(Hold Me Closer) Thommy Dancer

The-king-of-limbs-lotus-flower

The download of Radiohead’s latest album, The King Of Limbs, was made available today, and with it, a clip from the first single, ‘Lotus Flower’. Notice how it features Thom Yorke – looking like a strange cross between Bono and The Edge of U2, as filmed by Anton Corbijn – dancing on his own.

 

That’s made it really easy for the rise of a new meme: making Thom Yorke dance to other songs.

Here’s Clem Bastow’s masterpiece: ‘Thom Yorke Dances Alone To Pony’.

 

Another goody is ‘Benny Hill of Limbs’, also known, after the music’s proper name of ‘Yakkety Sax’, as ‘Yorkety Sax’.

 

I’m also quite fond of ‘Thom Yorke gets down to Single Ladies (Lotus Flower Dub):

 

But what about this gem: Thom dancing to the Trashmen’s ‘Surfin’ Bird’, as ‘Lotus Flower (Dance)’?


It’s inspired, no doubt, from this earlier version:

 

Thom dancing to Shakira’s ‘Loca’ isn’t quite as good:


And now a Venga Boys remix!

 

But I’m sure there’ll be more. Let me know so I can add them.


These are not my twisted words

Radioheadstill

It’s been on-line for a few days and, as all memes do, has reproduced itself all over the place: a new Radiohead song, apparently. Leaked. On YouTube. Not a film clip – just a still accompanying the music. But there are a multitude of stills accompanying the same soundfile, entitled ‘These Are My Twisted Words’, all over the internet now.

I’ve chosen to share the one posted by ‘Jonnyswhore’ because I quite like the still [s]he’s provided. I’d like to think it’s from the sessions for ‘Harry Patch (In Memory Of)’ – Radiohead’s most recent official release, in honour of the last known surviving British soldier to have fought in World War I.

I don’t quite know what to make of this newest, leaked song. The first few seconds sound like a different song entirely – different drum beat, different music – until a disco beat – not unlike John Paul Young’s ‘Love Is In The Air’ – barges in over the top. (Okay, what’s happening is the drummer is ‘counting the band in’ just after the tape’s started rolling, guitars already strummed – maybe with a bit of whammy bar action; that’s what it sounds like. The [programmed?] disco beat was probably added later.)

The opening lead guitar motif sounds reminiscent of The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn-era Floyd; the falling melody as well as the tone of the guitar suggest ‘Astronomy Domine’ to me.

At about 2 minutes 13 seconds in, the bass line is suddenly Frank Zappa’s ‘Ya Hozna’ from Them Or Us. About midway through the track, just when you want to start singing ‘National Anthem’ from Kid A over the top, the lyrics kick in. By this time, the drums don’t sound so obtrusive.

‘These Are My Twisted Words’ apparently first appeared as an MP3 file, embedded with the following info (courtesy of ateaseweb – I’m not sure if that’s ‘at ease web’ or ‘a tease web’ – via stereogum):

iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii
iiiiiiiiii iiiiiiiiiiii
iiiiiii radiohead - these are my twisted words iiiiiii
iiiiiii iiiiiii
iiii artist.......radiohead iiii
iiii title........these are my twisted words iiii
iiii label........?????????? iiii
iiii cat.nr.......????????? iiii
iiii style........'dificult' iiii
iiii nr of tracks.1 iiii
iiii total length..5.32 iiii
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii
iiii audio source.CD Advance iiii
iiii encoder......LAME 3.93 iiii
iiii quality......320kbps/44.1kHz/Joint Stereo iiii
iiii size.........12,70 MB iiii
iiii ripper.......sca[GG]er iiii
iiii rls.date.....2009-08-17 iiii
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii
iiii i just wanted to reassure readers iiii
iiii that following representations iiii
iiii seeking confirmation iiii
iiii that before your very eyes iiii
iiii behind the wall of ice iiii
iiii that the box is not under threat iiii
iiii however they are set to remove iiii
iiii other boxes iiii
iiii in fact i have the list in front of me iiii
iiii i went to a briefing on their plans iiii
iiii and challenged them to tell me iiii
iiiii exactly what the cost would be iiiiiii
iiiiii iiiiiiii
iiiiiii they spoke in broad terms iiiiiiiiii
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii
iiiiiiiiiii we're looking for: talented puppeteers iiiiiiiiiii
iiiiiiiiii worms, disgruntled executives, sacked flies iiiiiiiiii
iiiiiiii genres: doomcore, folktronica, ukf iiiiiiii
iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

I hope it leads to a new album. I also hope this is a work-in-progress, that the finished version is different to this, making this one special. That’s if it’s authentic. I think it is: despite all the things the different bits remind me of, together they make a song that sounds like bona fide Radiohead to me. Judge for yourself.


Thanks to John Brannan and Kip Williams


Getting the Last Laugh


jameslastwall


One day I noticed in the back room of Egg Records a big box full of – I don’t know – maybe a hundred different James Last records. I was impressed because I didn’t think there were a hundred different James Last records. There certainly doesn’t need to be a hundred different ones. Although I’ve never listened to even one James Last record, I’m certain they all are of the same ilk of ‘muzak’, and so are interchangeable. The best thing about seeing so many of them in one place is being able to marvel at the kitsch cover art.

When pressed, my boss Ric admitted that not only had he acquired a hundred-odd James Last records, he had also ended up with an equal amount of James Last CDs. “But I didn’t buy them,” he was at pains to assure me. He had certainly taken possession of them with a big collection that he had recently bought, but, he insisted, throughout the negotiation of the purchase, he was adamant that he didn’t want to buy any James Last records. And why would he buy them? He didn’t want them, they didn’t suit our shop, we surely couldn’t expect customers to buy them from us. But the seller was just as adamant: he wouldn’t sell his collection unless Ric bought the James Last records and CDs as part of it. “I’d already decided the amount I’d offer him for the collection,” Ric explained. “Then, I thought, if he makes me take the James Last stuff, I’d actually offer him less than if he agreed to keep them himself. So in the end, he lost money by making me take it.”

Fantastic. Although he didn’t know it, some guy had effectively paid us a wad of cash to get rid of his James Last collection.

But who has the last laugh here?

Egg Records is a pretty cool shop. Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead, like members of Spiritualized when they were in Sydney, shopped at Egg Records and raved about the store. Do we want to be a shop full of James Last records and CDs? Which musicians would rave about us then? Richard Clayderman, maybe. Klaus Wunderlich, if he hadn’t passed away.

I know ‘easy listening’ and ‘muzak’ have a place in society, particularly since ‘cocktail music’ was exonerated and rehabilitated a little while back. Even Albert Einstein argued that the uninitiated should listen to Mantovani’s schmaltzy renditions of classical music in order to prepare for giving the real thing a go. Perhaps one day DJs will flock to op shops to locate James Last, as they do to locate copies of moog albums and field recordings of peoples indigenous to third-world countries, in order to base dance grooves upon them. If so, we should hold on to these records until a time that they’re worth twenty bucks each. However, forgetting for a moment that we have recourse to intellectual discourse and instead taking musical appreciation back to first principles in order to appraise it with the passion and raw emotion that, for most music lovers, hooked us onto it in the first place, the question remains:

What on earth could we do with this shit?

I suggested we put them up on the wall and charge customers a buck for three darts, to chuck at them, maybe with prizes for the best shots.

The problem with this is, obviously, the charging of a buck for what must be every music-lover’s inaliable right: to chuck pointy projectiles at effigies of James Last. Besides which, there’d always be one moron who’d have someone’s eye out, and it would all end in tears.

Ric came up with a better idea: suspending black markers from the ceiling, and mounting a bunch of covers as a wall disply, customers are invited to deface the covers as they see fit. Once the selection has been defaced, they will be replaced with a fresh batch. How cool is that!

For a closer look at the covers that came out slightly less blurred when snapped in a hurry during the dead period shortly before closing on a dull day, click here. (If I can be bothered, I’ll have another go during another lull in the working day. Or not.)


A Really Horrible Dream

Taking the article ‘Hatchet Piece (101 Things I Hate)’ that appears in the book ‘Crackpot: The Obsessions of John Waters’ as read (which we should, because it was, by me, midway through an Arts degree when it was far more fun to read weird books on the lawn in front of the Main Quad at university than actually attend English, Psychology or Philosophy lectures), it turns out that I am not just one of the things John Waters hates, but in fact the one-hundred-and-first thing; the thing, he says, that he hates “more than anything in the world: a person who confides, ‘I had the weirdest dream last night…’” At the risk of angering the pontifex of perversity, I must tell you that this morning, shortly before I awoke, I had the most horrific dream I have had for some time.

When my dad died, I was plagued by dreams about him. Initially they were ultra-vivid visions: he’d be laying bright red bricks under a clear blue sky in the hot summer sun, and I’d be helping him. Upon waking up, I’d usually burst into tears – all those years of resenting having to play bricky’s labourer on weekends and school holidays when there was serious guitar playing, record shopping or flirting to be done, and now those days were the source of about the best memories my unconscious thought I had of the old man.

After the extra-sensory memory dreams came the stress dreams: often, the old man would have just discovered a terminal disease and we’d all panic and wonder how we’d cope if he didn’t pull through. I’d wake up relieved, knowing that it was just a dream, and then remember that he had been diagnosed with a terminal disease, that he hadn’t pulled through, and that this sort of dream was part of the coping mechanism. I had a lot of these dreams in Italy especially, having gone over with my mum to settle the old man’s estate. In the early hours I’d dream that he was lying in a death-like state, and panic would ensue until I realised I could hear him snoring. Then church bells would ring and all would be well. I’d wake up, still hearing the church bells pealing from both our village cathedral and the one nestled on the side of the mountain facing our village, and realise that it was actually my mum snoring in the next room.

Although the emotions appear to be inverted, ‘interpersonal relationship’ dreams seem to be of a similar kind to the ‘coping with the death of a loved one’ dreams. They begin as erotic dreams prior to and during the actual interpersonal relationship, but afterwards they’re just ‘all’s well in the relationship’ dreams that invariably come after you’ve been dumped. You awaken from a peaceful reverie to realise that, actually, all’s not well in your world. You suddenly realise that your stomach cavity is once again filled with lead, as it was when you woke up during the early hours of the previous morning. You wonder how on earth you’ll get through another day and fall asleep again that evening. And so it goes...

My freakiest stress dream usually finds me sitting the English paper of the Higher School Certificate (commonly known as “the HSC”, Australia’s ‘leaving certificate’ examination) again. I particularly recall having this recurring nightmare when facing extra difficult periods of employment, specificially at my last full-time job, as a Publications Co-ordinator at a school(!) Why the English paper? Possibly because it is the first examination in the HSC and so at the time was the most stressful; after getting through the first, the rest would have appeared less formidable. And yet, my less-frequently dreamt and scarier nightmare, in a similar vein, is of a mathematics exam. I don’t know why.

Actually, my freakiest stress dream involves a scenario worse still than being thrown headlong into the examination scenario once again. It hasn’t happened often, but occasionally I dream that I am on the stage, performing, but under-prepared. Originally, these dreams involved memories of actual performances I’d been in, and amazingly, I’d remember whole chunks of dialogue and song from school musicals. (“So, if it ain’t Prince Tiny and the ‘little league’!” – my first line, as Freddie the Fidler, in Tin Pan Alley, the St Augustine's College musical from 1987. I was in Year 10. It featured girls from the local Catholic girl’s school, Stella Maris College, amongst whose ranks was a young Kym Wilson. She was fifteen, gorgeous and very popular amongst us horny and repressed Catholic school boys, so although I don’t quite dream about her, I may have the occasional little ‘think’ about her before dropping off to sleep at night!)

Nowadays, these dreams still occasionally take place in the school auditorium. However, when they do not, school teachers’ faces accompany those of past employers throughout the audience. I am on stage alone. There is nothing prepared. I start to improvise. And it always goes well. Hats off to my Id! Why can’t real life be that good?

So anyway, this morning I awoke from a dream that was worse than any of the above examples. In fact, I reckon it worse than all of the above put together. Here’s my dream:

I return to the venue of a party – obviously a friend’s house in the dream, but one I don’t recognise from my normal waking life – to retrieve a bunch of CD singles I left at the party the night before. But I can’t find them. And I wonder why I possibly thought I could leave them to retrieve later. Amongst the missing items is the ultra-limited Costello/Nieve box set that was released nearly a decade ago now, as well as a pile of Radiohead CD singles, including the even older and rarer ‘Drill’ EP. Although I eventually find the Costello/Nieve box set (autographed, to boot! My copy ain’t autographed in real life) I cannot locate any of the Radiohead stuff, and I am most miffed about losing the ‘Drill’ EP. I'm really despondent, disheartened, angry.

Eventually, I drift into wakefulness and start to tell myself I never took Radiohead CD singles to anyone’s party. And then I realise I’ve never even seen a copy of the ‘Drill’ EP in real life, let alone owned one.

Do you think I should consider an alternative form of employment to working in a secondhand/collectibles music shop?