Friday, 27 February 2009

Do You Mind

2008 belonged to T2. Heartbroken was THE tune of the year, and that is simply a fact. Well 2009 belongs to Paleface and Kyla with their barnstormer 'Do You Mind'. The most well-known version of this tune is the Crazy Cousinz remix which you can find here. It is fucking amazing. However, having recently got my hands on the Remixes LP, I thought I should bring the Pwn remix to the public's attention. It may not necessarily be better than the Crazy Cosinz remix, but in my opinion it is just as good. Incidentally, this is now my third youtube post. Still haven't managed to work out how to get rid of the throbbing photo mind.

P.S. I know it seems a bit hypocritical posting a funky tune after having bashed funky in a previous post, but this is the exception that proves the rule.

Omar S

Omar S is great. A Detroit-based producer and DJ, he makes wonderful cross-over tracks that straddle the Chi-town/Detroit divide. Below are a couple of his really top tunes. It tends to be really deep house with a soupçon of glitch.

This samples the video game 'Strider'.

And this samples The Supreme's 'Come See About Me'

And this is a great interview I found on some random Detroit blog. This was his first ever interview, and he has only ever done one since then. I love that he drives a beat up Subaru. He really is seriously cool:


Alex “Omar-S” Smith has been dropping bombs on his own label FXHE out of Detroit since 2001. We had a chat with him while he was driving around with his family on a Sunday afternoon. For those familiar with his fresh sound that mixes Chicago’s jacking house rhythms with Detroit’s sublime atmospheres, this will help shine some light on the man. For those who don’t know, you better ask somebody.

ISM(infinitestatemachine): What did you do first, deejaying or production?

AOS(Alex Smith): Deejaying, in the basement.

ISM: You were born in Detroit, right?

AOS: Hell yeah.

ISM: How old were you when you started deejaying?

AOS: Like 12. I was playing all that early Chicago shit, you know, like Farley (Jackmaster Funk) and shit like that.

ISM: So where did you hear that music initially?

AOS: My older sister, my older brother, my cousin. They grew up back in the early 80’s, they heard all that shit, when it first started.

ISM: Were they going out to clubs in Detroit?

AOS: L’Uomo, shit like that. I can’t remember the other ones. That was the biggest one, L’Uomo.

ISM: So you were just a little kid, and you heard what they were listening to?

AOS: Yep, I was real young.

ISM: Was there also an influence from Chicago? I can hear it in your tracks…

AOS: Yeah, that was the stuff back then. You know, WBMX, GCI you know, I had those cassette tapes.

ISM: Where did you get the tapes from?

AOS: Anybody had ‘em, my cousins.. They were going down there to get them, alot of people were going down there and getting them, they’d just tape ‘em off the radio while they were there.

ISM: Were you also into hip-hop when you were young?

AOS: All that stuff was new, everybody was listening to that. House music and rap music back in the 80’s. They both kinda got big at the same time.

ISM: Were alot of your friends into dance music at the time?

AOS: I was the only one, myself.

ISM: Who were your influences in deejaying?

AOS: Back in the 80′S, Jackmaster Farley was the man. And Silk Hurley. We ain’t know about Ron Hardy, all the rest of these guys from Chicago, and Larry Levan. Like Francois (K.), I didn’t know Francois mixed “Beat the Street” (by Sharon Redd) and all the rest of these records. I didn’t find that shit out till like last year.

ISM: So when was the first time you deejayed for other people, at a club or on the radio?

AOS: I’ve never played on the radio! I did some shit back in New York back in ‘93. My sister’s boyfriend threw alot of parties and shit, I just went there and did some shit there, that was about it.

ISM: What kind of things were you playing at that time?

AOS: Uh… I don’t know, what was I playing? Masters at Work, shit like that. Chez Damier, Ron Trent shit, know what I’m saying? Back when Masters at Work was sweet…

ISM: Not like they are now…

AOS: Naw, hell naw!

ISM: There’s no interviews with you in English as of now, right?

AOS: No, there’s not.

ISM: Has anyone else tried to interview you?

AOS: They have, but never shit that’s published.

ISM: Any magazines?

AOS: Naw, they don’t care about this shit over here in America.

ISM: What kind of car are you driving?

AOS: An ‘06 STI… (Subaru)

ISM: Why an import instead of a domestic?

AOS: Just cause… it’s a rally racing car, nobody knows what it is so people don’t wanna steal it, plus it’s fast as hell and you can beat the fuck out of it all day in a race.

ISM: You like to race alot? I read (in a poor Babelfish translation) the article in De:Bug magazine from Germany that you race with Theo Parrish and Mike Banks….

AOS: I don’t know about Mad Mike, they always be throwin’ shit in. Basically, I just go out by the airport, there’s alot of people back there. As far as Theo, yeah he be racing and shit.

ISM: How has your deejaying been accepted over in Europe?

AOS: Oh, they really like it over there. They love that shit. I just got back from (…inaudible…), they said they never seen the room as packed as when I was over there.

ISM: What do you think of the new “minimal techno” that is so popular in Europe?

AOS: Yeah, most of that shit is garbage, I don’t really buy records no more, man.

ISM: Which modern artists are you listening to?

AOS: Man, to tell you the truth, I don’t fucking know!

ISM: Yeah, in my opinion, alot of people are just releasing bullshit and no one is telling them about it.

AOS: Yeah, people are making bullshit like Kerri Chandler, shit like that.

ISM: You don’t like some of Kerri’s recent records that have that techno feeling to them?

AOS: Naw, that shit is not techno, that shit is bullshit. Kerri Chandler was sweet as fuck, you know what I’m sayin’? Put it like this, Kerri Chandler and Carl Craig came out around the same time, right? Carl Craig might have had a couple years off, Carl Craig is still sweet as fuck. Look at Kerri Chandler. Like he came out with that Video Game EP (”Computer Games EP” on Deeply Rooted House), it’s no video game sound effects on it! I didn’t understand, he called it Video Games EP, there’s no type of video game type atmosphere or feeling on that EP.

ISM: Some of your stuff has a definite video game feeling to it…

AOS: Yeah, because I sample all video games! But yeah, there’s alot of that shit going on. Motherfuckers ain’t shit as deejays, neither. That’s why Derrick May is one of the best deejays, know what I’m sayin’? He ain’t made tracks since like 1998, he’s just a good ass fuckin’ deejay.

ISM: You’re into video games, what are your favorite game and system?

AOS: Robotron. For systems, I would probably say the NES. Maybe the (Magnavox) Odyssey 2. Shit like that. The Dreamcast was underrated, then Sega went out of business. Kid Icarus was one of my favorites (games) too. My grandparents owned an arcade back in the 80’s. Stargate, Defender, all that shit when it first came out.

ISM: Has anyone ever contacted you about playing at the DEMF?

AOS: Hell naw, they don’t know who I am, they don’t care. I don’t care neither, fuck ‘em. As long as I’m playing overseas, then just fuck it, you know?

ISM: Do you deejay out much in Detroit?

AOS: Not at all. Detroit is just a bunch of player haters, you know what I’m saying? If you ain’t down with them, you ain’t cool with them. That’s how it is, you know, like some crabs in a barrel type shit. Make sure you print that shit, too. If you ain’t locked onto their dicks then they put you down. A bunch of old player hating ass motherfuckers.

ISM: On your second record (AOS 002), you thank “Rick Wholhite and Mike Huckleby” (sic)…

AOS: I said that because Mike told me not to sell my drum machine, and Rick hooked me up with the distribution.

ISM: Did you misspell their names on purpose or was that accidental?

AOS: Oh naw, I ain’t know how to spell their names, Ron Murphy he ain’t know how to spell their names neither so we said “Fuck it” and wrote it any kind of way.


ISM: A question about your “collaborator” on the Oasis records: who *is* Shadow Ray?

AOS: (Laughing) I don’t know man, I don’t know! Man, I don’t know who that is! Man, you’re Shadow Ray!

ISM: Your records state your preference for using hardware instead of a computer, what make you decide to go that route?

AOS: That shit don’t sound right, it don’t sound the same to me.

ISM: It’s all about the sound?

AOS: That shit is not easy either. For me, I mean, I just don’t like it, you know what I’m sayin’? Fruity Loops, I had that shit before just to fuck around with it, but you know.

ISM: Which hardware do you actually use?

AOS: (Roland) MC-909, shit like that.

ISM: I really liked AOS 006, you had a good variety of sounds on that one.

AOS: 006 was a DJ tool. What people don’t understand, alot of the shit I do is DJ tools. You get some of those stupid ass motherfuckers probably from the suburbs or some shit like that who don’t even know what the fuck he’s talking about, been listening to dance music for like 6 months and shit, ain’t been listening to since back in the 80’s like me, know what I’m saying. You know how those motherfuckers is. Alot of tracks back in the 80’s, like the shit I’m listening to now (turns up car stereo bumping tracky drum machine track), you had to make shit out of it, you could ride shit, you could have one record ridin’ for like 5 minutes and people won’t even fucking know it. Like Oasis 14 is really a DJ tool. But you know what I’m sayin’, you got people like “Is that all the record do?”. Yeah bitch, that’s all the record do. Yep your lazy ass needs to do some other shit with it.

ISM: You sell your records directly from your own website, you even take the orders yourself. Do you sell alot of records like that? What percentage of your total sales are from your site?

AOS: I sell probably like 5%.

ISM: Really? I would have expected it to be higher since you can get them cheaper from you than you can even from a store. But its interesting that you do that because it goes along with your hand-written white label release style, its very DIY…

AOS: Exactly, I mean, I want full control of my music, know what I’m saying. I really don’t do alot of shit with people or labels, doing shit on different record labels and licensing my shit out because basically those people, they don’t give a fuck about you. They just heard the name. That kind of shit. Basically I’m not trying to get ripped off in the long run. If anybody gonna rip me off, I’m gonna rip my own self off.

ISM: You did that joint with Theo and Malik on Sound Signature, and you’ve done stuff on your man Jus-Ed’s label, do you pretty much only work with your friends?

AOS: Yeah, basically yep.

ISM: And you release tracks from other people on your own label. What are you looking for when someone sends you a track?

AOS: I don’t know, just shit that’s really just different, not like anyone else’s shit out here. I’d rather work *with* people but you know, sometimes people come with some shit where it’s like “Damn, that shit is sweet, I’m have to release it”. This guy named Luke, he’s from Detroit, his shit is sweet as fuck… this other kid named Kyle Hall. They came up with some realy wild out different shit, especially Kyle. Also Jason Fine, he lives in California, but he’s from Detroit. He sent tracks to me over the internet. I think Gary at Melodies and Memories introduced me to Seth Troxler, I think that’s how it was. He came over to my house, shit like that.

ISM: Have you ever thought about moving away from Detroit, especially since most of your deejay gigs are overseas?

AOS: No. I mean, I like Switzerland and Berlin, but I would never move.

ISM: In Detroit, do you see a divide between the suburban techno scene and the scene in the city?

AOS: Yeah, I would think so.

ISM: Why do you think that is?

AOS: I don’t think its nothing on the racial type shit, it’s not like that at all in this underground music at all, because people from the suburbs move around people in the suburbs and people in the city move around the city. It’s still possible for them to come together.

ISM: On your myspace page, you posted a rejection letter from DJAX, what other labels did you try to send stuff to before you decided to release your own shit?

AOS: Nervous, Strictly Rhythm, this was like ‘00. Cajual too. They rejected me. I’m kinda glad that they did. You know, when you first start out in the industry, you don’t know shit. I did my own thing. My brother came up to me one day, he said “I know of this guy who cuts records” he read an article, Ron Murphy had an article in the Metro Times, I still got the article somewhere. He said “This guy cuts records”. I made 4 songs real quick, I put them songs together, and he cut ‘em for me.

ISM: Do you get your records pressed at Archer?

AOS: Yeah, Archer is like 1/4 mile from my house.

ISM: Since you’ve become more popular, have any other established record labels come after you for some tracks?

AOS: Yeah a whole lot of people, I reject them. There ain’t enough money in dance to begin with, you know, record sales ain’t shit. I might as well do something myself. I don’t mind helping people out, but I want to work with people.

ISM: Are you interested in using more live instrumentation? Your “Just Ask The Lonely” album had that bit inside the cover about “This album contains No Live Instruments”….

AOS: Exactly, exactly, exactly. You know I just be talking shit, trying to make people mad, know what I’m sayin’?

ISM: Are alot of your comments on your releases just to make people mad?

AOS: Yeah, just to fuck with people. I write nasty letters to people on email, just to get people’s reaction. You know? I don’t mean it, but fuck em, if they get mad, fuck em, I don’t care.

ISM: So when you’re going to work on a track, what are you looking for initially? A mood, an atmosphere, what?

AOS: I mean, people don’t understand, I just put anything together, just make sure it’s got a good mixdown. I don’t go with the same type shit. I just try anything.

ISM: How long do you usually spend on a track?

AOS: I spend a couple minutes and don’t even fuck with it no more. I went to the studio when I was in Berlin a couple weeks ago, I was in the studio for like 4 hours. I ain’t never done no shit like that before.

ISM: Working on just one track?

AOS: Yeah, just one track. I had an engineer too, which I didn’t like. I mean, i like the engineer, I just do all that shit myself. I kinda wanted to go to a studio where there’s alot of shit I don’t have, but I had all the shit they had. And I think they was recording on Cubase or some shit.

ISM: What do you usually record to?

AOS: To minidisc. Trackboard to minidisc.

ISM: How big of a mixing board do you use?

AOS: It’s a 12 track.

ISM: I like how you used the Motown sample (The Supremes “Come See About Me”) on “Day”…

AOS: Alot of people don’t like that song, neither. People in dance music, the only music they like is 70’s and 80’s. They don’t like shit from the 60’s or 50’s. I think I’m the only person in the world in dance music who likes that shit.

ISM: So what upcoming releases do you have in the works?

AOS: I’m doing another Side-Trakx, Vol 2. I’m working on that right now. I have four tracks done, I’m gonna make probably two more.

ISM: I liked the first Side-Trakx, your hip-hop stuff is nice. Have you thought about working with any MC’s?

AOS: Yeah I worked with Jay Dee’s brother, Earl Yancey. I never released the shit. The “Turn-And-Walk-Away” track (from Side-Trakx Volume #1), I did that for him. It just wasn’t the right time, I just put the instrumental shit out.

ISM: Did your Side-Trakx release sell as well as your dance records?

AOS: No, nobody wanted to buy that record off of me. I couldn’t give that record away at first. I only sold like 600 copies of that record.

ISM: How many copies do you usually sell of a release?

AOS: I don’t sell shit but like 1000-1500 records. Some people sell 5000 records, I’m not saying their names. Trust me, I see them in Archer, trust me.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Blind Date

If you haven't yet heard Heartbreak, I urge you to. They are an Italo band based in London who make wonderfully nostalgic electronic tunes that are equal part boogie woogie, equal part melancholic yearning. A few months back they were asked to record a Resident Advisor podcast and the results were great. The podcast itself received some negative comments from the standard RA min-tech-heads, but they are too narrow-minded to know better and I didn't see them complaining when RA was only plugging prog-house. Anyway, this was by far THE standout track from the mix. Blind Date were a German synth/funk/pop band from the late 1980's, based in München, and I think this is as near to perfection as dammit.

"No way! I'm not going out wit your boyfriend's brother!"

Amadou et Mariam

I went to see Amadou et Mariam last night at Koko in Mornington Crescent, and what a pleasure it was. Although I found the choice of venue somewhat confusing at fist, given Koko's predilection for indie club-nights, by the end of the night it seemed like a match made in heaven. The carnivalesque atmosphere was wonderfully offset by the effusive cabaret ambience that Koko's baroque interior provides.

For this whistlestop tour of England, the eponymous blind couple gave the audience a sophisticated lesson in how to perform a 2 hour set. There was no grandstand opening; instead the set built slowly and powerfully towards its epic conclusion. Lower-tempo love ballads were juxtaposed with jumpier numbers that offered the audience a complete vision of what it is Amadou and Mariam do so well. Even with the beautifully longing 'Je Pense a Toi', the urge to dance was omnipresent, and although it arguably took the crowd longer to get going than it did those on stage, there was sheer joy etched on everyone's sweat-drenched face by the end. And what an end it was. After introducing the band, and even taking in time for the 'Tourmanager', Amadou set off with 'La Réalité', and took the crowd kicking and screaming with him. Of the two, Mariam seemed the most disgruntled - she rarely smiled or even acknowledged what was taking place in front of her, but ultimately, this deference was to her credit, for when she did finally smile, it came down like manna from heaven.

I imagine that many of the Malian music purists would take issue with the new breed of music that this couple are producing, and given the number of white faces in their band, I'm sure their sound is to a certain extent being directed for them, but one would have to be a killjoy of Malvolian proportions to deny that this is fun and exciting music. I missed the 2009 Festival Au Dessert in Essakane, Mali, and it is still very much a longterm goal of mine to make it, possibly in 2010, and on the evidence of last night, it would walk all over the offerings of a certain Mr and Ms Eavis somewhere in Somerset.

The only negative I can find is that from my perspective, it looked like the Guardian had been offering free tickets in their weekend supplement, as it was one of the most white, middle class musical happenings I have ever experienced. It would have ben nice to see some black faces in the crowd, heck even some African ones, and I don't like thinking of two artists as talented as Amadou and Mariam as a form of educated white entertainment. Nonetheless, their sound is very much rooted in the Western musical tradition, particulalry Blues and early Rock, and perhaps the demographic of the audience was testament more to a shared mucial heritage than anything else. Be that as it may, this was an excellent evening and it is good to see Africa represented in a wholly positive way for once.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

My Second Ever youtube Video Upload

J'adore cette tune. Apologies once again for the gash video. I don't know how to not make the image pulse in and out over and over again. Working on it for the next one....

Giorgio Moroder

Of all of his many great songs, 'From Here To Eternity' has to be Moroder's magnus opus. The album of the same name is also well worth checking out and includes a song with the excellently titled 'Utopia (Me Giorgio)'.

Nonetheless, Moroder made much excellent music for others, and I particularly like this 1978 track he produced for The Three Degrees called 'The Runner'.

And how could we possibly forget 'Chase', the theme tune to the excellent Midnight Express.

My First Ever youtube Video Upload

So after a morning fucking around converting imovie projects into qmov files etc, etc, I have finally managed to upload my first video onto youtube. I must begin by apologising for the dreadful video. I wanted to do the whole thing from my bed before I had even had a shower, so I chose some crap photo that was on my computer for some bizarre reason (I haven't been skiing since I was 12 and I'm pretty sure they didn't have digital cameras then) and looped it. Anyway, the impostrant thing here is the track, and not the visuals. Safe, visuals. Sorry.

As you probably know, John Dahlback is an unspeakably young tech-house producer from Sweden who produces excellent music. This is however, far and away his best song, and probably the best thing Kompakt have ever released. It was banging aroung youtube six months ago but has since been removed, so here it is again. Enjoy, and apologies once again about the video.

The Triumvirate of Wank

Get rid of Third World Debt you say Bono? How about we do the world a real favour and get rid of your SHIT band.

The only thing red hot about these guys is the all-consuming flames that will hopefully one day envelop their Tour plane.

Maybe if you combined the Red HOT Chilli Peppers with COLDplay it would be like in Maths at school when two minuses equal a plus, and they eliminate each's hoping.

Monday, 23 February 2009

The Cure And The Cause

Although this house tune was released over two years ago and you are probably most likely to hear it at your local Slug and Lettuce whilst snuggling up to a Breezer-slugging 35 year old dental receptionist from Chigwell, I still love it. It almost taps into some of the 'funky' tunes that old grime heads are now producing, but thankfully, as I think all that stuff is SERIOUSLY overrated, not quite.

Earth A Run Red

This was the first tune to get me into dubstep.

I still really like it, but I also quite like these as well.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Larry Levan

Everyone knows that the roots of all the best electronic music are gay and black right? The strand of disco that house would come to evolve out of certainly traces its roots back to clandestine parties thrown by visionaries like David Mancuso whose New York nightclub, The Loft, was arguably the first discotheque. Sure, there was Studio 54, but The Loft was notable for its open door policy, as opposed to the star-fucking tendencies of the Studio.

It wasn't until 1977 however, that disco found its true spiritual home, for it was in this year that Larry Levan, a gay, black prima donna, was offered a guest slot DJing at the newly opened Paradise Garage in Greenwich Village. What was unique about Levan was that rather than simply playing soulful disco hits, he would play less genre-specific sets, taking in room for European electronica such as Kraftwerk and Neu! without compromising on the party atmosphere. These adventurous sets went on to have a deep impact on a young Frankie Knuckles, a young New York DJ, who would famously take what he learnt from Levan with him when he relocated to Chicago to play at The Warehouse. As in the WareHOUSE. The rest as they say is history.

It was with this knowledge in mind that myself and a group of friends made our way to Jodie Harsh's night, Circus, at the Soho Revue Bar in the late autumn of last year. This is the night, we chuckled to ourselves, that we get to recreate that Paradise Garage feel, and perhaps, fingers crossed, stumble across some musical history in the making. Surely this is THE place playing the most innovative, divisive, and daring music in our capital...

Well it wasn't unless you count tinny Amy Winehouse remixes cutting edge. I was 150% ready to leave at the end of the night. Canned disco it aint. Which all goes to show, it is impossible to replicate a scene, especially one which was so much a product of its age. In 1977, AIDS was a twinkle in the disco-ball eyes of a generation of revelers, hip hop didn't exist, and The Clash had just released their debut album. The advent of the internet along with other advanced modes of communication have severed a link with the organic, hedonistic nature of the disco beast, and left us struggling to replicate an intangible past. However if you want to start, I would recommend 'Maestro', a youtube documentary that gives as good a feel as any of what it was like to be there.

Aside from that, I can also heartily recommend Journey Into Paradise: The Larry Levan Story, which gives a good insight into the music policy at The Garage.


What you gonna do when you get out of jail?
I'm gonna make a remix:

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Hawai 5.0

It's a shame this never made the cut for Tha Carter III. Joe Budden's repped.

Monday, 9 February 2009

La Factoria

I was just sixteen in the summer of 2002, a summer I spent in Colombia, and this was by far my favourite tune of that time:

Car Crash TV

The Max Power subculture is one I find really interesting. Not in a "I really want to spend my weekends in a rainy carpark outside Milton Keynes checking out the UV lighting under Daz's Citroen CV's fiberglass fender" way, more in a "why do you guys give a fuck?" sort of a way. Having said that, the 'Pimp My Ride' scene in Brazil is spectacularly fabulous. It still centres around (predominantly) guys meeting up in car parks and whoring out their cars like €10 Reepabahn harlots, except for the fact that these car parks are in the tropics and thus 1 million times better than those in shitty invented towns in nondescript Bucks. Oh, and the fact that their cars are docking bays for the most INSANE sound systems in the entire world.

I first stumbled upon this little beauty and thought, that's quit fat, especially when the bass kicks in.

It didn't take me long though, to chance upon these absolute monsters.

The thing is, these are just the beginning. Just click on the related videos to the right of either of the above and you will see how big these bad boys get. The weird thing is though, that rather than these nuts sound systems bringing the party, it seems in reality they are the party. No one is dancing or enjoying the sonic boom that these musical mammoths of questionable mobility offer. Instead they seem to be solely transfixed by the sheer madness of it (although the music policy doesn't seem to help - some bizarre Baile Funk/Gabber hybrid apparently). I can't really say I blame them, but I do get goosebumps just thinking about the tear up you could have with a couple of those pick ups...

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Welcome Back

Poor Mase. After a five year hiatus, time spent getting ordained as a preacher, he signalled his return to hip hop with this charming little ditty:

The sample is taken from the theme tune to a US 70s TV show called 'Welcome Back Kotter', (with John Travolta in it!) about a teacher who returns to his old school in order to try and impose some order on the new generation of delinquent hoodlums.

The problem for Mase is that he chose to sample a hook that had already been sampled, in my opinion more successfully, by Onyx in the 90s for their standout track, 'Slam Harder'.

I'm not sure if Onyx's choice of sample had anything to do with the subject matter of 'Welcome Back Kotter'; in their video it looks likes the sweet animated dudes and dudettes from Disney's Recess have been re-animated, 'Enchanted-style', and force-fed a strict diet of crack and crystal meth, pausing only to wash it all down with lashings of purple drank and donut the playground. So where does this leave Mase? Well, in short, thoroughly un-gangster. It certainly doesn't help having Sean Combs bigging you up half-way through the tune on a soap box in Times Square. Shit, even the 'Streetdogs' from 'Welcome Back Kotty' would turn their noses up at his LAME ghetto posturing. On the plus side, it is a nice sample, and I guess Mase had been out the game for a while at this point. Perhaps a case of if it aint broke? Oh, and I should say that I do quite dig his proto-Kanye get up, especially those boxfresh Force Ones at 0.25 seconds.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

The Thick Of It

I finished Armando Ianucci's brilliant political satire 'The Thick Of It' on Monday - I know, how cutting edge am I, it came out in 2005! - in expectation of the Sundance smash, 'In The Loop'. Having missed it on BBC4, the first thing that sprang to mind when approaching it was Chris Langham's imprisonment for possession of indecent images of children. Its odd, because watching it now, four years after it first screened, one struggles to rid this unsavory fact from one's mind. Langham's performance as the essentially well-meaning, but totally inept Minister, Hugh Abbot is really really good. You may ask yourself how Abbot managed to get so deep into the corridors of power, but you can't help but be complicit in his befuddlement at what exactly one is supposed to do once there. What strikes you however, is that this seems to be a bizarre case of art almost mirroring life. Hugh Abbot fits the demographic perfectly for a paedophile, and in a macabre twist, only evident if you are watching the show 4 years too late like myself, it seems that the part has been written retrospectively for Langham - ie. Ianucci knew about his predilection for little kids and has encrypted hidden messages into the show that point towards this unpleasant truth. The use of 'nonce' abounds, and was it just me, or was Abbot's concern for Glenn Cullen's special needs son (especially when coupled with his essentially uncomic spin - "Inclusion is not illusion") bordering on the insipid? Or what about when he writes to, a special needs child named after Glenn Close, calling her a cunt?

It's a shame really because Langham was superb. As was the rest of the cast. Peter Capaldi (why are there so many Glaswegian Iti's - Capaldi, Ianucci, Federico from Big Brother 4?) will of course get the most plaudits for his rambunctious performance as a thinly-veiled Lord Mandelson - although I thought he was truly amazing as Charles I in 'The Devil's Whore' - but I also thought Chris Addison was great as Ollie Reeder, Abbot's equally inept Junior Advisor.

The show does at times feel like 'The Office' meets 'Yes Minister', thanks to the use of shaky hand-held camera to give that fly on the wall feel, but I felt the acting more than made up for accusations of being derivative. I'm sure politics works nothing like it appears to work on this show, but the show is successful in at least making us believe that is a passable approximation to it, closer to the reality than one would hope for. Likewise, for a programme that the makers claim is 80% scripted and 20 % improvised, there sure are a lot of quotable lines. Unfortunately I can't think of a single one right now, so maybe that's bullshit.

However, my favourite thing about the show is something Ianucci mentions in an interview with Uncut:

UNCUT:' Could you tell me about your "swearing consultant"?'
IANUCCI: 'That's not his only job, but he's sort of become that. He's a guy called Ian Martin. It's become traditional that when we've sort of finalised the script, which he contributes to anyway, I send it to him in Lancaster and he sends it back and it's got all this baroque swearing in it. "Hurricane of piss" and all that - that's Ian, so he's become known as our swearing consultant.'

I tell you, I want that fucking job so fucking much...

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Young Folks Pussy

Maybe it makes me the world's biggest knob, but I actually quite enjoyed Peter, Bjorn and John's 'Young Folks'. There was something quite basic and catchy about the whistling, which somehow made up for the otherwise bum out coffee-table ambience. Another love of mine is songs with highly explicit lyrics about fornicating, especially when mooted by hot'n'sweaty ghetto trollops. No surprise I love this:

And this.

Oh, and this.

And definitely this.

That's why this new Diplo tune tickles me. It's as if that coffee-table mentioned above was strewn with mountains of coke, a couple of well-worn sex toys, a quart of Spanish Fly, and all 3 different types of Alizé. I'm sure you will agree, quite a party.

Transfer Deadline Day

Given the fact that most of the South East looked like downtown Vladivostok yesterday, the people over at Sky Sports News couldn't have been happier. With most people calling their bosses at work to tell them there was no possible way they could make it in, this special day in the British footballing calendar received far healthier viewing figures than it normally would, especially as SSN is readily available to those with a Freeview box.

I love transfer deadline day. For me it usually begins by logging onto The Guardian's Minute-By-Minute update, as I feel it has better writing than the BBC's 606 blog - just check out some of the old Rumour Mill archives if you don't believe me. From here, it basically boils down to clicking refresh on my Firefox window every couple of minutes, and watching the wildly imaginative, unbelievable, and even farcical rumours roll in. "Kaka spotted in the Craven Cottage carpark" texts Steve in Parsons Green, "belle du jour Luke Chadwick spotted shaking hands with David Gill at Carrington complex" from mANu4eVa; you get the picture.

This year however, what with 'being snowed in', I had the pleasure of spending the afternoon with the Sky Sports News team (including ex-Blue Peter presenter Simon Thomas).

The real star of the show though, is not our boy Simon, but instead, ANDY BURTON. I can't get a photo of this dude anywhere on the internet, but let me tell you - he is amazing. The first thing you will notice (and he first grabbed my attention at the end of the Summer Transfer Deadline Day - you remember, Dimi shaking hands with Sir Alex, and Robinho heading to Man City at the last minute, and claiming in a press conference he was very happy to be signing for Chelsea!) is that he has about three or four Blackberries on the go at once. Actually I lie. He has a couple of Blackberries and then a normal phone. It is from the normal phone that he receives personal calls, LIVE ON AIR, from his bevvy of in-the-know insiders - agents, facilitators, and other purveyors of fine bungs. His face lights up each time he receives a new text, allegedly from someone super important, and he literally gurgles with excitement. If he wasn't quite so charming, he would probably be the most annoying person in the world. But anyway, thanks a lot Sky Sports News. I thought you did a great job yesterday as at the end of last summer, and with Andy Burton, I think you made the signing of the season.

PS. You might want to know, our boy Andy (who used to present a show with Andy Goldstein (pictured above) - fuck me that's a heavyweight pairing) has become a bit of an internet sensation, and his Wikipedia page was vandalised yesterday. Shame on you faceless cowards.