Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Up, Down, Turnaround.....

My life is a series of coincidences. I know that’s a fairly obvious statement, hardly the thought of the epoch, but it still confounds and amazes me sometimes. But I am firmly of the belief that once ones ceases to be amazed and confounded by the unexpected or the new, its time to go and it scares me to think that I may not be able to make that decision for myself one day. Then I guess its up to those around me to do it for me…whoa, this is getting to grim and it wasn’t where I wanted this to go at all.

Coincidences...yep , I’ve actually had some fairly good fortune from coincidences. One of the best was the fact that a little radio station in Buffalo, NY, which had picked up “How Bizarre” and had red hot phones, just happened to be affiliated to Z100 in NYC and passed on the information after the record company had lost interest. Is that luck or coincidence..I’m not sure, but it worked for us.

I don’t know if it is a case of luck, a small world or coincidences, but I keep on bumping into people I know in big cities (read: really big, not large towns like Auckland or even Sydney…a city only becomes a big city when it stops looking up enviously at other cities and Sydney is a poor man’s LA...Melbourne is a big city as is Denpasar which only has a population of half a million but is self confident, and is not obsessed with any other metropolis). I turned a corner in NYC and literally walked into Simon, an old friend. Whilst we were discussing this unlikely meet, our mutual friend, Debbie, walked around the corner. None of us knew each other was in NYC at the time. I was waiting for Harry who knew all of us but was late…spooky.

I walked into Camden Tube station some years back and sat in the carriage, head down as you do, trying not to get the shitty ink of The Evening Standard on my hands, only to hear my name called. Across the way was Valo, my Chilean friend from Auckland. He was staying four doors from me in Islington. I had no idea he was in London. He had no idea I was in London.

I had just left Auckland and went out for a meal (ok..honestly, it was a dozen frozen Margaritas but it was was a Mexican restaurant) in NYC (ok Harry was involved again). At the bar were various members of Pop Will Eat Itself. I had last seen them three days earlier at the bar of Cause Celebre.

I could go on and on, but I won’t..

Ok.. one more. This is from a small town, Auckland, but it’s a goodie. I was sitting in Vulcan Lane as I have from year to year, having coffee with my old friend Adrienne Winkelman, getting nostalgic about the days when we both though we punks, about the narrow pink tie she gave me in 1977 (I still have it….an Adrienne Winkelman original!) when she said “Whatever happened to that Johnny Volume?”) Johnny, of course was the guitarist in the Scavengers, the wonderful bloody Scavs, and my flatmate, when Adrienne had an unrequited crush on him.

As she finished the sentence, John Cooke (for that is he), walked around the corner out of O’Connell Street, looking like he did when he left our lives in the very early eighties, back into it. The endgame was a late night or three in my club and a not inconsequential bar tab but that is another whole mess and irrelevant to this.

What is relevant in 2005 seems to be the whole Avain Flu thing. Now call me sceptic or an optimistic or whatever but I’m having problems with this one. I live in an “at risk” country (and don’t the Australian media love pointing it out over and over again…the half truths, the outright lies and the horror stories that even the reputable media flaunt daily indicate that racism is alive and well to the south of me) and I’m aware of the possibility that this thing may mutate but damned if the conspiracy theorist and disbeliever in me isn’t wondering, like SARS, if this isn’t just the west playing a few games with us yet again. We have a global pandemic with us already, its called AIDS and its not only obliterating Africa, its firmly into Papua New Guinea, the South Pacific, China, South Asia and is killing millions. And the west is doing little more than playing lipservice to this as we speak.

I’m not usually a conspiracy freak, I mean, I don’t think the shooters in the Kennedy case had help from Cuba, but this bird flu thing is a little unreal. To date, over quite some years, less than a few dozen people have allegedly died from this, some unconfirmed and more than a few had been drinking duck blood. And the population of Asia many billion?, most of whom live in crowded, poor conditions with their poultry all around them. It doesn’t ring true. Anyone who has worked with birds in closely knows that birds dying from seemingly random circumstances is more than common and is as old as mankind. We are told it might mutate into something.

More to the point this has a two fold benefit to the west, it pushes vast amounts of cash into the western economies…Australia is threatening to inoculate its own population and the buffoon in the White House is rolling out the War on Influenza type clichés he needs to pacify those still to stupid to wonder why they voted for him. And it keeps Asia, ugly old Asia, full of diseases, and terrorists in line, just when their economies are booming and threatening to overtake the first and second world. Oh, and it keeps the people ever so slightly fearful and subservient..

I’m just waiting for someone with some influence to point out that the emperor has no clothes…..

Ok some records of the day…..

  • Led Zeppelin-Babe, I’m Gonna Leave You…..I have a soft spot for Zep..yes they were a bloated old monolith, ugly as sin and they deserved punk more than most, but they had a couple of songs…for every bloody Stairway there were two killers like this and you watch how an educated dancefloor reacts to Dyer Makyr. There was a great house bootleg of his by PQM many years back..apparently Page loved it.
  • The Merseybeats-I Stand Accused…the old Sam & Dave song, written by Isaac Hayes and David Porter was also covered in a perfect fashion by Elvis and The Attractions back in 1980. I discovered this banging scouse remake on a compilation about five years back. A perfect song, perfect in any version.
  • So to another Elvis Costello B side….Nick Lowe and His Sound..What’s So Funny About Peace Love and Understanding.. on the flip of a Nick Lowe single and credited to the above. If you ever wanted to explain to anyone why Elvis Costello and The Attractions were so bloody them this. Then play them..
  • Brinsley Schwartz- What’s So Funny About Peace Love and Understanding..which is just as good but completely different. Nick Lowe was /is cool. Full stop.
  • Patti Labelle- More Than Material… a house by numbers mix from 2004, by veterans Darryl James and Fred “Somebody Else’s Guy” Macfarlane that I love…lush warm and big and a record that owes a lot to..
  • Inner City’s Whatcha Gonna Do with My Loving (Morales and Knuckles vocal mix) from about 91, a time when Frankie and David were untouchable. I told Morales how much I loved this a couple of years back and he said it was one of his favourites. From the opening piano to the loping groove, Its brilliant until it drops down into the slowed down Jack your Body / Let No Man refrain on dense strings, and then it gets much better.
  • Roxy Music-Out of the Blue.. my early Ferry fixation, off the underrated Country Life, which was the album where Bryan, years before he became a pratt, stripped off the arty pretensions and made the first, and only, great Roxy pop album (although Manifesto had its moments). A song that soars…
  • Andres Trentemoller­­-Le Champagne…off his first EP, on Naked and the best thing Naked have released in years…a record to play in the garden
  • I’m desperate to hear the Carl Craig remix of Theo Parrish that’s out right now, but in the interim…R Thyme-Use Me (Carl Craig’s piano groove) from about 94 or so is just fine
  • The Features-City Scenes..I play this whenever I get a little down as I did this morning. I released it in 1980, and it was the first. It’s a record I’m immensely proud off and it cheers me up always

1 comment:

Richard said...

Would you be opposed to posting a few of these wonderful tracks up here on OpDiner?
You're always in motion, and it'd be nice to catch some of your noted moonrocks on the way through...