No more than seven years behind the times

Musical Revelations Of The Week:

Paul Weller – ‘Heliocentric‘ – Yup, finger on the pulse of yoof music, once again. As I said a week ago, I’ve finally picked up the two Weller solo albums that were missing from my collection, this one and ‘Heavy Soul.’ I won’t go over the reasons for the delay again, but suffice to say I’ve been proved wrong. Somebody I work with is absolutely obsessive about Weller and recently attempted to persuade me that this album was far better than critics judged it on release. I allowed him to blather on for a little while, before dismissing such fanciful notions with but a waft of my eyelashes. However, I think he might actually be right. I’ve been playing it quite a lot this week – that and ‘Lady’s Bridge‘ – and it’s really starting to win me over. It’s not so much individual songs that stand out, but the overall mood that it creates. It’s soulful, it’s got that earthy-rock sound that has more than a little blues in there and his singing is marvellous. There is, however, one tune that does stand out, and that’s the closer, ‘Love-less.’ One of Weller’s heart-breaking, piano-led ballads that just floors me. A delight, not to mention a surprise. The spiffing chap himself was in the Sunday Times magazine today which I happened upon as a result of switching from the Sindy as a result of the free World Cup guide. I’m such an oval-ball whore. That seems so much worse written down than it did in my head.
Booker T. & The MGs – Picked up the ‘Stax Profiles‘ CD from Fopp the other day because a) it was £4 b) it’s compiled by Elvis Costello. I’ve always been quite fond of BT&MGs, but the ‘Complete Stax/Volt Singles‘ and their ‘Green Onions‘ album had always seemed to suffice. This album was something of a revelation and Costello must take some of the credit for his wonderfully enthusiastic sleevenotes. Sitting between the speakers and giving it my full attention I realised that I’d done this lot a disservice in the past. Don’t just judge them on ‘Green Onions‘ and don’t write them of as background music. At this price, you can just buy it rather than have me try and capture the raw power of these tracks on a blog on a rainy Sunday afternoon.
Super Furry Animals – ‘Hey Venus!‘ – I was convinced that, having waited an extra week for it, the vinyl edition was going to be a shit pressing that sounded like somebody was eating a bag of salt and vinegar throughout, but no, the LP of this quite marvellous record sounds ace. In addition to that, you’ve really got to get it just to see that artwork in its 12″x12″ glory.
Non-musical Revelations Of The Week:
The Smoking Room – Got series two on DVD this week and it reignited my love affair with this programme. The laws of the land ensure that a third series would be highly improbable, but that doesn’t stop the two that exist being laugh-out-loud funny throughout. A beautifully observed bunch of regular characters reaching into double figures spend each episode doing little more than talking. This would be shit, but for the perfectly crafted dialogue and the meticulous performances from the cast. Video samples from here.
The Likely Lads – It’s my firmly-held belief that ‘Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads?’ is one of the all time great comedy shows but I’d never got round to buying the DVD of the surviving episodes of the original, black and white series from the sixties. The Beeb, back in the days before archive material was the never-ending source of money, had wiped a great deal of legendary material – Pete and Dud and Dad’s Army suffered similarly cruel fates, but these seven episodes remain. They’re bloody funny. To be fair, it’s the later episodes that stand up the most, but still, I remain hugely jealous of Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, writers of not only this, but the follow-up series and another of the greatest shows of all time, Porridge and its follow-up, Going Straight. The Likely Lads owes a great deal of its entertainment value to the performances of Rodney Bewes and James Bolam who are superb throughout. Their entirely believeable relationship adds a dramatic elements to events, as well ensuring that every gag is milked to its full potential. Wonderful stuff, and currently going rather cheap. (You can get the surviving episodes of this series, plus both series of ‘WHTTLL?’ in a box for £17.99 here)
Gideon Coe on 6music moving – I was rather dismayed to learn that one of the most under-rated presenters on British radio is being moved from his morning slot to the equivalent show at the other end of the day. From 22nd October, Gid will be hosting 10pm-1am, while shouty E4 tyke, George Lamb will do a straight swap into the mid-morning show. Is it a genius move to provide music lovers with an excellent late night listening experience now that Radcliffe’s been moved up the schedule or is it yet more dumbing down of 6music to the point that intelligent presenters can no longer be heard during daylight hours?
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One thought on “No more than seven years behind the times

  1. sfa as always fantastic – enjoyed their televised set at glastonbury and saw them at the point and the hay fest last yr.will have to try to get hold of the booker t album.any more word about the reformed young marble giants?saw them at the hay fest and seemed as good as always,really hope signing to domino is a continuation rather than a full stop.
    steve in monmouth

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