Saturday, August 23, 2008

Just stumbled on this report from 1981:

"Billy Joel, the singing star, testified in Federal District Court in Brooklyn in the trial of the Sam Goody record-store chain and two of its executives on charges of dealing in counterfeit cassette and eight-track tapes of popular music.

"About 4,000 allegedly bogus tapes of a Joel album, ''The Stranger,'' are among the 100,000 counterfeit tapes that the prosecution says are involved in the case. Mr. Joel testified that, generally speaking, purchasers of counterfeit tapes got less for their money because "you lose a certain amount of original fidelity and volume and a certain amount of quality."

"The courtroom was packed during Mr. Joel's one-hour appearance. At one point he was asked by Judge Thomas C. Platt to stop chewing gum while on the witness stand."


Had a strange dream about Blur last night; wh/ is weird in itself, because aren't they like, dead, or something...

Wh/ makes me wonder what the dream was really about.

Blur weren't actually in it, except as phantom drifting presences, hidden around the back of a neural corner; secreted in a synaptic space somewhere between thoughts. The dream took the structure of an endless tracking-shot through generic London streets, except everything was tinted with light browns, dark ochres and muddy reds as if viewed through an optical filter. Blur hovered over the proceedings.

One of their songs was playing - that plinky, plonky, fey-vocal'd aggregation of music-hall tropes 'alf-inched from The Kinks, Madness, etc that infested their so-called 'classic' era - but it was remixed half-way in, on the fly, morphing into a sort of ham-fisted rhythmic breakdn populated by whhoooooshhhing whitenoise synthsounds that sounded like fake jets and, if as if to confirm this, the p.o.v. altered to show a section of the sky between Retro-Orwellian/Whitehall styled buildings. The musical jets seemed to fwoooossh back and forth, invisibly, twisting and panning around in 360 degrees as if they'd been recorded in Zuccarelli Holophonics tm. But I couldn't figure out if it was a synth or a guitar fed through pedals. Then it started annoying me because the sound sounded like a reference to MBV; I can remember clearly thinking that I didn't want them in my dream: Blur was bad enough - but a partial remix by MBV...gaaaah!

But there was a murmured, almost subliminal spoken-word thing going on low in the mix; a narrative which claimed that Blur had dodgy, long-denied secret links with MI5; that they'd been working in tandem with them in some sinister, unspecified way: they were not to be trusted..."they had been recruited at art-school" (lol) for some vague, long-term, deep-cover mission; Albarn wearing wire-taps while on stage (!!!); MI5 funded his share in a bar in Reykjavik to cover-up regular trips to Iceland; arms-deals in Mali; some sort of investigation of terrorist links to UK arts-funding and The South Bank - he was to infiltrate the Hoxton chattering classes, sniff out signs of some unnamed infiltration...Coxon had been uncomfortable with the group's association with UK Intelligence agencies and it had driven him into deep depression - this was the real reason why he had left; but he'd been made to sign some non-disclosure document with terrible, unspecified penalties if he opened his mouth; Alex James had been mixing with media-people, schmoozing n snorting in the bogs at The Groucho with Guardian hacks 'til he got a column, but he'd been pumping them about their political affiliations inbetween writing about cheese-making and his domestic rural idyl...the remix section ended and the song suddenly auto-restarted again with that maddeningly catchy sub-Mike Barson pub-piano riff, while Blur hovered overhead, unseen but oddly present, like spectral faces presiding over the outro of an imaginary WBS routine: "...Grey Room receding Grey Room receding The Ovens burn all evidence of their own existance Insect-Men of Minraud burn their way through phantom windswept streets of 1936 death-rays crackling with cum and bright blue arcs of electricity The Reality Film unspools and an old hobo coughs in the pale tubercular twilight as buildings collapse and the image crumples and bursts into flames like a strip of old celluloid film we pull out from the scene flying high over the burning city A. J. and The Lemondrop Kid smiling down from the laudanum afterlife as Old Sarge pulls the plug on the life-support machine... "

When I woke up I realised that the Blur song that had sounded so familiar to me in the dream didn't actually exist.