Friday, September 25, 2009


Released on October, 1979, this, The Undertones fifth single release, is quite possibly their best. And that's it...take it away, the boys. without end, or beginning....

The writer and academic, Frank Kermode will soon be entering his ninetieth year. Kermode has long been recognised as one of this country's most distinguished Shakespearean scholars - his body of work on the bard himself runs to several volumes; all of which employ his characteristically readable, yet authoritative style. Kermode uses the same clarity of thought and breadth of vision throughout all of his writing - whether discussing the poetry of Donne or Spenser or life and literature itself - as in his classic 1967 book,'The sense of an ending.' Frank Kermode is rare indeed in the world of contemporary letters; unique in his ability to transmute difficult concepts and ideas into something more navigable - it is this that separates him from most academicians of his generation; that, and his desire to fully embrace new ideas, new philosophies, and to embrace them as part of his celebrated new criticism.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Don't be a stranger, now..

Taichi Yamada is one of Japan's foremost writers - of fiction, scripts for television and films, and for the stage. His work has only recently gained recognition in the UK with the 2006 publication of his novel, 'Strangers.' Subsequent novels have followed: in 2007, 'In search of a distant voice,' and, one year later, 'I haven't dreamed of flying for a while.' Yamada's works concern themselves with guilt and loss; and the accompanying longing that acts as a stylised entreaty throughout all of his translated works. Japanese society, as also depicted in the work of other writers - Murakami, Nakagami, Suzuki even Mishima, is implicitly criticised, through the respective narratives and characterisations employed, for its suppressive and subjugative effects on individual will/society as a whole. The books are wonderful examples of 'kaidan;' essentially, old fashioned Japanese ghost stories - and the greater for that.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Alles Gute zum Geburtstag...

Belated birthday congratulations to Manuel Gottsching - founder member, along with Klaus Schulze and Hartmut Enke, of seminal 70's KrautSpacerock band, Ash Ra Tempel. All were former members of Eruption; along with Conrad Schnitzler - of Tangerine Dream/Kluster fame. Their music was a unique hybrid of, at first, psychedelia and, especially later, progressive/art rock. Their music does, however, transcend any attempts at pigeonholing - it is defined purely by its ability to inspire and uplift. Their earliest incarnation lasted only a few short years - Gottsching continued - using, among other names, the abbreviated 'Ashra,' and still performs and records today.

Deep distance


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Genital torture, anyone?

Forget about House and Stephen Fry's recent increasingly accomplished efforts to disconcert and discombobulate - this is the realest of deals. Fry and Laurie's late 80's/early 90's shows were things of, sometimes, often, not infrequently, quite regularly, rare beauty. This is one of their finest moments and reinforces the belief amongst fellow twatters (that's Twatters, Stephen) that their shows rank, alongside Python, as the very best of the sketch format. And also the dirtiest.

Low Life II

Public Image have recently announced their intention to reform - and, under normal circumstances, this would be cause for no small celebration. However, Lydon has chosen not to include either Keith Levene or Jah Wobble in the line-up - for reasons at time of writing that are unclear. PIL, along with fellow post punk combustabilists Magazine and The Gang of Four created a uniquely trenchant triumvirate - caustic, intelligent, above all uncompromisingly genre defying. This is why it's doubly disappointing to find that Punk's 'national treasure,' has decided to revive the Public Image name but not the rancour. Fans may just have to make do with Jah's forthcoming autobiography - due any time now.


John, it's a swindle...

Monday, September 7, 2009

when you're coolest...

There have been many oddball (ahem) musical collaborations in recent years and this is neither recent nor a collaboration. It does however feature The Residents dancing along to one of Country music's legendary frontmen, the late, great Conway Twitty - at his inimitable best. Another reason for this post is the uncanny physical resemblance Conway has to Leland Palmer - even to the extent of his choreographic gyrations...(any excuse).

Leland's dance...