Wednesday, 31 December 2008

in with the new

Onwards into the future....

Happy new year to one and all!

Tuesday, 30 December 2008


Extract from David Peace, Nineteen Seventy Seven:

With the dawn and more soft rain, I woke again. They were sleeping, wilted across my furniture.
I lay alone, staring up at the cracks in the ceiling, the chips in the paint, thinking about her, thinking about him, waiting for St Anne.
I rose and tiptoed past them to the table.
I pulled the paper from the typewriter.
I held the words in my hand and felt my belly bleeding:
Yorkshire, 1977.
The heart absent, the door still locked from the inside.
She came up behind me, leaning over my shoulder, warm against my ear, staring at the words I'd written:
Yesterday's news, tomorrow's headline:
The Yorkshire Ripper.

Monday, 29 December 2008


When I were a lad I used to love pop-up books. Today, Dennis Cooper's wonderful blog hosts a whole day dedicated to them.

Sunday, 28 December 2008


The ice under our feet. It's something we should all be grateful for, this thin veneer separating our routine protocols of adherence, compliance and procedure from that heterogeneous mass lurking silently beneath. What lies in wait off-picture is a shadow stalking our everyday workaday lives, lives bound to honour the strict social contract, grinding out a dismal wage among our neutered, battery farmed brethren. A teeming, violent, feral chaos of base urges invoking all manner of profanity, screaming a primal language that comes from somewhere just beyond our scripted replies. What is betrayed by these two lustrous orbs, whose reflections seem to show us the merest glimpse of a deadening routine that is their prison? Only a desolate blackness whose inscrutability defies any seeker of truth. An infernal glimmer, a speck of inverted light, and we know full well that won’t be enough.

Friday, 26 December 2008

marching on together

To Elland Road today for Simon Grayson's inaugural game as Leeds United manager. My brother had bought us tickets for the Leeds vs Leicester City boxing day fixture, and we saw a game short on good football. Still, it's one that we're happy to come away from with a point. A last-gasp equaliser made it 1-1, a good result against the division's current top team, and from here on in it's surely onwards and upwards.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008


Back in Crossgates for the holiday season, and I hereby award this effort first prize for most garish suburban Christmas decoration (East Leeds division).

Monday, 22 December 2008


Just in the interests of posting something, why not do yourself a favour and check out this beautiful depiction of Philip K. Dick's visionary tale Valis, illustrated by the mighty Robert Crumb.

Sunday, 21 December 2008


Ages ago, upon someone's recommendation, I tried out this website called StumbleUpon. It's a sort of hybrid search-engine/social-networking/information source thing for your toolbar, very "Web 2.0" or whatever the parlance is these days. So just now I've got re-registered, possibly sent invitations to all my Hotmail contacts by mistake, lost the best part of an hour, and find myself without a great deal to show for it.

Hopefully in the future this will mean I find lots of strange, wonderful links to share on my blog. We'll just have to wait and see now, won't we.

This is is one of my first stumbles. Mildly diverting, wouldn't you say?

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Christmas competition

The new issue of Yuck 'n Yum came with a Christmas competition, and I hereby throw down the gauntlet!

Friday, 19 December 2008


Belatedly posting a few of SC's photos from the recent Yuck 'n Yum launch.

Thursday, 18 December 2008


Mick Peter, Telephone Conversation

Seeing as how I'm finally back in charge of a working camera, I've been able to make use of my Flickr account for the first time in ages:

Be my guest and have a gander round. Over the coming months I hope to post regular photo updates, technology willing.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Minimal Wave in Italy

This has got to be one of the best things I've heard of late. I've long had a fondness for that musical genre known as Minimal Wave, a style that emerged in Europe during the early 80s-post-punk era, characterised by deadpan, mournful vocals, glacial synthesizers, tinny percussion and killer pop hooks. An arcane and prohibitively expensive scene to be into, but newbies could do a lot worse than to check out the blog named 7" from the underground, which collects together some of the more covetable releases.

I've been especially enjoying the mix Minimal Wave in Italy: LINK

mannequinmailorder: "Here's a Minimal / Dark Wave compilation that i mixed and compiled for a radio show that was planned to be on a italian fm radio, Radio Onda Rossa. Hope it will be online soon also on East Village Radio, obviously thanks to Veronica (Minimal Wave label).

Note that ALL the bands/projects included in the mix are from Italy" :-)


doris norton - caution radiation norton
aus decline - she gave me algedy
lass crime - land of nothing
xno - the story of the death boy
chromagain - after the clouds
monuments - monuments from the future
mr. andrew - the bats
lisfrank - i still believe in love
cold phoenix - la fleur du destin
militia - limbo
baciamibartali-winterlight - isao
vena - insane
metal vox - future world
suicide dada - acque
san vito dance - boring sunday
atelier du mal - untitled

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

marathon diary

In April 2009 my brother Nick will be running the London Marathon to raise money for the Leeds branch of the MS Society. He is keeping a blog that will follow his training regime: LINK

For anyone with a spare bit of loose change rattling round their pockets, why not defy that economic downturn you may have read about. He has just launched a fundraising page where donations will be most welcome: LINK

Bookmark these pages to keep a regular track on his progress, and I'm sure you will join me in wishing him all the best.

Monday, 15 December 2008


3 anonymous drawings found at random in the workplace:

1. Floral Pentagram

2. Evil Eye (Left)

3. Skin Complaint

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Yuck 'n Yum winter 08 issue is go!

The winter 08 issue of Yuck 'n Yum magazine is finally online and downloadable for your delectation. Read it, and read it now! LINK

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Sad songs week, day seven: JACQUES BREL - Ne Me Quitte Pas

YouTube comments:

bacashou (1 week ago)
magnifique !!

Friday, 12 December 2008

Sad songs week, day six: SCOTT WALKER - Loss Of Love (Theme from 'Sunflower')

Love is storm and wind, then tide
All the tears your heart can hold
But I look back after loss of love
And find the days were gold

I see only shattered skies
Not a ray of light to find
But I look back after loss of love
And sunlight blinds my mind

Songs were sung with words as young as May
But in the mist of summer, winter came
A chill blew out the flame

Now the words have haunted suns
Ring as clear as they did then
Still I look back after loss of love
And learn to love again

Songs were sung with words as young as May
But in the mist of summer, winter came
A chill blew out the flame

Now the words have haunted suns
Ring as clear as they did then
Still I look back after loss of love
And learn to love

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Sad songs week, day five: SOFT CELL-Youth

YouTube comments:

annaDi1984 (8 months ago)
The Video is So simple and so genius.

Forgottentear (8 months ago)
I just turned 23, what a perfect song to listen eh eh

violentsilence4u (8 months ago)
ah relax... your still young...

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Sad songs week, day four: CARPENTERS - Goodbye To Love

YouTube comments:

thankGodforDavidG (2 days ago)
Karen when I go to Heaven I'm going to look for you and please sing me a great song like
Goodbye to Love. R I P .

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Sad songs week, day three: KLAUS NOMI - Cold Song

In December 1982 Klaus Nomi performed ‘Cold Song’ from Purcell’s opera in Munich, Germany.

The audience were unaware that Klaus was suffering from AIDS.

Although frustrated with shortness of breath and fatigue Klaus was determined to perform to his home crowd.

6 months later Klaus Nomi died.

He was 39 years old.

Lyrics to Cold Song:

What Power art thou,
Who from below,
Hast made me rise,
Unwillingly and slow,
From beds of everlasting snow!

See'st thou not how stiff,
And wondrous old,
Far unfit to bear the bitter cold.

I can scarcely move,
Or draw my breath,
I can scarcely move,
Or draw my breath.

Let me, let me,
Let me, let me,
Freeze again...
Let me, let me,
Freeze again to death!

Monday, 8 December 2008

Sad songs week, day two: ABBA - The Day Before You Came

Guardian Music blog, Abba made Joy Division sound like Jive Bunny: LINK

The Church of Me blog about Abba: LINK

Sad songs week, day one: NICO - Frozen Warnings (1969)

YouTube comments:

JoelDionysus (1 week ago)
Nico is haunting and beautiful, her music is so mesmerizing and enthralling, it reaches out and pulls on me like a ghost from the Middle Ages demanding that I feel the pulse of the haunted spirts of the after live, and recognize the yearnings of those that have already die before us, pleading that we will acknowledge their dreams and help them to live on to into eternity.

Dennis Cooper blog about Nico: LINK

Saturday, 6 December 2008


Mick Peter: Harmonielehre, Generator Projects, Dundee

What's another word for a telephone conversation? Really you'd need the renowned Inuit dictionary of snow to compare the hefty (reckoned, by conservative estimates, to approach around a million million) number of names firing across the synapses in a single half-second, and that figure arrived at on a brisk November afternoon when the mind is less wont to wander. Of these many phantoms the collection in Mick Peter's glossy Jesmonite menagerie Harmonielehre is but merely a selection of especially striking examples.
His Telephone Conversation is a mutant human/telephone hybrid whose coiling cords meld into striding limbs, flex bound tight over a muscular torso, high heels marching onward over a land peopled by his fellow monochromatic forms. The floor of the Generator is painted a lustrous black to highlight the vivid figures writhing for supremacy in a series of playful brawls, their slapstick conflicts played out before us between a parade of irreconcilable opposites, looking lively like a melange of playful paradox.
In the near corner an elegant white tribal sculpture, its brow furrowed by the effort of a thousand years’ inert solitude, has lost the nature vs. culture face-off against a perching eagle whose majestic lilac shit streams victoriously down his forehead. This is no abject humiliation, as that inscrutable face is offered as a blank canvas whose scars of avian discharge serve only to provide us with the prettiest of pictures.
The centre of the room is divided into two by the shiny grey Interference Pattern Screen, the barrier’s outlines appearing as undulating soundwaves carving up the wall’s surface, partitioning the room as it casts shadows of white noise against the gallery’s lights.
Meanwhile in the far corner a concrete-grey boxy-fingered hand bids a weary teary fond Wednesday Farewell in a state of languid resignation, waving what might be a snot-caked hankerchief or maybe just a loosely packed rolly-upper. Any sentimentality in the gesture is undermined by the figure’s bulky outsized awkwardness, its swollen touch ill at ease with delicate expressions.
Over in the smaller of the two spaces, the two drawing boards of Moldenke Fiddles On fight a brave battle against marauding hacksaws and the stabs of their setquare brethren. Bladed instruments melt and bend against the structures’ support, yet still they stand stoic, sliced-out holes forming windows of negative space in their resolute angled planes.
The sculptures stand with a bright cartoony charm, a playful stark graphic clarity, each insisting on its own lumpen materiality even against this sleek silken stage set. These objects seem to hint at a withheld narrative, a suggestion that their internal conflicts might yet be granted a happily smooth resolution, for after all everyone likes a happy ending, don’t they? Whatever the outcome, however intractable such problems might appear, these would still be engaging encounters to stand on the sidelines and cheer.

Friday, 5 December 2008

this is the end

Now here's a rather lovely and poignant photo set on Flickr. It's a collection of vintage "The End" cinema title cards and no matter how varied the series might be, there can only ever be one outcome.

Dill Pixels:
"The End: What started as a lark has turned into a collector's obsession. Just the typography alone attracted me first, but also I am fascinated by the variations on a very simple, limited theme. Looking at them in the The End pool, they make a kind of story of their own, of Hollywood (mostly) and the movie industry changing with the times. And every once in awhile you come across an end title treatment that dares to play with the convention or even poke fun at it. I must admit to feeling a bit of wistfulness, too: "The End" as recurring theme of life and death and saying goodbye to the wonderful fantasy, until next time..."

Thursday, 4 December 2008

File under: Exotica/Esoterica

I've managed to whittle down to an easily digestible album-sized portion the playlist from last week's launch party.

File under: Exotica/Esoterica

1. Alain Goraguer – Ten Et Tiwa
2. Martin Denny – Cobra
3. Dick Hyman – Topless Dancers of Corfu
4. Alain Goraguer – Strip Tease
5. White Noise – Firebird
6. Martin Denny – Was It Really Love
7. Les Baxter – The Ancient Galleon
8. Delia Derbyshire – Gothic Submarine
9. Flamingos – I Only Have Eyes For You
10. Vladimir Ussachevsky – Wireless Fantasy
11. Delia Derbyshire – Environmental Studies
12. Ennio Morricone – Terrazza
13. Martin Denny – Quiet Village
14. Fabio Frizzi – Suono Aperto
15. Nurse With Wound – Coolorta Moon
16. Glenda Collins – It’s Hard To Believe It
17. Dick Hyman – Total Bells and Tony
18. Linda Scott – I’ve Told Every Little Star
19. Delia Derbyshire – Science and Health
20. Alain Goraguer – Piste 03
21. Claude Denjean – United We Stand
22. Mort Garson – Plantasia
23. The Blue Rondos – Little Baby
24. Alain Goraguer – La Femme
25. Martin Denny – Let Go (Canto de Ossanha)
26. Darlene Love – Strange Love
27. The Electronic Concept Orchestra – Misty
28. Earl Grant – Imitation Of Life

Wednesday, 3 December 2008


So the 2008 Turner prize was won by Mark Leckey, a fair result I think. Me and my mum went round the show on Monday, and we saw all the tables and chairs laid out in the Duveen galleries ready for the evening's ceremony. Too bad the dark horse Wilkes couldn't triumph, but she was always an outsider and my own attempt at a wager came to naught anyway.

There's an interview with the victor here, and he seems a nice bloke. His idea for a Two Ronnies-style variety show is an intriguing one.

Sunday, 30 November 2008


Back in Leeds for the weekend. Tomorrow it's down to London for the Francis Bacon show at the Tate, but today was spent round at my brother's place for a Sky Sports Super Sunday of three whole football matches. This included the ritual FA cup humbling of Leeds United, who lost in humilating, water-logged fashion to the non-league, part-time minnows of Histon FC. Someone present remarked, "Histon's only a small village. It's just got one post office, three paedophiles and no blacks." Still, at least now we can concentrate on the league and forget about these meaningless diversions.

Friday, 28 November 2008

Everything Must Go: Harvey Nichols Christmas 2008

Stood at the eastern end of St. Andrews Square, the mannequins pause frozen beneath fluorescent lamps, limbs locked in postures of defiance against news of market meltdown. For the “international luxury lifestyle store” Harvey Nichols, tabloid headlines telling of global crises must be dismissed as so much tomorrow’s fish and chips papers. The brand has been pushing its aspirational wares for nigh on 200 years and today accommodates franchises as far afield as Indonesia and Saudi Arabia. Scotland’s own appetite for ostentatious displays of wealth and good taste is still to be sated, and given the new worldwide capital fiasco the silvery window displays seem to communicate a steely determination rather than mere glitz and razzmatazz. Of course the world presented here has never been about “need” and it’s nothing to do with “enough”. The place still operates a rung or two above your common-or-garden high-street chain, its racks packed full of difussion lines from haute couture labels, its shelves piled high with elaborately bottled fragrances from the jet-set guest-list of most wanted names to drop. The face it presents to the world striding purposefully by outside has to sell an aesthetic of aspiration, an aura to transmit an advanced economic and social standing. To this end the immobile models pose before a backdrop of kaleidoscopically coloured Perspex diamonds, their deadpan gaze staring out far beyond the passing hordes of weekend shoppers into a distant future that seems suddenly harder to fathom. One inanimate beauty crawls across a daunting landscape of scattered glitter, all decked out in the latest finery from the likes of Gucci, Fendi and Roberto Cavalli, seeking out a transient identity to be adorned then discarded with the changing of the seasons. Any cosmetics counter moisturising lotions would only slip off her synthetic skin, while any instore Forth floor café snacks will leave no taste on her lifeless frigid lips. Her mute companions recline impassive before a palette of neutral greys to better accentuate the vividness of those huge hanging plastic treasures. The scene resembles the wake of an especially elegant send-off, its walls dotted with reflections cast by slowly revolving mirrorballs, each illuminating the marionettes’ inhuman discotheque, each providing an illusion of motion where once was only a deathly stillness. How much more alive these figures appear now, bathed in the light of a thousand spangled squares, bodies held in a trance as they contemplate an eternal present that will gratify their incessant desire for shiny distractions. ¬The speckled patterns go endlessly round and round the glass cabinets that will double as the tragic dummies’ mausoleum, condemned to an eternity spent silently contemplating their own reflections, trapped in a reverie haunted by dreams of miracle serum and terracotta air stockings. Eventually this season’s sparkle will fade and so the cycle will begin again anew, spring/summer 09 will follow autumn/winter 08 and so on and on forever and ever until the sales start and then surely everything must go…

Thursday, 27 November 2008

A Hamper for your Tragedy

Letter from the new issue of Viz magazine:

I bought a puppy for my 3-year-old daughter's birthday. However, when I got it home I discovered that it was blind and had no legs or ears. My daughter vowed to love it anyway, but the following morning it was dead. My daughter was so upset that she shot herself.
Destiny Plasterboard, Leeds

* Mrs Plasterboard's fantastically tragic tale of heartbreak means that she'll be celebrating Christmas this year with a £500 luxury Christmas hamper! Belgian chocolates, champagne truffles, liqueur mince pies and a selection of fine cheeses are all included.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008


In attendance at the college today for a short informal meeting about a new Glasgow-based magazine called 2HB: LINK

CCA is launching 2HB, a new quarterly publication dedicated to creative writing. Edited by Louise Shelley and Francis McKee, each issue will feature new work.

Submissions from interested writers are welcomed. The selection process will focus on creative writing or fiction with a critical awareness of issues. Subjects for future issues include eroticism, sci-fi, philosophical fiction, art as writing and detective fiction but work beyond these suggestions will be considered.

Submissions for 2HB should be sent with a cover page detailing artist's/writer's name, address, telephone number and email address and a short CV. Submissions should be no more than 3000 words.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

esoterica and exotica

Just to confirm my role at Friday's Yuck 'n Yum launch.

I've been asked to play a "lounge" set from my laptop, and will be doing what I call an "esoterica and exotica" set. This will be very different from the usual NEON playlist, and will feature highlights from my digital archive of easy-listening, exotica, soundtracks and 50s and 60s pop.

I've had an interest in these sounds for a long time, and by dipping in occasionally over the years I've eventually built up a decent enough selection. What you will hear will be a melange of classic exotica fare from the likes of Martin Denny and Les Baxter along with non-exotica electronics pioneer Delia Derbyshire, producer Joe Meek, and some 1960s Moog demonstration records.

Exotica and the Moog albums are of interest in that they contain all sorts of otherworldly sounds. These albums would have been used by 1950s Suburban Man to show off the new modern hi-fi to his friends, and Exotica describes the non-native, pseudo experience of Oceania. It's an ersatz imagining of the tropical, and if you strip away all the trappings (the kitschy fashions, the cocktails and the hairstyles) you're left with a sound that is genuinely strange and marvellous.

Exotica has of course come back into vogue in recent years. Nurse With Wound and Throbbing Gristle famously wore its influence on their sleeves, and Optimo made a short Exotica mix available on their website that is well worth digging out if you can still find it. On Friday you can expect a musical journey that, while billed as "laying down the smooth", is likely to be fairly wonky and subject to a fair few surprising twists and turns.

Monday, 24 November 2008


Once again we call on all Yucks and Yums to unite for the WINTER ISSUE launch party!

This year it will be held at WASP studios on the 28th November 7pm, as usual it promises to be a great night. Man Without Machines and the The Amazing Rolo promise to tantalize you with their electronic wizardry whilst Ben Robinson will be laying down the smooth with his set of esoterica and exotica. Hope to see you all there!

Sunday, 23 November 2008

deep and crisp and even

Oooh look it's been snowing! Beautiful beautiful snow everywhere as far as the eye can see.

Saturday, 22 November 2008


Much pleased this morning to receive a bumper double call from the postie, containing some belated birthday gifts as well as a few of the musical treats documented yesterday. My thoroughly modern mum had read my blog and between fielding my thank-yous she had a few cautionary words against my spending too much of the combined birthday and artist's fee windfall on records. So what can I say in my defence? Here goes:

It’s a sellers’ market and yes it’s an addiction, but as addictions go it’s surely not such a bad one. Drugs, drink and gambling are all a drain on the wallet and you’d not come away with anything to show for it beyond your own physical and emotional degradation. With records, at least you come away with a big pile of records. Over the many years I’ve spent collecting these things I’ve learned that, like so much else in life, you get better at it with practice. Back home in Leeds there’s an attic filled with hundreds of old deep house 12”s that will never ever be listened to again in this or any other lifetime. Today in Scotland aided by a refined pair of ears, I can honestly say that I’m proud of owning the vast majority, a few of which have drastically increased in value since their purchase. Though why would I ever want to sell my copy of Bagarre, Lemonsweet (disco version) or Bubble Sex by the Seebach Band? I’m not stupid.

Given the brave new world of techno-fantasia with downloading and filesharing and all the rest of it, you can readily carve out a perfectly respectable laptop DJ career without buying a single record. But it seems to miss the point somehow. The experience of music is so closely tied to the object, a fetish to focus the pleasure of listening, an elusive surrogate to pursue and own for oneself. Every record comes with its own individual story, its own thrill of the chase, its own artwork and its own condition according to the universal sellers’ code from Mint+ to Poor-. It is the record rack of Babel; no matter how many records, no matter how rare and marvellous its contents might be, no matter, the collection will never be complete. And that’s only the Italo section. Don’t get me started on minimal wave.

Happy songs week, day seven: Scott Walker - Jackie

FaerieCrone (8 months ago)
This guy had the looks of a god and a voice that could make your toenails curl. Yummy.

camp76 (1 year ago)

Friday, 21 November 2008


Owing to a sudden influx of birthday money and artist's fee windfall cash, I've been buying a fair bit of music over the last week or so:

Optimo: Sleepwalk mix
Status: Bought, excellent with nice artwork by Cathy Wilkes.

Metro Area: Fabric mix
Status: Bought, and I'm listening to it now. It's great!

Whitehouse: Cruise
Ordered from Discogs, but still in the post. Absolute classic.

Whitehouse: Bird Seed

Bought, was listening to really loud in an empty house while washing up the other day. Sort of a sister album to Cruise, and maybe not quite as good, if only by the breadth of a split hair.

Rude 66: As

Ordered from Juno, not yet arrived.

Angela / Riz Ortolani: I Gotta Little Love / Il Corpo Di Linda

Part of the same order as the Rude 66 record.

Tik and Tok: Cool Running

Paid for today, learned of it through Disco Hustle's mix The Lower Depths. Dark and wavey, the Aphex Twin is supposedly keen on this one.

Sunbelt: Spin It
Fantastic record, linked to the video clip yesterday, truly outstanding and has me dancing round my living room. "You've got to spin it! Woh woh woh!" Not yet arrived.

Yello: Bostich
Had it for a while on a compilation, but heard it on a mix by Intergalactic Gary and bid for a 12" on eBay.

Yello: Vicious games
Ditto, but I've never had this record in any form and I've no idea why not.

Bumblebee Unlimited: Lady Bug
A longtime favourite of mine, so I've put in a bid on eBay.

Lisa: Rocket To Your Heart
Linked to the video clip the other day, pure sunshine in a glass.

Happy songs week, day six: Sunbelt- Spin It

From: 18incharms4u
Added: June 04, 2008
Recorded a Lil fast,+ 1 it's original speed, the way I like it.

cubate (2 months ago)
i like it at this speed too!

FLUIS69 (5 months ago)
All time Favorite!!! Sounds Wonderful.Spin it!

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Happy songs week, day five: Baby's Gang Feat. Boney M - Happy Song

salimamander (3 weeks ago)
THis is just great. I want to go to that school!

ysharn13 (1 month ago)
i heard this song back in the 80s it was mine and my boyfriends song... it still brings back memorys LOVE IT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

jacklemmonpartier (1 year ago)
This is the best video on the internet.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Happy songs week, day four: Number One Ensemble - Back To Heaven

victorramos12 (1 month ago)
best track ever

forsven (2 months ago)
nice bass

pjlg (3 months ago)
this is my jam

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Happy songs week, day three: Heather Parisi - Disco Bambina

poitrenaud (1 month ago)
Heather, se nato nel Stato Uniti; ma che famiglia italiana! Essa e magnifica!
Mi piace ascoltare la sua voce!
Bellissima Heather-\Viva Italia!

Monday, 17 November 2008

smile please

So I got a new camera for my birthday. Here is a celebratory self-portrait:

Happy songs week, day two: Serge Gainsbourg - Elisa

KristheLester (3 weeks ago)
Superbe chanson, merci!

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Happy songs week, day one: Lisa - Rocket To Your Heart

I hereby dedicate this coming week to songs that spread happiness and cause me to smile involuntarily. I'll also post a few of the YouTube comments if they are any good....

trolley1950 (4 weeks ago)
omg italo/disco hot & sweaty men what more could you ask for in the 80s! thanks videobuff! i danced my ass off to this, great memories! love ya, glennaphonics

houseurbody (7 months ago)
My god!!! I have a clear blue vinyl import of this. Forgot all about how good disco was back then. Makes me want to bring out all my imports and 12 inch albums from when I use to play. Thanks for the flash back memories..made me cry of joy!

solitairstgt (10 months ago)
this song is soooo goes along with me for more than 20 is power, light and looove...mmmhhh...

vioskyy (10 months ago)
believe me im crying, id like time return back

Saturday, 15 November 2008

enter at your own risk

I was sat on the bus on my way to work earlier this week when I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around to see a cute young girl sat behind me, smiling.

"I'm sorry, but have you ever heard of a band called Elliot Minor?" (she had an American twang to her accent.)

"Er, no."

"Well you really look like the lead singer."

"Is that a good thing?"

"Yeah, it's a very good thing!"

"Oh, well thank you!"

So a few days later I took the bus again, and there she was sat near the back giving me another big smile. There were two teenage boys sat at the very back, discussing various rock bands I'd never heard of.

One of them ventured the opinion that Elliot Minor 'suck'. "Excuse me, I don't think so!" she interjected, despite not being party to their conversation. She walked down the bus and sat opposite me, shuffling through my papers for the new magazine. We got talking, she told me her name, she enjoys writing and she is studying English and drama at college.

"So did you check out Elliot Minor?"

"Oh no, well I don't really like rock music. Have you heard of a writer called Dennis Cooper?"


"You'd probably enjoy him, he is an American writer of transgressive gay fiction. He is very into cute dark-haired punk boys, like you maybe are."

Not many people I know are into Dennis Cooper, whose blog I regularly post links to and whose books Frisk and The Sluts I highly recommend. Anyway, for fans (or not-yet-fans) there is a Google Books version of a rare collection of essays called Enter at Your Own Risk that is well worth a look.

Despite its heterosexual nature, there was definitely something Cooperesque about that encounter on the bus. Although having finally seen a picture of the band, none of them are what you'd call attractive: LINK

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

hand to phone

One corner of the modern world where there can be few surprises: LINK

"An inquiry to the Call Centre Management Association, to see if anyone might hazard a guess as to why the industry suffers an unusually high number of sick days, was met with an answer machine."

Monday, 10 November 2008


To get this blog up and running once more, I'll post something I found at the Whitehouse forum:

From dennis coopers blog : "one of THE best Whitehouse live clips I've seen on the internet. Live at 2/6/2006 at Point FMR, Paris.
Choice excerpts from that show. An overview of the 16 minutes :
0:00-1:06: Philip Best performs Dans
1:07-2:40: Best performs Ruthless Babysitting
2:40-5:20: Bennett leaves his laptop and joins in, doing his vocals for Cruise. Best does his own vocals for Cruise afterwards
5:20-6:28: Philosophy improv
6:29-7:08: Philip doing his vocals for Cut Hands has the Solution
7:09-8:10: Bennett doing his vocals for Cut Hands
8:10-10:29: More improv
10:30-13:14: Band performs A Cunt Like You. Bennett does the worlds coolest dance moves at around the 10:50 mark.
13:15-14:17: Bennett performs Princess Disease
14:18-14:32: Bennett and best perform Why You Never Became a Dancer
14:33-end of clip: Movement 2000 instrumental ends the concert."

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

the hour

Deadline day today, so submit!

Tuesday, 4 November 2008


Extract from Comte de Lautréamont, Les Chants de Maldoror translated 1978 by Paul Knight:

Young girl, you are no angel, you will become like other women after all. No, no, I implore you, do not reappear before my frowning squinting eyes. In a moment of distraction I might take your arms and wring them like linen which is squeezed after washing, or break them with a crack like two dry branches and then forcibly make you eat them. Taking your head between my hands with a gentle, caressing air, I might dig my greedy fingers into the lobes of your innocent brain – to extract, with a smile on my lips, a substance which is good ointment to bathe my eyes, sore from the eternal insomnia of life. I might, by stitching your eyelids together, deprive you of the spectacle of the universe, and make it impossible for you to see your way; and then I should certainly not act as your guide. I might, raising your virgin body in my iron arms, seize you by the legs and swing you around me like a frond, concentrating all my strength as I described the final circle, and hurling you against the wall. Each drop of your blood would spurt on to a human breast, to frighten men and to set before them an example of my wickedness. They will tear shreds and shreds of flesh from their bodies; but the drop of blood remains, ineffaceable, in the same place, and will shine like a diamond. Do not be alarmed, I will instruct half a dozen servants to keep the venerated remains of your body and to protect them from the ravenous hunger of the dogs. No doubt the body has remained stuck to the wall like a ripe pear and has not fallen to the earth; but a dog can jump extremely high, if one is not careful…

Monday, 3 November 2008


An alarming clip of the vintage Italian TV show Fantastico, featuring a troupe of jelly babies choreographed by Leni Riefenstahl (on acid!)...

The song is "Crilù" by Heather Parisi, 1984.

Sunday, 2 November 2008


Extract from Comte de Lautréamont, Les Chants de Maldoror translated 1998 by Sonja Elen Kisa:

One should let one's nails grow for a fortnight. Oh! How sweet it is to brutally snatch from his bed a child with no hair yet on his upper lip, and, with eyes wide open, to pretend to suavely stroke his forehead, brushing back his beautiful locks! Then, suddenly, at the moment when he least expects it, to sink one's long nails into his tender breast, being careful, though, not to kill him; for if he died, there would be no later viewing of his misery. Then, one drinks the blood, licking the wounds; and, during the entire procedure, which ought to last no shorter than an aeon, the boy cries. Nothing could be better than his blood, warm and just freshly squeezed out as I have described, if it weren't for his tears, bitter as salt. Mortal one, haven't you ever tasted your blood, when by chance you cut your finger? Tasty, isn't it? For it has no taste. Besides, can you not recall one day, absorbed in your dismal thoughts, having lifted your deeply cupped palm to your sickly face, drenched by the downpour from your eyes; the said hand then making its fatal way to your mouth, which, from this vessel chattering like the teeth of the schoolboy who glances sidelong at the one born to oppress him, sucked the tears in long draughts? Tasty, aren't they? For they taste of vinegar. A taste reminiscent of the tears of your true love, except a child's tears are so much more pleasing to the palate. He is incapable of deceit, for he does not yet know evil: but the most loving of women is bound to betray sooner or later... This I deduce by analogy, despite my ignorance of what friendship means, what love means (I doubt I will ever accept either of these, at least not from the human race).

Friday, 31 October 2008

mis en scene

Now this is a wonderful spooky Hallowe'en treat, a blog that collects together the painted backgrounds to old cartoons. Abandoned by their cuddly residents, these haunted landscapes all feel decidedly uncanny.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008


Just a reminder for those that need it.
There's still another week to send something: LINK

Tuesday, 28 October 2008


Extract from Comte de Lautréamont, Les Chants de Maldoror translated 1978 by Paul Knight:

Stanza 3

I will state in a few lines that Maldoror was good during the first years of his life, when he lived happily. That is that. Then he noticed that he had been born evil: an extraordinary fatality! As far as he could, he hid his real character for a large number of years; but in the end, because of the concentration required, which did not come naturally to him, the blood used to rush to his head every day; until, no longer able to bear such a life, he flung himself resolutely into a career of evildoing... a sweet atmosphere! Who would have thought so! Whenever he kissed a little pink-faced child, he felt like tearing open its cheeks with a razor, and he would have done so very often, had not Justice, with its long train of punishments, prevented him. He was no liar, admitted the truth and said that he was cruel. Human beings, did you hear that? He dares to say it again with this trembling pen. So it is a power stronger than will... Curse! Could a stone escape from the laws of gravity? Impossible. Impossible, for evil to form an alliance with good. That is what I was saying in the above lines.

Monday, 27 October 2008


Lately I've been playing this clip first thing in the morning as I wake up. It really makes me ready to take on the world.

Sunday, 26 October 2008


Space Invaders Are Smoking Grass. I remember exactly where I first heard it. There was a club in Leeds by the Corn Exchange called Liquid that hosted Haywire, an underground electro night. A group of us had turned out to see Andy Weatherall, a DJ of some repute, and towards the close my friend leapt out of her seat as the opening bars of the final song began to play. Everybody else there soon did the same, all throwing slinky robot shapes to that weird pinging melody with an incomprehensible sinister vocoder voice, a record beamed in from a galaxy far far away, utterly unlike anything from what passed for a rather parochial music scene back then. Space Invaders Are Smoking Grass was made by one Ferenc E. van der Sluijs, better known as I-f. Over the next ten years much of the music I listen to each day could in some way be traced back to this man. He would have made it, played it, influenced it or broadcast it through his online music projects (the Cybernetic Broadcasting or the new Intergalactic FM), kickstarting the Italo disco revival a full ten years before Hoxton hipsters were even aware that a bandwagon existed.

Here he is delivering a rare lecture as part of some corporate-sponsored soft drink junket, and if you’ve a spare few minutes you’d do well to take in at least a part of what is a very interesting and inspiring talk: LINK

Saturday, 25 October 2008


Last year the prolific record producer Steve Albini appeared on an online poker forum to field questions from assorted card and music geeks.

Max Raker: Was Phil Spector as innovative and important as Rolling Stone says he is?

electrical: Oh hells yeah. Most record producers are parasites on the careers of bands and artists, but Phil Spector was actually the creator of everything on the records he produced, regardless of whose name was on the credits. He was also an extreme sex perv freak, gun nut and paranoid coke fiend. he was about as high-roller as dudes like that can be, and it all drove him nuts. Unique character.

There's been a major BBC documentary on Spector broadcast last night, and the great man is surprisingly lucid. A unique character alright: iPlayer LINK

Friday, 24 October 2008


Anyone who has ever worked for a bank, ever had a dislike of banks or anyone who has ever been fucked over by a bank (that'll be most of us, then) is directed to this page forthwith. Always guaranteed to raise a smile.

Thursday, 23 October 2008


Once good thing about work is when you get paid to do it. Today I celebrated a bumper pay packet the only way I know how - by spunking it on records. Klapto - Queen of the Night is among the greatest ever made, and I don't want any arguments.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

dignity through labour

"You're looking very smart today!"

Of course I am. By choosing to wear a shirt and tie to work I generally find myself in a minority of one, and that’s just the way I like it. It would have started in the 1990s Silicone Valley era of happy cuddly hypercapitalism, this idea of an office where some idiot cycles past on a toy bike, wearing a novelty baseball cap with baggy T-shirt and shorts, shooting foam balls through hoops over the waste paper baskets while slurping on their delicious free coffee. It's the duplicity of all this that sticks in the craw. You work for a massive corporation, so why even pretend you're having fun? I wouldn't even address colleagues by their first names if I could help it. We're not friends.

It's work. You're not meant to enjoy it. That's why it's called work.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008


Although I'm hardly what you'd call a fan of the illustrator/artist Trevor Brown, a while ago I bought a T-shirt on Etsy featuring a drawing of his that I'd taken rather a shine to. Since then the so-called "nu-rave" band Crystal Castles have branzenly stole the image for their merchandise, and suddenly I'm all sympathetic to his cause.

"we found the image on an old flyer, with no credit, so we didn't know who it belonged to or who to ask
we figured if we used it, the artist would eventually make him/herself known"

Parasites like that make me sick.... LINK

Monday, 20 October 2008

dance 2

While we're on the subject, as I was trawling YouTube for music clips I happened upon this young fellow putting together a few moves.

The soundtrack is Ruth, Polaroïd Roman Photo, one of my own very favourites and a pleasingly obscure choice for such a routine.

Sunday, 19 October 2008


Extract from Jean Rhys, Smile Please – An Unfinished Autobiography:

As soon as I got to Government House several people congratulated me on my dress. And Mr. Hesketh came up and asked me to dance the first waltz with him. Among his other accomplishments he was a very good dancer indeed and like all good dancers he could make his partner feel she too was an expert.

All the furniture had been taken out of the room, there was only the dark polished slippery floor with a few chairs set round it, the white walls and the music. I don't remember whether it was the local band, which consisted of a concertina, a steel triangle and what they call a shakshak, or perhaps it was a piano and violin. In any case the musicians were behind a screen. I longed for that waltz to last forever, to skim forever round and round with Mr. Hesketh's arm about me. I stopped being shy and managed to laugh and talk to him. I waltzed three times with Mr. Hesketh and each time was better than the last and I was happier. I went home, I suppose, somewhere between twelve and one and looking at myself in the glass I knew that that night had changed me. I was a different girl, I told myself that I would be just as happy the next day, now I would always be happy.

Saturday, 18 October 2008


Gambling has always struck me as a sorry pastime. After all, with other addictions you can at least enjoy the fleeting pleasures of self-annihilation. Gambling only brings ruin and misery upon thousands of families who were generally dirt-poor in the first place, and where's the fun in that?

Still, I did have a flutter today, my first in a couple of years, with the intention of placing £10 on Cathy Wilkes for this year's Turner Prize. She's based in Scotland, she used to teach at the local college, I like her work... William Hill have however stopped taking bets on the event, probably because betting on prizes is prone to being rigged by well-placed insiders looking to pull a fast one.

So I stuck it on Leeds United, who ended up losing 3-1 to Millwall in a bad-tempered match at the Den. "There'll be some trouble there," the staff at the bookies remarked, though I doubt I'd have got very good odds on that one.

Thursday, 16 October 2008


Just to clarify, the DJ set I linked to the other day wasn't by Liaisons Dangereuses, that was merely the name of it. Whatever, it's still aces.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008


Extracts from Jean Rhys, Smile Please - An Unfinished Autobiography:


I skimmed through Paradise Lost because I was curious about Satan. To me, and I think to most people then, Satan existed: the personification of evil, for some reason the ruler of this world. Satan was the enemy of mankind. He hated mankind and he was very clever in attacking it. He could be a very handsome young man, or he could be so ugly that just to see him would drive you mad. He was responsible for all the evil in this world and he perpetually made war on mankind.
So far as I could understand, everyone believed in Satan, and he was to blame for everything that had gone wrong. He could be pitiable, as in The Sorrows of Satan, or he could be terrible, the destroyer. In any case, for some reason he was all-powerful.

My Day

When the post comes, the day starts. Sometimes the news is very satisfactory. I'm to be given a tree by Devon County Council. Indeed, they don't say 'tree' but 'trees'. Have I room for 'trees'? How far do the roots spread? I must find out. Wouldn't it be marvellous if I had room for several trees and at last I could live in a forest, which has always been one of my ambitions. Later on I can plan a long elaborate meal, my first if I'm hungry. Settle for bread, cheese and a glass of wine, if I'm not. Isn't the sadness of being alone much stressed and the compensations left out?

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

I didn't know

Not updated the blog in a few days, and I'm a fan of Doonesbury so today's cartoon just seems appropriate.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

welcome to the pleasuredome

Something of a mixed weekend for me, but it's been greatly enhanced by this wonderful 1989 DJ set from Liaisons Dangereuses: LINK