Saturday, August 05, 2006

Numerous bits and bobs

La vida Kulcheral!

The Quidditch most gratifyingly scratched by:

Kid Creole and the Coconuts: Just discovered the magnificence/munificence of Kid Creole’s “Tropical Gangsters” an album overflowing with scintillating textures, insane hooks and polyrhythmic peversity. It’s weird how things exist in the imagination, for example, Rat at Rat R’s “Free Dope for Cops and Kids” which I haven’t heard for about fifteen years is, in my mind, “the greatest record ever made,” a spiralling, free-form ten-minute ArtPunk wig-out of Bartokian complexity and rigour, whereas Kid Creole, who, up until Thursday I hadn’t heard for twenty years were leaden, dire, pastiche-funk drek. The opposite is of course true, Rat at Rat R are, I suspect, a bunch of one-note sub-Sonic Youth angsty poseurs whereas the KING is a mauve and tangerine clad Minstrel bestriding a multitude of genres and bending them all effortlessly to his impish, ludic will. What were my thirteen year old ears hearing? I had a similar revelation last year when, finally picking up a copy of “Rip it up…” ( the album) I sat ear-boggled by the whole thing (especially the way that version of “Breakfast Time” lurches off into the omniverse) and then wept bitterly realising, Jesus! I could have been listening to this for twenty years (except of course I was deaf to its brilliance until then) when instead I spent at least five years of that precious time wondering when the next White Zombie cd was out!!!!!!!

Doll by doll: Revenge of memory. One of those apparently legendary one-that-got-away-type bands, Jackie Leven’s pre-punk, post-punk crew live in Sheffield in 77, (pretty patchy sound quality), pitched somewhere between Television's winnowed psychedelia, the New Gold Dream of the Bunnymen et al and the Apopalypticism of “Requiem” era Killing Joke. There’s a bit of Doctor Feelgood in there too, (they may have dyed their hair Punky pink and green but their ale-brown pub-rock roots are definitely showing through). Leven himself, post smack-addiction, a vicious kicking in a Glasgow pub and the kind of weight gain that makes Giant Haystacks look like Audrey Hepurn, has gone on to make a set of really errr..interesting (in the best possible sense) folk/rock albums. Actually it’s a real grower and it's a shame that the original albums are impossible to find.

Well, at least they are for a quid.

Just seen: Miami Vice. No doubt had acres of press coverage. I enjoyed it I have to say, but then I’m a Michael Mann fan (like, what hip young film head isn’t, hey?) what I like most about his stuff (ahh… the kind of epic graininess of it all!) especially Heat (and to a degree "The Insider"/ "Collateral" ) and now "Miami Vice" is the way his “heroes” are absolutely, emotionally dead, pure products of what they do/the institutions they represent, functional nodes. In “Miami Vice” it’s taken to even greater extremes than in “Heat”, not just that heroes and villains are interchangeable (just different types of middle-class professional in America’s late–capitalist money-morality) but that the leads (especially here) seem to have no subjectivity at all and no “relationship” to each other as such. There’s a hint of romance and angst in both but it's vigorously purged by the demands of the job. “Life” (affective relationships, meaningful self-expression, human(e) interactions) is something foredoomed/foreclosed form the start and available only in the briefest of snatches. The remorseless reality is work. Has Mann been honing his vision of the life of the American professional classes and refracting it through genre? I reckon so. Somewhat ludicrously I’ve never read anything by Ballard (honestly!) but I suspect that Mann is “Ballardian” (correct me if I’m wrong), a series of affectless, semi-androids play out their programming against a background of clean, hyper-modern non-spaces from which they are barely themselves differentiated. Mann’s films are so “now “ they seem like science-fiction. Maybe this is why his films, especially “Heat”, some early sequences in “Collateral” and now “Miami Vice” always remind me of “Blade Runner” more than anything else.

An Impostume informant has suggested that GHB is becoming increasingly popular on the club scene, sold over the Internet for seventy-five quid a bottle as some kind of metal cleaner. Yep, it’s the drug that killed River Phoenix (though if you’ve ever seen River Phoenix, a willowy, snub-nosed, pasty-faced elfling who made Leonardo de Caprio look like Harvey Keitel, you’d have to wonder just how prospectively dangerous a drug that killed him was for anyone else). Apparently the resurgence in popularity of such drugs is a response to the increasing scarcity of good E. GHB’s effects are described as “really speedy, but clean” (well it is an industrial detergent after all!) but easy to overdose on. Apparently two of the five participants had a pipette drop too many in their beer and passed out, while another spent the whole night puking. I was also delighted to discover that C.K Lines (no, not a burgeoning country and western star) is now the polydrug binger's weapon of choice, alternating lines of Coke and Ketamine. A true and heartening indication of the “classless” Britain of the early twenty-first century, (we're all Underclass now!) after all, it was only ten years ago that Special K was viewed as the Chav’s choice, the Pikey's poison, and here it is now, happily side by side on the toilet cistern with a bit of good-old, respectable, middle-class Charlie. How times have changed! A cause for celebration for all of us I think, god bless you, Mr Blair!

Up and coming:

Baldness.Still loosing hair by the fistful: this whole thing about “ don’t think of it as losing hair think of it as gaining face” might be of comfort to some but given a face that I can only describe as already being “equine” in its proportions (“longer than a wet weekend in Skegness” (known locally these days as Skag-ness, I’m told so maybe a wet weekend there wouldn’t be too bad if you’d made certain lifestyle choices) as me old Mum would say) this is cold comfort.

An interview with James Couling: Who he? He a bloke I work with who I find fairly interesting ( faint praise indeed, sorry James!) and who abortively attempted to teach me how to DJ Drum and Bass. When it transpired that I still couldn’t tell whether the two tracks were beat matched when one was playing at forty five and the other at thirty three, and that I kept chronically underestimating the sheer tug of the turntables, repeatedly ending up with half my torso jammed under the stylus, we gave up. Basically James started listening to drum and bass young and has now graduated on to, err… Led Zep and the Beatles and like, strumming an acoustic guitar for kicks. When I suggested to him that he wasn’t, in fact, supposed to be doing this, that he was supposed to be part of the Wired Generation who had dispensed with all that old bullshit and were constituted as post-human, neural networks who jacked up on soniks and had superseded hoary old shibboleths like “meaning” and “ content” in favour of a praxis of “intensities” he looked askance and suggested that this kind of attitude was ok when you were thirteen but didn’t become an adult.

Interestingly I know quiet a few people younger than me (alright, a lot younger) who’ve gone through a similar “conversion” to Trad. A kind of reaction against the overwhelming influence of Hip-hop/drum and bass/Grime you hear all around you as a “ yoot” and a possible reason why Indy/Rock seem to be in the ascendant….anyway…we shall see.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Carl. Love this thing, It's strange though, It's like all your chattier instincts have been given permission to gather together and talk air into the ether.

As for King Creole, well I seem to remember your Dexy's epiphany, and that was as equally full-on.