If, as it seems, we’re spilling over into photos – and supradondalissimas to CaroleBristol for setting up SpillSnaps ™ ( c’mon, that’s just my little joke) at http://www.flickr.com/groups/spill and semidondasturias (that’s a smaller Catalan wave to you, dude!) to goneforeign for pasteing up his ‘Face The Camera’ shot . . . then I really think you-all should cop on (it’s Cork slang) to TheAutomaticEarth.
For many months now ilargi and stoneleigh have been ahead of the ‘economy’ game, and prefacing their stuff with the best photos of early 20th. century photo-reportage.

It was a dry wind
And it swept across the desert
And it curled into the circle of birth
And the dead sand
Falling on the children
The mothers and the fathers
And the automatic earth.

I think we have to separate the cuddly little Paul-on-stage, from the monster-slaying poet on the page.

Ilargi posted this a couple of days ago. It is Dorothea Lange’s take on poverty in the US. She was part of a talented team sent out to ‘take photos of the poor’. Ilargi posts these images, every day. Lest we forget that ‘Economics’ has a human face.

FAVORITE PHOTOS.

I’ve been doing nothing but scanning slides this week. All my life I shot everything in the Ektachrome slide format, now all I have is that dumb Canon SD400, but I have thousands of slides and a Nikon Super Coolscan 5000ED slide scanner. So I’ve been scanning mostly photos of kids but a few others somehow sneaked in, [including 2 boxes of Bob Marley concerts that I'd totally forgotten about] . As I scan ‘em I assign ‘em to folders but occasionally one or two escape and wind up lurking on the desktop; This is one such. I think of her as ‘The Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands’ I shot her in Kingston in the ’80’s, I think she’s gorgeous.
I saw her at her window, half raised my camera and gave her a ‘May I’ smile, she gave the slightest assent and I shot just one shot, wish I knew how to get it to her.
If nobody objects I might post the occasional favorite photos as they turn up.

PAUL SPOTTED!

As you may have read on the mothership, our (in)glorius leader Paul’s inspiration for this week’s topic was his journey home from Edinburgh today. I tried to guess when he’d be going past my area so I could go out to the highway and wave (an elaborate form of sucking up, hoping to increase my A list count).

And guess what!

I SPOTTED HIM entering Birkenhead’s financial district early this morning.


So it is a RED HELMET you want to be looking out for if you are heading out later today to wave and wish him well on his journey. Here’s a side view if it helps.


Happy Trails, Paul!

To the Unwary – Part 2

Note – this is still technically my First Post. I stress this because glasshalfempty, while welcoming me warmly to the community, pointed out the requirement of an accompanying photo: one of the Unwritten Rules. Suspecting such a situation would arise, I had already scanned the entire site with Adobe’s UnReader (due for release in 2010 and still in beta – but that’s another long story that has nothing to do with music and everything to do with my brother-in-law and Adobe’s security department . . . )

So – the photo was about to go into Part 1, when my computer simply Ran Out of Pixels! Unbelievable,eh? I’d forgotten to fill it up that morning!
‘Could have happened to anyone’ is the line my legal advisors (Messieurs Tourniquet et Vice of Carcassonne) urged me to take.

The Adobe Unreader, being still in development, may of course miss other elements that make up B.L.Impy’s First Law of Photogenics, itself but a tiny part of the vast body of work that is the Unwritten Overspill Rulebook ( an online tome that runs to 600 Tantrabites!). Woe betide anyone caught infracting – as infractions, I gather, could result in many hours of community service. I still have painful memories of my last days with the Philatelic blog community (StampOnIt.blogspot.com) – and some hefty physiotherapy bills, still unpaid.

On the subject of unpaid bills – here is the caption to go with my photo:
Gaston ‘Antifreeze’ Gaulloise (a nickname that I promised him I would not explain in full. Nor have I.) who is my local vigneron, has come up with a novel way for his impecunious customers to ‘pay off’ some of their drink debt. He fastens us to the back of his tractor as we manipulate the circa 1950’s weeding contraption. Furthermore, we are obliged to dress up as the Blues Brothers, and sing parts of their woeful repertoire, while appearing to be cheerfully engaged in organic vineyard work.

A Salute To Marconius7 (And Some Questions)

I love the Marconium. I don’t want to turn The ‘Spill into something too self-referential or it’ll get all Ouroborosy, but it’s fantastic, isn’t it? Not only does it represent a huge amount of dedicated work on Marconius7’s part, which really is above and beyond, but it’s so interesting to explore. I have spent so much time browsing through it. I have Dorian’s Playlists book, but the Marconium is a complete archive not just of lists, blogs and columns, but of how the simple premise for the column evolved as more and more people joined in, leading to the behemoth you see before you. It’s such fun to read earlier entries, to see friendships take shape and expand beyond the parameters of the initial idea. The latest addition, prompted by some really funny banter this week, mostly at steenbeck’s expense, is this page:

http://rrindex.com/toprecommenders2009.htm

which, if you haven’t seen it yet, sorts out A-list picks so far this year by Recommender. It added a whole new dimension for me, as a means of getting a more tangible sense of RR regulars’ breadth of musical tastes. I know some people, myself included, are bound to mention a particular act or genre as often as they think they can get away with it, so I know about those, but it’s the surprises on this page that made it such a fascinating read. I hope I’m not embarrassing anyone by mentioning them by name, but seeing, for example, The Make-Up in amongst Abahachi’s other A-Listers, Morcheeba in barbryn’s, Sugababes and Britney Spears beside Public Enemy and The Clash in gremlinfc’s picks, this gives me a much better idea of what you all like rather than just reading posts here or on The Mothership. Does anyone else agree?

Anyway, I just really wanted to thank Marconius7 for turning the whole RR experience into a tripod.

So, the other thing I was wondering about, also inspired by the aforementioned banter on the blog, and the obvious fact that steenbeck has a P.I. on retainer to give her the good stuff on 2009’s gurus (38 A-List picks!), was regarding times you may or may not have gotten on the A-list. Was there a particular A-listing you received where you just thought ‘Yes!’, in terms of being proud of it? For example, I was genuinely pleased to see LCD Soundsystem’s ‘Losing My Edge’ make it on to the Aging playlist, because, to be honest, I’m not very good at making lateral-thinking suggestions, and I felt this was a recommendation that showed a bit of imagination, hence being pleased to see it make the final list. And, conversely, was there a song you recommended where you thought the relevant Guru had screwed up in not picking it? Not because it’s a personal favourite, but because you truly thought it nailed the topic? My example would be not having Magnetic Fields’ ‘Yeah! Oh Yeah!’ picked for Cruel Songs since I thought that one set the bar for cruelty. The judge’s decision is, of course, final, I just thought it might be fun to vent a little.

The Twelve Tasks Of ToffeeBoy #8 – The Blue Nile

Well what do you know? You wait simply ages for a Task Of ToffeeBoy and then three come along within a few minutes of each other – relatively speaking, that is. What’s more, against all odds, I’ve now caught up with myself – the eighth task arriving as it does, in the eighth month. And boy, have I got a good ‘un for you this month?

Welcome to the weird and wonderful world of The Blue Nile. ‘Why weird and wonderful?’ I hear you ask. Because, dear reader, what other band can you name that have been together for 28 years with an unchanged line-up? OK, but what other band can you name who have released only four albums in that time – resulting in an average output of just over one track per year? OK, but what other band can you name that have consistently produced pop music of the highest quality over a period of nearly 3 decades without ever ‘selling out’ or releasing music for any other reason than that they want to? Huh? Eh? What’s that you say? No, I didn’t think you’d have an answer to that.

28 years – four albums: A Walk Across The Rooftops (1983), Hats (1989), Peace At Last (1996) and, most-recently High (2004). A total of 33 tracks: throw in the odd B-side and we’re still only just over the 40 mark. But what a body of work these 40 or so gems represent! Haunting melodies, soaring vocals, lyrics expressing sadness and loss and failed relationships – yet at the same time enveloping you with a sense of hope: a sense that life is worth living after all; that you might just have to work that little bit harder and perhaps look in unexpected places for the beautiful things that life can throw your way.

Research has shown that the average Blue Nile song is set at 2:30 in the morning. There is a surprisingly large number of references in the songs to such things as chimney pots, trumpets and fire engines. Oh, and trains. Plenty of trains. Late night trains, naturally. And it’s raining. And it’s more than likely that his baby just gone left him.

But don’t let that put you off. If you care to investigate the tracks I’ve selected for your edification, I can guarantee you passionate, heartfelt music. To the uninitiated, it might sound soulless – but it’s anything but. I don’t know a singer whose voice matches his bands’ music better than Paul Buchanan’s does The Blue Nile’s. There’s a moment at about 4:10 on Let’s Go Out Tonight when Paul sings ‘Baby, be my baby’ and the way he leans on the word ‘be’ and holds it for a nano-second longer than you’d expect, sends shivers down my spine every time I hear it. It sounds corny, I know (as indeed it does when he utters the immortal line ‘Come on girl’ at about 3:13 in Tomorrow Morning) but somehow, in Paul Buchanan’s hands it works – and it feels like heaven. Well, to me it does, and I know that in DarceysDad I have at least one supporter for this particular task.

Interestingly (well it’s interesting to me, pal!), the very first song I ever nominated on Readers Recommend (now there’s an idea for a thread), way back in January 2008, was a Blue Nile recording. The theme was Songs About Trains and the track I chose was, logically enough, From A Late Night Train. Of course, as a newbie, I had no idea of the protocol of these things, and it turned out that a certain BeltwayBandit, of this parish, had already nominated the same song: a successful nomination as it turned out, and The Blue Nile’s only RR hit to date. I hope it’s not too late to say ‘make mine a dond, then.’

Five years have passed since the release of High so I guess we’re due another album any year now – almost certainly sometime during the next decade. There’s nothing on the band’s official website but there has been some live activity over the past few years so, who knows, something may be imminent – a word which, with The Blue Nile, has to be considered in relative terms. I live in hope and I know beyond doubt that when they do produce album number five, I’ll like it. In fact, I’m prepared to go on public record here and now as saying that I’ll love it!

Right, a bit of house keeping then it’s over to the music. If you buy only one Blue Nile album, make it Hats. But there are only four of them – so why not buy them all. If you listen to just one track, make it Downtown Lights.

Edit: I’ve made a couple of changes to the playlist – it was sounding a bit too unremittingly gloomy to me (and apparently DsD agrees). Too much shade for our liking – let there be light …

The music
Tinseltown In The Rain
Regret
Let’s Go Out Tonight
God Bless You Kid
From A Late Night Train
Tomorrow Morning
Family Life
Because Of Toledo
She Saw The World
I Would Never

The links
Wikipedia
Official Site
Last.fm

For the Unwary, upon entering the ‘spillway’.

Well. I seem to have cleared all the hurdles.
Joining a new club (and an elite one such as this) was bound to be difficult. That initial ‘casual’ request for an email address, followed relentlessly by a vigilant ‘Ed’ personage requiring me to chose a Username ( what’s wrong with being Anonymous, anyway – or a Troll?). I’m no fool however : I saw that these ‘easygoing’ and ‘relaxed’ procedures were simply ways of getting me to lower my guard.

Sure enough, no sooner had I begun to enlighten and educate others with an (admittedly) dazzling display of arcane musical erudition, when up popped an ‘enforcer’ called ‘sonofwebcore’. Concealing iron fist in velvet words of chummy ‘helpfulness’, he deftly highlighted my error in posting my nuggets of wisdom too late in the week for me to earn my rightful place at the forefront, and ‘suggested’ I join in the Thursday-night melee, at some hour made all the more ungodly by being set selfishly convenient for the population of the UK – but an hour later for us in one of the ex-colonies (France in my case).

This I knew was a test, an initiation ordeal for the New Boy – or Nube, if I may be permitted to mint a word that soon no doubt will find its place in the Oxford Dictionary Definitions of Internet English – or ODDIE (I generally abhore acronyms but this one fits the bill admirably, being both short and slightly amusing).

I think I acquitted myself adequately – without covering myself in unnecessary glory – and I am now awaiting the call to the inner sanctum, where piffling rules and deadlines will be waived. I look forward to cosy chats with the self-styled ‘Ed’, about say, the Future of Popular Music and how our group intends to shape it – although I think I will stick with the more formal Edward (or is it Edwina?) until we are better acquainted – at the club: somewhere comfortably sedate in Mayfair, I imagine, or painfully avant-garde in Lewisham.
But before then, there will probably be other tests and challenges to face. I have not previously refused calls for sexual services, nor financial ‘contributions’ if they are reasonable – though I would object to demands for both, I suppose.

A final Word for the Unwary: elite clubs such as this, in common with all cliques and ‘In-Crowds,’ insist on coded forms of speech – verbal masonic handshakes – designed to exclude outsiders and oi polloi. Do not be lulled into a false sense of security when you spot the ‘Explanation for ‘Donds’ etc. This is merely one word in a site littered with such tricks – you’ll soon enough be tripping over ‘zeds’ and ‘noms’ to mention just two of a host of cunning linguistic in-jokes that must surely be lurking for the unsuspecting contributor. Humour here takes on devious shapes – Be on your guard !

R W

Reading

I am watching the Reading coverage on BBC3.

Not hugely impressed.

Kings of Leon – unfocused and plodding, lack of music, not a good band at all.

Faith No More – always were rubbish, why reform?

Jamie T – What the F*ck is this sh*t? I have rarely seen anything as completely useless. Who is this cretinous bore? Do people actually listen to this for pleasure? Makes The Streets look good.

I have also been unfortunate enough to see the Bombay Bicycle Club, who deserve a smack and Florence and the Machine, who are just rubbish.

HOME-Y

Tell Her
I’m Going Back Home
The Ballad of Ira Hayes
Sam Stone
Homecoming
Long Way Home
The Day After Tomorrow
The Wild Rover
Prodigal Daughter/Cotton-eyed Joe
Legionnaire’s Lament
Back to the Old House
Travellin Man
Habitat
Da Art of Storytellin Pt. 1
You Never Know
Criminal
My Way Home

Upon consideration, these are about home, but not about returning home, necessarily. Still good, though…
My Old Home
Where I’m From

Mariachi confusion

I got my mariachis in a twist over on the mothership by confusing Volver with Volver, Volver which, as you can see, aren’t remotely similar. So just to make things clear, the one I’m recommending is the one with two Volvers.

Volver, Volver – Ry Cooder
Mingulay Boat Song – Richard Thompson
I’m Comin’ Home – Robert Earl Keen
Walking The Long Miles Home – Richard Thompson
Back Home Again – the Living Archive Band
When I Die – the Waifs
The Coming Home Of The Son And Brother – Robert Earl Keen
Beat The Retreat – Richard and Linda Thompson
First In Line – the Gourds
Il Me Reste Un Voyage A Faire – Malicorne

You be Sherlock to their Holmes

Wheuw would live in a house like this? Album titles and artists please panel. And what a panel you are. I’ve tried to be eclectic but can’t think of any disco (or indeed house) music covers that fit the bill. I suppose dance music is all about getting out of the house…
I could have included Millie Jackson sitting on the er..throne but I largely stuck to exteriors. I’ll save it for the ‘Songs about Bodily Functions’ week.

Watch closely because, remember, the clues are there, as we go through… oh god, stop it.

Cheque, Mate?

Ok, you asked for it…….

Here by popular demand (well, steenbeck demanded it, and she must be popular – I mean have you seen how many A-listers she gets?) is the chess set I made for my Dad when I was about 15 years old.

Please don’t look too closely at the wooden plinths, it was the best I could do with the tools and skills available to me at the time. The soldiers were bought from a supplier I did alot of business with at the time, since I was creating five large wargaming armies. They were unpainted metal alloy but I painted them in the uniforms of the era. I even knew what colour to paint the collars and cuffs (that’s NOT a euphemism) for each regiment.

I know what you’re thinking. Some teenagers spend their years locked in their rooms writing witty/morose songs, some get pissed down the park but me I painted little soldiers in authentic uniform colours. Whatever!

P to Q4.

Your move……

Outing (ouevring?) Frog Princess

I think it was Darcy’sDad who asked about favorite treasures during a Questions of the Week, and I think it was FrogPrincess who told of her coveted violin.

That’s the problem with double lives; eventually you say more than you mean.

But I don’t want to cast aspersions, so I will merely present the clipping I noticed while on holiday a few weeks ago. As the story goes, a musician in Bath (that’s Bath, UK, not Bathe, France) had her treasured violin stolen. It was later found in a second hand store, and returned to her. Apparently some sticky fingered opportunist had nabbed it from beside the stage, where she had just finished performing in a musical recital called The Frog Princess.

Nice necklace, FP. Is it real gold?

The Curious Case of the Vanishing Post


Hi

This is not a post about the lovely Soap Bubble Nebula in the picture.

It’s about another mysterious thing – the post I put up yesterday about free mp3 downloads being offered on a magazine website.

It’s vanished overnight like a burst bubble.

Why is that? Since it’s about freebies, did it still constitute an ad somehow? I offered it up just as a free thing people might want to take advantage of, not as marketing. Curiouser and curiouser.

Can someone please explain what happened?

Cheers, Caitlin

Get Yer Goat


YAHOO, new Mountain Goats album & tour. The new album is called “The Life Of The World To Come”. All tracks are named after passages from the bible. Here’s a preview:
Genesis 23

“I guess the obvious question is going to be: “John, have you had some sort of religious awakening?” and while I guess lots of people might want to be coy about answering that, that’s never really been my style, so: no. It’s not like that. It’s not some heavy-narrative-distance deal either, though, and it’s not a screed. It’s twelve new songs: twelve hard lessons the Bible taught me, kind of. More than that I’d want to wait to say until some people have heard it, which won’t be long. Will there be more news soon, quite soon? Like, next week, even? Oh yes there will!”

Here’s a track from the recent Goats/John Vanderslice joint concept album “Moon Colony Bloodbath” (Don’t ask):
Surrounded

Here are the tour dates. Oh joy, he’s coming back to O-town & bringing Final Fantasy along:

September
18 – Ithaca College Ithaca, NY *
October
9 – Paradiso, Amsterdam, NL *
10 – QEH, London, England *
11 – Ruby Lounge, Manchester, England *
13 – Point Ephemere, Paris, France *
15 – Magnet, Berlin, Germany *
November
4 – Ladies Literary Club (Calvin College), Grand Rapids, MI #
5 – the Metro, Chicago, IL #
6 – High Noon Saloon, Madison, WI #
7 – Cedar Cultural Centre, Minneapolis, MN #
10 – the Showbox, Seattle, WA #
11 – Wonder Ballroom, Portland, OR #
14 – the Fillmore, San Francisco, CA #
15 – Henry Fonda Theater, Los Angeles, CA #
18 – Antones, Austin, TX #
19 – Granada Theater, Dallas TX #
20 – Mercy Lounge, Nashville TN #
21 – the Variety Playhouse, Atlanta, GA #
23 – the Social, Orlando, FL #
24 – Café 11, St. Augustine, FL #
27 – 9:30 Club, Washington, DC #
28 – Theater of Living Arts, Philadelphia, PA #
29 – Wilbur Theatre, Boston MA #
December
1 – Webster Hall, New York, NY #
2 – Bell House, Brooklyn, NY #
* JD solo
# full band, with Final Fantasy

Last words from John:

“Berlin, Paris, Nashville, Manchester, Madison, Orlando – it’s been awhile! Be advised, as many other towns in my path will tell you, that if your local independent music retailers have New Age and/or vintage CCM and/or decent grindcore sections, I will clear you out. Seriously cannot wait to see you all out there!”