Many thanks to me old mucker Vince Skinner who sent a link to the Amateur Transplants' wonderful interpetation of that Apocalypse classic 'Going Up In The World,' now titled '(Going) London Underground' with lyrics closer to 'Down In The Tube Station' than those of Paul Weller's original nuclear-weary anthem. Warning: don't listen if you're easily offended by swear-words.
And staying with the mod vibe, this upcoming Le Beat Bespoke Weekender offers more reformed bands and retro music than might seem sensible. But after the success of last year's Underground International Garage Festival at Randall's Island at which the ancient Chocolate Watch Band were one of many highlights I wouldn't write off any of the acts without seeing them.
An interesting interview with Thomas Dolby in the current Onion. Thomas has been stopped making pop music, but continues to work in electronics and by the sound of it, has been raking in more money than ever. Clearly an intelligent man, he has some interesting comments to make about the ever-complex relationship between British and American music scenes. This paragraph I found particularly astute:
"There's no way I would've been popular in Britain at the time (the 1980s), because I was never viewed as indigenous. The British are incredible at poaching cultures from elsewhere in the world, and just twisting them a bit and making them their own, whether it's blues music with people like Eric Clapton and the Stones, or reggae music with The Police, or African music with Malcolm McLaren, or Chicago house music, or whatever. We've always been incredibly good at this sort of imperialistic thing of bringing back the spoils of our plunders overseas and putting a unique twist on them, and a little bit of dry British humor. And I think that deep down, we have a deep guilt complex about that. So I think that what we do is we try to imbue our own homegrown musicians with a sort of indigenous nature."
Today marks the one-year anniversary of the Madrid Bombings. (Which means it's the three-and-a-half year anniversary of September 11.) A pause in memorium for those who were senselessly blown away that day.
Noted international politics scholar Timothy Garton-Ash reported on how Madrid has dealt with the horror for yesterday's Guardian. As always, he writes calmly and sensibly, and not without passion. These sentences, however, stuck with me:
Between the two memory machines hang large white cylinders on which people can write whatever they like. "Never again", features several times. "Aznar, Bush and Blair are the assassins."
To the dimwit who wrote that last referenced caption: No, Al-Qaida are the assassins. They took responsibility for the attacks. Not only are you playing right into the hands of the killers when you fulminate your hatred, but they will never see any need to with stop these attacks for as long as you promote the notion that there is such a thing as moral equivalence.
To everyone else, I'll echo the other statement, which I trust is the more popular one: Never again.
Tim Booth on having a permanent horn: "It shocks ME to find that the person I'm with, that I'm still madly in love with after nine years that I still want to fuck other people."
READ FULL INTERVIEW HERE
Conducting interviews exclusively for iJamming! is maddeningly time-consuming, but usually the end result is always worth it. The Tim Booth interview is no exception. Please pour yourself a cuppa, make yourself a sandwich, and read the transcript of my hour-long conversation with the former James singer here. If you need enticement, you may find it in my review of his new solo album Bone here.
Congratulations to The Dandy Warhols' 'pin-up' keyboardist Zia McCabe on her imminent motherhood. And kudos in garden shovels for being the first pregnant woman AND the first famous rock musician to pose, naked as nature intended, for the 'alternative' pin-up site Suicide Girls. I love her answers to these two standard questions:
STATS: Big boobs, big belly, big butt! Yeah, get some!
BODY MODS: just look at the pictures silly
From today's Village Voice...
"During his interview [with 50 Cent on New York's Power105 radio station, host DJ Ed], Lover devoted several minutes of airtime to 50's feuds with Fat Joe, Jadakiss, and Nas. He wanted 50 to reveal "what's your beef with each one of them individually." Then another several minutes were spent on the dispute with Game. At one point, Lover asked, "So where does he stand with G-Unit?" to which 50 answered, "He's not in my camp." At the end of the show, [G-Unit member] Young Buck called in, offering to "take care of" Game."
From today's Guardian
"Mr [Robert] McCartney, a Catholic father of two, was attacked outside a bar in [Belfast] on January 30 following a row, and later died in hospital. His family have launched a high-profile campaign for justice, and the killing has added to the crisis facing the republican movement
Last night, the IRA said in a statement that, following "voluntary admissions by those involved", it knew four men had been involved in the murder. Two were IRA volunteers and two were not, and "the IRA knows the identity of all these men".
The statement also revealed that the IRA had made an offer to the McCartney family to shoot those directly involved in Mr McCartney's killing."
Is iJamming! ahead of the times? It was with yesterday's review of the Brooklyn restaurant Boullabaisse 126. The Red Hook bistro, of which I have been so impressed over the course of two visits, receives the featured review in today's New York Times Dining '$25 and under' section. The paper's Dana Bowen was, like myself, impressed by food, service and décor but in another example of why online journals can often get news out faster and more reliably than old-fashioned print papers, stated that "The BYO policy may soon be replaced by a beer, wine and digestif list," when it already has been.
NY Press editor Jeff Koyen has resigned from the paper following the flap over Matt Taibbi's '52 FUNNIEST THINGS ABOUT THE UPCOMING DEATH OF THE POPE.' After the mainstream media reacted with predictable horror and outrage to last week's cover story, Koyen was told by his publisher "to accept a two-week unpaid suspension. During that time, I was to think about what this paper should be.'"
Insisting, in a statement published by Gawker.com, that "New York Press already is the paper it should be," and refusing to "be sent to my room without dessert," as he put it, Koyen opted to resign.
There are two really weird ironies here.
1) The '52 FUNNIEST THINGS ABOUT THE UPCOMING DEATH OF THE POPE' is not actually funny. Matt Taibbi's a frequently great but persistently erratic writer. He's penned some hilarious pieces of political commentary, including fictional interviews with Osama Bin Laden. But this was not his strongest moment.
2) A week later, if you visit the NYPress front page, the first thing you'll see is
Yes, Taibbi's '52 FUNNIEST THINGS ABOUT THE UPCOMING DEATH OF THE POPE.' Perhaps the paper's publishers ALSO think that New York Press already is the paper it should be; perhaps the staff are in revolt and won't redesign the front page; or perhaps there's just no one left in charge.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Press under Koyen; I didn't have to always agree with it. New York needs an irreverent and intelligent alternative to the Village Voice. Here's hoping the Press can continue to fulfill that role under new leadership.
APRIL 18TH will see the release of Going Up In The World: Apocalypse 1982-83 on Cherry Red Records. For those who haven't visited here recently, Apocalypse was the band I formed at school in 1978 with Jeff Carrigan and Chris Boyle; we started gigging in 1979; in late 1981, Tony Page and Kevin Bagnall joined; in 1982, among other things, we toured twice with The Jam, and released a single; in 1983, among other things, we sold out The Marquee and signed with EMI; in 1984, among other things, we broke up. Some of us stayed in touch over the years. Some of us didn't. Putting this compilation together has been quite an emotional experience for all of us - and fortunately, an entirely positive one.
Anyway, we've constructed this CD less as a retrospective than as the album we would have released back then had we released an album back then. The track listing is as follows:
3 HOME OF THE BRAVE
4 GOING UP IN THE WORLD
5 THE OTHER SIDE OF MIDNIGHT
6 NOBODY BUT ME
8 FOR YOU
9 OPEN YOUR EYES
10 SORRY MATE
11 TEDDY (12" MIX)
12 GOING UP IN THE WORLD (DEMO)
13 PEOPLE (MAD PROFESSOR MIX)
14 DOLCIE DUB (MAD PROFESSOR MIX)
15 - DON'T STOP (Video)
'Teddy' and 'Release' are from the 7" single produced by Paul Weller and released on the Jamming! label in September 1982. 'Home Of The Brave' and 'Teddy' 12" mix are from the 12" single recorded with Dale Griffin and Overend Watts and released on Jamming in December 1982. The other recordings, including the Mad Professor mixes, are from various demo sessions between 1982-83. There is also a new, acoustic recording of 'Don't Stop' that comes as part of a Quick-Time video compilation that Jeff put together of old footage.
Over coming weeks, somewhere in-between all the other work I have going on in my life, I'll be getting some Apocalypse pages up on the web site. We hope to offer some MP3s of other recordings, cuttings, photos and, who knows, maybe we can gather the memories of those who saw us then and might hear us again now.
There is a story behind the cover artwork. (Isn't there always?) It can wait until another day. Cherry Red will shortly have a link up for pre-orders. Consider this your teaser.
I don't do this too often: eat out, that is. (Reminder: that's how I afford to drink the good wine!) But I took the three generations of Fletchers out to the Red Hook restaurant Bouillabaisse 126 last night, and I feel duty bound to spread the good word.
I'd actually visited Bouillabaisse just before Christmas with a wine buddy, when the former Atlantic Avenue restaurant was still finding its feet and had yet to acquire a wine license. Posie was a few days from giving birth and couldn't risk going out; when one of the French owners, Emmanuelle, heard this, she sent me home with a couple of the restaurant's acclaimed crab cakes as a free gift for the pregnant mum-to-be. That act of kindness stuck with me, and for our family meal out last night we made the drive over to Red Hook rather than head out to one of our 5th Avenue's many happening bistros.
I'm no fish eater, so it's hard for me to review the menu's core meals other than to say that wife and mum alike loved their crab cakes; my mother adored the mussels, while Posie, who demands a high standard from her chosen main course, was modestly satisfied with her salmon. (Neither opted for the fish stew that the restaurant is named for.) But I only partially judge a restaurant by its menu anyway: in today's competitive Brooklyn market, good food is a given. No, for me, a good restaurant is as much about service, off-menu choices, the wine list (or the ability to bring your own), and the overall cost. And by every one of these criteria, Bouillabaisse 126 was exceptional.
Dorothy, we're not in Red Hook any more... It's now the Columbia Waterfront. The back room at Bouillabaisse 126.
Service was impeccable throughout, attentive but not obtrusive, and with almost everything - from wine refills to delivery of the check - showing up precisely when anticipated. (The dessert was slow arriving, but by then the restaurant was bursting at the seams.) All our orders were successfully memorized and cooked exactly as requested. This included an off-menu request for Campbell, who was served up fresh pasta with zucchini (that's a courgette, folks!) for the princely sum of $4. I had a wonderful poached pear with gorgonzola as an appetizer, and with no vegetarian main courses on the menu, asked (as I had on my first visit) for a vegetable plate; I received a well-cooked combination of spinach, mushrooms, zucchini, garlic, red peppers, carrots and mashed potatoes for the equally low price of $10. On my way to the bathroom, passing the open plan kitchen, Yugoslav-born chef-owner Neil Ganic made a point of asking if it met with my satisfaction. (I could and should suggest that Bouillabaisse include vegetarian items on its menu to begin with, but I've found it's quite the custom among authentic French bistros to cook up this kind of vegetable plate upon request. And it makes a pleasant change from the usual pasta.) Dessert was almost poisonous: a chocolate soufflé with a blueberry reduction and home-made vanilla ice cream. Posie took one look at all the sugar and chocolate and asked if I was planning on working when we got home: sure enough, I found myself spending another hour on the web site before bed!
Bouillabaisse 126 has just acquired its wine license, and offers a frustratingly small though perfectly well-chosen list which includes a Château d'Epiré from the village of Savennières in the Loire; the wine is an acquired taste, steely Chenin Blanc with very high alcohol, but it's one that should match well with much of the restaurant's food. We benefited from Monday being BYO night, though only modestly: my mother had bought a decent bottle of Pouilly-Fuisse 2002 for $20 at a local store; the restaurant had a lesser quality Louis Jadot from the same vintage for the more expensive though still not unreasonable price of $28. At only $6, I couldn't resist a glass of the St-Cosme Côtes du Rhône Les Deux Albion 2002. The vintage was almost a complete wash-out in the southern Rhône and I've yet to buy a bottle of any of the reds; even this wine, the top bottling from the Gigondas-based St-Cosme (whose regular Côtes du Rhône is 100% Syrah and a stand-out) tasted more like a fruity Beaujolais than a full-on Rhône. But at that price less than most local bars charge for Y*****tail - I didn't mind the exercise.
The total tab for three adults and one kid, including a couple glasses of wine and two desserts, left change from $100. I don't know that you can hope for that on Park Slope's 5th Avenue any more, let alone in Manhattan. No wonder the place was packed on a Monday night. (And similarly, no surprise that they recently received a rave review from New York magazine, with The New Yorker apparently soon to follow. And something about the restaurant's quietly confident good vibes permeated the atmosphere: our baby Noel barely stirred throughout the entire evening. (And when he did, Posie was able to surreptitiously feed him without comment.) You can't ask for a better family night out than that.
Bouillabaisse 126 is at 126 Union Street, just off Columbia Street. Most of us call this Red Hook; the restaurant prefers the more upscale 'Columbia Waterfront.' Phone number 718 855 4405. A web site exists but is currently unoccupied. Mondays is BYO; all credit cards taken. Based on its popularity last night, I'd strongly recommend making a reservation.
This is the painfully embarrassing question being asked today from London to Washington and beyond as the winds of change rock the Middle East. Newsweek's Fareed Zakaria, one of the most informed Middle East columnists on the planet, pens a cover story today entitled What Bush Got Right. He writes,
"Whether or not Bush deserves credit for everything that is happening in the Middle East, he has been fundamentally right about some big things."
A European could read that and conclude, Well hey, Newseek's an American magazine, it's bound to be pro-Bush. (That European would be ill-informed, but let's indulge the notion for a moment.) What then, to make of Britain's leftist newspaper The Independent, which splashes a similar statement across the front page of its web site, namely:
Was Bush Right After All? in which reporter Rupert Cornwell reports from Washington about "the first waves of reform ... in the Arab world.
"Post-Saddam Iraq has held its first proper election. In their own elections, Palestinians have overwhelmingly chosen a moderate leader. Hosni Mubarak, who for 24 years has permitted no challenge to his rule in Egypt, has announced a multi-candidate presidential election this year. Even Saudi Arabia is not immune, having just held its first municipal elections. Next time around, Saudi spokesmen promise, women too will be permitted to vote.
Most remarkably of all, perhaps, popular demonstrations in Beirut last week brought the downfall of one pro-Syrian government and - with the help of fierce pressure from Washington and the EU - the agreement by Syria to start withdrawing its troops in Lebanon."
Both these columnists readily question to what extent Bush can claim any reponsibility for any of these developments. But both of them - from traditionally liberal media outlets - admit that he can't be discounted from influencing these changes either. Politics is a strange game even at the best of times, which is why I no longer tow any party line. I'll take good news where I can get it, but I appreciate that Zakaria, who should win a Pulitzer for his continually focused reports about these crucial developments, lays out the cons with a level hand:
"If Bush is to be credited for the benefits of his policies, he must also take responsibility for their costs. Over the past three years, his administration has racked up enormous costs, many of which could easily have been lowered or avoided altogether. The pointless snubbing of allies, the brusque manner in which it went to war in Iraq, the undermanned occupation and the stubborn insistence (until last summer) on pursuing policies that were fueling both an insurgency and anti-Americanism in Iraqall have taken their toll in thousands of American and Iraqi lives and almost $300 billion.
And I doubt that the Italians are feeling positive about their involvement in the Iraq war today.
And more violent than ever. Best line in last night's Second Series Premier came from Swearengen's Hit Man Dority, upon the news that the Governor of Dakota has broken the surrounding hills into three Counties, and appointed Commissioners for each of them:
"Murder the three of 'em, 'see how they like being Commissioners after they're dead."
Sadly the HBO site offers no souvenir pictures of either the bloodshed or the Widow Garrett's breasts.
The New York Times Arts section runs a cover story about The Most Expensive Album Never Made.
"One internal cost analysis from the period pegs the operation's monthly tab at a staggering $244,000."
Not that any of us could commission a dozen good albums for that money, of course.
And as with trucker caps, they act like they're the first. Witness the self-styled Willamsburg Warriors, who are so proud of showing up for a community meeting that they've named a movement for themselves.
"All our favorite coffee shops will become Starbucks, and our cute little North Seventh pharmacy will become Duane Reade."
One of the pleasant things about reading a hard copy of a newspaper or magazine - as opposed to surfing it online is that you come across items of interest you weren't necessarily looking out for. Two columns in the G2 section of last Tuesday's Guardian (as brought over by my mum) reminded me how witty some of the writing can be in the UK while still making salient, serious observations. Firts up, Giles Smith reviews Honda's new take on the SUV menace. I've long claimed that the British are only ever a few years behind American trends and it disappoints me that while my former countrymen are happy to take the good Deadwood, The Sopranos, um, The Rapture maybe (help me out here!) they're equally happy to lap up the bad, such as crack and SUVs. Or, as Smith puts it,
"Increasingly, today's driver battles other sports utility vehicles - for, with grim inevitability, the road war has bred a frantic arms race. If you're threatening to run over my children in a Hyundai Santa Fe, then I'm going to threaten to run over your children in a Toyota Land Cruiser.
Hence the sight, now so common as to be almost unremarkable, of a mother of three wrestling a seven-seater, all-terrain vehicle down flat, smoothly Tarmaced, suburban streets on the three-quarters-of-a-mile drive to school. Her confidence that life is in any way on her side is shot to pieces, so she's driving a tank. And if it came with an optional tin helmet, she'd have that, too.
Writing of Honda's new Compact Recreational Vehicle, Smith notes that it is
"only about two-thirds the size of a regular SUV. Which means, perhaps, that people will hate you a third less and that you will attract a third fewer stickers from agitated eco-warriors."
Sadly, if so many of your fellow Brits are now driving full-size SUVs, you may instead find that you merely attract a third less envy.
Elsewhere in that G2 section, David Aaranovitch writes sensibly about the Government's plan to allow fathers to claim part of their spouse's maternity leave if so desired, and also about disgraced Mirror editor Piers Morgan's insistence in his memoirs that Cherie Blair fancied him. He concludes that Morgan is
"an ill-mannered, thin-skinned, easily flattered narcissistic ignoramus, given to stupid jokes, banal observations, casual rudeness and hypocritical pieties."
Which is about as close as you can get to the truth and still avoid a libel suit.
If it's the first Saturday of the month then it must be First Saturday at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. Included in this week's all-free event are "Selected short films from the archives of the Brooklyn International Film Festival