Fairly mindblown by the Festival Hall double-header of Poppy And The Jezebels and The Duloks, can’t get The Lips Of Cleopatra and Star Trail out of me noggin.Primitive teen pop, always does the trick! Speaking of which the Classic Rockabilly box is proving a lo-fi treat. Plenty of songs about cats – Cat Just Got Into Town by Bill Mack takes the cake. And on a very different planet indeed I was v excited to spot Barry Gibb‘s 80s demos for Dionne Warwick, Babs Streisand, Diana Ross and Kenny Rogers in iTunes – at last, the Bee Gees do Islands In The Stream! Got it!!
Bingeing on books recently since I let my New Yorker subscription slip (tsk). David Peace‘s “novel” about Brian Clough‘s short tenure at Leeds United, The Damned United, was one of those read-it-in-two-days specials. I really hope it’s true that he took an axe to Don Revie’s desk. Stephen Frears is about to make a film of it apparently with top camp impersonator Michael Sheen (Kenneth Williams, Tony Blair, Cloughy??) to play Old Big ‘ead. Intreeging. Also great, though I never thought I was a fan, was Hellfire, the Jerry Lee Lewis biog by Nick Tosches. Heavily stylised, it’s all myths and maps and legends of the old south -jalopies, chickens, shotgun shacks and underage brides. May as well be the 19th century, it seems so far away now.
Not sure if Freaks And Geeks even made it over here at the end of the 90s, but get yrselves the box set! At first it seems like The Wonder Years with stoners and a grrreat Joan Jett theme tune, which would be ok enough. But after it sinks it’s teeth in, the characters are frighteningly realistic, right down to the posters on the bedroom walls and parents trying to act like it’s 1968 when it’s already 1980. Also on a big Veronica Lake trip – anything directed by Preston Sturges appears to be brilliant, wry screwball gear, but Sullivan’s Travels is the best I’ve seen yet: famous writer decides to live like ‘common people’ with suitably chastening results. Miss Lake, complete with peek-a-boo, switches from be-robed temptress to cheeky urchin and back, just like that. I Married A Witch is a scream, quite literally. See Veronica slide down the banister! Love her voice, too. I need to read a biog.
Fennel salad. Whitstable Bay ale. The 1940s John Bull printing kit I won on ebay.
Sorry about my slackness in updating this page, here’s whats on my stereo at the mo… Chico Buarque – Construção – especially the eerily dramatic opener Deus Lhe Pague. The first couple of Instrumentals from First Thought, Best Thought by Arthur Russell seem to drift into my mind on a daily basis. Zero: A Martin Hannett Story – I didn’t know he produced Jilted John – but it’s obvious in context Bob recently made me a compilation of new Scandinavian pop, a real shot in the arm – my two fave songs are: Mew – White Lips Kissed The Knife – New Years Eve
7 Lies – James Lasdun – great writing in a graham greeneish evocation of East Berlin Bury The Chains – Adam Hochschild – riveting history of the British Anti-Slavery movement Life Before Man & The Penelopiad – two more excellent Margaret Atwood books, the latter set on Ithaca (where I read it) adding a tragic dimension to my holiday. My Magpie Eyes Are Hungry For The Prize: The Creation Records Story – Dave Cavanagh. Didn’t read this when it came out as I was put off by its sheer size. Despite the queasy feeling of genuine nostalgia in reading of events and people I know (or know of) this is one of the best music books ever. Sweet Soul Music – Peter Guralnick If you can get past the author’s contention that Motown is not soul music, this book brings the main characters of the southern soul scene vividly to life. excellent Underground – Haruki Murakami – the Tokyo subway gas attacks through the eyes of survivors and members of the Aum cult provides an insight into the Japanese psyche (as well as adding an unneeded extra element of fear to a tube journey)
I thought Good Night and Good Luck was one of the best films I’ve seen in ages, last film I saw at the cinema was erm Curious George.
Shows how long ago I last updated this page as my daughter Heidi is now nearly 6 months old. She is all sweetness and light. So of course is Harvey although his nursery school teachers would beg to differ.
Some Cities – Doves: They just get better and better. They should be the biggest band in the world. And they’re lovely lads too.
Eleanor Rigby – Douglas Coupland: I think we’ve all read this now. It’s really hard to put down, despite the subject matter (M.S., terminal loneliness) there is a wealth of warmth and humour. Pete and I once had dinner at Douglas Coupland’s house and Pete is convinced he shattered his vision of Saint Etienne (as appears in his sleeve notes to Good Humor) by not knowing what a sommelier was.
Curb Your Enthusiasm – Martin and I find this is the perfect antedote to a day of hell. Larry David has always had a worse day than you have. However watching more than two episodes in a row is hazardous to your mental health and should be avoided.