Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Anything Az can do I can do better (maybe) and so I present Atlas by the Battles (the 'the' might be superfluous but it sounds more natural).

Not only is it a song you'll not forget in a hurry (it's a bit like being made to stand in a corner and not think about orange penguins), which is odd considering it has no known words, but I just quite like the video. Simple idea, simply done and yet fascinatingly complex. Even the glass can't help bouncing along. There's a few more tracks on Myspace, which also features a good use of the brilliant word 'fwount' and Shameless Complacency has a few mp3s to tide you ever till the album's out.

Speaking of things bouncing, I think we've had this year's summer if the weekend's hail, sleet and snow are to be believed. It even included a reprise of conical snow or hail shaped like re-entry capsules, of which pictures will be forthcoming, assuming any survived the rampant shivering, lest you remained unconvinced by the dodgy pic from a couple of years ago.

And why's it have to go and get cold again? The weekend's weather convinced me I need a haircut (if the hailstones go in but can't get back out, then it's probably time to trim. Cue flashback to a happier time when a then current flatmate discovered that the pellets from his bb-gun would drown in my hair if fired at the back of my head, which he thought was one of the best discoveries known to mankind, until of course I realised that if I shook them loose away from him I could slowly collect all his ammunition thus depriving him of his entertainment; it was a good plan until he bought another bag of pellets), yet if I do I'll freeze.

[The weekend has now been extended to include Tuesday as there's some mightily big snow going on outside, but unlike the hail it's not settling].

Which somehow brings me to books (I'll think of a link in a minute). Recent reading has seen the end (finally) of Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie, Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin and The Liar by Stephen Fry. I'd been reading MC for so long I kept forgetting what had happened in it, which will have done nothing to improve my final perception of it. In some ways it is quite engaging and yet there are still patches which feel like walking across hot tar, the story plodding unwillingly along, gripped by a mess of the past. Towards the end there was more natural rhythm to it, but there where still sections where I was aware of reading enough to get the gist from each paragraph, skipping onwards tired of the flourishes. Superbly crafted sentences are fine as long as they communicate more than their own worth. If reading them means the plot dies forgotten or they have to be elided to maintain the momentum and interest then there's something slightly wrong with their use. Beautiful or useful might be the maxim for interior design, but I suspect both are necessary for literature.

Maupin's efforts are much more readable, but very probably intentionally to be taken less seriously. It was quite odd reading the book while remembering little grains of it. I'd either completely missed or forgotten the pun of the Halcyon-Days, yet remembered the comments about the pronunciation of Beauchamp, just as I remembered wondering what snowpeas are (mange-tout according to Google), what the anagram was and the curious incident of the jeans in the shower (why, apart from remembering it as being a bath, did that, of all the scenes in the book, stick?). Reading something apparently for the first time while being able to remember it is disconcerting. I can only conclude my mother got it out from the library years ago and I ploughed my way through it before she noticed. It's really odd that despite all the sex, drugs and Fol de Rol the bit I remembered mostly firmly was wondering why someone would use a nail brush on a pair of jeans. I didn't even notice (or remember noticing) which part of the jeans he was scrubbing, simply the strangeness of scrubbing wet jeans while wearing them. It's like reading Thomas the Tank Engine and yet only remembering the colour of one of the ballast stones under the rails. Most odd.

And the last book to be completed was Stephen Fry's The Liar, which having read Moab feels a little autobiographical (ok, make that 'very') and in the process manages to cast doubt on his autobiography. It's a fun book, very readable, and yet it's obviously Fry; the characters sound like him, even when they're not meant to, although that perception is perhaps reinforced by having heard parts of the book recycled by him in other places.

I should now add a sop to continuity by mentioning my current book, which was to have been The Life of Pi, had it not been apparently 'borrowed' before I finished the author's introductory note. I may have to mount a discreet raiding party to recover it (can one mount a party?).

And a prize (possibly) to the first person, who isn't Sin, to guess which of the four books mentioned here are on loan from him (I'm not quite sure if that's loan in the Labour sense of the word).

Reverting back to the top of the post, what are the lyrics to Atlas? Any improvements on "Brigitta woman... near as stand off... Singer is hurt, 4 AM"? It's nearly as bad as Blur's Song 2, does not feature the line "is there any jam?" regardless of how many times I think it does (a plague on all your Buzzcocks).


It's funky, and I like, I'll give you that. But it ain't got nuffin' on Groove Armada's Get Down.
I mean, it doesn't make me wanna jump up and dance around dancehall style, thrusting hips in a way that would put Eric Pryds to shame and generally dipping, getting down, and standing up.
Incidently, what have you been thinking about the 4 songs I've posted about?
I thought you'd be all over one in particular...
Dancehall style? What is that precisely? And while I'm at it, what's dipping?

Which one did you think I'd be all over? There's the pleasant but dull Legend, the sick of it already 80s, the forgotten what it sounds like Groove Armada and Beyonce being bounced off screen by Shakira (note to divas: do not attempt a bellydance off against a performer who is part-Lebanese)? I nearly commented on both 80s and Beykira but the massed videos started the chunter of doom so I gave up.
Dancehall: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dancehall
Dipping is when you dip, surprisingly [not the kind with nachos, when you're dancing, and lean back].

Yeah I must admit, I'm a tad bored of the John Legend one now.

It was the 80's one - I'm loving it, though I've not had it surgically stapled to the inside of my cochlea by Radio 1 yet.

:O How can you have forgotten the GA one already? Mark my words - it's going to be big.

LOL @ note to divas.
Now I'm wondering what you were going to write about 80's and Shakonce.
I think I may need The Az Illustrated Guide to Dance.

GA - I just can't remember it. Each time I try I hear Superstylin' (and am magically carried back to a yacht rolling in time with it - one easy way to upset everyone else in the habour).
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