Five Things I Saw & Heard This Week: Wednesday 22nd August

Garner-A-Go-Go! “This is Jim Rockford; at the tone leave your name and message…”
Talking to Aimee Mann about her new album, she mentioned being drawn to analogue synthesizers and gnarly guitars after revisiting some classics from the early eighties pop-synth era. Among the more obvious markers like the Cars and Blondie, it was great to hear her namecheck the terrific theme to The Rockford Files by Mike Post… and to hear her quote it at the end of the title track of Charmers.

Bits Of Bob
As excerpts of Tempest (not The Tempest—that’s Mr Shakespeare’s, according to Bob himself) filter out, we hear Early Roman Kings (fabulous title, no?) soundtracking some dreary looking US tv series, Strike Back… The song itself is a default Dylan accordion-led 12-bar that gives the band little room to move. Now that Charlie Sexton is back this is disappointing: at Hammersmith last year he showboated so much it could have been called The Charlie Sexton Show, featuring Bob Dylan, as he fired riff after riff into every available space, absolutely thrillingly…

Lyle Lovett, What I’ve Learned, US Esquire, February 2012 (yes, I’ve only just got round to reading it…)
“The inspiration and excitement that you get from being amazed when you give a vague direction to a guitar player like Dean Parks—“Make it sound a little more purple”—and then hear him play exactly the right thing.”

And Talking Of Purple: Fashion Forward Drummer, South Bank, Last Friday Evening

Never seen a drum kit this particular colour. Apparently it’s very… this season.

 

Photographers on Music: Brilliant!
The advent of blogging has revealed that photographers are a) really thoughtful and smart about their work, the world, the price of coffee, etc, and b) can really write. Here’s two I came across by chance this week. Firstly, Chris Floyd, on his blog Clean Living Under Difficult Circumstances, writing about a complex quick-turnaround portrait of Olympic Cycling Gold Medallist Laura Trott:

“I close my eyes and I think of the canon. The canon are the photographers I draw on in times of doubt. They give me comfort, solace and inspiration. They include Richard Avedon, Helmut Newton, Bruce Weber, Lee Friedlander, Sally Mann, Corrine Day, Glen Luchford, Erwin Blumenfeld, Harry Callahan and, in this case, Irving Penn… I go through the rolodex in my head thinking of them all until I find the one that instinctively feels like the inspirational match for the task at hand. That’s not to say I set about slavishly ripping them off. I use them as my starting point… They are my photographic moral compass. They show me the light, guide the way and keep me company. Once I push off and get underway I’m then going forward under my own steam. By the time I get to the other side I will have, hopefully, added enough of my own ingredients to the dish for it to taste new and different. To understand what I mean then check this out:

Bad Penny Blues by Humphrey Lyttleton (1956).

then this:

Lady Madonna by The Beatles (1968).

Each of them are great but one was a jumping off point for the other. I love it. You can hear the lineage right there.”

I also stumbled (is there a better way, internet-wise, to say this?) via the Black Eyewear blog, across the Secret Diary of Perou (photographer to the stars) and amongst factory-and-dog-related-posts read this fantastic account of his experience of seeing Elizabeth (Cocteau Twins) Fraser at Meltdown. If only more music writing was this good, or this well laid out:

“i am sitting on my own due to a late ticket purchase.
but i’m three rows from the stage.

we all make the mistake of sitting through 30 minutes of support act: four people doing acapella, harmonised, medieval chanting.
all songs sound exactly the same.
unexpectedly, it makes me want to punch someone: almost certainly not what this music was designed for.

elizabeth arrives on stage: a demure, grey haired lady with the voice of an angel.
during the second song: a reworking of a cocteau twins track, i feel tears on my face and i’m glad i’m sitting on my own.
i have crazy tingles over my spine.

but then…

behind elizabeth i notice the bald keyboard player who looks like richard o’brien in the crystal maze, wearing a sparkly, tinsel, double-width, pointed shoulder-padded outfit, postulating between two stacks of keyboards like a prog-rock nightmare.
he is more than a little distracting.
and begins the downfall of my evening’s entertainment.

the audience are annoying.
in between songs, old men shout out ‘we love you liz’. ‘marry me’ and ‘where have you been?’

there is a lesbian couple in front of me who try to dance though seated through all the cocteau twins songs.
one of these women also keeps trying to take photos of elizabeth on an iphone and keeps getting told by the ushers ‘NO PHOTOS’

i am no longer able to enjoy the performance when a girl arrives four songs before the end of the show to take her empty seat next to mine.

she is wearing an overpowering fragrance that smells like a combination of mountain pine fresh toilet duck and lemon fresh toilet duck.
i don’t know if she bathed in it pre-show or if she’s been drinking it, but i am unable think about anything else now.

i am concerned my nasal passages will be permanently damaged by sitting next to this person.

there are two standing ovations.
i sit through the first one
i stand through the second so that i am able to leave swiftly.

for the second encore elizabeth does a version of one of my favourite songs: ‘song to the siren’ which she did with ‘this mortal coil’ (a tim buckley cover)
and it is not so good.
i leave the royal festival hall a little disappointed.

sarah texts from the train station.
she’d left with steve before the first encore “…the memories were better.”

Genius.

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