Wednesday, 30 May 2012

GREAT MINDS DRINK ALIKE



I guess I had never thought of the world of blogging as anything resembling a community. Regular readers’ comments are the links that let you know you’re not a voice in the wilderness and I am generally amazed that anyone is out there reading, let alone taking the time to give feedback and encouragement. The first blog that gave me inspiration that I could do more with my blogging was Fleapit of the Mind and then it’s associated brothers and sisters; the author Weaverman. I’ve also taken encouragement from Cerpts and his blogs

Both have been regular commentators on my blog and I theirs so I was pleasantly surprised when Weaverman got in touch and suggested, as he was in my area, meeting up.

We did.

Over some pints of London Pride in the humble, yet comfortable surroundings of the Swimmer we whiled away a good portion of Saturday afternoon chatting, sharing thoughts and generally enjoying each other’s company.

He was as I though; interesting, witty and kind natured. The afternoon was a real pleasure and should I venture down to Southend I will definitely hope to meet up over a pint of Southend Pride (or whatever the equivalent is).

Just goes to show that connections can come from unexpected sources and there are good people out there.

Cheers Ernest

BATMAN INCORPORATED


I suppose it was always going to happen; The Batman organises a team of colleagues to help him fight crime. One man with fantastic gadgets and a car was never going to be enough to deal with the plethora of criminals that infest Gotham and beyond.
Then again the batman has never been shy in seeking support; it makes perfect sense that he recognises his limitations and utilises like minded team mates. Just another element to the Batman story.
 A sense of realism that a man without superpowers needs all the help he can get.
 
Gotham’s new Batman & Robin join Red Robin Black Bat, Oracle and others to help Bruce Wayne fight crime; regardless of race, gender or disability- 
he's an equal opportunity employer.
That’s Bruce Wayne for you; crime fighter but also entrepreneur.



Tuesday, 29 May 2012

THE FACE

The Face Magazine. Anyone wondering what life was like to be in your twenties, with cash in pocket and a love of the Soho/Clubbing scene a keen eye for clothes, an interest in politics, design and music,media and a touch of the old joie devivre need only look through the archive of the Face Magazine. The earliest issues captured that zeitgeist almost perfectly. Pomposity and pseudo intellectuality sure, but this magazine was a cutting edge review of young people who viewed themselves as cutting edge. Now these issues can be looked back with a degree of cynicism yet some genuine affection for a bygone era.
The Face, magazine, May 1980, launch, Jerry Dammers, David Bowie, The Cult With No Name, New Romantics

Monday, 28 May 2012

SOUNDS OF THE SEVENTIES



I think it was Danny Baker on Twitter who asked ‘what was the best decade for music?’ I stopped for an nano-second and concluded “why, it’s the Seventies of course”

What's going on
Stevie Wonder and David Bowie were at their prime, Michael Jackson was making the transition from lead singer of the Jackson 5 to solo artiste extraordinaire, Marvin Gaye was going on a journey, Led Zeppelin were laying down the foundations for the emulating masses and Chic gave  the Disco scene depth.

Abba and The Carpenters showed how good pure Pop could be, the Sex Pistols challenged convention, Earth Wind & Fire put on a show and Elvis produced some of the best work of his career.There were Bob Marley and Kate Bush; one of a kinds both. Roxy Music created a unique style and Pink Floyd delivered a defining album in Dark Side of the Moon.The Specials delivered the two tone sound and Rose Royce gave us heartbreaking tunes.
London calling




Some great vocal groups of the sixties had disbanded and individuals made their own careers such as Eddie Kendricks. The Three Degrees bought glamour to grey British Tea Time TV

Great film scores: Jaws, Star Wars.,Taxi Driver,Get Carter, The Godfather, Enter the Dragon, Dirty Harry to name a few. Tremendous soundtracks from the Blaxploitation and Spaghetti western Genres also.
The Rolling Stones did some of their best work, Alice Cooper showed that he was more than just a sensational image and Roxy Music did their own thing. Marc Bolan & Elton John were producing great work, as were Steely Dan and The Eagles. Thin Lizzy barn-stormed and Blondie styled it out.
What's the name of the game
Funkadelic led the way with their funky groove, Parliament, Kool and the Gang, Cameo and Heatwave did likewise. Kraftwerk and Slade, Aretha Franklin and Johnny Cash, The Bee Gees and Bill Withers, Al Green and The Buzzcocks; diverse as you wanna be. The Seventies had it all in the way of music...if you want my opinion.

I wanna be where you are

Sunday, 27 May 2012

MY HIT LIST-PLAY AT YOUR OWN RISK


It's got tight Motown style vocalists with different ranges but it's not a soul classic. Play at your own risk is not just another electro funk record. Released on Tommy Boy in 1982 produced and arranged by Arthur Baker & Francois Kervockian, it is a quintessential New York track from that golden age of early Hip Hop.
It took Afrika Bambaataa's Planet Rock's originality (and out takes) and delivered a polished hybrid.
Still has a power and rawness even now and reminds me of that exciting time.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

THE WONDER OF NEAL ADAMS

Neal Adams The Comic Book artist who perhaps best embodies the move artistically from the bold fantasy style of Kirby & Ditko to the illustration of realism that complimented the realism and issues based stories of the late sixties and early Seventies. He worked on the big DC characters and his run on Marvel's X-Men did a lot to re-establish the characters. Along with the social based stories he was adroit at more fanciful fare bringing that realism yet with dynamism. An incredibly influential artist Neal Adams was almost the first of a new breed of Comic Book artists.
Neal Adams 1978 Portfolio Tarzan 2

Savage Tales 5 cover by Neal Adams, 1974, featuring Conan and Ka-Zar

Friday, 25 May 2012

MY HIT LIST-OUR LIPS ARE SEALED



Our lips are sealed-Fun Boy Three

The Fun Boy Three, best known for being a splinter group of the Specials produced some interesting music and explored the boundaries of pop. Whedlin pf the Go-Gos and Hall of the Specials wrote the song and This single from The Fun Boy three, originally recorded by The Go-Gos, was released in 1983 and this performance of it quite nicely sums up the style of the time.

Our lips are sealed-The Go-Gos

Thursday, 24 May 2012

DISCOTHEQUE


Following the deaths of Donna Summer and Robin Gibb there's a lot of analysis of the Disco scene at the moment and for many the only reference point they may have is cheesy outfits and shocking wigs, medallions and satin.
Disco was and is much more than that. The greatest of the Disco artists produced uplifting records with which to dance the night away. Often there was a melancholy attached. The feeling of the everyday man or woman only really coming alive on Saturday night; a release from the rat race.
There are many,, many standards that most are familiar with but other less known offerings on labels like Casablanca, Salsoul, West End and Prelude:here's a selection of Disco records that give a taste of the depth within the genre.

Lenny Williams-When I'm Dancing
Stretchin' out-Gayle Adams
Hit & Run -Loletta Holloway
Strategy-Archie Bell and the Drells
Goldmine-Edwin Birdsong
When I come home-Aurra
Wishing on a star-Rose Royce
Just the right size-Salsoul Orchestra
Gonna get over you-France Joli
A Fifth of Beethoven-Walter Murphy
Esther Willians-I'll be your pleasure
My Forbidden Lover-Chic
Love don't live here anymore-Rose Royce
Ten Percent-Double Exposure
Windy City-The Windy City Orchestra
Do what you wanna do-T Connection
Cocomotion-El Coco
Check out the groove- Bobby Thurston
Victory-Curtis Mayfield
Doctor Love-First Choice
Bad luck-Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

MY HIT LIST-DAYTRIPPER


Daytripper-Fabio Moon & Gabriel Ba (Vertigo)

A beautifully executed comic book journey of discovery; life, love,dreams, death, destiny, expectation and existentialism all wrapped up with simple yet charming art. Never read a comic book for fear of muscle men in tights and unfeasibly gorgeous Amazons? then I heartily recommend this book. It's a great journey and as profound as any book (comic or otherwise) gets.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER rated R


Saturday Night Fever (1978)

Saturday Night Fever is not the mirror ball bright kitsch treat that many perceive it to be. It's a downbeat story containing rape, violence, misogyny, racism, meditations on Catholicism,exploitation,crime and family dysfunction; hardly an evening of light entertainment.

No it’s not exactly Scorsese but it is a different take on the New York Italian American lifestyle; albeit with great music and elaborate dance moves.
 
Let's not forget it was originally released as an R rated movie in the states (an 18 certificate here in the UK) due to profanity and drug use alongside its other vices.
It was critically well received; even the notorious Pauline Kael advocated its qualities and it received acknowledgements that included Academy Award, Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations.


It is actually a film that has more in common with Mean Streets than it does with Grease.

Monday, 21 May 2012

MY HIT LIST-LIFEBOAT


Lifeboat (1944)
Director Alfred Hitchcock

One of Hitchcock's under rated movies this is famous for the fact that the majority of the movie is set in a lifeboat. It's an interesting study of group dynamics and adversity.Tallulah Bankhead steals the movie as an alpha female reporter and it features one of Hitchcocks most shocking scenes when the survivors kill the German Passenger who has betrayed them; it's understated yet a powerfull moment. It's staged likea play and has an effecting script, it's lack of mosical score and it's starkness make for an intense character piece.Dismissed by some as just a propoganda piece it is far better than it's percieved to be and, for me, stands as one of Hitchcocks best movies.

WELLISAIDTHAT