Saturday, July 29, 2006

Songs for children

Some tracks for my kids,

one they love

from Various - The In-Kraut 66-74 Hip Shaking Grooves Made In Germany 1964-1974

one i want them to love

from Curious George (OST)

and one home town track

from Inside In, Inside Out

Blog Outer Court

Click_survey_1 Click on the image to take
blog.outer.court's fascinating click survey.

Thanks to WFMU

Slightly less interesting is this second similar study

More obscure internet analysis here:

And their googlizing here

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Four things for an eighth

Whoever said bad things come in threes lied. They come in fours, possibly even fives and sixes. They overtake you, and take you over. They're bad.

What a couple of weeks. [1] Our gas boiler was condemned, and needed to be replaced (big spend). [2] We had a wonderful kitchen flood requiring an emergency plumber (don't you hate feeling dependent on these bloodsucking "experts"?). [3] My computer broke, and the guy who fixed it managed to lose half the files (so I've cancelled his cheque). [4] And now our washing machine's died....

There were probably some good things last week, but to be honest, I can't remember them...

Anyway, to celebrate the imminent eighth month which can only be better, and drawing on the majestic failure to mend my computer and the consequent loss of all my downloaded music that began with those letters that follow the letter N, I've decided to share 4 tracks by bands beginning with the eighth letter of the alphabet, H. For no apparent reason, except they're still there...

House of Love - Destroy the heart

Handsome Family - Drunk by noon

Harry Nillson - Everybody's talkin'

Haley Bonar - Save a horse, ride a cowboy

Friday, July 14, 2006

Art magazines

Whenever I'm in London I invariably have to be somewhere in the west end, rather than hang out in the cool places like Berwick Street or Camden Town. Most of it's unbearable, but I do love the Borders on Oxford street. Hate Oxford street, way too crowded and full of rubbish shops - so Borders is a sort of oasis. There's a cafe up top, but to be honest I rarely venture beyond the ground floor as that's where their magazine racks are located and I love browsing.

Music magazines seem to have lost their way at the moment - they haven't really worked out how to report the new, with passion but rigour, and to reflect on the old with innovation. Too many people write about music, but few know how to let the music speak, perhaps because so few musicians are really able to reflect on their art with any real insight. Drummers? Second only to football players for insightful social commentary...

Art magazines on the other hand seem to be going through a temporary renaissance. Bizarrely, an awful lot of art these days strikes me as meandering masturbation, but - surprise o surprise - artists can actually write; and generally, being intelligent folk, they also have a lot to say for themselves. Interviews with artists usually make good copy - and good art, makes for a delightful magazine; add to that some cutting edge magazine design and beautiful print, and you have a recipe for something worth buying.

And Tracey Emin's column in the Independent on Fridays! Who'd have thought - but the girl writes better than she draws, and she is charming, intelligent and endlessly fascinating - despite most of her columns being about her life, or rather her life on the floor following a night on the tiles (well, it is subtitled My Life in a Column). It's damn fun tho! Tracey Emin - my new found literary friend. Who'd have thought?

Anyway, I was browsing Borders today and homed in on the art and design magazines, of which there were many. The only problem with art magazines is they assume their readership works for big design and PR companies with corporate account cards to spend on frippery - e.g. they are so over-priced. Nicely put together, and probably worth it (they are never more than the price of a CD!) they are still more than us humble folk can afford, and not things you tend to scoop up to buy en masse, although today I wanted to.

Here's some of the best from today's visit:

  • Eye magazine - the international review of graphic design £15.99
  • Foxy Dreamy, Yes Indeedy - not really an art mag, but a cartoon film of various hand-sewn teddies and sock monkeys. Only for adults who can "indulge in make-believe" - although, I'm one, and I have no idea what this is about, it jurst lookd pritty! Yours for £10
  • 3x3 magazine - devoted entirely to the art of contemporary illustration, published three times a year. Quite beautiful - and so good, they even publish their own Illustration Annual. Affordable in the USA, but from the UK even the student subs are $53 for three issues.
  • .cent magazine - a quarterly magazine celebrating creativity in all its forms, with a guest editor each issue which should keep things lively. Not just art - covers fashion and film too

And two I actually bought today:

  • Modart Europe - "creative action = active creation" - only £3.50 (6 issue subscription £20 or 30 Euros), and you can download the previous issue in low resolution for free from
  • Art Review - actually an old well-established mag, but in its latest issue completely reborn and looking very modern and sexy as a result. Very promising, and only £4.80 (but a subscription is a bargain £38 for 12 monthly issues). Will be interesting to see if they can maintain the quality and the imagination - hopefully its a diverse team, not a one man band, but looks promising - I especially liked the interviews, allowing artists to speak for themselves (as of course they do in volumes through the exquisite illustrations too).

Thursday, July 13, 2006

We loved Syd

Syd Barrett died yesterday, from complications related to diabetes. Sad to see a good friend go (not that I knew him, but when you're intimate with someone's music of course you feel that you do).

The early Pink Floyd were really something quite remarkable and that was clearly down to Syd's leadership. Equally extraordinary was the way in which Syd opted out of that whole rockstar life - possibly out of bravery, perhaps through fear of failure, or maybe it was just a drug-induced burn out - who knows?

Seems like some people burn out and fade away.

My favourite Syd (and Floyd) track has just been posted by Timedoor

tho' am amazed no-one's posted Shine On You Crazy Diamond yet!