Thursday 21 May 2015

Separated at birth VII - Shakespeare and the Hipster Cop

The newly discovered, contemporaneous picture of William Shakespeare
The newly discovered, contemporaneous picture of William Shakespeare

I read yesterday about the supposed sole picture of Shakespeare made during his lifetime (above). Is it just me that looks at it and thinks of the briefly viral, yesterday's news Hipster Cop (below)?

The Hipster Cop, Peter Swinger
The Hipster Cop, Peter Swinger

Previous separations at birth

Wednesday 13 May 2015

Tees tease

You know the other day I mentioned I was playing around at t-shirt design? Well, I'm very much learning that skill on the job, so to speak. But anyway, I've posted a few more designs that may or may not pique your interest. Here's a selection:

New Amusements on Teepublic

And here's the whole lot.

Requests taken too - leave me a note in the comments and I'll see what can be done.

He's bad! He's good! He's whatever it takes to get our ad's in front of you!

I'm not singling Yahoo out particularly, because they are hardly unique in this respect, but here's a screencap from the Sunnyvale behemoth's scrolling "clickbait masquerading as news" ticker today:

Ooh, look, Tiger Woods cheated on his long-term girlfriend! What a bastard! And what a terrible role model! No wonder she left him. Etc.

Ooh, look, Tiger Woods wrote an empathetic letter to a young fan who'd been bullied over his stutter. What a great guy! What a terrific role model! If only there were more like him about. Etc.

It is tiring, maintaining this level of cynicism regarding the press, but I promise I'll do my best to keep it up.

Friday 8 May 2015

I have designs. You have disposable income. Maybe we can swap.

Inspired by that most excellent of bloggers, London Lee over at Crying All The Way To The Chip Shop, I'm trying my hand at t-shirt design. It's not going to make me rich, but it's a bit of fun. Here's an example:

Dept. of Water & Power

+150 kudos points if you can identify the film reference from the above, without clicking through to the t-shirt's page on Teepublic.

If you want to have a gander at my other designs (and there will be more to come later in the year), then here's my Teepublic shop. Cheers - enjoy your shirt(s).

Thursday 7 May 2015

Clandestine Classic XLI - Sunlight Bathed The Golden Glow

Sunlight Bathed The Golden Glow by Felt
The forty-first post in an occasional series that is intended to highlight songs that you might not have heard that I think are excellent - clandestine classics, if you will. Maybe they'll be by bands you've never heard of. Maybe they'll be by more familiar artists, but tracks that were squirelled away on b-sides, unpopular albums, radio sessions or music magazine cover-mounted CDs. Time will, undoubtedly, tell.

I'll be honest, you can write what I know about Felt on the back of a beer mat. In fact, scrub that, the back of a postage stamp. Their Wikipedia page tells me that they were an alternative three/four-piece band from Birmingham who plied their trade from 1979 to 1989, centred around the vocals, guitar and songwriting of Lawrence Hayward (or just Lawrence, as he was known then). During that time, they released ten studio albums, five compilations (that's a lucrative ratio right there) and a dozen singles. I can't tell you if any of these troubled the mainstream charts unduly, which suggests that they didn't. They were indie chart frequent flyers though.

Today's Classic, the somewhat wordily title Sunlight Bathed The Golden Glow, was released in July 1984, according to the aforementioned Wikipedia page, and spectacularly failed to chart. So how come it's still remembered so fondly now? To the extent that it was even featured on a thoroughly excellent Mojo magazine cover-mounted CD in October 2012?

Well, as you might expect, I've got a theory about this. I can't speak for the rest of Felt's output, as this is the only song of theirs that I own, but Sunlight does seem to incorporate five or six different indie/alternative sounds all in one handy three-minute package. Let's have a listen to illustrate the point: that bass intro puts me in mind of The Cure, and that chiming guitar line reminds me of early Edge, before everyone started resenting U2. The rhythmic, repetitive, sinuous rhythm-as-lead guitar motif is Smithsonian, whilst the vocal delivery is reminiscent of Talking Heads, with maybe a touch of The Blue Aeroplanes for good measure. The backing vocal/harmonies sort of suggest the Cocteau Twins and/or Lush, and probably some other 4AD bands of the day too. The bassline sounds a bit like Mike Mills, pre Warner Brothers REM, as do the strings that begin around the middle eight. And of course the whole thing concludes with that Cure and U2 referencing outro.

So there we go. Whatever else Felt may or may not have done in their decade in the sun shade, they at least produced a song that is effectively a sampler of so many things that were good about the indie music scene in the 1980s. For that alone, it deserves to be cherished. You can find Sunlight on the one-size-fits-all compilation Gold Mine Trash. Or you can try before you buy with YouTube, thus:

Tuesday 5 May 2015

Shoot Me!

Kate Hardie has directed a short film, Shoot Me!, starring Claire Skinner. I have been a big admirer of the former since she played Reggie's wife Frances in The Krays (1990) and the latter since she starred in Mike Leigh's Life Is Sweet (also 1990). Given the 25 intervening years of admiration, it will come as no surprise to learn that I think Shoot Me! is very good, making serious points about body image and ageing whilst showing a light comedic touch. But you can watch it below and decide for yourself.

Shoot Me! from Kate Hardie on Vimeo.

Learnt during April

...because every day's a school day, right?

  1. You can read faster than you think - try the "Keep Up" ad from Honda? Easy, right. Then go faster. And faster still. Surprised yourself, didn't you?
  2. You should never, ever favour your heart over your head when choosing a second-hand car. You'll spend nearly every day of subsequent car ownership kicking yourself.