Monday, August 31, 2009
For many months now ilargi and stoneleigh have been ahead of the 'economy' game, and prefacing their stuff with the best photos of early 20th. century photo-reportage.
It was a dry wind
And it swept across the desert
And it curled into the circle of birth
And the dead sand
Falling on the children
The mothers and the fathers
And the automatic earth.
I think we have to separate the cuddly little Paul-on-stage, from the monster-slaying poet on the page.
Ilargi posted this a couple of days ago. It is Dorothea Lange's take on poverty in the US. She was part of a talented team sent out to 'take photos of the poor'. Ilargi posts these images, every day. Lest we forget that 'Economics' has a human face.
I've been doing nothing but scanning slides this week. All my life I shot everything in the Ektachrome slide format, now all I have is that dumb Canon SD400, but I have thousands of slides and a Nikon Super Coolscan 5000ED slide scanner. So I've been scanning mostly photos of kids but a few others somehow sneaked in, [including 2 boxes of Bob Marley concerts that I'd totally forgotten about] . As I scan 'em I assign 'em to folders but occasionally one or two escape and wind up lurking on the desktop; This is one such. I think of her as 'The Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands' I shot her in Kingston in the '80's, I think she's gorgeous.
I saw her at her window, half raised my camera and gave her a 'May I' smile, she gave the slightest assent and I shot just one shot, wish I knew how to get it to her.
If nobody objects I might post the occasional favorite photos as they turn up.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
And guess what!
I SPOTTED HIM entering Birkenhead's financial district early this morning.
So it is a RED HELMET you want to be looking out for if you are heading out later today to wave and wish him well on his journey. Here's a side view if it helps.
Happy Trails, Paul!
So - the photo was about to go into Part 1, when my computer simply Ran Out of Pixels! Unbelievable,eh? I'd forgotten to fill it up that morning!
'Could have happened to anyone' is the line my legal advisors (Messieurs Tourniquet et Vice of Carcassonne) urged me to take.
The Adobe Unreader, being still in development, may of course miss other elements that make up B.L.Impy's First Law of Photogenics, itself but a tiny part of the vast body of work that is the Unwritten Overspill Rulebook ( an online tome that runs to 600 Tantrabites!). Woe betide anyone caught infracting - as infractions, I gather, could result in many hours of community service. I still have painful memories of my last days with the Philatelic blog community (StampOnIt.blogspot.com) - and some hefty physiotherapy bills, still unpaid.
On the subject of unpaid bills - here is the caption to go with my photo:
Gaston 'Antifreeze' Gaulloise (a nickname that I promised him I would not explain in full. Nor have I.) who is my local vigneron, has come up with a novel way for his impecunious customers to 'pay off' some of their drink debt. He fastens us to the back of his tractor as we manipulate the circa 1950's weeding contraption. Furthermore, we are obliged to dress up as the Blues Brothers, and sing parts of their woeful repertoire, while appearing to be cheerfully engaged in organic vineyard work.
which, if you haven't seen it yet, sorts out A-list picks so far this year by Recommender. It added a whole new dimension for me, as a means of getting a more tangible sense of RR regulars' breadth of musical tastes. I know some people, myself included, are bound to mention a particular act or genre as often as they think they can get away with it, so I know about those, but it's the surprises on this page that made it such a fascinating read. I hope I'm not embarrassing anyone by mentioning them by name, but seeing, for example, The Make-Up in amongst Abahachi's other A-Listers, Morcheeba in barbryn's, Sugababes and Britney Spears beside Public Enemy and The Clash in gremlinfc's picks, this gives me a much better idea of what you all like rather than just reading posts here or on The Mothership. Does anyone else agree?
Anyway, I just really wanted to thank Marconius7 for turning the whole RR experience into a tripod.
So, the other thing I was wondering about, also inspired by the aforementioned banter on the blog, and the obvious fact that steenbeck has a P.I. on retainer to give her the good stuff on 2009's gurus (38 A-List picks!), was regarding times you may or may not have gotten on the A-list. Was there a particular A-listing you received where you just thought 'Yes!', in terms of being proud of it? For example, I was genuinely pleased to see LCD Soundsystem's 'Losing My Edge' make it on to the Aging playlist, because, to be honest, I'm not very good at making lateral-thinking suggestions, and I felt this was a recommendation that showed a bit of imagination, hence being pleased to see it make the final list. And, conversely, was there a song you recommended where you thought the relevant Guru had screwed up in not picking it? Not because it's a personal favourite, but because you truly thought it nailed the topic? My example would be not having Magnetic Fields' 'Yeah! Oh Yeah!' picked for Cruel Songs since I thought that one set the bar for cruelty. The judge's decision is, of course, final, I just thought it might be fun to vent a little.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Well what do you know? You wait simply ages for a Task Of ToffeeBoy and then three come along within a few minutes of each other – relatively speaking, that is. What’s more, against all odds, I’ve now caught up with myself – the eighth task arriving as it does, in the eighth month. And boy, have I got a good ‘un for you this month?
Welcome to the weird and wonderful world of The Blue Nile. ‘Why weird and wonderful?’ I hear you ask. Because, dear reader, what other band can you name that have been together for 28 years with an unchanged line-up? OK, but what other band can you name who have released only four albums in that time – resulting in an average output of just over one track per year? OK, but what other band can you name that have consistently produced pop music of the highest quality over a period of nearly 3 decades without ever ‘selling out’ or releasing music for any other reason than that they want to? Huh? Eh? What’s that you say? No, I didn’t think you’d have an answer to that.
28 years - four albums: A Walk Across The Rooftops (1983), Hats (1989), Peace At Last (1996) and, most-recently High (2004). A total of 33 tracks: throw in the odd B-side and we’re still only just over the 40 mark. But what a body of work these 40 or so gems represent! Haunting melodies, soaring vocals, lyrics expressing sadness and loss and failed relationships – yet at the same time enveloping you with a sense of hope: a sense that life is worth living after all; that you might just have to work that little bit harder and perhaps look in unexpected places for the beautiful things that life can throw your way.
Research has shown that the average Blue Nile song is set at 2:30 in the morning. There is a surprisingly large number of references in the songs to such things as chimney pots, trumpets and fire engines. Oh, and trains. Plenty of trains. Late night trains, naturally. And it’s raining. And it’s more than likely that his baby just gone left him.
But don’t let that put you off. If you care to investigate the tracks I’ve selected for your edification, I can guarantee you passionate, heartfelt music. To the uninitiated, it might sound soulless – but it’s anything but. I don’t know a singer whose voice matches his bands’ music better than Paul Buchanan’s does The Blue Nile’s. There’s a moment at about 4:10 on Let’s Go Out Tonight when Paul sings ‘Baby, be my baby’ and the way he leans on the word ‘be’ and holds it for a nano-second longer than you’d expect, sends shivers down my spine every time I hear it. It sounds corny, I know (as indeed it does when he utters the immortal line ‘Come on girl’ at about 3:13 in Tomorrow Morning) but somehow, in Paul Buchanan’s hands it works – and it feels like heaven. Well, to me it does, and I know that in DarceysDad I have at least one supporter for this particular task.
Interestingly (well it’s interesting to me, pal!), the very first song I ever nominated on Readers Recommend (now there's an idea for a thread), way back in January 2008, was a Blue Nile recording. The theme was Songs About Trains and the track I chose was, logically enough, From A Late Night Train. Of course, as a newbie, I had no idea of the protocol of these things, and it turned out that a certain BeltwayBandit, of this parish, had already nominated the same song: a successful nomination as it turned out, and The Blue Nile’s only RR hit to date. I hope it’s not too late to say ‘make mine a dond, then.’
Five years have passed since the release of High so I guess we’re due another album any year now – almost certainly sometime during the next decade. There’s nothing on the band’s official website but there has been some live activity over the past few years so, who knows, something may be imminent – a word which, with The Blue Nile, has to be considered in relative terms. I live in hope and I know beyond doubt that when they do produce album number five, I’ll like it. In fact, I’m prepared to go on public record here and now as saying that I’ll love it!
Right, a bit of house keeping then it’s over to the music. If you buy only one Blue Nile album, make it Hats. But there are only four of them – so why not buy them all. If you listen to just one track, make it Downtown Lights.
Edit: I've made a couple of changes to the playlist - it was sounding a bit too unremittingly gloomy to me (and apparently DsD agrees). Too much shade for our liking - let there be light ...
Tinseltown In The Rain
Let’s Go Out Tonight
God Bless You Kid
From A Late Night Train
Because Of Toledo
She Saw The World
I Would Never
Joining a new club (and an elite one such as this) was bound to be difficult. That initial 'casual' request for an email address, followed relentlessly by a vigilant 'Ed' personage requiring me to chose a Username ( what's wrong with being Anonymous, anyway - or a Troll?). I'm no fool however : I saw that these 'easygoing' and 'relaxed' procedures were simply ways of getting me to lower my guard.
Sure enough, no sooner had I begun to enlighten and educate others with an (admittedly) dazzling display of arcane musical erudition, when up popped an 'enforcer' called 'sonofwebcore'. Concealing iron fist in velvet words of chummy 'helpfulness', he deftly highlighted my error in posting my nuggets of wisdom too late in the week for me to earn my rightful place at the forefront, and 'suggested' I join in the Thursday-night melee, at some hour made all the more ungodly by being set selfishly convenient for the population of the UK - but an hour later for us in one of the ex-colonies (France in my case).
This I knew was a test, an initiation ordeal for the New Boy - or Nube, if I may be permitted to mint a word that soon no doubt will find its place in the Oxford Dictionary Definitions of Internet English - or ODDIE (I generally abhore acronyms but this one fits the bill admirably, being both short and slightly amusing).
I think I acquitted myself adequately - without covering myself in unnecessary glory - and I am now awaiting the call to the inner sanctum, where piffling rules and deadlines will be waived. I look forward to cosy chats with the self-styled 'Ed', about say, the Future of Popular Music and how our group intends to shape it - although I think I will stick with the more formal Edward (or is it Edwina?) until we are better acquainted - at the club: somewhere comfortably sedate in Mayfair, I imagine, or painfully avant-garde in Lewisham.
But before then, there will probably be other tests and challenges to face. I have not previously refused calls for sexual services, nor financial 'contributions' if they are reasonable - though I would object to demands for both, I suppose.
A final Word for the Unwary: elite clubs such as this, in common with all cliques and 'In-Crowds,' insist on coded forms of speech - verbal masonic handshakes - designed to exclude outsiders and oi polloi. Do not be lulled into a false sense of security when you spot the 'Explanation for 'Donds' etc. This is merely one word in a site littered with such tricks - you'll soon enough be tripping over 'zeds' and 'noms' to mention just two of a host of cunning linguistic in-jokes that must surely be lurking for the unsuspecting contributor. Humour here takes on devious shapes - Be on your guard !
Friday, August 28, 2009
Not hugely impressed.
Kings of Leon - unfocused and plodding, lack of music, not a good band at all.
Faith No More - always were rubbish, why reform?
Jamie T - What the F*ck is this sh*t? I have rarely seen anything as completely useless. Who is this cretinous bore? Do people actually listen to this for pleasure? Makes The Streets look good.
I have also been unfortunate enough to see the Bombay Bicycle Club, who deserve a smack and Florence and the Machine, who are just rubbish.
I'm Going Back Home
The Ballad of Ira Hayes
Long Way Home
The Day After Tomorrow
The Wild Rover
Prodigal Daughter/Cotton-eyed Joe
Back to the Old House
Da Art of Storytellin Pt. 1
You Never Know
My Way Home
Upon consideration, these are about home, but not about returning home, necessarily. Still good, though...
My Old Home
Where I'm From
I got my mariachis in a twist over on the mothership by confusing Volver with Volver, Volver which, as you can see, aren't remotely similar. So just to make things clear, the one I'm recommending is the one with two Volvers.
Volver, Volver - Ry Cooder
Mingulay Boat Song - Richard Thompson
I'm Comin' Home - Robert Earl Keen
Walking The Long Miles Home - Richard Thompson
Back Home Again - the Living Archive Band
When I Die - the Waifs
The Coming Home Of The Son And Brother - Robert Earl Keen
Beat The Retreat - Richard and Linda Thompson
First In Line - the Gourds
Il Me Reste Un Voyage A Faire - Malicorne
I could have included Millie Jackson sitting on the er..throne but I largely stuck to exteriors. I'll save it for the 'Songs about Bodily Functions' week.
Watch closely because, remember, the clues are there, as we go through... oh god, stop it.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
1, We have seen a lot of photos in which people have appeared accidentally, reflections, etc. Photos we didn't expect (or perhaps want) to be in. My question is: what is THAT photo you wanted but didn't get? The chance meeting with - insert name - when you didn't have a camera to hand, or that photo you took that didn't come back from Boots (or wherever) when you had the film - remember them? - developed?
2. Last week we were asked what we would like to change about the country we live in. I'd like to know what one, unique thing about the place you live in makes your life so agreeable that you think everyone, everywhere should get the chance to enjoy it?
3.If you could have been a fly on the wall in any recording studio at any time, which album recording sessions would you most have liked to spy on?
4. (Steenbeck's silly extra question) If you could have a superpower, what would it be? And once you were a superhero, what would you be called, and what would your costume look like?
Not many I know, but maybe someone will come along and do the real EOTWQ's.
That's the problem with double lives; eventually you say more than you mean.
But I don't want to cast aspersions, so I will merely present the clipping I noticed while on holiday a few weeks ago. As the story goes, a musician in Bath (that's Bath, UK, not Bathe, France) had her treasured violin stolen. It was later found in a second hand store, and returned to her. Apparently some sticky fingered opportunist had nabbed it from beside the stage, where she had just finished performing in a musical recital called The Frog Princess.
Nice necklace, FP. Is it real gold?
This is not a post about the lovely Soap Bubble Nebula in the picture.
It's about another mysterious thing - the post I put up yesterday about free mp3 downloads being offered on a magazine website.
It's vanished overnight like a burst bubble.
Why is that? Since it's about freebies, did it still constitute an ad somehow? I offered it up just as a free thing people might want to take advantage of, not as marketing. Curiouser and curiouser.
Can someone please explain what happened?
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
YAHOO, new Mountain Goats album & tour. The new album is called "The Life Of The World To Come". All tracks are named after passages from the bible. Here's a preview:
"I guess the obvious question is going to be: "John, have you had some sort of religious awakening?" and while I guess lots of people might want to be coy about answering that, that's never really been my style, so: no. It's not like that. It's not some heavy-narrative-distance deal either, though, and it's not a screed. It's twelve new songs: twelve hard lessons the Bible taught me, kind of. More than that I'd want to wait to say until some people have heard it, which won't be long. Will there be more news soon, quite soon? Like, next week, even? Oh yes there will!"
Here's a track from the recent Goats/John Vanderslice joint concept album "Moon Colony Bloodbath" (Don't ask):
Here are the tour dates. Oh joy, he's coming back to O-town & bringing Final Fantasy along:
18 - Ithaca College Ithaca, NY *
9 - Paradiso, Amsterdam, NL *
10 - QEH, London, England *
11 - Ruby Lounge, Manchester, England *
13 - Point Ephemere, Paris, France *
15 - Magnet, Berlin, Germany *
4 - Ladies Literary Club (Calvin College), Grand Rapids, MI #
5 - the Metro, Chicago, IL #
6 - High Noon Saloon, Madison, WI #
7 - Cedar Cultural Centre, Minneapolis, MN #
10 - the Showbox, Seattle, WA #
11 - Wonder Ballroom, Portland, OR #
14 - the Fillmore, San Francisco, CA #
15 - Henry Fonda Theater, Los Angeles, CA #
18 - Antones, Austin, TX #
19 - Granada Theater, Dallas TX #
20 - Mercy Lounge, Nashville TN #
21 - the Variety Playhouse, Atlanta, GA #
23 - the Social, Orlando, FL #
24 - Café 11, St. Augustine, FL #
27 - 9:30 Club, Washington, DC #
28 - Theater of Living Arts, Philadelphia, PA #
29 - Wilbur Theatre, Boston MA #
1 - Webster Hall, New York, NY #
2 - Bell House, Brooklyn, NY #
* JD solo
# full band, with Final Fantasy
Last words from John:
"Berlin, Paris, Nashville, Manchester, Madison, Orlando - it's been awhile! Be advised, as many other towns in my path will tell you, that if your local independent music retailers have New Age and/or vintage CCM and/or decent grindcore sections, I will clear you out. Seriously cannot wait to see you all out there!"
I don't know if this has been mentioned already but I just got this blurb from NME about their free daily mp3 downloads. It does exactly what it says on the tin.
The Daily Download
I took this photo 23 years ago at (gulp!) the tender age of 22.
I'm not exactly sure how I managed to take this photo on a cheap automatic camera without including the details of the mirror but I've always found it strangely haunting.
This year's Brighton Festival was curated by Anish Kapoor. He arranged for his giant polished sculpture "C Curve" (1997) to be placed up on the Downs just outside Brighton. Here's a couple of shots of this extraordinary thing (one from each side), which was very popular to visit. Fortunately, it belittles the photographer (and my beer gut takes some belittling). It had to be guarded during the hours of daylight, because the concave side concentrated sunrays on a spot on the concrete plinth, where if you placed a cup of water, it boiled! The guards were there to ensure it didn't do the same to humans.
1 Buckyboys FC '09 108.5
2 Darcey County 102
3 sane city fc 101.5
4 TSV 1860 Abahachi 89.5
5 LA Saints 89
6 gremlinfc 83.5
7 Dinamo Splodge 82
8 Carinthians 81.5
9 Th' Mighty Owls 78.5
10 Dondler FC 74.5
11 Spirit of 87 68.5
12 FC1878 37.5
13 Merthyr Berlin 28.5
14 Dinamo Telecaster 25
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
I dont have any reflection pics, but I do have this.
Back in 1992, my then band played a headline slot at the Abbey Park Festival in Leicester - a yearly celebration of local bands who've done well during the previous year. Since we'd just done a record which was getting a fair amount of Radio 1 airplay, we were asked to headline. Several thousand people present, all of our local peers..our highest profile gig to date in many ways.
The night before the gig, while having a few beers, what did we decide to do? "Lets all wear dresses and make up!...Come on! It'll be a laugh!"
Int Europe brilliant!
Last Weds I arrived in Basel at 11 a.m. I decided to have lunch at the Cafe Spitz near the SBB and sample Swiss Gastfreundlichkeit : at 2 p.m. I got a train to Offenburg , where I was met by my good journo Kumpel Paddy and we had an Eis in the sweltering German heat. After a bit of prevaricating we decided to drive the 20 mins to France over the Kehl bridge , which forms a border crossing and spent the next few hours sightseeing in Strasbourg , ending up in the great hypermarché “LeClerc”. Next time I’m going to push it a bit more and start off in Milano – apparently it’s about 160 miles to Basel and the train connections are great. Quiztime : can you identify the 2 locations?
1.The one where I have my fetching pink shirt is famous for its “Bächli” – the little streams which run throughout the town. It is also part of the name in Basel airport...
2.The organ was in the cathedral in......? Not sure how Paddy managed to get such a skewed pic – curiouser & curiouser...