almostwitty: (monkey)

These days, what with my busy hectic lifestyle (of working and parenting and erm…), I don’t really have time to keep up with cultural trends, and whatnot. We barely manage to go to the cinema to see a non-kids film once a year, and that’s a birthday treat that costs £100 once you factor in babysitting costs. So most of popular culture tends to pass me by.

Then thanks to BBC Radio One‘s Big Weekend, I stumbled upon Tilted by Christine and the Queens (released in the UK in 2016). The silkiest bit of French electro-pop I’ve heard since Desireless’s Voyage Voyage and pretty much everything about it is awesome. The simple but stark video, the dance moves, the insistent beat and you can’t ever really beat having a foreign language whispered seductively into your ears. Even the slightly bizarre English lyrics (“I’m doing my face With magic marker”) can’t stop it just being absolutely amazing.

Then I got a bit obsessed with the track. I played it ten times in a day. I spent a morning devouring wikipedia and Spotify while simultaneously getting butterflies in my stomach… which was dead annoying when I realised I had to give a work presentation later. With that dance move running through my head throughout.

Any hoodles, it’s awesome. Give it a listen.

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (monkey)

So, you may not know (and if you don’t know, I’m amazed, it’s usually the third most interesting fact about myself I unselfishly volunteer without being asked), but I was a performer at the London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony, which was roughly two years ago yesterday.

So, anyway, in a way of a minor celebration/salute, I decided to put on the key musical track And I Will Kiss today in the office. At the key drumbeat points, my body somehow remembered that I was meant to DO something, but my conscious brain couldn’t actually remember what.

That didn’t seem to matter to my body, which KNEW it had to do something and so … well, if you’d been staring at me in the office, you’d have seen my arms and elbows raising from the keyboard for one second in an extra-ordinarily unchoreographed movement, because darn it the arms and elbow just KNEW it had to do something…

Will the body ever forget these movements from 2012 ?!

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (evil)

I don’t know if anyone’s ever managed to try for a webtest, and get zero percent – ie nothing, but I managed it for the BBC’s How Musical are you? LabUK test.

0%. Nothing. it means I got very very few answers right.

I could blame it on feeling ill, with a cold that’s zapping me of all energy. Or the stress of waiting for the arrival of WeaponX. Or just accept the fact I’m musically retarded.

Still, it didn’t stop the BBC from suggesting a few musical programmes for an obviously musically deaf person such as myself:

My Musical test results and recommendations

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (evil)

He even manages to quote the Pet Shop Boys in this Hansard release:

Kevin Brennan (Cardiff West) (Lab): Where will these unqualified teachers be required to teach? I have here the document containing the Government’s list of places where they want free schools to be able to open without any planning permission. It includes hairdressers, travel agencies, sandwich bars, dry cleaners, undertakers and—you could not make this up, Mr Speaker—pet shops. Actually, the Secretary of State and the schools Minister, the hon. Member for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton (Mr Gibb), looks a bit like the Pet Shop Boys, but does their vision of 21st century schools really consist of our children being educated in the abandoned premises of “Reptiles Я Us”?

Michael Gove: I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for that well rehearsed question. I know that he is a brilliant musician, but in the words of the Pet Shop Boys, he’s got the brains and I’ve got the looks, and together—I suspect—we could make lots of money.

Who said our politicians are out of touch?

(spotted on Twitter by @imnotscared)

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (Default)

When my sisters and I were growing up (younger than ten), we were somewhat discouraged from consuming Western pop culture, ie music and films, by our parents. (Can’t you tell?) Thus, while my schoolfriends were (perhaps) reading Smash Hits et. al., we were listening to Cantopop and comedy films from Hong Kong, procured at great expense and effort from Chinese shops in Liverpool.

One of the tapes we used to constantly listen to on those long drives to Liverpool were albums by Sam Hui, who along with his brothers also used to make knock-about comedy capers like Security Unlimited. They were simple, but had catchy tunes and comedy routines – in the back of my head, I can probably still recall the Security Unlimited way of learning how to drive. Think of a working class Nolan Sisters branching into Carry On films, with no innuendo.

Then we got a radio, I discovered how to control the television set, and I threw myself into UK pop culture (Smash Hits! Neneh Cherry! Doctor Who!) while my parents wondered where exactly they had gone wrong.

Fast-forward 25 years, and a chance Googling reveals that American casinos are so keen to get Chinese gamblers coming in, they book Sam Hui to perform at Las Vegas, and casinos in Connecticut have Chinese-language websites where lots of Asian pop stars perform, for the cash. I’ve seen casinos put up Chinese-language signs in London and Manchester to compel Chinese gamblers to come in, but this takes it to a whole new level.

As for that Security Unlimited – the film my sisters and I must have watched hundreds of times on repeat on a dodgy VHS – is now on YouTube, and also available via Amazon.com video-on-demand. Technology, eh?

Now if only I could speak Chinese.

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (Default)

You may have seen a musical clip from the frankly genius idea of Silence of the Lambs: The Musical set to Lego:

Anyway, it turns out the musical is coming to London mid-January! Who’s with me? We can all wear night-vision goggles and adopt cod-Virginian accents! (or surgical masks and cod-posh-Welsh accents)…

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (Default)

You may have seen a musical clip from the frankly genius idea of Silence of the Lambs: The Musical set to Lego:

Anyway, it turns out the musical is coming to London mid-January! Who’s with me? We can all wear night-vision goggles and adopt cod-Virginian accents! (or surgical masks and cod-posh-Welsh accents)…

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (Default)

I’m watching a Chinese Cantopop music video, which has all the stylings of a Mariah Carey / Britney Spears video shoot. Groovy dancers, a wind machine, and a made-up lead singer in a short skirt.

However, the only English-language lyric I can pick up is “Loneliness is my best friend”. Just to reinforce this fact, it’s repeated about 8 times with subtitles underneath, before reverting back to Cantonese.

Fortunately, with a bit of Googling magic, I can now reveal the song is Bianca Yu’s Still A Wonderful Life

Watch the video if you dare... )
almostwitty: (Default)

I’m watching a Chinese Cantopop music video, which has all the stylings of a Mariah Carey / Britney Spears video shoot. Groovy dancers, a wind machine, and a made-up lead singer in a short skirt.

However, the only English-language lyric I can pick up is “Loneliness is my best friend”. Just to reinforce this fact, it’s repeated about 8 times with subtitles underneath, before reverting back to Cantonese.

Fortunately, with a bit of Googling magic, I can now reveal the song is Bianca Yu’s Still A Wonderful Life

I think I’ve found my new hipster look for 2010.

I’m not too sure Google Translate does a good job with Cantopop lyrics though:

Neighborhood of a person dinner
Lit candles total available radiant
Black linen without a partner
Aroma had a comfortable night with me
Hard to meet the worry-free eating and drinking
Stressed the need to pay attention to Huazhizhaozhan
Fast repair the image of vulnerability
Then instead of hauling your hands I’m ready
Carefree to walk everywhere
* A person is willing to count on cold
Even if a person alone
A cruel diversion program
But I was still a refined *
I do not reason alone a vacation and then the time difference
Concerned about the love off like a light down
There is no road map to do a happy canvas
Random do like my home hotel
No opponent to make ends meet
I am happy every day I received a total shopping
Let me Tim newly installed additional temperament
You do not do not light easily manipulated
Chic is my code

and of course, Cantopop doesn’t have exclusive licence to use the word ‘loneliness’ in inappropriate places:

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (Default)

Throbbing beats that can’t be ignored, and a lovely heart-felt lyric. Straight from 1981 (or thereabout…)

Of course, you may prefer the cynical but hopefully romantic lyrics that the Pet Shop Boys are more justly famed for:

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (Default)

When I first moved to Cardiff in December 2001 and found myself at numerous friends’ Christmas house parties, I did note – as you do – that everybody’s music collection included plenty of CDs by the Stereophonics, Manic Street Preachers – and even Catatonia, depending on how old the partygoers were. Via some magical osmosis, without actually sitting down and listening to those CDs, by 2006 I was quite familiar with a fair few tracks, thus sparking off a sense of Welsh nostalgia every time Kelly Jones (he was in my local pub in West London, once) or James Dean Bradfield’s voice spikes out of the radio.

Anyway, fast forward to today and I’ve only just heard the new single, Innocent. And I loves it. That quite Welsh lyrical combination of sour nostalgia for a time in the future. And a rockin’ good tune.

Or maybe that’s just me.

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (Default)

then apparently Absolute Radio is your UK radio station of choice, according to comparemyradio.com. Mind you, they’ve only played a track 11 times in the last 30 days.

Just thought you might want to know that.

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (Default)

The new Pet Shop Boys single. It’s fab. For the following reasons:

- It’s going to be fab at concerts, hearing fans scream back the various call-and-beck lines
- Lyrically, it’s an age-old theme but with the typical Pet Shop Boys twist
- It’s catchy as hell. Did I mention that?
- Love Etc. - I mean, could there be a more Pet Shop Boys title?

Originally published at almost witty. You can comment here or there.

almostwitty: (evil)
A former music writer colleague of mine once told me that the great thing about new music was that it was always there for you, when you were ready.

Given that my last CD purchases of simple pop bands Alphabeat and Scouting For Girls drew sustained moaning from my music-loving neighbour, it's patently high time that I stopped hearing new music via music video channels, and had my musical horizons somewhat expanded. Fortunately, my friend muzikfiend is visiting from the States, with a declared intention to spend a week going to as many music concerts and clubs as possible, so I thought I'd join her.

So first off was Sneaky Sound System at the Koko. I'd heard pretty much nothing about them, so was pleasantly surprised to find a popular energetic electro-pop-dance band from Australia with a couple of catchy songs that I still can't forget.



Next, it was Ladytron at the Shepherds' Bush Empire. I have listened to, and liked a couple of their songs before so I was looking forward to it, but was "super non-impressed", as muzikfiend puts it. It seemed as if they had no passion, no desire to be there - they were just going through the very bored motions, and they didn't play their more popular tunes. However, the crowd around me seemed to love it, so it was probably just me not attuned to their cold ways.

Now, onwards to an impromptu club tour of London
almostwitty: (Default)

One of the signs of stress must be when you’re easily distracted by cool new music.

And of all the radio stations to point me to this little gem by Nerina Pallot called Everyone’s Gone To War, the fact it was plugged by Capital FM-soundalike Red Dragon FM is a bit worrying.

But it’s not the usual pop pap sleazily sold by them. It’s got a great hook, a good beat, some rocking guitar and the lyrics are quite possibly the most anti-war, anti-establishment since the Black Eyed Peas. But we all know what happened to them :(

Hey, any song that has the refrain “I don’t want to dieeeeee” has got to be worth at least one listen.

Originally published at almost witty. You can comment here or there.

almostwitty: (Default)

On Sunday, I got to indulge in a pleasure that’s getting rarer and rarer as the years advance, the summer of my life turns to the brown autumnal leaves and as my body prefers to stay in blissful sleep rather than facing the world.

A pleasure that I was so keen to relive, that I had to go 100 miles out of my way, and swerve past sheep on the road in Carmarthenshire to enjoy. (Just think, about 15 years in Wales, and this is the first time I had to swerve past sheep on an open road)

Yes, I got to listen to the *whole* of the UK Top 40 - all three hours of it with JK & Joel, who are like a really annoying and slightly gay version of Dick’n'Dom. I half expected them to be murmuring bogies throughout.

But what the hell happened to the charts? Time was that if I listened in, I could at least finally go “ahhh, that’s that tune” that I had heard but never placed, and mostly hear new tunes that had passed the peer-review of being popular and therefore worthy of my ears.

Not this time, it seems. A full 7 weeks after the JCB Song was number 1, it’s still in the UK Top 20 - at number 14. The awful X-Factor finalist song That’s My Ego (oh, alright, it’s That’s My Goal but it still sounds like ego to me) - which was number one at Christmas six weeks, is even higher at 12. Madonna’s Hung Up, which was out in October for goodness’ sake, is STILL in the charts at number 15. And let us not dirty this blog with that Blunt song, which has actually gone *back* into the UK top 40 this week.

Which wouldn’t be as bad if there were new good songs to replace it. But the only songs I like in the top ten is from Candi Stanton (a re-mix) or Dead or Alive (a re-issue). In fact, the first cool new song isn’t in the charts till Goldfrapp makes an appearance at number 15. And I’ll probably have to begrudgingly admit an admiration for The Magic Numbers at number 20.

I’ve always prided myself on having a populist ecletic music taste. From synth-electro-pop to poodle-haired rock, I like some songs from almost every genre. I’ve resisted the general online movement towards peer-recommendations from a particular genre, because even I cannot listen to the Pet Shop Boys all day long. I crave variety. But if the charts (and therefore the radio stations) are no longer going to be my source for new electic-genre music that I wouldn’t hear otherwise, where else can I go?

Originally published at almost witty. You can comment here or there.

almostwitty: (Default)

Sorry to go on about this, but I really think it’d be better all round if we all postponed Christmas. Just by a week or so, just to give me a little more time.

The washing-up has been piling up alongside the laundry, simply because I need to get the international Christmas cards and presents out by Monday and get most of my family presents out of the way by Saturday.

My impending sense of panic and doom is, however, not helped by the terrible Christmas music that the shops and supermarkets are inflicting on my poor ears in an attempt to get me into the festive spirit.

Wizzard’s bloody cliched Christmas song kept stalking me the other day down the high street as I went into shop after shop in a vain attempt to find a suitable present. And then on the drive home, it came on again - from a caller who wanted that song instead of a sweet Christmas carol. Which is at least more calming after a long hour spent gazing at things that nobody could possibly want. Anyone who wishes it could be Christmas every day needs their bloody head examined.

In the meantime, VH1 are asking for your favourite Christmas song. Please let it be the superlative Fairytale of New York (being re-released this Christmas apparently). Let it be Dear Jessie. Let it be Always On My Mind. Let it be anything but that bloody Slade song.

Originally published at almost witty. You can comment here or there.

almostwitty: (Default)

Since I spent 14 hours yesterday mostly monitoring/watching the Tsunami Relief Concert to provide on-demand broadband video clips (with my colleagues of course), I thought I might as well give my knee-jerk reactions of the artistes involved. Although of course I COULD HAVE BEEN THERE INSTEAD, if it wasn’t for my cursed multi-skilling abilities. Rant to come.

Katharine Jenkins – nice voice, but the songs seemed a bit too bland and were too anthemic at this early stage in the proceedings. Of course, at one point I shouted across the office: “Katharine’s up but she’s a bit rough” (meaning that the video clip wasn’t the best in the world) to which one of the witty tech geniuses replied back “If only she was”.

Keane – the first band to which I would utter “Oh, so *that*’s who does that song!”. Nice performance, although nothing to write home about – although I may just buy a Keane CD. Or download the MP3.

Charlotte Church – finally, the chance for the local gal to break out of the “posh song” ghetto and perhaps give a new spin to an old pop/rock classic. Alas, no. I’m not one to judge on singing but her voice just didn’t provoke a reaction in me.

Lemar – probably the first artist to annoy me with his pretentous “let’s not forget why we’re here, people” remark.

Craig David – surprisingly stripped down. Not too sure it made an impact but at least it wasn’t his usual stuff.

Snow Patrol – second band to provoke that “oh, it’s *that* song” remark. Light up, light up.

Goldie Lookin’ Chain – who would Adam and Eve it, eh? Seven Newport boys rapping to 60,000 people. Makes a change from their first gig. Wish they hadn’t sworn though – took us ages to get rid of that swear word.

Badly Drawn Boy – the last time I saw him do a benefit gig in a stadium, he totally sucked all the pleasure and momentum that had gone before him in one annoying folk song. A trick he repeated at the gig, partly by starting a song, then stopping a minute later and doing it again. Not something I’d noticed the first time around!

Aled Jones – perhaps a chance for Aled to take advantage of his status from Strictly Come Dancing and do some versions of recent pop/rock classics using his voice. But, alas no. I didn’t even know what songs he did!

Brian McFadden – the first person to provoke a swear word from me, for having the temerity to swear right at the beginning of a song. Why, Brian? You’re not a rock rebel, and you never will be.

Kelly Jones – what on earth prompted Kelly Jones to fly back from Barcelona, only to do lacklustre stripped-down versions of Stereophonics classics that the local crowd were desperate to hear? Marks also deducted for unnecessary swearing.

Manic Street Preachers – the masters of stadium rock come to show wanna-be’s like Kelly how it’s done. Acknowledge the cause very very briefly, and kick off with a rock classic. And another one. And another one. Just about the only time when I really really wished I’d been down there instead of babysitting a video encoder.

Liberty X – for heavens’ sake, EAT SOME FOOD! You are way too skinny!

Lulu – for ages, we weren’t sure if she’d done Shout (the song she is most famous for). We had to rewind the tape to check!

Eric Clapton was the grand finale. So did he brush up his guitar skills, and close the show with some grand guitar anthems? No. He bored everyone senseless with 30 minutes of aimless blues songs that even the resident blues expert had trouble identifying.

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (Default)

Well, it was a 14-hour workday producing on-demand broadband video clips from the Tsunami Relief Concert – and aside from the fact I’ve still got a glowing wristband on that would have allowed me backstage access throughout the entire gig and I had to babysit a video encoder instead – it was good fulfilling fun. Pumping out 8 hours of video content, checking it for swearing gives one a huge sense of achievement. Although not being able to spot when Badly Drawn Boy repeats a song twice is not one of my music appreciation highlights.

Mirrored from almost witty.

almostwitty: (Default)

Like ants to a sugar cube on a picnic.

And just when it gets interesting, and the music starts pumping out the stadium speakers, I have to go to the office to pump out 8 hours of broadband-quality on-demand video. Which will be fun, but not as fun as working backstage.

Mirrored from almost witty.

Profile

almostwitty: (Default)
almostwitty

June 2017

S M T W T F S
     123
45678910
1112131415 1617
18192021222324
252627282930 

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Jun. 22nd, 2017 06:26 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios