Cool sounds from years long past

Why has ‘cool’ become such a cool word to use as if it has only just been invented? Way back in the sixties it was used. For instance in the film West Side Story – “keep cool boy, ice cool boy”. Okay, maybe the sense has changed a bit :-)

But whatever that is not the reason for this blurbification from the flickering fingers of yours truly over the silver keyboard. Here’s a list of excellent songs let down only by the lower lever of recording technology of the time they were recorded. Track them down (no pun intended) and give them a spin (still no pun intended!) :-

The Green Manalishi by Fleetwood Mac – strange that this unusual and classic multi-guitar heavy has rarely been covered. It is begging for a modern reworking.

Play The Game by Atomic Rooster (also covered by Atomic Bitchwax) – this only occured as the ‘b’ side of their hit single ‘Tomorrow Night’ when it really should have made it onto the album (John Du Cann, the Atomic Rooster guitarist told me once he felt that it should have been on there but there were reasons …)
July Morning by Uriah Heep – This really is a classic love song although it is an unrequited love song, more of a yearning song….

Indian Reservation by Don Fardon – the abuse of the natives of America was laid bare in this song. Don Fardon didn’t write it but he made it famous as a hit single and informed a whole generation misled by the “cowboys are the good guys” brainwashing that the poor native americans were only trying to defend their way of life and their families from the foreign invaders. This song is still as important today as it was back then as the old traditions amnd natural cultures of the world get buried under a mountain of technology, hamburgers and fries …

Dark Eyed Woman by Spirit – fabulous brooding dark love song of passionate summers …

He’s Gonna Step On You Again by John Kongos (and covered by Black Grape as ‘Step On’) – ripe jungle beat and mesmerising chant.

Space Station No5 by Montrose – classic heavy rocker.

House of the Rising Sun by Frigid Pink – blistering raw Marshall Amp overloading! This guitar sound is incredible! Forget the clinical clean distorted guitar sound produced by today’s digital pedals, this is the original valve amplifier blast and if you turn it up full you’ll get to watch the wallpaper peel and spontaneosly combust! The original recording of this song sounds like a squeeking mouse compared to this roaring monster!

If you enjoyed these recommendations let me know and maybe there will be some more … or maybe we will look at album covers … after all it is meant to be an art site :-)

The Art of Water

“Water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink!”

No matter where you live in the world the tap water is somewhere on a scale of foul to undrinkable. The tap water where we live in the north of England seems to have been distilled from the perspirations of a camel’s gonads on a particularly hot day and then disguised with chlorine and flouride. For this reason we decided that before we start growing humps and getting ill-tempered we’d have a look around for some decent water to drink and make tea and coffee with. Carting bottled water from the supermarket soon made us realise that although a transformation to camelhood was less likely the lengthening of our arms from carrying all these heavy bottles might well get us access to the gorilla compound at London Zoo instead. As soon as we saw the danger signs of overbuying of peanuts and a desire to drink PG Tips instead of decent tea we decided enough was enough.

Searching the web we came across a company appropriately called Detox who sell a range of water purifiers. We’d found one we liked the look of but had a number of questions to be sure it was the right one for us. It wasn’t. I phoned up and a very friendly and professional guy called Simon explained the benefits of another system that he personally decided to switch to himself that you can see here. At £249 it is way below the normal retail price. The fitting is more of a DIY job than a plumbing job but even if you have a plumber it shouldn’t cost more than £80 to get it done unless you live in a small kennel on the top of a castle turret (in which case a large funnel and a barrel may do the trick until the acid rain gets to the point it eats through the funnel). The filters need changing once year (one of them) or twice a year (four of them) and this ends up at about £80 per annum. Sounds a lot but for around £1.55 a week you get almost absolutely pure water, far purer than any mineral water you can buy. Ask nicely and they’ll send you a free TDS meter so you can see for yourself how the tap water has a 200 – 400 total dissolved solids reading and your new little drinking water tap is coming in at between 8 and 20! How’s that! :-) The tea tastes like real tea and not like you’ve made it with water from the local swimming pool. Coffee has a real aroma to it that is no longer flouride flavoured columbian. Apparently, if you break open the filter cartridges at the end of their life you can see what you used to be drinking … yuck! I think I might pass on that offer! So; just in case anyone was starting to feel that all I do is slag things off here and have a moan, let’s award full marks to the people at Detox!

“I’m Beowulf, I’ll kill yor monsta! …”

“… and then I’ll shag its muvva … maybe I’ll go dahn the pub forra laager .. or get in a pizza!” For those who believed Beowulf was Scandinavian it can now be revealed that he is a cheeky cockney (Ray Winstone). But that’s not the real issue with this film. How many people don’t realise they are actually going to see a computer game rather than a film? Several near us didn’t, judging by the comments. I’m sure there is a film review of Beowulf 2007 out there saying how awesome and wicked this Beowulf film is. Either they are between the ages of 12 and 14 or they have never seen Anthony Hopkins act because even with it being his voice this totally computer generated film cannot produce his acting ability. Very well done but the characters are flat and lifeless compared to real actors. Lusty young men hoping to see Angelina Jolie naked are treated to an animation nude straight out of Manga instead. So; why is it not the actors themselves in this film? Apart from Ms Jolie being understandably reluctant, it’s all about money as usual. Much cheaper to make an animated film than use real people (we all remember the terrible dodgy original Lord of the Rings film before Peter Jackson did it properly). As a big fan of Neil Gaiman’s work I’m really sorry he was involved in this Beowulf con trick … because that is surely what it is .. all the hype and big names to get people, who never otherwise would, to sit in front of a computer game masquerading as a film for two hours. Neil Gaiman can be forgiven as his passionate interest in old legends must have made the offer irresistible. So let’s blame Robert Zemeckis for this con trick. Do yourself a favour if you haven’t seen this Beowulf film and don’t. Animation is fine in its place but trying to take the place of real acting is pathetic. Anthony Hopkins is a brilliant actor, his animated double in this film is nothing like brilliant. A cardboard cut-out. A positive note though, the dragon is excellent! But then, it should be as that is where animation works – creating the imaginative images that do not exist in real life. If a trend set by this Beowulf film was to continue do we end up with a race of people who think real life is as flat and lifeless as these characters? Does the whole world turn into one great computer game? Should cinemas be allowed to show this film without a declaration that the whole film is CGI with no live actors? What do you think?

The next film version of Beowulf is going to be an ecological one apparently … “I’m Bio Wolf, I’ll save yor planet!”

Let’s get this straight …

These entries are not necessarily going to make the most sense, be the most relevant or the most interesting but hopefully they will be a lot of fun :-) and if not then you’ll have to say so by adding a comment or forever holding your pieces!

We’ll explore things like why it is that Tiscali went belly-up yesterday for the whole of the UK. Their Customer Services said that no Tiscali customer in the UK had access to the Internet when it happened late yesterday afternoon (after the mouse fell of the treadwheel ? :-) ). Still, as promised, Tiscali did get us all back online by 9am this morning. O the joys of computers, ISPs, servers and software … the fervent prayers we all offer up that they won’t go wrong just now … not till I’ve sent this email … finished this order … updated this website … Oh bugger >¬£+”%*&(£$X%%^ :-( !

We will also explore subjects as diverse as water, music, weather and any number of other daft ideas that pop into my fevered brain overloaded with running Artists UK. These posts are not to be considered as mainstream Artists UK DotNet but just a bit of a giggle on the sidelines ….

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