Sunday, 26 June 2011

Waiting For Columbo

Saddened to read this week of the passing of both Columbo, or Peter Falk as his mum knew him and The Big Man, Clarence Clemons to you, me and his boss, Bruce Springsteen.

As well as acting in several of John Cassavetes' movies Peter Falk was in one of my 'all time' favourite films, Wim Wender's Wings of Desire. In it he played himself as a former angel making a film in a Cold War Berlin redolent of Heroes era Bowie. Very good portraitist too, something that Wenders incorporated in the film. There was a remake set in Los Angeles but it didn't have Columbo in it, opting instead for Nicholas 'earnest' Cage and a post Harry and Sally Meg Ryan. Needless to say it wasn't very good. Columbo seems to belong to a different era, Kojak, Rockford, Quincy and Columbo. Like comparing Dr Findlay's Casebook with Doctors, the present appears somewhat wanting.

The Big Man, born with the power of a locomotive and able to leap tall buildings with a single bound was a different tenor altogether. I first stumbled upon Bruce as a teenager and can clearly remember being sat on a wooden bench in the waiting room of my old man's surgery (the surgery was in the house and doubled up as an after hours games room) clutching a transistor radio to my head listening to Born to Run and THAT sax solo for what must have been the first time. Then it was buying the albums, books, bootlegs until finally achieving communion with both Boss and Big Man at the NEC as part of the 1981 River tour. Clarence, Bruce's suited and booted onstage foil, being leant upon on the cover that I poored over, lyrics and credits devoured with a religous attention to detail. I guess that what Clarence lent the band was authenticity, a direct line back through Junior Walker and The JB Horns to the R&B that Bruce absorbed in his youth. For Clemons it must have been bittersweet, a black man in a white band in an industry in which many people, but black musicians in particular, had been riped off being feted night after night by a predominantly white audience.

Three years later, Bruce had joined a gym and beefed up to a point where the bubble had to burst. Little Steven had moved out of E Street and into my imagination with Men Without Women, his wonderful rock/soul LP album and then Bruce was lost to me, no longer the loosely guarded secret of my flaxen haired youth but a reborn bicep bulging stadium rocker, as at home on the pec deck and the ab lab as treading the boards at the Bottom Line.

Our paths crossed again last year when I bought the CD box of Darkness on the Edge of Town outtakes. Originally relaeased in 1978 it ushered in a less urban sound than it's predecessors and with it a reduction of honk, that most urbane and soulful of sounds. For a reminder of the great days the recent release of a live gig at Bryn Mawr performed on the cusp of BTR greatness has Springsteen weaving a  wonderful account of how the change was made uptown and the Big Man joined the band.

And another thing...........both irreplaceable.

R.I.P both.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Jesus and the Food Chain

A couple of days ago I cleaned out a kitchen cupboard, to make room for a post apocalyptic pantry. Following a chat with the lovely Jo at Minimum Wage Manouevres, as sensibly brogued a soul as set foot etc I have begun adding an extra tin of this, a packet of that every time I trouble the cashiers. Jo recently confided in me that she has a below stairs cupboard, or space as we artists label such things, that she has kitted out with all manner of delicacies with which to keep her loved one's spirits up come the 'big one'. Rockets, meteors, squads of deathhead looters might maraude above and radiation might have cordoned off the playground but under Jo's stairs there will be a best before feast of loaf and fish proportions. Except there won't be fish, not fresh anyway.

I was going to write out an infantry of what's hot and what's off in my particular food chain but to be honest I can't be arsed. The cupboard is quite low down, I'd need to make a list and I don't have a pen to hand. However, if anyone is interested there's lots of pasta and rice. Not much to go with them but I won't go short on carbs. Actually the thing that strikes me when buying stuff is that, bearing in mind the real Rapture is scheduled for next December, is the sell by/best before dates; won't be needing anything beyond 21/12/12 -  2014? Forget it, won't be here. And neither will you.

What else? Last weekend, along with Darling number 1 went down to Dorset to draw deeply on the salty air and drop in on the cousins. No sign of Martin but Sarah remains reassuringly loopy and has invited us back down in late August and we, in turn. have invited several others along. She won't be happy but she has a large garden that is just crying out for tentage.

Pitt and Various are playing at Supernormal festival this summer; I'll let you have details when Various gives them to me. Both myself and Darling Number 1 are hoping to go along and offer support, encouragment and pre apocalypse foodstuffs. Before then however, we have August's roadtrip to Spain to think about.......but that is for the future.

Scot.......over and out x

Sunday, 5 June 2011

the extra ordinary boy

This weekend your roving reporter has been out of the shire and getting dirty and lowdown with the North East Summerset. Reason being that Darling Number 1's very own Darling Number 1 (eldest daughter, hers, no involvement from Scot) is tying the knot in order to create the Chudd Family Unit. The CFU will comprise initially of H and S - that's Hat 'n' Si to you and me. Weather held off, knot got tied, speeches got spoke and the whole thing passed without a hitch. Darling Number 1, as well as proving a more than adequate dance floor foil for Lee FromHollyoaks has a both intensive and extensive family forest, most of which seemed to have taken root in this small corner of the West Country.

Speech wise both Darling Number 1 and Simon delivered perfectly pitched responses to Beckington's got talent while Best Man Mark bookended with an amusing story of the time Simon was sick over some whales. Both current members of the CFU are now both fully paid up and lovely and whilst for the moment it's a closed group of two I will keep you all updated of any future additions. Probably in nine months time.

My role in the shenanigans was to record it for 'all time', and I'm grateful for the tips from Various about the importance of framing, getting things in focus and not having too many lingering shots of the eight bridesmaid's bottoms. 'Posterity not posteriors' as Various put it.

One door opens and a window closes. I've recently been informed that Nephew Number 1 (out of three) has parted from the lovely Giulia. Both his mother and I wish we could bash him on the bonce with breeze blocks and inject some sense in what passes for a brain. I received a message from Giulia where she mentioned that one of the sadder parts of splitting up with someone is losing touch with their friends and family. Having just learned that Darling Number 1 might at some point come 'in to' money I can confirm that I am putting all movement on hold. And Nephew, you're only remaining Number 1 on basis of being the first born son and heir.

In other news word reaches me that Various has some exciting (his word) plans in store re his art practice. These include a website revamp (again) as well as a concept which he calls 'product placement'. In this Various 'places' limited numbers of dvd's, t shirts, prints, postcards, road kill, signage etc in public places. Each one will be numbered and stamped with the VA web address inviting the lucky finders to make contact. I can't say I'm convinced but we'll see........

Scot checking out......a bientot.