Five Things I Saw & Heard This Week: Wednesday 1st August

Busker, Waterloo Station, 29 July
Playing Jimi Hendrix riffs. Not songs—just riffs. I figure he thinks that the most anyone hears is about 25 seconds, and that he should stick to what he does best, which involves a lot of flashy hand waving and facial grimacing. I gave him £1 for the way he fluttered his hand away from the strings after playing a particularly nice Purple Haze pastiche.

Stand Up For Senegal!
Alone among the national anthems that I’ve heard at this Olympics, the Senegalese song doesn’t have militaristic percussion and brassy horns. It actually has a pretty, pastoral tune, which seemed to float round the stadium rather than bounce off the metal girders, as Uruguay’s did. Senegal went on to float past the Uruguayan defence and win 2-0, playing with ten men for most of the match.

Sounds In Silence
Re-parking the car late the other night. The street is eerily quiet, as is the car, and the radio unexpectedly leaps into life at top volume. Jesus! But it’s only our old friends, Simon and Garfunkel, singing The Sound Of Silence, in the Tom Wilson “Folk Rock Overdub Mix”. I’m not sure that I’ve ever really listened to this but it’s great. Subtly done, albeit in a chart-friendly kind of way, with Bobby Gregg particularly good on drums as he follows Simon’s fingerpicked acoustic. But it’s such a strange notion, isn’t it—to, without the knowledge, cooperation or consent of the act, re-shape the track so radically. And, in the process, reform the act and help to make it huge.

How We Made… The Piano. The Guardian, August 1st
MICHAEL NYMAN Composer/“I had listened to recordings of Holly Hunter, who played Ada, performing Bach and Brahms and thought she’d be best suited to reflective, lyrical music—and useless at the usual Michael Nyman-type stuff. I must have pitched it right because she played with an emotional power that still influences me whenever I perform the score. The soundtrack helped define the feel of the film as it was shooting: Hunter said, as she accepted her Oscar, that it helped her create the character of Ada.”
JANE CAMPION, Director/“The only brief I gave Michael was to compose quite a few pieces that we could choose from. I let him have free rein, but we’d discuss what he’d done and I’d tell him if something could be sadder or happier. When he first visited, I hired a piano thinking he’d want to work through a few ideas, but he sat down, played a couple of notes, and said: Let’s go shopping! I assumed this was a musical genius at work, so decided I’d better go along with it. I trailed him all afternoon, while he bought a shirt and watched some cricket. Finally, I asked if he’d had any thoughts and he said he’d decided to research Scottish folk songs. I knew immediately that this was perfect.”

Bowie: Backsides/Mugshots
Stumbled across two David Bowie artifacts this week: A bootleg of a 1980 TV Show recorded at the Marquee Club, Wardour Street, London, in late October 1973 for the American TV show Midnight Special. I remember that somehow we got tickets and queued down the Soho street for hours to get in. I wasn’t a great Bowie aficionado but I do remember the show, with all its stop/start filming and endless retakes, as being really thrilling. Bowie was backed by the Spiders From Mars, but with Aynsley Dunbar on drums. Luckily, Mick Rock, who was photographing it, wrote about it for Music Scene: “The space in the Marquee is too limited to permit the requisite number of cameras to film simultaneously, so each song had to be reshot from different angles several times. This entailed as many as five or six performances of the same song…. the atmosphere generated by Bowie’s own unique craziness swiftly transformed the clubhouse into something closely resembling a circus ring – Dali style. Throughout Bowie was very patient, very up. He filled in the intervals between takes rapping with the audience, teasing, laughing. After each song he would disappear immediately, reappearing dramatically on cue for the next one in a new costume. He was joined by Marianne Faithfull, in a nun’s cowl and black cape, for the last song, the old Sonny and Cher hit, I Got You Babe. He frolicked about in the true spirit of the song while Marianne watched him, deadpan throughout. During one long break between takes she turned and left the stage, and paraded a pretty bare bottom, as the split in her cape flew open.” I remember that quite vividly.

Secondly, this, the most composed, fashion-forward police mugshot of all time.

“David Bowie, Iggy Pop and two female friends were busted for felony possession of half a pound of marijuana back in March of 1976 at the Americana Hotel in Rochester, N.Y., following a nearby concert. Bowie was held in the Monroe County jail for a few hours before being freed on bail—but this swanky mug shot wasn’t taken until he returned a few days later to face arraignment. The four ended up skating on all charges.”—Joe Robinson, diffuser.fm

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