Thursday, November 30, 2006

Sweeping The Nation

Hola there, muchachos.

Brainy pop 'blog "Sweeping The Nation" have had a feature running throughout November where various coves would go on a bit about a record they like.

You get to download thirty assorted tunes, so it's worth dropping in just for that, although the writing therein is peachy keen and bitchin' too.

In a reversal of the usual "save the best 'til last" policy, they have rounded things off with some old fool going on about Snoop Dogg.

"Songs to Learn and Sing" am here!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Reggae, Steady, Go!

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Some reggae chaps, last Sunday

Sredni vashtar, pop kids, how the devil are you all? I am jogging along tolerably well, although, brr, isn't it cold these days?

I digress. You don't want to hear me blether on about the weather, do you? Of course not. What you want is some unlikely tall tale and some low-minded booze-using exploits, featuring boorish behaviour in some hellish north-eastern drinking den. Very well, let us make haste.

You may have noticed it's been quite some time since I dropped any street science your way. I know how you pine for the soothing words of your Colonel and believe me, it cuts me like a really sharp, jagged knife to think of you poor unfortunates going without.

It has been in a good cause, though. I have been engaged in Bringing Sexy Back.

Yes, I thought you'd be pleased. You've have probably noticed a marked increase in Sexy over the past couple of months. Possibly you credited swivel-hipped pop gibbon Justin Timberlakes for this.

While it is true that Timbo has been the public face of the campaign to reinstate Sexy, but it is yours truly who is the power behind the throne, the eminence grise, the head honcho, if you will.

An executive decision was taken at an early stage to get young JT involved as it was crucial to the success of the project that his core constituency of halfwitted, yet fruity, young women were brought onboard. You may remember Gordon Brown employing Tony Blair to great effect as part of a similar ruse back in 1997.

Happily, it has all panned out splendidly. Everywhere you go, Sexy is to be found, thriving and flourishing. Teenage pregnancies are on the up, chlamydia is spreading like spunk-borne wildfire, the clap clinics are doing a roaring trade and the chances of an unattractive female getting a job on television are slim to non-existent.

Hats off to all concerned, I think you'll agree.

To the oafishness.

The recent Boss Sounds Reggae Festival at Newcastle Polytechnic was a coming together of the region's disparate musical tribes. The ageing 2-Tone nutty boys, the roots and reggae crews, white rastas, dope smokers, students, all that lot.

It also provided a chance to drink all day in the cheap Student's Union bar and gawp at middle-aged lasses in short skirts and Doc Marten shoes. Naturally, I was there with my hair in a braid and a couple of dreadful mates at my side.

We gathered in the upstairs bar, swilling lager (£2.50 a pint, since you ask) and checking out the fashions. Some top-notch threads were on display: Harrington jackets, Crombies, sharp suits, Fred Perry polo shirts and sweaters, Dr Martens Bother Boots, trilbies, porkpie hats, Sta-prest trousers, vintage denims and all manner of leisurewear bearing Jamaica/West Indies/Cannabis Reefer related ingnias.

Don Letts spun some rare old reggae records as the crowd eased themselves into the day and got all tanked up.

To the main auditorium and, after the pleasant but anonymous Pama International, it was eyes down, look in for the grand entrance of the legendary Lee "Scratchcards" Perry. Now, I may be laughed out of town for making this claim, but I reckon old Lee has done a fair amount of drugs in his time.

It may be the skull on a stick he was waving all night, it may have been the white and gold robes he was clad in, it may have been the shambolic, moonman patter about "I am the natty man, I am the voodoo man" that he prefaced Every Single Song with, but something told me that there goes a man who wouldn't pass an IOC urine test with flying colours.

Another cove who appeared to be living for pleasure alone, was singing walnut Modfather Paul Wellers out of The Style Council, who was warming up for his own Newcastle gig the following night by "taking in" the Scratchman's show. With his indoor sunglasses and bleached blonde spiky hair, he bears an increasing resemblance to Rod "the Mod" Stewarts. Like Rod, he seemed similarly pre-disposed towards anything blonde and female, lurching from one enthusiastic recipient of popstar lovin' to the next like a leathery, lecherous tree monkey.

While we agreed that this is excellent behaviour, we reflected that if we mere nonentities were to act in such a drunken, lascivious manner, we would be met with a slightly frostier reception.

Women, instead of puckering up like billy-o, would say things like "Fuck off, you fat weirdo". Security guards, rather than beaming down indulgently, would escort us to the exits and propel us into the cold with a boot up the jacksie.

Honestly, it's one rule for Godfathers of dadrock and another rule for sweaty dullards, isn't it?

The man who the majority of the crowd had come to see was Prince Buster, the original rudeboy and spiritual father to all things ska. A heaving moshpit was skanking away to such classics of the genre as "Whine and Grine", "Madness", "Too hot", "Orange Street", "Enjoy yourself", "Hard man fe dead" and "Al Capone".

Other than one brief scuffle among a few over-excited skinheads, the mood of the crowd was jubilant, most of the people honoured to be in the presence of a true pioneer of the music to which a lot of them had clearly devoted a great part of their life.

Jimmy Cliff was the headline act, another reggae giant and another rapturous reception. He strolled onstage looking more sprightly than any seventy year old has any right to look. Whether this was due in any way to the extremely attractive female dancer/vocalist/whatever that was sharing the stage with him, I could not say.

What I will say is this: Giddy up!

I was just enjoying the performance of all of those onstage when a rather substantial female lumbered up behind me and started using my shoulders as a stable vantage point on which to rest her fancy camera and start snapping shots of all and sundry.

In answer to my turned head and raised eyebrows, she simply said "I'm just using you as a human tripod".

I drew myself up to my full height and answered here "Madam, you don't know how right you are". And let me tell you this, I nailed that line. You'd have been so proud of me.

A waste really, as the lady in question was a hoond. Rats cocks!

We left shortly afterwards, my two aforementioned lowlife colleagues wanted kebabs. Clearly the lure of the much-vaunted singer of "The Harder they Come" was nothing compared to a large doner with garlic sauce, plenty onions.

I bet this never happened to Lester Bangs or Nick Kent.

Anyhoo, until next time, keep wrecking dat pum pum and stay sexy.

I'm gone.