Wednesday, June 07, 2006
In Seattle for a day or two.

The office ADSL line is up and down, taking Web/email with it when it goes; anyone needing to get in touch in a hurry should call the shop.
Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Ten Most Ridiculous "Black Metal" Pix of All Time -- thx dru!

"He's in a cave with a large hunting knife, but by the way that thing is glowing, you'd think Orcs were near. Go black metal Frodo, go!"
Sunday, June 04, 2006

ART (Aesthetically Rejected Thing): Misprision

"Do you have Da Vinci's Inquest, by Dan Brown?"

One Hundred Famous Ghosts (18), 2006

Woken at 6am by talking-cat noises. Which was a surprise, because the Incredible Talking Cats are stuffed and dependably quiet unless animated.

Q: What the hell? Tinnitus?

A: Pigeons out on the balcony, cuddled in a pink Tupperware bowl lined since yesterday with nesting materials.
Saturday, June 03, 2006
M. John Harrison reviews David Mitchell in the TLS

"The thing that all those beautiful, scary, civilized women had in common, even the ones who spent less than a morning in his life, was that they were waiting for him to understand."
Friday, June 02, 2006

Pitchfork's Nitsuh Abebe, my favorite reviewer there, carefully considers Chris & Neil's latest:

"Sometime in the late 1970s, rock music officially reached adulthood. The fans who grew up on rock as a wild, youthful counter-culture were getting older; they had careers, kids, fancy stereo equipment, and whole new sets of concerns. The same went for the stars themselves: Suddenly it was natural for them to look like adults, wear tapered suits, and act like they probably knew a lot about wine and real estate. Think of Rod Stewart, Dire Straits, Mick Jagger at Studio 54, and all those California guys who grew beards and indulged in self-employed guitar-strumming on self-owned houseboats. The British dreamed of an adult high life and the Americans dreamed of white-collar vacations, and they began to make music about those dreams.

By the time Pet Shop Boys came along, pop was fairly adult, and they certainly sold adult-like pop: reserved and witty, even arch. Funny thing about them, though: They're one of the first acts I can think of to have navigated their own career-long growing-up with a form of electronic music. It's been fascinating to watch an act like this become elder statesmen of the British charts, and to bend synthesized dance-pop around the kind of music elder statesmen make-- music that's more careful, eloquent, and subtle, music that's wiser and less demonstrative. Rock guys, after all, usually turn to acoustic guitars and 'roots' to pull this off, and plenty of non-rock acts (hello, Madonna) can never quite do it gracefully. But Pet Shop Boys have the qualities to make it possible: Pop music that always came from clever heads, a style that was always a bit distanced, and a sound-- Neil Tennant's clear, airy voice; Chris Lowe's lovable building-block electronics. . . ."

Someone else, a fairly regular correspondent, writes to suggest, viz. this week's YouTube links, that my musical taste, or what passes for it, has self-destructed. "Donald Fagen...the Bee Gees...Michael this." To which the only possible reply is that when you live in a state of near-permanent pessimism and deep depression about the significance of everything that comes out of your head, pop music is more often than not an anodyne, a cure for pain.

Another, slightly more complicated answer is that at the time Neil Tennant met Chris Lowe, he (Tennant) was working both as a pop music critic and as a comic book writer/editor for Marvel UK. And I've always been a big fan of professionalizing one's interests.

(1.5 hour interview & BBC live concert here, including superb outtkes of Dreaming of the Queen and You Only Tell Me You Love Me When You're Drunk (requires intrusive Realplayer plug-in))

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