Friday, June 26, 2009

What a massive club looks like

And with Sonic Strewth in danger of turning into an offbeat football webzine, I also belatedly link to Owen on the Theatre of Creams, in itself part of an appendix on his BD urban trawl:
...many curious things, including the bizarre Yeltsin-Constructivism of Old Trafford, where domineering symmetries, bared structure and outrageously kitsch statues prove the enduring ridiculousness of the world's least interesting football team”.

The Damned United, indeed.

(addendum, september '09)
but just to show i am not bitter and blue i did design this invite for the partner of my partner's sister.
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...Iran promptly ‘retired’ four of the green armband-wearing players, just one element of Khamanei’s crackdown. Fifa’s complaint to Tehran
will make no difference at all.
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Friday, June 19, 2009

Theory bump

Just as it should be, it's an actual tune that has done the best justifying of the continuum talk, though it has come from a theorist's camp. Cooly G's ep on Kode9's Hyperdub offers two belters in Narst and Love Dub.

Narst is all early Wiley ominous strings with a banging undercurrent and firm subs redolent of early Warp amid hints of soca/funky influence. Love Dub pays homage to the often overlooked jazzy elements of peak-era jungle, with woozy early morning keys, seriously loose drums of varying timbre and pattern and Cooly's (?) sirenade dropping in and out. Quite literally lovely. And there's almost no chance this could have been on a nice balearic comedown tape in the early 90s (actually there is - i love the fact she is not afraid of talking about 'deep house'). The refix is a bit more soundsystem-friendly.

Hyperdub 20 is out today. Get behind it.
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Thursday, June 18, 2009

2000:10 – Corky’s dizaine

In a definite boost for the stuttering top 10 of the decade series (resuming soon! - I told you it would take all year), City fan and Leeds’ finest Corky offers an inspiring top 10, full of regional detail and free of London insular bias. LCD, the 'Werk and !!! among them - this is getting the compi fingers itching now.

You can socially network with him on mespace and facebonk, but for now, forsake the (very well articulated) hate to feel the love.

The tale of the ageing hipster, been there, done that, got it on white-label, being overtaken by the kids with their downloaded knowledge. A simple, driving basslines, a droll monotone vocal, a list of great bands, great records, great times. Still on heavy rotation on my iPod after six years. And yes, I bought it on import before you did. I was there.

Before I heard this there were only two records guaranteed to get me onto the dancefloor. Now there are three. It reminds me of Friday nights at the Cockpit, drunken euphoric nights, sambuca, chain-smoking, too much dry ice. The Rapture morphed from neo-goth to punk-funk to dancefloor killers and this, sadly, was their apex, a great live band as well.

I was shocked when Kraftwerk announced that they were finally going to release a new album after 17 years. 17 years that had seen a remix album and the Expo single – levels of productivity that made the Stone Roses look like workaholics. The Tour de France single was ok but it was with some trepidation that I approached the album. I wasn’t disappointed and this, for me, is the standout track on the album – typical Kraftwerk, a seemingly mundane lyric (a list of vitamins and minerals ) repeated over a simple, echoey beat. It's as good as anything as Kraftwerk have ever done and, like all their best stuff, it's timeless and otherwordly.

4. SHE’S HEARING VOICES – BLOC PARTY (ep version, not album)
Bloc Party’s first and finest moment came to me via the first Art Goes Pop compilation. Punky, funky, shouty, angular, insistent – you know the words. Doesn’t sound like Gang of Four, despite the media insistence that it does. Every Bloc Party release since this one has been a pale imitation, I try to like them but they just don’t move me or make me want to move.

A grower. The Stilts were recommended to me by Matt at Jumbo Records and at first listen I was disappointed – it just sounded too lo-fi, a pastiche of early Mary Chain and sundry C86 fodder. By the third listen I was hooked, yeah it sounds like it was recorded in a dustbin but its soooo beautiful and simple that it wormed its way into my heart and stayed there. Catch them live, if you can – short and shambolic.

The early 80s of the Chameleons, Bunnymen & Joy Division distilled into five minutes of perfect pop. Wear black, gel your hair, scowl and get your ass onto the dancefloor. Apparently they have 200 couches, go figure.

The most played song on my iPod, single of the year 2009, best live band I’ve seen in an age. I find Deerhunter hard to define, they remind me of many things and yet they remind me of nothing. If there was any justice, Deerhunter would be massive and Bono would be found dead in a wardrobe. Sadly, there is no justice.

“Sucking on my titties like you wanted me, calling me, all the time like Blondie, check out my chrissy behind It's fine all of the time. Like sex on the beaches what else is in the teaches of peaches? Huh? What?” What’s not to love?

If you are just gonna be a snob about Girls Aloud because they are a ‘manufactured group’, well you can go fuck yourself. Pop music has always been manufactured and reality tv has given it a transparency that doesn’t diminish the end product. Girls Aloud make great pop records and this is one of their finest. It's a strange record, it's three records in one, it makes no sense and yet it works on every level.

Chk Chk Chk put the funk in the punk funk revival. I’ve run out of things to say. Buy all these records. Now.

Honourable mentions to School of Seven Bells, Wavves, Navvy, Mekon, the Rakes, Clor, Hot Hot Heat, South Central etc etc.

Expect more reader charts and comments as the 2000:10 progresses.
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Iran players support anti-Ahmadinejad protests

Forget the recession-proof world of obscene transfer deals - the 80 squillions that took the volatile hyena Ronaldo to the filthy merengues from the theatre of cream par example - by far the most important soccer gesture took place last night when half the Iran team, including captain Mehdi Mahdavikia, wore green armbands in support of opposition candidate Mir Hossein Moussavi, as efforts continue to get rid of Ahmadinejad after a rather dodgy election count.

My YouTube ain't great, but you should be able to see some of them sporting the bands in the first half coverage - perhaps a word came from Tehran in the break as they took them off for the second. The game in Seoul ended 1-1 but Iran were eliminated due to other results in their group.

Iranian fans were also showing their support for the uprising, according to AP (including photo gallery): 'Fans from Iran also showed their support for the demonstrations at home by staging a protest outside the stadium. They unfurled a banner that read "Go to Hell Dictator," and chanted "Compatriots, we will be with you to the end with the same heart. During the match, protesters waved the banner, held up green paper signs reading "Where is my vote?" and waved Iran's national flags emblazoned with the plea "Free Iran."' (AFP story and pix)

Let's get the establishment stooge hidden like his favourite imam.

Ironically, another old axis member, North Korea, took Iran's place in the world cup after drawing with Saudi Arabia.
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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Pathetic and hapless

It’s a look I resort to all too often, and not just to myself when something mildly upsetting has happened. That’s because this little expression’s emotional range is deeper than you think, coming in handy as a hello substitute. It was particularly adaptive in this regard during a recent euro-fam break in the other Bretagne there in France. Here, you don’t know whether the almost-community of the camping and caravan resort implies an inclusiveness requiring greetings to everyone you see, regardless of whether you've made acquaintance. Or that could apply to those staying down the same allée as you. Or those just opposite and up and down.

Wherever, it offered a welcome universality in blanket ungreetings that fall way down on the social etiquette counter. Just right for the ‘English at play’, in Austin’s accurate words. With French men and women when you were walking along the marshy swamps just before the atlantic coast beaches, full bonjours were tossed and shared, if not with an exchange of appreciation, then at least with effort. With the upper working and lower middle cultural aberrations from the british isles however, I remind myself you’re only a man u or a barca top away from a massive disagreement.

What the nonce does this sappy look say? Redolent of a reluctance to engage as well as little more than a pathetic self-conciliation, great for in exchanging with blokes that may erroneously feel like me they’ve been enormously put on what with the all the kids and bags and shit. Trouble is some of the ‘guys’ had frustrating levels of energy that my bloated self could not match. Sometimes plain mutual ignorance is preferable, but this does the job if eye-crossing is inevitable. With real friends it also comes in handy as a kind of sarcastic flabbergast in the style of morris digesting some of the day today's news items.

A pity that it doesn’t offer much greeting at all, more an obvious unwillingness to evade visual and verbal contact. More pseudo-emotional drivel can be found across pages of national newspapers, particularly at the weekend.
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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Losing it in the family

(adds some edits)

Love Nina’s posting of various unequivocal positions on patriarchcal naming practices even by the so-called leftwing – husband insisting on wife losing her ‘maiden’ name, sons often being given the name of the father, vanity and pride and a cloying cosseting taking over. Let me mention my pet hate on naming for the next generation - the lurch to Victoriana. All these emilys, georges, oscars, joshuas and the like functioning, presumably, as a kind of rootsy, redbrick permanence against the transient flows of globalised modernity, an obvious mark of difference from the soppy, fly-by-night exotica or ethnica or the chavvy whatever-name-is-popular-on-TV-at-the-time-of-birth. Yet we always wanted some orientalist hint of the kids’ subcontinental 25%, while also sticking my name in as the boy’s second; oh and my wife took my name (but generally doesn’t use it anywhere as far as I can tell - she’s quite proud of her father’s family name). Somewhere, in between then, but basically guilty as hell and as charged bruvs.

Such disclosure naturally leads me to ponder where I am now, as ‘my’ twins approach their third birthday, and where I have come from. Not quite wholly suppressed, but certainly the fire of the angry young man is down to the embers, igniting again only on occasion, more often than not misfiring or lightly charring the wrong targets. Because you know, there ain’t time, as rigorous spells of patronly induction take precedence. You have no more than two and a half hours every night of genuine free time. Eastenders and the latest massive game on Sky Spores, or research on speculative realism? Things fall by the wayside. Beware this analysis will slip between general and personal observations all too easily.

The naming foible is a classic example of the stranglehold of paternalist capitalism, where constant exception can be found to mitigate against even our best intentions and right-on views. It was all so easy before the fall – won’t use that, don’t buy that, fuckoffmortgages – before marriage instilled compromise (inherent in the act of union itself - I never thought I would relent as much again as I did when I agreed to marry in a house of God; my wife actually believes in the big man upstairs) and commitment as musts and kids made, well, giving up, an almost necessary modus operandi. What is the most convenient, nay safest, option?

It certainly doesn’t surprise me people become a little softer yet more proud of themselves and their background when the children arrive (or vain in that horrible ‘hey, look at this emblem of my procreation’ smug way). Add to that the element of protection which this naming practice implies; we had enough problems making any kids at all that when they did arrive of course we wanted as many metaphorical umbilica as we could find. And as I said in the birth post, those early weeks will offer you genuinely transcendental moments which you’d be a fool not to recognise, and quickly assimilate into family mythology. The end result is often a doting and past-it ‘daddy’; you surprise yourself just how much of a ‘parent’ you can be, indeed are. And the phrase ‘could you ever imagine yourself doing ...insert family cliché here... 10 years ago’ is common and irritating one, but entirely true.

But they are just some manifestations of a period of hyperflux, where maddening self-inquiry often around the ‘am I ready for this/do I want it’ themes eats up those free moments. The switch from self-contained independence will suffer as selfish traits are doggedly retained, Add in confusion, encroachment (your parents and in-laws), nightly sleep deprivation and, most sadly, the inescapable endless comparisons with your partner’s new local friends and their offspring, as well as your own pals and their progress with parenting. Then, some days the act of parenting will be so hard for whatever reasons (often chief among them being depression caused by the loss of your ‘spark’) that you will front it a bit when you’re out in public. Sure, me and the kids can get through this. It’s either that or revealing the darkside of moodswings and punitive retribution for bad behaviour, which isn’t going to go down well in a gentrified café in some regenerated bobo district of the capital. It’s amazing the family man keeps any of his prior held principles at all. Just how you fit in beyond your parent persona will be much more of an issue than family names.

Other factors help direct you towards a more staid role. You will be sole breadwinner for at least some of the time. The ability to pay the bills (indeed you learn to love work precisely because it’s not parenting) is a point of extra pride (and an extra pint of Pride every third Thursday with ‘the lads’; gigs, clubs and events of all kinds taking a back-seat), while your very existence is now a moral test and much more so when it was just you and your partner. Everything outside of work + family and those aforementioned occasional treats is ethically out-of-bounds, drugs, extra-marital sex (obviously) and, I guess, extremity of opinion from the consensus.

That’s me now, Daddy Pig out of Peppa Pig, overweight, past-it, still basically a sound guy (you wish!) and crucially always there for the kids, even if it’s just for indulgi-play.

So far, so strait-jacketing. Yet still there is always room for outside interests, for passion, for political belief, for vision, or just part-time transgression. In the first two years I kept on keeping on with McClintock way more than I should have, jeopardising my relationship by turning the mac on at every available opportunity. I hope for further outlets like that. Just don’t expect the leftwing ever to be the main focus any more, or surprised if the will and the wiles are no longer there if the opportunity for action, agitation or activism presents itself. Don’t be surprised if it’s all coulda, shoulda, woulda from here. What was ‘in the pipeline’ at Johnny Junior’s birth will more often than not stay there. We are not very far from the sketch in the Armando Ianucci Show, where all men who have reached 45 go into a home – ‘what they have started now they will never finish. They are spent’.
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Thursday, June 04, 2009

Saturday night

Bruce has flipped causes for his next spot of gig organisation. The man we used to recognise round these parts as Czukay has helped put together a benefit night for Climate Camp, again at London's Cross Kings, just a skip up York Road from King's Cross. Expect another set of diverse performances including improvisation, character comedy and some rousing musical acts to finish things off, alongside speakers who will help promote the enviro agenda for the next few months as we lead up to a crucial summit of world fudgers, sorry leaders, in Copenhagen toward the end of the year.

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