Wednesday, 22 November 2006
Yes, it's re-released again! I've heard there may be a green cover as well as the red one so I'm faced with a colour dilemma - which colour will sound better? O me O my... And don't you just lurve what they've done to Nod's hat? Truly Christmasified it!
I'm also pleased to report that HMV is now stocking 'Crackers', the Christmas album from the Lords of Noize themselves (I got it a few weeks back, of course).
Monday, 20 November 2006
An online chum referred to it as a mix tape - a good one, but still a mix tape. I find it incredibly frustrating in places where it only plays a chorus or a verse of a song and then moves onto something else or (even worse) just ends. On the other hand, I love the mix of some of the tracks, such as merging 'Within You Without You' with 'Tomorrow Never Knows' works incredibly well for me and 'Revolution' is the fast, hard rock version I like. I suppose we're all different, with our own favourites and we'll all like different parts of this album.
It does beg the question 'why?' though. Why do it? Someone's had great fun with photoshop in the booklet as well. The whole thing - the music and artwork - is very psychedelic and that's rather odd, really. Tune in, drop out and make lots of money by milking something for all it's worth. Why not re-master and re-issue the existing albums rather than trying to 'create' a new one?
More listens might make me more loved dup, let's see, shall we?
But the 'Babes, now there's an album! It was on the shelf in HMV at Victoria Station beside 'Love' so I just had to buy it. The Sugababes 'The Singles Collection' is excellent (and, I am slightly ashamed to say, more exciting than 'Love'). I love it, a great collection of catchy tunes, even the few that I don't recognise are fab. Buy it! I might need to invest in the DVD...
I'm not a great tee shirt wearer and I never have been (not sure why not, but I prefer an open shirt at the neck) but sometimes one must invest, even if only to wear at the gym. There are laws about these things. I nearly fell foul of the law last week - luckily I invested wisely and in time and avoided ending up in prison by purchasing a wonderful SLADE tee shirt. And what a dashing model I would've made - just look at that classic catalogue pose ...
Thursday, 16 November 2006
“I didn’t mellow,” Sainte-Marie said of her maturation process over the years, “But I also didn’t spend every hour of every day angry.”
And she sang songs and talked. "The War Racket" is a new song that I haven't heard but the fact that it's named in an article bodes well for the new album. It also says to me that Buffy is an angel of principle who says what she believes and still comments on war 44 years after writing 'Universal Soldier'. You can trust wor Buffy and she makes me proud.
This week also saw the airing of the documentary about Buffy in the USA and Canada. I hope it's released on DVD...
Wednesday, 15 November 2006
The photo is black and white and has Poly standing in a street leaning against a big poster hoarding with a ripped poster advertising Polyfilla (ahem) with a brick surround. The photo is 16" x 11" and Poly is probably only about 6" so she's dwarfed by this big Polyfilla poster. She's wearing a light knee-length polka-dot dress with a jacket and white sandals, a tassley scarf wrapped round her head, a lunchbox as a handbag and the Poly knowing smile that seems to say 'I know what I'm doing and I'm having fun'. Pennie Smith had signed the photo at the bottom.
'Poly dressed as her mam?' was my first thought. Possibly. She could have borrowed those clothes from her mam. But I think she was being Poly. Every other punk girl at that time - with the obvious exception of Siouxsie - would probably have worn a little micro mini skirt so Poly does the exact opposite and wears a knee-length frock.
I was only there for a few minutes. The photo was ready and wating for me in the public viewing room of the archives (courtesy of Clare, the Helpful Archivist). I looked at it, I smiled, I said 'thank you' and I left. I was happy.
Monday, 13 November 2006
I bought his 12" single of 'Dread Beat An' Blood' which also had heavy dub versions of 'All Wi Doin' Is Defendin'' and, I think, 'Five Nights Of Bleeding' on the 'B' side. It was scary. Before I heard Linton reggae was sunny beaches, Desmond Decker and, more latterly, Bob Marley. Marley's songs were sometimes thoughful and challenging but they weren't scary, weren't threatening down to the very marrow of the sound. Linton's reggae, attached to his poetry, was all that and more. It shook walls.
He mentioned magical places like Railton Road. How exotic was that to a teenager in a little mining village outside Newcastle who'd seen the Brixton riots on telly? Oddly enough, he's appearing in Newcastle next Monday as part of a reggae festival.
Of course, the heavy version of 'All Wi Doin' Is Defendin'' that I remember isn't on the CD. But I have the memory.
Don't you just lurve those dulcet tones?
As the blurb says,
"First album in 12 years from the man who formed the Damned and wrote most of their first two albums, “Damned Damned Damned” & “ Music for Pleasure” and wrote the very first UK Punk single ‘New Rose’. Includes acoustic duet with Polystyrene of X-ray Spex fame."
I'm just sort of wondering whether getting Poly back into the studio might mean there's another Spex album lurking somewhere waiting to burst out to mark their 30 anniversary? Now, wouldn't that be something ...
Saturday, 11 November 2006
And it says 'The Dresden Dolls' on the back. Amanda has a way with words, doesn't she.
I've just watched 'Later... with Jools Holland' specifically to see Kasabian. I've been tempted by their new record but I'm not sure if it's great or if it's derivative trash. It sort of reminds me of a cross between The Glitter Band (heavy drums and bass) and The Stone Roses (the overall sound). I'm not sure. What do you think?
Thursday, 9 November 2006
Sunshine Superman - Donovan
I've always liked a bit of Donovan, mainly the hippy-trippy poppy bit, but I've put off getting a CD because I can never find the right collection - it must have all the hits I remember from way back when but also needs to include his covers of Buffy songs. His cover of 'Universal Soldier' was a hit here and a minor hit in America but, to be honest, isn't a patch on Buffy's original - his voice just doesn't have the same emotional intensity as Buffy. He also did 'Cod'ine' but you don't see that one very often. I was browsing in HMV and saw his latest collection for a fiver or thereabouts and thought, 'go on, just get it,' and I'm so pleased I did. No Buffy songs but it's a very good collection.
As well as the hits and well-known songs like 'Barabajagal', 'Sunshine Superman', 'Hurdy Gurdy Man' and 'Mellow Yellow' it has a good selection of his mid/late '60s work, some of which is hippy drivel but worth listening to (the introduction to 'Atlantis' really ought to be banned in any civilised country that survived the '60s) to the inspired 'Sunny Goodge Street' and 'Seasons of the Witch'. As well as the psychedelic songs there are a few jazz-tinged tracks that sound excellent, particularly set against Donovan's sometimes odd diction.
And, to be fair to Mr Leitch, Buffy does get some credit in the booklet that comes with the CD. It refers to Buffy and to 'Universal Soldier' but goes on to say that, for this collection, they concentrated on his own songs rather than cover versions. Fair enough. And what interesting songs they are too. They deserve lots of listens.
The record just reeks of an English sunny Sunday afternoon, much in the same way as The Kinks stuff sounds very 'English', which is odd considering that Donovan is Scottish. I wish I'd bought it over the summer.
Never Said Goodbye - Cerys Matthews
I won't pretend to be a big Cerys or Catatonia fan but I liked Catatonia's last two albums and I sort of like Cerys on principle - a boozy rock chick kind of lass who duets with Tom Jones must have something going for her. Some of her songs with Catatonia really worked for me, with her almost hoarse voice rasping out heart-felt lyrics over a sometimes clashing music track. I listened to her the other day, that track on 'International Velvet' (I think) that was mainly sung in Welsh, and just thought 'yes!' That was their breakthrough album and they had a song in Welsh on it. Not the best marketing move, but it worked for them.
I noticed that Carys was on the 'new folk' festival scene over the summer and downloaded the 'Open Roads' single, and that made me aware of this album. I thought 'why not?' and bought it. I've only listend to it once so far but it works for me. It's a bit difficult to describe how it sounds - it's sort of like all my favourite Catatonia songs updated and played even louder with more drums but with less booze involved. Does that make any sense? I suppose what I'm saying is that I like it and, if you liked Catatonia, you'll probably like it as well. Cerys's voice has mellowed a bit (maybe she's given up the tabs?) but it's as powerful as ever.
Now that I've heard the album I wonder why 'Open Roads' was the first single - there are better tracks here to choose from (or maybe that's me). This album will be on Ipey before the night is out - I need to listen to it a few more times.
Go - The Very Best of Moby
You almost certainly know all the tracks (didn't everyone on the planet buy 'Play'?) and that's the joy of this record. I like his stuff but prefer the later material, things like 'Lift Me Up', 'We Are All Made Of Stars' and, of course, the wonderful 'New York New York' with Debbie Harry doing the vocal honours. 'Bodyrock' and 'Natural Blues' are other stand-outs. I need say no more - I'm boogying as I type.
The CD also gives you access to a 'private' area for downloads 'n' stuff. This month's free download is an 8 minute version of 'Honey'.
Wednesday, 8 November 2006
Invited by Don and challenged by Dawn I attended the opening night of David Hoyle's new weekly show, Magazine, on Tuesday. It appears to be themed around a magazine so this week's theme was fashion, next week is politics, and so on. The place was heaving - he draws a crowd. It was a fun evening which I greatly enjoyed although having to go out one door and in another just to get to the bar was a bit strange. It was nice walking in and seeing familiar faces, bumping into Wendy Retro (who didn't enjoy The Dresden Dolls show) and seeing Justin Bond who Don happily ligged with (is 'ligged' the word?) chatting about his Broadway show.
As the show went on it started to become familiar - or at least the style became more familiar. I don't think I've seen him before so I don't know whether I've caught him but not remembered or the style is just a generic comic-thing, I don't know. At least David gave Dawn a free plug for 'Tranny Hag' (that girl needs a marketing strategy or to at least wear her own bright pink badge).
Highlight of the night must be Dawn's flabby belly test at which the loser was Don. I think the right people won, don't you Ms Right Nasty?
Old Folks Home ...
... otherwise known as my doctor's surgery. As a diabeatnik I get a 'flu jab to ward off the dreaded nasties (it plays havoc with one's blood glucose dontcha know) and that was this afternoon. In I walk to be greeted by a Derby and Joan Club scenario of oldies all sitting round in coats and hats, a table cloth on the plain table in the middle of the room and a plate of biscuits laid out with orange juice and glasses - a veritable party. 'Eh?' was my first reaction. My second was, 'O well, good job I brought a book'. Luckily I was called in to see the nurse straight away, a small needle rammed into my left arm and told 'that's it'. Thanks. And out I went. Only later did I wonder why my nurse was dressed in black...
I have a few '70s compilation CDs (OK, for 'few' read 'lots') but no '80s compilations. This evening I was looking at them again in HMV and they seem to be full of songs I don't recognise by bands I don't recognise, songs and bands I don't like or songs and bands I already have on albums.
Then it hit me. Compilations generally include the hits of the years in question and by the late '70s I was an album rather than a singles kid. The charts were important to me in the '70s so I know the songs on compilations. By the late '70s/early '80s I was no longer interested in the charts so I tended to have the singles I liked on albums from the bands in question. That seems reasonable to me.
Went to see a play tonight with Christopher - yes, that's right, a play, no songs or anything like that at all, just people on the stage and words, lots of words. O and banging doors, lots of banging doors. It was all quite fun and I enjoyed being in the youngest 10% of the audience for a change (there was a definite demographic thing going on in the theatre tonight).
There was also an age thing going on on the stage since the play is about a group of graduates who go back to their generic Oxbridge college for the 25th anniversary reunion having not seen each other for about that time (apart from some of them going to a particular wedding). They're all in their mid-40s and well on in their careers - a minister, a clergyman, a civil servant, a doctor, a tabloid journo, etc. And the tale unravels of their get-together, the reunion dinner, the drunken evening and the morning after when it all comes home to roost.
The play occasionally showed it's age but it resonated with me. I'm the same age as the characters and I went back to my college four years ago for the first time on 20 years (it took me 20 years to take a 2 hour train journey) so I recognised all those, 'it's still the same' feelings and comments. The Government minister in the play is a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Education in the department I work for, so that was strange, and even stranger that the civil servant worked for the same department. The author certainly got the relationship between those two characters very wrong! I enjoyed the play even though I was left wondering where Brian Rix was in the second half! No doubt a full, more critical, review will be provided by Chris.
Weller - Hit Parade
I've been getting more music and the album I'm currenty listening to is 'Hit Parade', the new (and first) compliation of Paul Weller's work over the last 30 years, from The Jam, through The Style Council to his solo stuff of the last 15 years. It's available in various formats, including a 4xCD box set but I just got the single album with 23 tracks. The tracks aren't in chronological order and that actually enhances listening pleasure - his style is consistent and it works. I'm loving it. I was never a big Jam fan but give the man credit for still being around, still producing new material and still being influential. It's a nice track selection too. Give it a try.
I've fallen a bit behind with my Terry Pratchet reading but I'm thoroughly enjoying 'Going Postal', the third latest Discworld book (two others have been published since this one which is why I'm falling behind). It introduces mainly new characters, which is nice, and, more importantly, it makes me chuckle. If you see me chuckling on the tube or a train then please don't distrurb me, at least for another few days. Thank you.
Mmmm.... I think that's it, nothing else at the bottom of the carrier bag ...
Monday, 6 November 2006
For some reason I just don't like that, trying on trousers or suits or shoes, so it always takes me ages and I need to work up to it. I don't quite understand why since I'm happy enough to strip off in the gym changing room and let it all hang out.
So, I'm proud to announce to the world at large that I have purchased not one, but two pairs of shoes in the last four days. It must be well over a year since I last bought shoes. With both pairs I just saw them and noticed they had 'Owen' written all over them in big green felt pen (well, figuratively speaking, anyway).
Bring on some weather for me to test out the totally waterproof qualities of my noo shoooes! I'm ready for it!
(Well, I will be ready when I get a new coat, but that'll mean trying it on first ...).
'Crackers' is alternately known as 'the Christmas album' or 'the party album' - in this case, it's definitely Christmas. It's been released several times before and I have the previous Christmas version, where the cover shows the lads reflected in baubles on a Christmas tree - 'SLADE's Crazee Christmas'. It's partly 'greatest hits' and partly Christmas songs, 16 tracks in all with an odd track listing from 'When I'm Dancin' I Ain't Fighting' to 'Here's To The New Year' via 'Cum On Feel The Noize' and 'Mama Weer All Crazee Now'.
The new version has 11 tracks mainly focusing on the seasonal side including SLADE's (live sounding) version of 'Do They Know It's Christmas (Feed The World)'. I've only listened to it once so far, just a quick run through, and I won't listen to it again until December (Christmas starts far too early these days) but it'll definitely find it's way onto my iPod on 30 November. The sound quality is better than the earlier versions of the album so it's a welcome addition to the SLADE library. It doesn't seem to have been promoted yet (and HMV isn't stocking it) but maybe it's just waiting for the Christmas market to really start?
I'm not keen on the cover though - looks a bit cheap to me. I prefer the lads on baubles and Noddy bellowing 'Merry Christmas' at the top of his considerable vocal power... Now, *that’s* Christmas!
Sunday, 5 November 2006
We were treated to an early sight of Amanda when she played piano on one of the songs with the blokes from the Pink Dots - and the singer returned the favour by singing on 'Missed Me' later in the evening (I'd never thought of that as a duet but it works, particularly with the older man). The Dolls have a very generous and inclusive approach to music, promoting their friends and people they admire.
A special guest to sing on 'Delilah' was Lene Lovich - yes, Lene Lovich, still with miles of hair looped round her head and trilling away on the vocals. I had no idea who she was when she came on stage and just thought, 'O, I walked past her earlier' and then Brian said her name... I saw Lene nearly 30 years ago on the Be Stiff tour and still have her first two albums. And bringing on the singer from The Red Paintings to duet on 'Mad World' in the encore, with the Dolls effectively giving away their glory moment to promote someone they believe in and give him space to shine. That's such a nice thing to do.
Anyway, Amanda was gorgeous (naturally), Brian broke a cymbal, the Brigade was out in force to organise setting off sparklers during 'Sing' and co-ordinate swaying and hand waving, lots of singing along and general joy. The set was largely the same as Friday but included 'Slide' (that for some reason I thought was 'Bank Of Boston Beauty Queen') and the delightful 'Shores Of California' (I just love the the line, 'That's why God made escort agencies').
The big finale of 'Sing', accompanied by sparklers in the crowd (in which I joined with gusto) and the whole troupe on stage, was excellent, followed by a joyous collective bow with smiles wreathing the stage and the 'la la la' refrain from the song continuing until we got what we wanted - the Dolls back on stage and more songs, Amanda in 'Mein Herr' uber-bitch mode giving Brian a wedgie while he played guitar. They work so well together and they both looked so happy and comfortable throughout the show, which was lovely to see.
So that's my Dresden Dolls weekend over. It's taken six months to get here and it was well worth the wait. Now I just have to wait patiently for the DVD...
Oh, and yet more photos are here.
Saturday, 4 November 2006
The 'Main Space' includes two stages (one large, one small) plus a small cinema showing arty short films in between acts on the other stages with Margaret Cho MC-ing. There were half a dozen acts doing short sets including The Red Paintings singing and painting punters on stage, Baby Dee with the wildest corkscrew hair and a harp and Zen Zen Zo, a performance art troupe from Oz on the small stage doing dance, mime and song. Margaret did an interesting strip act before the Dresdens appeared, revealing a realistic flaccid willy and pendulous bollocks which she proclaimed as being a grower rather than a shower.
And then they appeared in all their magnificence. Amanda's piano was naked of the flowers that traditionally decorate the front but instead it was a mini-stable for her toy horses and ponies that featured in the video with Panic! at the Disco. And she was wearing her 'The Who maximum R&B' tee shirt. Brian soon took his shirt off but was well bowlered. Every now and then some of the performance artists joined them on stage for particular songs, such as two pregnant men illustrating 'Mandy Goes To Med School' (about abortion) by hammering away at each other's bump. An acrobat appeared during one song to dangle above the stage while the Dolls did their thing down below. It kept us all guessing what might happen next.
They played everything you could possibly want them to, opening with 'Sex Changes' and then working their way through all our favourites. It's easier to note what they didn't play, particularly 'Good Day', 'Amsterdam' and 'War Pigs'. Highlights for me were 'Mrs O', 'Girl Anachronism', 'The Jeep Song', 'Backstabber', 'Lonesome Organist', 'My Alcoholic Friends' (luckily I was wearing a belt) and the glorious 'Sing'. They closed the set with 'Sing', during which the performance artistes all went on stage to reflect the crowd scene in the video as well as share in the applause.
Then back they came for an enchore that included a stonking version of 'Mad World' with the singer from The Red Paintings. They also did an excellent version of 'Mein Herr' from 'Cabaret' with Amanda wearing very little and Brian on guitar. They played for about 2 hours (I think, I wasn't clock watching) and looked like they enjoyed every minute of it. I certainly did.
I have been in the presence of greatness, joy and beauty. And I'm going back for more tomorrow! More photos are here.
PUNK CABARET IS FREEDOM!
Friday, 3 November 2006
I still haven't got the live Buffy album I bought through Amazon.com eight weeks ago. Like a good little consumer I obey the instructions from Amazon about not getting in touch until 2 November because the CD will be sent by overland mail and customs will slow it down. So I get in touch with Caimen.com (which is selling the CD through Amazon) only to be told that it's not available, it's in "back order" and will take "2 to 3 weeks to ship". This is a CD that was noted as "in stock" when I ordered it and was told by Amazon that the seller would ship it by 11 September.
So. This is what Caimen did to me when I tried to buy the CD of 'Many A Mile' from them which also was "in stock" and then mysteriously wasn't. Do I rely on hope and wait 3 weeks for it to be shipped and then wait another 8 weeks to receive it only to be let down again? No. This is the second time - there won't be a third. I've cancelled and asked for a refund.
So I go to cduniverse to order the CD - after I ordered it with Caimen it appeared on cduniverse as being released on 24 December. But can I find it on their site? No. O dear. Looks like I'm not destined to get it.
And, of course, I'll miss the Buffy documentary being shown in America next week - will I ever see that? Sigh.
I've got the Buffy blues.
Luckily it's Dresden Dolls Day so at least I've got that pair of delightful ragamuffins to look forward to this evening. I think I'll watch the Dolls v Panic video again to cheer myself up and get in the mood for some punk cabaret mayhem and magic.
Thursday, 2 November 2006
It's wonderful - I find myself grinning just listening to it. I'm delighted that my blog is named after a Poly song.
As Poly says on the inside sleeve:
A note from From Poly Styrene -
London. West End. Browsing in the record stores. I spy the Spex. Serious disbelief. How many times can they re-package one album.Crazy or what?
So many unrecorded songs I've got because I haven't stopped writing since Spex disbanded, you know. So I phone Receiver Records to inform them of the Pop Art Moving Diary I'm compiling right now. It includes original X-Ray Spex songs and future material.At the same time I ask them "Would you like me to do some shelf filling?" and Frank Lea replies "Yes. We'd love it Poly!"
I like enthusiasm. I get together with Paul, Lora and friends. Six weeks later Receiver is in receipt of Conscious Consumer, our zillion-selling CD to fill all the shelves of all the record shops between here and the edge of the galaxy. Love to spend more time with you but I have to pop out for a byte of Audio Lunch.