Monday, 20 September 2010

Slipped, Tripped And Fell...

I'm not a big fan of You Choob videos which are just a crappy gif animation of various photos and record sleeves, but I suspect that's how my blog posts are going to come across for a short while as I'm having to downscale. Why, you ask, why no lengthy posts of self-centred drivel? Well, it's not because I've seen the light and realised that I need to self-edit even more, and I'm not quite over-drawn at the crap metaphor bank yet. The simple reason is that I'm having to go 'Old Skool' and drop the touch-typing for a while. It's a major blow because I now think in touch-typing; I think something and like magic it immediately appears on the screen. Well, not immediately immediately, but compared to how slow I'm typing this blog post it may as well be at the speed of light.

And all because I ran for a stationary bus at the end of a lovely night out spent eating curry with people from an internet forum that I had walked away from a couple of years ago because the people on the forum were getting on my tits. Ran across a rain-soaked Lever Street in case it was about to leave*, then slipped, tripped and fell in the road. Ouch. I'm pretty sure I bounced. I was definitely sure right there and then that I'd dislocated my left shoulder as I reached out, on the deck, with my right hand and found a protuberance that wasn't usually there. Luckily for me a conscientious young couple saw what happened and got me sorted with an ambulance and a night on The Morphine. So many thanks to them, even though they will never read this (unless my life has more coincidental meetings than a Thomas Hardy novel).

So that's why I'm sitting here, arm in crap foam sling, having to look at the keyboard as I type. Slow as fuck. The magic gone

*For the record, it left several minutes later. I'm never going to run for a bus ever again.

Monday, 13 September 2010

When Harpo played her harp.

cycm_rad11, originally uploaded by Course You Can Malcolm. Thanks to Russ.
It feels trite and slightly pretentious to post the lyrics to a song in response to an artistic experience but fuck it, you only live once and it's Jonathan Richman and he's never been one to compromise.

Saturday, Course You Can Malcolm, pre-match at Gigg Lane. You all know the drill by now. I've banged on about it enough; pre-match gig, bottled Holt's, earnest but dull band banging away with only their backline for amplification, tater hash, the sound of men. Always the sound of men. Except it all got swept away this weekend in a tide of female quietness; a wash of calm. To explain; the generic sound of Course You Can Malcolm is that 'rarrgh!' you hear when you open a pub door and everybody is trying to be heard over everybody else. A male chaos that overwhelms and blurts out to the world outside that it's over-warm, dark and smells of farts in here. Come in if you dare.

It threatened to overwhelm Rebecca Joy Sharp, Harpo and her harp, but a hand on the shoulder and a couple of quiet words calmed things, only the crash from the odd empty bottle of Thunderholt hitting the recycling bin momentarily broke the spell. Hand on the shoulder and a couple of quiet words stood at the entrance at the top of the stairs and made sure that anybody coming in was aware that the sound of men was on hold for twenty-two minutes.

She started with an instrumental and you could have heard a pin drop. It was a humbling, sobering experience. Okay, I'd had a couple of bottles of beer and the tendency for sentiment had been awakened, but it was a moving experience to hear such a fragile, beautiful sound in the beige-bricked corner of a football ground. She was, she said, determined to hold to the twenty-two minutes (a requirement for Course You Can Malcolm's main acts - one minute for each player on the pitch) as she'd never done that before, so she pre-ambled before starting her first song proper, on which she revealed her 'schtick', the delivery of meandering spoken-word lyrics in a gentle Glasgow accent. It was all very Belle and Sebastian, so when that band were name-dropped in the first song it all fell into place.

Twenty-two minutes was perfect. I have a very short attention-span and have, on many occasions, advocated half-an-hour as the ideal set length for any band. Context was also all; anywhere else and hand on the shoulder and a couple of quiet words wouldn't have happened and the drip, drip of conversation would have, inevitably, intruded.

Well when Harpo played his harp, it was a mystery
All the laughing stopped back to the balcony
Chico, Chico, sure to please
Now let's watch him shoot the keys
When Harpo would play his harp, all was still

When Harpo played his harp, it was a dream, it was
Well if someone else can do it, how come nobody does?
Groucho, Groucho, fast as light
Some talk like him but not quite
When Harpo would play his harp, all was still, still

Well Harpo Harpo
This is the angels and
where did you get that sound so fine?
Harpo Harpo
We gotta hear it
One more time

Harpo Harpo
We're in the galaxies and
where did you get that sound so fine?
Harpo Harpo
We gotta hear it
One more time

Do you remember what he would do sometimes before he played?
Well he'd look up to the sky and he'd look the angels' way
Harpo Harpo, when you start
Tears of joy inside my heart
Harpo would play his harp and all was still.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

T H E E M I D N I T E R S - Love Special Delivery

Why did nobody tell me about this band? You have all failed me. Friends. Media. Ears. Failed. All of you.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get.

"Lead singer and quarterback from Sal Ford, Alan Clarke". A typical sound of my 60s/70s childhood was my parents shouting SALFORD! SALFORD! at the Finlandia when some BBC type had, yet again, mispronounced it. Not Sal Ford. Out of context and as part of an early 60s Hollies clip it sounds slightly exotic, but it's still weird the way the American fella deals with Blackpool, Nelson and Burnley but struggles with Salford. SALFORD! SALFORD! SALFORD!

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

You Can't Get Good Riblets In Space.

For once, atmospherics and astronomy have combined well in Manchester. The past two nights have seen clear skies for the night-time passing of The International Space Station which currently houses three Russian and three American astronauts. For these passings it has appeared in the southern sky, moving from west to east at quite a pace. Altogether it takes about three minutes to cross the night sky and is highly visible with the naked eye. Here's a picture I took of it using the 'night-time' slow-exposure setting on my digital camera. It's clear, but wobbly. Next time I'll use a tripod.

For information when to see it next, try Heavens Above, or follow @jodrellbank on Twitter for more locally-focussed knowledge.