Tuesday, 29 April 2008

More Poetic Justice

Following on from the last post, I'd like to say firstly that the gig was a massive success. I had a blast. I thought it might be nice to follow it up with some poetry. Not the boring, shite kind, obviously - the rousing, inventive, ballsy kind.

I hold no truck with dull, "trees and flowers", poetry. I like the political, the provocative, and the powerful. That throwaway, pretty stuff is fine for those who like that sort of thing (and respect to them for it) but for me... no.

The first poem I ever learnt to recite, some years ago now, was "Kung Fu International" by the great John Cooper Clarke (pictured left). The Salford Bard opened my eyes to something I had never heard or seen before - poetry could be sex, drugs, rock n roll and everything in between. I can still recite that poem, from start to finish, flawlessly, whether sober or drunk. I can do "I Married A Monster From Outer Space" as well.

Great as these poems are, for my mind JCC's finest moment is one of his most infamous. I refer to the poem "Twat" (which Clarke used to dedicate to Michael Heseltine, back in the day). The number of lines, in this single piece of poetry, which are approaching sheer genius are quite staggering. Listen - even if you think you don't like poetry - and be amazed.

Another favourite of mine is that evergreen curmudgeon, Attila The Stockbroker. Seeing the man live - I've had the pleasure several times - is a lesson in how to do it. His delivery, polished over nearly thirty years, is second to none. I could have chosen any number of tracks to post on here but the one I've gone for is "Asylum Seeking Daleks", partly because I am so heartily in agreement of its cynicism towards the gutter press, who are almost entirely responsible for the moral panic created around the myth of the (gasp) "asylum seeker" - in the mind of the Daily Mail's readership, an asylum seeker is not someone who has escaped terrible hardship, torture or certain death, but a knife-wielding drug dealer with a sun tan who just likes the idea of an extended holiday in a Dover detention centre. Anyway, I'll let Attila fill in the details...

From the quintessentially English poetry of John Cooper Clarke and Attila The Stockbroker, I move to a different camp completely.
The African-American collective The Last Poets fused poetry with hip-hop and politics - tellingly, the band was officially formed on Malcolm X's birthday. The Poets were undoubtedly ahead of their time - their first album was released in 1970 and covered many topics that the likes of Public Enemy would turn into mainstream rap only many years later. That debut (self titled) LP remains a landmark in the history of black music, seen by many as almost prophetic.
Here are the Last Poets at their brilliant best.

That, then, is poetry.


Friday, 18 April 2008

Shameless Self Promotion (part 1)

A date for your diaries folks. Next Thursday (April 24th) I'll be doing a short poetry set at the Adelphi, Hull. There'l be allsorts of other goings-on including music from Stickpin and the utterly brilliant CrackTown.

This means nothing to many of our readers. We keep an eye on where you're all from and we know that, for reasons unknown, a large portion of our readership comes from Spain and Germany. I have no idea why this would be - but if you happen to live in, say, another country, then please don't feel you have to come to the gig. It'd be kind of you but probably a little disconcerting as well. (Incidentally, there's a post coming soon just for you Spanish and German readers - a sort of "thank you" to you for being so loyal - keep your eyes peeled for it).

Say, here's a bit of CrackTown ("music for dog fights") just for the Hell of it.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Ill Communication... Well, Not Anymore...

Well, would you Adam-and-Eve it? After I posted that last "I'M BACK!" message, what should happen? I got flu. I don't mean "Man Flu"... I mean the proper sort, where you can't get out of bed and your body gets possessed by pain-demons. It was, it's fair to say, a bloody awful week or so.

I did feel a proper Charlie as well - I promised MP3s, but then I immediately disappeared again. But now you know the reason. So sorry.

Now, I am definitely back, and no longer infected with anything nasty, so here we go with some long-awaited musicalityness. First up is this charming track from Andy Irvine, veteran of such Irish stalwarts as Sweeney's Men and Planxty. "Never Tire Of The Road" is from 1991's Rude Awakening album.

Going off on a tangent, for no particular reason really, our second track is the brilliantly titled "My Mother Smokes Crack Rocks" by the late Wesley Willis (pictured above). Let's not beat about the bush here - Willis was bona fide Looney Tunes, apparently fond of greeting friends with a resounding headbutt. He claimed to make music in order to drown out the voices in his head. Despite little actual talent, his music had a certain charm, and attracted a host of high-profile fans. Chief among them was Jello Biafra, erstwhile frontman with the Dead Kennedys. Biafra took it upon himself to get Willis's music heard by a wider audience and subsequently released much of the big man's back catalogue on the Kennedys' Alternative Tentacles label. It takes more than one listen to "get" this Casio-driven slice of madness - but it's worth persisting.

From one eccentric to another, this time one who remains alive and well - and the world is a better place for it. Wayne County is unique, having been an integral part of both the US New Wave scene and the British punk explosion of 1977 (having already become Jayne County, she was living and performing in the UK by that time). County's own music seems to have been relegated to footnote status in the story of her gender issues - yet this is criminal, as, with the Electric Chairs (as her backing band was known), County produced some genuinely great punk moments which deserve better than to be forgotten. Here is the track which could just be her signature - "Man Enough To Be A Woman". There's clearly a big New York Dolls influence on this particular track. Download it and give it a spin. It's a lost classic.
That's all for today. A bit of a mixed bag but it's nice to be back in business and I thought that was best celebrated with some genuine eclecticism - that, after all, is the name o' the game.
Next post, methinks, will be the first of one of our new regular themed posts. I haven't decided which one yet. Do try to contain your excitement. In the meantime, enjoy the music from this post - catch you soon. Enjoy.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Guess who's back!

Greetings one and all! Your intrepid editor is finally back on the Interweb, on a proper computer an' all!

It's been a long ride, reversing the effects of last year's floods which slightly damaged our house (not much, but enough for several weeks worth of decorating, plastering and general arsing about). The computer has been reduced to its component parts, stashed upstairs and rendered too much hassle to use. Plus, living in one room only tends not to leave much space for large desktop PC systems.

Still, today all the furniture came back in (atop spiffing new carpets), and as a matter of priority yours truly set about connecting up the various bits of computer and hi-fi equipment without delay. Bloody marvellous. For the last couple of months the only music I've had has been (a) listening to last.fm on my work laptop, which was great but for the tinny laptop speaker, which makes everything sound like it was recorded on wax cylinder, and (b) listening to old cassettes which were the only things I could lay my hands on in the house while I was decorating. This in itself was actually quite cool as I found some gems I forgot I even owned. There was the Sultans Of Ping FC album, Casual Sex In The Cineplex, which I listened to twice, back to back, whilst painting a ceiling. Great album. There was also a notable mix tape - "Bits N Bobs" made by my good buddy Johnny Murder. On said tape were such luminaries as Bob Dylan, Richie Havens and Tom Petty. Though the less said about the Neil Young cover version (ever heard Sheryl Crow murdering "Heart Of Gold"? It sucks.) the better...

Anyway, I digress. This hallowed blog is now well and truly back in black, and although there aren't any MP3s to accompany this particular post (I'm knackered kids... it's been a busy one...), here's a little something to keep you going til next time...

This isn't even a video as such but it's the track which inspired the title of this blog so I'm running with it. It's "Guess Who's Back" by House Of Pain. Okay, okay, I know I'm copping out here a bit and being lazy, but come on, I've been working hard and I'm running on empty here. Besides, this is a great tune and you can't beat a bit of old skool, can you?

There'll be plentiful MP3 downloads on the next post, and I can also reveal that some regular themed posts will be starting soon, including "Great Songs By Shit Bands" and "They Always Play Love Songs". Naturally they'll all be supporting the Musicus Eclecticus ethos of "if it's alternative, and good, it's in".

See you very soon... and enjoy this...