Ole Smokey is one of my all time favourite DJs and purveyors of fine Re-Edits. This is a spooky little mix he’s knocked up for Halloween. That said, remember, an Ole Smokey mix is not just for Halloween.
I must start by declaring that I am a huge admirer of the music of Luke Haines, and I have enjoyed all his incarnations - from The Auteurs, through to his solo work, via Baader Meinhof and Black Box Recorder. Another point to bear in mind is that I have an enormous affection for UK wrestling of the late 1970s and early 1980s. I was a part of the legion of small boys (and old ladies) who - in the 1970s and 1980s - thrilled to my wrestling heroes at 4 pm every Saturday on ITV’s World Of Sport. The mere mention of the name Kendo Nagasaki still provokes an involuntary glow of nostalgic pleasure.
So, with all that in mind, it’s perhaps no surprise that I rate this album very highly. That said, I hope I’m also detached enough to recognise that - even by Luke’s high standards - this album is something special. It continues the trajectory set by Luke’s previous two solo releases (“Off My Rocker At The Art School Bop” and ”21st Century Man”). In common with “9 1/2 Psychedelic Meditations…”, those records are full of well-crafted, melodic, witty, interesting pop songs. And that’s the bottom line, Luke’s songs get under my skin in a way that precious few other writers and performers achieve.
Luke being Luke, doesn’t merely produce a straightforward concept album. Nope. Many of the wrestling greats (take a bow Kendo Nagasaki and manager ”Gorgeous” George Gillette, Catweazle, ’Cry Baby’ Jim Breaks, Giant Haystacks, Big Daddy, Rollerball Rocco etc.) appear in both prosaic and psychedelic circumstances. Kendo Nagasaki writes a “Rock Opera in the Key of Existential Misery”; Big Daddy becomes besotted with a Casio VL Tone; Kendo Nagasaki watches TV whilst a treacherous plumber plans to reveal his identity; Rollerball Rocco regrets visiting Les Kellett’s greasy spoon cafe; and so on. It’s wonderful, and unquestionably my favourite album of 2011.
A knowledge of British Wrestling of the late 1970s and early 1980s certainly enhances my pleasure in this album, however Luke’s songwriting skills will ensure that there’s still plenty to enjoy for the casual listener. And on that note, anyone interested in 70s British Wrestling should get hold of ‘The Wrestling’ by Simon Garfield. A splendid book, and the perfect companion piece to this album.
Ok, let’s get one thing clear from the start. I love Adam Curtis. He’s one of those wonderful mavericks who consistently create thought provoking work. If you don’t know him, then I urge you to seek out his documentaries, and also to regularly visit his blog where you will discover a trove of stimulation and different perspectives.
"Everywhere on television today people hug and burst into tears. It happens in drama a lot - but it has completely taken over factual programmes too. It usually comes at the end when the characters finally realise that they should express their true feelings. And they do this by crying and hugging everyone in sight.
It is part of something much wider in modern society - the belief that one should aim to be “authentic”, and the way to do this, to become authentically yourself, is to learn to get in touch with your inner feelings and express them. If you button yourself up, have a stiff upper lip, and control your emotions then you are both inauthentic and somehow damaged as a human being.
Many factual TV programmes have become a central part of this belief system because they demonstrate in an intense and distilled form how to be a truly authentic person - how and when you should express your feelings. They are the modern guide to social etiquette.
I want to tell a brief history of the rise of the Hug on TV and also show some of the strange, odd heroic figures who held out against it.
But I also want to ask whether the TV hug has become oppressive and limiting.”
"So we’ve just come out of glut of Bank Holidays, bad news for me - can’t stand the amateurs clogging up my local parks and alehouses. But for you, for you hungry modernist, the bank holiday is a chance to hang with your all time idol of pop. Ding fucking dong, who’s that at the door dad? It’s only Paul Weller. That’s who. Right. The. Fuck. On.
Yep, the man known as the undisputed ‘Best Mod in Britain’ (Paul Weller) is standing outside your front door, and he wants to take you down to Brighton for a Bank Holiday ruck on the seafront and then on to an all nighter at some Locarno. Get your Parka on fucker, gulp down a load of purple hearts, take the Secret Affair album off the dansette, and jump astride your Vespa - you do not want to keep the ‘Best Mod in Britain’ waiting. You do not want to do that.
48 hours later, and you’re back at your awful home, you wave good bye to your new pals:
'Bye bye Phil Daniels and Leslie Ash, Bye Bye Bruce and Rick' you say sadly. Bruce Foxton and Rick Foxton, the Style Council's highly volatile identical twin sibling rhythm section, roar off on their stupid motorbikes. As does Phil Daniels and Leslie Ash. It's been a long weekend, what with all that fighting on the seafront, all that frothy coffee guzzling and all that frugging to the Shirelles and the Merton Parkas. But it's not over yet. Paul Weller wants to hang out with you a bit more, and he wants you to make him one of his favourite meals: Refried Beans with Salsa, and he wants you to serve it up to him so it looks like a 'mod target'. Christ's teeth - we got there in the end.”
Just caught up with this latest Mojo Filter Mixtape via AOR Disco.
Once again Mojo Filter proves why he’s one of my favourite DJ and Re-Editers. Eclectic, original and downright wonderful. The world’s a better place for mixes of this quality. Shine on Mr Filter. Shine on.
I had no idea - until a few minutes ago - that Bert Jansch had died. I had the pleasure of seeing him live at The Green Man Festival a few years ago. He was very wonderful. Farewell Bert - and thank you. RIP.
I am listening to a compilation called ‘The Ultimate John Barry’. It’s very good. I also own ‘Themeology’ (the one put together by Jonathan Ross) and ‘The Best of the EMI Years’. At this point I must fess up and explain that I am far from a John Barry expert but it strikes me that none of these compilations does the man justice.
For example ‘The Ultimate John Barry’ does not contain The Persuaders Theme. OK, I have a massive affection for the tune having grown up in the 1970s and defined my childhood Sundays by the unmissable double bill of The Big Match followed by The Persuaders - but it’s a great tune isn’t it?
Similarly these compilations seem to focus on the 1960s. I don’t know much about what followed apart from what I heard in the cinema (e.g Dances With Wolves, Indecent Proposal etc).
So here’s my question, what would you include in the genuinely ultimate John Barry best of compilation?