The Heathers Question

Okay, one of the best films of all time is “Heathers” (FACT!)
And because I put the word fact in capitals in brackets after makes it indisputable.
In “Heathers”, the horrific clique of girls would do their awful polls at lunchtime, which for some reason just sprung into my head – and has made me want to ask a similarly styled question…
So, my question to you all is this: 
Aliens land, and threaten to blow up the planet, unless you can convince them that Earth is worth saving by showing them one piece of art (a song, a painting, a poem, a 7″ record, a pottery, whatever) that they can take away for further consideration – WHAT DO YOU GIVE THEM? 

Corn on the cob

An alternative to popcorn… sweet things on the Romanian Black sea coast include Papanasi, sort of a whipped cream filled, semolina bun topped with cherry jam, and very large, juicy Bulgarian peaches. Add yoghurt and coffee, stretch yourself out on the sand…

This week’s soundtrack has some tenous connections to the sweet food theme:
Herbie Hancock’s original recording of Cantaloupe Island, for anyone wondering where US3 pinched it from.
Mongo Santamarias version of Hancock’s Watermelon man, from the Out of Sight soundtrack.
The wonderful Gingerbread boy. The Miles Davis quintet fooling around.

I posted a Youtube clip of Lime in da coconut on RR. Two further tracks off the Cobblestone Jazz album 23 Seconds, a Canadian dance-techno-jazz combo with a knack for irresistible beats- the title track, and Saturday night.

Lastly, in the separate podbean package, Quincy Jones’ version of A taste of honey. Roland Kirk on saxophone.

Player removed.

Oh how strange to be anything at all

Of the 22 votes cast in the Spill Poll, fourteen folk had never heard of “In The Aeroplane Over The Sea” – and seven declared it hands down one of the best albums ever.  
Personally I view it as a staggeringly beautiful work of heart-breaking genius, something intangible and impossible to describe, so I’m here’s a summation from Pitchfork’s top 100 albums of the 90s list, where this was number four (ok computer, loveless, and the soft bulletin occupy the three spaces above, which speaks volumes);

“There are very few albums that resist categorization quite so effortlessly as In the Aeroplane Over the Sea. For forty staggering minutes, Jeff Mangum short-circuits all conventional modes of expression, forging a private language that is endlessly intriguing and haunting in the truest sense of the word. Mangum sings as if possessed, painfully conveying fractured and moving tales with the imagistic skill of a brilliant novelist. He gnashes his teeth at the fabric of time, then wraps himself in it like a blanket, channeling the violence of his personal past through a claustrophobic frustration with his dejected present. His band, whose contributions to Aeroplaneremain criminally underappreciated, elevate Mangum’s songs from chilling sketches into vibrant opuses, fully realizing the antique otherworldliness of Mangum’s storytelling.

Opening with the achingly gorgeous nostalgia of “The King of Carrot Flowers Pt. 1″,Aeroplane immediately plays upon a potent conflation of cultural and personal past. The world of Aeroplane is haunted by Anne Frank– the specter of childhood’s unimpeachable innocence amidst the unfathomable horror of the holocaust. In the feverish “Oh Comely”, Mangum longs to save her in “some sort of time machine.” By “Two-Headed Boy Pt. 2″, the album’s indelible and heartbreaking closing track, he seems to have resigned himself to loving a ghost, singing with a thoroughly unnerving blend of heartbreak and exhaustion: “In my dreams you’re alive, and you’re crying/ As your mouth moves in mine, soft and sweet.” The way people have been affected byAeroplane is ample proof of its power and uniqueness. Like all classic art, it is widely misunderstood; yet to some, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea has become a riddle the likes of The Wasteland– an impossibly rich text that begs to be deciphered, yet continually evades any singular interpretation.”


It took me years to click with Neutral Milk Hotel, as Jeff Mangum’s voice can sound awful in passing, but when it did click – my god! It was like like the clouds parted and angels in party hats slid down a huge slide from the heavens, made out of rainbows and joy. 

I’m also finding it hard to choose a song to post, as there’s no official youtubes for any of them – so I’ve gone for the simple option:

This one fits under my ongoing heading "JUST A THOUGHT"

What with this book business and all would it be a good idea to have an open post here where random thoughts and ideas might be collected. A couple occur to me, This party/event definitely needs to be documented, both photos and video, huge potential for after the fact creative editing etc.
I’ve always HATED nametags at social functions, we always started off by exchanging them with the most unlikely person present, but here, given the nom de plume business, I think a case could be made. We’d all like to see what lurks behind those shields and we are family after all.

Talking of those USB-turntable type thingies…

… I got one for Christmas and I’ve begun the long slow process of converting my LPs, 12″ and 7″ singles into mp3s – twenty or so down, a thousand or so to go!

I suspect there are other ‘spillers out there who are undergoing or have already undergone the same process and no doubt, like me, you’ll have come across a huge pile of dross up in the attic. But in amongst it all there are some long-forgotten gems. I thought it might make an interesting diversion from mental illness to share a few of these here. I’ll start the ball rolling with a few of my own favourite recent rediscoveries:

Therese by The Bodines (single)
Texas Fever by Orange Juice
Crooked Mile and 39 Minutes by Microdisney
Volume, Control, Brilliance by the Monochrome Set
Signing Off by UB40

So what have you found in your attics?


There was a question here this week from Steenbeck re. how to digitise tapes, I think it was Mnemonic who suggested the ongoing item that’s advertised in the G. [which I seem to recall costs 100 quid plus] There’s a very simple and free way to do it, if you’re a Mac user which I know she is. I’ve mentioned the free version of Wiretap, install that on your desktop, with a stereo miniplug to miniplug cable connect your cassette deck to your computer at the ‘line in’ port on the back, go to the Apple icon, top left, open ‘System Preferences’ and click on the ‘Sound’ icon. A window will open that has 3 options, sound effects, output and input, choose input. You have 3 more options, line in, digital in, USB, choose line in. Start your cassette and adjust the input volume and when it’s set click record on the Wiretap and that’s all there is to it; I’ll be doing some today. You can also input your turntable or minidisc deck or whatever, it’ll work. The one thing to remember is that if you can hear it on your computer, then Wiretap can record it.
One detail: Wiretap has 3 small windows on the front, click the centre one, that opens ‘Preferences’, You’ll see ‘Format’ which will let you select which format to record in, I suggest MP3, but read the specs of the others, if you’re recording for CD you’ll probably want AIFF.
For PC users there are desktop recorders available, I’m not familiar with them but the procedure would be identical to the foregoing

Looney Tunes

The Brian Jonestown Massacre are one of my favourite bands. 

Their frontman Anton Newcombe is notoriously unstable, and if anyone’s seen the documentary “Dig!” about him and The Dandy Warhols, they’ll know what I’m talking about. Anton does indeed have “Kangeroos In The Top Paddock” and once released an album called “Thank God For Mental Illness”. 
Here’s a clip from “Dig!” where Anton f*cks up an gig that was supposed to get him a huge record contract. Amazing stuff, especially the quote at the end “They broke my sitar, motherf*cker”

Anton is a very prolific musician, and the “Tepid Peppermint Wonderland” compilations are a good place to start. 
He also gives all his albums away free on his website, here. 
If you haven’t seen “Dig!” – I would recommend it as one of the best rock n roll movies ever. 

I hate Poppy.

Last night I went to see the new Mike Leigh, showing as part of the Dublin International Film Festival. Mr. Leigh and Ms. Hawkins were in attendance, and Mr. Leigh was his usual hilarious gnome of a self. However, after 30 seconds, I knew I would dislike the main character, and with only 117 minutes to go too. I’ve ranted to various friends in the past 24 hours, but I’m not finished. If you’re looking forward to it, don’t mind me. Otherwise . . . gaaaahhhh!!!!