Word #29

Issue 29

July 2005

Cover star – Ry Cooder


Word shuffle

1)      P116– 2 half page adverts for new albums by Joy Zipper (‘The Heartlight Set’) and Maximo Park (‘A Certain Trigger’). According to The Guardian, ver Park’s latest effort is “The most interesting indie rock story of 2005.”. The NME are equally fulsome in their praise. It is …”a record itching with ideas.”

2)      P77 – from a 7 page spread following up on last month’s ‘Hidden Gem’ feature (see the scanned article for ‘Word #28). This time some of the readers’ submissions are included along with the various musicians, writers and broadcasters. Graham Coxon picks ‘Parachute’ by The Pretty Things (“…the way it works rhythmically, the way the drums sound, the vocal arrangements…absolutely beautiful.” and Word reader Jon McGill recommends ‘Rain Dogs by Tom Waits (“There’s polka, tango, blues, country, nursery rhyme and chim-chim-cheroo – 55 minutes long without one duff track – magnificent”). Another reader, Tim Riley, writes about ‘The Only Ones’ (“With his [Peter Perrett’s] Lou Reed drawl and leopard skin and mascara, he undercut his gloomy reflections on his life, love and drug intake with wry asides and detached bemusement a good five years before Morrissey made that kind of thing so popular. It’ll get under your skin and you won’t find it irritating”).

3)      P94 – Full page black and white photograph of Ry Cooder to accompany Andy Gill’s 9 page interview.

4)      P85 – First page from an article by John Naughton about the hijacking of language by showbiz. Examples given are:

  • Bad Hair Day – another Oxford English Dictionary neologism which owes its place to Helen Feilding’s best-selling singleton saga Bridget Jones’ Diary, this euphemistic way of describing a day that starts off unpromisingly and gets worse was first coined in Buffy The Vampire Slayer.
  • Ambassador, with these Ferrero Rocher you are really spoiling us – the irredeemably kitsch but probably effective advert which imagined a world of unfeasible Euroglamour and plates of pyramid chocolate pleasure has long been subverted to signify an ironic reaction to any less-than-bountiful gesture, eg “Management – with this 2% pay rise, you are really spoiling us.”
  • Battleaxe – this not very politically correct term for a confrontational female comes from the title of an early-1900s magazine of the American Women’s Rights Movement.”

5)      P153 – a piece from the Doctor Digital section of the magazine called ‘iPod Killed The Radio Star’. The article describes the rise of ‘Jack’ stations in America, which shuffle music as an MP3 player would. Mike Henry who developed the concept says, “We want Led Zeppelin next to Madonna, Cheap Trick and John Mayer. You may not like ‘Like A Virgin’ but you’ve heard it and don’t mind it as long as the station will surprise you.”

On the same page is a news article about Jay Z launching his own watch-and-iPod-set. “A mere one hundred sets will be sold, each containing a special solid-steel iPod preloaded with the Jay-Z back catalogue and a watch in steel, gold or platinum. Prices range from $24, 000 to $100, 000. Don’t all rush out at once.”

Interesting –

Mark Ellen writes about Cream’s reunion. “It was the most astonishing example of something living up to my expectations that I’m likely to see in my life – and at £125 a seat for a 2 and a quarter hour set, that’s practically a pound a minute! They are better now – infinitely better – than when they disbanded. And they had a head-start on the rest of us to begin with.”

Ben Folds is an unlikely champion of Mike Skinner. “In America ‘A Grand Don’t Come For Free’ didn’t do very well and I’ve spent the last 18 months month preaching it. A big part of rock and roll has always been about trying to document growing up and I don’t think anyone’s done it better than he has.”

TV presenter Adrian Chiles has a soft spot for ‘Well Well Said The Rocking Chair’ by Dean Friedman. “A brilliant record, but the kind of thing that critics would slam you for liking. The poor bloke had a right old time of it – he signed a real shocker of a deal when he was young, sold 2 million copies of the LP and didn’t make a penny. We should all resurrect his career!”

In his review of Billy Corgan’s ‘The Future Embrace’, Gareth James describes his cover of ‘To Love Somebody as being akin to “…the Child Catcher from ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’ doing a Depeche Mode tune at a karaoke night.”

Andrew Harrison reviews the DVD release of a bunch of old public information films (PIFs) called ‘Charley Says’. “The world it illuminates is sometimes one of fear and stern government – witness the sour disgust in the voiceover which tells us ‘Put a rung on a polished floor? You might as well put a mantrap down’ (cue TARDIS-like fade-in of a giant rusty snare, fizzing with tetanus). Elsewhere a peculiar English whimsy is at play: Arthur Lowe’s safety counsel to holiday makers as ‘Claude the Caravan’ would not disgrace Pink Floyd’s ‘Relics’. But what struck me was how little PIFs tried to ingratiate their way into our attention, and how far we’ve gone the other way with our grabby CGI ads for ‘BBC bite-sized revision on the Web.’

Jim White’s review of ‘Sin City’ is printed with the following strapline “At last, somebody’s gone and made a relentlessly violent degenerate and misgynistic movie for clever people!”

Longer article

Andrew Collins reviews ‘The Tube Vol 1’ DVD.

tube first page tube1


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