Friday, 12 August 2011

The Night Blonde Bob Broke Wind On Broadway

I was with Blonde Bob the night he broke wind on Broadway. Cotswolds, before you ask. Not an arresting sight and as a result he got a way with it. He’s got a way with a lot of things, Blonde Bob; as for me, only words. Worcester however is a much scarier place. At the weekends one sometimes sees yoofs about town appearing to enjoy a coffee or shopping for an adaptable cravats, but why are they really there? Only today I saw someone wearing a hood, now is that really necessary? Why, I remember when you could park your tractor on the Cross* whilst you popped into the Paul Pry for a pint or eight. Nowadays you can’t even drive your geese down the City Walls Road without ruffling somebody's feathers. Namby pamby nanny state. Moo. Baaa. etc

The Borrowers

Yoof is an interesting word. It probably has its roots in proud anglo/day-glo Saxon lingualism. Worcester is the faithful city, always ready to resist change. We have one coffee shop, one butcher (Pete the Meat) and one ironmonger and long may it remain that way. We also have the most wonderful golden library that has recently been competed, in direct contrast to the monstrosity of a shopping complex being built off the City Wall’s Rd. It’s a one stop knocking shop who's one selling point will be that in the future all the looting can take place under one roof. 

* The Cross is a junction in the centre of town. I misread a message saying a 'Policeman had been seen (standing) on the Cross. This made me think that crucifying Police Officers would surely end in tears. 

Friday, 5 August 2011

Freed From Dreams, too

Just heard that the National Trust are releasing a CD of punk classics, well classics if you stick The Toy Doll’s Nellie the Elephant in with the Pistol’s Anarchy in the U.K. Not sure I do. No, of course I do, just me being curmudgeonly.  What goes around comes around. Whatever. Why not re-release the Hound of the Baskervilles by Stately Holmes. Anyway, got me thinking about how, despite what all of us might say, however many medals we might return to the Palace unopened we do, all of us want to be loved. It's a long road, first it's friends, family, then peers before being drawn inexorably towards the bosom of the establishment where, safe in a familial fog we suckle greedily on the teat of conformity.

Everybody wants the respect of their peers, so much more integrity than blind faith or a blank Czech supermodel girlfriend. Being the outsider is a young mugs game, no place for the old or the uninspired. The grumpy teenager begets the angry young man and inside every angry young man is an armchair and a pair of slippers trying to get out. Probably the two armchairs, or maybe a comfy settle with one of those extending leg rests.

As a result YBA's want to be Royal Academicians, punk rockers aspire to being inducted into the Rock and Roll & Roll Hall of Fame and anyone capable of flipping a burger wants their own BBC TV shows with medallions of pork and a winning garnish of gongs. Behind every Guerilla mindset is a chimps appetite for distraction.

Bit of a leap I know but jump with me into the mythical mindset of methodological movie maverick Robert de Niro, once of Mean Streets, Raging Bull and Taxi Driver but now basking, jowly, jovial, family, friendly in downtown Focker-Ville.

Somewhere in SoHo De Niro lies wounded on a cutting room floor; a clutch of hungry young directors are clamouring around him offering water and technical assistance. Bobby takes a swig, grimaces, “Leave me here you guys, you’re young, you’ve got ideas in development, forge ahead, stretch the envelope, save yourselves”. At least Marty stayed true. Whilst Bob took semi retirement in a Winnebago on bricks in the ‘Burbs Marty always made sure he was South of Houston by nightfall.

Don’t do it Marty, stay edgy, stay edgy forever, if not for your self then do it for Johnny Boy. Ok?


Last year I saw an advert featuring pop puppet, sorry chart poppet Alexandra Burke selling deodorant, I mean she’s only just begun her career and she’s already sold out. Does she have so little belief in her own talents that she doesn’t think she’ll be able to carve out a career for herself; is the singer of such dance floor fillers as Bad Boys (and the one with the video full of winsome women pretending to be American footballers) not planning on sticking around, or maybe she’s got an autobiography to write and is buying some time. Or does she simply want to be freed, freed from the chains of dreams, free to reclaim her place amongst A Chorus Line of lovelies clamouring for the chance of a touch down. What is her agent's agenda, I think we should be told. Worse than advertising salmon farming in Scotland? Well one could argue that at least Roger and Bob have earned the right to take it easy. Hope I die before I get sold out? Or found out. Turning perspiration into inspiration, Who knew? At least Pete incurred her majesty’s pleasure, going the whole nine yards for a fixed term. 

Oh I don't care, not really, or at least only just enough to write 650 words about it. Whilst I just want to break even Various wants to be VA at the V & A, except he doesn't know it yet. Sooner or later we all want to become National Treasures, like Jim Broadbent or The Simpsons but until then we remain the Crown Jewels of our own fevered egos.   

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

A Life And Kicking . . .

Raging against the machine replaced by the equally futile raging against the dying of the light, however whichever way one addresses it death appears to be inevitable. Plenty of people died in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries giving Mankind form in this area. So, whether you’ve traded in your soul at some midnight crossroads for a life less ordinary or cut your cloth to spite your face, at some point the Black Dog starts howling underneath your window waiting for the grim reaper to take him walkies. As a result it throws up the tricky subject of what to have played at your funeral/cremation/pyre etc. For me this is something that has filled many an idle moment down the years. I reckon the service can be split up into three main sections therefore:

Shuffling in, getting settled, seeing who’s turned up etc. Maybe a bit of classical, something pastoral, nothing too dramatic so stick to Vivaldi and ease back on the Wagner or Beethoven. If you can’t tell your Niccolo Paganini from a Costa cheese Panini then maybe an instrumental version of Hoagy Carmichael’s I Get Along Without You Very Well will hit the spot.  Essentially this is the accompaniment to checking out the women/chaps to see who has arrived unattended. The most worrying must be the mystery woman who enters after the service has begun, sits weeping silently at the back and leaves just before the end. Actually that’s the second worse, the worse being that she has a child with her. Or is heavy with one.

Moving on, The Rev has said a few kind words and a friend has offered up a description of someone that bears no relation to the one in whose shoes you have up until recently been walking. Time for the song that those you’ve left behind think either sums you up or expresses their feelings about you. Always On My Mind takes care of the guilt and Dylan’s Forever Young is a bit of a crowd pleaser. Johnny Thunders You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory, Patti Smith’s Trampin’ and U2’s One give you something a bit anthemic; or go down the comedic toe tapping route with a karaoke Another One Bites The Dust or even put a positive spin on an unexplained suicide with Lucinda William’s Sweet Old World. Talking Heads’ Road To Nowhere should be enough existentialism for even the most Sartre’d of cafĂ© dwellers, or go out on a limb with Build Me Up Buttercup, a song I’ve long considered to be a potential metaphor for life. If you want to be really cynical then how about Is That All There Is? or to be plain blunt, the Man in Black’s When the Man Comes Around.

Ok, so the body’s disappeared behind the curtain to be greeted by fire, brimstone and an uncertain fate. Tears are evaporating, limbs are being stretched and thoughts centred around ‘life is short, I’ll never complain about being stuck in a queue ever again’ are turning into excuses not to go back to the house for a slice of tea and a cup of cake. But more people have turned up than had been catered for so there’s time to kill. Post show exit music provided via country legend Willie Nelson singing Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone or Don’t Get Around Much Anymore or even the (All)Mighty Wah’s triumph of hope over diversity yet really rather wonderful Come Back.

          Death is not to be sniffed at, unless you’re into necrophilia in which case you’re one of life’s, or rather death’s receivers. But that little fact shouldn’t stop you from being cruel to be kind and insisting that everyone wears black. I know the current vogue is to be funky, colourful and ‘fun loving’ because well, Great Aunt Maude was gin soaked and well up for a lark in the park but black is such a slimming colour that trust me, the women will thank you for it, although you will of course have to wait to receive them in person.

              So, you’re all asking, what would Scot choose? Well first I asked around some of the guys and Various has gone for Thin Lizzy’s Boys Are Back In Town because it reminds him of being sixteen and the summer of ’76. Cheek By Joel has gone for a Ron Sexsmith song called Riverbank. As for me it’s a toss up between R.E.M’s Find The River and Joe Henry’s Short Man’s Room.  Or Tom Wait’s Long Way Home or . . . but, and here’s the thing, we’re a moveable beast with as many sides as there are songs to fill them. And that sums us up because there can never be one three and a half minute pop song that . . . sums us up. But remember that whatever you choose you must make sure the cd is clean. God can do most things, move mountains, get Chumbawumba to number one but he can’t do anything about a cd with jam on it.

             Scot, Alive And Kicking x