"Tivo-ifies the web" Paul Kedrosky

Smooth meets Mr Smooth. Gene Kelly on Roller Skates

The adjective that comes to mind for Gene Kelly is smooth: smooth voice, smooth mover. That’s what I like so much about this; putting Kelly on roller skates is like adding polish to wax. The whole piece glides effortlessly, and its incredible to think that this camera tracking was possible in the mid 50s.

3 comments clips, music

Cherry Red Records 30th Anniversary

If the words “pay no more than 99p” mean anything to you, then this documentary will make you dewey eyed.

Comments Off music, nostalgia

The Second Best French Song Ever

Charles Trenet sings La Mer, followed by Bobby Darin’s classic cover (only a slightly sub standard recording of it), Beyond the Sea, below.

14 comments music

Tony Wilson Interviews The Smiths

Tony Wilson’s Factory Records defined the Manchester music scene. All the more amazing because he famously passed up signing Manchester’s biggest band, The Smith’s. Wilson claimed not to have regretted it: “Mr Morrissey had a great talent and was a truly horrible human being who treated others very badly and I’m over the moon that I never had to work with him”.

With the benefit of hindsight, the highlight of this interview is the brief chat with, the man who wrote the tunes rather than the words, Johnny Marr, rather than Morrissey (I wonder if Wilson is deliberately trying to wind him up by calling him Steven). Morrissey comes off as pretentious, but perhaps this was before he decided that Smith’s lyrics were deliberately funny.

This is where Morrissey and Wilson are fascinatingly similar. Both had grand ideas that were quite often pretentious but like natural showmen, both were clever enough to adapt to how what they did was perceived. Wilson was cocky enough to name a small record label in an industrial town, after the world’s most famous art studio. Today, Wilson’s Factory is as famous as Warhol’s.

As an example of Morrissey’s showman-like adaptability, I can’t help but think that his lyrics were originally intended to be serious, but when the DJ who launched them to fame (John Peel), assumed that they were witty and ironic, Morrissey played along rather than lose face. Whether this is true or not, almost doesn’t matter, since perhaps creativity is just knowing how to edit accidents. In the end, the wit and irony became real, even if the style had originated as accidental camp.

Popular songs will never be all bland after a line like: I was only joking when I said by rights you should be bludgeoned in your bed.

Thanks Tom

1 comment music, nostalgia

Stevie Wonder on Sesame Street

David France pointed out another musical gem from Sesame Street. Stevie Wonder performing Superstition, live, for the show.

4 comments music

Phillip Glass for Sesame Street

In 1979 Phillip Glass composed a series of pieces for Sesame Street called the geometry of circles. Well they say kids like repetition. Again.

9 comments animation, music

Steve Jones (Sex Pistols) Riffs

Punk music did what intellectual, minimalist composers in the public funded basement of IRCAM could only wish for: extract the maximum amount of emotional energy from the minimal amount of notes. Steve Jones here proves that the Sex Pistols riffs could have been produced by someone with little or no musical training – but only if that person was a natural.

5 comments music

Eurovision Song Contest 1973

In order to persuade anyone that any kind of institutionalized event is a bad idea, all one needs to do is say “imagine x run by the DMV”. The Eurovision song contest is what it would be like if the music industry were run by the DMV.

To commemorate Eurovision’s biggest winners, the Irish, who have just blown the European Union treaty and the last time oil buggered up the global economy, here is the 1973 Eurovision song contest, held in Luxembourg – which is a bit like a country run by the DMV.

Following the terrorist attack against Israel at the Munich Olympics, and Israel’s debut in the competition, the floor manager strongly advised people in the audience to remain seated while clapping, to avoid being shot by security forces.

Belgium’s entry at 8:15 is pretty special, and if you have a history of hallucinogenic flashbacks, I’ve no idea what’s going on at 1:05, but you might not want to watch it. Beyond satire.

9 comments comedy, music, nostalgia, world

The Story of Abba – in Swedish

The fact that this is in Swedish (a language which I cannot understand) makes this absolutely perfect. Its like having the Muppet chef narrate it, I can make up all sorts of inappropriate things that I can imagine him saying. For the world’s most impossibly white band they were unbelievably good.

1 comment music, nostalgia

Ibiza – A Short Film About Chilling

Ibiza – A Short Film About Chilling

What makes this film important is the timing, sitting between the acid and the ecstasy. It was made in 1990, after Acid House, before the Ministry of Sound, and a decade before binge drinking would once more replace illegal narcotics as the opiate of the masses. In England, house music moved from fields in Essex and impromptu nights in old Warehouses to permanent, alcohol free, clubs under Victorian arches in places like Southwark in South London. These damp, dark, or damp and dark surroundings could not have been more different from the sunshine and stucco of a small island in the Mediterranean that was to become the unlikely holiday home for House. Ibiza decreed mighty, 24 hour, thomping nightclubs, measureless to man and became a cultural phenomenon for today’s social anthropologists to look back on. For some of the people in this film it was apparently their ‘first trip outside of England’.
36 mn 53 s 29 oct. 2006


1 comment music, society