Monday, October 09, 2006

This gem, courtesy of Popbitch:

Q: What's the biggest cause of paedophilia?
A: Sexy kids.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Listening today to Oxford's finest, Ride, made me appreciate again the joy of really bad lyrics. This, from their very sweet song "Crown of Creation", made all the more hilarious by the sincerity with which it is sung:

"You are the crown of creation,
I wanna be your relation,
I'm getting off at your station..."

But my current favourite bad lyrics are from one of the most incredible albums ever, Lou Reed's Berlin. This, from the title track:

"In Berlin
by the wall
you were five feet
ten inches tall"

- which is so howlingly awful it's genius, in a camp kinda way.
And this, from "Caroline Says 1":

"Just like poison in a vial
she was often very vile"

- which is just rotten on every conceivable level.

To balance things out, though, here's my current favourite pop lyric, from "Lucy's Hamper" by Gorky's Zygotic Mynci:

"It was the most miserable night
That I'd ever seen
And the rain came down
Like something obscene
And we cried in our pints
For no reason at all
Except that our lives were shite
And we wanted so much more..."


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

It must be such a headache having to be on all the time when you work in a newspaper office. This doggedly cheerful excerpt from an email I got from an editor chum:

"We're in the market for lots of exciting, smart *humdingers* (today's buzzword)."

Somehow a really depressing sentence, and not just cos of the use of 'buzzword'. You just know that your idea of 'exciting' and 'smart', not to mention your misguided, eager-to-please approximation of what precisely a 'humdinger' might be, will not tally with the paper's. Cue several days of rewriting, cutting, pasting, gnashing of teeth etc, to produce something that is neither yours nor theirs, nor interesting to the world at large.

Better, surely, to just stay in bed instead.
First post of the month - hurrah! No, that's not right, I am not at all the sort of person to say 'hurrah'.

Last night I saw Adrift. Good movie and all, but why didn't they think of the obvious plan? You know, wait until the baby's about 3 years old, then call out instructions for her to climb aboard the deck and press the button to release the ladder. Easy-peasy.

Yesterday was my little brother's birthday. I didn't buy him anything, partly because I'm sore that he never played the CD I made him last year, which I spent ages putting together, and partly because we rarely get one another anything, because we don't really know each other anymore. We're both very moody, up and down, hot and cold.

In fact, he just walked in a few minutes ago and said, "Remember when we used to go into London all the time and do things?", and it was sorta sad, outta the blue, 'cos we did used to be very close. Actually, it is nice when you get him something and he loves it - for instance, one of the stupid things I got him at Christmas was a key-ring with Mr T's voice. He absolutely loved it, he thought it was the funniest thing ever, he was whooping in this shrill, girly laugh he has. He's a sweetheart but I don't know how to help him with the problems he's got. Nor, I expect, would he want me to.

Today I have to:
a) write a review of a film that I didn't like, but which most people do, which is always fun.
b) start work on a course I'm helping to teach.
c) watch a reputedly disgusting film.
d) make time for some more all-singing, all-dancing posts on this blog.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Has it really been 20 years, 7 months and 27 days since my last post? Jeez, time flies when you're having a(nother) nervous breakdown.

When you have reason to be gazing out of a 2nd floor window in Soho at about 2 a.m. one Wednesday morning, you can see some interesting sights. Like a man and a woman in a doorway, the neon sign above them casting a sickly pool of yellow light at their feet. The man is late twenties, shirt, smart trousers, the crumpled look of an office drone after a mildly raucous work do.

Only he's scoring smack off the woman - at least I think it's smack, I'm no expert - and he's counting out £20 notes while she goes about her business with the tin foil and the lighter. I don't think they know each other but there's a touching sense of collusion in the way they glance round together at the occasional passing car. The transaction completed, they scatter, out of my field of vision. But that's ok. Soon a guy in the street is showing another guy the contents of a plastic bag, and there's more cash being flashed.

This is all too titillating for someone raised in a village in Essex where the most exciting thing that ever happened was The Crystal Maze being filmed in an aircraft hangar up the road.

From the safety of the 2nd floor early yesterday morning, I watched people I would never want to meet doing things I would never want to do, wallowing in the thrill of my seedy, uncut voyeurism. Now, at 1.30am, I wonder if they're out there again. Many miles from Soho, I'm missing them. And missing the person who was beside me in the peeping hour.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Work displacement activities part 29. Posting pointless lists on my blog.
Today: the top 10 most-played songs on my iPod since approx August 2005:

1. "Immune to Emotion" - Ariel Pink (42 plays)
2. "Credit" - Ariel Pink (29)
=3. "Gnidjougouya" - Amadou and Mariam (26)
=3. "A Song From Under the Floorboards" - Magazine (26)
=3. "To Forgive" - Smashing Pumpkins (26)
=6. "It's Now Or Never" - El Vez (25)
=6. "Lay It On" - Wormhole (25)
=8. "Every Night I Die at Miyagis" - Ariel Pink (24)
=8. "High Fives" - Four Tet (24)
=8. "Victor Should Have Been a Jazz Musician" - Grace Jones (24)
This made me weep with laughter: the excellent, elegant Giles Smith writing in the Times last week...

"It would be no exaggeration to say that recent events have somewhat overtaken ITV’s Luton Airport.

Filmed at the start of the summer, this gentle docu-soap about daily life in and around the check-in desks of a typical British air terminus appears to depict a golden era of travel in which passengers in manageable numbers flow relatively smoothly towards on-schedule flights. No one is commanded to leave their copy of The Da Vinci Code in a specially provided dump-bin, nor consume their babies’ carrot and turnip purée to prove that it won’ t blow up.

It was a big moment in this week’s episode when someone accidentally triggered a fire alarm. If only. Maybe the producers would consider preparing a DVD version of the series in sepia.
The waves of nostalgia started to come even more thickly when the programme showed the England football team passing through Luton on their way to Germany for the 2006 World Cup finals. Ah, the piercing memories, the aching innocence of those times. David Beckham leant out of the pilot’s window and waved the flag of St George above a sign reading “Pride of the Nation” — an unthinkable liberty, given what we now know.

Also, this was back in the days when you could take Wayne Rooney on a British Airways Airbus A320 without having to place him in a clear plastic bag. Days when inessential items of hand luggage, such as Theo Walcott, weren’t automatically taken off you at the gate. Days when Sven-Göran Eriksson could turn up at the airport without guilt, even though his journey wasn’t strictly necessary.

And then there were the onlookers, thronging the airport fence, their faces, fascinatingly from another era, shiny with anticipation and the thrill of it all. People whooped at the sight of the team bus, happy to catch even a glimpse of these outgoing heroes and to share with them this sense of being on the brink of greatness. It couldn’t have looked more like archive footage if every bystander had been in a trilby and smoking.

I tried to explain to some nearby youngsters. “You see, children, back then there was a real feeling in the land that this England side was capable of going all the way in the World Cup and bringing home the trophy for the first time in 40 years.” But they weren’t listening. They were too busy wondering why Rio Ferdinand hadn’t been required to stow his iPod in the hold. In any case, bring home a big metal trophy on an aeroplane? As if.

Eddie Jordan’s Bad Boy Racers on Five is, by contrast, set in an unmistakeable present. The former Formula One team boss has got seven weeks to straighten out eight young offenders with a penchant for car crime. One of the eight appears to be so freshly in trouble that the producers have been obliged, without explanation, to pixelate his face.

At least, I’m assuming the producers did it. It’s possible, of course, that the lad in question is a worrying example of a whole new breed of self- pixelating car criminal, set to make police work even harder than it already is.

In the opening episode, Jordan got his charges to demonstrate their car-jacking skills, which were formidable. They weren’t so hot, however, when it came to the more acceptable task of changing wheels using conventional tools. Jordan proposes channelling the offenders’ energies into a formal education in car mechanics, rendering them “ready for the world of work”, while offering as an incentive the opportunity to do up and race a banger.

Teachers and social workers may well have thought of similar strategies, but most likely they weren’t as rich or as famous as Jordan and didn’t come with the backing of a national television channel — factors that may give his project an edge. Jordan clearly has prodigious energy and a galvanising manner, too. Maybe he could do something about the airports.

Meanwhile, on Sky Sports News, Andy van der Meyde, the luckless Everton winger, was appealing for the return of his dog, which appears to have been nabbed, along with a couple of cars and some other items of his personal property, by burglars. Not Jordan’s boys, we hope.

It struck one that there might be a useful function for the rolling news channel, especially during the slow days of summer, as a kind of community noticeboard for sportspeople — somewhere they can post a message when something goes missing, say, or when they are on the lookout for a replacement door seal for a discontinued oven, or some such. We leave that idea with the team."

Dingwalls, London, 24 September 1997
This was it: the best gig I've ever seen. The Fall were on fire, and the crowd weren't far behind them. There was a tangible air of menace, mostly coming from the stage, where Mark E. Smith was antagonising the band - dragging the guitarist around by the neck of his instrument, or slamming his palms down on the keys to impede the keyboard player's efforts. I can't remember another gig where it felt so plausible that anything on earth could happen. The dancer Michael Clark popped up on stage, throwing chairs around. The band tore into a churning version of "Big New Prinz". Someone said a few days later they'd heard I started a punch-up at the front of the stage, a rumour that I have done my damnedest to keep alive.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

2. REM
Hammersmith Odeon, London, May 1989
Hard now to find a live pic of Stipe with hair. Not visible, which is probably for the best, is the plaited pony-tail that he wore on this tour. REM was the first band I saw to really command the stage, to make a gig into a show; the slightly boxy suit worn by Stipe suggests they took their cue here from Talking Heads. It was a jubilant mix of theatricality (Stipe bashing out a beat on a metal chair as he sang Gang of Four's "We Live As We Dream, Alone" a capella) and fierce, sweaty, just-this-side-of-corny rock'n'roll. I was 17 and had lost my cherry a few weeks earlier, so was in an understandably excitable mood.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Wembley Stadium, London, July 1990
She's never been this good, touring her best album (Like a Prayer), dominating the stage like a true diva while showing off a pottymouth that had tattooed sailors on shore leave fainting around my ankles (or was that a dream?) I was there with someone fun. We brought a picnic, stayed all day, and ooh-ed and aah-ed at every costume change.