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Friday, May 21, 2004
  true innit

have you heard the Dizzee vs. Vitalic mashup 'I Luv Poney' that ILM's Siegbran did last year? you probably have. if not you can get it here. listened to it again last night and :-O

Wednesday, May 12, 2004
  Fantastic Four

Mainly for the attention of Mistah K-Punk, as I'm not sure if he has the stomach for Harry Knowles' crappy prose. Some new information on the Fantastic Four movie he mentioned a few weeks/months ago has come to light apparently...

Read here Mark, but be warned... 
Monday, May 10, 2004
  Jamelia 'thank you'

This might be my favourite song of the year so far. I've always loved Jamelia. 'Money,' her single from a few years ago, was a classic. She's always given good interviews, and just come across as an all round lovely person really. Then she disappeared - to have a baby, I think? - and people assumed that was that. Another 1-hit brit r'n'b star.

And then!
She came back!
With an insanely catchy, sugary smash hit!
'Superstar' was so good, it didn’t seem overplayed even when it was, clearly, by definition, overplayed! What a nice story Jamelia's career was turning out to be. Couldn't happen to a nicer etc.

And then!
'Thank You' came out. I remember first hearing it on a Saturday morning when I was still in bed. I often get very emotional listening to the radio first thing in the morning, before I've woken up properly. Probably some Freudian leaving-the-womb trauma thing, er, haha. Anyway, I was ripe for a good cry, and 'Thank You' wrecked me. For these reasons
1) partly, I'm sure, because I was already pre-disposed to like Jamelia, and I just found the whole Jamelia-story at this point so heartwarming
2) the story of the song is of course very moving in its own right
3) but above all it's the conceit of the song. The general 'what doesn't kill me makes me stronger' attitude in breakup songs is of course as old as r'n'b itself, and this is the argument my housemate used to try and prove that 'Thank You' is a v.cliched, instead of a v.great, song. He's so wrong of course. This is why:
a) the lack of anger. This is some basic school bully pyshcology: the more you react, the more power you give them. Jamelia is angry, defiant, righteous actually, but she sings it like a love song. That's gotta hurt. Actually I've seen her perform this live and she does put a bit more lip-curling snarl into the delivery, but mostly she swoons and sighs her way through, until the killer blow, the whispered 'thank you' at the end (following the heartbreaking 'you could have had it all, babe..' lines) pierces like ice and is 100000x more effective than amplified rage or spite would have been.
b) In the lyrics Jamelia beats up on herself for letting this guy get away with treating her so badly - she was too young, too forgiving, too tender. What pushes this song from merely great to astonishing classic for me is that *these are the very qualities* she gives the song - she exacts her revenge by using the virtues that this person had made her think were weaknesses. 'Thank You' is impossibly tender, it sounds like a wide open bruised heart. The uncertain, faltering rhythm and Jamelia's disjointed vocal phrasing give the whole thing an air of ambiguity and nervousness that perfectly suits the soft-voiced defiance.
c) so this story is acted out in real time, as we're listening, and becomes a beautiful act of self-fulfilling narrative. We hear Jamelia describing her past self, even as it becomes apparent from the song that she is still the same person: it's just that, in the course of writing/performing the song, the qualities that were taken advantage of have become the instruments of a devastating emotional revenge.

Love it love it love it. It's such a quiet song, but it's so exhilarating and powerful, I'm amazed the world doesn't stop each time it comes on the radio. 

our links bar is a state. it's out of date. we've let it stagnate. but it's not too late. new blogs are great. we may prevaricate, but we don't hate, and from this date, won't hesitate, to regularly update.

My favourite things, yesterday:
Kate bush - the big sky - BEST SONG EVER
Big pun - capital punishment - oooh HOTTNESS
Tom waits - rain dogs - haunted, erotic, dank, drunk

Yesterday I spent 4 hours on the train, going to southampton and back. It was beautiful. I was listening to a tape of songs about england and I was staring at england out the window. I saw a lot of interesting things. I wanted to make a list, heronbone-style, but I didn't have a notebook. Some of the things I remember, are:
1. a burnt-out, upside-down car in a field
2. 3 pheasants standing still in the middle of a small wood
3. a large white house on a river with a private jetty at the end of its garden
4. a row of tiny terraced houses with very long, thin gardens stretching all the way back to the railway. The gardens were full of tall trees, so the houses were in a deep green shade in the middle of the afternoon, and covered in pine cones. The gardens were all empty (it was quite cold)
5. a series of stations in north hampshire where the station name-signs were blank. I think two of the places were hook and fleet. They just had blank white signs with the SWT logo on. Spooky huh? Like we were at war.
6. a little reservoir in the middle of nowhere with red and white life-rings around its edge.
7. a pub called The Claremont which didn't appear to have any windows
8. a motorway. Lines of red dots moving away from me, and lines of white dots moving towards me.

Jesus I suck at this observational stuff. Best leave it to the professionals.

Can I just say: bigup somedisco, legend. I read scott every day, almost like a news ticker. Thinking about it he's actually probably my main news source. Crumbs! 
Friday, May 07, 2004
  Two albums I didn't know much about at the time...

Pneumonia - Whiskeytown. I actually bought this for someone without listening to it first when it was released. What a fool I was. 'Don't wanna know why' is wonderful... breathe in, breathe out.

Poses - Rufus Wainwright. In the past two weeks I've acquired all of Wainwright's albums. All three are beautiful and moving, but this is my favorite, mainly because of Martha Wainwright's backing singing, which is astonishing, particularly on the title track. Baroque, playful, unfashionable and totally lovable. 
Thursday, May 06, 2004
  And as I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted


I like to think that the fact that we haven’t talked about them isn’t down to an oversight, or a mere consequence of us being too caught up in other wonders of the modern world such as teletext and the beta band.

No, we have neglected to write about them because we haven’t needed to. It just sits up there in the top left corner, to all intents and purposes minding its own business. But, drip by drip, it is seeping into your consciousness, travelling out to the far reaches of the internet and YOUR MIND.

Seriously though, we don’t need to make any claims for the barcode because it’s already an icon in its own right. Forget Beckham. Does he get blipped by barcode readers in every shop in the world? He wishes! Is he pasted somewhere on every product you’ve ever bought? Dream on, David!

So the barcode is the most recognisable symbol of consumerism, yet, unlike Beckham, it is rarely appreciated for anything other than its basic functional value. No, wait, I have interesting things to say too! Yes the barcode is beautiful, yes the barcode is brilliant at what it does, but most importantly it’s entirely anonymous. Barcodes signify numbers, which are cross referenced to give you product information and prices. So they’re all different, and yet they’re all just as famous as one another.

Just like you and me. Well, not me actually, I am famous. But like you! You express your individuality by buying different products (music, clothes, wallpaper) from those other people buy, but so far as the BIG BARCODE READER IN THE SKY is concerned, we’re all pretty much the same, only some of us have different sized black and white bars all over us.

All of which could be very interesting, when combined with the appropriate hallucinogens. But this has nothing to do with the real reason we used a barcode as our logo. Oh no. If you have a barcode reader at home (and really, who doesn’t?) you will already be aware of the extreme right wing message that our proud logo proclaims in alphanumeric fashion. Please have a go at deciphering it, and post your results in the comments section! 
Wednesday, May 05, 2004

yes, the sundays. you know, that band. i heard their first album for the first time in the dying embers of a lost weekend (actually lasting from wednesday - friday) in somerset a few years ago. i loved it instantly. and i finally got around to buying it recently, after months of idly intending to do so. i've also read quite a bit about it on ILM etc, lots of people seem to think it is the best indie pop album ever, including people who actually don't like much indie!

anyway i listened to it a couple of times and didn't really get into it, it sounded like, well, early 90s indie pretty much, i couldn't access whatever it was that had made it sound so special that first time (hint: DRUGS). i was aware that something was lacking in me because clearly i was capable of enjoying this record immensely. it just wasn't happening. anyway, last saturday i got stoned.

i don't do that much anymore! i get so paranoid and nervous. also smoking even one spliff makes the next day so much worse than if i'd got mildly pissed the night before. but i was at a party, came home, fairly blitzed, and went to bed listening to THE SUNDAYS. OMG OMG OMG.

admittedly i only got to about track 3 before passing out, but it doesn't matter, it was all over for me by about 1.30 into 'skin & bones.' no-one told me they were a psychedelic rock band! those guitars! seriously, on the chorus, when there are several things going on, a sort of bed of feedback under the whole song, and guitars sparking and chiming in about 5 different directions at once, i was seeing waterfalls of vivid colour, bright pink and green. this was a revelation not only because it was so beautiful, but because in my mind the sundays were a very dark blue, black and white band. the artwork, the smalltown english image, you know. i had no idea there were these cosmic fireworks involved too. and of course, i was stoned, and this kind of thing is much more liable to seem present in that state, and seem silly in the morning. but i've checked several times since in the cold light of day, and the fireworks and waterfalls are still there.

then the second song starts and the leap in mood and tone astonished me. the way the guitars suddenly flutter in out of nowhere (very 'william, it was really nothing;' more on the smiths later) and the pace being so brisk, and the melody having such momentum (you can feel the chorus ages before it comes), brought me hurtling down to earth with a pleasurable bump. i was closer to the real world now, the colours were closer to the blues and greys i expected. it was really just that sudden shift that startled me, and helped me start to love the album, because i was able to see between it a bit more, to feel its different skins of sound and atmosphere. when i'd been struggling with it, an unarticulated objection inside me had been that 'it all sounds exactly the same, it's so grey, so dull.' this was clearly, obviously not true, and i was happy to (re)discover it.

i've still only listened to it all the way through a handful of times. i will spend more time with it. i think 'i won' and 'a certain someone' are remarkable. the latter - that groove is so hard! for a schmindie band! it sounds like !!! 'me and giuliani..,' no honestly it does! i can't get my head round the thatcherite lyrics though - are they supposed to be ironic? and the last 2 tracks are great too.

i realised a couple of things about the band listening to them that night. first, they were fucking cool. i mean, they were not the smalltown losers pouting on the sidelines, there is no way they could have been with attitude like that, there is so much heart and sex and fire in the music, they knew their shit and they weren't apologetic in the slightest. i think i would have been intimidated by them. second, harriet wheeler must be the pinnacle of unattainable indie girl beauty. i don't know what she looks like. but she would have scared the shit out of me too. third, the sundays sound a bit like the smiths, but not as much as i thought they did. there are moments where the soundalike is clear. but even in johnny marr's most psyched-up moments i don't think he produced something so delicately, beguilingly trippy as 'skin & bones.' and there is a blissed-out, post-comedown awareness of dance in the music (i think) that i don't think the smiths every really accommodated.

these are just some initial thoughts on me and the sundays and our troubled history. i think we're through the worst of it, though, and should be OK in the long-run. phew! 
Tuesday, May 04, 2004
  What you are about to read took place between 19.13 and 19.16 (probably)...

Ok, all the 24 bashing must stop. I don't even buy the claims I've been hearing recently that this series is inferior to the previous two. It has always been ridiculous, the way dramatic events seem to happen on the hour, every hour. I love the way the story is just made up as they go along, if complete lunacy is the price we have to pay for not being able to predict every fucking twist, then I say, lets have Jack getting bitten by an uncommonly big dog out in the Mexican wilds and engaging in some downtown LA lycanthropy before noon!

Feel free to disagree, but 24 is the most enthralling and addictive hour of television available in England at the moment. 


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