Archive for August, 2014
Whenever I go back to London, I stay with my friends John and Sarah. Last time I was back, I took a couple of small painted wood owls from a market in Mexico City. Their daughters named the owls Milky Bar and Lucía. Obviously. Here’s a story I did for them about the owls.
Back in 2008, when I was travelling around the Americas—when this blog was good—I noticed that there was a new moon on a Monday. I made a note to write about the Duran Duran song New Moon on Monday the next time one came around. I had “26 January New Moon on Monday” written in the text file of ideas and stuff that’s always on my computer desktop. Up until a few months ago, it still said “26 January New Moon on Monday.” I never did write about New Moon on Monday on Monday 26 January, 2009. So, today, 27 May, 2014, I’m writing this post so that when Monday 25 August and its new moon comes around, the post is already there, stored in WordPress, and scheduled to go online. Planning!
I wonder, though: maybe I will die between now (27 May) and now (25 August)? I wonder if anyone would bother to check my WordPress blog for scheduled posts if I die. Maybe they won’t and after a time of inactivity, the blog will be alive again for one post. Maybe I will die and people in my private life will know, but nobody out there in Internetland, nobody who reads this or looks at Twitter or Facebook will have noticed. Maybe someone here and there may have noticed for a passing moment, “he’s been quiet recently,” but I don’t really see how the news of my death would get out there. Anyway…
Back in 1984, when New Moon on Monday was released as a single, I was a big fan of Duran Duran. I had, by that point bought a lot of Duran Duran records with my one-pound-a-week pocket money. In chronological order, I bought:
Careless Memories (7″, 1981)
Duran Duran (LP, 1981)
Save a Prayer (7″, 1982)
Rio (LP, 1982)
I can’t be sure of the order of buying the album and the previous single, but it’s incredibly unlikely that I’d have bought a single that I already had on an album at that point in my life.
Is There Something I Should Know? (7″, 1983)
Straight in at number one. I remember listening to the chart countdown. It felt like a personal victory that the copy I had bought had contributed to its position. This, of course, was back in the day that very few records went straight into the UK charts at number. I used to be able to remember all of them. Off the top of my head: Here in my Heart by Al Martino, by default, cos he was number one in the first chart in 1952; Elvis had at least one, the Beatles had one, too; Slade had a couple; the Jam had three, I think; Don’t Stand So Close to Me by the Police; Stand and Deliver by Adam and the Ants; this Duran Duran one; Two Tribes by Frankie; Band Aid, obvs…
Union of the Snake (12″, 1983)
The first twelve-inch single I ever bought. From Save Records on the market in Lincoln. I remember being so proud, and a distinct feeling that I was growing up by buying a twelve-inch.
Seven and the Ragged Tiger (LP, 1983)
The Reflex (12″ picture disc, 1984)
Twelve inch. Picture disc. Amazing. It’s a picture and music comes out of it.
The Wild Boys (12″, 1984)
A View to a Kill (7″ white vinyl with a gatefold sleeve, 1985)
Notorious (LP, 1986)
I wasn’t buying Sugar Hill imports or listening to John Peel back in the early eighties. I was into pop music. Proper music. Music in the charts. But, while Hollywood movies or shitty nightclub party nights will have you believe the eighties were corny and shitty, the Top 40 was way better than it has been in the decades since then. Pop stars were, on the whole, real people not TV-show-no-hard-work-no-personality-white-teeth-shitfucks. The fantastic magazine Smash Hits saw to that. It was like that magazine wasn’t there to say, “hey, this group has a new album out,” but “hey group, we have some teenagers you need to impress, so you better be at the very least, slightly interesting when we interview you.”
1984 had fourteen number one singles. And I would imagine that you can sing the choruses of nearly all of them. Obviously that doesn’t mean they were intrinsically good (Stevie Wonder’s I Just Called to Say I Love You, for example, although, I did buy that at the time, for some reason), but they were at least memorable.
New Moon on Monday didn’t get to number one. It got to number nine. It’s my sixth favourite Duran Duran song. Yes, I have a list. The top five:
5. Union of the Snake
4. Girls on Film
3. Planet Earth
2. The Chauffeur
1. Careless Memories
My main memory of New Moon on Monday is such a tiny moment. My family, we were all in the dining room on a Sunday night. We might’ve been doing something like playing Trivial Pursuit. We had BBC Radio Lincolnshire on. (When writing this, I typo-ed “Lincolnshite,” which, y’know…) On Sunday nights, Radio Lincolnshire used to have a programme for younger people. The start of New Moon on Monday kicked in, those three echo-ey notes right at the start, without the DJ introducing it. And I said “Duran Duran!” or something. My mum noted that I knew a lot about pop music cos I recognised the song so quickly. It felt good at the time. I did know a lot about pop music.
Now, though, when I listen to it, I feel happy to have been a teenager in the 1980s. With Duran Duran. And that nice chorus. With those fireworks-y sound effects and the Fairlight CMI sounds. That sound, that Fairlight, there aren’t many instruments that evoke so many nice feelings in my head. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, when I first thought about writing this post back in 2008, I found a couple of .wav clips of Fairlight sounds. I downloaded them, but can’t remember where I got them, so unfortunately, I can’t credit a source, but here they are: aahh.wav and orch5.wav. Now you know what I’m on about, right? Also: someone did a Spotify playlist called Fairlight Moments which is worth a go, should you wanna wallow in this sort of thing.)
Rambling post. Not really about new moons. Or New Moon on Monday, really. But it was and is a great song. With a terrible video:
This, we recently found out, will be the last season that Diablos Rojos will play at Foro Sol. It’s a crappy stadium. It’s ugly and way too big, but, sentimentally, it’s kinda been a second home since I’ve been in Mexico. Next season they’ll play *somewhere* in the city, and there’ll be a brand new stadium in 2016. But for now, it’s nice to take photos and do drawings of the old place.
I started this about a year ago, and added a little more now and again. Finally, it’s finished.
It’s a series of ten drawings: one for each of the songs on Ian Dury and the Blockheads’ wonderful album New Boots and Panties!!
I drew them with the iPad app, Paper, and the idea was to kinda do them like decorative plates, thus the choice of the Willow Pattern-y blue.
Well, I stand up next to a mountain
And I chop it down with the edge of my hand
“Voodoo Chile” Jimi Hendrix
Lucky that my breasts are small and humble
So you don’t confuse them with mountains
“Whenever, Wherever” Shakira
The Curse of the Chicago Cubs. My new post at NotGraphs.
Tiger Stadium, AT&T Park, Sandy Koufax.
I took images from images embedded in spam emails that I received last week and made baseball cards for them: http://www.fangraphs.com/not/spam-baseball-cards/