Tuesday, February 28, 2006

A Very Short Engagement

I have been somewhat gobsmacked by all the media attention that the engagements (or should I say non engagements?) of the celebrity big brother contestents have been getting. First there was Preston and Camille, were they or weren't they? In some interviews he says yes and in others denies it, whilst other news sources clainm that they have evidence that he was spending nights with dimbo Chantelle.

Someone should tell Camille to get a life. For a start they are a bit young to get married, and any woman with any sense of self worth/respect shouldn't even consider marrying someone who a) is canoodling with another woman on national tv and saying to them that they are the kind of girl he would like to marry and b) is a pop star and young with all the temptations that brings with it. It's unlikely that a young guy in a famous band is going to reamin faithful especially when he already has an appalling track record.

And what about Pete Burns? His Engagement announcement was like keeping up with the Joneses, and what a farce. Announced on Richard and Judy and over in days. I can't help wondering if it was all just a big publicity stunt. Pete certainly does like being in the limelight.

Well there you go two of the shortest engagements in history and not an ounce of sincerity between them!

Monday, February 27, 2006

Donnie Darko

N and I watched Donnie Darko this evening and I thoroughly enjoyed it (even though I have already seen it twice before!). It has a cracking 1980s soundtrack and bits of the film were clearly inspired by the Nirvana Smells Like teen Spirit video (especially the girls dancing in the show).

There's a lot going on in the film, and it's hard to get it all on the first watching. I think I did but I know several other people who didn't. I may have found it easier to understand the concepts because I used to be such a fan of Star Trek, and in Star Trek they are always popping in and out of alternate realities and universes and getiing out of fixes that turn out to have been created by their future selves. Donnie Darko is a very sad film, but there is also something uplifting about the fact that the boy goes back in time and sacrifices himself to save the ones he loves and give everyone a second chance. I think that kind of nobility appeals to me. I am after all a romantic at heart and what could be more romantic a death than that?

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Top 5 Songs about Points of the Compass

1) Northern Sky - Nick Drake
2) Southern Cross - Crosby, Stills and Nash
3) Go West - Village People
4) Northern Lights - Renaissance
5) East at Easter - Simple Minds

Top Five Songs about Life

1) Life is a Long Song - Jethro Tull
2) What is Life - George Harrison
3) Life in Tokyo - Japan
4) A Day in the life - The Beatles
5) It's my Life- Bon Jovi

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Kinks vs Gorillaz

I am still on the quest for perfect party music (not to mention the perfect party outfit!). It's not easy I can tell you. I have made two cds of "party openers" and so far one cd of actual party dance music. It takes a while, you have to get the right balance of newish, oldish, disco etc. I won't give you a complete list of what is on cd one (that might spoil it!) but suffice to say it includes tracks by Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, Madonna, Jamiroquai, Sam Cooke and Third World. The hard thing is not to have all the best tracks at the beginning or end and I realised that I needed to find more tracks. A good site that has lists of dancabele 70s music is here.

I was in a charity shop today (where incidently I bought a beautiful brand new purple shiny scarf for just £1) and they were playing Sunny afternoon by the Kinks. Now is it me or does the chorus (the windmill, windmill bit) of The Gorillaz "Feel Good Inc" sound a lot like the beginning of Sunny Afternoon? I had never noticed it before, Damon's voice even sounds similar to Rays. Just shows you that it's very hard to be original, if there is such a thing at all.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Thunder in My Heart - not much of a remix

Hmm just got been listening to Leo Sayer's original version of Thunder in My Heart and it is actually hardly any different from the remix by Meck (apart from the stupid fade in/out thing). I expected it to be less dancy but it actually has quite a pusing dance rhythm, much more discoey than leo's usual stuff (and sung in a deeper voice). I never was a Leo Sayer fan, my sister liked him. I think I couldn't handle all that weird pierrot stuff that he did, b8ut I actually like this track and I suspect that it might have got into the charts anyway had it just been re-released as it was.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Celebrity Anagrams

Just a bit of naughty fun.....

Kate Moss ~ some task

Lou Reed ~ dour eel

The Brit Pack

I don't give a hoot what anyone says - I like Coldplay and I also like James Blunt. Just got through reading yet more slating of the aforementioned artists in the popular press and to be frank I am sick and tired of it.

For one thing they actually have musical abilty, they sing, they write their own material, they are original (i.e. they don't just do covers and they have their own individual style), they write about stuff that is meaningful to them, they are fairly real when interviewed and they are not afraid to have opinions about things.

There's loads more slateworthy bands around at the moment, they are all over the British and American charts if you care to look. You know the type of band I mean - boy bands, girl bands, bands who only do covers, bands who don't play instruments and are incapable of writing songs themselves. Who do I maen, well to name but a few - Pussy Cat Dolls, Westlife, or those like Meck and Eric Prydz who take a sample from a famous track and put it to a dance track. When you hear most of these boy/girlie/popstar people interviewed they simper and giggle, they have no real opinions (probably because they are grooomed by their management as to what they can and can't say) and they often don't know much about music either - probably from being part of a manufactured set-up rather than from getting into music for the sheer love of it and working your way up through gigging etc.

So why so much slating of artists who obviously have some talent and so little of those who clearly have very little? Is it because if someone gets too big we want to cut them back down to size? I guess it follows the long tradition of true genius being slated by the media and critics, wasn't it Van Gogh who was only recognised by the establishment after his death? Also in Britain we do seem to like shooting people down when they are doing well - do you remember how the press turned on Phil Collins? What is it all about??

I made a concious decision that this year I would watch the Brit awards when it was on TV (normally I avoid them). This was partly due to the fact that N wanted to see them and also because there is so little music on tv these days and I am desperate for any little tit bit that comes my way! We do have MTV and VH1 but there is very little music on either channel these days - VH1 is given over largely to programmes about celebrity lifestyle and excess and MTV is full of diabolical reality tv shows, dangerous stunts and celebs playing tricks on one another - TV for the intelligent - I think not! It's truly depressing. Maybe we should rename it CTV (Celeb TV) or even CCTV.

Pupski's Rundown on the Brits

Kaiser Chiefs - Brilliant band and all critical acclaim well deserved in my opinion.

Coldplay - excellent, but what's with the tape on the fingers and could Chris Martin please stop showing us his belly button?

Prince - excellent guitarist but looking alarmingly like Michael Jackson these days.

Kelly Clarkson - Who and why?

K.T. Tunstall - pretty but I don't quite get it (I must try harder!).

James Blunt - Well deserved and refreshing to see a star who looks nervous.

Paul Weller - true genius

Best moment - when Chris Evans asked Boy George if he really called the police when he had loads of drugs stashed under his bed.

New Trends started:

Stripey leggings

Mops of curly hair (for men)

tights that have one black leg and one white

gold body paint

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Valentines and Roy Harper

Yesterday was valentines day, and obviously I was too busy making dinner for my lover to do my blog. Hunchermuncher gave me (amongst other things) a cd by Roy Harper called Counter Culture, which is in effect a Greatest Hits album. It is a selection of songs from over the long span of his career (first album 1966 - the year I was born!) chosen by the man himself. I have just listened to cd one and it is very good - although it has left me with a hankering for more and I will now have to get "Folk Jokepus" and "Flat Baroque and Beserk" on cd.

As a teenager my Favourite Harper album was "The Unknown Soldier", but later on (and now) I prefer his earlier more folky stuff, and there is some great accoustic guitar playing on some of those earlier tracks that I didn't notice so much when I was younger. Some of the humour and lyrics on the old albums date them a bit, but songs like "I Hate the White Man" just seem all the more poignant now.

What is news to me, however, is that Roy starred in a film in 1972 called "Made"- I would love to see it. it doesn't seem to be out on DVD but I will continue my investigations. Meanwhile here is the poster from the film.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Martial Arts Monkey

Martial Arts Monkey
Originally uploaded by pupski.
This is a picture of Martial Arts Monkey, known as MAM for short. MAM was invented by N and he has done hundreds of extremely funny and often violent comic strips of him. His conscience is a goofy hamster! N did this pic in paint using the mouse, but usually he draws them in black ink, very small and very detailed. If I ever work out how to connect my scanner I will post some one day.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

It's life Jim, but not as we know it...

N and I have been enjoying watching DVDs of the 1970s BBC drama series The Survivors, aabout what happens to society when a virus wipes out most of the people on the planet. We are now onto series three. I was really affected by it when it was on the first time - I must have been around 12 or 13. The thing that I found most spooky was the beginning, it had slightly scary music and there was something about all those stamps in the passport showing where the scientist had spread the virus....

What I didn't realise at the time was that it had been created by Terry Nation of Doctor Who fame (creator of the daleks I believe and Blakes Seven). Something that is really noticable on rewatching them is the little speeches about the breakdown of society and the phiosophising on how it could all be fixed. Sometimes they sound like a bunch of sociology lecturers having a debate in the staffroom rather than people who have survived a plague and are trying to rebuild society. The idea of society as we know it being destoyed was a big theme in the 70s and 80s, what with the nuclear threat, the cold war and so on and it was obviously a big preoccupation of Terry's. It's all very commendable and all frightfully BBC.

N doesn't seem to notice the mini lectures though just like I didn't when I watched it at his age, or maybe I did and maybe it was those ideas that appealed to me so much - as well as the thrill of everyone carrying guns and the savage dogs and rats.

I think I was horribly fascinated by the concepts behind the series - my other favourite tv series as a child was another gem from the BBC. The Changes was based on an excellent book called Heartsease by Peter Dickinson. Once again it dealt with the concept of a total breakdown of society as we know it but in this case seen from the viewpoint of two children. In their world everyone turns against machinery and smashes it up thinking it's evil - there is mass exodus of people fleeing to the continent and those who are left live in a primitive medieval way. Unfortunately the BBC is yet to release this series on DVD - more's the pity!

Stuck in the Middle....

Well I stand corrected! I had a copy of "Stuck in the Middle with You" and it had been labelled as being by Bob Dylan and like a gullible fool I believed that it was indeed Bob Dylan. The lyrics are very Dlylanesque, but there were tale tale signs - it wasn't up to the usual Dylan standard and it was quickly replaced by something else on the MP3 player.

Anyway last night Hunchermuncher told me that it was by Stealers Wheel and written by Gerry Rafferty and i very indignantly said I thouhgt itwas by Bob Dylan. But after extensive research this morning I admit - I was wrong it was indeeed Stealers Wheel and has never been recorded by Bob Dylan, although it does sound a little like him. And gusess what the track is wrongly attributed to Bob dylan millions of times all over the internet, now that must be a little annoying (or flattering?) for Gerry Rafferty and Joe Egan who wrote it.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Bowling Trophies, Grateful Dead and Geodesic Hippies

For some reason I started thinking about Richard Brautigan last night. I hadn't thought about him for years. My favourite book of his was "Willard and His Bowling Trophies", but I also remember reading "In Watermelon Sugar" and "Trout Fishing in America".

I doin't know old richard should come to mind. I have read many weird books over the years, especially when I was living in the commune. Others I remember are The Family (about Charles Manson) and a really good book about the Grateful Dead, there was also a book called Drop City by Peter Rabbit (yes really) which was about a commune in america where they built geodesic domes out of car roofs and lived in them. (Not unlike the hippies in the recent novel Drop City by T.C Boyle - a coincidence - I think not!)

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Your Power Color Is Blue

Relationships and feelngs are the most important things to you.
You are empathetic and accepting - and good at avoiding conflict.
If someone close to you is in pain, it makes you hurt as well.
You try to heal the ones you love with your kind and open heart.

One for my Baby

I am currently reading a novel by Tony Parsons called One for my Baby (having just finished the somewhat disturbing Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs). I have long resisted reading Tony Parsons on two grounds, first that he now writes for the Daily Mirror and secondly that he used to be married to Julie Burchill.

Julie Burchill is someone who I have mixed feelings about. She is undoubtedly a very readable journalist, but she has managed over the years to turn herself from a hip young journalist/style icon writing for the NME into a overweight, sugary charicature. She reminds me a lot of Dolores Umbridge from Harry Potter, plump, softly spoken but with an evilly venemous edge to her.

This is all supposition of course, I have never actually met Ms Burchill and I'm sure that she is probably very nice. I have formed my judgemnets of her purely by reading articles and seeing interviews on tv. And as I have said as a journalist she is very readable, and i enjoyed watching her series Sugar Rush on tv last year, although I was aware whilst I was enjoying it of how immensely shallow the whole thing was - scoring approximately zero in the meaningfulness and depths department.

Anyway I am digressing, what I was trying to say is that I am finding Tony Parsons, so far, very readable. Not immensely deep, but an enjoyable read nevertheless.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Bad Hair Days and Singing Bananas

Had a slightly depressing shopping experience today - or should I say non-shopping expeience, as I valiantly tried and failed once again to find something to wear for the fast looming 40th birthday party. I may have to resort to a bin bag and a pair of fishnet stockings.

I am also having the worst hair day in the world (as well it would seem as a bad case of body dismorphia). Do you ever get those days where nothing looks right and you just feel completely unattractive? Well i am having one of those - I probably look normal to everyone else. I didn't cause any panic in the city. Noone came up to me and said godammit your hair looks bloody awful. In fact I didn't notice even one sidelong glance, which might suggest that I looked like a freak. So I can only surmise that it's mostly in my own head and probably something to with hormones.

I think I want some of what Madonna is having shes touching 50 and she looks great. Mind you having a personal trainer and a chef to cook you delicious yet low fat and nutritious food probably helps. I have enjoyed listening to the new madonna cd, which santa left for me. Madonna's talent seems to be for taking an idea and turning it into something more enduring. Take her original look and sound it was pure Bananrama who, you will remember (if you are old enough) were huge around the time Madonna emerged. Madonna adopted their look and turned their sound into something glossier, more accessible and more timeless - lets face it all those old madonna hits keep doing the rounds but you rarely hear Bananrama on the radio these days. She did the same with dance music, when she collaborated with William Orbit. It's like she feeds off whatever new idea is in the ethos at the time and expands it into something bigger and better.

Talking of Bananarama (and bad hair days!) I put Cruel Summer onto the MP3 player the other day and I have also been revisiting The Fun Boy Three, whatever happened to Terry Hall? it's about time that he made a comeback!

Hmm I was going to include a very amusing picture of a singing banana on this page but photos are too slow to upload today so instead I will give you a link to a game of banana checkers.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

You Are an Iced Coffee

At your best, you are: hyper, modern, and athletic

At your worst, you are: cheap and angsty

You drink coffee when: you're out with friends

Your caffeine addiction level: medium

Hail to the King of Oblivion - top 10 songs about royalty

Hail to the King of Oblivion
Originally uploaded by pupski.
I took this picture of an ice king at the ice sculpture trail in Norwich in December. Today i wish that I was made of ice. I seem to have rubbed everyone up the wrong way today, including myself! Do you ever have one of those days where you wish you didn't feel everything so acutely? well I am having one of those.

Kings of Oblivion is actually the title of a song by the Pink Fairies, which alas will probably not be making an appearence on my party playlist. However I have compiled a top 10 of songs about royalty just for my (and yours I hope!) amusement:

1) The Queen is Dead - The Smiths

2) King - UB40

3) Kings of Oblivion - Pink Fairies

4) The Court of the Crimson King - King Crimson

5) Killer Queen - Queen

6) Black Queen - Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

7) Acid Queen - Tina Turner

8) Your Love is King - Sade

9) Ghosts of Princes in Towers - Rich Kids

10) Prince Charming - Adam and the Ants

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Sad and Depressing Poetry....

N and I have been reading poetry today. he had to pick his two favourite poems for school. Easy, you might think but N it turns out is not keen on poetry. He likes humourous poetry but is not keen on most of the classics as they are too sad and depressing. I see what he means but I think I quite like sad and depressing poetry myself...what does thar say about me? Anyway in the end he plumped for "The Duck and the Kangaroo" by Edward Lear and "Limberick" by John Hegley.

For me there is too much poetry that I like and I think that I would find it hard to choose. But here are some of my faves:

Funeral Blues - W. H. Auden
The Lady of Shallot - Alfred Lord Tenyson
The Highwayman - Alfred Noyes
Bagpipe Music - Louis MacNeice
And After That - Federico Garcia Lorca
Your Breast is Enough - Pablo Neruda
Remembrances - John Clare
The Jumblies - Edward Lear
The Tale of Custard the Dragon - Ogden Nash
Memento - Federico Garcia Lorca

Couldn't find a link for the Lorca poem so will put it here....

And After That

The labyrinths
that time creates

(only the desert

The heart,
fountain of desire,

(Only the desert

The illusion of dawn
and kisses

Only the desert
A rolling

Friday, February 03, 2006

Runnery Nose

Well I did it, this morning I left the house at 8am and went for a run. I went for 30 minutes and admitedly I didn't run the whole way but this is only the first day and I managed to go a lot further at a time than I thought I could!

The worst thing about it was my nose. I remember my games teacher at school telling me that when you run you need to keep your mouth closed and breathe through your nose. And this mkaes sense in yoga you also breathe through your mouth. The trouble was that I kept needing to stop and blow my nose and it got a bit bunged up. I don' have a cold so why this should happen I don't know. If anyone knows or has a trick for fixing it please let me know as it was really annoying.

I thought that it might be to do with diet. However I don't eat much dairy produce, I only have milk in tea or coffee, although I do have butter. I wondered if it is to do with wheat, I know I have been eating too much wheat recently so I will try and cut back and see if it makes a difference.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Top 10 Songs about Parties

Top 10 Songs about Parties

1) Killer Parties - The Hold Steady

2) Let's get this Party stated - Pink

3) It's my Party and I'll cry if I want to - Lesley Gore

4) You' always find me in the Kitchen at Parties - Jona Lewie

5) Celebration - Kool and the Gang

6) Soul Shakedown Party - Bob Marley and the Wailers

7) All Tomorrow's Parties - Velvet Underground

8) People's Parties - Joni Mitchell

9) She's in Parties - Bauhaus

10) Devil's Party - INXS

Pulp pop and ranchy rock

After an uncomfortable morning enduring balance tests at the hospital (having hot water pumped into your ears to make you dizzy and nauseous and the like!) followed by a concillatory coffee with Hunchermuncher I feel I need to share this weeks top ten tracks on my MP3 player. So hear goes.... (in no particular order)

1) P J Harvey - Kamikaze

Revisted this after they used it for an ad on Sky Tv - Pure Brilliance!

2) Utah Saints - Something Good

Excellent track, mostly due to the Kate Bush sample.

3) A-ha - All I want

The new single from those Norwegian boys, who many of you might remember (fondly or otherwise from the 1980s). Poppy but pleasently palatable.....

4) Dolly Parton - Jolene

Don't ask me why, I just fancied it!

5) Ruts - West One (shine on me)

Excellent stuff, what a great band they were! Might have gone on to even greater things if it had not been for the untimely demise of their singer Malcom Owen.

6) Justin Timberlake - Rock Your Body

Well I did warn you that I like pulp pop at this time of year. I hated this track when it came out and was being played in all the shops but it has kind of grown on me. Is that the taste police i hear knocking at the door?

7) Love Spit Love - How soon is now?

An excellent cover of a Smiths classic, which (or witch) was used as the theme music to the tv programme Charmed.

8) The Magic Numbers - I see you see me

Love the melodies on this, haven't heard much of the numbers but what I have heard I am liking!

9) Pearl Jam - Given to Fly

Love it, love it, love it!

10) Green Day - She's a Rebel

was a hard chice between this one and Jesus of Suburbia ( which incidently takes up a massive 14 mb on the MP3 player but is worth every second!).