The moving cat sheds, and, having shed, moves on.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Cat Who Came Back 

Earlier this year (second post, down there somewhere) I wrote about Dolly Parton's covers album, and in it mentioned Yusuf Islam, aka Cat Stevens, predicting that he might be making a big comeback to the music business soon.

He is!

His new album, An Other Cup, comes out on the 13th of November, and I'm dead excited about it. The lead single, "Heaven / Where True Love Goes" is getting decent airtime on Radio 2, and it's very good. Just like the Cat of old.

I have one fear, though, and I hope he breaks an unfortunate trend: popular musicians who return with a new album after several years' absence tend to die soon after. It happened to John Lennon mere weeks (or less) after the release of his Double Fantasy. It happened to Kirsty MacColl a few months after her rather fantastic Tropical Brainstorm came out. It happened to George Harrison shortly after he'd announced that he had been back in the studio. It's probably happened to others over the years. And now dear lovely Yusuf is releasing a new album. I hope he proves to be the exception - all those other artists I mentioned were among the best ever, and all got taken away from us way before their times.
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Monday, October 02, 2006

Let Who Be 

Doctor Who. The Beatles. Obviously I was going to put the two together, somehow:

All done with my own hand! I'm particularly proud of the bottom right - if you look at the Beatles' original (Let It Be), then you'll see the pose and expression are almost identical. A propitiously serendipitous find indeed.
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Saturday, July 15, 2006

Jah think so? 

Reggae. Always great, isn't it? Yes. But also often very samey, isn't it? Yes.

Who's considered the greatest of the reggae artists? Bob Marley. And who's considered (by me) the most samey? Bob Marley. Most of his stuff has the same tempo, same beat, same sounds... other artists throw in a bit more variation. I do like Mr Marley, of course - who doesn't? - but for variety in the form one has to seek out others. Which is always a good thing. Hurrah!
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Monday, July 10, 2006

Thank You. No, Thank YOU! 

Duran Duran did a covers album too. It's been hailed as one of the worst covers albums ever attempted by a major artist. It's called Thank You. Most of the people who bought it probably thought, "yeah you'd better be thanking me", before taking it off to the local CD exchange shop. But I like it. I may be weird.

It opens with their version of White Lines, as originally recorded by Grandmaster Flash and friends. White British middle-aged men attempting to do a rocky version of an old rap song? Should be awful. Most people said it was. But I like it. I may be weird.

Also on here are Elvis Costello's Watching The Detectives, Bob Dylan's Lay Lady Lay, and the Doors' Crystal Ship. These are songs a lot of people say should never be re-recorded. A lot of people are wrong (Lay Lady Lay exists in dozens of versions - that lady must be thoroughly laid by now) - but they might just mean that these are songs that should never have been re-recorded by Duran Duran. But I like them. I may be weird.

Also on here is a version of 911 Is A Joke, a song originally by Public Enemy - that is to say, another old rap song being covered by a load of white British middle-aged men... but I sort of like it. I may be sort of weird.

And the title song, a Led Zeppelin tune. I may not be weird.
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Naughty Wolf! 

So, it's all over. No more Doctor Who until Christmas. What a ride it's been! We've had feline nurses from five billion years in the future; an alien werewolf and Queen Victoria; Sarah Jane Smith, K9 and a load of bat-winged aliens enforcing the sort of school dinner that would send Jamie Oliver apoplectic; Madame de Pompadour and some seriously ticked-off robots; the return of those shiny emotionless Cybermen; an alien Maureen Lipman stalking the airwaves - now that really sucks; an impossible planet, home to Evil Incarnate himself; the London Investigation 'n' Detective Agency and Peter Kay dressed as a green sumo; a girl with a flower in her mouth and the 2012 Olympics; and another return of the Cybermen - and then some. Whew... Thirteen weeks of the best thing on television, proving why it's the best thing on television.

The Christmas episode is to be called The Runaway Bride and appears to feature another popular comedian stunt-casted as the eponym: Catherine Tate in a wedding dress. I have no idea what that's about. Can't wait!

Oh... I prefer David Tennant to his predecessor, Christopher Eccleston. There. Said it.
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Thursday, June 15, 2006

But At Least His Money Was Safe 

Life must be dull on the Counting Crows' tourbus. The band's primary hobby is doing what their name suggests. I understand their grand total of corvine enumeration is well into quintuple figures. Such a moniker-related hobby isn't restricted to just this band, not by a long shot. The Stone Roses, in the early days, spent their days travelling from dive to toilet inflicting biblical punishment on purchases from the florists nearest the previous night's venue. The Rolling Stones loved nothing more than, well... just that. It's different now, of course: they watch from their private helicopters as teams of gold-plated JCBs roll boulders down hillsides.

The Smashing Pumpkins spent a lot of money on cleaning their tourbuses' interiors, and also a fair bit on new hammers. A Canadian band called Crash Test Dummies had a big hit with "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm", some years ago - they had to mumble due to injuries incurred during the day job: one crumpled car too many. If it wasn't the Pretenders playing their instruments, just who was it, eh? Anyone seen a picture of The Pretty Things? Are they? Norah Jones has a group in which all the other members are men: the group is called the Little Willies. I wonder...

The less said here about Johnny Cash, the better.
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Thursday, May 18, 2006

Strange Little Girls 

Another covers album! Hurrah! This time, it's Tori Amos and her Strange Little Girls record. The angle was that all the songs are about women, but written by men. She's taking the song and doing it from a female perspective, allegedly. You'd think that would require a bit of re-writing: prime example is her version of Eminem's '97 Bonnie & Clyde (no, really!), which contains references about and by the singer to "daddy" and "husband". It's a little odd to hear some of the lines coming out of a female mouth, but it works. She does a good version of the song - not a rap in sight (thankfully). Also on here is, as one might expect, Strange Little Girl, originally by The Stranglers, Depeche Mode's Enjoy The Silence, 10cc's I'm Not In Love and The Boomtown Rats' I Don't Like Mondays. The highlights, though, are Heart Of Gold, originally by Neil Young, and Tori's take on The Beatles' Happiness Is A Warm Gun. I could go into detail about how fine it all is, but I won't. It's not actually all fine - like most Tori Amos albums, it's too long and too padded - but it's a decent listen. Just not one I put on very often.
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Hi honey I'm home! 

Phew, that was a long holiday. Not so much a holiday, more like... captivation. Yes, blogfans, that's right! I was kidnapped shortly after making my last post here and I was taken away, having been bundled blindfolded into the back of a car, to a mysterious place far far far away.

I woke up in a dark room that smelt of mildew and vomit. It wasn't my vomit - it was lunch. It was soon my vomit, though. There was a tiny crack of light coming into the room - but from where? A thorough search of nearly sixteen seconds revealed that there was, in fact, a tiny window set high in the wall. I couldn't reach it, but it was my only escape route - the door had been bricked up, on the inside. My captors were clearly either very clever or very stupid. They were nowhere to be seen. How would I scale the wall? How would I get through the window and to freedom? I pondered the problem for a few days, and then it came to me: I could use the ladder leaning up against the wall. It took a week to summon up the courage to climb the ladder, but I did it! I was free! But where was I?

I was in the rainforest in Mexico. I had in fact been kept prisoner in an Aztec temple. How very bothersome, I thought, and how very like a Bond-style archvillain. I guessed that the archvillain would be hiding out somewhere nearby in his high-tech super-lair, stroking a white Persian cat with his bejewelled glove. I could, I considered, pay him a visit. I decided not to and instead got on the train. Who would have thought there would be a regular train serving an old abandoned Aztec temple in the middle of nowhere? Most fortuitous. Before I knew it (I'd passed out, see) I was on the plane heading back home. Hurrah! But my adventure wasn't over yet - not by a long shot.

Upon getting home, I really had to fight to open the front door - two months' worth of mail and free newspapers can really pile up. I also had to pay off the milkman, and set about drinking all the milk that had been left on the doorstep. Some of it had turned to cheese, so I had some nice sandwiches too. But! No tomatoes! So I had to go to the shop and buy some. Then I had some really nice sandwiches. Anyway, I finally made it back to the computer, and here I am.

That's why I haven't done any posts here for two months. Honest.
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Sunday, March 19, 2006

Lil rubber ducky, rubber rubber ducky. 

Back to the 1922 Popular Mechanics. There's a little article about a horse with an artificial "nose" in its neck. Fairly standard, really: it's a little silvery tube inserted into the windpipe to assist breathing. First time I've seen such on a non-human, that's all. Only took me 84 years to notice.

And on another page is another small article describing what was apparently a new invention. Here's the text of it:


On the order of the inner tube of a tire, much used by nonswimmers to make floating and deep-water breathing safer and more enjoyable, a buoyant contrivance of a more elaborate character has been devised, that has the appearance of an exaggerated duck, or other amphibious animal. This improved float, or buoy, is not blown up like the tire tube, but is made of waterproof material filled with a very light packing. It surrounds the body of the bather, like the tire tube, but is much larger and has a duck's or other animal's head in front.
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