Archive for the 'video' Category

17
May
10

Robert Frank Super 8

Happy Birthday to Exile on Main Street! Love the dancing proto-squeegee man in this….

13
May
10

Formidable!

“The world is gifted more nutters from North Wales,” says someone who should know!

Wow. These guys are good.  Can’t stop watching/listening.

11
May
10

Semi-secret history of rock ‘n’ roll

The Passing Show, the BBC documentary about Ronnie Lane,  is now online,  in six parts. I own  it on DVD and watch it all the time. You really should spend the money to buy it, but I’d understand if you wanted to check it out for free, while it lasts, anyway.*

If you know and love Ronnie Lane as I do, watch  it. If you don’t know him, all the more reason to watch it.

Lane surfaced in the Small Faces, along with Steve Marriott and Kenny Jones (and later Ian McLagan), one of the best bands in the ridiculously thriving London R&B scene in the mid-60s (the Stones! the Pretty Things! the Yardbirds! the Who! the Kinks!). The Small Faces, minus Marriott and with the addition of Rod Stewart and Ron Wood, became the Faces, who might have been the GREATEST BAND EVER but it’s hard to tell, because their recorded output, while sparkling, is a little sparse. Playing live, they were legendary.

Lane wrote and sang a slew of good songs for Faces, but apparently was not allowed to sing live, except for the opening verse to a cover of “Maybe I’m Amazed.” I read somewhere that Ronnie once posed  an “It’s Rod or me” ultimatum to the rest of the band. If true, that was a fairly major miscalculation. (“Ronnie, we love you, but he’s ROD STEWART”).

While most Faces songs were boozy, bawdy and strutting, Lane’s were modest and introspective, though not without their own wit and raunchiness. Rod’s were Saturday night; Ronnie’s were Sunday morning. His greatest song, to my mind, is “Debris,” a son’s loving reminiscence, centered on the vivid image of his father combing through junk on blankets at open-air markets in London’s bombed out East End.

Ronnie walked away from the Faces at their peak. He took his money (which he apparently kept in cash, in a bag) and (over)paid for an old bus and a bunch of circus tents and formed the Passing Show, which toured the English countryside, with burlesque dancers and jugglers and sword swallowers and his band. No one really knew what they were doing, and everyone had a great time. Until the money ran out. He lived at a ramshackle farm, where his rock star buddies came around to drink and sing songs, and recorded several wonderful but not especially successful albums.

Then Ronnie got MS, which had also afflicted his mother. His famous music mates (Clapton, Beck, Winwood, Page, Charlie Watts) staged a series of benefits for him and for MS research. He got swindled for a shockingly large amount by a woman in Texas, ended up moving to Austin, and became a fixture of the music scene there when he was well enough to play. He moved a final time to Colorado, where the disease took his life.

The documentary is fairly conventional, but the details and love in the tales told make up for the formulaic structure. In this, the first segment, I especially loved Eric Clapton’s account of the first time he saw the aptly named Small Faces: “These little guys came into the guitar shop and they were really little, they looked like they were like four feet tall. It was like hobbits.” And Ronnie’s account of the early days: “I mean none of us could play. I was just learning to play the bass and Steve was just learning the guitar. But that’s all right. We was keen.”

I don’t know why his story resonates with me so much. His music was lovely, homely in the best sense. He turned his back on rock stardom and became a gypsy. He was the original roots rocker. He didn’t give a damn about money. In America, we prate on about following your dream, but always with the implication that eventually the dream will bring material success. Ronnie followed his, and the results were rather more austere.

Can you show me a dream
Can you show me one that’s better than mine
Can you stand it in the cold light of day
Neither can I

* The DVD runs 105 minutes, whereas the online version represents the trimmed 60-minute TV version.

11
Jan
10

Lady GaGa: “Disco Sucks” redux?

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The official video for Lady GaGa’s “Bad Romance” (Alexander McQueen! Haus of GaGa!) is best viewed side-by-side with this inspired fan parody (Snuggies! WalMart bags!). Click here to do just that.

I find the strong reactions Lady GaGa inspires more interesting than her actual music and videos. (I do like some of her songs, but if I’m in the mood for dance pop, I’ll listen to Goldfrapp or the Norwegian singer/DJ Annie.)

Not many are neutral about Lady GaGa. Her fans adore her, and there are a whole bunch of them, but she also really really really gets up the nose of others, including,  predictably, Bill O’Reilly and the always entertaining Westboro Baptist Church, who has singled her out as having a “whore’s forehead” (it’s some nonsense from the Bible, apparently).

"whore's forehead"

There  are precursors to this. You could go all the way back to Elvis, I suppose, but I prefer to arbitrarily start with the loathing Madonna inspired from mainstream media when she first appeared on the scene, and especially (this really dates me) the Disco Sucks promotion night at Chicago’s Comiskey Park in 1979.

Don’t remember that one? Here’s an account via the Independent

The precise time and place was 12 July 1979 at Comiskey Park, Chicago, at an event overseen by W-LUP DJ Steve Dahl, under the banner “Disco demolition”. In the intermission of a baseball game between the Detroit Tigers and the White Sox, a huge pile of disco records was covered in lighter fluid and then set ablaze. Anyone who brought disco records to the game for burning was allowed in for a mere 98 cents. Dahl was an overweight, bespectacled shock-jock in military headwear who had himself actually hosted disco parties. But he saw an opportunity and sensed the backlash that was swarming around him. Live on television, the flames sparked a crowd-invasion, the field ended up trashed, and the White Sox were forced to forfeit their second game. The event made the international news.

It was the end of an 18-month campaign that had been brewing across Middle America in order to contain the music that had so caught the popular consciousness. That it was picked up by the media with such enthusiasm demonstrates the latent hatred that had been festering. Disco was diametrically opposite to the macho posturing of white rock – and since there were no bands in disco, no tours, or souvenir T-shirts, it was difficult to quantify. A few journalists wrote passionately about it, but in the main it was ignored or treated with disdain. As Craig Werner writes in A Change Is Gonna Come, “The Anti-disco movement represented an unholy alliance of funkateers and feminists, progressives and puritans, rockers and reactionaries. None the less, the attacks on disco gave respectable voice to the ugliest kinds of unacknowledged racism, sexism and homophobia.”

Is this all a bit strong? Maybe. And I really can’t stand seeing those final three words strung together like that. It sounds like a paper written by a sophomore at a very expensive, mediocre private college. But I do agree that virulent anti-disco, anti-Madonna, anti-GaGa reactions (typically from “overweight, bespectacled” types) usually stand in for something deeper and nastier.

more about “YouTube Doubler Beta | Mashup Helper“, posted with vodpod
20
Dec
09

Yuletide joy from Tom Waits

Vodpod videos no longer available.

13
Dec
09

“His dickishness knows no bounds”

Yuletide classic.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about "Santa is a Dick", posted with vodpod

05
Dec
09

The Pogues & Kirsty McColl – Fairytale Of New York

It’s officially the holiday season. I’m hoping for this to be the first in a series dedicated to Christmas music that isn’t crap.

Vodpod videos no longer available.




Ineffable beauty, unspeakable evil, and all sorts of crap in between

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