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).