Take What You Can, Eat Off The Man

I’ve been thinking about Kenickie a lot this week, mainly due to a post on No Rock ‘n’ Roll Fun which has an article by Emmy-Kate Montrose (which includes the discovery that her real name is Emma Jackson), discussing the fun of being in a band that the record company didn’t fully understand. I remember seeing them play at the end of ‘Fully Booked’ one Sunday, Lauren’s face screaming “why are we here?!” as she mimed to “I Would Fix You”. And then the Chris Moyles interview, which is the source of my long-held dislike for him. Marie and Emmy-Kate did their best, but he obviously didn’t want them there, leading to a few pointed exchanges (and as a tenth-rate clone of Chris Evans, it’s not hard to imagine who came off worse). I do remember enjoying most of their print interviews, though, especially the ones where Lauren proclaimed her love for Dennis Skinner, MP. I do wonder if it’s more of a UK problem. While Sleater-Kinney, for example, have had their share of “ooh! look! girls playing guitars! how extraordinary!” interviews and articles, it doesn’t seem to have affected them as much, perhaps because their record label wasn’t trying to make them something they’re not (it also helps that the US can support independent record labels; the UK indie scene flourished in the late 70s and early 80s, but died out as the 90s progressed).

Anyway, there’s a bigger discussion to be had about Kenickie at a later point this year (after all, it is the tenth anniversary of Catsuit City!), but for now, I’ll leave you with a track from one of their sadly-not-available-on-CD Mark Radcliffe sessions, a cover of The Pixies Letter To Memphis. And, in a stroke of luck, some kind soul has put it up on the Internet, so download and enjoy!

Kenickie — Letter To Memphis

currently playing: The Avalanches – Since I Left You

A Short Message For Our Internet Overlords

(Thank you NTL. Please don’t cut me off again NTL. I NEEEED INTERNET.)

currently playing: Annie — Anniemal

An Apology

I gave some serious thought about covering the State of the Union address live tonight. But I’ve decided to save myself the anger, and spend the time doing something useful instead. You may get some reference tomorrow if he says something particularly inane, but I’m a little busy this week (working at a play at my old school and so forth), so don’t expect much…

currently playing: The Psychedelic Furs – Love My Way

Another Odd Question

Has anybody been to a gig at The Windmill in Brixton before? I’m looking to go to the Saturday Looks Good To Me concert towards the end of February (yay cheap tickets!), and I’d be interested to know what time they close up, so I can get a bus back to Oxford, and then…spend seven hours there until the buses to Bicester start up again. There might be a flaw in this plan somewhere, you know.

(but still! I missed them twice in Chapel Hill, so must go!)

currently playing: Belle & Sebastian — Sleep The Clock Around

*whistles*

U.S. ENCOURAGED BY VIETNAM VOTE; Officials Cite 83% Turnout Despite Vietcong Terror…

currently playing: Kenickie — And That’s Why

Links and The Bannermen

Is Elvis Dead?

Yay! Viz have licensed 20th Century Boys. A fantastic manga series, if somewhat reliant on CLIFFHANGERS OF DOOM. But I love it anyway.

A graphical history of sampling in music (lots of fun here)

SNAPE! SNAAAAPPPE!

Oohh. Once part of the most feared fight jets on the planet - now a clock. There’s a lesson in there somewhere.

currently playing: The Other Two — Selfish

A Question on Music

Knowing that there’s at least one musician who reads this (oh, and Tom too, of course!), I thought I’d ask a question. Do you think that a music critic/reviewer should have a proper sense of music theory? I don’t mean Matt’s strict stance that only musicians should be able to talk about music; it’s just that while I like music (a lot), I feel that I don’t know too much about its inner workings. I couldn’t tell you the difference between middle-C and G, or how time-signatures work, for example. Admittedly, you don’t often read much discussion about these things in most music reviews, but I wonder if I should try and learn. Thoughts would be appreciated!

currently playing: Annie – Me Plus One

I Don't Normally Do This Kind of Thing

Yes, checking server logs to check out what people coming here are searching for is fun. It can get a little disturbing, though. There was the “Denise Richards bondage” search a while back, which was a little creepy.

But “joan rivers dominatrix” ?? The mind, indeed, truly boggles in horror at the thought. Both in images and knowing that somebody was searching for it. I hope, dear internet user, that you managed to find what you were looking for on another corner of the internet. I am going to try and erase my mind. See you later…

currently playing: Interpol — NYC

Bubbles!

I hope you’re all getting ready Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day!

currently playing: Stars — This Charming Man

Meet The New Boss

Slightly disturbing news from the still-young Western manga front. Sad to see that the New Hope of Western comics is determined to be almost as bad, creatively-speaking, as the old industry. Heck, even Marvel & DC now have “creator-participation” contracts, which mean that writers and artists will be compensated if the comic is picked up for TV or film (Warren Ellis’s Global Frequency was produced under this type of contract, if I’m remembering right). Not so with Tokyopop, it seems.

I’m ambivalent about the Manga Revolution. I have nothing against manga; I’ve been reading it for years, and I can almost read right-to-left almost as well as reading left-to-right, but it troubles me somewhat. I think my main fear is that the Western comics industry will turn into little more than simply a reprint market for Japanese material. While Tokyopop and others are attempting to create a home-grown market, I’m not convinced that they’re going to be a success against the reprinted material (where costs have already been recouped by their initial Japanese printings). I’ve seen it happen here – in the 1980s, Britain had a decently-sized comics industry, from toy adaptations like Transformers UK to the more adult-themed titles like 2000AD and Crisis. Today, there’s hardly anything left; 2000AD creeps along only because a software company bought them, and the only Marvel comics left on the stands are reprints. I’d hate to see America go the same way.

My main problem, though, is length. Not wishing to be ungrateful, but most manga comics are just too long! Take Lone Wolf and Cub for example. An excellent book, with beautiful art and almost-perfect storytelling. And it’s so cheap! $9.95 for almost 300 pages of story! So, you think about getting the rest.

There are 28 books in the Lone Wolf and Cub series.

That’s almost 8,500 pages. And I think that’s just a little too much. I prefer stories that are more manageable; Eagle and Milk Squad are a little simplistic (Eagle is a political drama about the first Japanese-American candidate for President of America, but it suffers from trite dialogue and too much melodrama, and comes off very badly when you compare it to The West Wing), but are entertaining manga that only take four or five volumes to tell a complete story. But these seem to be the exception rather than the norm.

Still, I don’t want to be too negative; 20th Century Boys is the best thing I’ve read so far in 2005 (although, there’s still a whole bunch of Grant Morrison stuff to come). I just don’t think that importing manga wholesale from Japan is going to solve all our problems.

currently playing: Kraftwerk — Computer Love