There was a live performance, which I must check out on i-player, on 6Music yesterday, by The Flaming Lips, to celebrate the bands thirty years together. I am not a fanatical fan and have never seen them live but I own copies of The Soft Bulletin and Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots. The Flaming Lips, with front man Wayne Coyne, seem to live on the extremities of what is considered normal and have a bloody good time doing it. Walking on stage wearing a pair of laser shooting giant rubber hands must be a great laugh. Rolling out across the heads of your audience inside a huge plastic bubble has to be a total buzz. They are having fun and it all appears to be done with the utmost integrity, providing a comment on how ridiculous life is and begging you to enjoy it whilst you still can. The Yoshimi album is one I often go back to, which is a sign of a great album. It consists of humour and emotion. You find yourself rooting for Yoshimi, who is going to save us all by herself from the evil robots. If you ever have a daughter, please, name her Yoshimi. The Flaming Lips song which to me encapsulates what they are about, is in my opinion one of the greatest songs ever written and is possibly their most well known song, is Do You Realise; a tragic, euphoric masterpiece, which joyfully approaches life and death and confronts our place in the Universe. The message is to enjoy life while you can; love the ones you’re with, and don’t look back. We’re all going to die anyway, so make the most of the experience. The song even tarnishes one of life’s most beautiful, natural experiences – the sunset – with the words “you realise the sun doesn’t go down, it’s just an illusion caused by the world spinning round.” It is all beautifully done, leaving you unsure whether to laugh or cry. A modern masterpiece...
Friday, 24 May 2013
Thursday, 23 May 2013
Sitting on my train this morning with the new Deerhunter album blaring in my ears, I couldn't help thinking that the world is a weird fucking place. As we trundled past the Georgian houses of Paddington and 60s high rise council blocks, Trellick Tower on the right and through the Crossrail extension construction works, aimed at modernising the rail system at Paddington Station, I wondered just how far have we actually come as a race of people. The train picked up speed, zooming beneath unending cables, as we passed over a canal en route to Hayes and Harlington, with calm little barges, peacefully floating on the surface, before passing under a bridge, supporting a dual carriage way, vehicles roaring overhead, then pulling up alongside the Nestle factory, billowing out plumes of thick grey smoke. I have never been on a barge, let alone had the desire to live on one but out of the three images, that felt the most appealing. No progress or technology with a simple barge, just you bobbing on the water. Technology and means of communication have developed hugely but are only really useful when they are used in a positive way. We spend so much time communicating in virtual grunts, mixed messages and abbreviations via e mail and so little time actually making real connections, that we only ever scratch the surface. We end up living in a world of unfinished sentences, misread statements, exclamation marks and double meanings. The basic function of speaking face to face is still the best way forward. As Bob Hoskins said on those BT ads years ago - "It's good to talk."
Tuesday, 21 May 2013
Monday, 20 May 2013
Watching a cricket match requires a very different mindset to that needed to watch a football match, which is my usual sporting pursuit. Whilst football's tribal nature and fierce rivalries invoke a very tense state of attrition, cricket involves a patient sense of expectation and a Corinthian spirit, rarely seen in modern team sport. It is easier to cultivate such a spirit in a non confrontational atmosphere but where else do you spend so much time applauding the opposition? My boys and me saw England beat New Zealand at Lord's yesterday and witnessed an exhilarating end to the match. The final four English batsmen fell and the entire New Zealand team were skittled out in little over three hours - including lunch!! This was my second time at Lord's and the only other cricket ground I have been to is Trent Bridge, where I was flanked by an army of guy's dressed as Star Wars characters, two clowns were ejected from the ground, which I found extremely clownist and we sang to Monty Panesar, who was standing on the boundary, in front of us. It was a good natured, fun day out, fuelled by beer. All other grounds such as Edgbaston, The Oval and Old Trafford, having seen them on TV over the years, would appear to be similar in atmosphere. Lord's though, is a little different. Marelybone Cricket Club moved to St.John's Wood and what eventually became known as Lord's in 1814. Cricket was already well established as an elitist past time, enjoyed by nobility and the wealthy but the plebs were allowed to infiltrate as time went by and a sense of the past still remains at Lord's. Due to being located in a wealthy part of London, it's reverential status as the home of cricket, with it's immense history, Lord's can attract a higher class of clientele. When it comes to wine, I prefer red over white but a guy a few seats down the row from me announced, "I don't drink a lot of Italian wine." As we walked to the exit at lunch, I overheard another guy, whilst he leant over, wine bottle in hand, ask his friends, "a topsy anyone?" Tim Nice but Dim would have been proud. As we sat down in the picnic area to start on our packed lunch, a couple opened their hamper, the padded interior revealing a fine set of cutlery, resting inside pouches, as they took out their parma ham and a host of cheeses. It is one of the few places I have been to where obviously rich, upper class types, mix freely with people that would be considered to be of normal income and social status. In the rather genteel toilet block, a fellow Villa fan had some fan banter with my youngest son who was wearing his Villa top and on the way out a bloke, who I can only assume was a Birmingham City supporter, was less complimentary. So, back to reality but it was good to escape to a different sporting culture for a day...