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Just watching Kaiser Chiefs on some what was it ah yes CD UK 'review of the year' (ha ha): why is it that every time I finally hear one of the current outbreak of C4/NME tub thump type 'great invigorating future of English guitar bands!' guitar bands ... they sound like (god i'm ancient) The Ruts? or The Members?

Go instead to Trueboy and play the MP3 of My Bloody Valentine live: wow. I'm not even much of a guitar rawk boy, but that sure sounds like heaven to me.
(NB: this live sample is also exactly how I'd always thought Sonic Youth would sound after all the blether I heard about them - but they never did; always something too much of the SoHo NYC art gallery about them somehow...)

I listened in shock and awe to the SA RA cd Matt sent me the last few days and was utterly seduced - such a strange intoxicating bloom! It sounded like these nerdy guys who'd been locked in a room for 18 months with just the first two Bootsy lps and first two Chrome lps for company. (Or substitute Sly, and The Residents.) Strange grey alien drug-strippled fonkateers, doomed to release one or two briliant records and then fade back into the half lite....
Now I read they're all feckin Harvard Business School speak and World Domination flow charts and Meet My Celebrity Pal guest spot about it - and I just can't listen to it; I really can't. (OK, yes, I'm a self hypnotised victim of the Romantic Fallacy: but I mean shit, I've been this way 30 years, it's a bit late to mend the error of my ways now...)

Over Xmas I finally got round to reading two authors I'd never actually read before: Stephen King and Michel Houellebecq. As far as pessimism about the sexual relationship goes - King is infinitely more fundamentally more depressing. It made me think that if someone like Michael Haneke (Funny Games) could be persauded to remake The Shining (a film whose supposed greatness I've never been able to see) - with unknowns in the lead roles - it might just (re)capture the spirit/letter of King's original text.
(PS: what a shame that Houellebecq's name isn't pronounced the way it looks. I waited weeks to use my "AIN'T NO HOUELLEBECQ BOY!" strap, and now discover I can't...)

Does anyone else but me watch Ideal on BBC3 and think it's great - much better than all the smug and over-rated comedies on TV at the moment? The Xmas Special Edition contained absolutely the spookiest and strangest moment on TV all Xmas - perhaps all year (vying with the re-show of Whistle and I'll Come To You, which btw didn't disappoint and was as genuinely unnerving and creepy as I'd hoped) - (but back to Ideal) - i.e., the scene where "Cartoonhead" takes this wannabe guy into an empty bedroom for some kind of criminal 'initiation '... (great use of slurred haunty electronicah here too)... and then ... euh; never mind; you saw it (and now can't get it out of your mind) or you didn't. Creepier than anything Lynch has done since Blue Velvet.

Talking of over rated: The South Bank Show 'special' on Little Britain. Shameful - that things should have dumbed down this far. "Well, you see, what we do when we get together to make cheap dog food is, first we chop up the piles of stinking left over meat, and then ..." It was exactly like having two teenage comedy boors EXPLAIN to you in precise prissy nerdy teenage voices how they could scientifically PROVE that Red Dwarf was the funniest thing ever shown, ever, anywhere in the universe and that the use of the phrase "smeg head" was actually 'rev-ol-utionary' don't you know ... except with fat suits, misogyny and gay self loathing thrown in.
You would hate to be Matt Lucas' shrink, you really would, wouldn't you?

Couldn't fucking get away from Bono over Xmas: went in supermarket there was his sodding biography or auto biography; went in newsagents and there he was in another bloody "EXCLUSIVE" interview; switched on morning/afternoon telly and there was the leprechaun c*nt doing the title track from the most OVERRATED ALBUM IN THE WORLD (Sgt Peppers) for Live8;...
... but I really can't be bothered to re-up-take the U2 thread. Let's just say that to use the word 'radical' in any sentence about Bono/U2 is to denigrate the word 'radical', and/or drain it of all meaning. Bono is radical only in the same way as, say, those arty tyre adverts (with "Venus In Furs" back-up music) were once claimed to be: in the end ... (hey; maybe I will re-up-take this thread. I mean, there sure are a couple of things I'd like to say about Live8 and race ...) (especially now that Geldof has taken the Tory shilling; doesn't his "I'll advise ANYONE on this issue..." sound just like some morally neutered Multicorp spokesperson saying "We'll sell our product to ANYone in the developing world..."? Now Mrs Thatcher - she was radical truly. Not a radical a lot of us liked, for sure, but it was still radical ... like surgery, dude, like surgery.)

I tell you what is radical - this Bhangra cd 05 round-up Matt also sent me. Jesus - the production on some of ths stuff. It reminds me of when I had to review this Best of JA Ragga comp for The Wire in 19ninetywaybackwhen - and I thought : these guys are decades ahead of everyone else, in mixing desk terms: this is the FUTURE. (And lo - so it was.) Similar SHOCK on some of these tracks: there's one track whose instrumental storm sounds more like Coil than anything on The Ape of Naples... sheer electrick storm head torsion.
(About the latter: one reason I've said nothing here is because I'm reviewing it for The Wire; the other reason is, yes, a kind of perplexed disappointment about the thing. It hurts - it really really does. I mean, I don't want to give what is in effect a memorial cd (from the only band in the world I would even think of using the word LOVE in connection with) a bad review, Hecate knows, but ... oh, I don't know. Anyone else feeling the same thing? So that I feel less alone? Anyone?)

posted by Ian 12/31/2005 11:20:00 AM

A Good New Year to you, Ian!

w/ best-Est. wishes,

'Ideal', is also a favourite of mine. That scene in the bathroom with cartoon head is initiating a new member, now you mention it I can't seem to get it out of my head and I so did not want to look at that at the time. The show is one of the only genuinely alternative comedies in British TV at the moment. You may have lots of Canadians and Americans wondering about 'Ideal' now and where to get to see it. It would be better perhaps if the writers gave all the 'extra' characters more filled out personalities. Moz dominates and it all rests on Johnny Vegas's superb acting. It seems sometimes like a sketch for something more substantial. I like the fact that it harks back to Rising Damp, Steptoe And Son, etc, and everything is set in an interior which we never see Moz leave and it is concentrates on all the ‘deviant’ aspects of life that are ‘sanitised’ in other shows. Oh and I'm glad your blog is back up.
re: The Age of Naples... can't help but keep playing it all the time, just to make sure... it's become an obsession, trying to drill it into my unconscious so it sounds like an old recognisabke friend rather than a slightly disappointing simulcra of my expectation (which, along with other Coil fans I guess is a little unrealistic)... Each Man Kills The Thing He Loves etc

That said, I've felt the same before with Coil and learned to love them regardless...

I mean, I'd only recently got used to Thighpaulsandra's antique synths sounding like actual synths on the recent releases - in my mind's ear Coil synths should sound like Don't Look Now Dwarves look - plus it took ages to listen to JB's spoken vocals on MTPITD etc without wanting to yell: get over yourself Jhon and sing... you know you can do still it... even if it has to be incomprehensible Enochian bletherings... (the bliss of hearing the last minutes of Batwings is still clear in my head)...

The thing that really stings about this album is that, live-wise, JB seemed to be regaining his singing voice... and I was expecting the real next album to start to fill in gaps between Horse Rotovator, Love's Secret Domain and the Solstice stuff...

BTW did you hear any of Danny Hyde's Aural Rage (urgh!) album... similarly disappointing
i was talking to a friend before about how safe it is to 'become' the other, rather than just 'reflect' it, and thats the abiding feeling i have with 'the ape of naples'. i wish jhon wasn't dead.
Don't suppose you'd care to say more about Houellebecq some time? I'd be intrigued to know what you made of him...
Ha, it's only yesterday that I wrote "I just get depressed that the least bad of the recent guitar bands are those who seem to take their inspiration from fifth-raters like Sham 69". I was reviewing the Arctic Monkeys. Good to see I'm not alone in such a view.
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