gibberish


Enjoy this while you can
November 30, 2008, 10:55 pm
Filed under: Arts, humour, life, music, Rants, stories | Tags: , , , ,

Leonard Cohen’s sublime Hallelujah was never better interpreted than by Jeff Buckley before his untimely death.

This is it live and it is near perfect.

Now for the bad news.

The winner of X factor is singing it as the “winner’s song” and will therefore be the Christmas number one.

Anyway the lyrics are fantastically anti-Christmas (and it seems to me aetheistic) so we have the last laugh…


I heard there was a secret chord
that david played and it pleased the lord
but you don’t really care for music, do you
well it goes like this the fourth, the fifth
the minor fall and the major lift
the baffled king composing hallelujah

hallelujah…

well your faith was strong but you needed proof
you saw her bathing on the roof
her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
she tied you to her kitchen chair
she broke your throne and she cut your hair
and from your lips she drew the hallelujah

hallelujah…

baby i’ve been here before
i’ve seen this room and i’ve walked this floor
i used to live alone before i knew you
i’ve seen your flag on the marble arch
but love is not a victory march
it’s a cold and it’s a broken hallelujah

hallelujah…

well there was a time when you let me know
what’s really going on below
but now you never show that to me do you
but remember when i moved in you
and the holy dove was moving too
and every breath we drew was hallelujah

well, maybe there’s a god above
but all i’ve ever learned from love
was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you
it’s not a cry that you hear at night
it’s not somebody who’s seen the light
it’s a cold and it’s a broken hallelujah

hallelujah…



The best of 2008

OK

It’s that time of year again. The wrap. After a great deal of deliberation I have arrived at my Albums of the year and my best of 2008 CD.

You’ll not be surprised to see my usual heavy inclusion of female singer songwriters, although in percentage terms they are rather lower than usual – only about 25%. There’s more Rock ‘n ‘roll than previous years. Don’t know why. Just a good year for rock I suppose.

In no particular order my albums of the year were.

Dig Lazarus Dig!!! by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Reviewed here. A total classic that is full of cracking and totally unique songs. I absolutely adore this record.

dig-lazarus

Third by Portishead. Ten years in gestation it was worth every second of the wait. Eerie, disconcerting. Unique. I reviewed it here.

portishead-third

22 Dreams by Paul Weller. I’m not a fan usually, but this record is wonderful. Reviewed here.

paul-weller-22-dreams-4337311

The Very Best of Ethiopiques by various artists. What a wonderful discovery. In a classic year for world music, in particular african stuff this blew me away as I explained here.

ethiopiques

Welcome to Mali by Amadou and Mariam. Just in. Just Wonderful. This Malian couple make stunning fresh pop music. Not had time to review it yet.

3_g_301

The Seldom Seen Kid by Elbow. Deserved winners of The Mercury Prize. This album came from nowhere and was a hot contender for my album of the year. I reviewed it here.

elbow_-_the_seldom_seen_kid

Only by the Night by Kings of Leon. They just keep getting better. This is a fine record with great grinding melodies.

kings-of-leon

Stay Positive by The Hold Steady. What a wonderful, opoetic record. The other big contender for album of the year. Reviewed here.

hold_steady-stay_positive

Glasvegas by Glasvegas. Yikes. Scotland’s best this year. Huge sound great lyrics and Geraldine is a gem of a song. Reviewed here.

glasvegas

A Piece of What You Need by Teddy Thomson. This is a great underground folky, rocky album by the son of Richard and Linda Thomson that has been on heavy rotation this year. I suspect Jeana would have it as her album of the year. Very good. Reviewed here.

tedthompson

Juno Soundtrack by Various Artists. One of the movies of the year and a cracking soundtrack to go with it. Another one that received heavy rotation in the spring and summer. Reviewed here.

juno

Aman Iwan by Tinariwen. Last but certainly not least it was actually released in 2007 but it only came to my attention this year. The third of my much loved African albums on the list. Reviewed here.

tinariwen

I have to say in conclusion that Dig Lazarus Dig!!! wins my overall album of the year.

And so, to my best of the year CD…

As usual, if you want a copy you need only ask.

Probably the hardest decision of all was to leave off One day Like This by Elbow in favour of Starlings, but my rules only allow one song per artist.

Overall I thought 2008 was a vintage year and I think this might be my best ‘best of’ yet…

Here’s how it pans out.

1. Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!! by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
2. That’s not my name by The Ting Tings
3. Cler Achel by Tinariwen
4. The Rip by Portishead
5. Come On Over (Turn Me On) by Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan
6. Have You Made Up Your Mind by Paul Weller
7. Freeway by Aimee Mann
8. Family Tree by TV On The Radio
9. Lights Out by Santogold
10. In My Arms by Teddy Thompson
11. You Cheated Me by Martha Wainwright
12. Geraldine by Glasvegas
13. Starlings by Elbow
14. Daydreamer by Adele
15. The Age Of The Understatement by The Last Shadow Puppets
16. Crawl by Kings Of Leon
17. Lord, I’m Discouraged by The Hold Steady
18. 5 Years Time by Noah And The Whale
19. Sabali by Amadou and Mariam

So good was this year’s stock that I’m strongly considering a ‘B sides best of”.

What do you think?

The aforementioned One Day Like This would feature, as would a couple of tracks from the Very Best Of Ethiopiques, and a great Karine Polwart song called Sorry are among the contenders…



No one will ever forgive us, by The National Theatre of Scotland at The Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh

trav-nts-nwefu

Well.

Here’s a one.

I have to declare two interests from the outset.

I am a Catholic.

My cousin (Susan Vidler) is in this play.

So I’m biased.

Paul Higgins, may be the most remarkable new stage-writing talent since Gregory Burke.  It really is written brilliantly, flowing along at 100 miles an hour packed with hilarious one liners, and I believe it’s autobiographical. (Actually it’s very unfair of me to heap this comparative praise on Paul Higgins given my lack of comparative insight; but if he isn’t the best then Scottish Theatre is absolutely booming.)

I urge you to see this play before it is too late. (It was pretty much sold out on a dreich Tuesday in late November.)

It’s a fantastic smorgasbord of Scottishness. As the nation of doom we like to dwell on the dark side and this does it magnificently. I honestly have never encountered a script, in film or on stage, that leaps like Bambi on steroids, between bleak nihilism and outrageous humour, line by line, quite as well as this.

It is remarkable.

The main theme centres on belief 9or lack of it). I suppose the key character in the five person cast is the youngest son who has opted out of the seminary (or is that safe haven?) that he has studied at for seven years because he has become atheistic. Is there a God? Is there a Catholic God (OMG)? Is there a point? Why should I coexist with you? Have I a future?

But, at the gleaming, glowing, pulsating, dangerous centre of it all is the horrific patriarch, Gary Lewis. What a performance. The drunk, child-beating, wife-hating (but actually not particularly misogynistic) husband engulfs the stage with his presence.

It is massive.

The audience howled with tears and laughter and, for me, it was another triumphant National Theatre of Scotland performance. I’ve seen three this year in three different theatres.

They all demonstrated our brilliance.



only in Dundee
November 24, 2008, 7:52 pm
Filed under: advertising, Arts, food, humour, jokes, life, photography, Scotland, stories | Tags: , ,

This kind of grafitti has a real resonance in the home of the slogan…

“Ah’ll hae a pae an’ an ingin in an’ a’.”

weepie



Hunger, by Steve McQueen

hunger_big

1981.

The H block in Belfast’s Maze Prison.

This film captures the development and escalation of protest by the ‘political’ prisoners held here as things moved through ‘The ‘Blanket protest’ onto ‘The Dirty Protest” and finally to ‘The Hunger Strikes’ that claimed Bobby Sands and eight of his compatriot’s lives.

As the end credits of the film show, the enemy, in the form of Margaret Thatcher was ‘not for turning’ and did not grant political status to these men that she considered no more than murderers. They did, however, lead to many concessions – bit by bit.

This astounding movie falls into three very clear sections; the gut wrenching blanket and dirty protest; a long and deeply personal conversation (in one 20 minute take) between Sands and his priest where Sands is asked to justify and then walk away from the impending hunger strike; and finally Sands’ ordeal itself.

Each section has a different pace and personality. Each is desperate in its own way.

This film pulls few punches. The stench of shit is almost palpable in the opening act and the way in which Michael Fassbender brings Sands’ death to the screen is almost unbearable.

But the real triumph of the film is that it takes no political sides and makes no judgements but does not sit on the fence. How? Because it invokes the viewer to do that themselves. Sands is neither a figure to pity or to vilify. It really is quite remarkable that the artist Steve McQueen can achieve this so consistently.

And this is art with a capital A. Every scene is stunningly rendered. The pace, at times snail-like, allows you to consider in real detail the situation these men found themselves in (or created however you want to look at it).

Fassbender’s performance is miraculous.

McQueen though, is the star of the show. One scene in particular when the men slop out by pouring their night’s urine under the doors of the corridor simultaneously is quite beautiful, as is the Hirst-like art that some of them create from their faeces (that’s what makes up the poster image).

Film of the year. No contest.

Incidentally we saw it in the DCA’s Cinema 2. What a cracking screen.

(As we scoffed coffee and fudge doughnuts. How’s that for irony?)



Engraulis encrasicolus
November 24, 2008, 5:45 pm
Filed under: family, food, humour, jokes, life, Rants, Scotland, stories | Tags: , , , , ,

I’ve been away. In Perthshire. On holiday. Hence the neglect to my blog.

But I’m back and I’m gonna start with a rant.

The letter below, that I wrote to Baxters, should be self explanatory…

anchovy-fillets

The Managing Director
Baxters Food Group
(Retail Division)
Fochabers
Moray
IV32 7LD

Dear Sir/Madam

I enclose a package of what your delicatessen in the Baxters Food Store in Blackford laughably describes as edible.


Were I in need of a quantity of rubber fish (perhaps to use as a prop in a Pantomime or even, more grandly, a movie) I’d have found the £2.70 I spent in Blackford a very worthwhile and economic investment. After all, to fashion such life-like facsimiles of the common or garden Anchovy fillet (Engraulis encrasicolus) would be no mean feat for such a price (no doubt the Chinese would have to be enlisted for their outstanding skills in mass producing machine-tooled ephemera).


Were I in need of a full colonic cleansing treatment I may have eschewed the four market leaders shown below and opted instead to actually consume these anchovyesque ‘things’ that you sold me.

colon-cleansers-colon-cleanse-treatment-reviews_1227543857841
As it happens my suspicions, which were aroused at point of sale, that this produce would be unfit for human consumption were sadly proven to be justified. They were raised upon observing your super-inefficient sales lady dousing the aforementioned Anchovy-like, gut churning, rubbery specimens in the ancient oil in which they lay, in a vain effort to breathe elasticity into their tired and dehydrated bodies.


Because, on opening the packing a few hours later her elaborate deception unravelled quicker than you can say ‘Salmonella’.


To say these anchovies were past their best would be an understatement of gargantuan proportions. These anchovies are so ‘past their best’ that I suspect they may have been caught by a trawler thrashing around in the wake of the Titanic. I may even go further than that and suggest they are the discovered remains of an orgiastic party held by Nefertiti.


Sir; because I have enclosed these vile beasts you will be able to see for yourself what these monsters of the deep could have done to me and my young family before you decide how best to unbesmirch the previously pristine reputation of the Baxters Food Group.


Yours faithfully

Mark Gorman

UPDATE

Yesterday I received a very straightforward letter in response to my own, bereft of humour, enclosing a £10 voucher and an apology.  Ok, fair enough, they took it on the chin, but I’d have liked a bit of repartee (and a hamper).



Hunger by Steve McQueen
November 19, 2008, 8:08 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

You’ll have to wait for a full review of this miraculous movie.  Actually, it’s not a movie it is a work of art.  It is one of the most incredible experiences you will ever have in a cinema and I’ll tell you why later.

But one thing I’d say.  Leave the popcorn for Absence of Solace or whatever it’s called.