I started writing this a couple of weeks ago then forgot about it so I will finish this post now!

So Pink Floyd have won their case and EMI  can’t sell their tracks individually or as ringtones. Do I care? I don’t know, it’s certainly made me think, though not necessarily about the issue.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2010/mar/11/pink-floyd-court-victory-emi-downloads-ringtones 
 
Thought one: I’m not really much of a Pink Floyd fan although the recent articles about Syd Barrett in Mojo really made me feel sad. I especially liked the story about the photo shoot for The Madcap Laughs. Iggy the Eskimo: mysterious! Also, the story of Barrett showing up unannounced while the band rehearsed Shine On You Crazy Diamond and nobody recognising him straight away was particularly upsetting. I looked at his wikipedia page afterwards and almost burst into tears when I scrolled down from the first image of him in ’69 to the next of him in ’75 looking almost unrecognisable with no hair or eyebrows.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Syd_barrett 
 
To counteract that sadness, here’s a happy Pink Floyd memory: My school was taking part in some kind of International Business….thing. All these students came over from all around the world and we had to make groups, pick a country and ‘look after’ the students from that country. I’m pretty sure me and my group did nothing of the sort but I do remember there being a big party at some bar before everyone left. They had a karaoke setup on one floor and even though I was terminally shy I decided to go and sing and I decided to sing Another Brick in The Wall. I’m not really sure why, I think it was because I knew I stood a chance of singing it all the way through without making any mistakes. So I did. They had a mic stand which made me feel extra cool. Anyway, I so rarely felt cool at the time that it was a nice little burst of rockstar for me.
 
Thought two: Albums listened to all the way through can be amazing and fulfilling but isn’t it sort of silly to try to control how people listen to music? Even if you release an album where all the songs are melded into one long song without gaps and you can’t skip, people can still turn the sound down for the bits they don’t like, or lift the stylus up on a record and put it down somewhere else, or buy a cassette and tape it and fast forward or rewind bits. OK, maybe it’s unlikely that people are going to bother to do these things but they could. Just like anyone could buy a book and read the last chapter first. Or read some of the middle chapters and never read the rest. So yes, you can control how people buy music but never how they listen to it. You can’t control how they interpret it either so why drive yourself crazy trying?
 
Thought three: I don’t want anyone to think I’m against listening to whole albums, I’m really not. Actually, this whole issue made me feel a little sad because I almost miss the days when I would sit in my room and listen to albums all the way through. I mean, I don’t reeeeaaally miss those days (I was a miserable little gothy teenager who cried a lot) but I miss that sense of having time to lie around on my bed or on the floor or in an armchair and just give in to whole albums. I did the same thing at uni but there tended to be more alcohol involved. The reason I bought a discman recently was because I kind of miss putting albums on and listening to them while I look at the booklet and then then lie down and drift off.
 
Here is my list of albums that are great to listen to all the way through/or that I at least USED to think were great to listen to all the way through (bit of a teenagery bias!):
 
Cocteau Twins-Treasure/Heaven or Las Vegas
The Cardigans-First Band On The Moon
Radiohead-Kid A
Blur-Parklife (No, really!! If you don’t you could miss Badhead and Clover over Dover, aaaahhhh!!!!)
JJ72-JJ72
Belle and Sebastian-Tigermilk
Karen Dalton-In My Own Time
Kate Bush-The Kick Inside/Lionheart
Four Tet-Pause
Tindersticks-Curtains
Low-Trust
This Mortal Coil-It’ll End in Tears
The Triffids-In The Pines
Iggy and The Stooges-Raw Power
Band of Horses-Everything All The Time
Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds-The Boatman’s Call
Bjork-Homogenic
Grizzly Bear-Friend (EP)
The Cure-Faith/Disintegration
David Bowie-Hunky Dory
Billie Holiday-Lady in Satin
Massive Attack-Blue Lines
My Bloody Valentine-Isn’t Anything
Roxy Music-Roxy Music
Love is All-Nine Times That Same Song
Nina Simone-Little Girl Blue (or Jazz As Played In An Exclusive Side Street Club)
Röyksopp-Junior
The Smashing Pumpkins-Adore
The Postal Service-Give Up
The Twilight Sad-Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters
Weezer-Pinkerton/Weezer
Jimmy Eat World-Bleed American
Erlend Øye-DJ Kicks
The Avalanches-Since I Left You
Camera Obscura-Let’s Get Out of This Country
A Silver Mt. Zion-He Has Left Us Alone but Shafts of Light Sometimes Grace the Corner of Our Rooms…
Daft Punk-Discovery
Interpol-Turn on the Bright Lights
Jeff Buckley-Grace
Spiritualized-Ladies and Gentlemen, We Are Floating in Space
Kings of Convenience-Quiet is the New Loud
 
 
This isn’t a list of my favourite ever albums (although a lot of these would be on that list too).They aren’t even necessarily my favourite albums by these artists, just ones I enjoy, or have enjoyed putting on and listening to all the way through! 
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So..Goldfrapp. I am quite addicted to their new single, Rocket. I’m not a huuuuge Goldfrapp fan, I really liked Felt Mountain but I never actually owned it (although I feel like I DID! There are a lot of albums that I occasionally get the feeling I own only to realise that I don’t). Anyway..the video..I half like and half don’t like it. For one, I don’t usually like totally literal interpretations of song lyrics. Also when I first heard the song I’d interpreted the chorus as meaning something like.. ‘I am high on love aaaand you are coming with me on this high’ so to see it interpreted as ‘I am going to tape you up and stick you on a rocket’ didn’t quite match up to what I was thinking and added a sinister level that I hadn’t even thought of! I do like Alison Goldfrapp’s look though, and the dancing and the brightly coloured cloudy sky.  Pitchfork mentioned the ‘Van Halen synths’ in their review and it’s true, Rocket does use them which means I should hate this song but I don’t, the synths sound pretty cool! Anyway, I am a bit addicted:

I love Bagpuss

March 28, 2010

Look at him!

Bagpuss and me

I love Bagpuss. this toy comes from a lovely website:

http://www.bagpussshop.co.uk/

It’s full of cute, cute and more cute!

Discman love

March 22, 2010

I’ve wanted to buy a discman for ages. I buy quite a lot of CDs and it’s too much effort for lazy me to copy them to my mp3 player. Or maybe this is just an excuse. Much as I like records, I grew up buying CDs so…all my music nostalgia is wrapped up in disc format. I love my mp3 player, I really do but I also love buying CDs and staring at the album art and (hopefully) reading the lyrics. And in Japan of course there’s the added fun of extra tracks, lyric sheets in Japanese and in the case of the Alisha’s Attic CD I just bought (I am lame, I know), the artwork translated into Japanese!

So in order to let me do all of this stuff again, I bought a nice pink discman in Bic Camera. It’s already great. I’ve spent the last hour and a half listening to CDs I’ve picked up and forgotten to listen to. Here are some not terribly good photos of some of them:

The Miki Imai album is very…adult contemporary…listening to it made me feel very, safe! The ACO album is heartbreakingly beautiful…it makes me want to cry a little and the Alisha’s Attic album is similar to Alisha Rules the World so it reminded me of being twelve and made me happy! Wow, definitely an amazing purchase!

And on a sadder note…

March 19, 2010

It’s sad..Alex Chilton died. I have to admit, I found out about Big Star through the covers by This Mortal Coil and Jeff Buckley. Kangaroo is such a beautiful song. Anyway, he really did make some gorgeous songs, they make me feel like I’m in some imaginary hazy seventies America falling in love and driving around in cars feeling sad but excited.

Bask in the faded seventies sunshine and loveliness.

This is just awesome. I love how he starts laughing, I love how scratchy and sulky/menacing his voice sounds.

Here’s a link to a piece in the Guardian about him, it’s quite touching:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/musicblog/2010/mar/18/big-star-alex-chilton

Keep an Eye on the Sky

Plush hat love

March 19, 2010

Sometimes it’s fun to be a Pokemon…

Look at this awesome album! It’s Blur-Live At The Budokan. I found it in a really cool record shop in Nagoya that we went to when we went out the wrong exit at Kamimaezu. It cost 525 yen!! When I saw it I thought ‘Wow, I would have been so impressed by his when I was 15′. Then I thought about it a little more and realised that I was impressed now! It’s great! it reminds me of being in high school and spending hours and hours in Platekompaniet. I remember buying Bustin’ + Dronin’ there. (It was a special import so twice the price!)

Anyway, the album packaging is great, lots of the pictures would make lovely posters.

Sorry, not the best pictures ever! On a side note..I love airline style….tickets, airline magazines etc. Very lovely album.

Best White Day present!

March 17, 2010

Softbank!!!!

Mmm, white chocolate

From Danny. I have a toy of the Softbank dog (of course). It shouts things in an angry voice when you press its tummy!

Pretty…

Pinball, 1973

March 11, 2010

So I just finished reading Pinball, 1973 by Haruki Murakami. I’ d been waiting to read it for years. It didn’t used to be available. It was part of the same Kodansha English Library series as Hear The Wind Sing (ie. intended for Japanese speakers learning English) and although Hear The Wind Sing was made available again (in Japan) a little while ago I never saw Pinball, 1973 onthe shelf next to it. Until me and Danny popped into Tower Records in Shibuya last month and suddenly it was there! We both noticed it seperately so it ended up being a birthday present. (I guess if you really hate spoilers then don’t read the quotes in this post but..honestly…it wouldn’t matter, this isn’t really a plot driven book and the quotes don’t really give much of anything away).

Even when Murakami is writing about nothing it affects me. Tiny things are heartbreaking. And it’s not because he describes them in exhaustive detail or anything. It’s as if he chooses exactly the right things to mention and exactly the right order to mention them in for maximum impact. Maximum because the things he writes about aren’t necessarily sad. Somehow the things he writes about make me feel sad for his characters and sad for myself and for what I’ve lost over the years. Not huge things but tiny things, moments, brief thoughts, that kind of thing. Series of things his characters do, like coming home, having a coffee, washing the cup, pouring out a glass of beer, lighting a cigarette and putting a record on seem sort of important somehow. It’s all nothing but I’ll sit there and read it almost in tears.

‘A friend of mine and I leased a condominium on the slope from Shibuya to Nampeidai and opened a small translation service. My friend’s father put up the funds, which is not to say that it took any astounding sum of money-just the deposit on the place, and the money for three steel desks, some ten dictionaries, a telephone, and a half-dozen bottles of bourbon. We thought up a suitable name, and with the rest of the money had it engraved on a metal sign and hung it out front, then put an ad in the newspaper. After that we waited for customers. The two of us, with our four feet propped up on the desks, drinking whiskey. It was the spring of ’72’ (Murakami, Haruki Pinball, 1973 p.31)

Sometimes upsetting things are mentioned in passing and never mentioned again:

‘On the train ride back, I told myself over and over again, it’s all over with now, you got it out of your system, forget it. You got what you came for, didn’t you? Yet I couldn’t get it out of mind, that place. Nor the fact that I loved Naoko. Nor that she was dead. After all that, I still hadn’t closed the book on anything.’ (p.23)

And the idleness! His characters frequently do nothing. They just drink coffee and sit and stare and fall asleep. They listen to classical or jazz records and tapes that have no meaning to me but hearing the names of the composers and their albums (Handel, Bix Beiderbecke, Woody Herman) still feels comforting. I can’t write about smoking and listening to classical music. Not convincingly anyway. The only classical albums I might possibly own would be ones I found in the backroom at Oxfam (I used to volunteer in one of their book/record shops) and only bought because they had silly names and covers or pretty covers. Attachment to album covers, there’s another thing I don’t quite understand. I often buy albums just because I like the covers. In fact, I think I’ll take some pictures of ones I’ve bought in Japan and post them here!

Since I don’t know how to finish here’s one last quote:

‘Occasionally, though, tiny ripples of emotion would be set off, as if to remind him. At times like that, the Rat simply closed his eyes, sealed off his mind, and sat tight until the ripples subsided. By then it would already be getting a little dark, toward early evening. The ripples gone, that same hushed tranquility would come over him again, as if nothing had happened.’ (p. 45)