and generally advantageous to one and all in the music business how come other professions and services aren’t queuing up to take part?

How come my dentist won’t do my dental work for free or next to nothing?

Why won’t my mate’s plumber come and sort out his central heating for free?

How come my corner shop won't give me a free can of beans?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Fame, Dangerous Fame...

Seeing as fame is this week's topic, here's a wee film I made, with my pal, a number of years ago that kinda deals with the phenomenon. Enjoy! 

Hideous tricks on the brain

Fame, fame, fatal fame ... and all that stuff. It's difficult to follow frogprincess's fine list (thankfully, the way that these new-fangled bloggy things work, this actually precedes it) so I won't try anything too tricksy.

I will however, start my list with a response to The Velvet Underground's Femme Fatale in the shape of Tracey Thorn's take on the song, from her debut album A Distant Shore. I'm that rare specimen - a Jonathan Richman fan who doesn't have much time for The Velvets - don't know why - I'm probably wrong but, what the hey...

Next up (and here's a real attempt to out frogprincess, frogprincess) it's David Essex with Gonna Make You A Star. Leo Sayer a few weeks ago - now this. I genuinely have no shame - but it's still a great song, innit?

Microdisney's Singer's Hampstead Home covers the trappings of fame and was allegedly written with Boy George in mind. Like all the best Cathal Coughlan/Sean O'Hagan compositions, it's crystal pure pop, hiding an acerbic under-belly.

Including a Barenaked Ladies song in a 'Spill post always does wonders for our Google hits. This just happens to be one of my favourites. A poignant look at the rise and fall of a pop star, told from the point of view of his career-spanning Box Set. Listen to the lyrics - it's very funny.

You Just Haven't Earned It Yet, Baby is a typically upbeat song from the late Kirsty MacColl. She was a wonderful songwriter and a great singer and I still have to stop myself wondering when her next album's coming ...

Oops - just noticed that placing Dead Pop Stars next in the playlist was not such a good idea. Sorry! Anyway, any excuse to hear the sublime Ms Grogan (who, by the way, would be my choice for the pop star I'd most like to see bouncing around on a trampoline). Just thought I'd mention that...

Crowded House? Are they underrated or overrated? Answers on a postcard to... Well, I like them and I particularly like Woodface, the album from what this track is taken. Some people, I know, find them a bit too clean and over-produced. I saw them live a few times in the late 80s and they were brilliant. So there.

I really hope you like the next track. It's called Wheels Go Round and it's by a band called Blue Train and as far as I can tell, this is the only thing they ever did. Shame, as it shows much promise and a good ear for a jazzy pop tune. If anyone out there involved in the band is reading this, please post a comment here. You have a fan.

Last up, it's REM with All The Way To Reno from the 2001 album, Reveal. Overall, this is not one of their greatest works but this is the standout track - I love the corny guitar.

As usual frogprincess has taken the best supplementary question, so I'll ask you this. If you were famous, what would you like to be famous for?

What you like is in the Limo... FP's almost famous playlist

Thanks to Gordon for being on the ball enough to realise that this marvellous cautionary tale about reaching for the stars had already been zedded. I'm still posting it just to remind us all how great it is. Otherwise my incursions into blackcurrent land have resulted in a fairly eclectic playlist with, I hope, something for everyone. I've been struck by various different threads of narrative in the songs you've all suggested this week: fame as a living hell pursued by paparazzi, fame as the ultimate goal, fame as the impossible dream which eventually devours you (as with Hot Chocolate's Emma) and finally, and thankfully, some songs which dare to reflect that "life's been good" to those who make it to the top. As the equally divine Oscar, Chrissie and Stephen pointed out "We are all of us in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars..."

But what we really want to know is: Have YOU had your 15 minutes? Did you try for them or did they just happen? Was your life touched by fame as a result? Do tell....

And extra 'Spill points for telling which Oscar/Chrissie/Stephen I mean.....


His disciples lead him in

Most of the famous people in these songs are now dead...tricky stuff, fame.

Ziggy Stardust - the Gourds
Shane and Dixie - Richard Thompson
How Many Friends - the Who
Now That I Am Dead - Richard Thompson
Elvis Presley Blues - Gillian Welch
Candle In the Wind - Sandy Denny
Wolfe - Albion Band

New King Creosote! "Coast On By"

New King Creosote alert!! I'm very excited about the impending KC LP, out on Domino in April. The video for "Coast On By" was shot down the road in Crail, in the East Neuk. I was thinking about heading that way today, but it's blowing a bloody gale out there the now. 

King Creosote explains here how the song came about:

"It's all well and good when a pal offers to work on and record one of your songs, but when that pal is Steve Mason (Beta Band, King Biscuit Time, Black Affair) then up goes the ante. With album Flick the Vs well under way, and with no sign yet of a contender for the 3 minute pop hit thereon, I arrived chez Mason clutching a string of uneven verses each spitting out some facet of the tour-tired "leave me alone to my small village" blues. There followed 3 happy accidents:

- During the run thru' Steve muttered "is that it?" in such a tone of voice that, in fear of ridicule, I ad-libbed a positive sounding one line mantra to the end of take one.

- Whilst I made the tea, Steve "lost" my original guitar take and mistook my ad-libbed mantra for "the hook".

- A bungled cut n paste somehow morphed a duff bridge into a blinding chorus - three times?!

And that's it - the precise art of song craft lies in the choice of "Coast On By" over the more accurate title "two grumpy old men realise that, together, they've created the very monster both have spent entire careers baiting, only for it to sneak up and bite them in unbridled joy".

Almost Famous

I'm Jim Morrison , I'm Dead
Unfair Kind of Fame
Swimming Pools, Movie Stars
Jesus Christ Superstar
Please Don't Be Famous
Big Shot
Superstar Talking Blues
Movie Star
Disaster Button
John Belushi


Solid gold fame. Keep watching, it just gets better.

Tom Waits
Sonic Youth
Arctic Monkeys
Citizen Cope
Lupe Fiasco
Gang Starr
Mos Def
De La Soul
Disposable Heroes of the Hiphoprisy

Sorry there are so many. I was trying to restrain myself, but I like them all so much.

Arcade Fire + Spike Jonze x Childhood Memories =

Friday, March 27, 2009

Gremlinfc wants his 15 minutes...

Back out from t'hospital after a good bedbath from Nurse Ratchet and gremlinfc got a pop at the popstar business ("30 years man and boy...")- memorable choons and sell-out gigs brought a lavish life-style and a new bike...unfortunately the young gremlinfc...couldn't maintain the hit-factory and that problematic 2nd album led to the demise of the boy wonder : what's the session? Album? Backing singers?

I'm so groovy - they put me in a movie

made entirely from the skins of dead Jim Morrisons
Benjamin Zephaniah
Bran Van 3000
Simple Kid
Dogs Die In Hot Cars
The Teenagers
Liz Phair
Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I hear those voices that will not be drowned

Well, here is a memorial to a famous composer. It has caused quite a bit of controversy but I think it's great - especially if you have small children who can crawl underneath it. Do you like it or loathe it?

Virtual brownie points to anyone who can answer the following:

Which composer does it commemorate?
What is the significance of the inscription?
What is the name of the local brewery?

For an extra gold star, can you think of any other unusual memorials to composers or musicians? The quirkiest one I can think of is a local pub called "The King's Head", which has a picture of Jimi Hendrix on the sign.

Over to you!

Shoey's album of the Month - March

Third in the non-awaited series. The Tinbox is all clogged-up so back to Boxtr for a sample of this month's pick:
Track From Album Of The Month

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Everybody Plays the Fool

I had an unexpectedly nice moment at the grocery store today. This song came on, and everybody started singing along. Not in choreographed-musical-style, but just pushing their carts or shelving cans of beans.

The Old Weird America

My goodness, I'm very excited now...have any of you heard of Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music? (That's it in the picture.) It's a 6-CD, 84-track set of songs and tunes mostly from the 1920s and 30s - folk, blues, hillbilly and church music (according to Amazon). I've been meaning to buy it for ages but is IS rather expensive...

...well, I've just found a blog where a chap is going to take each track in the anthology and produce a downloadable list of

1 a set of different songs by the same artist; and
2 a set of different versions of the same song by other artists.

So I'm mighty glad I've just bought a 120G iPod! He says he's going to do them all, but he's only done 18 so far, which should give me time to catch up.

The Old Weird America

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Southern hospitality

For those who have let their subscription to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette run out, here is a link to a feature on the history and value of cover songs.

Y'all come right back when youse done areading, you here?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Gremlin goes to hospital...

Please forgive me the tardiness of this particular gremlinfc puzzle - me do realise the theme is gone but i was in the Land of the Deutsches and couldn't help but think of the time i was admitted to the Haus of the Krankens...questions is which hospital , where and who was my favourite nurse?

Album of the Week

This is the first track from I am Kloots 'Play Moolah Rouge' filmed while recording the album..
for those that wish to partake in our album therapy group discussion - all of the tracks are in Dropbox.. in the folder : album of the week.

if you haven't been invited yet.. it means tincanman doesn't like you, or you haven't told him your e-mail address..

Email this address to be added.

"I think I Am Kloot's I Am Kloot Play Moolah Rouge (Skinny Dog) is the only true rock'n'roll record released this year. You've got true, earnest, honest songwriting with the power of the Stooges.''
- Guy Garvey, Elbow
(Nov 2008 Guardian asked this year's most talked-about acts to reveal their favourite releases of the past year)

Here are a few tracks...
Down at the Front

And here's a link to the album on Spotify.

Thank you and we can all look forward to the response to the album.

What do you call it when you don't have a sequiter?

Last week Dave Mitchell asked us in his Observer column to write the following in any blogs we post to:
It just goes to show you can't be too careful
There was a point to it, but I can't remember what it was. Must have been important.

This week I ran across the comic posted above.

A theme is developping.

Last week Graham Norton had a bit on Kinnearing, some new silly trend thing where you secretly take pictures of America's most boring actor if you run into him in an airport.

See non-sequiteurs are coming back.


I recently mentioned getting a new iMac, what I didn't say was that in the process of transferring files I lost my entire email folder, about 6 years of emails, I subscribe to the 'never throw anything away, it might come in handy one day' school.
A few weeks ago my lifelong 85 year old best friend in Norfolk died of a heart attack, we'd had an almost daily email conversation for 5-6 years so when he died my first thought was to review his writing over the years and to create a 'book' for family and friends; the day he was cremated my computer crashed. In an effort to find any of his emails on my computer I asked his wife to send me one at random from his computer so I'd have something to search for, this is what she sent me, it's one of mine to him, the content makes it self explanatory.

"Bill: Well, praise indeed, it's merited I think, what started as nothing much more than a bunch of pop music oriented people blathering on about what lots consider nonsense has flowered into something much more significant, what intrigues me and holds my interest is the 'family' component; it's an international family where we all know each other fairly intimately except that nobody knows anyone's name! Except in 2-3 cases, mine included. We're definitely on a first name basis if only we knew what they were, it's an amazing offshoot of the www, it's a means whereby a lot of like minded people can meet on a regular basis and talk about things of communal interest.
The overspill blog is even more interesting, that's the hardcore, there we interact much more personally and where we share music and ideas, it's quite amazing how it's flourished so rapidly since it's inception without any apparent effort on anyone's part, it just growed! It's anarchy in action. And now the book business; everyone's excited, there's a publication party planned for April, when I told Gina about it she said 'Surely you're not going?' to which I said 'I must, my readers expect it of me', We'll see, it would be a good excuse to visit and maybe do a dogleg to Spain to see Tess.
On the subject of www, I've just got from the library 'Weaving the Web' by Tim Berners-Lee, he's the bloke who single handedly designed and built the www, it's the story of how he did it. There's an item on the cover: 'If computer networking were a traditional science, Berners-lee would have received a Nobel prize, as it is he hasn't made a penny from it.'"

This is Bill wrapping some snowdrops he'd just dug from his garden for me, in my last email to him I told him that they were in full bloom, he was a lifetime member of the Royal Horticultural Society and an occasional visitor to the Spill whenever I prompted him.

Album of the Week

fail owned pwned pictures
see more pwn and owned pictures

Tincanman and I were having a chat about Dropbox. I mentioned that I'd always thought if everyone in the RR nation lived in closer proximity, we'd just lend each other albums, and now with dropbox, in a sense we can. So then we thought it might be fun to have an "album of the week," to show up on Monday after deadline, or thereabouts. Somebody could put an album in dropbox, post a link on the 'Spill, and we could all share it and discuss it, and generally enjoy it. It could be a new album, something old you've just discovered, or something you've had for a while and re-discovered. Anything you're excited about at the moment. Any volunteers? (If you like the idea but you're befuddled by dropbox, just say so, and we'll figure a way to get the album in there.)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

What did your last servant die of?

puttin' on the ritz? watching Peterborough play football? shopping with Victoria Beckham or hearing one of her tunes(!) or did your last servant die trying to listen to all of saneshanes playlist, sit back.. find a poor person for a cushion and listen up to a bit of POSH.

3 great tracks to start: Pelle stayed at my mates house when he toured in Germany, Dorian wouldn't playlist Ben Zeph and Jeff is so much fun he's jet booted the cool shark.. anti-folk Crass that's anarchy.
Middleclass kid - Pelle Carlberg

Uptown - Benjamin Zephaniah Vs. Rodney P

Big A, Little A - Jeffrey Lewis

Cass gets on a run... Hospital, then Star Sign then Class what can't this song be nominated for? Pele signs for the Eagles and A&J can't walk on the GoneForeigns grass.
Lionkiller - Cass McCombs

Raid The Palace - Pele

Private Lawns - Angus & Julia Stone

Jeff and Helen struggle at the start of this, but then it becomes such a brilliant version, I was going to ask them about it when they played my local.. but I'm dysfunctional and they were acting it.. so I gave them a light we all sat outside next to each other in silence. A club mix of pulp to please Tracy!!! and a tune that my pals play me.. they are so handsome it could distract if you watch the video.
Demoncrats - Jeffrey Lewis

Common People (Motiv 8 Club Mix) - Pulp

Universal Tellerwascher - Die Sterne

My Favorites De Rosa telling you how their Master doesn't care and to VW accents don't matter or Oxford freckin' commas.. Little boxes got covered in Tuesday Welds Christmas card and a calypso finish to my mammoth Sunday evening post..

East Neuk Rock City

Robin Song

Right I'm off to Anstruther for the Fence Records pre-season friendly - playing: Come In Tokyo, Kid Canaveral, and De Rosa (and some special Fence appearances too!).  Above is a De Rosa video, with robins. My pal has just started playing for Kid Canaveral, so it'll be cool to see him banging the skins. 

Laters, pop fans! 

When The Revolution Comes...

We start with Sly & Robbie's Inner City Blues
"Rockets, moon shots
Spend it on the have nots
Money, we make it
'Fore we see it you take it"

Which reminds me of Gil Scott-Heron's Whitey On The Moon

Then the Temptations advice is to take a break from the race up the social ladder, and Common follows with the same relaxed attitude. During my time in Brazil, what bothered me the most was the prejudice on both sides of the money divide. Status is extremely important in Brazil. Bezerra Da Silva sings about the povo's (people), who are mostly perceived as delinquents and lowlifes as a whole, and reminds us that those with money aren't all they're cracked up to be. Rap Da Felicidade takes the modern approach and takes pride in the favela, and complains about those from Zona Sul, RIo's wealthier area, disrespecting them, even in the bailes, where baile funk is played. Back to with the same sentiment, Bezerra Da Silva, as a self-appointed ambassador of the favelas proclaims proudly to hail from it, and that it's full of hard working people who aren't on welfare, in case some thought it wasn't the case (I know a few).
Finally Jorge Ben takes the more romantic approach. He's in love with a princess, and he's but a pauper therefore cannot marry her, but like Jesus said, the first shall be last and the last shall be first.
To play us out, Keith Jarrett, with The Rich (and The Poor)...
I forgot my first thought of the weekend, Handsome Boy Modelling School!

A Princesa E O Plebeu
Keih Jarrett
Class System

Saturday, March 21, 2009


I was just poking around and transferring some photos to my new iMac and I came across this one, it occurred to me that some of you might not have seen it up this close before and might be interested. It's what we used to call 'sensi', from the Spanish for sin semilla, 'without seeds'.
Wiki has this to say and it's very accurate "Sinsemilla (literally meaning, "without seeds" in Spanish) refers to removing male plants from the grow environment before they have a chance to fertilize the females. The resultant cannabis contains more psychoactive compounds known as cannabinoid. The amount of cannabinoids in sinsemilla is considerably more in comparison to cannabis that has been grown in a pollinated environment, because the production of seeds requires an immense amount of energy, and if left unpollenated a female plant will divert all her energy to calyx production in an effort to catch pollen. This is especially desirable, as the calyx is where the highest concentration of trichomes exists, and the more densely packed a plant is with calyces, the greater psychoactive effect that plant will likely have."

The calyx is the tendril like parts and the glistening white spots are resin, the cannabinoids. This plant was a female about 6ft tall and covered in flowers, I used this picture as my Christmas card that year, it was taken with a Nikon F using a bellows extension on the 50mm. lens

Different Class

I think I’ll move over here into the snug, warm comfort zone that is the ‘Spill. Not quite sure why Ms K (not you Tracy!) has chosen to view me as public enemy number one, but there you go. Takes all sorts, as they say…

Anyway, that little disturbance aside, it’s been a great week on RR – best theme for weeks, imho, inspiring many quality recommendations. Here’s a playlist featuring some of my own noms including Common People which I was just pipped to by magicman – I suspect there was no more than a nano-second in it but sometimes that’s the difference between victory and defeat. And on Marconius7’s magnificent website, as in life itself, no-one ever remembers those who came second.

Not, of course, that RR is purely about getting your name on the A-List – heaven forefend – but it’s nice to see your moniker in lights from time to time and as I’m still a Fitzpatrick virgin (so to speak) I’m now pinning my hopes for future success on the unlikely combined shoulders of Peter Sarstedt, Dean Friedman and, everyone’s favourite East London communist jangly indie-popsters, McCarthy.

There are also contributions here from Shack, Squeeze, The Arctic Monkeys, Lloyd Cole, The Libertines, The Monochrome Set and The Divine Comedy. Hopefully, there's something there for everyone. My aim, as always, is to please …

Kings, beggar maids and whatnot

This is King Cophetua and the Beggar Maid by Burne-Jones, which we had on the wall of our sitting room during the 70s - and many of the songs recommended this week have a love-between-different-social-classes aspect to them. Well, you can't get much more different than a king and a beggar maid, I say, though I wish he'd given her a new frock before he started adoring her...

What do you think the people on the balcony are saying about it all?

Darkness on the Edge of Town - Bruce Springsteen
I Live in Trafalgar Square - Richard Thompson
The Little Gypsy Girl - Shirley Collins and the Albion Country Band
The Little Beggar Girl - Richard and Linda Thompson
Lady Diamond - Steeleye Span
Lord Gregory - Shirley Collins and Davey Graham
We Poor Labouring Men - Norma Waterson

PJ Harvey On A Bouncy Castle

Here is a nice video, directed by uber-dark and pervy BritArtists The Chapman Brothers, for PJ Harvey's new song "Black Hearted Love". 

Two things I have learnt from watching posting this video

1. In America it seems they call a bouncy castle an "inflatable moonwalk" - this can't be right can it? What's a see-saw called stateside - "a planky bobber?" 

2. What other musicians would you like to see on a bouncy castle (or similar), and which artist could direct? 

Just tell me you love me in the same sentence as a building

I think 2009 will be the year that the genius of Jeffrey Lewis gets recognised by a wider audience. This video is for a track off his forthcoming LP, out on Rough Trade pretty damn soon, I think. There's two JL albums on Spotify, for the curious, they weren't there two months ago, but now they are. 

Terry Reid

Not a class war type post here but I just wanted to say that I am seriously enjoying listening to Terry Reid's album River on Spotify.

Seriously good music, fantastic singing and great slide guitar playing from the great David Linley.

Terry Reid was Jimmy Page's original choice as the singer in Led Zeppelin but Reid turned him down and suggested that Jimmy check out Robert Plant instead.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

What's the worst on-stage behaviour you've ever seen?

Prompted (ie, stolen) from a very funny thread on the The Word site, which you can see here:

The worst I ever saw was the Mike Flowers Pops, who were headlining at a uni gig my friend (second in Ents) had organised, at which Space were the support. Very few bands ever bothered coming to Aber (something to do with the head of Ents being a massive tool, possibly) so the crowd were very lairy and willing to be entertained. However, one moron chucked a dribble of beer in a plastic cup at Mike Flowers during the first song, and the whole band trooped off, never to return. Space, by this point having already finished their rider and acting like juvenile delinquents, come back on and play their set again, to a rapturous response.

Personal disappointment was James at Glastonbury maybe 1995? Anyway, James has recently released Laid, which was a very popular album amongst me and all my friends. Didn't stop Tim Booth announcing "This is from our latest album, Laid". Crowd cheers. "Don't lie, you didn't fucking buy it". Actually, we did Tim, thanks for your cynicism. Kind of soured the day for me.

Anyhoo, what's your own story?

Apocryphal Joni Mitchell stories

Anyone able to help me out?

There's a story I heard many years ago that may not be true but certainly should be. Joni Mithcell is in the studio, not happy with the way a recording is sounding. She asks the engineer if he's ever been to Paris. He replies that he has. She asks if he went to the Louvre. He did. Does he recall a particular painting? He thinks he does. There's a particular shade of blue in one corner, says Joni. Make it sound like that.

Anyway, great story and all, but I'm not sure I've got the details right, and can't find it online. Anyone able to corroborate or provide a reference?

Please feel free to use this thread to share other possibly apocyrphal musical anecdotes.

[Since you ask... I'm writing some career profiles for a magazine for sixth formers, and this seemed like the perfect intro for the 'sound engineer' one]

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Hanami rising

If this works ..... I'll say more ....

Following recent talk about The Groanbox Boys on The Mothership .... here's the groanboxmeister in another guise. This is an example of the power of the Hyper Accordion which has attracted the attention of the classical world and composers like Osvaldo Golijov. As a serial musical dilettante, I once had an 80 bass Hohner accordion, ... which lost its magic after I gave myself a black eye by walking into a lamppost whilst playing Christmas carols in the dark ... head down, concentrating on all those bloomin' bass buttons ...

More about Michael's accordions here http://www.mjwb.co.uk/

And Spill points to anyone who can identify Fraudulent Guru, Sudhay Master J ...

Happy St. Paddy Day 'Spillers

A bit late, but here's a tune for the occasion

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Politicians in My Eyes

Death - You're A Prisoner

I just read about this band, Death, in the NYT. Fascinating.

A hospital? What is it?

It's a big building where they cure sick people, but that's not important right now...

A few songs with a hospital-related theme. All nominated by others but I think they deserve the exposure - particularly the magnificent Wires. I'm still utterly flummoxed by that eejit's reaction to Athlete - but I've worked on my anger and everything's now fully under control.

Apologies for the quality of the live version of Jonathan Richman's Hospital - hopefully the quality of the song and of the performance will shine through.

I've only been in hospital once - they did something with my male parts when I was very young and all I remember is that it hurt like ... well, like having something surgical done to parts of your body that really ought to be handled more gently.

And in the best traditions of playing Doctors and Nurses, I've now shown you mine - so, you know what to do. What's your most embarrassing hospitalisation?

What's wrong with this picture?

This was used in today's Observer to illustrate an article on an increase in home cooking. I stopped to read because I like to cook, and something about this image kept drawing my eye.

Anyone catch what I'm on about?

The photo is credited to Alamy, an agency/clearinghouse for commercial photographers, so isn't staff work.