Monday, October 06, 2003

And the blogroll goes on...

The latest raft of blogs to arrest my attention:

Arpeggio
Cha Cha Cha
D4D
Frizzy Logic
Fudge It

The authors of D4D and Frizzy Logic are both guest bloggers over at Troubled Diva this week, in Mike's cyberabsence.

So, my blogroll just continues to grow and grow. One day I really must prune it - but, for the time being, I'm shrinking from the task.
The wait is over

At long last we registered our first League victory of the season on Saturday, at the seventh attempt - and it just had to be Shearer who did the trick, scoring his 250th career league goal against one of his former clubs. Although Southampton hardly played like they have been in recent weeks, we still managed to make hard work of it - but grinding out a win was all that mattered. A shame from our perspective that Leeds, Spurs and Wolves all won too, but the result should hopefully improve confidence and morale, and signal an upturn in fortunes.
The tunes, the sweat, the mullets

Quite why those short of stature often have absurdly high opinions of themselves is beyond me. Take Friday night at Sanctuary in Birmingham, for instance. I spent half an hour listening to a small moustachioed gentleman, pot-bellied and slick with sweat, singing songs about seduction and bragging about the size of his cock before shouting “Give it up for me – I’m the fucking best!

It was the third time I’ve seen Har Mar Superstar, and the joke has finally worn thin. The flyer promised “the white Prince and all-American pocket-sized brief-wearing disco-funk-soul stripping sex machine”, but for the most part his set was less an engorged love-poker and more a pathetically flaccid post-pub trouser-maggot. The low point was, as usual, the seedy violation of Stevie Wonder’s ‘Sir Duke’. Things picked up towards the end, though, with ‘Power Lunch’ and ‘Brothers & Sisters’, which triggered a mass stage invasion (and which, incidentally, will not now be seeing the light of day as a single due to “some hippy cunt in New York”). Even still, it took some time for Har Mar to work himself up, and his departure, just as things were getting moist, felt premature. As he disappeared from view making his way through the onstage throng shouting “Don’t fucking touch me!”, those around me were only too happy to massage his ego.

The night wasn’t wasted, though – far from it. We might have missed Chikinki, but there was always fashion-victim-spotting to be done – the place was practically wall-to-wall feathered mullets and horizontally striped T-shirts. As my significant other commented: “I know it’s trendy at the moment to look awful, but you can take it too far.” I blame Karen O and all of The Cooper Temple Clause.

Thankfully Zane Lowe was also on hand and on the decks – and, to use the popular parlance, he completely tore the place up, playing everything from Queens Of The Stone Age to NWA via At The Drive-In, Beastie Boys, Weezer and The Strokes. Respect due for making me realise quite how brilliant The Rapture’s ‘House Of Jealous Lovers’ could be in a club, and for wrapping up the set with ‘Stop’ by Jane’s Addiction. Come back again soon.
Wot, no Futureheads or Mogwai?

The Guardian’s list of the current Top 40 British artists. And, no – Radiohead aren’t at #1…
Is it just me…

…or could you make a great bootleg by putting the vocals from ‘Round Round’ by Sugababes over the music from ‘Waiting For My Man’ by the Velvets?
T-shirt slogan of the day

Join the army: travel the world, meet new people … and kill them.
Quote of the day

I feel very weak. Women have been leading me astray, and making me sin.

Former Newcastle striker and professional nutcase Tino Asprilla.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Blogwatch

Yes, the rancid corpse of a formerly regular feature that was slowly and quietly allowed to die has been exhumed - but for how long? Not sure, but what I do know is that there's been so much fantastic writing going on that I simply had to unbury the dead, if only for one week.

First of all, congratulations to Anna, who has now finished turging Drama in Glasgow and is heading down to London where the streets are paved with gold and Big Mac wrappers to seek fame and fortune, and to be with her gentleman friend. Awww, innit sweet?

Already in the Big Smoke, and giving the Diva a run for his money in the prolific stakes, is my new favourite weblogger LondonMark. The wonderful recent additions to his 'The Art Of ...' series ('... Anticipating', '... Buying' and '... Snacking') are the sort of posts that make me feel like I should just give up right now and leave it to the professionals. Here he is on the subject of buying popularity:

"Although not buying popularity directly, a certain amount of generosity or largesse generally proves to influence the way others will look at you. A bottle of champagne bought at the correct strategic time suggests not opulence, but opulence shared. 'See how I have not only money, but also that I spend my money on us all' is the (often not-so-subtle) underlying message. A semi-eaten pack of pork scratchings will rarely have the same effect, by the way."

Taking into account my current addiction, you'd be positively blessed to get a semi-eaten pack of pork scratchings from me.

Meanwhile, Mike has been undergoing all manner of unspeakable cosmetic changes (fake tan, bleached blonde fin haircut) in the name of amateur dramatics - that's some serious dedication there. Incidentally, does anyone else think the David Dickinson skintone effect is best achieved with the liberal application of gravy? Or is Cuprinol better?

Popdizzy is the place to go if you want misanthropic scorn directed studentwards:

"I also realised how incredibly unfashionable and un-studentish I am. The other students all look so... similar but different. I need a neatly-trimmed Craig David-ish beard. Some 'ethnic' beads around my neck and an ironic Pat Sharpe mullet dyed a variety of different colours. And I MUST get some Nike slipper-like trainers! I will buy some clothes from H&M tomorrow and I too will express my individuality with clothes that have been distressed by a machine to make them look more unique."

It's also the place to go if you want to find out how the new series of 'Dr Who' as written by the man behind C4's 'Queer As Folk', Russell Davies, might turn out. Personally, I suspect there might be slightly more Cybermen and slightly less fisting.

Great album covers quiz over at Me(ish) - I managed to get a paltry 30 out of 60, and consequently feel humbled and ashamed.

Elsewhere: Sarah on the phenomenon of charvas and the latest exhibitions at the Baltic; Alex's first experience of a creative writing group; Invisible Stranger's elegy for video jukeboxes; Dead Kenny on Chuck Palahniuk's latest novel 'Diary'; and Steve on Magnet's Top Ten Albums of the last decade, which has Neutral Milk Hotel's In The Aeroplane Over The Sea at #1.

... And finally, thanks to Rhys and Laura and to Razorhead for the linkage!
A bit like the chicken and the egg, but with smack-rock

I just can't decide. Are my current feelings of extreme lethargy the result of listening to far too much druggy music lately (The Jesus & Mary Chain, The Velvet Underground, The Stooges, that Strokes / NME CD)? Or have I been listening to that stuff because it's in tune with the way I'm feeling? Either way, I've got a severe case of head-haze, and thinking about it just makes me want to lie down.
Sir Bobby: sticking at it (for the time being, at least)

Yesterday's club statement:

"Newcastle United notes recent media speculation regarding Sir Bobby Robson and confirms that Sir Bobby Robson has not resigned and that any reports to the contrary are completely unfounded."

So, he might not be leaving us, but something is rotten in the state of Denmark - make no mistake about that.

(Of course, it's typical of the club, and the way football is today in general, that the statement was made to the Stock Exchange and not to the fans.)
From bad to worse?

Over the last couple of days I've been biting my tongue (or whatever the blogging equivalent of that is - sitting on my hands?) and refraining from commenting on a certain subject. I'm sure you can guess what. I'm not intending to comment properly until in possession of the full facts, but suffice to say from where I'm sitting things don't look very clever.

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Crisis averted

A thousand apologies - everything now seems to have righted itself, so fingers crossed. Please forgive me for mutating into a panicking drama queen for a moment back there - it won't happen again, I promise.

Of course, I'm now back to square one - comment-less. Sigh.
Confusion reigns

OK, so now I'm even more confused. With that last posting the current page seems to have restored itself, and the sitemeter button-link is now working again. But all the archives STILL only have the first posting visible. What the fuck is going on?!!
Disaster strikes

Oh dear oh dear. Something appears to have gone terribly, terribly wrong.

While trying to install a much-needed comments system via Haloscan this morning, I seem to have contrived to decimate the blog. Even though I've now removed the offending code, I can STILL only seem to get the first posting from any archive to be displayed - I can only hope that this doesn't mean thousands upon thousands of words are drifting off into the cyberether. I'm persistently told there are errors on the page, and what's more, I have no idea who's arriving at the site, or how, as my sitemeter button-link no longer works. Aaaarrrrgggghhhh!

If ANYONE has ANY help or advice they can offer, it is desperately needed and would be gratefully received, thanks - email silentwordsspeakloudest@hotmail.com.

With any luck I'll be laughing this off tomorrow, mocking my naively technophobic ways. Either that, or Silent Words Speak Loudest is going the way of the dodo.

Monday, September 29, 2003

The darkness

When I was back up North last week I took the opportunity to make my now-customary visit to the Baltic. A bit of a disappointment on this occasion, it has to be said - mainly because three of the floors were closed while staff prepared for a couple of new exhibitions opening this Saturday.

On the ground floor was Eva Grubinger's 'Dark Matter', comprising primarily of a huge black headset which emits a weird high-pitched whistling sound constructed from human voices. In the smaller room adjacent were four smaller scale models of a block of flats, a cooling tower, a nuclear reactor and a airport control tower. All were the same dull black, except for the windows which were shiny and reflective. The underlying themes of the exhibition are paranoia, and the transmission or concealment of information. All fine and well, and it was worth a look, but this exemplified my reservations about conceptual art - the concepts can be worthy and fascinating in themselves, but when they overshadow the consequent works of art you begin to wonder whether the art doesn't become redundant, an afterthought. I like to be intrigued by what it IS, rather than just by what it says. (That probably sounds like a terribly antiquated view...).

Better was Jane and Louise Wilson's video installation, revolving around themes of space and place. On an array of different screens, most hanging from the ceiling at different angles but some flat on the ceiling itself, images were projected from several locations in the North-East - including an oil rig, an electronics factory and a 60s concrete pavilion in Peterlee. The wonderful cinematography made the ostensibly mundane subject matter quite beautiful, and the crystal-clear sound system augmented the experience no end - during the shots from the electronics plant, all the gentle whirring, whining and clicking made me feel like I was inside a Matmos record.
Gunned down

Another Premiership match, another crushing disappointment. But the defeat to Arsenal at Highbury was galling not because of any lack of commitment or spirit, but because we should have left London with at least a point.

Overall, the performance was of a very high standard - excellently-worked goals from Robert and Bernard, Dyer again seeming to hint that he's at his most dangerous on the flanks rather than straight through the middle, Bowyer giving his best showing in a black and white shirt. The defending, too, was for the most part sound.

But only for the most part.

We gifted an injury-plagued Arsenal side three goals and emerged from the contest pointless when, but for stupid individual errors, we might have got all three. Bramble did very little wrong all night - except for swinging wildly at an attempted clearance and allowing Henry a simple tap-in for the first goal. Then we gave Gilberto a free header, and - worst of all - Jenas inexplicably raised his hand to a cross from the right to concede the penalty from which Henry notched the winner. I'm still not convinced JJ actually touched the ball - but simply raising his hand in the first place was utterly stupid. It wasn't even as if he was trying to gain extra height in jumping with his arms up - he was already well off the ground.

So, naivety costs us dear once again, and we remain off the bottom of the table only thanks to Kevin Davies's late equaliser for Bolton against Wolves. But we might have escaped such severe punishment for our mistakes against a worse side, and we'll definitely play worse than that this season and win. As the magnificent Breda fans sang on Wednesday night just after Shearer had made it 4-0, "always look on the bright side of life"...
Feel good hits of the 29th September

OK, so this is coming very quickly after the last FGH, but hey - for the first time in a while I've been listening to lots of music, including (as you might guess from what follows) the free NME CD...

1. 'Never Understand' - The Jesus & Mary Chain
2. 'Hurt' - Johnny Cash
3. 'Jane Says' - Jane's Addiction
4. 'Bad Day' - REM
5. 'Chinese Rocks' - Johnny Thunders And The Heartbreakers
6. 'The Golden Path' - Chemical Brothers with Wayne Coyne
7. 'In Like The Rose' - Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
8. 'Obstacle #1' - Interpol
9. 'On A Rope' - Rocket From The Crypt
10. 'Hand In Glove' - The Smiths
Know Your Enemy #28

May I join with Dead Kenny in lamenting the sad demise of It Makes No Difference, shut down in the last week by The Man. The author of this garrulous, eccentric and vitriolic dissection of popular culture inspired and cajoled me into starting up SWSL - I owe a debt of gratitude to you, sir.

So, to all at The Daily Telegraph, and especially The Minx: fuck you.
"Then the moment: the dog let loose from the straining chain, the voluntary step off the ledge, the bright light of an explosion before the sound; the tsunami of the four coming together"

Stylus's Scott McKeating on the high point of Jane's Addiction's Ritual De Lo Habitual LP, 'Three Days'.
Quote of the day

"Outside of a dog a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read."

Groucho Marx.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

Dutch mastered

Some poor misguided fool recently stumbled across Silent Words Speak Loudest having entered into Google the search request "people with the name Ben are cursed". Now, just at this very moment, I'm more inclined to say that I'm a lucky talisman. Allow me to explain...

I've just returned from St James's Park - where Newcastle had scored only once and failed to win in their previous four matches of the season - having witnessed a thoroughly splendid 5-0 UEFA Cup demolition of Dutch side NAC Breda. It was, I'm sorry to confess it, my first visit in nearly three years.

Despite being talked up by the players and in the press, on the day Breda looked overawed, and showed very little of any quality - but to dwell on their failings would be to detract unjustly from the Newcastle performance. Quite simply, from front to back, to a man, we were outstanding, full of energy, drive and commitment - and completely unrecognisable from the woefully lacklustre side of the opening few weeks of the season. Singling out one or two individuals, it was great to see Bellamy back on the scoresheet instead of just in the referee's notebook; Ambrose grabbed a first senior goal which should do his confidence a power of good; and Robert played with pace and passion, terrifying the opposition every time he received the ball on the left. But the plaudits must finally rest upon Titus Bramble, who capped a fabulous defensive display (colossal in the air, fierce in the tackle, composed and accurate in his distribution) with a first goal for the club. His last few performances have given genuine cause for believing that the roughest of Bobby's young diamonds is on the way to being the polished finished gem.

So, a five star five goal performance - but it just wouldn't be Newcastle if there weren't a couple of clouds on the horizon. One is the news that Woodgate is out for six to eight weeks, though Bramble and O'Brien did enough tonight to suggest that they can minimise the impact of his absence. The other is the visit to Highbury on Friday - a much sterner test awaits, to be sure, but after tonight's all-round display there's at least cause for cautious optimism and renewed hope that we might escape from the capital with some reward.

I'll have my fingers crossed.
Something smells fishy

Mr Nick Southall, UK editor of online music magazine Stylus, has his very own blog, Auspicious Fish. You owe it to yourself to check it out - not only does he, as his blog proudly proclaims, write like a motherfucker, but he also has excellent taste in shag music.
Feel good hits of the 24th September

1. 'The Modern Age' - The Strokes
2. 'Darts Of Pleasure' - Franz Ferdinand
3. 'Roulette Dares' - The Mars Volta
4. 'Chain Gang Of Love' - The Raveonettes
5. 'Island In The Sun' - Weezer
6. 'Bill McCai' - The Coral
7. 'Start Choppin' - Dinosaur Jr
8. 'Hate To Say I Told You So' - The Hives
9. 'Heroes' - David Bowie
10. 'Spoonman' - Soundgarden

I think I might finally be getting to grips with the Mars Volta LP...
Quote of the day

"Dealing with the record industry's a lot like dealing with a prostitute. You know what the end result's gonna be, you're just arguing about the money."

Wayne Rosso, president of peer-to-peer filesharing service Grokster.

Monday, September 22, 2003

Got your number!” FUCK OFF!!!

Hello, OK, Rebekah Wade, Piers Morgan, Mark Frith etc take note. Forget bars or restaurants or clubs or glitzy film premieres in London. If you really wanna catch some slebs red-faced, panting, sweaty and off-guard, the event to be at simply HAS to be the Great North Run, daaaahlings. It was a veritable parade of the great, the good and the BBC Weather team. Look, I’ll do your job for you…

There’s disgraced King of Spin Alistair Campbell flanked by a fluorescent T-shirted bouncer. Shame – him getting torn limb-from-limb in a traditional Labour heartland would have made for a real spectacle … Wooooh, that Matthew Pincent’s a big boy, isn’t he? Fnar fnar … It’s Paula Radcliffe! No, hang on, where’s she gone? Oh, there she is, she’d just turned sideways … Why does lecherous granddad Jimmy Saville wear such perilously tight shorts? Surely there’s a great danger that his gnarled old boys might escape from the barracks and scare thousands of young ladies and small children. Oh yeah, his face does that already … There goes Micky Adams. If sweat alone could keep Leicester in the Premiership, he’d have them safe by Christmas … Is that Emily off ‘Emmerdale’? She’s got the pigtails, but to be absolutely sure I’d need to hear that stupid little voice – confirmation I could well do without …

For the second weekend in a row, I had to put up with all manner of forced “wackiness” and yet more twats in 118 running vests, and onlookers humouring them and finding the whole thing hilarious. Fuck running 13.1 miles –THAT’S what I call endurance and stamina.
Stalemate

Some people have been inclined to look at the positives – a first clean sheet of the season, and our first point gained at home. Bramble had another excellent afternoon and nearly scored, while we created several openings and showed a good deal more endeavour and effort than in other recent matches. But the fact remains, though, that we drew 0-0 at home to Bolton, a side we should be routinely demolishing and a side who had suffered 4-0 defeats on their previous two away trips. This was another hugely disappointing result.

And so it was, smarting with the knowledge of our failings, that I caught the train from Nottingham to Newcastle. Unfortunately the journey necessitated changing at Derby – at which point, clutching my logo-emblazoned bag, I realised that the Rams had that same afternoon been playing host to Sunderland, and that I’d be joined for the three-hour journey north by hordes of drunken Mackem pondscum intent on making me the focus of their anti-Toon jibes and on telling me repeatedly how great goalkeeper Mart Poom’s last-minute headed equaliser had been. Not, it should be said, the most enjoyable train journey I’ve ever had.

I’m actually getting to see us play on Wednesday, at home to Dutch outfit NAC Breda in the UEFA Cup, only two days before we take on Arsenal at Highbury. The timing is unfortunate, and it promises to be a tough match (Breda beat Ajax at the weekend), but hopefully with a bit more luck in front of goal we can get that desperately-needed first win. As things stand, though, my pre-season predictions look more and more foolish and arrogantly complacent with every match.
The crackle of pigskin

I confess it: I’m an addict. Not to hard drugs. Not to alcohol. Not even to The Raveonettes, although my current obsession with them comes close. No, I’m addicted to that Black Country delicacy, pork scratchings. I just can’t get enough of God’s own pub snack of choice (alongside crisps) – all that delicious salty, crunchy goodness. Even the hairy bits taste great. It’s just a shame that I can practically feel the fat lining my arteries every time I eat a packet. They always say that accepting you have a problem is the first and most important step. So, can anyone recommend an appropriate counselling group?
Know Your Enemy #27

The section of his brain that dishes out adverse criticism seems to have shut down. The book is relentlessly eulogistic. Not a single fault is found with anything Dylan says or writes from start to finish … It remains extraordinarily unfunny, and when you try to work out why, you realise that it is because it is saying all the time ‘I am cleverer than you’. Successful humorists are careful to avoid that message. Ricks belts it out fortissimo.

Sunday Times critic John Carey on Christopher Ricks’s new study of Bob Dylan’s lyrics, ‘Dylan’s Visions Of Sin’. Carey’s tone is sniffily snobbish, but, whether right or wrong, his demolition job makes for great reading. Book reviews are often dull, anodyne, backslapping affairs, but every once in a while they can be really barbed, cutting and downright nasty.
Quote of the day

[Photographs] are the proof that something was there and no longer is. Like a stain. And the stillness of them is boggling. You can turn away, but when you come back they’ll still be there looking at you.

Photographer Diane Arbus.
Spotted

Were the eyes playing tricks or did I really see a bloke reading the Paul Daniels autobiography ‘Under No Illusion’ in public? Has he NO shame?!!
Three Of A Kind #8

Three great alcoholic concoctions:

Turboshandy (Becks / Budweiser / Grolsch / Stella and Smirnoff Ice)
After Eight (Baileys, Tia Maria and Crème de Menthe)
Blackjack (Pernod and cranberry juice)

Another I must try has been suggested to me by a man well versed in the art of drinking - a vodka spritzer, containing Absolut Citron and white wine. Sounds lethal, and even the thought gives me a bit of a headache.
Lyric-that’s-stuck-in-my-head-and-won’t-leave of the day

My girl is a little animal / She always wants to fuck / I can’t find a reason why / I guess it’s just my luck

‘Little Animal’ – The Raveonettes

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Three Of A Kind #7

Three players Newcastle should have at least tried to sign this summer:

Wayne Bridge
Brett Emerton
Harry Kewell
"Without that sense of deeper family loyalty, it just becomes like anything else"

They said it wouldn't last. And it hasn't - Zwan have split after just one album. I marvelled at the fact they'd got together at all. I mean, egomaniac slapheaded former chief Pumpkin Billy Corgan and ex-Slint post-rock guitar god Dave Pajo, with a supporting cast of Matt Sweeney, Jimmy Chamberlain and Paz Lechantin - what were the chances? Really must get hold of their album, though.
It's the end of the world as we know it (and The Silver Mt Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band feel fine)

Stylus head honcho Todd Burns reviews the latest album from the Godspeed-affiliated Canadian collective, "This Is Our Punk Rock", The Rusted Satellites Gather + Sing. With hindsight, it's true - Godspeed's last outing, Yanqui UXO, just isn't as special as their previous offerings, predominantly (as he suggests) because they have begun to sound a touch tired and predictable. If this new LP is anything like as good as the last one (Born Into Trouble As The Sparks Fly Upwards - snappy titles just aren't their thing), then it's an essential purchase.
We wanna be a part of it...

Watching the opening fixtures of this season's Champions' League was, as I'd expected, a painful experience. Why oh why, I found myself muttering last night, could it not be US suffering a chastening three-goal defeat at home to Inter Milan, and not Arsenal? Of course, matters are hardly helped by the fact that Partizan Belgrade, our conquerors from the qualifying round (though, to be honest, we managed to conquer ourselves that night), have got mouthwatering fixtures against Mr Beckham and his Real Madrid side to look forward to. We were given a prestigious ticket to the party, but carelessly tossed it in the bin. Still, there's always next season - though we need to get some points on the board, preferably starting with a victory over Bolton at St James' on Saturday.
Quote of the day

"Billie [Piper] is on the cover of New Woman, under a strapline which reads: 'The Sex? Chris has shown me things I never knew existed.' Yeah, ginger pubes can be a real puzzler the first time, can't they?"

The ever-wonderful No Rock & Roll Fun.

Monday, September 15, 2003

Wacky races

The assortment of pasty, freakily-shaped and spindly oddballs, hardly an advertisement for glowing rude health. The stench of Ralgex and Deep Heat. The wailing of ambulance sirens. The crunching of discarded plastic cups. And, of course, the "wacky" outfits ("Hey, wouldn't it be simply HILARIOUS if I dress up like Elvis / those two blokes from the 118-118 advert?"). Yes, I went along to the Robin Hood Half-Marathon in Nottingham in my capacity as boyfriend of one of the entrants. I decided years ago that running is a torment I could well do without, and yesterday failed to persuade me otherwise.

And am I alone in thinking that naming a chain of sports and fitness clothing stores Sweatshop is in incredibly poor taste?
SlamDunc-ed

Football has such an uncanny knack of kneeing you in the bollocks. There we were, 2-1 up at Everton with two minutes to play, having been without our full complement of players since the 40th minute. Shearer had stuck away a couple of penalties, Bramble had performed well and nearly everyone had shown signs of having rediscovered their combative spirit. And then, one slightly dubious penalty awarded against us later, who should step up to deny us our first three point return of the season, but that overpaid and astonishingly injury-prone lunk of an old boy Duncan Ferguson?

Though it couldn't be said that we played positively well, the win would have been at least hard-fought and would have got our season properly underway. As it is, the old failings return to haunt us. Surely we should have been able to close out the game with only eight minutes left on the clock when Shearer tucked away his second spot-kick of the afternoon? Once again Robert seemed to confuse 'showing commitment to the cause' with 'rushing about and diving in recklessly with no thought as to the consequences', once again Bowyer was anonymous, and once again the worryingly shot-shy Bellamy got a booking for opening his troublesome gob.

In the circumstances, a point was a decent outcome - but the players know it should have been three.
Johnny Cash RIP

The Guardian's obituary: "a country musician who was too big for country music".

Nick Cave on the Man In Black (link courtesy of Parallax View): "I lost my innocence with Johnny Cash. I used to watch the 'Johnny Cash Show' on television in Wangaratta when I was about 9 or 10 years old. At that stage I had really no idea about rock'n'roll. I watched him and from that point I saw that music could be an evil thing, a beautiful, evil thing."
That great love sound

My attempt to put into words why I'm blissfully in love with The Raveonettes.

And while you're about it, check out Nick Southall's Top Ten Songs That Remind Me Of Sex. It's reassuring to know that I'm not alone in finding the sweet whale sounds of Sigur Ros, the apocalyptic grandeur of Godspeed You! Black Emperor and the electric hypnosis of Six By Seven's debut LP strangely arousing.
Quote of the day

"It is a concept EP, the concept being fuck America basically and fuck weapons of mass destruction. It is like a protest record. It is the kind of record that you would want to put on if you are going to go out on a riot. We do feel quite angry about what has been going on with the war."

Jimmy Cauty (formerly of KLF) on the new EP 'Fuck The Fucking Fuckers' by the collective Blacksmoke, of which he is a member.

(Courtesy of No Rock & Roll Fun)
Text message of the day

Received at midnight on Saturday:

"Drunk as a sjunk."

Says it all, really.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

One year old today... well, in two days time, at least

Ahem.

*clears throat*

Silent Words Speak Loudest celebrates its first birthday on Saturday, and I'd just like to take this opportunity to thank my family and friends, God and Allah - but most of all YOU, my blogbuddies, who have supported me through thick and thin, through rain and shine, by reading the verbal effluent that has appeared on the site and by linking to SWSL, a heartwarming gesture which I can assure you felt like being embraced to your virtual bosoms. Thank you, thank you, thank you. It's been emotional.

*pauses to dab eye*

So, now that I've completed my probationary year and solemnly promise to improve the site over the course of the next twelve months (not least by discovering how to get comments - I want interactivity, dammit, not just me standing on a soapbox sounding off about everything and nothing!), may I humbly enquire as to when I get my Polyphonic Spree style robe to indicate my initiation into the Cult Of The Blog?
Music Sounds Better With You #10

'Last Nite' - The Strokes

There's very little to say about this track that hasn't already been said. So, suffice to say it's one of those rare singles that doesn't seem to diminish in quality with age and that, like only a few other songs I could name ('This Charming Man', 'Smells Like Teen Spirit', 'No-One Knows', 'Devil's Haircut', 'Sabotage', 'One-Armed Scissor', 'Been Caught Stealing'...), is always guaranteed of getting me dancing if I hear it blasting out in a club. There's no way I could ever tire of THAT solo.

That said, the inclusion of 'Last Nite' in the current series was a matter of much internal debate - after all, it's not as if they've actually influenced my record collection DIRECTLY very much. What they have done, though, is reignited interest in rock music, opened the floodgates and brought to my ears loads of other great bands that I wouldn't otherwise have heard (as well as - inevitably - several I could have quite easily done without). I'm not disputing the fact that the 'New Rock Revolution' is a concept conveniently invented by NME to sell more issues of the rag - OF COURSE there are always fantastic rock bands out there making great sounds in the forest, even if NME isn't there to hear them. But the fact remains that without The Strokes, other bands may well have not come to prominence.

(Note to Conor McNicholas: Just because The Strokes turned out a great debut LP, and might well be about to repeat the trick, doesn't mean we all want to find out which hand Julian Casablancas wipes his arse with.)

Opened the floodgates for: The White Stripes, Interpol, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Kills, The Hives, The Bellrays, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Datsuns, The Von Bondies, The Libertines, Ikara Colt, The Black Keys, Soledad Brothers, Burning Brides, The Catheters, The Pattern...

And so this brings us almost right up to date, and wraps up what became a tortuously drawn-out series. Just to recap, here are the ten most influential songs in the development of my musical tastes and record collection:

1. 'Ring Ring' - Abba (c.1983)
2. 'Hey Jude' - The Beatles (c.1987)
3. 'Paradise City' - Guns 'N' Roses (1988)
4. 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' - Nirvana (1991)
5. 'Drunken Butterfly' - Sonic Youth (1992)
6. 'Stupid Girl' - Garbage (1996)
7. 'Angels & Aliens' - Mogwai (1998)
8. 'Cosmonaut' - At The Drive-In (2000)
9. 'It's A Motherfucker' - Eels (2001)
10. 'Last Nite' - The Strokes (2001)
Riddle me this...

So the US, faced with the prospect of a costly (in terms of both lives and money) peace-keeping and redevelopment programme in post-war Iraq, is calling upon the UN to come in and lend a hand with troops and resources. Isn't this the very same country who rode roughshod over the UN when it stood in the way of the invasion of Iraq, dismissing it as no longer being a credible or valuable organisation? It's all rather like a petulant teenager who defiantly and hotheadedly goes against the advice and wishes of his or her parents, and then comes crawling back with tail between the legs when it all goes horribly wrong, expecting mummy and daddy to pick up the pieces and bail them out.

And another thing: why do we refer to the Ministry of Defence and the defence industry, when referring to them as the Ministry of Attack and the attack industry would be far more accurate and appropriate?

Anyone care to enlighten me?
You WHAT?!!

The winding and crooked paths people take to arrive at this site continue to amaze me:

purple panda character at idlewild
teens who can function without daily cannibus abuse
ted hughes poetry baggy t-shirt
jane austen the cunt face
get rid of warts with a bible

I can't get the image out of my head of a troubled teen saying "But I just can't get through the day if I can't shout obscenities at rappers..."
Quote of the day

"We've got great tunes. We're the only rock band in this new rock thing that actually have songs in more than one shade. We've got seven rockers on the album and six ballads. It's going to be massive."

Jet's Chris Sester doing his best to sell us his band's debut album Get Born. Don't know about you, but I'm now suffering in an agony of suspense, so desperate am I to get hold of this work of brilliantly diverse genius. Fucking morons.

Monday, September 08, 2003

Black and whites (and reds and blues) unite

For most of the country, the biggest football match of the day on Saturday was in the Macedonian city of Skopje. But for a few hardy thousand, there was a much more significant match taking place in England, at Meadow Lane in Nottingham. Even then, the game itself, between Notts County and Luton, was overshadowed by what was going on around the pitch and behind the scenes. There was a very real chance that County were playing their last ever match before being kicked out of the league today as a result of their dire financial plight. As the oldest professional football club in the world (County were founded in 1862), this would be tragic.

County undoubtedly benefitted from the reduced number of fixtures taking place on Saturday due to the international programme, drawing wellwishing fans from clubs as diverse as Southampton, West Brom, Derby, Colchester, Portsmouth, Middlesbrough, Ipswich, Liverpool, Stoke and Leicester, as well as from city rivals Nottingham Forest. Not only did these supporters swell the attendance to an impressive 7505 and add to the coffers, but they helped make the atmosphere quite unique - the remarkable array of different football shirts made it feel as though we were united there behind a single cause, a love of the game, rather than because of any tribal allegiance. Football needn't be divisive, and it was heartwarming to see the extent of goodwill amongst all those who went along. For a diehard County fan's perspective on the sort of afternoon that could leave grown men in tears, read this.

Thankfully it's been announced today that the city's council has agreed to underwrite a £250,000 loan to ensure the club's immediate survival, in the hope that a rescue package and takeover can be worked out in the very near future. There's a long way to go yet, but at least this is a glimmer of hope for the fans.

From a personal point-of-view, though, Saturday afternoon was a sobering experience of the reality which so many lower league clubs are facing, the sort of reality of which fans of large Premiership teams like myself can all too easily become ignorant.
Fuzzy logic

I'm starting to come around to the realisation that my current exploits and experiments with facial hair (not so much an active choice, as the result of extreme laziness) might be a little misguided. Meeting a friend on Saturday, I was greeted with the comment: "Have you just come off a submarine?"
Feel good hits of the 8th September

1. 'The Love Gang' - The Raveonettes
2. 'Minerva' - Deftones
3. 'House Of Jealous Lovers' - The Rapture
4. 'Up The Bracket' - The Libertines
5. 'Regular John' - Queens Of The Stone Age
6. '09-15-00' - Godspeed You! Black Emperor
7. 'Spanish Main' - The Coral
8. 'A Picture Of Dorian Gray' - The Futureheads
9. 'Good Vibrations' - Beach Boys
10. 'Club Tropicana' - Wham!
Three Of A Kind #6

Three books I wanted to reread as soon as I'd finished them:

'A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man' - James Joyce
'Brighton Rock' - Graham Greene
'The Rainbow' - D H Lawrence
Quote of the day

"I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day."

Frank Sinatra
Know Your Enemy #26

Ulterior on David Blaine:

"The advert says: "Can you watch a man starve?" If it's David Blaine, then the answer is yes. I could quite happily get the araldite out and glue the horrible man in there and watch as he wastes away with nothing to eat but his own soiled nappies. He is quite possible the only living person that can make Paul Daniels look 'nice' and even 'sane'."