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September 22, 2006

new �weird al� video

I confess: a have a weakness for musical humour, and �Weird Al� Yankovic's parodies in particular.

Thus, this video makes me very happy indeed. And that's good on a wet Friday afternoon.

May 24, 2006

Why Pet Shop Boys?

I'm busy watching a rather good programme about the Pet Shop Boys on Channel 4.

The pair always remind me of the 80s and early 90s for a number of reasons. For one, I remember have a really storming argument with my first serious girlfriend about the respective merits of the U2 and Pet Shop Boys versions of Where the Streets Have No Name. I, of course, was on the side of the latter.

The main reason, though, was the absolutely delicious rumour that went around school that they called themselves The Pet Shop Boys due to something unspeakably disgusting and sexual and perverse involving hamsters and bodily orifices. (It's amazing how much in the 80s involved small mammals in inappropriate places. Remember Freddie Starr?)

Of course, when I grew up a little, I really started enjoying their music, but those playground concepts linger�

The sad thing is that, should such a rumour be circulated about a current celebrity, I'm sure no-one would blink an eyelid. Boy bands? They perform worse acts before breakfast. Or, indeed, during breakfast. Or even with their breakfast. That's the problem with a celebrity- and hedonism-obsessed media. It takes all the sheer dirtiness out of rumours. How dull is that?

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January 22, 2006

Folk's Back, Folks

The Observer | UK News | It's cool, it's hip ... it's, er, folk:

Britain's ancient musical heritage has traditionally been a source of considerable embarrassment to the young and hip. Spain has bright red dresses and flamenco; Brazil has samba and thongs; we have, er, morris dancing and Arran sweaters. Folk music is simply not cool - but that could be changing.

I find this idea inexplicably pleasing. Perhaps it's the fact that I've interacted with the folk music of Argentina and Scotland, through tango and Scottish country dancing, but never really heard much else. I might even head along to the Barbican for this.

January 12, 2006

Revisiting Old Favourites in iTunes

I was in a distinctly odd, tired mood tonight, so I ended up just fiddling around in iTunes, listening to some old tracks.

With the new version of the software, Apple has introduced a MiniStore, a small window at the bottom of your music library, that shows you related tracks. This has been less than warmly received in some quarters, because it involves your computer sending information about your listening habits to Apple.

I'm finding it strangely fascinating, though, as it provides plenty of glimpses into the musical careers of some of your favourite artists of yesteryear. We're remarkably fickle with our listening habits, sometimes, following an artist for an album or two, and then forgetting about them. Tonight felt like a chance to reconnect with old friends. And I enjoyed that.

October 27, 2005

Alex Parks: Back From Obscurity?

Alex Parks: Looking for WaterAbout two years ago, the BBC was running its own version of Pop Idol called Fame Academy. The last series produced the only reality TV talent show winner that I've had any interest in whatsoever: Alex Parks. There was something about this feisty Cornish lesbian that you just couldn't help but like. Indeed, my entire family were rather taken with her.

And then?

And then, things went a little pear-shaped. The record company rushed out an ill-advised album of covers and then Alex disappeared from sight.

Now, she's back, with a new single of original material. And it's rather good. The first track is an OK pop-ish number, but it's the second track, Near Death Experience, that really brings home the bacon. It's a great rock number that's well worth the pennies to download it.

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