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Old 07-03-2012, 06:10 PM   #1391 (permalink)
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Old 07-03-2012, 06:13 PM   #1392 (permalink)
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After all this time, he's still standin'! Here's Elton...
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Old 07-04-2012, 08:28 PM   #1393 (permalink)
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Fears are growing for the safety of Stacey-Lynn McPherson, 24, last seen talking to a shifty-looking male near a convenience store, three hours before she was due to clock in for work at her office. Ms. McPherson has just returned from holiday in the Caribbean, where it is rumoured she may have been involved with a local drug lord. Reports of her fleeing the country may or may not be relevant to her disappearance.

Ms. McPherson is described as slim, about five foot five, with blonde hair which when she was last seen was tied in a ponytail. Unreliable witness testimony also describe her as having, quote, "a wozza pair of jugs". This information should be treated with some scepticism, as what consititutes a wozza pair of jugs varies widely from person to person.

No ransom demands have yet been received, though her friends are said to be "concerned". Anyone with any information should contact Trollheart@gmail.com. McPherson is not known to have any criminal record, although she is said to have questionable taste in music, which could very well turn out to be a motive for her capture. If she has been captured. We're not saying she has been, you understand. We of course know nothing about this, and any further enquiries should be directed to our attornies.

Trollheart had this to say: "It's that ****ing bastard Urban, isnt it? I KNEW he hated that review of that bloody Ultrasound album he gave me! Well my review stands, Urban! It was ****E! You'd better not hurt her: she's MY bitch!"

Trollheart later retracted this statement, citing "unbelievable pressure due to the loss of a valuable employee", and confirmed that she does, indeed, have a wozza pair of jugs.

We will keep you updated as to any developments. Now, here's a worm who thinks he knows about music. (No, Trollheart: no-one's going to kidnap a WORM! Get real!)
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Old 07-04-2012, 08:35 PM   #1394 (permalink)
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Yes, we're all devastated at the news of Stacey-Lynn's disappearance. Hope she'll be found safe and sound... what's that? Does the worm have any DIRT on her? HOW DARE YOU SIR! She is a COLLEAGUE, and the worm would NEVER... Meet you down the bottom of the garden, bring your dictaphone. How much are we talking.... What? Yes the worm believes she does have a wozza pair of ... What? No, nothing boss, just introducing the track! Hmm? No, no, purely coincidental. Remember, bottom of the garden. Five minutes...
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Old 07-05-2012, 04:58 AM   #1395 (permalink)
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When I originally started doing this section, I meant it to concentrate on mostly covers which were seen as odd, or unusual, or unexpected. Over the months, this has not always been the case: sometimes the covers are just interesting, but nothing you might not expect. This however takes strange bedfellows to new levels, and was certainly a strange choice for a cover version.

Originally recorded by Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes, “Don't leave me this way” was a low-key, downbeat plea to his woman not to desert him after all they had been through. There was a lot of what you would probably have to term quiet desperation in the lyric, but when Jimmy Somerville left Bronski Beat off the back of a pretty successful chart career and formed The Communards, they had a massive hit, a number one in fact with a hi-energy, disco dance version of the same song. It probably made people (like me) who knew the original kick doors and fume, but it was massively popular, and in all likelihood led to a small resurgence in interest in the work of Melvin, as four years later Simply Red would record another of his classics and take that to number one also.

Harold himself, though successful with the Blue Notes, was less so than lead singer Teddy Pendergrass, who went on to do very well in soul and pop circles, but both their success is eclipsed by the cover versions of their songs, and anyone under the age of twenty now will always associate “Don't leave me this way” with disco dancing, punching the air, waiting for the big lead-in when everyone went “Ohhhhhhhhh.... baby!” and, sadly, the Communards. Here as ever as the two versions side by side, for you to judge the differences in styles.
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Old 07-05-2012, 08:34 PM   #1396 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trollheart View Post
We will keep you updated as to any developments. Now, here's a worm who thinks he knows about music. (No, Trollheart: no-one's going to kidnap a WORM! Get real!)
I need some popcorn
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Originally Posted by bandteacher1 View Post
I type whicked fast,
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Old 07-06-2012, 05:30 AM   #1397 (permalink)
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Old 07-06-2012, 05:35 AM   #1398 (permalink)
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Right, well, let's just all try to put this unpleasantness to one side and get on with our jobs, shall we? We all pray for Stacey-Lynn's safe return --- though if the worst should happen, well, the worm could handle “Random Track of the Day” --- sorry, sorry! The pressure, you understand. Worm has something in his eye... 'scuse...
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Old 07-06-2012, 11:30 AM   #1399 (permalink)
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This time out I'd like to concentrate on one particular aspect of Waits' writing, that of the slower, softer songs. He has them, to be sure. Much of his material is written with a hard, gritty edge, but occasionally he can be gentle, introspective, thoughtful in a way that may not always characterise his songs. The people he writes about are almost always struggling through their lives, or career, or some situation they have to get through. They might be dealing with an addiction, a loss, a broken love affair, but they usually have some sort of problem they have to get through, and it doesn't always work out. Waits' characters are not heroes, or superhumans. They're not captains of industry or sportsmen, and they're not politicians or leaders. They're invariably ordinary Joes and Janes, pushing against the obstacles in their lives, trying to climb over often insurmountable barriers, keeping their heads down and facing into the cold wind, hoping it won't blow them over. They are, in many ways, reflections of you and me.

Though at heart cynical in his writing, Waits can be tender too, though even then the sharp bitterness that permeates most of his songs tends to leak through. It's almost as if he doesn't want to be happy, or at least, doesn't want his characters to be happy. It's like he feels happiness is an illusion, and must be recognised and denied for what it is, stamped out before it has a chance to raise expectations that can only topple and fall in the end. Better to be miserable, and know you're miserable, than think you're happy. Even the brightest silver lining can be obscured by a cloud, and life ain't a bowl of cherries: it's hard, it's unfair, it's tough, and then you die.


Soldier's things, from “Swordfishtrombones”, 1983 (Island)

Probably one of the most heartbreaking things the widow of a serviceman has to go through is finally getting rid of his personal possessions, and here Waits outlines a garage sale, where all the components that went to make up this soldier's career are put up for sale. On one level, it's dirty, grubby, distasteful as everything is examined and critiqued --- ”This jacknife is rusted” --- and the widow tries to put a brave face on it: ”All this radio really needs/ Is a fuse” or ”You can pound that dent out/ On the hood.”

On another level though, it's a heartwrenching farewell as the wife sells the only things left that she has of her husband, or the things that perhaps remind her why he died. It's a sad comparmentalision of a life, breaking it down into its individual components --- ”His rifle, his boots/ Full of rocks” --- quite literally, the measure of a man. It would seem though, that the wife can't let everything go, as she decides to keep one of his medals: ”This one is for bravery/ And this one is for me” but everything else must go. ”Everything's a dollar/ In this box.”

Perhaps even more poignant these days, with wars in foreign lands and soldiers dying for questionable causes, this was written before all those troubles, but it really doesn't matter, as unfortunately as long as there are men there will be wars, and as long as there are leaders there will be those who will die for them, or at their command. “Soldier's things”, then, is just another example of the clinical, often cynical but ultimately realistic way Tom Waits looks at things. Even death.

”Davenports and kettle drums and swallow tail coats,
Tablecloths and patent leather shoes.
Bathing suits and bowling balls and clarinets and rings;
All this radio really needs is a fuse.

A tinker, a tailor, a soldier's things:
His rifle, his boots full of rocks.
Oh, and this one is for bravery,
And this one is for me.
And everything's a dollar in this box.

Cuff links and hub caps, trophies and paperbacks.
It's good transportation but the brakes aren't so hot.
Necktie and boxing gloves;
This jackknife is rusted.
You can pound that dent out on the hood.

A tinker, a tailor, a soldier's things:
His rifle, his boots full of rocks.
Oh and this one is for bravery.
And this one is for me.
And everything's a dollar in this box.”




Kentucky Avenue, from “Blue Valentine”, 1978 (Asylum)


One of the most tragic and tearjerking songs Waits has ever written, it begins as a very disarmingly charming conversation between two childhood friends, though there's only one side of the exchange heard in the lyric. It's apparently based on a real-life friend Waits had as a child, who suffered from polio, but you don't realise that until the end. As the song opens the boys are discussing (or at least, Waits is telling his friend) all the things they're going to do that day: simple things boys of that age do, like climb trees, hang out in disreputable and forbidden places, annoy older people. It's all very innocent, and as with many of Waits' songs, namechecks characters, some of whom are real and existed in his world, some of whom may be constructs or even composites of other people. Dicky Faulkner, Mrs. Storm and Ronnie Arnold are all mentioned; of these we only know Mrs. Storm existed. According to Waits, she was the typical “mad old woman” who always had a shotgun protruding out her window, on the lookout for kids who wanted to annoy her perhaps, or burgulars. Or communists. Or gays. Or whatever angered and/or frightened her.

The song is played in a slow piano melody, Waits' vocal at first quite matter-of-fact for him, then in the last verse he hits the reveal, with beautiful, melancholic strings joining the sparse melody as he moans like a wounded animal: ”I'll take the spokes from your wheelchair/ And a magpie's wings/ And I'll tie them to your shoulders/ And your feet” and we realise with shock that his friend is crippled, that all the things he speaks of doing with him are impossible, as the boy can't walk. With the typical blind optimism of childhood though, he believes he can ”Steal a hacksaw from my dad/ Cut the braces off your legs/ And we'll bury them tonight/ Out in the cornfield.”

It's a powerful revelation, the first time you hear it, and Waits' angry, sullen, frustrated voice carries the song into new realms, where the innocence of childhood is shattered like so much cheap glass and lies strewn on the floor, tiny reflections of the crippled child winking back up at him from each fragment as if in mockery of his efforts. I cry every time I hear this song, and I'm not ashamed to admit it.

”Eddie Grace's Buick got four bullet holes in the side;
Charlie Delisle sittin' at the top of an avocado tree.
Mrs Storm will stab you with a steak knife if you step on her lawn.
I got a half a pack of “Lucky Strike”s, so come along with me.
Lets fill our pockets with macadamia nuts,
Then go over to Bobby Goodmansons
And jump off the roof.

Hilda plays strip poker while her mama's across the street:
Joey Navinski says she put her tongue in his mouth.
Dicky Faulkner's got a switchblade and some gooseneck risers.
That eucalyptus is a hunchback;
There's a wind out from the south.
So let me tie you up with kite string:
I'll show you the scabs on my knee.
Watch out for broken glass, put your shoes and socks on
And come along with me.

Lets follow that fire truck ---
I think your house is burnin' down.
Then go down to the hobo jungle and kill some rattlesnakes with a trowel.
We'll break all the windows in the old Anderson place
And steal a bunch of boysenberrys and smear 'em on your face.
I'll get a dollar from my mama's purse
And buy that skull and crossbones ring
And you can wear it around your neck on an old piece of string.

Then we'll spit on Ronnie Arnold, flip him the bird;
Slash the tires on the school bus --- now don't say a word!
I'll take a rusty nail and scratch your initials in my arm
And I'll show you how to sneak up on the roof of the drugstore.

Take the spokes from your wheelchair and a magpie's wings
And I'll tie them to your shoulders and your feet.
I'll steal a hacksaw from my dad
And cut the braces off your legs
And we'll bury them tonight out in the cornfield.

Just put a church key in your pocket,
We'll hop that freight train in the hall.
We'll slide all the way down the drain
To New Orleans in the fall.”



The ocean doesn't want me, from “Bone machine”, 1992 (Island)

One of the most minimalist songs on this album, it shows Waits at his most esoteric, with a semi-return to the slow percussive beats of some of the songs on “Swordfishtrombones” and “Rain dogs”, with strange little sounds in the background, and Waits' vocal somewhat mechanised and more in a spoken word style of singing than anything. It's a short song, less than two minutes long, and seems to concern someone who's preparing to commit suicide but hasn't quite made up his mind, or built up the courage to perform the act. He keeps blaming the ocean (in which, no doubt, he plans to drown), saying it isn't ready for him, but remarks he'll be back tomorrow.

”The ocean doesn't want me today,
But I'll be back tomorrow to play.
And the strangles will take me
Down deep in their brine.
The mischievous braingels;
Down into the endless blue wine.
I'll open my head and let out:
All of my time.
I'd love to go drowning
And to stay and to stay,
But the ocean doesn't want me today.

I'll go in up to here:
It can't possibly hurt.
All they will find is my beer and my shirt.
A rip tide is raging,
And the life guard is away.
But the ocean doesn't want me today.
The ocean doesn't want me today.”
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Old 07-07-2012, 10:35 AM   #1400 (permalink)
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When did words such as “like” and “follow” and even “comment” gain capitalisation, so that they became more than the simple words they were? Nowadays you can't open a magazine or visit a website without being annoyed by those tiny little symbols and logos, and these single words prompting, almost demanding, you to Like, Follow or Comment on whatever the subject is. Yes, I'm talking about Facebook, I'm talking about Twitter and I'm talking in general about social media.



Personally, I have little or no use for Facebook, and less for Twitter. I can see how many people do, and how for some people life with FB as they prefer to call it would be hard, and in some cases perhaps even impossible. But I don't need it, and I certainly don't want it. It's of little interest to me to learn what people I have not heard from or talked to in months or years are doing today: where they're taking their holidays, who their new friends are, what they're reading, the movies they've seen recently. I have even less interest in allowing people I have never met, and don't know from Adam, to “become my friends”. And that's another thing: friend has suddenly become a verb. You can now “Friend” someone. You make them your friend, and it's called “Friending”. Oh, and you can UN-Friend them too. Well, there are people I know for whom that sort of thing, did it actually work in the real world, would be very handy.

But there's the rub: it doesn't work in the real world. Just because you disallow someone to contact you on Facebook doesn't mean that they disappear off the face of the Earth (though wouldn't that be cool?); it's just your way of not having to deal with them anymore, in cyberspace at least. Of course, the line between the real and the digital world is blurring more every day, to the extent that people, especially the younger ones, are spending so much time online that they're beginning to confuse reality with fantasy. But none of that goes to the heart of why I hate social media personally.

It's the invasiveness and the intrusion that gets to me. Although I setup a Facebook page --- almost against my better judgement --- to try to keep in touch with my co-workers when I took redundancy, I found that nothing I wrote got commented on or even acknowledged, and any comments I made on anyone else's page --- no matter how well I had known them in “real life” --- tended to get ignored in nine out of ten cases. Proving that in order to be a “proper Friend” (let's give it the capitalisation, almost the anthropomorphication it demands) on Facebook you have to be constantly commenting, posting, keeping, as it were in the loop; this is hard to do when you're separated from people physically and don't know what's going on in their day-to-day life. Your finger, basically, is no longer on the pulse.

Facebook is essentially for the younger generation, those who have many friends and need to constantly update them on where they're meeting, how they got on last night, what's new in music and so on. It's basically mostly inane babble and chatter, much like Instant Messaging can be. It's verbal diarrhoea, transposed to the internet. And what annoys me is that despite, or perhaps because of, the fact that I visit Facebook very very rarely and post even less, I'm forever getting reminders that there are “updates I may have missed”, or that “Facebook misses you”, or some other inane attempt to get me to log back on again. Facebook, if I've been away it's because I want to be away, because I have little to no interest in what Jim from Dundalk or Rosie from Coolock has to say about this “fab new place to have dinner”, or that Harry from Malahide “Likes this”. I couldn't care less. If I want to visit Facebook, I will: I don't need gentle prodding reminders telling me I haven't been there for a while. I KNOW! I'm a person, not some software program that's defective and needs to be reinitialised!

And that brings us to the other bane of the internet, at least as far as I'm concerned: Twitter. Now, I can see how this would be a good idea with someone famous, or interesting: people can hear about what he or she is up to, what they're working on, where they're going etc. But for the normal Joe Soap, like me? Who the hell cares what I had for breakfast, what I'm reading, where I'm taking my holidays or what I saw in a shop window? But people (as opposed to, let's say, People, to distinguish the ordinary folk from the stars and celebs) are obssessed with recording and uploading every tiny detail of their day, in almost pathological fervour, as if anyone cares! It's the ultimate in narcissism. These people actually think that people care what they think. What they do. How they feel. Well, unless they're your friends (as opposed to Friends) they don't. They're either laughing at how conceited you are, or preparing to upload a picture of the last dump they took, while at the same time shaking their head about how silly you are.

And we're being asked to Follow (again, big F) these people! Sure, some may have interesting things to say, but most are just vain and full of themselves, and people who Follow them are just feeding that fire, that hunger for recognition and attention. Do we really need to hear every little thing Dana from Milwaukee does in her day, or delve deeply into the troubled psyche of Aaron from Brisbane? And whose life is so lacking, who needs attention and self-vindication so badly that they'll upload a picture of what they're about to eat, or will take a picture of themselves outside a cinema (“Me outside the Odeon, about to go see “The Dark Knight returns”. OMG I'm looking forward to this film!”)

Look, social media has of course its uses. I'd be completely remiss to omit to point out that it has been very instrumental in effecting change across the world, with heavily beleagured populations in open revolt or being repressed by a totalitarian government being able to get their messages out through Facebook and Twitter. It has also helped raise awareness and start campaigns, finding missing children and only this week here, a missing dog. It can help bring people together, but just as easily it can be used for “evil”, allowing predators to stalk kids on the internet by perusing their FB page. The idea that your popularity depends on how many Friends (Facebook) or Followers (Twitter) you have makes it easy for someone you don't know to be accepted as a Friend, and once there they're basically in. You can Un-Friend them, sure (not sure if you can make them stop Following you, as I'm not at all familiar with Twitter) but by then the damage has probably been done.

Naturally, you can use this argument for any part of the net, but Facebook actively promotes adding more and more and more and more Friends, constantly harrassing and bombarding you with Requests from people who want to be your Friend. You don't know anything about them, how they found you, who they know, nothing. They're just a picture (and it may not even be theirs) and you Accept or Reject, or maybe Ignore, I'm not sure. In my brief dalliances with Facebook I was hit with a steady stream of people who wanted to be my Friend, none of whom I knew or who were connected to me or my friends in any way.

That's all an argument for another day, of course, but it does worry me how Facebook has got into every area of life now. Companies and Corporations all have a Facebook page, new games have one, TV shows have one. Seems everyone does. Soon it'll be as crazy a question to ask “Have you a Facebook page?” as it used to be to ask “Have you a phone?” It's just accepted that you do: surely everyone has? Well, not me. I don't want Facebook. I don't trust them. I don't want you as my Friend unless you really are my friend, and I know you in real life. I don't want your ads, Facebook, and I don't want your games. I certainly do not want your recommendations and you can keep your suggestions about “people I might like to add” to yourself.

And as for Twitter: if I want to Follow a Twitter, there are birds in my garden.

So, this is my message, and please, all social media of all shapes and forms, take it to heart!
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