Tuesday, 18 November 2008

For Music Geeks: the Five Best Starts to Jazz Records I have Heard.

Not that I'm an authority on the matter, I just listen to a lot of jazz.

In no particular order:

1. Eric Dolphy - The Illinois Concert (1963)
2. The Art Ensemble of Chicago - A Jackson in Your House (1969)
3. Miles Davis - On the Corner (1972) (it was a toss up between this and "Kind of Blue" (1959). "On the Corner" won for shock purposes)
4. Sun Ra - Space is the Place (1972) (although it may not count because it's a little long winded, but the opening horn melody is a killer)
5. Ornette Coleman - Free Jazz (1960) (after careful considertion because it's kind of an obvious choice, but perhaps some things are obvious for a reason)


If "Poise" by Ornette Coleman was the opening track on "This is Our Music" (1959), that would have be in place of "Free Jazz", but it isn't so its not. I also contemplated Max Roach's Freedom Now Suite "We Insist!" (1960), but it was too long winded (it's worth checking out though, when the band kick in it's one of the best things you can lay your ears on). Freddie Hubbard's "Here to Stay" (1962) was a considered, but it didn't quite cut the biscuit.

And it almost goes without saying: the openings to "Giant Steps" (1960), "My Favourite Things" (1961), and "A Love Supreme" (1965) by John Coltrane strongly contend to outdo any openings ever, but I thought I would give some other records a chance... because I'm nice like that.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

...and that's supposed to be good is it?

I had the misfortune of catching So What by Pink (aka P!nk, or Alecia Beth Moore) on T4 this morning whilst trying to enjoy my sultana bran (that probably says it all really). The song is fundamentally about Moore's break up with her husband, with other personal nuances that give it that three dimensional layer of decoration, as we can tell by this section of the lyrics:

Pink So What:
Uh, check my flow, uh

The waiter just took my table
And gave to Jessica Simp- Shit!
I guess I'll go sit with drum boy
At least he'll know how to hit
What if this song's on the radio
Then somebody's gonna die
I'm gonna get in trouble
My ex will start a fight

Na Na Na Na Na Na Na
He's gonna start a fight
Na Na Na Na Na Na Na
We're all gonna get in a fight

So, so what?
I'm still a rock star
I got my rock moves
And I don't need you
And guess what
I'm having more funAnd now that we're done
I'm gonna show you tonight
I'm alright, I'm just fine
And you're a tool
So, so what?
I am a rock star
I got my rock moves
And I don't want you tonight...

...Whoo Hoo
Ba Da Da Da Da Da

Ba da da da da da

Imagine having this wretch sneering at you first thing in the morning; am I supposed to feel sorry for this big "rock star", who has ripped off the public with this lazy and above all cheap wordplay? When people listen to this song do they think "I remember my divorce and when Jessica Simpson took my table at a restaurant, I found it easy to take solace in the fact that I was a big massive rock star which really boosted my confidence"? I'm genuinely confused by this! But then again, rhyming 'Simp- shit' with 'hit'... round of applause for that anyone?

If you really feel like finding out more go here:


Saturday, 6 September 2008

Classic but underused swear names

In August I instigated a list that, with the help of some rather contrary friends, compiled the best of the forgotten swear names. Here is that list.

I believe all of these, when used appropriately, can be quite cutting:

Brut (which also can be used as an adjective: i.e. "you brutish cow"; and so on)
Dick head
Moron (although that's making a comeback)
Plebeian (abbreviates to Pleb)
Toss Pot
Tripe (although this can only be used in a certain way, at a certain time)
Troglodyte (abbreviates to Trog)

An example of how one uses such words appropriately:

Close your mouth when you eat you wretched sod.
How dare you take my mother's name with strife, you foul mouthed twit.
What a lot of codswollop, you curmudgeonous old git.

Monday, 2 June 2008

Prime Time Television and Gok Wan

It's almost painful to admit that, recently, I have slipped back into entertaining the hideous ritual of getting home from work, cooking my tea, and indulging in destroying my soul with prime time television. Being in the prime of my life, and with little responsibility, I have the perfect opportunity to be doing something productive or creative or exciting, instead I sit in front of the fucking idiot machine trying to figure out how many hours you can potentially spend watching the 'hit TV comedy' 'Friends' in the space of seven days (it's 43.5 without sky plus).

With the current life style choice, which I don't think is doing anything for a good sense of well being, a certain chirpy chappy named Gok Wan has been brought to my attention. Often found running around the streets and doing something 'crackers' like, I don't know... biting into the rolly polly derrière of a large bosomed middle-aged lady, his mission to make people 'Look Good Naked' is one that I'm becoming increasingly cynical of.

I must confess, to have someone out there is saying 'you don't have to be stick thin to be attractive', is applaudable and to a large extent true because a certain percentage of the stick thin models do things like pop diarrhea pills, or ingest a tape worm or so to stay in shape, which isn't that attractive. Of course a curvaceous lady can be attractive as well, attractive people come in all different shapes and sizes. However, I still find Gok's message disconcerting (despite finding him to be quite the annoying boob), because he doesn't really teach people to 'Look Good Naked', rather he teaches them to wear different clothes and excess makeup, and to get a zany hair cut, and buy creams... you get the picture.

Call me a philistine, but surely the idea of looking good naked is having confidence and pride within yourself, and being able to communicate that without the secondary function of the accessory, not the other way round? Don't get me wrong, I do like to think about what I'm wearing, I have certain items of clothing that take preference over others, and I do like to 'dapper up' probably more than is necessary; but even the punks who debunked taste and culture still thought about what they were wearing (although I'm by no means a 'punk'). However--and at the risk of sounding incredibly corny--I put me first then the outward appearance expresses that, I don't follow Gok's rule of good outside makes good inside.

Now he has his new show 'Fashion Fix', and--as with his other show--the surface message isn't all that bad: you don't have to spend thousands of pounds to wear reasonably nice looking clothes. I say 'you' here, mainly referring to women because none of his subjects are male; of course, being a male, I'm quite content wearing socks with my sandles, and I find the practicality of the 'bum bag', or the transatlantic 'fanny pack', very interesting. Thus it is perfectly plausible that Gok should not want to extend his arms out and try and dress a male subject in a virile manner: we are simply not interested. Obviously I'm being facetious, but if he were to dress a man I can only quiz that he would dress them within the stylings of the metrosexual, and that quite simply isn't my bag (or should I say 'fanny pack'?) so I should probably stop complaining. I can say that because one of my friends is a metrosexual, nice fellow actually.

But this is beside the point. The premise of the show is that Gok spends the best part of an hour having a rollicking good time, trying to show that with only a few hundred bob, and an acute and extremely detailed knowledge of tailoring and the way clothes work, that you can make 'cheap' clothes look just as convincing as a high-end fashion outfit. At the end of the show he then presents his outfits simultaneously with some high end outfits, and the audience (of about 50 or so people who represent every single member of the British public) have to guess which ones are the pricey ones, and of course Gok usually wins his battle with his fashion trickery. Is it me, or is this just a clever form of deception? The audience feel good that they have one up on the fashion elitists, when actually they haven't realised that Gok's message may as well be 'you're all too thick to tell the difference'.

One last point, and something that's always bothered me, he's always telling women to be proud of their well ripened behinds... etc. Gok used to weigh twenty one stone and now his as thin as a rake... again I'm probably being far too cynical, but perhaps he's just a massive ego trip, and he likes the fact women are larger than him... maybe it gives him a confidence boost?

Friday, 23 May 2008