Monday, May 31, 2010

Anne Lister tonight on BBC2

still from The Secret Diaries of Anne ListerSo, for all those who have been waiting since the LLGFF for this (and I have had visitors from Taiwan and South Korea checking in), The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister airs tonight on BBC2 at 21:00 BST. Starring Maxine Peake and Anna Madeley, it tells the story of 19th century Yorkshire industrialist Anne Lister and her lesbian love affairs, which she wrote about in code in her diary.

Also of interest is a doc on Anne Lister, her home at Shibden Hall and the de-coding of the diary, which airs immediately after the drama at 22:30. (Thanks to Tony for alerting me.) For those not in the viewing area (or without TVs), these programmes should also be on the BBC i-player for seven days afterward.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Sunday, May 30, 2010

One mystery solved....

Over the last few weeks I have been branching out my radio listening to encompass Absolute and its spinoff '80s-only station. Apart from hearing far too much White Snake (well, any White Snake is far too much), I have been puzzled by the heavy airplay for Fyfe Dangerfield's insipid cover of "She's Always a Woman". Why the heck would anyone cover that slice of tripe? I wondered. And why is anyone playing it? Have only just realised it's the soundtrack to a John Lewis ad. Not owning a TV, I had no idea. It's still crap, though.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Creatures of the Night

Wow! Where did that come from? London has seen some absolutely gorgeous weather over the last few days, or more specifically, nights. Where previously, the sun rather apologetically disappeared behind some clouds, now it holds out long into the evenings and then bows out gracefully, leaving behind balmy temperatures, a brilliant moon and a rather fetching shade of (gropes for colour wheel).... cornflower? Glaucous? Well, uncharacteristically colourful for night time.

This brings out strange, excitable behaviour in Londonders who have spent the lengthy winter huddling indoors. Peering blearily out of a bus late on Thursday after my goth show, I saw hordes of night owls spilling out of bars and clubs and cafes onto the pavement for al fresco socialising. And not just the smokers! The sky above the Thames was dotted with lights and I thought: What a beautiful city I live in. Sometimes one needs a reminder.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Twisting, Turning and Doubling Back

Well, what a strange week it's been--first The Clamerons merge their blue and yellow (but not green) forces (4 women out of 29 cabinet posts--so generous!) and then The Ash Cloud decides to pay a return visit to Blighty. Mmm.

Of more relevance to this parish is the double whammy in London this Thursday, the 20th, when The Raincoats take their turn as Don't Look Back artistes by performing their 1979 self-titled debut in full at The Scala.

Also, kicking off that night is Mother Festival, featuring an off-kilter bill including Wet Dog, Normal Love (ex-Rhythm King and Her Friends) and Molly Nilsson.

Sadly, I will miss both, as I am on air that night doing my radio show, which will feature a GOTH special of suitably scary and black-clad ladies. Grrr. And, indeed, Brrr.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Pack A.D.

Currently on tour in Europe and due to play two shows on 14 May in London and Brighton, the Vancouver rock duo The Pack A.D. are busy, busy supporting the release of third album We Kill Computers, a curious record the press notes insist is a move away from blues, but which I find is positively steeped in the stuff.

The sound, as with the album title, is strictly analogue and should sound awesome live, whereas on record it sounds a bit stodgy. The band were determined to reproduce their live sound in the studio, which leads me to ask: why? Surely, if you want a live record, you set up some mics at a venue and record the show. I don't understand this reverence for the "live sound" on record. Why not make use of the studio to add to the sound? Live is live and recorded is recorded.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Jasmina Maschina

Jasmina Maschina at Wilmington Arms; photo: Val Phoenix5 May
Wilmington Arms

The mean streets of Clerkenwell formed the backdrop for a visit by electroacoustic act Jasmina Maschina, the Berlin-based artiste swopping one grey metropolis for another (we had sun last week, honest). Slipping on-stage and shedding her shoes, the Australian expat fixed her gaze on her Mac, started strumming her guitar and began the gig as unassumedly as she continued. Bobbing her head gently, she sampled herself, allowing the computer to take large portions of the pieces, adding her soft vocals and delicate guitar patterns to the mix. It was a performance of understated intensity, if that's not a paradox.

Some of the pieces, such as "Ausland" and "City Fever", were taken from the new City Splits #1: Berlin record, featuring two artists from one city (the other half, Golden Disko Ship, visits the UK in June). One song, "Lisa's Opening", is, as yet, unrecorded.

This Maschina was slightly under-powered, as she acknowledged, owing to a bout of food poisoning, but she played very much within herself, barely acknowledging the audience. I was reminded of Kurt Cobain's description of listening to The Raincoats, as if he were hidden in the attic, eavesdropping on them and afraid of being discovered, lest it break the mood. At the end of her seven songs/tone poems, Jasmina Maschina thanked the audience and slipped her shoes back on. And I shuffled out onto the streets of Clerkenwell, feeling I'd borne witness to quite an intimate experience.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Service with a Grimace

A typical UK Bank Holiday Sunday. Rain. So much for all those plans to transplant the orgegano, paint the trim, etc.

Anyway, a wry smile creeps to my frowning lips on reading Helen McCookerybook's hilarious rant, The Kindness of Strangers, about the precarious state of the customer service ethic in the UK, something I have never quite gotten to grips with, even after 15-plus years.

We have an election this week. Oh, dear.