The Last Mystery of All

We’ve had everything explained to us and there are no mysteries left. Myths have been debunked, and the internet had analysed every cultural detail into meaningless dust.

DJ Shadow finds an unmarked record when cratedigging and throws it in a mix as “unknown song, unknown artist”. Anton Newcombe from Brian Jonestown Massacre picks it out a number of years later, puts it up on youtube, claims it’s from a sixties band called Smile, or Smiles, says it’s a brilliant tune. Says it’s called “I Am Just A Star On A Democratic Flag”.

Maybe it’s Newcombe himself behind the record, sounds like it could be.

DJ Shadow allegedly says “The name of the group is “Smiles”. I think it’s a group from Los Angeles, and the song’s dating back from 1968-69. Unfortunately, the writtings on the record are not in good shape. I’ve never seen another record. I remember Dante came to my house, he saw the record, listened to it. He will never stop digging to find that particular record.”

Someone listens carefully to the surface noise, to see if it’s genuine, or an affectation.

Newcombe denies it’s him. Youtube commenters fail to find any online record of the song. Some claim that Newcombe is not Newcombe. DJ Shadow denies his real name is Clive. Clive Shadow.

I post the song on an intelligent, popular music blog with very well listened contributers, and hope for some news.

The mystery continues, the plot thickens.

‘Spillyear 1963

At some point last week I think I read a quote from someone, possibly John Peel, saying that 1977 was the best year for popular culture since 1963.

What was so great about 1963 then?

Do you remember where you were when that happened? Did sex really begin between the Chatterley ban and the Beatles’ first LP? Were you at the Stones’ first gig (even though you were a toddler/not yet born at the time)?

Listen to the playlist here

Add your top 3 choices here

By the way, I’m worried we may be using up all the best years… anybody want to suggest a really bad year instead?

Spillyear 1967

One of the downsides of living in a tropical country is that, because it’s always summer, it’s never really summer.

To celebrate the summer solstice, let’s head back to the Summer of Love. Although hate-filled wintry tunes and songs of autumnal indifference from 1967 are welcome too.

Obviously an astonishing time for music. Were you there? Are you sure? How on earth are you going to pick a top 3?

Listen to the playlist here

Add your tracks here

Spillyear 1965

Is it Tuesday already? This challenge is making my life go by too fast.

I’ve been unsure about how far back in time we should go with this. Hearing people’s reminiscences has been every bit as fun as listening to the music, and the further back we go, the fewer of these there’ll be. There’s also the danger that we’ll end up with more of a canonical “best of” list, and fewer personal choices and offbeat discoveries.

But let’s give it a try, and see how it works.

1965. Half a century ago. The year that popular music began to change from light entertainment to the most vibrant contemporary art form? Maybe.

If you were there, tell us about it.

If you weren’t – well, imagine you were…


Listen to the playlist here

Add your top three tracks here

He Said – She Said ~ The A to Z of Japanese Music – The Letter E ! ! !


I am the letter E and this is my Teddy Bear ! ! !

I am the letter E and this is my Teddy Bear ! ! !

faye1She Says: Welcome back to our almost weekly series about Japanese Pop, Rock, Punk and Indie.  Life and love distracted us from the important things like He Said – She Said, But we are back on schedule again now ! ! !  This week we have a really great variety with tracks from the 1960’s to now and variety of Genres and even a boy band ! ! !  So check out the post ! ! !


He says:

“Life and love distracted us from the important things like He Said – She Said” Speak for yourself, dearie! ! ! 

I have neither ! ! !

Anyway, E, the most common letter in English and reasonably common in Japanese too, fortunately ( what is the most commonly used letter in Japanese ?). Which means there were quite a few artists to choose from. Here are some of them. Continue reading

Truth And Fiction

Many of my favourite films of recent years have been classified as documentaries (The Fog Of War, Cave Of Forgotten Dreams, Inside Job, Beware Of Mr Baker, Nostalgia for the Light, Stories We Tell….) but the one that won the Bafta in that category last year takes the genre into brave, new territory.

In The Act Of Killing, filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer puts in front of the camera a handful of the gangster* paramilitaries who helped the Indonesian army torture and kill around a million ‘communists’ in 1965/66. He then encourages them to create fictionalised versions of their acts. Being still highly-regarded by the current regime, they are keen to do so and, being fans of Hollywood films, they use the language of the Western, film noir, the musical and the gangster film.

The result is a devastating, upsetting, mesmeric, often surreal, portrait of corrupted humans who are celebrated and still valued by a corrupt government. It is now available on DVD/Blu-ray and I urge you to see it.

*The label ‘gangster’ is worn as a badge of honour, as it is understood to mean ‘free man’. Hence the use of Born Free in the film.

Continue reading