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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Captain Beefheart

The track that got me hooked on Beefheart, who died yesterday.

Seemingly Beefheart's vocal performance on this track destroyed a $1200 Telefunken microphone. Hank Cicalo, engineer for the sessions, reported that Beefheart's voice wouldn't track at certain points and athough a number of microphones were used, none of them could stand the "EEEE-Lec-Triccc-ittt-EEEEEEEE" of the last chorus.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Which Corrs For Ireland?

Probably not the most appropriate time for punning, such is the situation that Ireland faces, but clearly Ireland is at a crossroads now and it has to be hoped that the course taken isn't one that sees generations of people paying for the Irish elites mistakes and greed.

It's bizarre for those of us away from Ireland, to watch this madness unfurl so quickly and it's made all the more surreal by videos such as this heartfelt, albeit wonky, plea from the man who ironically (given the rate of emigration) wrote one of The Corrs' most popular tunes - 'Runaway'.

It's a unsettling thought that if nothing is done now; if the Irish people don't take to the streets, and at least attempt to take back the state, but instead stay in and watch fluff TV or just shrug their shoulders and talk about the good old days when Charlie boy ran things; then future generations, crippled by debt, high taxes and unemployment, will one day stumble upon this video and wonder why their parents hadn't bothered to act on at least some of the stuff this fluffy balladeer proposes.


I'm not saying he's wrong about the need for peaceful protest, but it would seem that Jim's call for wholesale debt write-offs may have something to do with his own iffy property dealings here. Shame, I thought Jim had something of the Dev about him, there's still a chance Ronan Keating may make a bid for the greasy pole....

Friday, October 15, 2010

Adrian Chiles Part 2

It's a personal tragedy - the multi-million pound move of Chiles to ITV has bombed. 'Daybreak' the replacement show for GMTV otherwise known as 'Dawn of the Dead', is haemorrhaging viewers. Speculation is that this is primarily because Chiles isn't enough of a draw for the ladies, even though he's tried his best by being snapped in his bestest jeans on a big penilemobile, but it just hasn't worked and things are so bad that William Hill have offered odds of 4/1 that ITV will dispense with Chiles' services before Christmas. They're also offering 10/1 that Roland Rat takes over which just highlights the vacuum that is Chiles' sex appeal. For me this is a tragedy as I'd hoped to offload all my wretched self-loathing onto Chiles for a lot longer than this, but I can't kick a manchild when he's down.

Instead I will target his manchild wing man Michael McIntyre who is apparently about to release an autobiography entitled 'Life & Laughing: My Story', which I found out whilst gamely leafing through Mondays Sun. This article opens with the line 'MICHAEL McINTYRE is staring at a blank space.' How apt! Never have I witnessed comedy that so entirely inhabits the void, clearly this 'blank space' is where McIntyre's draws all his comedy from and it's a well that will never run dry, since the entire act is an illusion - there is no content just a sycophant moving around the stage really quickly, whilst cackling at a fly that appears to hover near to his mouth.

How has this man seduced an entire nation and when will see the return of real standups like Bobby Chariot?

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Adrian Chiles - Part 1

For those of you who don't know Adrian Chiles - he's the man who has carved a BBC career out of being the chubby Brummie next door. A man so devoid of charisma that he made Gareth Southgate look edgy during the 2010 ITV World Cup coverage.

Chiles is soon to be the face of GMTV having made a multi-million pound move to ITV so that he can ingratiate himself amongst an even larger section of the brain dead British pubic who frankly deserve him.

I had a dream last night that he teamed up with my new hate list contender James Corden to work on a charitay cover of Olivia Newton John's 'Lets Get Physical'. During the video shoot a prop mishap ends Chiles' career as he is accidentally crushed under Corden's gigantic smugnity. It could be that this dream carries with it a scary glimpse into the future of British TV, but who knows and quite frankly who gives a crap? Me! I do.

I know I'm bitter about something that sounds incredibly trivial - 'Hey Chilesy is all right, he's a refreshing change with his brummie accent and everyman footy talk' - well f**k that shit. Chiles is not an everyman he's a cynical calculating leech on the numb backside of the glorious British public, who uses his crushed Cabbage Patch Kid face to dupe us into lending him gardening tools and DIY manuals, only to see them on Ebay a week later.

I'm not alone... There are others who think the same as me...resist, fight, don't let him alone with your family.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The HBO show that is 'Treme' and Steve Zahns lips

I'm late to the party as usual, but this week I have been watching Treme which wound up in the US on June 20th.

I have enjoyed it so far, but it's not The Wire. There's plenty of great things about the show. Simon and Overmyer have created some memorable characters, but their involvement with and understanding of these characters seems less well formed - and New Orleans often feels like the back drop to a long music video made by some out of towners who got the 'off-grid' tour of the city and wanted to pay homage to it.

The characters are as you'd expect interesting, varied and apparently draw on 'real life' people that the writers met before and during shooting the programme. However one or two have annoyed me, particularly the character of Davis played by Steve Zahn . Davis really shouldn't annoy me the character should work as an excellent foil for the serious shee-it that's going on in New Orleans post-hurricane Katrina, but Davis fails where Ziggy from The Wire succeeded and this is in equal parts down to the acting and the script. Steve Zahn has huge scope to develop his character into something beyond the gurning clown he portrays - he presumably had plenty of solid material to prepare with since the Davis character is based on the irritating and feckless talent that is WWOZ DJ Davis Rogan - (check out his Myspace page - Zahn definitely gets the weak arsed vocals spot on). Despite this and getting some of the best dialogue in the show Davis still grates on me - I want to love him the way I loved Ziggy but I can't, the script lets him down with moments like the smug 'revelation' that follows when he wakes up on the couch of his Gay neighbours or the ham handed scene where we see him and his mates record his election anthem like a scene out of Fame. There's that and the fact that Zahn has one of the most annoying mouths in show business something he shares with his evil doppelgänger Robin Williams, whose lips reportedly became so thin that they were absorbed back into his body. Who knows though - since the next season of Treme has been commissioned, Davis may become less prominent or be developed in the same way that some characters in the Wire were.

Anyway despite Zahn's lips there's a lot to like about Treme. The music is great. Wendell Pierce's Antoine Batiste is fully formed and for a man who apparently never played the trombone he really looks like he can play. This attention to musical detail occurs throughout the show thus avoiding one of the most shameful aspects of TV or Film where actors display a complete lack of musical talent whilst attempting to portray musical talent (see Jimmy Nail and Co. in 'Still Crazy'). The use of cameo appearances from famous ,usicians such as Dr John and McCoy Tyner was worrying at first but in the main I think it works - although I could have done without seeing Elvis Costello mugging alongside the constant gurn of Zahn. The stories weave well within each other and are interesting and often taut - even the hackneyed storyline of the deadbeat Dutchman and his talented girlfriend has had me talking to the screen at times.

So two episodes left to go and maybe I will still learn to love Davis the way I know some people do, but it's doubtful - what's more likely is that I'll continue to see Robin Williams mugging for a laugh but not really knowing why. It's worth it though, Treme like it's antecedents, still tells a powerful story, it is well played and has the potential to evolve into something sharper and complex thereby helping to fill that gaping hole that The Wire left.

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Monday, June 28, 2010


There was a moment when I got excited about England's world cup, and it wasn't Upson's goal, or Lampard's for that matter, it was when John Terry actually spoke up at a press conference and indicated that he and other members of the team were upset with the way the team was being managed. Regardless of whether Terry was right to say what he said; for the briefest of moments I thought there's a man with some backbone, there's an English player who is passionate enough about playing for England that he's prepared to put his career on the line... but no.....all too quickly it was apparent that John Terry was nothing more than a hot head, who lacked the courage to follow through and front up to his adversary.

Yesterdays match against Germany was the collective equivalent of Terry's impotent toy throwing. We couldn't front up and were beaten within minutes and as the self-belief and resolve crumbled away it revealed some of the most pampered and well paid men in world football - playing like a half-cut Sunday league team.

Talking of the overpaid and gutless ... the best thing to come out of this world cup is that Adrian Chiles has overtaken Tony Robinson as my most loathed Celebritay.... I might finally have something to write about.

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

21st Century Wallace

A couple of days ago I watched the Back To The Future trilogy (go on raise that highbrow eyebrow) in part 2/3 we see Robert Zemeckis' techno-utilitarian vision of the the year 2015; full of hover boards, smart coats and Black&Decker rehydration units. Though Zemeckis got it wrong on the technology front he got it right in terms of the human dimension - the basic idea being that people are as stupid in 1885 as they are in 2015.

We're almost 10 years into the 21st Century and the snapshot from the Yahoo search engine says it all. We have at our fingertips a form of technology far more powerful than food rehydration, something that could potentially transform our lives, yet most of us are content with reading about celebrities and train times (?) - perhaps worse of all, still watching drivel from the late 1980's...