Thursday, April 28, 2005

Strange *

What a bizarre little story this one is. But, even though it is bizarre, I don't see anything in it which makes it newsworthy - but, hey, I wait to be convinced.

* Originally by Wire and then covered by This Mortal Coil and REM (both excellent versions, by the way).

Joke *

Friend of mine who works at Brighton Pier on the dodgems and the Big Wheel got sacked a few months ago for no apparent reason.
But it's okay, he won his Employment Tribunal claim for Funfair Dismissal.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

I wish I could claim that as one of my own, but, actually, its my weekly dose of humour from Popbitch.

* Boo Hewerdine - don't know the song, only the title. Posted by Hello

Friday, April 22, 2005

Eye Of The Tiger



Miss Otis Regrets *

It might have taken them 60 years, but it's here at last.

* Nat King Cole - which is rhyming slang for something in Scotland, but let's not go into that here.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Such A Twat *

Everytime I hear the words "Pete Wylie" I stop what I'm doing, I start to feel cold and get the shivers and then cringe for hours on end. This feeling only goes away after either a long sleep as by the morning I have forgotten all about the man or, alternatively, I get pissed to forget all about him. Don't get me wrong, it's not the man himself that brings this feeling on - I look back on his music with great affection and, while songs such as The Story of the Blues was well schmaltzy, it was nevertheless a heartfelt condemnation of the results of capitalist economics in the early 1980s (i.e. massive unemployment).

No, it's not Pete Wylie himself which brings this feeling on, but rather it is the remembrance of one of those moments in my life that, firstly, wouldn't have happened had I not been pissed out of my head and, secondly, ... well, I don't think there is a secondly, let's just stick to fact that I was totally blootered.

So, anyway, this shivering, cold, cringing and embarrassing feeling washed right over me last Thursday as I innocently watched BBC2's excellent The Culture Show. Having missed the show's introduction and not having read the listings to see what was going to be featured in the programme, I sat there enjoying Robert Hughes (I think that's his name) discuss the perilous state, according to him, of literature on art criticism, or some such stuff. A very interesting piece it was too, I may add, and very informative.

That ends and then the presenter announces the next item being Pete Wylie on Liverpool taking on the mantle of European City of Culture in 2008 and how he fears that working class Liverpudlians will be marginalised in the ongoing celebrations and events. This presenter has hardly said the words when Reidski goes into panic mode and remembers the time when........

.....early 1990s and the Trashcan Sinatras are in town for one of their first ever gigs in the big city over in west London (I think the venue was the Subterranea, but I could me mistaken). Had a few pints before the gig and started ladling the pints down my throat once I got into the place. Band played a great set - or so my hazy memory tells me - and joined the crowd afterwards. Reidski gets in amongst them, playing the "look at me, I know the band" arsehole who always makes an appearance at such times.

Then one of the band mentions that he's been talking to Pete Wylie at the bar. Reidski thinks: "Aw, ah think he's pure brilliant and going over to have a chat." See another member of the band talking to "Pete Wylie" and I but in to the conversation. Being extremely pissed, I cannot make out what the fuck they are talking about, so after an extremely short period of time I blurt out: "Pete, some of the stuff you've put out over the years has been real class. Loved Seven Minutes To Midnight, Remember and other stuff you've put out." Down in writing, this may have seemed coherent, but please be assured that it was garbled nonsense. I'm then banging on and on about how brilliant Wah were, how clever it was that they changed their name every year and all that shite. I am not far from saying the words: "I'm your number one fan." Then, someone whispers into my ear: "Reidski, that's no Pete Wylie" and he points down the bar to where the real Pete Wylie was standing. I then realise why the bloke I was saying all this guff to was staring at me in disbelief, eyes popping out, mouth wide open, with a look that wondered what the fuck I was talking about.

So, Reidski decided it's time to get his coat. The thing is that, although I thought Wah ( and all their various manifestations) were okay, I never ever thought them to be the brilliant band that I was making out them to be when in this particular conversation. I was just simply an arsehole.

There, that's my Pete Wylie story. And it's a story which is related to me every time I go and see the Trashcan Sinatras, related by a bloke who was there that night and who I only ever see at TCS gigs, although I've known him for around 20 years - we're both exiles from Irvine. And, every time he mentions it to me, I get the shivers, I go cold and I cringe with embarrassment.

* The Streets

Oh Mein Papa *

To the old rhetorical question of "is the pope a catholic?" we can now add "and was he a member of the Hitler Youth?"

* Original by Eddie Calvert, covered by Siouxsie & the Banshees on 1979 album Join Hands.

Friday, April 15, 2005

I Read It In Books *

There's such a thing called The Book Meme going round blogland. You don't know what a meme is? No, I didn't either until I looked here. Anyway, below is my contribution. Oh, and thanks to John at Counago & Spaves for including me in this round robin - although, in taking his and others' leads on this thing, I put in loads of links which took me hours to do, so I hope you appreciate them. And a special prize for the person who spots the deliberate mistake in said links!

You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451, which book do you want to be?

If “book” means novel, then it would have to be something along the lines of:

Catch 22 by Joseph Heller – a laugh-out-loud satire on war, capitalism and many other aspects of modern society.
Blindness by Jose Saramago – not funny at all, but a work of literary genius from the Portuguese communist novelist and winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize for Literature (for what that is worth).
The Big Blowdown by George P Pelecanos – probably the best crime fiction writer around.
Independent People by the Icelandic writer Halldor Laxness. Written in the mid-1930s, it’s a bleak story, but carries with it a wicked sense of humour among the almost-completely sad tale.

Then, again, if “book” can also mean non-fiction, it would have to be something like:

The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Fredreich Engels
Ten Days That Shook the World by John Reed.

Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?

Mrs Robinson

The last book you bought is:

Christians and the Fall of Rome by Edward Gibbon and Touching From A Distance by Deborah Curtis.

The last book you read:

The utterly stupendous How Mumbo-Jumbo Conquered the World by Francis Wheen – a great attack on voodoo economics, blind faith, alternative therapies and religion, among other things. In other words a pleas for rationalism and a return to the path that humanity travelled on at the onset of the Englightenment and which we have strayed so far from in recent years. Not without its flaws, by any means, but a great read nevertheless.

What are you currently reading?

The above-mentioned Touching From A Distance by Deborah Curtis, it tells of her brief life with and marriage to Joy Division singer Ian Curtis and paints him out to be what we can imagine him to have been like (unless you mythologise your singers and artists) and that is: terrible – and mostly absent - father, politically right-wing, borderline racist, domestically domineering, misogynistic, culturally shallow and, when all is said and done, quite a normal bloke who was ill. All that aside, he did make some exceedingly good music.

Five books you would take to a deserted island:

Wage Labour and Capital by Karl Marx, because there’s no way that I am going to read it otherwise (although I do think I should give it a go).

The Works of Robert Burns, because I do love Rabbie’s stuff.

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. Its 1130 pages (which includes explanatory notes) may always seems daunting unless I have plenty of time to spare lying on a deserted beach. There’s a quote from William Thackeray on the back of the version that has been lying on my shelf for around 20 years saying: “began to read Monte Cristo at six one morning and never stopped till eleven at night.” I think it’ll take me slightly longer.

A People’s History of England by AL Morton. Been meaning to read this one for many years, but, again, not got round to it yet.

The Bible – just a tad far-fetched, no doub, but I bet it’s an interesting read with some great stories within its many pages.

Who are you going to pass this stick to (3 persons) and why?

tnr – guaranteed that The Wasp Factory gets a mention.

Voroshilov – cos he’s new to this blogging game and I think he should be encouraged to keep blogging.

Ardeelee – cos I want to.

* Teardrop Explodes

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Piss Factory *

I just wrote a long post and fucking lost it. I hate it when that happens.

Anyway, the lost post was called Hopeless Bleak Despair (They Might Be Giants) and described how the boy's team have been stripped of their League Cup trophy for fielding a boy who was around two months too old for the side. This lost post also described how the boy's side's coach made the boy's feel guilty cos the kid on the other side who grassed them up goes to the same school and coach said it was the boys' responsibility to have informed him of this prior to game. The lost post also described how I thought the coach was a dipstick for doing this as the responsibility for fielding over-age players was his and his alone. The lost post also showed how I thought, rather than blame a bunch of 11 year olds (and a couple of 12 year olds, oooooops) the coach should have simply said: "Listen boys, you have known all along that one or two were just a bit too old for the team, but we took the gamble anyway and it hasn't quite paid off." That would have been story over. But, no, coach has to go into long monologue with kids that makes them think THEY have done something wrong.

*Patti Smith

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The Longer You Wait *

I wish I could say that the longer you wait, the better it will get, but....I'm afraid to say it will no doubt be the same old crap.

Work stuff is well behind me, but I still feel bad about it. I'm now all but banned from feeling sorry for myself in the office and being forced to do some work instead - not a bad idea, I think.

Well, what have I been doing since my last post all those weeks ago?

First up, is a mention of the boy's football team winning the under-12s League Cup after what could only be described as an amazing final. The boy's side took the lead shortly before the half-time whistle after a very tentative opening from both sides. The opposition equalised midway through the second period when the ref gave a very dodgy indirect free-kick in the boy's team's penalty area, deciding that what was really meant as a hoof anywhere on or off the pitch, but which the keeper got hold of, was really a pass back. A tap and one of their kids blasted an unstoppable shot into the net. That's how it finished at the full-time whistle, despite the boy's team having all the possession and missing a couple of clear-cut chances. So, into extra-time it goes and the boy's team (with the boy having been subbed by this time) still enjoying all the play, but failing to convert their chances, while the small number of opportunities that came the opposition's way were easily handled by the defence. Still, it remains at 1-1 at half-time in extra time and, with only 10 minutes to go, it looks like we're having penalties. The collective nerves of our fans are getting well frayed by this time. But, out they come for a last effort, with two or three of the better players now looking shattered and drained after running themselves ragged in the beautiful sunshine. But, wow, these boys are impressive. A huge breath from all and they totally overpower the other side, going all out for victory, passing the ball around excellently and motoring forward. They get another goal after some great team work and then a superb solo effort from one of the lads, ignoring four of his team-mates who are screaming for the ball but are actually all in an offside position, who takes on four of five before slotting home past the keeper. YES, go on ya beauty! These boys are seriously good and, if they could only play like this every week, then nothing could stop them.

So they take care of second top of the league for the cup game only to come up against top of the league team in a shield competition seven days later. They play even better than they did in the cup and win 3-1 in a style of play which reminded me of Ajax and Holland and total football in the early '70s (well, I may exaggerate here, but I'm sure you can all understand how chuffed us parents can get on such occasions!).

In between these games of football is a trip to home town to see family, for boy to say hello to his little cousins and for me to pay visit to tnr and thewife to drink them out of house and home - wow, that Havana Club to round the night off was pretty special!

So, it was back to work on Monday morning and my first trip to the gym for around three weeks at lunchtime today.

I've just noticed, by the way, that Blogger isn't allowing me to put links on here or do anything other than put plain text in my post - has something happened recently that I should know about?

*Richmond Fontaine - a great product of Portland, Oregon, who have a new album coming out in the next few weeks.