Wednesday, May 20, 2020

On Display

I've always been ambivalent about organizing my CDs. Everything has been digitized, but I can't part with them and I won't ever give them up. It's irrational, but there it is.

I used to have a pair of CD racks that I would set up and, of course, I couldn't get them all to fit. But it was worth the effort. Having moved five times (or so) in the last decade has meant that I have not been able to hang on to the racks (they were given up not long after this photo) and finding a suitable replacement has meant trying to decide between particle board and plastic--not a solution.

You can find CD storage units at Goodwill. They are swimming in them. Not interested, really.

My CDs now live in identical moving boxes, stacked up, out of sight. I have a few out, but what does that even mean anymore?

I suppose during the pandemic I should bring each box out, stack and organize them neatly and alphabetically, and see if there are any missing "gems" in there that I might have forgotten to digitize. Let's see how the next few months go.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Worry About the Government

Your periodic reminder that electing assholes means there will always be more suffering:
A new survey by the Musicians’ Union has revealed that almost one fifth of musicians are currently considering abandoning their careers because of a lack of support from the British Government.
19 per cent of respondents to the Union’s Impact Survey said they might give up on their career due to the effects of the coronavirus crisis on their livelihoods.
The Union say that “a significant number” of their members, the majority of whom are self-employed, are struggling financially, and that 38 per cent are falling short of the criteria required to receive assistance from the Government.
You can see the difference here in America. We elected Democrats in the House of Representatives. Those Democrats have come through for the American people, time and time again. They're funding relief efforts, they're bringing forth legislation that would alleviate a lot of the stress being faced in all sectors of our economy, including the arts.

And yet, because we voted in conservatives and grifters and crooks, we're watching all of the money go to the people who don't need it. This is true in America and elsewhere. In Britain, the Tory government wants to eviscerate every possible critic and destroy the country in order to enrich the financial sector. Remember this the next chance you get to vote.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Bryan Adams is Racist as Hell

I don't know what makes me angrier. Is it that I know that he broke the hearts of a lot of his longtime fans by being a racist pig fucker? That he knows exactly how to operate in the world like a normal person and decided to cross the line anyway and make a vicious stereotype a part of his public persona as an artist from now on?

It wasn't a "joke." Was he hacked? Okay, that would be something else, if legitimate. This was horrifying and bigoted. It was a revelation of a lack of character and a demonstration that he just doesn't feel responsible for behaving like an adult.

So, fuck Bryan Adams and his mediocre career which has now crashed and burned. Anyone who books him into a venue is endorsing the racist views of a scurrilous person. Anyone who pays him to make music is throwing good money after bad because I have to believe that this guy will face boycotts and reprisals from here on it. 

And fuck Ryan Adams, too, just because.

The Church in Concert 1982

I saw this and I had to have it.

Best website ever.

Everything is Cancelled

What's the point of this?
Ticketmaster have created a comprehensive information portal that lists their postponed, cancelled and rescheduled shows from A to Z. View that here.
If you follow the link, and you'd be wasting your time if you did, you'd discover that everything is cancelled.

Oh, well, you could have saved me the time.

Here you go, once again. Everything is fucking cancelled. If there's someone out there telling you to buy a ticket, they're ripping you off. That's because everything is on hold. Nothing's happening.

Swedish death metal bands are still playing, so have at it.

Did you just buy a ticket to the Boobityboo Wingding Jam Fest in Bumfuck, Wherever? Get your money back. EVERYTHING IS CANCELLED.

I can't stress that enough.

Saturday, May 9, 2020

A Classic Track From XTC

We're only making plans for Nigel:
Making Plans for Nigel was my attempt at an Alan Bennett-type vignette about someone who’s a bit put-upon. There had been Nigels at my school. The name felt very English. I couldn’t imagine myself in a song about a Graham or Colin. I had the title first, and the rest came very quickly. I finished the whole song in an afternoon.
The theme of parents trying to dictate their child’s path in life was something I had experience of. When I was 15 I wanted to be in a band, and had a big battle with my dad over my not staying on in sixth form. In those days you could get expelled for having long hair – and I was! It took five dispiriting years and a lot of dead-end jobs to break into music, so there’s bit of Nigel in myself.
The music industry was run by public-school boys in those days, not council estate lads like us. But once punk opened the doors, we could explore what we could do. I imagined Nigel working in an office, but not in a top job – probably lower middle management. During the 1970s, British Steel was in the news over industrial disputes, so I gave Nigel “a future in British Steel”.


I played the song to the band on my old acoustic guitar, and we demoed it in a council studio in the catacombs under Swindon Town Hall. The record company were convinced it was a single, so gave us Steve Lillywhite as producer. We loved his work with Ultravox and he spent a lot of time crafting and polishing our song.
Our previous single, Life Begins at the Hop, got us on Top of the Pops, but dropped down the charts after our appearance. We had played a tour to fairly meagre audiences, but once Nigel became a hit it was just mayhem. We were straight back out on tour and on Top of the Pops again. Leslie Crowther and Peter Glaze even sang it on the teatime kids’ TV programme Crackerjack. My greatest honour.
The steelworkers’ union were very excited by what they saw as a fraternal anthem, but once I told the official that Nigel was from the management side it curtailed the conversation. Meanwhile, I put the wind up British Steel with the song’s suggestion that a future in the industry wasn’t all that fantastic. They rounded up lots of Sheffield steelworkers called Nigel to tell the press how great their jobs were.
Forty years on, the recent steel closures suggest that the song’s as relevant as ever. I’ve had countless Nigels come up to me over the years and say: “That song is my life.”

Monday, May 4, 2020

Dave Greenfield 1949-2020

Dave Greenfield of The Stranglers has died.
The Stranglers’ keyboard player Dave Greenfield has died at the age of 71 after testing positive for coronavirus.
Greenfield, originally from Brighton, died on the evening of May 3, and contracted the virus following a prolonged stay in hospital for heart problems.
A long-standing member of the influential punk outfit, Greenfield was known for his distinctive sound and playing style, using instruments such as the harpsichord and Hammond electric organ.
A wonderful slice of Dave's history and his impact on music:
Our keyboard player, Dave Greenfield, was a prog rocker, though. When I first met him he had platform boots on, his jacket had frills, and he had long hair and what we called a semi-pro moustache. He introduced me to In The Land Of Grey And Pink by Caravan. I did like that. I do remember the Yes singer [Jon Anderson] though. Is he still into elves?

RW: Jon has his own little world. When he doesn’t like what’s happening in the real one he retreats into his own one. He’s a big fan of yours, though, We were touring together last year, driving around in the same car, listening to all sorts of music. We played some Stranglers, and he said to me: “You know, there’s a few of their songs that Yes could have done”. He was right. Certainly something like Golden Brown.

JJ: I’ll tell you something about Golden Brown that I’ve never told anyone before. It actually developed out of a prog rock suite. We were recording the La Folie album, and Hugh [Cornwell] and I were pissed off because we seemed to be writing all the songs. So we said to Jet [Black, drummer] and Dave: “Right, you two are going to write a song. We’re off to the pub. Have it written when we get back”. We fucked off to the pub all afternoon. Now, with Dave being a prog rocker and Jet being a jazzer, when we got back they presented us with this six-part piece of music. And we were like: “Fucking hell, we can’t record this”. We went: “Don’t like that bit… don’t like that… oh, wait a minute, we could something with that”. And the part we did like formed the basis for Golden Brown.
Golden Brown:

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Don't Stop

The release of Don't Stop by Oasis happened this week and it struck me as a strange thing to put out. It's somewhat unfinished and is really an entirely solo affair from Noel Gallagher. There is very little of Oasis to recommend the song since he has the lead vocal on it.

It should have been on an album and if not Dig Out Your Soul then Chasing Yesterday. It's a solid piece of music, and it was played well and inadvertently forgotten if Gallagher's version of events are to be believed. I don't know how you write something like this and forget about it, but that's the staggering thing about this fellow. He has written so many great songs, a few are bound to have fallen by the wayside.