Archive for January, 2011
Sister Act
January 29th, 2011

This bizarre, Manchester-based TV show from 1964 was filmed when Sister Rosetta Tharpe was 49 years of age, as the blues revival continued apace for young British hipsters. It takes her a minute to descend from her horse and carriage, but once she straps on her electric guitar, the woman is mesmerising.

Jangling Noise Machine
January 27th, 2011

Clapton pulls some blues moves off for a stuffy reporter whilst his guitar smokes.
His guitar tone is OFF THE DIAL! Not sure if the ‘Woman Tone’ that they describe as “whining” would be acceptable these days. Don’t ask Andy Gray and Richard Keys for their opinion…

Kelly’s Eye
January 25th, 2011

Ellsworth Kelly, Untitled, 1957

I saw this picture in Middlesbrough Institute Of Modern Art (mima) on Saturday before watching a rather less artful football match… It’s a drawing using collage and I liked the contrast between the two colours and the imperfection of the pencil line. My mate, Neil, said it looked like a bum.

Insomniac Walls
January 25th, 2011

“The full moon is so fierce that I can count the
coconuts’ cross-hatched shade on bungalows,
their white walls raging with insomnia.”

The opening lines of Derek Walcott’s Europa paint a vivid picture.

Byrne-ing Down The House
January 21st, 2011


I went see the magnificent David Byrne’s new concert movie last night at the Tyneside Cinema, followed by a live Q & A broadcast with Byrne from Brixton. It was great to see someone still pushing the boundaries of the live rock show by incorporating dance in a cool way. As well as featuring amazing music and choreography, it made me laugh too – he’s a funny, perceptive man.

Sacred Cow
January 21st, 2011


As I did last night, I often listen to Sacred Harp music or something equally soothing before I fall asleep. I like what Ornette Coleman said about it: “Sacred Harp singing is breath music. They’re changing the sound with their emotions, not because they’re hearing something.”

Outrageously nimble creation.

Just Like Heaven
January 17th, 2011

There’s a brilliant scene in Days Of Heaven, directed by Terence Malick, where a swarm of locusts rain down on a farm, wreaking havoc with the crops. It has a terrible beauty to it. The film is less interested in characterisation and instead relies on visual poetry to tell its story. Life is shown as an unstoppable flow, sometimes fast and thunderous, sometimes slow and ponderous.

The Kid Is Sick Again
January 13th, 2011

Zoo Kid – Out Getting Ribs from House Anxiety on Vimeo.

This video just knocked me out. Startling.

Sue-per
January 13th, 2011

Sue Tompkins, taken from the Unique series, 2010

Sue Tompkins, taken from Your side effect series, 2010

Sue Tompkins is better known (at least to me) as the voice of Life Without Buildings (the best band ever… yeah, better than the Beatles etc.). I also really like her visual artwork and solo performances where she repeats words and phrases until they gain some sort of new meaning. I’ll be going to mima in Middlesbrough soon to listen to an installation of her work and decided to post a couple of her sparse, type-written pieces that I find evocative.

The Books Lover
January 7th, 2011

This will either do your head in or make your day. It made mine.
Another great LP from The Books. If you have time, visit www.thebooksmusic.com and read the blog about how Nick from the band reconstructed his own home’s interior out of pine. Inspirational.

Bass Instinct
January 6th, 2011

I nicked this picture from the Altered Zones website. It’s of Mick Karn the bassist from Japan who, sadly, died a few days ago. I had a great day freaking out to his silky fretless bass last year  (Tin Drum LP, I think) and when I saw this picture I thought it would be a fitting tribute. I wish I had the style to pull this combination off (and I also wish I could get away with fretless bass, too) – late Japan records are so under-rated.

Ruined In A Day
January 3rd, 2011

I just watched Grey Gardens again and it’s as bizarre and confusing as ever. A mother and daughter battle madness and bicker in their crumbling mansion whilst the Maysles brothers document their fall from grace in American society. It made me think of the decrepitude of some of Detroit’s finest buildings, which have been recently documented by Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre. I saw them on the Guardian website the other day. Such a shame.


The ruined Spanish-Gothic interior of the United Artists Theater in Detroit. The cinema was built in 1928 by C Howard Crane, and finally closed in 1974.


Michigan Theatre.