Sunday, May 23, 2010

What is soon to happen around here

Stay tuned all two of you counting me and a Google spider. This is what will happen. Still love this lot in their prime.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Back like Lazarus Damn it

This corner of the electric madness has been far too quiet for too long…
What better way to begin to re-energise than by off genre operatic absurdity. A mate of mine at my last gig reminded me of the genius of well timed Maiden when sitting at a desk helpless and enraged as a caged bear with a glued on clown suit. Excuse this rare lapse of taste and hear the wonderment…

Friday, February 06, 2009

Another great gone: Lux Interior checks out

Went quite innocently yesterday to take a look at Microsoft's new very innovative celebrity related site, Wonderwall and the first news that I saw cut me down. Lux Interior dead from some heart thing. Much like the Ramones, many critics and sometime fans alike made the mistake of assuming that their unchanging style was some kind of postmodern, mannerist schtick. It was absolutely sincere. This was not a novelty act, it was Elvis, Iggy and a thousand and one garagepunk and rockabilly switchblade and speed nightmares vomited up into the post punk era. In the liner notes of their latest comp, Lux confessed that this assumption 'cuts us to our very core'. When everything around you is a joke, serious wickedness can be safely and stupidly ignored.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Lost Bands of the 80s Part XXX

Got into these cats because I am a rabid Nick Cave fan and he dug them heavily. Former head of the LA Blondie Fan Club, overindulger and unwitting creator of hair metaller Vince Neil's early look Jeffery Lee Pierce had talent to spare. 4 great LPs, lineup changes, etc etc then total burnout. The Grim Reaper ended the chance of any comeback in 1996 when Jeffery died. A sad fate for a great band. Robert Johnson brought into the Hacienda can't fail to inspire.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Brothers Johnson Get Enthused

Friend in the office saw I was glum as a penguin in an Aga and suggested this. Further evidence that disco was a viable form which was drowned in too much product, Travolta trash and Rick Dees cheese.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A younger Young

The BBC used to be cooler, in a way, than it is today. This is a potent example. Not much needs to be said about the song or the man, of course.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Italo guilt and the DX7 magicians

I have a real soft spot for Italo. Long after Disco Duck banished disco from all but the most adventurous non-black or straight dancefloors, the ghost of the Munich machine kept stalking the continent. This unnamed fashion boy is just a front (most probably - apologies if not of course!) of some hidden beat genius.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Studio bound geniuz

This is one of those bands that I have have never disliked but never dug. Their ridiculous name put me off like a badly monikered cocktail. Friend sent me a link to this vid. The song is wonderful in itself but the video is funny and at the same time well observed. It has the one fucking big single chip video camera in the studio look down to perfection and a narrative palindrome. Matt Berry is a midas of wonderment.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Why Can't We Live Together

A friend sent this to many today in the office. I was not aware of it, nor Timmy Thomas at all. No idea who the alluring woman in need of a wardrobe change (or removal) is but the vid is ace. Looks a bit like the kind of footage one saw in DJ Shadow's 'Midnight in a perfect world' vid. Astonishing. So minimal and heartfelt.

Friday, May 16, 2008

And it goes on...Wire returns

Been quiet again. As were Wire after 1979ish before emerging again in 1987 with pure genius of a more ‘New Wave’ informed nature. I love this track. It somehow reminds me of teenage sexual fumblings but I doubt that is what it is about at all. Just gorgeous.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

A different dimension of the 80s again

It is a real shame that Marc Almond and Dave Ball are often thought of as proverbial one hit wonders by the foolish. It is true that after a wonderful debut LP and some singles the creative fuel tank seemed to get a bit thinner and contaminated with West End theatre refuse. However, before 1983 and everything going safe and wrong one could see this chameleonic combination of Motown, Kenneth Anger fetishism and Kraftwerk on mainstream TV. Sad how times change...

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Better Days? Depeche Mode's Polar Opposite in 1985

Once again we have a band that producers of today would still be aware of (not to mention those that name now past it fashionista club nights). The 80s can suck if all one remembers are Leg Warmers and Wham! but hipsters have long known there is more to matters than this. These cats from Sheffield made some serious art. As much as I love synthpop, this is about as pop as a pulsar and is the industrial alternative.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Bob Fossil's Disco Love

I'd totally forgotten about this song. Never was into these cats but it ends up being played on The Mighty Boosh by Bob Fossil (Rich Fulcher) doing some innovative dancing. I tracked it down as it was a sample on one of my favourite De La Soul tracks - the slinky beats and synth work are genius. Damn. Easy to laugh at the video now but in a cold, recession shocked 1981 it is genius. It speaks ill of our era that I doubt anything that is a number one single now will age this well.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

"The British Phil Spector" has a moment of genius

Joe Meek was kind of a "British Phil Spector", but there was so much more to him than that. His concept record 'I hear a new world' and his gleeful use of electronics produced a unique and innovative sound - mostly recorded in a small studio on the Holloway Road. The lady heard Siouxsie on the radio (presumably plugging her ho-hum new record) saying that this track was the first one that captured her imagination. I can see why - and a lot of the ethereal best of her sound is hinted at here. This is a gothic/western/romantic masterpiece. The fact it is from 1961 is all the more remarkable.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

ESG feeling moody

Well here is another example of the divergence in taste between the producer and the consumer in music and film. Producers have stayed eclectic and have pillaged (or just Xeroxed)references that the genre segregated, limited mainstream media ensures regular consumers never see or hear.

ESG were the original early 80s hip as a stack of jeans minimal funkateers. Noticed by the likes of A Certain Ratio and countless hip hop cats - along with the producers of all sorts of pop. As noted elsewhere, they played the Hacienda on opening night and the Paradise Garage on its closing night. Sadly, they seem now to have announced their retirement but here is a vital live performance of 'Moody'.

Friday, September 07, 2007

The Beatles - Improved

Sorry to hear that she split up with Budgie and am not so sure about the new record, but at her peak...damn...

Friday, August 31, 2007

The man who could have been Prince

Funny how the culture market and the capacity of artists for elephantine chemical indulgence mediates between excellence and mediocrity. Rick James lost it by the early 80s in a storm of drink and powder but was a mega, mega genius at his best - melding funk and 70s rock into a perfect fusion. He became a figure of fun a tragedy but forget all that while he shows you what 80s funk could have been. Enjoy.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Das Model

This is just about perfect. Why is today so stupid compared to the imagined futures of the past?

Monday, August 06, 2007

Synth sleaze

Stupid, embarassing softcore that inspired countless Italian cannibal related riffs. But the music is nifty...

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Honest TV

I really like honesty on TV. Too many programmes fake a social agenda of some kind or pretend they have some value outside of momentary flickers of interest between the adverts. The Japanese have no such qualms. Not only are they supremely creative even in contexts of low intent, but make no attempt to hide their glee in doing so. That said, anyone playing a one string bass to this needs to have a gfood think about themselves.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Local narratives - unending cities

A local narrative
Originally uploaded by The Salaryman

Camilo Jose Vergara is a major influence on my own amateurish photography efforts and the link above to his Invincible Cities project is a wonderful way to explore what he’s doing. It links anthropology, social history, architectural theory and anything else relevant into an evolving chronicle of the spaces and places in America’s cities that evolve through decay into some kind of new stasis – as no particular configuration seems to be stable enough to sustain itself for long. Barber shops become liquor stores then bookies before being knocked down or else devolving into bookies. Camilo has the patience to chronicle this process of decay, rebirth and sometimes death over decades and the results are a stark lesson to anyone who thinks that gentrification and urban renewal are swift or simple processes. Urban decay is a US specialty (with some cities depopulating by half or more over a few decades – like Detroit) but has made an appearance in the UK as well. Over here, it often is a kind of donut shaped rot where the inner bits stay rich and healthy to some degree, as do some of the outer suburban belt while the in-between parts die. Our part of London is kind of in between the phenomena and needs just a bit of a push to get better, but is subject to neglect as it is not quite awful enough to merit means-tested attention.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Return of an old hero: A film that won’t suck

I spend a lot of time on here ranting about how much contemporary film, at least that you can see down the multiplex blows dead buffalo. I maintain this is the case (Dreamgirls anyone?).

On a small scale there is still some hope. David’s Lynch’s latest effort has a UK distributor, finally and we will be able to see it in March. I am a bit upset about the fact it was shot on MiniDV (which is sort of like Picasso painting on bogroll) but their is no denying the flexibility and low costs of digital. After seeing this Italian trailer, my eyes are drooling…

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Better Days: Detroit '82

This came through on the ironic tip in this week's Holy Moly! and was presented as almost comedic. Punters were urged to sing the words of Madonna's risble lite-house cash in 'Vogue'. Wrong. This track, considered by many to be the first Detroit techno record, cuts as deep and fresh as a gin-soaked razor even today. A Number of Names have much to be proud of...And forget the clothes and hair these disco scenesters are the real thing. Damn.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Holidaze Special Brew

Its a trusim that this special time of year is especially notable for novelty TV. Could not help noticing a reference in The Guide to this choice piece of BabyBel forom 1977. Lucas did it but disowned it, yet it reveals much of his artistic vision. He may be a cynical hack but this really does take the biscuit...

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Microwaved Rubber Nachos

Better than the real thing?
Hmmm. Well I can't help but notice posters saturating nearly every surface for Eragon - some kind of fantasy rubbish in the style of Lord of the Rings. Now genre has always gone in cycles - going all the way back to Shakespeare's day when a successful play with say a disguised ruler as a theme would lead to a spate of things of inspired imitation.

While I have less than no interest in the fantasy genre (I associate it with both spotty sados and Rick Wakeman) I noticed this campaign because it was yet another example of the mainstream appropriation of B. While most B markets were dead on their feet before video delivered the death blow, the copycat film market stayed with us. A trip to the video store would reveal 'Carnosaur' next to Jurassic Park etc as the knuckle dragging punters would have just seen the big budget B yet would be hungry for a knockoff. Eragon shows that just like with that run of modern day sword and sandalness that followed Gladiator no market is left to anyone other than the mainstream these days. But they do take their time.

The taglines on the posters make me think of a booming voice but the words are pure comedy: "When darkness falls. The. Last. Dragon...Will choose its rider who will be a fucking annoying kid hero of some kind."

Back when people with style, speed and a sense fun were riffing off the latest hot product from Hollywood you got things like the Star Wars on the cheap wonder referenced above. I'll take it over the likes of Eragon any day - rather than just reheat what it is copying it adds things (like female flesh and David Hasselhoff) that were missing the first time round. Lovely. And exposes just how silly Star Wars was in the first place in the process...

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Shanghaied at the Odeon

A rainy day and an unavoidable family outing turned into every cinemaphile’s nightmare: an enforced trip to a mainstream multiplex. Saw the best thing on there – The Departed. Marty Scorcsese’s rip off riff on the HK neo-noir classic Infernal Affairs. At least I did not have to watch The Devil Wears Prada, which would have made me eat my own hands before driving drunk with nothing but stumps in a stolen van towards LA on a mission to bugger Anne Hathaway.

It was awful, especially knowing that this is as good as it gets in the plastic zone. Hit with clichés like hail, I had to stop myself guffawing. Jack Nicholson has clearly been dead since 1989. DiCaprio and Damon could barely carry a 30 second biscuit advert. Marky Mark still has three nipples.

What was sad is it was like eating a meal from a once great chef who has been restricted to the same rather small fridge for thirty years. The results are competent but wearily familiar and emphasise persistent flaws more than they recall past glories. Broad-brush Catholic ethnic hood stereotypes. The wonderful word: “fuck”. Cruxifiction metaphors. A self consciously ok record collection.

Hey, at least I did not have to sit through the costume turdbomb he did last, but the man behind a few of my all time favourites should be doing better than this. Damn.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Red asphalt and champagne

Bavaesque moon
Originally uploaded by The Salaryman.
Some crimes truly are beyond comprehension. Poverty can lead to moments of desperate depravity and tasteless violence, dysfunctional minds to worse (or at best the surreal – one of our neighbours was held up with a banana). However, there is one act that society should tolerate even less than drooling cretins yanking the wire through their pockets in the Curry’s TV section during Holby City or lubing up a bemused horse: Celebrity drunk driving.

There seems to have been a spate of this recently – Mel ‘Sugartits’ Gibson Nazi ranting, F-lister Caprice ‘Pissed on the road because I have VD please play net poker’ Bourret and most recently, the adjective-defying Paris ‘The only reason I could find Banksy cool again briefly’ Hilton all have been caught sauced at speed.

If you are a ‘sleb, you can always, always, always afford a taxi. Or even a fucking chauffer with a background in Formula One if you need some speed to go with the booze/gak/etc and want to take it to the next level. There is the argument that if one has a serious motor driving it is a thrill in itself, but being chained in a concrete hole with seatless bogs is a bit of a let down. I am glad Paris was caged for longer than convenient but saddened that she was in a circumstance of relative privacy rather than handcuffed to a bench in a cell filled with scatologically obsessive and very creative sexual deviants armed with laxatives, duct tape and a camcorder. She could also learn about decadence from the gentleman whose adventures are to be found on the link above…

Friday, July 28, 2006

Londimium and the Isblington troll

Marker critics part 7673
Originally uploaded by The Salaryman.
If you put your ear to the ground of the media you can hear the sound of the great stampede after the next novelty, coming along like a bag of dog mess floating along a canal.

A couple of months ago I looked at the Observer Music Monthly, which is for the unhipster looking for the latest titles to make him the ‘forty quid bloke’ at HMV. On the cover was a young woman best described as a 4/10 edging down towards a 3, pretending to laugh on Primrose Hill to trail a feature by the intensely annoying Miranda Sawyer (an aging, expensively educated hack specialising in taking money for celebrating trivia) on ‘Lily the Kid: The perfect pop star.’

I soon realised, to my horror, that the bald-headed salt tadpoles of professional waste of skin and Listerine fairy Keith FUCKING ALLEN had spread his ignorant seed and begot an artiste of similar weight to himself. Her mouthy mockney ignorance, despite a string of expulsions from pricey schools was celebrated both by herself and the charming Miranda, the tone of whose prose read like the uncritical sweaty gruntings one would associate with some impossibly submissive sex act. Lily knows nothing, and even less about music. This gives her the blank slate of credibility.

Of course, despite having a manager for the six years it took her to break out like wind from a tramp’s trousers, its all down to her profile on MySpace. Hmmmm. In American marcomms there is a great term for simulated grass roots growth – ‘astroturfing’. One would have thought that allegedly trained journalists, bombarded 24/7 by PR would see through the con. In fact, a brave post on the Observer’s blog rumbled the shit by mentioning that when taking a mobile call at the close of an ‘innit’-erview she switched to a rather more plummy tone.

A few weeks later, she has emerged like a moth of wet bogroll from her media cuckoon and is everywhere, like the smell of rotting Durian fruits down an alleyway. I cast my eyes on another odious profile by mistake and she was lauded for her giggly admission that she does not know the difference between a guitar and a bass- a distinction that could be heard easily by an educationally subnormal squirrel monkey. It’s cool to be rich, dumb and well connected. The saturation marketing for this methane is everywhere, her airbrushed face all over the tube walls like bricks. One can only hope the backlash comes quick and fast like pissfoam. Maybe we should all watch people be unsafe instead…

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Boggin boomboxen

A new social phenomena is exploding on our bus network like hot protein out of a one string guitar player’s pornopowered riffing. The latest generation of mobiles can store and play back low quality audio files with ease.

This is nothing new, but the wrong sort have figured it out. The type that regret that headphones make audio personal as you can’t share the latest bits of cynical, sugary ear excrement doing the rounds. Get on a rammed bendy bus and before you know it a clash of tinny, muffled beats, insipid sexual longings and phallocentric oaths will fill the air like the pong from rained on food waste.

It is my fantasy to don a suit of armour and strap a mid-80s bass heavy Hitachi model to my chest and board the bus banging out the reductivist sound of Detroit Booty Bass – the sound of a real street much harder than any local estate. People raised on dodgy 2-step and macho shouting would be blown away by the likes of DJ Assault chanting “ASS ASS ASS ASS ASS ASS ASS ASS” over crude, jackhammer beats.

I did actually try this on a smaller scale – much to the chagrin of the lady of the house -loading the first verse of DJ Assault’s rather poor ‘Yo Relatives’ onto my handset and later when accosted by a lone chav larvae forcing out a muffled DIY CD:UK I took action. Slipping into a seat in the back opposite, I played the harsh sound of “YOUR MAMA YOUR DADDY YOUR SISTERS A HO. HO HO HO HO HO…” to see if a message was received. They turned up the crap, and I put it on repeat, bopping my head like an electroshock patient. This seemed to quiet things, though I am sorry to report that upon my exiting of the bus there was a window based exchange of masturbatory gestures. Maybe I am becoming feral too under the heat and pressure.

I’m certainly not alone. At my last visit to the Nordic temple of genteel shame (pIKEA) I noticed that one area in the kitchens section had been converted into an impromptu and very fragrant baby changing area, another had the evidence of shoplifted 15p tins of Swedish Perry consumed en masse in a moment of private pleasure. It made sense. You could start a commune in there if you had weapons to fend off the staff.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Sun sex sand and snotty screens

Words to live by
Originally uploaded by The Salaryman.
As soon as I heard David Lynch’s Inland Empire would not be premiering in Cannes, any urine-sodden embers of interest I had in this self-congratulatory blingfest were extinguished. However, from afar matters remain amusing. The poor reception given to a risible film from a pointless potboiler mentioned before in these pages was encouraging, but will mean little to knuckle-draggers at the Odeon.

What was better was the judicious use of “Boo” at a criminally overrated dynastic daughter of a Holywood waster. I remember eating stale popcorn while confined in the dark, watching the celluloid spack that it is Godfather Part III and noticing a particularly wooden performance from a dark haired, nose based actrice. Nepotism was in the house, as emerging dazed from a blizzard of Bolivian and dubious winemaking, Francis was ensuring the family business had an auteristic future. Later on, she celebrated Scarlett Johansson’s rear and Bill Murray’s deadpan skills in a piece based on the idea that, hey, Japan is really rather different and being there can seem lonely. It slid across the critical radar inoffensively like a tiny rubber cockroach on some imaginary Gozilla set.

Now she has combined period drama with post-punk, casting underfed, aging prom queen Dunst as Marie Antoinette, the misunderstood fun loving inbred who partied to the end, not smelling the fecal writing on the wall for a Regime that had outlived any kind of relevance in a world of reason. All concerned must have been assured of the brilliance of the project. The dichotomy of modern music and sensibilities in a period setting, edgy director, teen friendly cast and punky marketing would have had the focus group creatives as erect as an ill advised ‘astroturf’ web marketing campaign. Who would have expected an instant chorus of mockery to spoil the party? Like a bunch of monkey turds inserted amongst the Maltesers at an office function. Hopefully in the end a few fewer gimps will burn cash to see it when it emerges like a gilded, uncool cloud of flatus in the Autumn.

In the end, the judges continued the tradition of mistaking cack-handed propaganda for art and awarded old Stalinist Ken Loach the prize for his rant on the Irish Civil War. Of course, for Ken a Civil War can be confusing as it usually involves two sides with competing political claims (as well as atrocities to their name). This doesn’t work well with a tabloid binary worldview coupled to a comic book reading of Marxism. For Ken, a much better idea is to tell the story of plucky Celts fighting off genocidal Brits. Never mind the complex tragedies of Home Rule or the fact that De Valera’s legacy is that of a blood-soaked clown unable to accept the Treaty on offer as the best solution on the table, the whole thing is extremely good v. very bad much like Iraq in the eyes of the rump hard left. Put your plastic shamrock away please, Ken, as to sensible eyes this guff has less complexity than the average paramilitary mural.

A dramatist would see a tragic and bloody divorce, much like the partition of India. A polemicist sees only victims and villains, alongside a chance at export markets. One just hopes that the yoof will see it is a melodramatic romp and not even the smallest glimmer of history. Or drama.

If it is neither arthouse nor grindhouse it is nothing of value.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Revenge of the Weird:

Wandsworth gets interesting
Originally uploaded by The Salaryman.

When there was a kind of semi-functional taste arbitation other than Wal-Mart functioning in the culture industry genre works, conspiratorial nonsense, UFOs etc would be widely distributed paperbacks with promotion and hardback credibility given to things of more serious ‘intent’. The obliteration of the high/low cultural distinction imposed by the Romantics in a kind of opiate snobbery is liberating, but not without cost.

I remember a time when books about UFOs, religious conspiracies and other paranoiac nonsense were a guilty pleasure of shut-ins, curtain-twitchers, street corner mumblers and their unwashed friends. They were sold in American supermarkets, the back of Smiths, or shifty places with a curtained section at the rear for Japanese fart video distro. Pre-Jaws/Star Wars era New World Pictures and Warners were by in large in different markets. There is no way 1977 Hollywood would have made Death Race 2000, just as there is no way circa 77 drive-in land would have made Barry Lyndon. Now Hollywood would make neither, choosing instead to steal the easy formulas of B without the old transgression. Spielberg and Lucas showed the moneymen that formula and youth markets were worth stealing poor Roger Corman’s lunch to get at. It probably will owe a few lunches soon to Dan Brown, but he would be able to pick up the bill for X-Men 4, unless he is pick-pocketed by the Revenge of the Weird. ‘B’ has now taken over the bookshelves but has lost its trashy energy and sense of experiment in the process.

For now awaiting a verdict are two hairy bits of oddball who noticed that Brown had reached into the storm drain to retrieve an old bit of conspiratorial smegma – Holy Blood: Holy Grail to Xerox into his $200m+ potboiler. Jesus’ descendants are alive and well and having drinks in a Parisian Masonic Lodge or something and the Pope has bugged the world so anyone talking about it will be killed. Never mind that the lack of Biblical DNA sample availability renders this an unprovable assumption – as Richard Nixon found out some secrets are just too fucking big to keep. The latter point is a deadly fact for any conspiracy theory.

One wished that there was some way both sides could lose in a court case, though Brown repulsing the challenge would be better on balance for delaying the encroaching fungus of abused copyright. In any event, it is great to see the Weird reaching up from the bog to bite the gilded bum that cynically got the credibility long denied it, despite its paranoid passion.

I must say that if I had somehow hallucinated a interesting conspiracy – say that James Mason was in fact a malign shape-shifting alien over 2,000 years old that had actually kidnapped the real spirit of Easter, a blue Armadillo, replacing him in children’s minds with the image of a rabbit in preparation for a world takeover, written a bestselling but forgotten book about it only to have a failed singer-songwriter make more money than would be needed to buy Belize twenty years later by scribbling crap about it, I would go to violence before I went to Law.