Something for the Weakened

Archive for January, 2006

Oops

January 29th, 2006 by

Aaargh, I’ve turned everything bold! Sorry.

[Fixed now - Ed]

The Walker Report

January 29th, 2006 by

For those of you who don’t know, Scott Walker only releases one album a decade. This wasn’t always the case, the sixties and seventies were prolific times for him as both a solo artist and as part of the Walker Brothers (they weren’t really brothers, or called Walker for that matter). But by the turn of the eighties Scott had tired of it all and became the slightly odd recluse that he remains to this day. He continued to record, but as I stated above, has only released two albums since then (soundtrack work aside – something he has apparently produced a lot of though I myself am unfamiliar with).

Word reached me earlier this week that his album of this decade is due to be released in a couple of month’s time. This set my mind speculating as to what the ensuing furore would entail and already one of my suspicions has been proven correct, so it seemed wise to show my prophetic skills at this moment, rather than just whining “I knew that was going to happen” a few months down the line. So, let us begin (apologies if the next line isn’t in bold and just has some squiggles next to it, but I’m not sure if I’m getting the hang of this or not).

1. The release of the album will prompt the current license holders of his eighties and nineties albums to re-release them both. This is what has already occurred to some degree. Climate of Hunter, his eighties album, has come back into print over the last couple of weeks after being more or less unavailable for the past six or seven years. It’s the first time I’ve heard it, so haven’t completely worked out my opinion of it yet. It sounds interesting in places, but is bogged down in some horrible eighties production in places, which I’ll hopefully be able to get over. The appearances of Mark Knopfler and Billy Ocean may take more work, but I learnt to cope with Eno working with Phil Collins so it might not last. More importantly than all of this is that it will hopefully lead to the re-pressing of Tilt, Walker’s nineties opus. A tricky album, but one that’s well worth putting time and effort into – it pays dividends. Not sure whether it’s actually been unavailable – I picked up my copy a year ago, though it did look as if it had been sitting in a stock room for half a decade – but the extra Walker interest should at the very least put it back onto shelves. The rest of his back catalogue has been available since the inception of compact discs as far as I know.

2. No live shows. Well, he’s a recluse ain’t he. Aren’t you listening?

3. One print interview. It may stretch as far as two, but I’m guessing that he’ll only do the one and that it will be in print rather than any other medium. Again, the reclusiveness thing, but the man has enough sense to do a little bit of self promotion for his new work. My betting is that it’ll either be Word or Mojo magazine, probably the latter. According to the liner notes to Climate of Hunter he was interviewed on The Tube by Muriel Gray at the time of it’s release. Easy to see how that would put anyone off wanting to be near a television studio again . . .

4. Retrospective documentaries. I’m guessing at two of these on television. Probably BBC 4 and Channel 4, perhaps BBC2 but very unlikely (unless it’s shown on 4 first). Radio 2 will most likely try and knock out a whole series while Radio 4 will sling together a half hour piece presented by either Phil Jupitus or Bill Bailey. 6 Music will most likely have a Scott Walker day. Meanwhile Walker himself will have as much to do with any of this as Chris fucking Moyles. I think we all know how much attention Radio 1 will be paying . . .

5A splendid but difficult album. Knowing what our Scotty’s like, the result of his most recent foray into the studio won’t be the easiest of listens. Though he’s always been a bit of a crooner – he really does possess one of the most enchanting voices on the planet – his music has always been more challenging than anyone else you could tar with that particular brush. From the lush strings and obscene lyrics of the sixties to the whispering over industrial clangs he embraced in the nineties, Walker’s always challenged his listeners. If this is any different, I for one would be highly disappointed.

6. Critical indifference followed by seclusion. It’s the pattern he’s followed for the last two decades, so I’d be surprised to see it change. Expect confusion from the mainstream press, the odd word of back handed praise and moderate sales that don’t set the world alight. Followed by Scott turning away and wandering off back home for another ten years, waiting for the rest of us to catch up.

I can’t wait to hear it.

Loose Ends

January 26th, 2006 by

Few things that need tying up that I’ve left loose for a bit. ‘Panda in a bap’ is a phrase that keeps coming to mind when I notice a book called Last Chance to Eat (that’s either come out as italics or has some squiggles next to it – fingers crossed!) or something similair. Keep thinking that it’s about scoffing endangered species, whereas in fact it’s yet another thing banging on about obesity. Hence, ‘Panda in a bap’, because baguette just doesn’t sound right. It would make quite a good lyric too, something I might work on. “You’re just like a panda in a bap, woo woo.” Needs some work.

The luminous mandrill quip wasn’t, as irregular correspondent Fforbes Munchell thought, a reference to William S. Burroughs, though like him I do now have vague recollections of the good man writing something about them. I only wish that it had been, what with my intention being of a far, far lower brow. I’m not proud to admit it, but I’d been watching recent US import Invasion (or should that be Invasion? I really don’t know if this italicization thing works, but I’m damned if I’m going to stop trying!) which features numerous glowing sub aqua beasts and, in that particular episode, some escaped diseased simians.

I’m suddenly compelled to have a bit of a whinge about recent US sci-fi type TV imports (now that’s how to construct a sentence!). Is it just me or is Invasion essentially Body Snatchers extended over at least twenty two hours (second seasons withstanding)? Is there really any need for that? The original film is still outstanding, so long as you don’t watch the version with the soppy pro and epilogues tacked on, possibly even exceded in quality by the seventies remake. Even the Abel Ferrara version is passably watchable, but at least it’s concise. Then there’s Lost. Now, Lost I can appreciate, but Christ is it frustrating. I’ve not been watching it religiously, just caught a few episodes here and there. I’d probably missed the previous six when I caught the last two a couple of weeks ago and, surprise of surprises, vast swathes of plot were set up, but no bleeding resolution! To anything! I realise that they’re trying to hook you in for the second season and all, but Jesus, couldn’t they try for some kind of a satisfying conclusion. I know resolutions of some sort might come about when it’s being threatened with cancellation, but I demand satisfaction. It’s like Twin Peaks all over again. I gave up on that after the identity of Laura Palmer’s killer was revealed as I couldn’t really see where else it was going to go. Admittedly I’d only started watching it because the original trailer used the word naked (hey, I was young and full of hormones), but that’s beside the point. Now that it’s finished and, what with it being David Lynch and all, though there are almost certainly no resolutions, I’d quite like to go back and watch it as a body of work. Maybe that’s the attitude I should take with these things too.

Avoid disappointment – wait for the DVD.

Soon – Me & Armando.

Panda in a bap

January 25th, 2006 by

I’ve got a hunger.

A hunger for panda in a bap.

More soon.

Poo

January 23rd, 2006 by

Jaw fractured in two places. Forced back onto an all soup ‘n’ yoghurt diet. Unlikely to completely heal within six weeks. Advised not to drink for another week. Unable to go and see Damo Suzuki tomorrow because of worry of further damage. Have to sleep only on my back. Forgot to try and photocopy the x-ray. No face cast. Yet.

I think you’ll agree my friend, poo indeed.

“Was it the glowing of a radioactive mandrill?”

January 22nd, 2006 by

Things I have learnt since last I wrote you;

Watching jokes on television about butt plugs with one’s parents can be an uncomfortable experience. Especially when one of them doesn’t seem to know what they are and will presumably have to have it explained to him later.

My dentist is married, the dirty tease.

That some figures within the local music scene still remember and appreciate stuff I wrote about them over a year ago in some sort of hungover fug.

That I have a fractured jaw.

Alasdair Roberts’ sadly defunct band Appendix Out produced some of the most gorgeous sounding music that I’ve come across in some time. Never thought that songs about prehistoric campfires and the Kraken could be quite so affecting.

That NHS A & E departments possibly aren’t the most reliable in the world when it comes to examining x-ray machines.

Where the easter eggs are hidden on the Arrested Development and Wicker Man DVDs and that neither are particularly essential (though seeing Woodward and Christopher Lee in the same room again after so much time was nice for the first minute of the twenty seven).

That the use of anti-infection antibiotics can force you to stop drinking for a whole week!

The mandrill is the most humourously monikered creature in the primate family.

What I hope to discover tomorrow;

Whether an ‘Oral Specialist’ is quite as exciting a prospect within the medical profession as it is in others.

If it’s possible to photocopy an x-ray.

Whether I have to have a full face cast applied, my jaw wired, some sort of jutting neck brace or any other peculiar facial appliances added.

If anyone gets the reference I’m making in the title of this entry. I kind of hope not.

Bloc Pratty

January 17th, 2006 by

Unable to do any writing today. Constant interruptions. Well, not constant, but regular enough to keep me distracted. It’s not that I didn’t actually have any ideas. No, no, no. You can perish that thought. I’m off for a nap.

On My Wick

January 16th, 2006 by

Right, enough with the self pitying wank. Let’s get back to some semblance of normality. Face still retains some bruising, couple of teeth are still facing the wrong way and one of my little fingers still has twinges of what will almost certainly turn into arthritis, but that aside, I’m functioning at almost full capacity. I can only assume that the thousands of get well e-mails were lost in some sort of server crash or something, but thanks to all of you who managed to get through. Both of you. Not that I’m bitter or anything. See. Normal.

So, what exciting events have I forgotten to mention that have occurred over the days since my last posting? About as many as usual. Despite the crapness of the January sales these days – and I am of course only referring to those that actually interest me, music, films and books – I did pick up a couple of DVDs. Among those was The Wicker Man, a classic in every sense that I hadn’t watched for quite a while. Back in the day I first saw it; my musical tastes were kind of insular. Hard to believe I’m sure you’ll believe, but back then if it wasn’t rock from the sixties, seventies or late nineties then it wasn’t worth hearing. It was the late nineties you see.

For those of you who haven’t seen the film, the music is integral to the plot, but is of a wistful folky type that when I was first introduced to the movie held no appeal to me and was regularly mocked within my circle of chums. Now with my advancing years, having heard it again it suddenly became apparent to me that it wasn’t the jingly cobblers I recalled, but that there were some absolutely gorgeous melodies in there. I had to have it and knew exactly how.

You see, I’ve been visiting the local independent music shop fairly regularly for the last year or three. As it’s a bit of a tiddler, it doesn’t take that long to peruse the whole stock of the store. Every time I was in, I would have a check of the soundtracks section, normally to see if someone had flogged off a secondhand copy of the first Radiophonic Workshop album, but always to no avail. But each and every time, wrapped in a classy cardboard case, The Wicker Man soundtrack stared back at me, mocking me with it’s corn rigs and barley rigs. Sometimes I’d chuckle to myself, thinking that no sap would ever buy that. But now I’d had the epiphany. I was that sap. The next time I’m passing by, I stop in to pick it up. Was it there?

Was it bollocks.

Catharsis

January 10th, 2006 by

It’s not been the best start to a year that I’ve ever had. It began with pain and has continued in much the same way since. I’ve had more days off sick from work over the past week than I’ve had over the past couple of years. Allow me to elaborate.

New Year’s Day wasn’t as much fun as I’d hoped it was going to be. This was mainly induced by the festivities of the night before and the quantities of tequila consumed. With the bank holidays I didn’t actually miss any work, but it took me until around Wednesday to actually feel human again. This even included Tuesday night in a pub – and me drinking nothing but Coke! As far as I remember, a first.

Wednesday morning I was feeling well again. The year ahead looked sunny and bright. That was until I stood up from a desk and sprained my hand. No, you read that right. I stood up from a desk and sprained my hand. At least I think it was a sprain. Half my right hand swelled up one and a half times and turned a variety of exciting colours, which I’m told is something along the lines of a sprain, though I’ve not sought professional help. It certainly felt how I imagine a sprain would feel. But I did do it by standing up from a desk. Presumably I put all my weight on it or something, but nevertheless by Wednesday evening it was agony and so I took the Thursday off.

Back to work on Friday, the purple hand now less swollen and generally unpainful, everything appeared to be back on track again. The work day passed uneventfully, I went out in the evening and apart from a little nausea at the start (brought on by an uncomfartably hot pub and my mistake of wearing the amusing ‘farts’ t-shirt my parents bought me that I refuse to wear in public. This was abated by my slipping off to the loo and removing the offending article), a splendid night was had. Then I walked home and was repeatedly punched in the face by a complete stranger.

Now, believe it or not, I’m not a violent man. My language can tend to be, but physically I’m a weakling, mentally a pacifist and instinctively a coward. I’ve not been in a fight since I was about thirteen. So being on the receiving end of an admittedly mild beating came as quite a shock. Not in a Mary Whitehouse sort of way, but an uncontrollably shaking in bed for a couple of hours sort of way. As far as I can teel, it was an unpremeditated act by a drunken (stoned?) twat, an act that’s bruised nothing but my face and pride. My mouth and nose bled more than the last time I visited my dentist (what she did to my nose is between we two), my jaw swelled more than my still purple hand did and my spec’s were chucked far further than I’ve ever managed outside. Plus I’ve got my first ever black eye. Thanks to actions taken by a couple of my house mates (cheers Jo ‘n’ Emma), the emergency services were contacted and paramedics seen in the early hours of Saturday morning. The police promised to come over and see me for four days until finally turning up today for a statement and photo shoot. Due to paranoia on my part, yesterday’s work was replaced with a trip to Accident & Emergency to check whether I’d broken my jaw or not (following an x-ray the answer came out as a satisfying negative), while I was offered today off due to my inability to bite into things without going into fits of extreme agony. I’ve been eating a lot of soup and yogurt over the past couple of days.

So what have we learnt from all this? Don’t drink tequila as if it was a sweet white wine. Don’t get up from desks without spreading your weight evenly. Don’t walk down the roughest, darkest road in town alone at one in the morning. You can buy fromage frais in tubes these days. And most importantly, take down your decorations before twelfth night. I forgot and one hour later . . .

Observation

January 4th, 2006 by

Something around here smells of coleslaw.

I think it might be me.

Odd.

I haven’t been near a cabbage in months.