Friday, November 29, 2002

Most days I take my own sandwiches in to work and munch them at my desk surfing the net for bits and pieces of interest. Well, thankfully I'd finished off my snadwich when I came across this lovely article about three year old sandwiches served up by the US Army. It makes the old British Rail cruly sandwiches seem like the height of cuisine.

Thursday, November 28, 2002

Next time you think about retrieving your golf ball from a water hazard, think about this.

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Will Oldham was, of course, excellent. After a quirky set from the painfully shy Mark Likous (aka Sparklehorse) accompanied by video footage, drummer, tapes, laptop and bad microphones, Will Oldham ambled on stage. plugged in his guitar and just started wailing in his distinct style. Oldham spun out fragile little songs joined by brothers Paul (bass) and Ned (guitar and vocals) plus guitarist, accordionist/keyboard player and drummer (the butt of Oldham's wicked humour as the night wore on). For the uninitiated, Oldham is one part Dylan, one part Johnny Cash (who has covered Oldham's wonderful/worrying "I See a Darkness"), half part Neil Young and half part I'm not quite sure what. He is heavily influenced by the late John Fahey who almost single-handedly "invented" - the bastard son of folk, country, blues and rock.

Oldham played a widely drawn set from his catalogue of alt.personas - Bonny Prince Billy, Palace, Bonny Billy, Palace Brothers et al. There were a few songs that I guess were covers, but it's hard to tell when he has such a huge oeuvre. His band kept wanting to rock out and Oldham increasingly encouraged them despite a beer shower, at one stage, for the drummer. Despite the not so intimate confines of the Barbican Hall, it was a special little night.

Meanwhile, the most important news of the weekend must be the lighting up of the Perry Como statue in Pennsylvania. Light up? Burn down?

Sunday, November 24, 2002

We went to see Femi Kuti, "Afro-beat star" (according to the Guardian), on Friday night. His performance was part of the London Jazz Festival. A bit odd to have West African acts as part of a jazz festival, but this has certainly been a multi-cultural event. The week before we saw Chuco Valdes, legendary Cuban pianist, and in another concert Faudel, French/Arab rai singer, with nojazz, dance jazz from France, in support. I'd never heard of Faudel before so was a bit surprised to see a whole load of French girlies in tow. The concert programme mentioned that he'd been described as a "one man boy band" and I could see why. He looked very young and the rest of the band were pretty anonymus session musicians. Although I quite like that quirky North African sound, I found Faudel too manufactured.

Femi Kuti was lively and bouncy (and preachy). He took time out to spout on about this that and the other. But, he was so overamplified it was sometimes difficult to make out what he was singing or saying. He was quoted in the Guardian yesterday about the Miss World fiasco in Nigeria.

I think I prefer Ali Farka Toure, Baaba Maal or Habib Koite. On the world music scene, we're going to see Salif Keita next year. I think it was probably his album produced by Joe Zawinul of Weather Report that was the first "world music" record that I really liked.

Tonght we're north of the river to see Will Oldham and Sparklehorse as part of the Further Beyond Nashville series at the Barbican. There seems to be a rash of "festivals" about all with pretty odd booking policies. Femi Kuit at a jazz festival? Sparklehorse at a country festival? Well, I don't mind. As long as we get to see good music.