Thursday, November 25, 2004
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
Monday, November 08, 2004
"We were at a dinner party at Terry Semel's house in Los Angeles, which is like Blenheim Palace. Semel was running Warner Bros, and I think he still does. We were sitting there and clearly audiences were going with The Killing Fields, and Jake Eberts was saying to me 'What are you going to do next, Bruce? I said, 'It looks like I'm going to write this atomic bomb film for Warners, but what I'd really like to do' - and I wasn't talking about me as a director - 'is get my little film made.' He said, 'What is your little film?' - i.e. 'Bring it to us' - and I said, 'It's about two out-of-work actors in London in the sixties.' He said [American accent], 'Fuck! I gotta tell you this, I just had this script over my desk about two out-of-work actors in London in the sixties.' And he proceeds to tell me about Withnail. 'It's the most godawful unfunny thing I ever read. I don't know what yours is about, but let me tell you if it hadn't been recommended I'd never have got through it. It's just shit.' I finally said, 'Yeah, that's my story.' So there you go.
Friday, November 05, 2004
Tuesday, November 02, 2004
Thursday, October 14, 2004
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
Hat tip to the Scottish Patient
In the comments section to this post, Backward Dave comments on Banks as a person and as a writer. I agree with Dave that what I have seen of Iain Banks, when he is being interviewed on the television, he seems like a good bloke and all that. And, like Dave, I agree that Bank's friend and fellow Sci-Fi novelist, Ken MacLeod, is probably the better writer of the two - from reading Macleod's blog and from reading the non-Science Fiction bits of his novel, The Stone Canal, which is as good a thumbnail sketch of the British Far Left in the seventies and eighties than anything I have read before.
Why did I feel the need to mention the above? Simply 'cos it gave me the excuse to link to the following article that MacLeod wrote for the Special Centenary Issue of the Socialist Standard, monthly journal of the Socialist Party of Great Britain, in June of this year. Gratuitous plug for said article, in the journal described as the Beano by Petty Bourgeois Deb, over, I can get on with other matters.
Now, where did I last leave my armchair?
Thursday, September 30, 2004
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
Monday, September 13, 2004
Sunday, September 12, 2004
Thursday, September 02, 2004
Wednesday, September 01, 2004
Saturday, August 14, 2004
Thursday, August 05, 2004
Tuesday, August 03, 2004
Monday, August 02, 2004
The pilot episode of the American version - I think I should delete the word "pilot" and insert "only"; surely they won't show the other remade episodes if they have made them - has a near identical set to the original version; a near identical script (though some of the 'near the knuckle' references from the original have been written out); and a cast of characters who in a bad light, with your contacts out and your cataracts in, almost look like the original actors but it just gets everything wrong. Steven Carell, who fills the shoes of Ricky Gervais, attempts to play the David Brent character (renamed as Michael Scot in the American version) as a wholesale rip from Gervais performance - tic for tic; sly glances to the fictional documentary camera; and even the attempt at the best fake laugh this side of an audience at aDavid Baddiel* Stand Up Show. However, it just doesn't come off. And the guy playing Gareth? For some reason, the makers of the American version thought that they would get an actor who looks like the lovechild of Garrison Keillor and Olive from 'On The Buses' fame to play the part. That is the most interesting part of his performance.
And what does Ricky Gervais himself make of the American version?"I've watched the pilot. It's good. It's quite faithful to the original."But it's weird for me because I can't look at it objectively. I think anyone who's seen our version will find it weird. But it's not aimed at us Brits, it's aimed at 250 million Americans who've never heard of The Office."So I don't know what will happen really, but neither do I care. It's nothing to do with me. We handed over the rights and now it's up to them. I wish them luck."
David Brent couldn't have excused it away better himself.
*As Baddiel is a fake comedian, I thought I would link to a pic of a fake David Baddiel.
Saturday, July 24, 2004
Friday, July 16, 2004
Thursday, July 08, 2004
One of my favourite films of all time is Peter Mullan's Orphans. In fact I love the film so much I can be a bit of pain in the arse about it - proselytizing and preaching at people, urging them to check it out, in the same way your average SWPer tells you that every Respect campaign is really, really brilliant.
I guess people put me love for the film down to some sort of atavistic Glasgow thing or a bad case of the lapsed Catholics: at a push I can plead guilty to the former, but the latter don't apply in my case. I come from a *cough* mixed family (roughly translated as one side of the family are left footers) of professional don't knows, don't cares, and the "hedge your bets on your death bed just in case - get them all in to say a few words to make sure your name is on the guest list if there is a trip upstairs. The Priest, Vicar, Iman, Rabbi and the woman with the crystals" brigade
It is just a really, really brilliant - shit, I'm coming down with a case of the 'SWPS' now. I'll be breaking out the petition next - film. A mixture of tears in the eyes humour, lump in the throat family drama and the best use of Billy Connolly in a film ever (Sorry Billy, the quality of your jokes are now in inverse proportion to the size of your ego)which confused the hell out of the Joshuas and Jemimas in the Marketing Dept of the film's financiers, Channel Four, when they saw the final cut of the film. Rest assured the Joshuas and Jemimas quickly recovered their composure and did what they do best when faced with a film that they can't shoe horn into a soundbite on a poster: they fucked up its distribution and let it disappear to the bottom shelf of the video section in your local library. (You couldn't find it in Blockbusters - there was not enough room on the shelves for a single copy of the film alongside the 50 copies of 'Notting Hill'.)
I'm getting off the written track of the post as per usual. My reason for the post is 'cos when reading an old Peter Mullan interview I came across the following admission from Mullan about a key scene in the film that made me smile. I always wondered how traditions start:
Peter Mullan: "In a way, the four main characters in Orphans are the way I felt after my mother died divided into four. So each of those characters represent elements of how I felt, but what happens to them in the course of the film is completely fictional. The only thing in Orphans that really happened is the opening. My eldest brother, as we stood around our mother's coffin - we had no ceremony to fall back on even though we're working class Irish Catholic and we didn't know what to do. Well, he had a pair of scissors and he made each of us clip off a bit of hair - and I thought, "Wow, this must be some ancient, Celtic thing". And when it came to him, he took this big, fuck-off chunk from his head - it was like the opposite of De Niro in Taxi Driver - this big lump of alopecia and he threw it at her coffin. And it was so irreverent but we were all thinking "This must be something from Donegal". So I asked him about it later if it was some family tradition, and he said "Nope, I just made it up. I thought it sounded really good". We were thinking that we'd connected with death and life and the universe and this wanker had just made it up. God forbid that he had found a pair of garden shears - he might have told us to cut our ears off, and to be honest I'd probably have done it."
Monday, June 28, 2004
Bloody hell, this is my fiftieth post to this blog and as a few people have been kind enough to add this blog to their links section - acknowledgement and reciprocation to follow - which hopefully means that people other than myself and my parole officer are reading it, I thought I would take the opportunity to once again shamelessly plug the book just published by The Socialist Party, 'Socialism Or Your Money Back', (click on the link you buggers) which *cough*, give or take a few years, is as good a brief history of the twentieth century you are going to get this side of the Gang of Four.
As it is the fiftieth post, I thought I would for once put to one side the naff jokes and the obsession with pop music (Gang of Four excepted) and post a proper piece of writing on the blog for once. And of course it wasn't written by me.
The following article, 'Building The Future', which is included in 'Socialism or Your Money Back' originally appeared in the July 1994 issue of the Socialist Standard. To the best of my knowledge, it was the first article the author ever wrote for the Standard and he has not written another article since, which is crying shame cos it is a cracking piece of writing. It's from the heart, and as cheesy as it sounds, I don't think there is enough political writing out there which is written from the heart.(The write in campaign to get the bugger to pick up his pen again starts here and now).
I will never get within a sniff of writing anything a tenth as good as this, but that's no matter; it's just a pleasure to post it on the blog. Put up your feet and enjoy:
Building The Future
"I am one of the many tens of thousands of construction workers who are currently unemployed. Disunited, we must be patient and wait. Surviving on the State-prescribed pittance as pliant trapeze artistes on the unravelling "safety net" which so enchants reformers. Turning useful people into beggars is a historical, and inevitable, principle of the capitalist system. Perhaps this time, we have got to be extremely patient before capitalist investors decide that the opportunity of making profits from our labour power is a distinct possibility. Until then we must needlessly hang on, suffer quietly, await our masters' call.
Twenty-eight years ago, when I started working as a hod-carrier on the buildings, the economic circumstances were quite different from today. The demand for labour was high, consequently wages and degrees of freedom had been rising. Capitalism was in the boom phase of its cycle, and the construction industry anticipating even larger profits was in the process of restructuring itself. The design of buildings was slowly beginning to change, as were materials. Every aspect of what is a labour-intensive industry had to be cost effective.
Cash-in-the-hand wages were starting to become the norm for bricklayers and hoddies in London. No sick pay, holiday money or wet time for us, after all we were screwing the State, weren't we? Being a nomadic trade—I have had well over 100 jobs—where being a realist is forced on you, the majority took full advantage of the economic situation. It was quite usual for men to jack because there was no crack on the job, tea-breaks were too short, or, because you couldn't get a sub when you wanted it. The sub was very important, its availability was one indicator of an employer's liquidity. It was a simple case of once bitten twice shy. Nearly everyone who has worked for sub-contractors for some time gets bumped, at the first sign the realists abandoned ship before it sank.
The Monday Club was in full swing at this time. If 50 percent of the workforce turned up on a Monday the subbie was in raptures all day about how loyal his "boys" were. Building trades unions at this time were generally recognised as the niche of opportunists, liars, and the bribeable. Consequently, negotiations over wages took the form of "we want another shilling an hour". If it wasn't forthcoming, then the tools were immediately thrown into the bag and the ladder descended. A new start was just a phone call away.
It was fully understood that what we built during a working week was worth more than what we were paid, it was wholly transparent. The remainder being shared by the layers of pimps that thrived through our labours, this too was understood and despised. Creating profits, through the unremitting appropriation of surplus value from its workers, is the sole function of the construction industry. Building homes, etc is purely incidental to the process.
No boom lasts forever. The speculative jamboree of overproduction ended abruptly and inevitably. A few capitalists went bust. The shrewd, and well-connected ones are still there, conniving their way out of their latest short-lived binge. The long boom was over, and those few freedoms have never returned. The barbed-wire around the sites was in the process of being re-erected, and a new reality was beginning, one that over the coming years would increasingly subjugate the realists.
New income tax laws had been imposed, and were strengthening. Tax was being deducted at source which meant a _œ“) percent reduction in wages for those without exemption certificates. We were now self-employed--small businessmen no less. A great many workers, inspired by media reports of large sums of money to be earned, had travelled to London. These were among the first to taste the dole. Realists understand that they are disposable. Skint, most of the smaller and more liberal subbies were back on the scaffold with their "boys". The illusion that they had been more than just intermediary workers in the production of profits was still obstinately imprinted on their thwarted minds.
A small elite of subbies were now in a position to more effectively exploit for their masters those who were still in work. Afternoon tea-breaks disappeared and have never returned. Apprenticeships, which had been declining rapidly amongst firms since the rise of the subbie in the early sixties, were now just a source for contrite prattle by reformers. The derisively-paid, and deftly-worked improvers became their replacement. The week in hand was introduced, and the sub became extinct.
Competition between workers became more ferocious than ever. It was common practice when starting a new job to be put to work with the fastest bricklayer on the job; if you didn't keep up, you were down the road before breakfast. Few workers now questioned this, and some gained pleasure from it. Guilt, if you thought you hadn't done enough, and fear of what might happen, became as inseparable from your being as the trowel was from your hand.
A brutal system can create brutes, and the surviving subbies seemed to be in agreement on the type of foreman that they needed to run their jobs. Only the thug would do, no knowledge of bricklaying was necessary. A bully with a watch and few scruples replaced the tradesman. The old boys said that they'd seen it all before, no-one really believed them.
Semi-literacy, and a knowledge of various state institutions, form the background for many bricklayers and labourers. Alcohol, and latterly drugs, are an integral part of the everyday working life for most. When the sack can arrive at any moment, to anyone, regardless of ability, just "to keep 'em on their toes"; where working conditions can vary from working in shin-high mud, to ramshackle scaffolds; where names and faces over the years become a blur, simply because of their frequency. And forming friendships is fraught with problems, then escapism becomes a necessity. And callousness a shield.
It's an upside-down world under capitalism. Those who are most useful suffer the lowest social esteem. But, laze in a masterfully-built mansion, and devise ways of turning human sweat into profit and you are to be admired, knighted even. After all, how would we cope without them, once the plans had been drawn and the footing dug and concreted, the walls built and then plastered, the joist and trusses nailed into place, and the roof battened and slated. Surely, we would be lost without a parasite to then sell the building?
A common dream, voiced amongst many workers that I came into contact with through the years was to build one's own home. A few achieved it. Some of those have now lost it. The possibility for all to achieve this dream can become a reality. By uniting, together we can begin the work of tearing down the barbed-wire than surrounds our lives, and bring nearer the day when we can establish socialism, and with it our freedom".
Sunday, June 27, 2004
For some reason, this short article is not on their website - though 'What Bordiga Ate For BreakFast: A Symposium In Ten Parts' probably is - so I had to type the bugger out, but I thought it was worthwhile for the wee snacktoids of information of how the American Capitalist Class has gone about massaging its unemployment figures down the years.
In the early eighties in Britain, when the number of people out of work started to rise to post-war record levels, the powers at be came up with the ploy of obscuring the true level of those unemployed by putting a whole generation of men and women in the old manufacturing regions of the North East of England, South Wales, Merseyside and the West of Scotland, where the recession hit hardest, on sickness and incapacity benefit. By doing this, they could vanish them from the real unemployment figures in Britain. (In London, to massage the unemployment figures, they did not go for the same option. They chose that age old alternative for hiding the true level of unemployment in London, best known as 'mini-cabbing'.)
As a member of The Socialist Party, the ICC see me as someone in "the swamp", "a parliamentary cretin" and having a "fetish for democracy" amongst other inelegantly phrased political insults but its a good article, and I hope they don't mind too much me posting it up. They will probably interpret it as a fiendish ploy on the part of the bourgeoisie to catch the revolutionary proletarian current off its guard with sweet words - they are only half right.
But to be honest, insults from the ICC are water off a duck's back: there is something comical in being savaged by a political organisation whose members look like refugees from a 1970s London Comprehensive School Staff Room, 'cos I choose not to share their liking for that armchair barricadist karaoke classic, 'Let's Smash the State'.
'Reviving Manufacturing . . . One Cheeseburger at a Time'
"American capitalism has long had a knack for creativity in its use of statistics to put a positive spin on an otherwise dismal reality. For example, the US government calculates unemployment by counting only those workers without a job who have actively applied for work during the previous 30 days. The so-called “discouraged workers,” those who have given up looking for non-existent jobs, are not considered unemployed - they are considered to have dropped out of the workforce. According to the government they are no longer workers. In another example, up until the early 1980s, the unemployment rate used to be calculated on the basis of the civilian workforce. But then the federal government decided that nearly 3 million members of the armed forces would thereafter be considered as employed workers (previously they had been considered as outside the civilian workforce). It proved to be a very effective means of lowering the unemployment rate. When the Department of Labor estimates the number of jobs in the economy, any job employing a worker for a minimum of 10 hours a week counts the same as a fulltime job – this explains all those outlandish claims about millions of jobs being created all the time. In this twisted way of “counting” joblessness and jobs, it is quite possible that a worker who lost his fulltime job and then scrambled to find three low-paying part-time jobs in order to survive, would be counted as one unemployed worker in the unemployment statistics, and as three jobs in the tally of new jobs created in the new economy!
In February, in the annual Economic Report of the President, Pres. Bush floated an innovative idea, suggesting that fast-food workers at places like McDonalds should no longer be considered service workers, but should be reclassified as manufacturing employees. Bush’s chief economic advisor, Gregory Mankiw wondered, “When a fast-food restaurant sells a hamburger, for example, is it providing a ‘service’ or is it combining inputs to ‘manufacture’ a product?” Having lost 2.6 million manufacturing jobs in the economy since January 2001, government economists have finally come up with a plan to revive the manufacturing sector workforce – one cheeseburger at a time! Of course, the Democrats and the talk show comedians had a field day poking fun at this absurdity. There hadn’t been such a blatantly clumsy manoeuvre since the 1981 Reagan administration suggestion that ketchup should be considered a vegetable in calculating the nutritional value of school lunch." - JG
Thinking about my recent choice of Top Ten British Albums, I realised that it reeks of someone locked in a eighties timewarp where his life revolves around burgundy tank tops, sta press trousers and wedge haircuts (no, wait up, that's Franz Ferdinand), so conscious of that I thought I would scotch that myth once and for all, and show that I am up with the current hit parade by checking out the Grateful Dead *cough* classic album, 'American Beauty'.
For years, I have studiously avoided listening to the Grateful Dead for the obvious reasons that their songs have never been played on Radio One (when it was good - the eighties again); the reverential devotion of their fans, 'the deadheads', who remind me too much of a run in I had with Spart paper sellers one time; and 'cos the group itself looked like a collection of the Geography teachers who bored me senseless through five years of Secondary School.
However chastened by the seeming narrowness of my musical taste, and following the recommendation for the Grateful Dead from a comrade who otherwise only seems to listen to Wobbly songs, and mention of the 'American Beauty' album on the excellent American drama series 'Freaks and Geeks' (how is that for product placement?), I thought I would check out the Grateful Dead to see what the fuss was about.
What can I say? The first track on the album, 'Box of Rain', is a nice track until the vocals kick in and then you suddenly realise that they are a poor man's Byrds. Christ - I must have a sixth sense to have avoided them all these years. And this is supposed to be their best studio album? I had to listen to some Gene Clark albums to get the bad taste of 'American Beauty' out of my ears. And to think of all those 'Deadheads' opting for that crap over the real deal from Gene Clark. Weird.
Friday, June 25, 2004
Just a quick post to mention that I have updated my 'Worth A Gander' section in my sidebar, adding three blogs that I regularly check out to see if I can nick any jokes or meaningful insights to try and pass off as my own on this blog.
Normblog is the blog of Norman Geras, one of the daddy's of the blogsphere. Academic, cricket buff and jazz fan, and yet despite all that I still enjoy reading his blog! The good man kindly added my blog to his link list when I asked him impolitely and he even suffered with good grace my crap jokes sent via email.
As Norman is the author of 'The Legacy of Rosa Luxemburg' (available at an extortionate price from secondhand booksellers who claim to be socialists), it gives me the gratuitious excuse to post the links to a couple of Rosa Luxemburg articles that were published in the Socialist Standard in 1907 and 1915, and which are in the translation section of The Socialist Party website alongside articles by Lafargue, Guesde, Bebel and Kautsky from the same period of 1904-1915. And some people think that there isn't enough politics on this blog.
timesnewroman blogs from Scotland, and he concerns himself mostly with music, football and slagging off leading Scottish SWP member Roddy Slorach. All of which in themself would make it a recommended link, but it gets a special thumbs up for the banter in the comments section between 'TNR', 'Reidski' and 'The Radical Postman'. Imagine The Three Stooges relocated to deepest Ayrshire and whose physical comedic violence has been transformed into cutting putdowns via cyberspace and you will get some sense of why I enjoy reading the trio mentioned above ripping the pish out of each other. I guess the bitter disappointment of being a Kilmarnock supporter lends itself to being expert at mindless physical violence and verbal punch ups. Does that mean The Three Stooges were Killie supporters, also?
Also added to the blogroll and worth a gander is A General Theory Of Rubbish which has a nice line in graphics and a skewed leftfield look at the world that can only come from listening to Captain Beefheart's 'Trout Mask Replica' one too many times.
O.K, I've given you all a plug - can I have my puppy back now?
Alex Cox points out something out in his article in today's Guardian Review which has been bugging me for a while: how come little or no subtitled films are shown on British TV nowadays? While I'm having a justfiable hissy fit, what about all this brilliant black and white films from a hundred years of cinema? You just know that if the buggers thought they could get away with it, we would be drip-fed colourisations of black and white films and dubbed versions of foreign films in between our dose of reality tv and watching England getting beat in various sporting events on mainstream TV.
I still get the piss ripped out of me in some quarters for admitting that I once went to see an Iranian film at the ICA - going against the grain of the chip on the shoulder workerism and inverted snobbery that I wear as a badge of honour - after doing a shift at a Warehouse I was working at ('Look at me, Ma - I'm Jude the Obscurantist') but there are so many great films out there that I can (just about) remember watching on late night BBC2 and Channel 4 years ago. Films that I know - this side of my lottery numbers coming up, and me being able to afford the collection of Tartan videos - I will never get the chance to see again. I mean films like Emir Kustirica's 'When Father Was Away On Business'; Louis Malle's 'Au Revoir Les Enfants'; Truffaut's '400 Blows'; Bertolucci's '1900' and Jean Vigo's 'Zero De Conduite' amongst many others. Brilliant, brilliant films that every bugger should get to watch just after the Weakest Link and just before Eastenders every weekday night on BBC1.
Okay that's enough pretentiousness from me, where did I put that Tom Clancy novel?
Wednesday, June 23, 2004
Wayne Rooney - An absolutely brilliant player and the star of the Euro Championship so far. I'm only gutted that, unlike the movie, he hasn't got a Scottish accent. Nationalist beast that only kicks off when I am watching Scotland lose at football, get behind me you swine. Hat tip to General Theory of Rubbish for the picture above.
Tuesday, June 22, 2004
New batch reprinted - impress your friends and confuse ticket collectors with the Socialist Party spoof railcard. Available in batches of 100 for a quid from 52 Clapham High Street, London SW4 7UN. Revolutionary propaganda was never meant to look this good.
'A design classic.' - Terence Conran
'It won't get you on a train, but it might get you to the future.' - Danny L. at various demos last year.
'Are you trying to muscle in on my business?' - Menacing Ticket Tout at Clapham North Tube Station
'Can I have few more? They make excellent roaches.' Trustafarian at Glastonbury 2003
'Can I use this ticket to get home? HA, HA, HA!' - Unfunny Trot at a demo last year.
'Ha Ha Ha. That's a good one, Joshua.' - His unequally unfunny Trot mate at the same demo.
'Mike F. stole the idea from myself. Inspired by the key situationist texts of Debord, Vanegeim and Milligan I had the same idea in the summer of '75 just after I finished managing the New York Dolls in their 'communist chic' phase and before I invented punk rock. I believe I left the proofs of the idea at a Sparks concert at Hammersmith Palais I attended as a VIP guest. Never did know what happened to the designs until someone thrust the card into my hand with the punk jubilee issue of the Socialist Standard outside the ICA in the autumn of 2003. I will obviously require recompense.' - Malcolm McLaren
'This is far too cool to come from the SPGB.' - A cheeky bastard with acute insight at a demo in London last year.
'I love this card - Mike F. is really talented' - Danny L.
'I guess so' - Darren O. (green with envy)
What is it with middle-aged blokes and their need for lists? Give me a couple of days, and I will be able to come up with a top ten list of reasons for why blokes need them, but in the meantime I confine this post to last Sunday's Observer list of the Top 100 Greatest Albums of all time. The latest in a long line of meaningless lists concocted for no other reason than to get me to shell out some money to see what's in the Top 100.
I can't find a link to a single page that will give you the low down on what white middle aged blokes from the suburbs are listening to these days (pretty much what they were listening to in yesterdays) but if you want the general page with the full lists, the token female pop singer's top ten (who happens to be plugging a new single as we speak), Emma Bunton, plus the smart arse comments by numbers views of Stuart Maconie and Paul Morley, then click on the following link.
The list has the usual suspects included but its a bit of a shocker that the Stone Roses debut album has made the number one slot. Don't misunderstand me, it is a good album but it is not even in the top twenty in a just world. I'll hazard a guess and suggest that a disproportionate number of the one hundred great, the good and the mates of the Observer music magazine editor asked for their top tens are confusing a particular good time in their lives - circa 1989/91 - with an all time great album. A bad case of the 'soundtrack of our youth' syndrome. I'm sure if pushed they would regale you with stories of the Hacienda, Spike Island and a rave in a warehouse off the M25 during this period as high points in their life. (That's the press release version issued by their PR Company - their reality was more along the lines of studying for their A Levels in the suburbs of Middle England; catching the tail end of the Mock Turtles singing 'Can You Dig It' on Top of the Pops and buying an Inspiral Carpets' 'Cool As Fuck' T shirt but wearing it under their hooded tops after reading in the NME about the bloke who got arrested by the police for wearing his in public.)
Not that surprised to find that at some point in my life I have had in my possession 48 of the 100 albums listed, which indicates either an excellent taste in music or a gullibility on my part for buying 'classic' albums as recommended by the music press down the years. 'Revolver', at number two, is the top listed Beatles album but I've always thought it overrated - though I'm well versed in the muso's dissertations on why that is such a seminal album. For me, 'Rubber Soul' is the better album.
Looking through the list, there are a couple of albums missing that I am surprised at by their ommission (for more info see numbers 3 and 6 in the top ten below), and I'm also a bit pissed off that on the whole the albums selected are predominately white boy bands with guitars; that is until I compiled my own top ten and saw that I had gone down the same road. Oops.
Another surprise is that the clutch of brilliant albums that the Kinks made in the mid-60s onwards didn't make charts at the time of their release, which makes me wonder if the sixties were more minging than swinging.
As I say above, I've done my own top ten. I've limited it to one album per artist in the top ten, though there are few of the groups listed who could have had two or three albums in ten on a different day. Top ten lists are daft 'cos there are hundreds of great albums out there. Or rather there were, with the advent of mp3s and downloads from the internet, the album is dead and not a moment too soon. A few decent tracks with some fillers is the best you can get today, and those albums where every track is a killer is rarer today than a saved Socialist Party election deposit.
I know already that I want to take some albums listed out and put some other albums in, and also that I want to switch the positions of the albums around. I also know that I will want to change the list again and again, but that is just an indication of my changing taste in music.
At least of the six albums listed in the ten I discovered after they were released so I'm afraid you cannot pin the sub-Proustian 'Rememberance of Things Past' tag on me. I've already previously posted the cover of the number one album on the blog before - giving the game away - so I have included in this post the cover of the most obscure of the albums listed. All recommended listens, with barely a duff track amongst them, and if I have the time in the future, or the inclination, I may clog up the blog with my reasons for why the albums are - to quote George Martin himself - the dogs bollocks.
That's all for now pop pickers.
1. ABC - 'Lexicon of Love'
2. The Smiths - 'The Smiths'
3. Prefab Sprout - 'Steve McQueen'
4. The Kinks - 'Village Green Preservation Society'
5. The Jam - 'All Mod Cons'
6. Aztec Camera - 'High Land, High Rain'
7. Cocteau Twins - 'Heaven or Las Vegas'
8. Human League - 'Dare'
9. The The - 'Soul Mining'
10. Colourbox - 'Colourbox'
Monday, June 21, 2004
In an otherwise so so feature on the American writer, Erica Kennedy, where she plugs her novel, 'Bling', an 'insider/outsider fictionalised account of the world of hip hop, Kennedy makes the following acute observation: 'I think a lot of the issues we talk about in terms of race are really issues of class,' she suggests. 'We might not necessarily feel comfortable talking about issues of race, but we're used to it. And all these people in the hip-hop world, yeah, they all came from the ghetto, they all came up the hard way, but you know what? Russell and Jay-Z and Puffy have a lot more in common with Donald Trump than they have with the average black man living in America. Because it's an issue of class, it's Have and Have-not - and now they're all Haves, in a major way.'
For rest of the article, click here.
Friday, June 18, 2004
A conversation that may or may not have taken place recently between two WSM'ers:
First Abstract Propagandist: "I think the Party should consider starting up its own blog which could be directly linked to the existing website.
The beauty of the Party having a blog would be that it would mean that there could be much more topical items on the net, posted much more frequently. Rather than people visiting the Party website once a month, for when the latest Socialist Standard comes out, they would be visiting it every couple of days to see what The Socialist Party, and other members of the WSM, were saying about the issues in the news.
I tried to raise the issue as a Branch item for discussion at the last Party Conference but you could tell that most members didn't really know what a blog was, and its potential for Party propaganda."
Second Abstract Propagandist: "I'd sooner we didn't call it a blog - it should be called a News Group. The word 'blog' conjures up an image of a thirteen year old writing an online diary."
First Abstract Propagandist: . . . . . [Stands up and walks away]
Second Abstract Propagandist: "Where are you going?"
First Abstract Propagandist: "Just nipping off to write up this conversation for my News Group."