Worst guitar playing ever?

About a million years ago, Deep Purple recorded an absolutely spiffing instrumental titled ‘Wring That Neck’ which I’ve always liked – especially live as I featured here not too long ago.

Well, just now, I was pottering about on Spotify – possibly the best music service ever – and found this. (You can only hear the track if you’re on Spotify, so if you’re not, sign up for a free account NOW!).

I almost fell off my fucking chair when I heard it.

It’s a version of ‘Wring That Neck’ by a band called ‘Global Warming’ and it has to feature some of the worst guitar playing I’ve ever heard – either that, or it’s a work of genius by someone who wants to sound bad – but I doubt that…

The opening guitar takes a while to settle down into keeping the same key but then cunningly loses the key centre in the head, regains it and then loses it again.

There then follows a bit of impro which, quite frankly, stinks – no other term will do – and then gets worse and then, in desperation, auto-wah is switched on briefly before the next impro section.

Somehow, the guitarist manages to top each chorus with even worse playing than the one before – some achievement.

I sort of feel sorry for the bassist and drummer who play adequately and had to suffer this clown on guitar, although they lose points for not telling him how shit he was and then burning his guitar and amp.

Whoever the guitarist is, he has Van Gogh’s ear for music – the one he cut off.

Straight up, imagine Eric Morecombe on piano in the classic Morecombe and Wise sketch with Andre Previn – all the right notes but not necessarily in the right order – and you might get a hint as to the masterpiece of sheer unalloyed crapness that Global Warming have created with this track.

Now, I love music, but this track has to take the fucking biscuit as far as bad guitar playing goes – in fact, it takes a whole lorry load of them.

Please give it a listen – it’s truly shite.

By the way, if the guitarist is reading this, sorry mate but you’re fucking terrible.

Could I do better?

Fuck, yes.

Gently does it

One of the best gadgets I’ve ever bought is my iPod Classic. Its 160Gb capacity means that I’ve been able to leave all my CDs and other music media packed up, along with my main stereo. All I need for instant music here until we move permanently is contained on the iPod which I’ve hooked up to a Panasonic mini hi-fi.

I’ve got about 150Gb of audio on the iPod which gives me plenty of choice and just lately I’ve been listening to some audiobooks.

I’ve never been too fond of audiobooks but listening to them whilst I was laid up with a cold which turned into a sort of stomach flu last month was very enjoyable and I’ve continued to listen to them.

With such a huge capacity on the iPod it’s easy to overlook things but I’ve rediscovered some Douglas Adams audiobooks I put on there a couple of years ago on a whim.

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I have all five of the Hitchhiker books, read variously by Douglas Adams, Martin Freeman and Stephen Fry. I also have both Dirk Gently books read by the author.

I first heard ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ when it was first broadcast on BBC Radio 4. It was OK, although I remember thinking at the time that it was a bit too clever-clever and perhaps tried too hard to be different.

However, I continued to listen to the broadcasts and after that the next two radio sequels and then the TV series. I even read the first three books.

After about 1982 I didn’t bother with Adams again until just recently, although I did buy the DVD set of the TV series and also borrowed the recent(ish) film from the library, although I found the latter to be an execrable piece of shit that should have never been made.

Being able to catch up, as it were, with Adams’ writings after the original trilogy I’m starting to really appreciate him again and a re-evaluation is now due.

From what I’ve heard of the last two Hitchhiker books (and also the two Dirk Gently novels), I reckon he got better and to me they seem to be a vast improvement over the original trilogy.

This might well be heresy to Hitchhiker fans, but his later novels seem to have benefited from concentrating more on character and plot and less on witty observations and all the fussy details when the Guide is quoted.

In short – more substance and less gimmick.

Arthur Dent becomes a far more rounded character and the passive, bumbling ingénue of the first three books develops into a far more realistic and assertive individual to whom one can relate more closely. The early Dent is a comic book character; the later one a comic novel character – a big and welcome difference.

This depth of characterisation extends to his Dirk Gently novels which were a real surprise to me. I thought they were excellent, with a wealth of references to all manner of things that piqued the intellect, plot lines which interwove in a labyrinthine way and, at times, some quite haunting descriptions of the ways in which the main characters’ minds worked.

Dirk Gently himself is an amazing invention. At times he seems to act as a deus ex machina facilitating intersecting twists and turns in the plots and subplots just when you think they can progress no further. The closest parallel I can think of is the character of Dr Who and so it was really no surprise to discover that Adams wrote the scripts for three series of the iconic TV show at around the same time that Hitchhiker got off the ground.

I’ve been reading more about the author himself and he was one of those people who was fortunate enough to be able to indulge his passions as part of his work. Interested in science, music, computers and the conservation of endangered species, Adams brought these all to bear on his work and they even became his work at times.

Adams’ life, before the phenomenon that Hitchhiker became, followed a pretty similar path to many of his peers’ – boarding school, Cambridge, BBC script writing; a bit of a cliche really. But Adams was much, much more than most of them, and, had he lived, then people like Stephen Fry might well have far fewer Twitter followers.

He was, if you like, what Stephen Fry thinks he is.    .   

Yes, Adams was a true Renaissance man for the technological late 20th century and, had he not died in 2001, would have been equally at home in the 21st.

To wrap this article up, here’s my favourite Adams quote:

Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?

Musical insanity from Norway

Time for another recommendation for your listening pleasure and a wilfully obscure one it is to boot…

One of the types of music I particularly like is that which results from blending and crossing various favoured genres until you end up with something totally unclassifiable.

I suppose – if push came to shove – that today’s act would fall under the label of ‘World Music’ if you wanted to find it in a music shop or on a download site but, like all labels, it really fails to do many of the labelled justice.

Farmers Market – a really shit name if ever there was one – are a Norwegian band which started out as a free jazz quartet but have now expanded to a quintet covering accordion, sax, clarinet, guitar, other fretted instruments, bass and drums.

Førde Fredag Farmers Market-A Filetta 040 Nils-Olav Johansen – Farmers Market’s fabulous guitarist

Their second album – Musikk Fra Hybridene (Music From The Hybrides) 1997 – is probably my favourite of the four they’ve released, although they’re all very good.

The first track, ‘Les Mysteres des Guitares Grand Prix’, opens with some electric guitar that sounds like Queen’s Brian May and then takes you on a musical tour embracing snippets of songs including Abba’s ‘Waterloo’, the James Bond Theme and some manouche guitar, ‘Save Your Kisses for Me’ and ‘I Will Always Love You’ – to name but a few of the various sections.

The later track ‘Tales of the Unexpected’ explores similar disparate pieces with the Flintstones Theme, Abba’s ‘Dancing Queen’, ‘The Sabre Dance’ and ‘The Girl From Ipanema’ and somehow bizarrely but obviously the theme music from the Roald Dahl TV series, all featuring amongst a motley collection played in a variety of styles from Klezmer to Paris Torch Song and all points in between – Van Halen’s ‘Jump’ intro played on accordion anyone?

In between the many novelty pieces on the album are some very intense and inventive Balkan-style instrumentals with some real virtuoso playing which reminds me of bands like ‘Secret Chiefs Three’, Estradasphere and the like. If you know this sort of music then it should come as little surprise that the band is now signed to Mike Patton’s (the ex-Faith No More genius) Ipecac label.

Explore the album a bit more and you’ll hear tango music, jazz fusion, bluegrass and funk with echoes of people like Zappa, James Brown and the Meters and seasoned throughout with a hefty dose of humour.

In a nutshell, this album is totally fucking barking mad.

However, somehow against all the odds, it all hangs together for its whole 50 minutes although the fact that the band never dwells on any particular style or genre for too long may be the main reason for this.

Whatever, it’s a fascinating musical ride and takes you places I can almost guarantee you’ve never been before.

Whether you’ll ever want to revisit some of them is a different matter entirely…

Miners helmets and beaves

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According to Stephen Clarke – author of the ‘Merde’ series – in his latest book ‘1000 Years of Annoying the French’, the wife of the 20th century UK PM Harold Macmillan was a tad eccentric and enjoyed gardening at night wearing a miner’s helmet.

Too late for a ‘heads up’, but this short post gives me an opportunity to rave about a very rare thing – a good TV program.

If you can catch it in BBC iPlayer or something similar, then I can heartily recommend ‘Anvil – the Story of Anvil’ in the BBC4 ‘Storyville’ series.

It told the story of 1980s Canadian hair metal band Anvil’s recent attempts to make a comeback and eclipsed the classic ‘Spinal Tap’ film.

I don’t doubt for a moment that some of it may have been staged, but much of it wasn’t, I’m positive, and had me in stitches when Lips – the lead guitarist and vocalist – was describing the meal rota at the cooked meals suppliers he drives for and almost in tears when the band walked out to a packed house in a Japanese venue after expecting no-one to be there.

Then there was the drummer, Rob Reiner, who, when asked the reason for their current lack of success, said something the lines of ‘I can say it in one word…two words…three words what’s wrong…our management’s no fuckin’ good.’

There was also the inevitable fight between long term members Rob and Lips with Lips sacking Rob and then a tearful making up.

A further, rather surreal delight was Rob’s artwork. Several canvases of street scenes totally empty of people – ‘I like buildings’ – not to mention his painting of a giant sculpture of an anvil in a park which dwarfed the people near it.

Apart from all that, any band who writes lyrics that include the word ‘beaves’ has to be paid some attention…

Anyway, just try and see it – definitely my favourite TV program of the year so far.

The genius of Bill Hicks

Bill winding up his show – known to most people from his ‘Relentless’ album.

Sheer unalloyed Libertarianism.

For Rantin’ Rab.

Here is my final point, oh thank you God. About drugs, about alcohol, about pornography, whatever that is. What business is it of yours what I do, read, buy, see, or take into my body as
long as I do not harm another human being on this planet? And for those of you out there
who’re having a little moral dilemma in your head about how to answer that question, I’ll
answer it for you – none of your fucking business. Take that to the bank, cash it, and go
fucking on a vacation out of my life.


But see, here’s their argument for that, each and every time: “But we have to protect the
children, we have to protect the children.” Let me tell you something, children are smarter than
any of us, you know how I know that? I don’t know one child with a full-time job and children.
Yeah, they’re quick, these kids, man. They’re fucking quick.


But where did this veneration of childbirth come from, I missed that meeting, I tell you that.
“Oh, childbirth is such a miracle, it’s such a miracle.”
Wrong.


No more of a miracle than eating food and a turd coming out of your ass. You know what a
miracle is? A miracle is raising a kid who doesn’t talk in a fucking movie theatre, there’s your
goddamned miracle. If it were a miracle, then not every nine months any yin-yang in that world
can drop a litter of these mewling fucking cabbages on the planet, and in case you have not
checked the single mom statistics lately – the miracle is spreading like fucking wildfire.


Hallelujah!


Trailer parks, all over America, filling up with little miracles. THUNK. THUNK. THUNK.
“Look at all my little miracles.” THUNK. THUNK. “Filling up my trailer like a sardine can.”
THUNK. THUNK. “You know what’d be a real miracle, if I could remember your daddy’s
name, goddamn it.” THUNK. “I guess I’ll have to call you Trucker Jr. That’s all I remember
about your daddy, was his fuzzy little pot-belly riding on top of me, shooting his caffeineridden
semen into my belly, to produce my little water-head miracle baby-child.” THUNK.
“There’s your brother, Pizza Boy Delivery Jr.” THUNK. “There’s your other brother,
Exterminator Jr.” THUNK. “There’s your other brother, ‘Will Work For Food Jr.'”

Thank you very much, good night.

Quote of the week?

Yesterday the Telegraph reported that a special panel was being set up by the Met to assess allegations against MPs.

A police source said: “We had to act as it has moved from snouts in the trough to fingers in the till.”

Twitter/blog fail

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Damn those bloody carrier pigeons…

Alistair Campbell makes a joke

Ageing pitbull Alistair Campbell is an unlikely source of intentional humour but this had me chuckling…

I barely know Mr McBride. I was vaguely aware of him being around the Treasury when I was in Number 10, and vaguely aware that he was closer to the Charlie Whelan school of strategic communications than my own. (I’m aware we tend to get lumped together in some sections, but I know the differences, even if they don’t.)

The things you see…

I popped into Lidl’s for my monthly shop there  – they sell some excellent cheese, cooked meats and ground coffee, as well as the cheapest coffee filter papers I’ve seen in the UK.

It’s also a great place for varieties of Haribo sweets you can’t seem to find easily anywhere else and also Prosecco.

However, I passed on these:

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Lookee likee #2

Here’s David Beckham:

And here’s Vladimir Putin:

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Confusing? No?