Morning Afterglow Electrasy MCA Released: September 1998 Highest UK Chart Position: 19 Available on: Beautiful Insane
Considering Britpop's rock reputation, it's a little surprising to discover that most bands had a rather alarming tendency to indulge in ballads. Electrasy were described in the UK music press as being the British answer to Beck, but there's no sign of that here. This is a straight-forward ballad, plaintive and simple, both lyrically and in the string-drenched melody. It holds a special place in my memories, but that's because of the time that it's attached to; of playing it on a Saturday morning during the September Manchester sun (yes, sometimes the clouds parted up in the North). Listening to it now, I can't quite separate the memories from the song. And this is not a good song, really. A song for lighters. A cynical stab at plucking at the heartstrings and attempting to drain emotion away from the listener. A void, a vacuum, the sound of an airlock being opened and the oxygen being sucked out into space.
Which, coincidentally enough, leads us to the b-side, Lost In Space. There's another article to be written about how Britpop extended the life of the b-side for a few more years, but that's for another time. In contrast to the lead track, this remix of an earlier single is still worth a listen; a joining of angels, spacemen, lullabies, and other nonsense.
But I can’t write any more of this review. I can’t draw up enough enthusiasm. I can’t summon the person who I was. I can’t listen to it like I did. I can’t read the music papers anymore. I can’t remember. I can’t understand. I can’t. I.
ME! — 4'33"
And, a nice, Oliver Postgate-style jaunt through space, I think, for the second song of the day. Have a good Friday everyone…
Lemon Jelly — Spacewalk
The documentary saves its biggest impact for the second half, focusing on Iraq. However, it does so by almost completely ignoring the question of whether there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq or not (save for a few pre-September interviews with Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell). Instead, it opens with the bombing of Baghdad, the green flares of exploding bombs blasting against night-vision cameras. Then, Moore shows us the results. Women and children covered in napalm burns. Dead US soldiers burnt, dragged along the streets and then hanged from a bridge. We didn't see this. I didn't see this, when watching the news in America. We were given a clean war, a war of embedded journalists and computer-generated maps. We didn't see this.
Finally, it looks at the US military. How the soldiers started out as gung-ho, CD-playing video gamers, but ended up bitter, disillusioned, and frightened. For this section, Moore returns to Flint, Michigan, to see the effect of war on his home town, resulting in scenes that make you want to break down and also fill you with a burning rage.
You should see it. Yes, it's completely one-sided, flawed, biased, and slanted. It has to be. When you consider that up to now, the only real critical news-based look at the Bush Administration is on Comedy Central, that the White House Press Corps decided to leave most of the tough questions to Helen Thomas, and that Fox News has done as much to conflate Al-Qaeda and Iraq as President Bush, this film is the only possible response. And its box office revenues suggest that people would like to hear something other than a regurgitation of government spin. This film isn't the whole truth, but it's a challenge to our media to start doing their jobs once more.
(um, I promise to write about something other than politics soon. Probably Friday. In the meantime, just shake your head and back away slowly)
In other news, parts of the Bush Administration are looking to pass the Enabling Act. The Family shall rule for a thousand years! I really, really don't see why this is necessary. America elected FDR in 1944, Abraham Lincoln held elections in 1864 while the Civil War was still raging, and in 1814, midterm elections took place, even though the British had just burned the White House to the ground. He's what Lincoln had to say when advisors suggested postponing the elections:
We can not have free government without elections; and if the rebellion could force us to forego, or postpone a national election it might fairly claim to have already conquered and ruined us.
And finally for today, it appears that the US Government is pushing for Pakistan to capture "High Value Targets" during the last few days of July (there's something going on in Boston that weekend, apparently). Some days, you think that you're being too cynical, that despite everything, there's got to be something of redeemable value hidden within. And on days like this, you realise that there isn't.
Accessible Odeon is now off-line. Last year, Odeon said that they were aware of the site, but weren't planning on taking any action. This week, they changed their minds, sending Matthew a cease-and-desist order for violating Odeon's trademarks and the database rights of their movie times.
Yes, Odeon can control who prints what time they're showing films.
So I guess it's back to the paper for film times. Odeon don't seem to be in a hurry to redesign a site that is broken in about five different ways, and they've crushed somebody who was helping them get business. Bravo!