Friday, 12 December 2008

Beatles Lyric of the Day

The walrus was Paul.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Led Zeppelin - Kashmir

Why people consider Stairway to Heaven to be the definitive LedZep track i'll never know. This song is probably the best thing they did. It has a relentless momentum to it. It swaggers around, throwing its weight around. If this song was a person then it would be a fighter. A UFC type fighter that would fuck your shit up.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Who was the best James Bond?

This is a question that everyone has an opinion on. The fact that I can't abide James Bond does not stop me from having an opinion.

For the sake of simplicity I'll be sticking to the main movie cannon. This sadly excludes Bob "Blockbusters" Holness from consideration. Likewise David Niven is gone.

So the candidates are:

1. Sean Connery.

For some reason considered the "definitive Bond" by many, presumably because it is apparently Gay to think of anyone else as the best Bond. Unlike Luke I am secure enough in my hetrosexuality to call bullshit on this. Connery's bond is not so much dry as arid. I cannot imagine him existing outside of the confines of the stories in which he inhabits. He is truely two dimensional and not in an "iconic way". Factor in the fact that Connery is clearly now in a competition to become the living "breaveheart" whilst simultaneously trying to out insane Mel Gibson and becoming the poster child of Domestic Violence and you can see why I would rather watch the grass grow than watch him as Bond.

2. George Lazenby.

Does he even count anymore? Even McGann has had a better run as Doctor Who than this joker had as Bond.

3. Roger Moore.

Appears to be as sound as a pound and a top bloke in real life. Brought some humour and levity to the role. I can watch his Bonds without wanting to gouge my eyes out. Now that's not to say that I enjoy them (I don't) merely that his portrayal is such to justify the films existing.

4. Timothy Dalton:

Took a "serious" approach to the role. Thereby showing that he had missed the point entirely. Bond is a tedious schoolboys fantasy. If done in the right way though (ie the Roger Moore way) there can be some fun and enjoyment to be had from this rather limited character who basically only ever experiences one sort of story. He did at least have the right colour hair and also doesn't seem to think he is the King of His people.

5. Pierce Brosnan.

I can remember me (and plenty of others) being adamant that he was perfect for the role, bron to play bond etc. Its a measure of how shite an actor he is that he is dreadful in the role he was born to play.

6. Daniel Craig. Haven't seen him. But plenty of Bond fans I know aren't impressed. Moreover he seems to be following in Dalton's footsteps.

In conclusion. Roger Moore was the best by virtue of the following:

1) Being the least worst Bond.
2) Being in the least worst films.
3) Being a decent guy in real life.

Also just to re-iterate, Sean Connery is an arse.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Karate Kid or Mortal Kombat?

I still love the cheesy original though.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Pulp - This is Hardcore

AKA: This is really underrated.

Lets go back in time to the fag end of brit pop. This was an era when all the old certainties were gone. The tories had finally been kicked out of office which in itself was pretty much the deathnell for Britpop and the dawning of the infinitely inferior "cool britania". The problem was when the Tories were in, the bright young things had something to kick against. It was in a sense a pop-cultural revolution. Blair & NuLabour weren't stupid and they went about appropriating and neutralising this. Similarly the music industry had caught up with the "indie" scene and went about commodatising it. Thus was born "cool britania".

It's interesting now (10 years on) to look back on this and see how the britpop bands dealt with this. You had the likes of the Verve, who had run their dreary course, giving up altogether. Then you had the likes of Oasis, basically becoming a tribute act to themselves. To be fair to Oasis they still chuck out some good singles and Heathen Chemistry was a blinding album. On the other hand the election of Blair basically had the same effect on them as the destruction of the second Death Star did the rebel alliance. Suddenly they were left with nothing to rebel against. Had they (or indeed anyone else) been more prescient, the britpop scene could've been re-invented as a means of mobilising support against Blair as he grew steadily more insane and murderous. Unfortunately Robbie Williams and Angels happened instead. A fine tune, but the very essence of "cool britania".

Then you had the likes of Supergrass who embrassed Cool Britania because they were finally a "cool band" as opposed to a bunch of talentless, also ran, cliched, fuckwits turning out tediously predictable sub-stones dross.

Then you had the likes of Blur/Albarn and Radiohead who decided to abandon the britpop thing altogether in favour of something dangerously close to progressive rock.

Pulp, possibly more particularly Jarvis Cocker, did something altogether different in commemorating the end of an era at the exact time the era ended. Pulp were of course uniquely placed to do this, having been mistaken as a britpop band, despite the available evidence to the contrary. Different Class is one of those classic cases of a band being known for its most atypical work. Its a good album and one of the best britpop albums. But its probably Pulp's weakest album. Its certainly their most mainstream one.

This is Hardcore was an exercise in deliberately alienating the Johnny come Lately "fans". It was a brave thing for Pulp to do, but its clearly now an album that stands the test of time. Its also the album where they were at their lyrical peak.

The recent re-master/re-issue is a necessary acquisition for the bonus disc. But for the album itself you need the original CD release. The "remaster" is compressed and brickwalled to fuck. This is a real shame because the original CD has some of the best production of the last 10 years and is comparable with anything Radiohead have done. The album has a lush, Floydian sound, but with some bite, the aural equivilent of a good dark chocolate.

The album has a clear set of themes throughout. Specifically alienation, paranoia and dissaffection with modern life together with an examination of the seedier side of modern society and in particular ideas of modern male/FHM style sexuality. This may sound like depressing stuff and in a way it is. But its depressing in the way that the Blues are depressing. An uplifting and cathartic style of depression. With some belting tunes. The best of which for those of a downloading bent are:

1) The Fear.

The track starts of with a wailing siren and proceeds to tell a tale of paranoia and isolation. This was likely autobiographical as Jarvis wasn't in the best way at the time. But he still had a way with words.

2) I'm a Man.

I'm just gonna quote the awesome lyrics here "I start to wonder, what it takes to be a man. Well i've learned to drink and i've learned to smoke and I learned to tell a dirty joke. If that's all there is then there's no point to me".

3 and 4) Glory Days and The Day After the Revolution. A classic double whammy to end the album as Jarvis rails against Blair, NuLabour, the media and so on. Lyrical gems include: "come share this golden age with me, in my single room apartment", "Oh we were brought up on the space race, now they expect us to clean toilets", "We are the children of the new world", "Although nothing looks different a revolution took place".

Again these are tracks that the likes of Oasis could never do. Firstly because they weren't that talented lyrically, but more importantly because they go against the grain of britpop. The Oasis/Blur brand of britpop was very get up and go. It was music that said you can do this and fuck the politicians and the toffs and anyone else who gets in your way. Pulp were always much more savvy. Fundamentally people are limited, for better or worse, by who they are and their life circumstances. A bit of swagger might get you in the NME if your as talented a vocalist as Liam Gallagher, but in real life it will see you on the dole or a punch on the hooter. Similarly the politicians and the toffs are practically an irrelevance because its the corporations who have things tied up. Pulp realised this and as such even Different Class has a knowing and cynical sneer to it. Almost as thought Pulp went to the Britpop scene to see what it was all about and weren't that impressed.

This is Hardcore therefore stands as a rare contemporaneous historical representation of the end of an era. A comment on a band that predated and would ultimately outlast the genre. Pulp would once again confound expectations with We Love Life. But that's for another post.

Edit: Jarvis 1 Jacko 0,

Monday, 3 November 2008

Bremner, Bird and Fortune wish they were this funny.

Absolutely classic stuff:

"beyond the environment".

"By all means the front fell off".

F1 returning to the beeb

Nearly forgot about this.

We've had years of the wossiefied hair metal crap that ITV have foisted on us.

Its time to return to the best sports introduction ever:

Nigel Mansell

Now I am well chuffed about Hamilton winning the F1 championship. We've been too long without a British winner, but Mansell will always be the spirit of motor racing (even if Shumie was technically better). This is why:

1) 4th highest number of grand prix wins. Only had the best car in one season.
2) He stayed competitive with Senna and Prost even when they were in much better cars.
3) The only man to hold the F1 and CART championships at the same time. And he absolutely WALKED the CART championship.
4) He didn't get on with Ron Dennis.
5) He was the last person tobe PERSONALLY selected to drive a Ferrari by Enzo Ferrari.
6) He didn't get on with Frank Williams.
7) He drove the "red 5"
8) He would've won 3 titles but for technical faults at the last moment.
9) He had about a bazillion injuries and came back ever time. Seriously, the guy wrecked his body even more than his cars.
10) He was know as "the Lion" by the Ferrari fans.
11) He tried to push his broken down car around the final lap of the 1984 USA grand prix to get the remaining one championship point available to him.
12) The last I checked he was still the fastest "star in a reasonably priced car".

Saturday, 1 November 2008

Alan Partidge Quote of the Day

Monkey Tennis?

Football stuff

Loads of things that caught my attentions today.

Firstly the "respect the ref" campaign.

Exhibit A:

The man to the right is David Elleray. This is a man that spent the whole of his career blatantly favouring Liverpool football club at every available opportunity. It's also worth noting that he made a living as a Geography teacher.

Exhibit B:

Graham Poll. This is a guy that managed the "3 card trick" at the world cup. He also showed an extensive bias towards the Arsenal through his career. He now makes a living as a rent a quote on various TV and radio shows. Wiki Link:

Exhibit C:

Uriah Rennie. All I would say about this guy is that I was disconcerted to discover that he is allowed to be a magistrate. On the other hand his wiki page shows his a martial arts expert. I'll say no more as it would appear he could kick my head off and then put me in nick too.

What this all boils down to is that these guys have to do very little yet still consistently fuck it up. They then wonder why people get irate with them. Respect is earned, which brings me to:

Exhibit D

Nobody messed with the oustpan man. primarily because he hardly ever got things wrong and did his fucking job!

Anyway, I do think the whole idea of only cpatains being able to speak to the ref is a good idea. But there also needs to be some obligations on the referees not to be quiet so shit as they are now.

This leads me to today's footie focus on the BBC and the bile inducing sight of Martin "caveman" Keown trying to take the moral highground on this matter.

Which in turn brings me onto Tony Adams. Now I kinda like Adams. Granted he played for the Arsenal and that is a big mark against him. But from all i've heard (not all of which is widely known) he is a top bloke. One of those guys you loved to hate back in the day. Now clearly the prospect of an Arsenal love-in reunion with Keown at Pompey is a horrifying prospect and I understand Sky TV have already developed technology for the HD signal to automatically switch off whenever one of their camera's picks up Martin Keown's face. But the bigger problem is stress.

Stress, in the past, lead Tony Adams to this:

Which in turn lead to something like this:

Football management is a nasty game. It got Cloughie and he had no previous history, I hope Adams keeps a clear head and that Pompey go on a good run with him.

Speaking of Cloughie, Derby are playing Forest. The ideal time for some classic quotes:

"If God had intended for us to play football in the clouds he wouldn't have put grass on the ground."

"I'd ask him how he thinks it should be done, have a chat about it for twenty minutes and then decide I was right"

"They thought I was going to change it lock, stock and barrel. They were shrewd because that's exactly what I would have done" - on why he was rejected by the FA for the England job.

"I certainly wouldn't say I'm the best manager in the business, but I'm in the top one."

" This is a terrible day.....for Leeds United" - exiting Elland Road after being sacked after 44 days as manager.

But best of all:

"As far as I'm concerned you can throw all those medals you've won in the bin, because you won them all by cheating" - to the Leeds United players on his first day as manager.

Seduced by packaging

Just paid £5 more for the HMV version of series 4, but seriously how cool is that cover.

The truth about James Bond

As called on this weeks Fighting Talk. He is a alcoholic drink driver.

Friday, 31 October 2008

Beatles Lyric of the day



Now I am not talking about the guy to the left. Although, he did present T4 and is clearly so ugly as to give the impression of being the long lost missing link.

I am actually talking about the people in the hot hatch on my way home from Tesco's tonight.

You see apparently I had the temerity to have been on the roundabout and in a lane they wanted to be in. This heinous behaviour was clearly deserving of the bibbing and cutting up I received. It was after this that I spotted the thoroughly amusing "t4ugs" personalised number plate on their particularly gay coloured motor (it was a weird turquoise blue and even gayer than Luke's Harry Potter reject scarf). Unfortunately for these sub-evolutionaries, they had the misfortune of then finding themselves behind two other cars and a lorry that moved at the rate of continental drift.

I'm not sure what was then funniest. Sitting a meter behind them whilst they desperately reved their engine in the delusional belief that this could somehow get them past 2 cars, 1 lorry and a set of traffic lights; or coming off at the Sainsbury's roundabout watching them still stuck behind the lorry on their way to the treacle mine roundabout.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

And on that Bombshell!

Well there was me just checking Outpost Gallifrey before turning in to find David Tennant will be leaving at the end of next year.

My initial thoughts are that I will do my usual thing. Not be too sure about the replacement for an episode before then deciding their the best actor to ever play the Doctor. I have no loyalty that way! I genuinely thought that Christopher Eccelston couldn't be bettered until about half way through New Earth when I decided David was the best Doctor ever!

My second thought is that Marc Warren has to be the best choice for 11 out of all of the previous rumours. I hope they can keep the details of the new person quiet for a while longer (ie at least until next year) as they could end up being old news before a minute of their first episode is broadcast.

Anyway, Time will tell (it always does).

Alan Partiridge Quote of the Day

Sonya: What is Cockney??

Alan: Cockney, Sonya, is an area in London where criminals live.....the police don't arrest them because, and they're very strict about this, they only slaughter their own...and they have funerals with horses and floral tributes that say things like Mum and stab!

Doctor Who Quotes of the Day

The Doctor: Oh, I'll think of something.
Mickey: You're just making this up as you go along!
The Doctor: Yep. But I do it brilliantly.
-The Tenth Doctor

Dalek Sec: Identify him!
Rose: All right then. You really want to know? That's the Doctor. Five million Cybermen: Easy. One Doctor? Now you're scared.

Abbey Road, AKA - The greatest album of all time.

Well it was a toss up as to whether the first post proper would be about the Fabs or Doctor Who, until I realised that I could spend the rest of my life on explaining why Doctor Who is so great.

The title is just to clarify the matter for those poor fools who think the likes of Nevermind or the Joshua Tree are the best albums of all time.

Now I am gonna work form the assumption that all sensible people accept that the Beatles are the greatest band that humanity has ever produced. People are of course free to disagree with this, but they should of course realise that whilst they are entitled to such an opinion, they are also wrong. They should then spend ever free moment listening to the entire output of the Beatles until they realise why they are wrong.

Anyhow, a lot of people will tell you Sgt. Pepper is the best album the Fabs did. These are the same sort of people that think Imagine is the best thing Lennon did and their opinion can safely be discounted. Revolved clearly has a strong claim for being the best album of all time, but ultimately fails on the basis that it doesn't have quite the depth and maturity of Abbey Road. To be fair though it basically gave rise to the entire britpop movement. Hopefully in another 10 years or so the music industry will catch up and we'll have a genre based on Abbey Road (Prog Rock doesn't count).

The White Album also has a claim to the title too, but fails because there are far too many songs that are basically solo efforts. That's not to say that it isn't completely fucking awesome though, because it is.

Anyway, back to Abbey Road.

First things first. The Fabs basically recorded this album after having all but broken up. The Let it Be project ended in rancour and petty back biting. Allen Klein was allegedly doing all he could to rob the Fabs out of their cash ("in business, his left hand never knew who his right hand was doing, he was a man after his own wallet") and Yoko was trying to sing. Everything had gone to hell. And yet, somehow the boys decided to "come together" one last time and create a masterpiece. The Abbey Road project was four people listening to the better angels of their nature.

Onto the songs:

1. Come Together. Classic Lennon here with nonsense lyrics somehow forming a rythmic impressionistic sound collage. All underpinned by Macca's Godlike bass playing. Seriously name me a better bassline than this one. Then try and name me another better one that wasn't also by Macca. I'll wait.

Ok then, moving on. The next thing to note, even for those of you stuck with the crappy EMI CDs, is the sound quality. This was done on an 8-track machine, the Fabs were using 4-track up to then. Moreover, this was the first album they mixed with stereo in mind. Previously the Fabs too a great deal of care and attention with the Mono mixes, then left some junior engineer to spend a couple of hours making a stereo mix. Abbey Road's stereo mix is mostly devoid of the weird imbalances that characterise the earlier albums. Add that to the 8 track goodness and you've got a lush, almost Floydian, soundscape.

Next thing to note. You can't hear it on the EMI CD's but on the original vinyl, Lennon's "Shoots" are actually "Shoot me!". In retrospect, this was probably not a wise lyric.

2. Something.

George's coming out party. Sure the weeping of his guitar was a highlight of the white album, but it was actually Eric Clapton playing and also not a single. Anyway one of the greatest love songs of all time and a prelude to the awesomeness that was to come from George in the form of his All Things Must Pass album. The surround sound version of this on the Anthology album is even better as little bits of instrumentation are as clear as a bell.

3. Maxwell's Silver Hammer.

Morons take great pains to have a pop at this and to use it as supposed evidence of Macca "loosing it". To this I say Bollocks. This song is brilliantly subversive. Pay attention to the lyrics people! This is the Macca doing a song about a serial killer in 1969! Why did he get away with it? Two reasons: 1) Cos' it jaunty and people didn't take notice of the lyrics, 2) by sheer force of how awesome Paul was at the time.

4. Oh Darling.

I will go on the record as saying John Lennon is the greatest rock N roll vocalist of all time. No question (although greatest singer may go to Roy Orbison). But, as the Anthology 3 CD proves, nobody could tear it up like Macca did here. This is one of the all time great Rock N Roll screamer songs. The sort of thing that makes Little Richard seem calm and sedate by comparison. It's basically Buddy Holly crossed with Helter Skelter. What other album can boast a song like that? None. That's part of why Abbey Road rocks the entire freaking world.

5. Octupusses Garden.

The title is probably incorrect (surely it should be Octupuss' Garden). The first thing to note about this song is that its better than Yellow Sumbmarine (therefore trumping Revolver). The second thing is that if you've only heard the EMI CD release, you've got a muddy poorly mastered version and you're not getting the best of it. The third thing to note is that Ringo wrote it (with a little help from his friend George). So for those keeping track Abbey Road is that good that it has a song, by the least talented writer in the Beatles, which is better than a song by the most talented Beatle on the Revolver album.

6. I Want You (she's so heavy).

This song basically created the Heavy Metal genre. Don't hold that against it! You see the Beatles were so talented and Abbey Road so good, that they did in one track what the likes of Sabbath and Deep Purple have spent years repeating. Also bear in mind the versatility we've had so far. Psychedelic weirdness (come together), love song (something), jaunty subversion (maxwell), Rock N Roll screamer (Oh Darling), nursery rhyme (Octupus) and heavy metal (this track). Also bear in mind that in 1969 this was side one of a vinyl album. Revolver and Pepper didn't have anuthing like this scope. The White Album did, but it lacks the sheer quality of Abbey Road.

7. Here Comes the Sun.

Now all right thinking people can stand together on the common ground that Something is brilliant. So George decides to really take the piss by kicking off side two of Abbey Road with an even better song. You could say this song is made of awesome. This would be right. But incomplete. It is actually made of optimism. This has to be the most sincerely optimistic song ever written.

8. Because

The most exquisite harmonies heard since the albums of The Mamas and The Papas. Nuff said. That they would go onto better it a few minutes later once again speaks of the brilliance of this album.

9. The Abbey Road Medley.

Simply put the groups crowning achievement. This is what you call going out on a high. Basically an impressionist song cycle about the Beatles themselves, where they come from and where they are going. You Never Give Me Your Money sees Macca in a subversive mood once again as he takes a pop and Allen Klien (where the Beatles are now), Sun King goes onto better the harmonies of Because it also has a much warmer and mellower vibe. Mean Mr. Mustard and Polythene Pam basically represent the where the Fabs came from, John's equivalent of the Penny Lane portrait of Liverpool.

Then we get into a Macca vibe again. She Came in Through the bathroom window is the ultimate Beatles concentrate. Virtuoso playing (George Harrison invents the mini-riff), typical Beatle harmonies, George Martin Orchestration everything you associate about the Fabs. Basically this track does in about two minutes what it takes Rubber Soul over 30 to do. This track really is made of awesome.

Golden Slumbers. Utterly, Utterly transcendent. Okay so the lyrics aren't Maccas. But the melody is heartbreakingly beautiful to the point of actually being precious. There's an implied empathy and compassion in the way that Paul sings it too. This is an ubber-lullaby for grown ups. Cross the awkward tenderness of Goodnight with the humanity of Dark Side of the Moon and you get this song.

Carry that Weight. Here we have Macca musing on the future of the Beatles and realising and accepting the negative aspects of the legacy, the companion piece to Let it Be. How many albums have this level of prescience? Also it has a fantastic singalong feel to it too. Which somehow fits, even though it should really undercut they lyrics.

The End ties up the Beatles legacy into a neat bow, has an awesome duelling guitar bit and the only decent drum solo ever.

Her Majesty. To paraphrase Niles Crane, what's the one thing better than a perfect album? A perfect album with one tiny flaw you can pick at all night. Fortunately the Fabs signed off with the infinitely more superior and fitting "Real Love" in the 90s.

Anywhow, anyone that reads this can feel free to agree with me below.

First Post

Testing Testing.