Monday, 24 August 2015

Take A Bath With Bubbles

Like Author Dent trying to link the words 'yellow' and 'bulldozer' together, or a festival goer weighing the difference between Metallica and Mumford & Sons, I find myself with ideas I cannot easily resolve.

At the moment I have a couple of ideas and thoughts that I'd like to resolve but for time and knowledge I can't.

For example, wouldn't The History of Interpersonal Relationships As Told By Discarded Clothing Items be an interesting book. Or Sour Soya Coffee might be an extended mystery thriller poem set in and around the coffee houses of Leeds. And how about the Timon of Athens Guide to PFI Schemes?

One such thought was bubble tea. Some know, some don't know, some come to know. I didn't know, and at Wickerman Festival there was the physical representation of it. Bubble Tea had a stall offering, well, tea and bubble tea.

While wanting to find out but not wanting to commit to ordering bubble tea, it was left well alone. What makes the bubbles? Who handles the tea? Why bubble tea and not tea bubble? Will it be possible to separate the two, or are the two elements forever connected like a overly-romanticized account of a pair of swans?

The answers to this and other questions take time. Time, and distance, time, distance and space. Mm, stay on target, James.

In the Grand Arcade, Leeds, there is Zaap Thai, purveyors of Thai street food. And sellers of bubble tea, a mixture of green tea, milk and balls of chewy tapioca. When I am in again I think I will try it. Zaap Thai is an interesting and very good, tasty food.

Street food is an odd phenomenon for me. It is very 'now' and 'new', a shiny badge that a food retailer has to display. This is 2015 and 'authentic' street food has arrived.

At the moment I am reading Future Days and A Very Short Introduction To Ethnomusicology. In both books there is a conflict taking place, Tim Rice discusses how the field of ethnomusicology started with seemingly hard, fast ideas about which music was worthy of study and that which was not. Nowadays the field has expanded to all music, thankfully disregarding the notion of good and bad music.

In David Stubbs's book, a fantastically detailed retelling of German music focusing on bands like Can and Faust, there are many discussions of how Krautrock intersected with high and low German culture. Krautrock is the handy if almost completely useless means that these kinds of acts were described as, though 'herbrock' doesn't really cover it. Kraftwerk to Nue! covered in one word?

Another theme of both books is that of authenticity. Which brings us back to street food. In Camden, London, there is an amazing array of street food, from around the world. Only I visited in 1996, it must be amazingly fresh and modern now.

Music is open to interpretation, the receiver receiving a different message to use one the creator creates. Does it matter if the creator uses electronica where once an electric guitar would be expected?

And there is the real issue. Expectation, both individual and collective. What is the receiver expecting when listening to Autobahn as opposed to (Get Your Kicks) On Route 66? Why do some listeners react negatively against one while celebrating the other, what are the real differences in the songs beyond the guitar and the electronics?

When I run my own record shop I think I shall just two sections. The first is 'All Music', which should be quite self explanatory and allows all sorts of stock to rub shoulders. The second section of selected singles will 'Get Over It', which I shall stock with versions of OK Go!'s early release.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

'Getting high on the random association vide'

The Marvel universe is the universe of outsiders. Alexander Trocchi's Young Adam is perhaps purposefully an outsider. Adam is the first man according to Christianity. Adam and Eve were the first mutants in Scottish literature.

I make associations with everything[1], mostly at random but not at random. These things are in my head, along with everything else.

There are a lot of things I find confusing, both inside and outside my head, so associations kind of help make sense out of nonsense. I tried making a list[2] but that itself became a massively branching interconnected tree.

The main problem I faced was where to start, as I was listening to Pavement earlier we'll start there, yes we shall.

I associate teenage heartbreak with the Pavement l.p. Wowee Zowee. It happened in my first year at university, after I had turned twenty, but you know, those three sides of vinyl are connected to my first-not-first love. Grave Architecture and Serpentine Pad are for me two of the best tracks on the album which sings from track two onwards (I have mixed feelings about We Dance).

First-not-first-love will have two associations. Tim Booth and James covering Sunday Morning by Lou Reed takes me back to standing in a school corridor aged 14 whistling this and the girl I fancied asking why I was so cheerful[7]. Well, because she was talking to me, I don't know... The other association with first-not-first-love is the female name Clare[8] spelt that way. Just seeing that word will make that melody skip into my head. Do-day-dah, de-di-dah, do-day-dah, de-di-dah.

Breakups are another thing. Here it is It's The End Of The World As We Know It by REM. I know the lyrics are about earthquakes and the rest, but deep in my heart it is about losing one's partner and that feeling that even if it is the end of the world it might be okay. Eventually. After a bucket load of trouble, simply nothing to be done but get on[3].

Feedback. I love screaming guitars, tube screaming effects are the best. Fifteen minutes of feedback and e-bows, hell yes[4]. But, whenever feedback crops in thoughts and conversations it is I Feel Fine by the Beatles. No screaming, more restraint, but feedback nonetheless.

Feedback comes in loops, cycles. Jane's Addiction[5]'s Been Caught Stealing is my bicycling song. It's mostly that lyric, "it's mine, mine oh mine, and I don't have to pay for it", that gets me. The open road, cycle path, they're mine (and yours if you want).

Though I think about music when running I don't associate any music with running. Running is clouds, freedom, floating, with a beat but not a beat I can disclose.

Petanque is suspicion. Messenger bags are Justin's. Bricks sleep and don't hang in the air same way spaceship do. Starship trooper boots. It is more hygienic in bottles. Central reservations broke our gardens. 'Potato on a radiator gonna let it remain in a locket'. The mind gets dirty as it gets closer to thirty, she's flirty and thirty, about the age when women get dirty, it's dirty story about a dirty man[9].

To paraphrase one of my favourite bands (of all time) talking about their shared appreciation of "Stephen Malkmus and the magic of Pavement", I do this all the time. And if I could do it all over again I would do it all over you. And by you I mean me, and isn't that the real truth. No[6].

1- Almost. Well, depending on my mood. Just watched Great British Bake Off and thought 'and this is my shooting hand' when Sue Perkins asked a contender to show their hand.
2- The Mikado can teach the reader a lot about political cronyism (Lord High Everything-Else), ageism (that song about elbows), and the daily routines of school girls. It also demonstrates the use of demonizing language when describing the other, the unfortunates, and the poor (or was that Peter Lilley?).
3- I am not too proud to say I'm okay that I associate the Pastels with a girl I once knew called Aggi. And that sentence starts with a Belle and Sebastian lyric.
4- Beck, and not the guitarist Jeff Beck.
5- That well-known international source of addiction news.
6- One reference and lots of connections. The Simpsons, the X Files, Leonard Nimoy, Star Trek, the list goes on.
7- Have you heard the lyrics?

8- The girl in the corridor wasn't called Clare. I don't know where Clare came from, it might have been a film or book for all I can remember.
9- All of that because I was thinking about ants while watching a fly.

Summer babe (winter version)

While watching some TV live I was subjected to an advert for TLC's not-in-any-way-similar-to-bear-baiting If Katie Hopkins Ruled The World a though struck me what it would be like to be ruled by music.Governed by lyrics, our laws created in tune to melodies and backbeats.

Would the media be working themselves into a 1930s-style hysteria if the could blame it on the boogie instead? Would members of parliament agree to give themselves considerable remuneration packages if someone in the corner was singing Watching The Detectives? What would environmental laws be like if written under the umbrella of Sepultura's Biotech Is Godzilla[1]?

The decision was mine. I'll stop that line of thought.

Katie Hopkins is far from a critic. There is no ability in her to evaluate two sides of an argument, instead the reader gets a hyperactive, 'straight-talking[2]', straight-misinformation, straight-misleading. I wonder what her reaction would be to reading Slaughter House-Five? Animal Farm? Miffy At The Gallery or Dear Grandma Bunny?

Reading leads to learning, read wide enough and one's learning goes far. Don't read, or allow your learning to be filtered through an other's lenses, and one's learning will be exposed for the short-terminalism it represents.

At the moment I think I would prefer to be governed by the music of Pavement and the lyrics (with harmonies) of the Beach Boys. Though I'm always going to be a Furry Friend at heart[3].

1- This song has a strong argument for technological equality.
2- Go on, explain that to me.
3- .I'm loose and committing a crime.