Sunday, July 31, 2011

I Am Curious Yellow

And talking of coming late to the table, I only just noticed yesterday when watching TOTP2  (27+ years after the event) that Holly Johnson was sporting a yellow handkerchief in his back pocket while performing Relax on the original Top of the Pops back in 1984, a few weeks prior to its infamous ban.

This is something that escaped my attention when I was a teenager.  It's clearly also something that escaped the attention of the Beeb at the time too, and if anyone had realised its meaning, it would have made the subsequent furore created by Mike Read look like a vicar's tea party.

Shore thing

They used to say that an intellectual was someone who could hear Rossini's William Tell Overture and not think of The Lone Ranger.

I only mention this as I've just come back from a holiday and finally got around to reading The Beach by Alex Garland (only 14 years after everyone else).  And for some reason I couldn't read a paragraph without thinking of Pure Shores by All Saints.  Consequently I've had the tune in my head for the last 3 weeks.

To exorcise said tune (not that it's a bad one, far from it), here it is for you, in its remixed "2 Da Beach U Don't Stop" format. Ahem.

Download Pure Shores (2 Da Beach U Don't Stop Remix) by All Saints mp3 (deleted Dec 11)

Bald truth

I've been greatly enjoying the Balding Celebrities website, in part for its subject matter (male celebs who feel the need to hide thinning hairlines by means of wigs, weaves, combovers etc.) and in part for the cool, measured writing style of its author, who appraises the offenders in a detached and objective style (the Norwood rating giving a slightly scientific air to the whole exercise).  Unless he's talking about the various thinning footballers of Chelsea FC, when a note of invective creeps in.  Just read his take on John Terry. I laughed out loud at the comparison with "transexual Lucy Smith".

On a similar note, the story of Stephen Ireland, which not being a football fan I'd never heard, has to be one of the funniest and saddest things I've read this month.  Boys, eh?

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Scott Free

An unscientific survey of the popular works of the late Gil Scott-Heron would conclude (based on mentions of his songs in his obituaries) that his fan's top 5 would go something like this:

1. The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
2. The Bottle
3. B-Movie
4. Lady Day and John Coltrane
5. Johannesburg (or possibly Grandma's Hands)

Of course, over an erratic but productive career, he was responsible for far more than this narrow selection, but these were the ones the journalists and the radio DJs kept returning to.

Shame, really, that they missed my personal favourite. Re-Ron was released in 1984, and while it treads the same ground as B-Movie, it has far more bite, more urgency both musically and lyrically. The production (by Material) may sound a little dated, but, for me, drum machines, Fairlight stabs, and noise will always embody angry political lyrics far better than the narcotised jazz that accompanied much of Scott-Heron's 70s and 80s output (something that Public Enemy implicitly understood 2 years later).

Keep The Kustomer Satisfied

One more while we're in the American experimental section of Blockbuster? Go on then. Here's (a fantastic quality rip of) Kenneth Anger's Kustom Kar Kommandos:

Brakhage Point

More American avant-garde, and a tribute to Maya Deren, by Stan Brakhage:

Afternoon delight

A small hiaitus, due to various factors, some of which I'll be mentioning in future posts. But normal service (i.e. lame puns, sub-standard writing, erratic posting, extravagant assertions and occasional insights) will soon be resumed.

In the meantime, though, here's a few things that have been keeping me amused/bemused over the last few months. First up, some American avant-garde cinema: Maya Deren's Meshes Of The Afternoon.

And, after she totally rocked Glastonbury and Wireless, here's Janelle Monae's Deren-referencing video for Tightrope.