Archive for the ‘Music’ Category
At a wedding in Berlin in 2002, I drunk-karaoked Rhinestone Cowboy. Please enjoy.
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:
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 image above is every Beatles album (the UK albums) reduced in Photoshop to one pixel in size. (So they are easier to see, I then increased each pixel to a 20 pixel square.)
Below are three rows. The top row is my initial guess at what each sleeve would look like reduced to one pixel. The second row is of the sleeves reduced in Photoshop with the “Nearest Neighbor” setting. The bottom row (and the one at the top of this post) is with the sleeves resized using the “Bicubic” setting.
I’m starting a new ongoing project on the site today. It’s called Bandstand. Hopefully I’ll keep this going until I have done every single band that exists, has existed, and will ever exist. That last sentence is a lie. But I will do a lot more.
More finger painting here.
They say other peoples’ dreams are boring. But I would also suggest that they are also boring. Saying other peoples’ dreams are boring is boring. Not sure that entirely means we’ve come around to dreams being interesting again, but, well, er, this post is about a dream I had a while back.
I’d read a story on a news Web site about the Queen (that is, the Queen, Queen Elizabeth II) running out of money or something. Boo hoo. And I ended up dreaming about that and the way the BBC is always getting shit from the Daily fucking Mail about anything they feel they can stick the boot in about. So in the dream, the Queen was given a chat show on BBC One, to, y’know, earn her keep. In my dream, she was interviewing famous British people. And the first interview was with Robert Smith. Him out of the Cure.
Here’s a drawing.
I made a chart about Prince’s magnificent 1987 album. Here.
A Beach Boys thing. If it makes no sense to you, that’s probably for the best.
I get anxious sometimes. I get anxious about appointments, things that have to happen at a certain time. I’m gonna be flying through the air inside an aeroplane on Tuesday and I’ve been anxious about it for about a week. Will I wake up in time to get to the airport? Will all possible taxi drivers suddenly disappear from the streets of Mexico City? Will someone checking my passport suddenly notice on their computer that I’m wanted for a crime I didn’t commit in Zanzibar?
Last Monday, I saw a friend on Facebook mention that they wanted to go and see Kraftwerk. Kraftwerk? Huh? Kraftwerk!? In Mexico City? A quick look at the Twitter feed of the venue, and yes indeed, tickets go on sale on Friday. Kraftwerk! In 3D! Oh my gosh! Oh my. Okay, erm, let’s double check that. Yes, indeed. Tickets on sale Friday. Through the Master of Tickets and at the box office. What time? Type-y type-y click. Midday. Noon. 12pm. Friday. Because the Master of Tickets’ Web site, rather stupidly, does not accept non-Mexican credit cards, that meant I’d have to go to the venue.
Tuesday morning: niggly stress about getting tickets. Kraftwerk, my favourite active group in the whole wide world. (Gets felt tip out and writes COMPUTER LIEBE in computer-y letters on my rucksack.) Wednesday and Thursday went by, wondering what time I should leave my flat. Box office opens at noon, it’s a relatively small venue (probably about 2,000-ish people), better get there early.
How early, though. This is where I have to balance things in my head: how much do I want to see Kraftwerk (a lot) vs. how much do I want to stand around doing nothing (not much). The second of those involved trying to calculate how quickly it would sell out. How popular are Kraftwerk here? I don’t really know. Best to assume “very.”
So I set my alarm for 9am. Woke up at 6.30am, slightly panicky that I’d overslept. Left the house at 10, got to the venue at 10.30. Only a couple of people stood outside. Sweet, I thought, got time to go and get a coffee. Spoke to the dude stood outside and he told me the queue was actually around the corner. So, it’s not just the couple of people, then. Went around the corner, and there are about 30 people in a line.
I asked the guy at the back of the line if it was the queue for Kraftwerk tickets. He said yes. (Because, what else would it be?) I put my headphones on and listened to an episode of This American Life. Another guy asked me the question I’d asked the guy in front of me. Someone else asked him the same question. And on it went, further and further down the street. In the end, there were 100 or so people there.
The guy in front of me was joined by a friend. They stood there watching YouTube clips of Kraftwerk on a mobile phone. One of them said a few words in German. It was kinda cute. I resisted the temptation to correct his bad German.
My neck and shoulders were tight. Completely tense and stressed about the 30 people in front of me. Would they be quick enough for the show to not sell out via the Ticketmaster site before I got to the front? I weighed that against the likelihood that the majority of those people would be paying with cash, cos if they had credit cards, they’d be using the Ticketmaster site themselves.
Inside a building next to where I was queuing, workmen were cutting wood. There was that smell of burning wood being cut with an electric-powered saw of some kind. I’d not eaten before leaving the flat, so that smell went into my nose and straight into my belly and gurgled and made me feel grim.
Five minutes before noon, a venue employee summoned the people at the front of the queue to form the queue right close to the ticket windows. A fat man in a McCain-Palin t-shirt walked by. The first people went up. Then another pair, then more. One, two, three, four, I counted the heads in front of me. Eight of them. Two windows, thus I’m gonna be at a window in four people’s time. Then two people left the queue. One of them was on the phone, and, I assume, someone he knew had Internetted some tickets.
I got the money out of my wallet and held it in my hand inside my trouser pocket. Front of the queue. Security guy waved his arm towards one of the windows. “Dos, por favor.” And as simple as that, the stress left my shoulders, and I’ll be going to see Kraftwerk again in March. Of course, in the few days before the concert I’ll start stressing again, wondering if I’m gonna get stuck behind a tall person. Will the 3D glasses fit okay over my regular specs? What if I lose the tickets on the way? My brain, man. Fucking useless.
I took the covers of the three self-titled colour albums by Weezer (The Blue Album, 1994; The Green Album, 2001; The Red Album, 2008) and changed the opacity of each depending on how much I like them: Red gets 10%, Green gets 35%, Blue gets 100%.
Also, looking at the RGB colour values, with the top amount of colour being 255, I turned the above percentages into comparative amounts of R, G, and B: R-26, G-89, B-255. This is colour those values produce:
Shortlist of the possible titles for an MC Hammer album, one of which was eventually chosen.
• Hey Hammer, Would You Like To See My Kittens?
• What Are You Doing, Hammer?
• Please Hammer, Don’t Hurt ‘Em
• Please Hammer, Stop!
• Oh My God, Hammer, No!
• Hello, Police? Hurry! Hammer Is Hurting ‘Em
• Yes, Officer. I Came Home With My Kittens At 6.30 P.M. And He Just Went Crazy
• Thank You, Officer. I Will Stay At My Mother’s Tonight.
Drawn with the C64 Paint app.