Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Artblocker

Impulse purchase of the March issue of music magazine Artrocker made me feel every minute of my 25 years. Which equates to 13140000 minutes or thereabouts. 20 pages in and I’d found I’d only heard of about two of the bands mentioned. Note I say ‘heard of’. Yet to actually ‘hear’.



The font is miniscule but at least that helps balance the proportion of text to adverts (which are relevant, at least). By comparison, as a former Q Magazine subscriber I’m willing to bet that that publication is now twice the price and half the size, brimming over with adverts for cars and watches combined with endless discussion of Paul Weller’s back catalogue. But yes, tiny text, meaning during reading I likely resembled a myopic pensioner with my tongue stuck out wondering if X will really be the one band to rock my sandal-encased socks in the 10s.

Something I deduced from my short-lived return to the world of music journalism is that all the best band names have definitely been used up. You thought !!!, Elbow and British Sea Power were bad enough, try wrapping your tongue around ‘Two Door Cinema Club’ and ‘Everybody Was In The French Resistance...Now!’ (My indie band name would be ‘You Had Me At Hello’ and my punk band would be ‘Unresolved Sexual Tension’. Which are both probably already taken.)

On the topic of inspiring fandom, a member of The Kabeedies actually admits ‘...personally, I would never be THAT excited by us. I mean, I would never go ‘Oh my God, I love that band I’m going to go and do a painting of them.’ That’s a shame. I can distinctly remember putting a lot of effort into copying Richey Edward’s ‘Useless Generation' tattoo until I was satisfied with how it appeared on the notebook I used at school. How impressed would all my peers be! Time well spent! (in isolation during and after, as it eventually emerged). And you have to admire the music journos whose task it is to extract quotes and anecdotes from bands who’ve yet to shape a history they can reminisce over, who are all still bright-tailed and bushy-eyed. Although I suspect one of the attractions of interviewing these bands no-one’s heard of and who will 95% of the time fade to obscurity is that they’ve yet to be tarred by the Sell Out brush having had Ferngully Cotton-Britain present them with the Mitzubishi Hotdog award for Best Beard in a Music Video. Bless these desperados aching to make their name touting the (imagined) successes or failures of pop groups who have yet to ‘pop’ and might as well be imaginary themselves for all I know.

In the live reviews section Alice Wagstaffe, in writing up a Julian Casablancas performance, mentions “The Strokes released Is This It nine years ago (how old do you feel right now?)”

Do I have to answer that.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Eggheads

Did you enjoy your flatpack Easter Egg this bank holiday weekend just gone? That seems to encapsulate how most of my friends spent their time – either up to their eyeballs in discarded foil and Lindt bunny bells or screws and their drivers.

Although Easter may be behind us, Eggheads, the BBC quiz show, somehow remains on our screens. I always have the misfortune of timing my visits to my father’s house with the airing of this programme. Every time, I make the same mental note not to put myself through this torture and every time I hop off the bus I check my watch and make a mental scream, almost wishing I’d stayed on the bus in the company of the chavs, schoolkids and people that blatantly disregard (can you imagine?) the signs inviting you to keep your filthy feet off the seats for an extra hour and a half until its route passes my intended destination again. Rather the company of wolves than endure that of the Eggmasters.

Presented by Dermot Murnaghan, with whom I share a few unfortunately similar syllables, the show’s format is simples: five quiz show champs (the Eggheads, or Smegheads as you and Craig Charles will be calling them within moments of making their acquaintance) playing knowledge pong with a group of Challengers. If the Challengers win, they get a dollop of cash, if the Eggheads win, it rolls over. It can go to Sudden Death, which you’ll be begging for if you make it that far. Wikipedia describes the visual impact of the title sequence thus: “The seven Eggheads are displayed in revolving egg shaped frames with a blue background.” And that is about as exciting as it gets. You’d have more fun revolving your leftover Creme Eggs if you’ve got any left, you fat bastard, and you wouldn’t have some prick who won Fifteen to One once back in 1988 sneering at you while you do it.

A pro of the show is that its contestants are marginally easier on the eye that the breed you get on University Challenge, but that’s not a hard achievement. Also the questions are easier than that other well-known and simply formatted quiz show, Mastermind, so you’ll be able to feel a bit better about your intellectual capabilities. Well done you for knowing Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet. Your degree of smugness will never match that of the Eggheads, however, who all have firsts and distinctions in that personality trait. They’ll elaborate on most answers with unnecessary detail, talking you through the process of elimination and throwing in anecdotes about their days holidaying in their villa in Sicily, which is where mixing with the locals enlightened them to the fact they have 53 different words for ‘volcano’. The Challengers trapped in the Question Room whimper and squirm in their seats and SO WILL YOU. It makes Time Team feel like watching Jurassic Park. Get back on the bus.