Thursday, 31 January 2008

Cat Power - Live on 6 Music

Embedded Image

I was lucky enough to see Cat Power perform a memorable 6 Music Hub Session on Tuesday. I've long been a fan of her records but had never seen her live before, mainly because I'd heard too many stories about her unpredictability on stage (I did have ticket for one her shows years ago and she cancelled).

While Chan Marshall did show up, the session didn't go as smoothly as some I've seen. Accompanied by accoustic and slide guitars, she sounded great and began with her new spin on Hank Williams's Ramblin' Man. An apropriate title since her subsequent conversation with George Lamb meandered for ages.

Halfway through her second number, Song to Bobby, the band abruptly stopped playing as the electric guitar went dead. Chan didn't realise they were live, broke the cardinal daytime radio sin of letting fly an expletive, had a confab with her band about what they should do, and eventually played a different song.

To those listening live it might have sounded shambolic. Watching it in the flesh was a lot of fun.

You can listen to the session on the iPlayer (edited for decency I believe) and see some photos on the 6 Music website.

If you're unaware of Cat Power, this the video for Lived In Bars from her last album The Greatest, is a pretty good introduction.

And a couple more versions of Ramblin' Man, first the Hank Williams original on top of footage from a Buster Keaton movie:

And secondly the video for Mark Lanegan and Isobel Campbell's version:

Dozens of people have covered this classic. If you find more, post them below,

Friday, 25 January 2008

Bright Eyes, Troubled Waters

I made my professional blog debut yesterday on Guardian Unlimited, expanding this post about Art Garfunkel's incredible book list by about 600 words.

I loved seeing my article linked to from the Guardian homepage and I was encouraged by the second commenter, Belinda, who called it a "great post". Then things got a bit funny.

At present there are a very respectable 56 comments on my post. But, in the words of my friend John Barner, who emailed me after seeing it, some of them are "a bit cranky". Responses like "I don't really see the point of this article" are par for the course. Another poster, chameleonwoman, opined that "Recording lists of the books you've read... is akin to keeping all your urine in glass bottles". Wittier was the person who just typed, "Like a bridge over Asperger's Syndrome". I laughed at that.

My favourite responses were those that took what I'd written and riffed on it. Quite a few people speculated about Art's high-brow selections - "Am I the only one who thinks Art is telling a few porkies?" asked GoddamitGaryAct2.

You thought it odd that Art Garfunkel records all the books he'd read? Well, dellamirandola brought our attention to something far more weird - Simon Le Bon's Book Club.

Sam Jordison suggested I pitch writing about Art's library to the Guardian after he read my original post. Sam told me, from experience, that some of GU's blog commentators "keep you on your toes" and he's right. I wrote that Garfunkel read Catch-22 14 years after it was published. Pinball73 correctly commented that "Catch-22 was published in 1961, not 1955 as stated in the article". (I copied the date from Art's list).

Another commentor has accused me of ripping off the New Yorker. I came across Nick Paumgarten's interview with Art just before submitting my text to the Guardian. Presumably Paumgarten heard the same Dylan radio show as me. Unless, of course, he reads this blog. I left my own comment saying that there's no way I could have got the idea from the New Yorker and the complainant has now apologised. There is some civility on the Web.

Related Post

Art Garfunkel's Library

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

We're Not In Kansas Anymore

Last night BBC Four showed a great two-part doc, No Plan, No Peace, about the disastrous and unbelievably misguided attempts to rebuild Iraq after the 2003 invasion. One of the interviewees was the Washington Post's former Baghdad bureau chief Rajiv Chandrasekaran, whose superb book, Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone, I got for Christmas.

I'd never been convinced by Tony Blair's constant reassurances that he'd given considerable thought to what we'd do after getting rid of Saddam, but until reading this book I hadn't quite conceived how dumb the coalition had been. Comedy of errors doesn't do the Bush/Blair axis of idiocy's decisions justice.

Chandrasekaran spent more than a year reporting from the Green Zone, the fortified Little America that housed Saddam's Baghdad palace, where Americans watched pornos and scoffed all the pork they could eat. I could list some of the absurdities that he witnessed but Chandrasekaran does a much better job himself in this Daily Show interview with John Stewart.

A brilliant book. Highly recommended.

Monday, 14 January 2008

Art Garfunkel's Library

On this week's Theme Time Radio Hour Bob Dylan mentioned that Art Garfunkel's website lists every book the singer's read since 1968. Bob wasn't pulling our legs. The list currently stands at 1,023, the most recent entry being The Magnificent Ambersons (I've seen the film but not read the novel).

It's a fascinating list, if only because it must surely be the only example of its kind. Does Paul Simon list every film he's ever seen? I doubt it.

Art evidently likes a serious read. Picking through the list at random I noticed that between December 1985 and June 1986 Art read 14 books including The Aeneid, The Conquest of Gaul by Julius Caesar and a book I've never heard of called Zen in the Art of Archery (it gets a 4 1/2 star average on Amazon).

I'm not a particular fan of Simon and Garfunkel, but I am now bizarrely interested to see what Art will be reading in the year ahead.

Related Links

Art Garfunkel's Library

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

My Favourite Octogenarian Film Reviewers

The always reliable, often nuts WFMU's Beware of The Blog tipped me off to Reel Geezers - a superb YouTube film review show with a refreshing twist: the critics are a pair of knowledgeable OAPs. Lorenzo Semple, 84, was one of Hollywood's top screenwriters in the 70s (Three Days of the Condor, The Parallax View). He's joined by 81-year-old former agent and film producer Marcia Nasatir.

What's great about the duo is their love of cinema shines through in every review whether it's Superbad or Michael Clayton and the banter between the two is priceless. Here's their take on a couple of the films I've enjoyed most in recent months, Juno and I'm Not There.

Reel Geezers on Juno

Reel Geezers on I'm Not There

For more background on Reel Geezers, The LA Times has a very good interview.

Related Posts with Thumbnails



Back to TOP

Glamour Bomb Templates