KID SHIRT

Saturday, July 24, 2004

BAD NEWS COMES IN THREES

I sure hope not. Barely got over the demise of M. Distel when someone I know who works in Record Retail told me this afternoon that The Streets were number one in the mid-week charts. Damn.
    It seems like Mike Skinner can do no wrong in The Land of Blog...even, er, Grant Morrison likes him, but then Grant used to like The Smiths. Sorry, but someone's got to put their foot down, make a stand, draw a line in the sand, etc.  The bottom line, boys, is this:
    I. Can't. Go. For. That.

    It's dull. It's worthy. It's crap.It's Paul Weller.   
    Cue Dick Van Dyke in soot-stained chimney-sweep clobber:
    "Yeah, I know, mate, but it's 'sposed to be like that: Neo-Realist, innit. 'E's the bollocks, mate; the real deal, the Biz. The doggy's knackers. It's working-class poetry...stories from the street...'e's just tellin' it like it is, 'e is...y'know, 'ow it is on the streets: 'ow people...real people...not poncey, posey, middle-class gits like you, you fuckin' Joe-90 lookalike...'ow they're livin' their lives; what they're doin' to get by...you got a fuckin' problem with that, eh?  You jus' don' like it cause you're a pretentious twat, that's why. 'Cause it's ordinary and normal.  An' you think you're above all that..."
     Yeah, you're probably right: we're just too posh down here in the West Country. Or thick; I forget which. Maybe we can't relate to his dark and gritty tales of urban ragamuffins, dodgy scams and wasted afternoons at the bookies. Or perhaps it's his accent: truth be known, we don't actually understand what he's on about. People who talk like Reggie Yates are stoned to death on a regular basis down here. Well, why shouldn't we? They come down here with their fancy city ways, taking our jobs...Yeah, that must be what it is. His accent, I mean.  Come on, none of my friends talk like that. They say things like: "Aw- reet?" and "Proper job..." and "Wos this Grime stuff, then? Wher' can you hear that to? Ain't playin' it in Cru'kern, then, is 'em?" while we sit on the back of a tractor-trailor cidered-up en route to a Wurzels/Yetties double-bill in a barn somewhere near Shepton Mallet.
     No, I don't like it because...because despite its apparent authenticity, its over-pushy, pumped-up realism, it still somehow fails to convince...it's like there's something essential missing from its centre; there's a hole; a gap; a spectral frequency...a feeling that's gone awol from its core, like an old LP digitally-remastered so that it now sounds wrong...in theory, there should now be more information, more bandwidth present, but somehow there's less and it just sounds off in some way that's hard to describe. Mike Skinner's music sounds like that to me: leaden and shouty, and as dead and dull as The Jam. He's trying too hard. Or not hard enough. It doesn't tranport me; it doesn't scare me or surprise me or make me laugh or take me from behind. I get nothing from it, nada, no excitement, and there's nothing I can do to get past that. It's 'Hersham Boys' with a GCSE in English. 
    No, that's condescending and unfair: 'Hersham Boys' is ace. 
   


WEEKEND WARRIORS II

Some random observations about the Born to Rock couple below:
(a) They are wearing what appears to be fox-hunting headwear. Presumably, full-face helmets would obscure their finely-chiselled good looks, thus stopping them from getting Catalogue Modelling work. A word of caution: Polo helmets (or whatever they are) will not give you much protection in a head-on collision. Unless it's with a Royal.
(b) The bloke is wearing a singlet. How very Morrissey. Again, not much cop if you're side-swiped by a Ford Transit.
(c) I sure hope they really are in America, Land of the Free, because they're riding on the right-hand side of the road. Or maybe they're deliberately driving to their deaths...ie laughing in the face of the Reaper (Hmm. Maybe Blue Oyster Cult should've been on the comp.) as they gun their bike towards an on-coming milk-float. A truly heroic Rock Death: "Don' wanna live when I'm Twenny-five...speed jive..." "Oh, noooo, no: you're a rock 'n' Roll Suicide..." etc. Shit, you can get sued for singing stuff like that now. Oh, wow...I just thought: Uh, maybe, it's like Psychomania; you know, where those satanic bikers deliberately killed themselves by driving off of buildings and stuff, 'cause they knew they were comin' back and then they'd have a really cool soundtrack by John Cameron and Frog and nobody will be able to stop them.
(d) Chris' theory is that they're parked in a photographic studio, facing a wind-machine. I reckon she could be right: maybe someone's photoshopped out the bike-stand and pasted-in a picture of the Norfolk Broads. Photoshopped? Good Lord, is that a verb now, too? Oh well, if Morrissey can be an adjective...
    rrrRRight: so, what's the soundtrack to your weekend rebellion.


WEEKEND WARRIORS


And what about those music comps that they give away free with the papers these days, then? Who compiles these damn things - Stuart Maconie ? And since these CDs are intended as "complementary lifestyle assessories" then shouldn't the cover at least provide some sort of clue as to the genre, mood, style, etc of its contents? Well, you'd think so, wouldn't you?
    Take this one, for example, which came with today's Mirror.. it's got a couple of young people, high on life itself, astride a motorbike...which immediately sends out all sorts of unsubtle sub-Easy Rider signals about the nature of freedom, rebellion etc. You could even take a stab at guessing its contents: Steppenwolf, Hendrix, Deep Purple, Golden Earring, Free, AC/DC, the Doobie Brothers maybe, Canned Heat (Canned Heat? Sorry...complete brainfart...)...late 60's/early 70's Rawk Goddammit...the perfect mid-summer soundtrack as you barrel down the A303 in a Fiat Punto en route to yr cousin's wedding. 
    But you'd be wrong. This is an insane selection...there's no logic to it far as I can see: Tears for Fears, Joe Cocker, Ocean Color Scene, Graham Parker (Graham Parker? What tha--?) all lumped in together in a muddy, murky, genre-free morass of B-sides or, at best, not the song you want them to play...Thin Lizzy are present, but playing "Whiskey in the Jar", not "Jailbreak". And, fair enough, Bachman Turner Overdrive perform "Roll on Down the Highway"...which sorta fits with the rebellious free-spirit theme of the cover-art...but it's not "You ain't seen nothing yet", is it? (Or as we've renamed it: "You ain't seen "You ain't seen nothing yet"")  Quite frankly, whoever put this together is fucking nuts. Or maybe these are the last few songs in the entire world that i-Tunes haven't licensed yet.
    We've got thousands of these bloody things in the car; each placed randomly in the wrong sleeve (Girl in Night-Club theme, Girl in Open-Topped Sports-Car theme, Rock-Chick Theme, Girl Arriving at Airport theme...); each with one or two tracks on it that we like, so it's a lucky dip, a lottery...put it in the CD-player and hope it's the one with "Video Killed the Radio Star" on it, or "Atomic", or "Carwash" or, curiously, "I'm Bored" by Iggy Pop. Sure, I could make a compilation out of the best of these compilations, but that's not the point. Half the fun is skipping through the crap, desperately trying to remember what comes next. This is loads, loads better than having an i-Pod. You don't have the fuss of filling that 40gig of memory...it's random...it...it's Punk Rock, mate! And it's completely free.
    Free? What, you didn't think we actually bought a paper, did you?