Saturday, March 24, 2012

Song of the day

"Jimmy Stynes", by My Friend The Chocolate Cake.

There are not many more words that could possibly be written about the late Jim Stynes. He has deserved them all.

He came over from Ireland as part of an experiment to see if Irish kids, whose football was not dissimilar to our own, could play Australian Rules.

He proved that they could.

He was an important cog in what turned out to be the greatest era of the Melbourne Football Club since their glory days of the fifties and early sixties.

He had one fleeting lapse of judgment in the dying seconds of the 1987 Preliminary Final that might well have cost his club a place in their first Grand Final since 1964 (a Grand Final that they could even have won; at least they would have stood a better chance than they did in the two that they later played in, both of which were effectively over by the ten-minute mark of the first quarter). It is plausible that he spent the rest of his life seeking to atone for that one split second. (But Jimmy, we forgave you for that pretty much as soon as the final siren had gone.)

He adopted this country as his home.

He returned to the club to bring it back from the brink of extinction and would appear to have largely succeeded (although on-field success continues to elude us).

He fought on, improbably but heroically, through the worst ravages of the cancer that even he, in the end, couldn't defeat. Bravely, as if that needed to be said, because Jim Stynes was the bravest of them all.

He even had a song named after him.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Song of the day

"Please Be My Third Eye", by La Sera.

It takes about five seconds for me to know that I am going to love this song. Sometimes I don't even have to turn my brain on. Sometimes?

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Idiot songs of the day

In which we say "yah boo" to political correctness.

1. "How Sweet To Be An Idiot", a song by Neil Innes. Who is no idiot.

2. "Idiot Friends", by Mr Spongebob Squarepants and his little pink pal, Patrick.

3. "Walk Idiot Walk", by The Hives, as performed live on Mr Letterman's television programme. The Hives are notable for their sharp dress sense and killer guitar lines.

I can't think of any others. Probably because I'm such an idiot ...

Monday, March 12, 2012

Song of the day

"Joseph Cornell", by The Clientele.

Joseph Cornell was an American artist best known for his "boxes", containers that he built himself then filled with, well, stuff. There are a few of them in the collection of the National Gallery in Canberra. You should check them out. I associate him with another American artist, Alexander Calder. They both made things that your uncle might have made. But whereas Calder's work is whimsical and inherently likeable, Cornell you could maybe have arguments with people about, along the lines of is this or is this not art. (Calling something art is like calling something jazz. The dividing line is both invisible and always moving.)

The Clientele are (or were, as might be suggested by their web site) a British pop group with a very distinctive, understated sound. All their songs are either in a minor key or feel like they are. The rain-refracted evening (or early morning) lights on the album cover of "Suburban Light" are about right.

Whatever may be the connection between the artist and this song, it says all that needs to be said, in two minutes and 24 seconds. How do they do that?

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Dad joke of the day

Q. Which science fiction writer goes snap, crackle and pop?

A. Edgar Rice Bubbles.


Sunday, March 04, 2012

YouTube of the day

I am a (the?) person for whom modern music starts and, perhaps, ends with Television's "Marquee Moon". It first captured my attention as a night-time listener to Sydney's 2JJ, where it was on fairly regular rotation back around 1978-9 but, owing to the vagaries of long-distance AM radio reception, I never once managed to catch the back-announcement (by, let's say, George Wayne or Mac (actual-dad-of-Jarvis) Cocker) and so had no idea what I had been listening to. It wasn't until some years later, after I had forgotten all about it, that I heard it again, on 3RRR, and I was very, very careful then to catch who and what it was.

Fast-forward probably not actually all that far, but well after I had picked up and absorbed the original two Television albums ("Adventure" on stunning red vinyl, fetish fans), and there in Missing Link Records, lost amongst the bottom-feeding punk and hardcore 7" singles, was a copy of Television's debut single, "Little Johnny Jewel", from 1975. This being in my estimation something like the Philosopher's Stone, I assumed it must have been a bootleg, but such was my determination to own a copy of it in any form that I happily forked over the ten-dollar asking price.

We now have the internet, and Discogs in particular, and I can confidently say that what I bought looks exactly like it says here, right down to the "white die-cut paper sleeve", so I am inclined to the view that what I bought is in fact the thing itself, in all its monaural glory. (A spruced-up version now appears on the CD reissue of the "Marquee Moon" album, no longer split into two parts, and it gets closer every day to rivalling "Marquee Moon" itself in its epicness. Note also, as an irrelevant aside, that the version of "Marquee Moon" on the reissue has a much longer fade-back-in section than appeared on the original album. All in all, this one of the most necessary CD reissues in the history of mankind.)

This YouTube clip, again thanks to Dangerous Minds, is of Television in the office of the impresario behind Ork Records, playing something that might be "Little Johnny Jewel"* but the sound is so bad it's kinda hard to tell. Actually, both sound and image are way beyond lo-fi, and it might be deemed "for obsessives only", but, well, what are you waiting for?

* UPDATE: Now that I am somewhere where I can actually hear the thing, it's clear that it's not "Little Johnny Jewel". What it is, I have no idea. It sounds like an amalgam of the Velvets and the Stooges, which, given that the year is 1974, and the place is New York, is probably not that surprising.

Song of the day

"Know Me", by Frankie Rose.

You would think that the first place somebody whose pedigree consists of Crystal Stilts, Dum Dum Girls and Vivian Girls would look for the sound of their solo record would not be classic 4AD. You would, it seems, be wrong.

The combination of that sound and her innate sense of pure pop goodness is, shall we say, irresistible.