Tuesday, July 31, 2007
I am 42 today. I am older than I once was and younger than I'll be; that's not unusual.
42, as the sci-fi nerds amongst you will know, is the Answer To The Ultimate Question Of Life The Universe And Everything, according to Douglas Adams.
It is also the atomic number of molybdenum, the amount of teeth wolves and dogs have and the number of the bus you need to get from Denmark Hill to Liverpool Street Station, London.
I used to live in Denmark Hill when I was a student. That was a long time ago, but I am no nearer to being able to work out what the meaning of life is than I was then, although I tend to side with the Pythons on this, as on several other matters...
"M-hmm. Well, it's nothing very special. Uh, try and be nice to people, avoid eating fat, read a good book every now and then, get some walking in; and try and live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations".
I thank you.
Now, who fancies a cheesy twizzle?
ABC - 'Many Happy Returns' (1982)
[From this genius record, obviously. And posted instead of all those melancholy musical meditations on the inexorable passage of time I could have put here instead. Hurrah!].
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Friday, July 27, 2007
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Monday, July 23, 2007
Tragically, I don't have an MP3 of Bill Murray karaoke-singing 'More Than This' (but YouTube has the clip) so the Roxy original will have to do.
Kevin Shields - 'Ikebana' (2003)
Kevin Shields - 'Are You Awake?' (2003)
My Bloody Valentine - 'Sometimes' (1991)
Roxy Music - 'More Than This' (1982)
Air - 'Alone In Kyoto' (2003)
The Jesus & Mary Chain - 'Just Like Honey' (1985)
[Buy the soundtrack and DVD (good deleted scenes!) here; Loveless here, Air here and Roxy's lovely Avalon here. This post goes out to my good friend Dr Al who's sandbagging against the floods in Oxford...]
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Friday, July 20, 2007
'Compare and contrast', as they used to say in English Lit exam papers...
London Lee has already written much more eloquently than I can about the political and cultural context of LKJ's work over at Crying All The Way To The Chip Shop, and I heartily commend his post (and indeed the rest of his always excellent blog) to you.
[Tracks originally from this, this and this - but also now all available on this].
Thursday, July 19, 2007
You will notice too that the sun is shining, something I understand is unusual thereabouts.
Thanks Manchester, I enjoyed your company.
Monday, July 16, 2007
Little Junior Parker - 'Mystery Train' (1953)
Friday, July 13, 2007
So did Johnny Rotten, apparently. And Messrs Strummer & Jones also felt moved to mention 'The doctor who was born for a purpose' in 'Rudie Can't Fail'...
But don't take anyone else's word for it - that's not very punk, is it?
Listen for yourself!
Dr. Alimantado - 'Born For A Purpose/Reason For Living' (1976)
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Even closer to home for me - indeed just beyond my bedroom window - is a handsome church tower that was built at about the same time. It has been standing there, adding a little touch of nobility and grandeur to the landscape, for 900 years. I find that a literally fantastic statement. If this church were in Iowa, people would travel hundreds of miles to see it. Of course, you'd have a job explaining to them how it got there, but you take my point. It would be a venerated relic. And here it is just an anonymous country church, treasured by a few aging parishioners and one overweight American, and otherwise almost entirely unnoticed because it is just one of 659 ancient parish churches in Norfolk alone.
Altogether there are 20,000 ancient parish churches in Britain. There are more listed churches than there are petrol stations. Isn't that an amazing fact? If you decided to visit one every day, it would take you 54 years to see them all.
You hardly need me to tell you how lucky you are to have what you have in this country. Being surrounded by such a sumptuous diversity of history and beauty is a delight and a privilege, of course, but it is also a great danger. When you have such an abundance of great things, it is easy to think of it as essentially inexhaustible and to persuade yourself that it can be nibbled away at without serious loss. I hate it when people think like that.
To me, the mathematics of the British landscape are wonderfully simple and compelling. Britain has about 60 million acres of land and about 60 million people. That's one acre for each of us. Every time you give up 10 acres of greenfield site to build a superstore, in effect 10 people lose their acres. To enjoy the countryside they must go and use other people's acres. By developing countryside you force more and more people to share less and less space. Trying to limit the growth of development in the countryside isn't nimbyism, it's common sense".
Monday, July 09, 2007