‘Well, the road’s been rocky along the way': Walking in the rain in the footsteps of The Kinks on the Little North London Kinks Tour

bashfulbadger:

Thought I’d reblog Kinks tour blogs in case anyone doing them to commemorate 50th anniversary of ‘You Really Got Me’.

Originally posted on bashfulbadgers blog:

You know how it is, you get a stupid idea in your head and, even though circumstances conspire to reveal its foolhardiness, it’s lodged there and you can’t help carrying it through.

That’s the way it was when we hatched a plan rather late in the day to try to fit in a fraction of the Kinks Little North London Tour one December afternoon last week. Having unexpectedly managed to get last-minute £10 tickets for a sold-out play at the Royal Court (the excellent The Westbridge), we wanted to get some value for money out of our overpriced one-day travelcards.

Our trusty, ancient A-Z is falling apart and one of the relevant pages, p.28, is loose so could come with us but its facing page, 29, is still attached to a small sheaf of others. I’m pathologically incapable of damaging any book, even one in so sorry a state…

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On the trail of The Kinks one sunny afternoon in London town

bashfulbadger:

Thought I’d reblog Kinks tours in case people want to do to commemorate the 50th anniversary of ‘You Really Got Me’.

Originally posted on bashfulbadgers blog:

‘It’s only a stormy sky': above the Coldfall Estate, where Pete Quaife once lived.

‘Just remember all the good times that you had': happier days

A dinner at a friend’s in Walthamstow and a sunny Saturday afternoon made the perfect excuse to sneak in some more Kinks-related sights. We’ve totally abandoned any attempt to do a Kinks Little or Great North London Tour as our progress always ends up being too shambolic. Clutching my further-annotated hand-drawn map from our first Kinks adventure, we set forth with just a basic idea of where we might end up going.

Disembarking at East Finchley tube, we repair to a presumably new, local café imaginatively monikered ‘New Local Café’, where the service is fast and friendly and the staff know the customers’ names and inquire about their relatives. Go for the ever-good-value breakfasts (veggie ones available) to fortify us for Fortis Green and our…

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And did I mention that no one looks better in a vest? The sultry Josh Henderson leads the charge as Dallas hits UK shores once more

joshandjesse1

Josh and Jesse, who play the combative cousins, share a lighter moment.

So Dallas returns to our screens in the autumn (UK premiere 4 September 2014), thanks to those kind folks over at Five. Sweltering from a midsummer heatwave, we can retreat indoors and instead immerse ourselves once more in the hectic and convoluted drama of the infamous Ewing family. Pass the remote control and pour the pina colada.

Oh, what a release it is to involve yourself in someone else’s troubles. And troubles don’t come any more involving than this. So we’ll sit down on sofas to witness the trials of a family torn apart by old feuds, deceit and betrayal, loyalty, infidelity, adultery, secrets and lies, pride and greed, love and lust (sated and thwarted and a dozen variants in between).[1]

Some of the success of the revival can be attributed to the deft intermingling of original cast members, notably Patrick Duffy and Linda Gray, still impassioned and believable in the identities viewers had associated with them for so long, with the even more hotblooded young guns.

Gratuitous pic of Barry Watson, an uncanny cross between Josh and Tim Olyphant.

Gratuitous pic of Barry Watson, who looks like an uncanny cross between Josh and Tim Olyphant.

Here’s a look at the ingredients that made that first series such a tasty proposition.

However, the real winner to emerge from the new Dallas is undoubtedly burgeoning (you’ll see why I chose that adjective further down) heartthrob and real-life Texan Josh Henderson, who plays John Ross Ewing III, son of the great schemer JR, with a sexually appealing blend of inveigling charm and inveterate villainy.

Incorrigible and irresistible, this lascivious chip off the old block exhibits just enough human frailty, mischievous mouth twitches and bewitching nose crinkles, teasing and nuanced salacious glances, moral laxity, suggestive head tilting (he is getting better than Olyphant),[2] sardonically arched eyebrows, widened blue and green eyes, toned abs, etc. for you to forgive him just about anything.

That’s not to mention a proclivity to strip down to his underwear at the least provocation. This may take inspiration from the actor’s own tendency toward exhibitionism. See blog on Josh in his underwear. He truly is the whole package.

While the Henderson star is undoubtedly on the rise, it’s a mystery why Jesse Metcalfe, equally unhard to look at, hasn’t reaped similar rewards in popularity gain. Perhaps because he was better known to begin with whereas Josh was a relatively unknown commodity, although both had roles (non-concurrent) in Desperate Housewives?

test

Ahem. Josh enjoys a stroll.

Or is it because we all love a bad boy and untrustworthiness oozes out of John Ross like an overpowering pheromone? And, as Christopher Ewing, son of Bobby and Pam, Jesse is a little too cute boy next door and not as rough around the edges? Still, I bet there’s a few of us wouldn’t mind rumpling Chrissie up a bit. Perhaps he needs to bump up his scenes with his recalcitrant cousin.

Convention demands that soap plots rely on all concerned getting the wrong end of the stick and going off half-cocked at fairly regular intervals. John Ross is a past master at this and the character established as someone all too likely to leap before looking. Ruled neither by head nor heart, this Ewing’s actions seem to be guided by an altogether different part of his anatomy (the impressive dimensions of which are outlined in candid shots of the actor out walking with a friend).

I’d previously looked at Josh’s online profile and mooted him as the poster boy for social networking, his natural talent at which may also be a factor in his rapid ascendancy. He’s someone who seems to genuinely appreciate his good fortune and fans. The latter reward him with unconditional devotion and unlimited support.

His Facebook followers (nudging 173,000) have now outstripped those of Timothy Olyphant, who he’d been lagging behind in my last comparison, and is someone who rarely updates his FB status.[3] And by a pretty impressive margin, it has to be said.[4] So perhaps keeping us informed does pay off as I suggested in that previous blog on the merits of exploiting social media, as the new John Ross Ewing does so adroitly?

andreajoshpuppy

Winsome threesome: Andrea, Josh and Sadie.

Of course the new Dallas Season 3 is just airing in the US, so that may have helped boost Josh’s figures somewhat. But his ultra-accessible persona and the fact that he shares so much could also have a lot to do with his meteoric ascent.

Not only does the actor keep us up to date with all things Dallas, TV schedules, reminders, pictures from the set, etc. He also entertains us with a myriad of other miscellaneous stuff. He posts photos of himself and his friends on a hike, with girlfriend Andrea Boehlke[5] and dog Sadie, videos himself at the drop of a hat, say, in the act of dropping a hat. We are treated to selfies of Josh ill in bed (imagine the collective ‘ah’ of sympathy from aficionados), feigning sleep (adorably), by the Christmas tree, in the gym or vouchsafed snapshots of him as a nipper from family albums.

We are privy to the actor’s ‘blond’ moments, as when he ran up and down a canyon in LA, then ran home, only to realise he’d left his car at the canyon and had to run back for it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxJQrWmQ0gw&list=UU7COG_dxwltKgd_PruycUzQ&index=21

Even before Josh had too much of a presence on Facebook, he would generously share all kind of interesting ‘material’ on his myspace channel.

As when he and his intellectual cohorts ponder the big questions of the day and, magnanimously, video the results for our edification. Here they debate whether it’s more painful to stub your ‘pinky toe’, ‘big toe’ or bang your ‘funny bone’. His two buddies are cosied up next to him on the couch, one throwing in the wild card of getting hit in the balls just to muddy the waters further. Josh then has to clarify the parameters before putting it to the public vote. You gotta love the Rain Man impression too.

no one looks better in a vest

No one looks better in a vest.

In other vlogs he can be seen extolling the virtues of floss harps (‘Way to go, floss dude’) or hammily and endearingly miming to a song in his hotel room. He’s a hoot and evidently not one to take himself too seriously, always an attractive quality.

One consistent factor is that Josh is generally sporting a vest, one item of clothing he can’t get enough of or look any hotter in. Well, who could ever get enough of Josh in a vest?[6]

So, hell yeah, I’m looking forward to the advent of season 3 and hoping for some more John Ross lines like ‘Your head’s gonna look real nice above my fireplace, governor’ or ‘You keep a junkyard dog [like JR] chained up long enough, it’ll only get meaner’.

And here’s a clip showing the denouement of the last season, just to whet your appetite for the mouth-watering feast of Season 3, with a great song, ‘Liar’, which sounds like it could have been sung by Josh. But the artists are unknown.

__________________

[1] And yet their family is still way more functional than mine. Also a lot better-looking.

[2] And I marvel at the Justified star’s proficiency here. And examine his rivalry with Jeremy Renner.

[3] Last update 3 April, I’m just saying.

[4] 300,000 is nothing to be sniffed at.

[5] Andrea actually gets in on the act as an extra, seen sitting with John Ross, he flirting shamelessly, natch, at the Ewing barbecue in Episode 2. They look pretty good together.

[6] Neither has it escaped my notice that some unscrupulously creative individual is posting obscene photo-shopped images of Josh in compromising nude poses. Indeed so outraged have I been by this liberty that I have had to return to tumblr a number of times in order to verify what I have seen and confirm that these disgusting exploitative images are still there. Someone, perhaps even the same reprehensible character, had done the same for Timothy Olyphant.

‘Some are survivors, some are debris': some lyrics stand the test of time, others are perhaps better washed away with the tar on the tide

readingmaterial

‘You know I read it in a magazine': The Kinks searching for inspiration.

How did we end up with so many songs about putting your hands in the air or being sexy in the club? When did it become de rigueur to shove your own name into songs, over and over again? Is it a blatant marketing ploy to inculcate the artist’s name in the listener’s brain by virtue of dumb repetition? Or is it because the artist in question is in danger of forgetting their name if it’s not drummed into them every thirty seconds?

Shakira is a unique enough artist not to need to do this, writing in ‘Underneath Your Clothes’,

shakira

‘Lucky that my breasts are small and humble': Shakira usually has something worth saying.

You’re a song written by the hands of God
[…]
Underneath your clothes, there’s an endless story,
There’s the man I chose, there’s my territory
[…]
Because of you I forgot the smart ways to lie
Because of you I’m running out of reasons to cry

but even she capitulates to the modern trend and inserts her own name into ‘Hips Don’t Lie’.Whatever, I’m sure I can’t be the only one who’s wondering why people write such crap lyrics these days. All right, it’s not solely a modern trend. Remember ‘D.I.S.C.O’ by Ottawan, for instance. That was hmm, well, less said about that the better but hey, at least it taught you how to spell.

And, of course, there’ll always be those staples of love songs along the lines of ‘You are beautiful to me’, ‘I would do anything for you’, ‘You’re the only one for me’ ad nauseam.

The Evening Standard Awards

‘Lost and found, just in time': Ray retrieves lyrics from the dry cleaners.

So I know that it’s a bit of a generalisation and that there are great lyricists still out there plying their trade with wit and acuity.

One of our greatest songwriters, Ray Davies, is still turning out songs that speak to us all. I can imagine this senior citizen scrawling down a verse or two on a till receipt while waiting for a bus, then losing it for weeks in an overcoat pocket. Maybe a drycleaner finds it, only to screw it up and throw it away.

Does he wake up in the night with a phrase rolling around in his head, capturing an emotion, moment or memory and then forget it while hunting around for pen and paper?

At least let’s hope he gets the majority down somewhere for posterity. Like

Then they towed away our culture
To a depot in South Wales

from ‘One More Time’.

In the past Kinks lyrics have anguished over the conflict between man and machine in the poignant ‘God’s Children’ or painted a picture of the quiet desperation of the jobless in the plaintively touching ‘Get Back in the Line’ -

Facing the world ain’t easy when there isn’t anything going
Standing at the corner waiting watching time go by
Will I go to work today or shall I bide my time
‘Cos when I see that union man walking down the street
He’s the man who decides if I live or I die, if I starve, or I eat.

Other times the eldest Davies brother tends to cast a slightly satirical yet affectionate eye on his subjects, as in, respectively, ‘Did Ya’ and ‘The Poseur’:

My Cuban heels are hurting my feet,
Just to add to my despair.

But he’s been practising days
To make his hair fall a certain way.

Anyone else speculate about whether Ray was thinking of a particular record in the following lines from ‘To the Bone’?

In my back room there’s an old 45
That we played all summer long

billy ocean

Red light spells danger: Billy Ocean is still indecently sexy.

I always imagine it to be ‘Red Light Spells Danger’, a Billy Ocean standard. When I saw Ray at the Hop Farm, Billy Ocean was also on the bill and I picture Ray breaking into a dance backstage.

And one of his best subjects was of course himself. ‘The Road’ took a frank look at the life of The Kinks on the road, chronicling their rise and fall, from humble, hopeful beginnings in ‘far away places like Wigan and Birmingham’, while ‘Yours truly strummed away with a slightly limp wrist’ through the heights of their success, to humble, less hopeful endings, acknowledging that the music press had written them off as has-beens who had no business to still be touring.[1]

So ‘Some are survivors, some are debris’ and Ray’s snapshot is not exactly Kodachrome:

The bed and breakfasts and the greasy spoons
The loser bars and the noisy rooms
The casualties who did too many lines
Wasted talent on women and wine.

But then let’s not forget that The Kinks frontman was also responsible for ‘Plastic Man’

He’s got plastic lips that hide his plastic teeth and gums,
And plastic legs that reach up to his plastic bum.
(Plastic bum)

Everyone can have an off day. Nobody’s perfect.

wimpy bar

‘Take me I’m yours/Because dreams are made of this': back when a knickerbocker glory was the height of sophistication.

Squeeze lyrics also effortlessly tapped into the zeitgeist. They have the casual throwaway brilliance of something scribbled on a serviette with a free turf accountant pen picked up from the pavement while Glenn Tilbrook waited for a knickerbocker glory in a Wimpy bar in 1976. Trying to look cool in pastel flares, doused in his Dad’s Old Spice filched from the top of the bathroom cabinet, hoping to bump into a girl he had a crush on in school.

The words have a quality of ease, an unstrained natural resonance, filtering relatable and universal themes through the particularities of a south London 70s-80s adolescence. These lyrics represent an object lesson in conveying a vivid impression in a few succinct words of observational iridescence. Match it to a melody and enliven with an irresistible hook from Chris Difford, paste in a rousing exultant chorus for a surefire top twenty hit.

Words whose first provenance was perhaps the backseat of a mushroom coloured Fiat 2300 estate or an Austin Maxi the exact shade of gypsy tart from school dinners on an annual 100-mile journey to a campsite in the New Forest, with a gang of unruly siblings, most of them carsick by the time you’ve reached the Hog’s Back,[2] which you thought just the name for a layby to throw up in. You could have jotted down a Squeeze lyric on the inside cover of a colouring book, packed for the rainy day in-tent confinement typical of the annual camping trip.

Squinting faces at the sky
A Harold Robbins paperback.
[…]
But behind the chalet, my holiday’s complete
[…]Two fat ladies windowshop
Something for the mantelpiece

‘Pulling Mussels from a Shell’ instantly transports me back to six-week school summer holidays and sheltering behind one of those striped windbreaks so essential to any day on a beach on the south coast. You would get tar over your Woollies flip-flops and someone would always lose one in the suspiciously brownish surf, helplessly watching it get carried off by the tide. No-one could swim and risk chasing it into the sea. Resisting getting changed into cousin’s via sister hand-me-down swimsuits under fraying old towels. Dipping a toe into the edge of a wave, face braced and teeth gritted for the coldness of the frothy scum of tide.

braving the tide

‘Shrinking in the sea so cold': me and my siblings steel ourselves to brave the tide.

The one meal we ever had out in my family was lunch at what we called Cliff’s Café (a vintage postcard has it as ‘The Cliff Café’ and more up-to-date sources as The Cliff Restaurant) in Barton on Sea, our day-trip destination from the campsite. Nosh looks a lot posher than it used to be. We would always have the same thing – plaice and chips followed by a banana split.

Then Squeeze also gave us the cautionary tale of ‘Up the Junction’ and plenty of stories of love gone bad/cold/indifferent like ‘Another Nail for My Heart’, with poetic lines like

With where have you beens
And faraway frowns
Trying to be good
By not being round.

‘Labelled with Love’ recounts the sad story of someone fallen on hard times taking refuge in alcohol, recreating her lonely world with deft touches of telling detail -

The postman delivers the final reminders
She sells off her silver and poodles in china.

Jarvis Cocker is another lyricist prone to build a picture so real and down to earth that you feel you could just walk into it and experience it for yourself. For ‘Babies’, it kind of helps that I know a girl who lived in Stanhope Road who had an older boyfriend and a younger sister.

jarvis

‘I know you’re never going to be with me': Jarvis wistfully recalls being someone’s bit on the side in ‘Pink Glove’.

Well it happened years ago when you lived on Stanhope Road.
We listened to your sister when she came home from school
‘cos she was two years older and she had boys in her room.

Or that I can remember long sultry afternoons playing 40-40 in the park, waiting to be called in for my tea, as in ‘Acrylic Afternoons’, which summons up that time so well that I can almost smell the mown grass and hot tarmac, school plimsolls and creosote.

On a pink quilted eiderdown, I want to pull your knickers down.
Net curtains blow slightly in the breeze.
Lemonade light filtering through the trees.

And I’m sure many young girls about to embark on their first sexual experience identify with the excruciating blend of vulnerability and embarrassment summoned up in ‘Underwear’.

Why don’t you close the door and shut the curtains
‘Cos you’re not going anywhere.
He’s coming up the stairs and in a moment he’ll want to see your underwear.
I couldn’t stop it now. There’s no way to get out.
He’s standing far too near. How the hell did you get here?
Semi-naked in somebody else’s room.

I particularly admire Jarvis for his seeming ability to effortlessly inhabit a female mindset and empathise so vividly.

Of course he can also wield this power in a critical fashion, as in ‘Common People’.

She came from Greece she had a thirst for knowledge
She studied sculpture at Saint Martin’s College, that’s where I caught her eye.
She told me that her Dad was loaded
I said in that case I’ll have a rum and coca-cola.

Rent a flat above a shop, cut your hair and get a job.
Smoke some fags and play some pool, pretend you never went to school.
But still you’ll never get it right
‘cos when you’re laid in bed at night watching roaches climb the wall
If you call your Dad he could stop it all.

You’ll never watch your life slide out of view, and dance and drink and screw
Because there’s nothing else to do.

College was where I too first became aware that there were people way better off than me who never seemed to realise it. I could briefly and successfully mingle in that milieu thanks to good A Level grades and a maximum grant but, come the vacation, our lives diverged wildly. I don’t think any of them got a summer job in a meat factory in Belvedere.

The Pulp singer can be cutting, as in ‘Razzmatazz’

Am I talking too fast or are you just playing dumb?
If you want I can write it down.

Songs can sometimes span a whole narrative, present you with a vignette, relate an anecdote or sometimes just tease you with an episode from a greater drama.

axl

‘And if I stared too long/I’d probably break down and cry': Axl Rose oddly romantic for someone who chose his name as an anagram for oral sex.

The weirdest people come up with poetry when you least expect it. From Guns’n’Roses’ ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’, I love this couplet:

She’s got eyes of the bluest skies
As if they thought of rain.

Some of my favourite words that crop up in song lyrics are allegorically, horizontally, cavalier, facsimile, whoring, hubcap, debentures, Bonaparte, post-meridiem, punctured and gruesome, premonition, horny backed toad. I bet a few of you can identify the sources without me needing to tell you.

I’ll end with some great rhymes, some so bad they’re good. Another from Ray in ‘Well Respected Man’:

And he plays at stocks and shares
And he goes to the regatta.
He adores the girl next door
Because he’s dying to get at her.

While ‘A Fine Romance’ features

My heart’s not made of plastic
You’re the reason I’m sarcastic

And Bobbie Gentry in ‘I’ll Never Fall in Love Again’ complained:

What do you get when you fall in love?
You get enough germs to catch pneumonia.
And when you do, he’ll never phone ya.

But perhaps my favourite is culled from ‘Cry Me a River’, the brilliant

Told me love was too plebeian,
Told me you were through with me and …

My next lyric blog will take a look at more mondegreens (that’s misheard lyrics to most of us), words that had to be changed for TV, right-on social conscience lyrics, among other miscellany.

For another blogger’s diatribe against modern music, see here. And my last lyric blog is here. And a list of all my Kinks blogs is here.


[1] This was before Ray achieved the hallowed status of National Treasure.

[2] Wikipedia traces the history of the landmark, mentioning that Jane Austen, in an 1813 letter to her sister Cassandra, wrote: ‘Upon the whole it was an excellent journey & very thoroughly enjoyed by me … I never saw the country from the Hogsback so advantageously.’ Less illustriously, the entry continues: The Hog’s Back Cafe is in a layby on the Guildford to Farnham (westbound) carriageway of the A31 along the Hog’s Back. It is popular with lorry drivers, who use the cafe and toilets during the day, while doggers used the adjacent hillside until the police cracked down on the practice.’

‘It was one of those days': Serena and Venus bow out at the French

TENNIS - INTERNATIONAUX DE FRANCE 2014

Gracious in defeat, Serena smiles philosophically as she shakes hands with Garbine.

When I consider the shock second round defeats of both Williams sisters at Roland Garros on Wednesday, I can’t help thinking there’s more going on than meets the eye.

Serena has made valiant efforts to court the French. I can imagine she might have expected to succeed by virtue of her relentlessly sunny disposition and force of personality alone. However, the Gauls seemed to demand more and Serena proved up for the challenge, setting up a home in Paris and learning the language. But, despite applying herself so diligently to the task, it seems she still can’t win them over.

She fell spectacularly out of favour with them way back in 2003 and, it has to be said, through no fault of her own.

It’s hard to access watchable video of the controversial ‘hand’ event that occurred during her semi-final match with eventual champion Justine Henin-Hardenne back then. It’s also hard to believe that this incident is still dogging the younger Williams sister today.[1]

A less than friendly handshake between Serena and Justine.

Serena and Justine: a less than friendly handshake.

Serena, it seems to me, was in the right and her outrage completely justified. Not only did the Belgian cause her to serve a fault but she then denied she’d done so. Yet the crowd turned on the American, subjecting her to booing and jeering, so much so that she failed to win another game.

Yet Serena was prepared to put this behind her; and has tried hard, and with a generous spirit, to rationalise the continuing animosity of the French. I recall in previous years that the spectators’ unremitting antipathy reduced her to tears in a masterfully definitive disenchantment of a blithe spirit.

So it almost ruined my whole tournament to witness how shabbily the crowd treated this great athlete (and reigning champion at the French) in her first match against Alize Lim, cheering her double faults and errors but declining to applaud even her most impressive winning shots. Is it any surprise she looked downhearted despite her 6-2 6-1 victory? It must be soul-destroying to walk out on court to face this deep an enmity.

Why was the world number one relegated to the second court, Suzanne Lenglen, which plays more slowly than Chatrier and is less suited to her style?[2]

I couldn’t help but contrast this with the reaction to Maria Sharapova, who annihilated her first-round victim Ksenia Pervak 6-1 6-2. The crowd had no problem applauding Maria’s winners and aces so it wasn’t just a case of rooting for the underdog.

They were fairer to Venus but I know, being close to my own sister, that that probably only made her feel worse for Serena. She looked depressed, lacklustre and out of sorts as she lost to 19-year-old Anna Schmiedlova 2-6 6-3 6-4.

Venus looked out of sorts as she crashed out of this Grand Slam.

Venus looked out of sorts as she crashed out.

I watched Serena’s second round match against Garbine Muguruza with a growing sense of despondency. The commentator said at one point that the American hadn’t hit top gear yet. Truthfully, she hadn’t even shifted out of park. She hadn’t disengaged the handbrake. You know, I’m not even sure if the key was in the ignition.[3]

Mother Oracene looked as resigned as her daughters did lethargic. The only time the top seed brightened up was when she shook hands and congratulated her Spanish conquistadora at the end, relieved that it was all over. Who would have dreamt that she would lose 6-2 6-2 to an unknown 20-year-old?

Commentary from the ITV team has also been less than positive, critical of Venus for warming up in a puffa jacket, implying this was an attempt to intimidate her opponent. When Serena berated herself for losing points, this was deemed disrespectful to her adversary.

No one expressed the slightest regret that Serena should lose in such an ignominious and uncharacteristic fashion. Indeed, the commentators seemed to find it difficult to conceal their glee at both upsets.

Everything the Williams do is interpreted in a negative way, even the fact that they are still competing and hungry to win when they surely have enough euros by now. No one questions why Roger Federer is still playing. No wonder the girls’ hearts sometimes just aren’t in it.

It could be that there’s some adverse family circumstance like illness (they’ve had their fair share of that already, with Venus’s Sjögren’s syndrome and Serena’s pulmonary embolism) that is affecting both girls but I pray that this isn’t the case. Richard Williams was noticeably absent from these early round encounters.

I don’t want to take anything away from their young opponents’ French Open victories but these were more than just unpredictable defeats. Now that the red dust has settled on the damp clay of the Williams’ continental Grand Slam, we can only speculate as to the reasons behind their unheralded early departure. But I would venture that the ennui they succumbed to was mental rather than physical in nature.

Whatever, I wouldn’t blame either sister if they never graced Paris with their presence again. I can only hope we treat them with more respect and appreciation at Wimbledon.

Serena post-defeat: ‘It was one of those days. You can’t be on every day.’

___________________________________________________

[1] For an account of the drama, see busted racquet’s blog.

[2] There’d been great indignation on behalf of Raphael Nadal when he was scheduled on there but no protest or question at all when it came to Serena.

[3] Later, they remarked, rather understatedly, that she ‘hasn’t been able to get her rhythm’. Man, she was not even on the dance floor, more like comatose in the ladies toilets. Bewildered by the hostility she encountered, this was not the Serena we usually see.

‘Seems like I don’t get to wear my bare feet at all': Alejandro Rose-Garcia aka Shakey Graves, a poem in a white ribbed vest

arg2alejandro -

his solemn childlike

heart-shaped face,

unruly brows above

a placid and untroubled

expression, he’s a poem

in a white ribbed vest.

 

argandmikehe awkwardly holds

his own arms as if

feeling himself to

make sure he’s real

and still all there.

or as if just in need

of a little affection.

 

arg1nods and smiles

and ducks his head

to compliments that

summon up his shyness,

along with pinkness

to his cheeks, and leave

him uncertain where

to place his gaze.

 

argandguitaran innocence

spills out from him

like radiance

from the sun

behind a cloud

(or a light from under the door

of the room next door).

 

his cheeks rosy

and guileless

betray a slight unease.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

but his heart is open

like an outstretched

hand offered to

a lone horse

in a stranger’s

field.

 

Timothy Olyphant and Jeremy Renner: a match made in Modesto, California and played out for us on the big and small screens

timhat

The role of Raylan has won him acclaim but Tim still keeps a weather eye on that Jeremy Renner.

I remember seeing an interview with Timothy Olyphant a while back. I’m unable to locate it  now, unfortunately, but let me know if you find it. Any Tim appearance is an undeniably entertaining prospect – he’s happy to riff on anything from stealing stuff from movie sets to wondering why his kids consistently fail to recognise how cool he is.

But in this one, he was talking about his mother and her attitude to his success. It quickly transpired that, never mind about the unappreciative offspring, he may not be all that as far as Mom’s concerned either.

It sounds like he is destined to come forever second in her estimation to ‘that Jeremy Renner’, as Tim’s mum is wont to refer to the other well-known actor from the Justified star’s hometown of Modesto, in California.

modesto

Modesto, CA: water, wealth, contentment, health.

As in ‘That Jeremy Renner’s in another movie’; ‘That Jeremy Renner film won an award’; ‘That Jeremy Renner’s been nominated for an Oscar’. I can imagine Tim biting his knuckles each time his maternal parent comments on TJR’s latest triumph.

Some mothers have an infuriating tendency to notice a neighbour’s kid and eulogise their every deed while their own progeny seethe in repressed resentment and envy. Whatever they do, they are doomed to fall short in comparison to the paragon down the road or from the same school. An unspoken rivalry develops, of which the much-lauded kid is blissfully ignorant.

My mum used to rave about the kids two houses down till we got heartily sick of hearing how much better, cuter, blonder,[1] more accomplished, etc. than us they were. And it looks like Tim has his work cut out trying to match the achievements of ‘that Jeremy Renner’.

jeremyrenner

Renner in a relaxed mode, probably not even aware they hail from the same town.

The two actors attended the same school, Fred C. Beyer High, though Tim has a couple of years on Jeremy. I know who I think is ageing better, however.

Jeremy Lee Renner was born in Modesto and went on to junior college in the town. While Timothy David Olyphant was born in Honolulu and studied Fine Art at the University of Southern California. I’m thinking that’s a more prestigious institution than Modesto Junior College. So score one to Tim.

Tim swam competitively at USC after making the final of the National Championships in the 200m Individual Medley in 1986. But both Modesto boys also took theatre and acting electives at college, prompting a change of direction.

It would be interesting to know if Jeremy is similarly dogged by Tim’s successes – if someone in his family constantly holds these up against his own to see how he measures up.

Talking about measuring up, Tim at 6’ is a couple of inches taller than Jeremy, at least. Score two to Timothy.

But although Facebook Olyphandom seems to increase by about 10,000 every day despite minimal posting, he’s still lagging behind the Rennster, whose following is growing at a similarly impressive rate. Score one to Jeremy.

Timothy is yet to headline a major dramatic movie although he has starred in perfectly creditable thrillers such as A Perfect Getaway and Hitman and horrors like The Crazies. Jeremy, however, began in a similar vein with parts in stuff like 28 Weeks Later but was soon feted for his role in The Hurt Locker, which garnered him an Academy Award nomination and many other Best Actor awards.

Awards, schmawards, I hear Olyphacionados[2] cry. And I’d be the first to agree that awards don’t always go to the most deserving. Must look good on your résumé though. So score two to Jeremy Lee. (Plus he took his mother to the Oscars when he was nominated. Imagine how that went down with Ma Olyphant.)

Tim’s plaudited stint as Marshal Raylan Givens in Justified is set to end with this final season without any Emmy (although he was once nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series). Although fun (and at times definitely sexy) to watch the cowboy-hatted one’s shambolic progress in his Kentucky of Oxycontin dealers, old frenemies and luckless whores, I don’t think the part stretched Tim’s acting chops all that much. But the trigger-happy lawman was at least a complex character replete with fallibilities galore, offset by charm and a fundamental honesty. And with he and nemesis Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) forever thrown into each other’s paths (and sometimes arms), the dynamic was at least always compelling (I look at such duelling bromantic relationships here).

bullock-2

Seriously? Not another asterisking nomination …

Oly’s previous TV work included the role of Seth Bullock in Deadwood,[3] parts in Damages, cameos in The Office, Sex and the City and more recently The Mindy Project.

It remains to be seen whether the Olyphantastic one will move back into film once released from Justified and what kind of parts he’ll get offered.

Renni has eschewed long-term TV series for film work in the main.[4] His last dramatic movie outing was in 2013’s obscenely successful American Hustle, which saw him in the illustrious company of such award darlings as Christian Bale, Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Adams and Bradley Cooper. Together the ensemble scooped the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture. The picture was nominated for Oscars in several categories but failed to pick any up.[5]

Other ventures in production and post-production are all action movie sequels, including an unnamed Bourne follow-up, a second Mission Impossible flick and another Avengers outing, all I’m sure gratifyingly lucrative but excuse me while I stifle a yawn.

I’m a great fan of Olyphant’s sense of humour, as explored in a previous blog. He’s a stimulating participant in any talk show roster and has joked about possibly hosting his own show. He certainly outwits the hosts when it comes to repartee. I also like the fact that he always seems to drink whatever’s provided for him.[6]

Jezza can seem a little earnest in comparison, even nobly taking on the mantle of a United Nations Goodwill Peace Ambassador to promote mine-clearing in Afghanistan. I can’t imagine him doing decidedly average Robert Wagner impressions, which Timothy can oblige you with at a moment’s notice. And which Bonnie Hunt characterised as Tim sounding like William Shatner doing Robert Wagner. To which Tim responds, ‘Listen, listen. I never said I was good at these things.’[7] I don’t know who to score one to here.

But actually, Renner is a good-natured guest, prepared to share tales of explosive diarrhoea on Ellen and how he planned on taking his ‘momma’ to the Oscars. ‘There was no choice. She endured me flying out of her uterus.’ He goes on to give make-up tips so he’s a pretty decent value talk show commodity too.

For promotion on I Am Number Four[8] Tim chats hilariously about the tall alien monsters, the Mogs. When called upon to describe them, he struggles, evidently not having paid that much attention: ‘Here’s what I recall. They were tall and fairly unattractive.’ He’s asked if they were on stilts. He has no idea but does remember: ‘By the way, those actors were pretty big already. … And you know what, they may have been unattractive to start with as well. … I was like, put a couple of lines on that guy …’ and the interviewer concludes the thought for him ‘He’s good to go, right?’

I can imagine that when Tim refers to ‘that Jeremy Renner’, he might mentally add an adjective between ‘that’ and the other actor’s name, as in ‘not that [expletive bleeped out] Jeremy Renner’. I know I would be tempted to.

Renner has kept in touch with his roots, perhaps something that Tim’s mother may  also appreciate about him. In 2010, Modesto Junior College presented him with the Distinguished Alumnus Award. He also headlined at a benefit for a Modesto arts centre. Score another for Jeremy.

The Rennersance man also enjoys renovating and restoring dilapidated Hollywood properties. But he’s down to earth in other ways too, as demonstrated by his reaction to being encased in a bomb suit in brain-boiling heat for the aforementioned Hurt Locker:

I was like: ‘Get this thing off me!’ I wanted to punch people. You could not pay me enough money to do it again.

timohat

Tim in a cute hat and not much else.

Tim similarly got close to losing his rag in a scene from A Perfect Getaway, having been assured that a fall wouldn’t hurt him.

There’s that shot – it’s in the trailer, I think – when I jump off – looks like I’m jumping off a cliff with a knife. So I’m like rigged on this cable …  it’s like fifteen feet – they’ll stop you three feet before you hit the ground. Guess what happened? I just jumped fifteen feet and went and hit the ground.  … Holy crap! I hit … [We might have a commercial but this is a good story, I'm in it now] … I sat there and everybody comes running and I did like this and said ‘Just back the fuck up’ [sorry, we’ll edit that out] and I’m a tough guy …my eyes started to water. Oh my gosh. And then I was like, ‘You know what, I’m fine. Check the gate.’

Renner, known for the intensity he invests in his characters, can also be roused to rage when his privacy is invaded.

renner in scarf

Jeremy looking totally hetero and macho.

How about I go peek in your window, take what underwear you wore last night, whose husband you were fucking, and shove that in the megaphone throughout your neighborhood? How does that feel? It’s none of your goddamn business.[9]

And he turned on some joker in a bar one Christmas although it sounds like the guy had it coming, having open-mindedly called Jeremy ‘a fag’ because he was wearing a scarf.

Then he shoved my sister and I got behind him and I choked him out – put him to sleep. I’m not violent.

Anyway, these guys are at the peak of their powers and careers – I can’t wait to see what they are going to do next. Well, except I think I’ll give the action sequels a miss, Jeremy. I don’t suppose anyone is really keeping score. Except perhaps imothy’s mum.


[1] And how come blond is associated with angels? The media always describe any fair-haired missing child as a ‘blond, blue-eyed angel’. Like dark-haired, dark-eyed and dark-skinned kids can’t be angelic and somehow deserve to go missing.

[2] Okay, maybe that’s stretching the words made up out of Timbo’s name a tad too far.

[3] Not even the presence of Olyphant could induce me to watch Ian McShane swearing in a ridiculously over-the-top manner for an hour or so.

[4] He was a regular character in The Unusuals but I’m unable to comment on that, having never heard of it.

[5] I know one person who probably didn’t shed too many tears about that.

[6] Generally in a mug, I always wonder exactly what this beverage is – just coffee/tea or something with a kick?

[7] See interview here.

[8] How in this world does someone of Tim’s attractiveness and talents wind up playing second fiddle to slab-faced Alex Pettyfer?

[9] You know what? I think I’ll avoid delving into Jeremy’s personal life as I’m already facing a libel suit from another blog subject. It sounds like Jez might just have this badger put down.

‘I can’t believe it’s happening’: but a Kinks reunion is ‘as close as it’s ever been’, according to all sources and indeed both horses’ mouths

RAY&DAVE

‘And always by your brother’s side': Mick says they’ll have to knock their heads together.

A Kinks reunion is ‘as close as it’s ever been to happening’. That’s from the mouth of Ray Davies in a recent interview. Maybe I was unduly pessimistic about the prospects in my last blog post on the subject. Perhaps 2014 is the year it could come to pass, with everyone prepared to patch up their differences for the fiftieth anniversary of their breakthrough in 1964.[1]

For it looks like the rumour mill has ratcheted up another notch and all parties sound increasingly positive about the possibility of reuniting.

Of course the main bugbear threatening the enticing proposition is the rather intense version of sibling rivalry between brothers Ray and Dave Davies, which at times seems to border on the homicidal. Ray is rumoured to have once stabbed his younger brother in the chest with a fork for stealing one of his chips in a restaurant, after all.[2]

Ray in a documentary avowed that he would do anything to help Dave but would never let him know that fact in case he took advantage. The German Boy by Patricia Wastvedt explores a similarly conflictual sibling relationship between sisters Elizabeth and Karen: ‘She [Elizabeth] would fight anyone to save Karen from being hurt and in the same moment could want to punch her.’[3]

rayincar

‘So take a drive with me': will Ray be behind the wheel?

And Dave knows that Ray loves him and believes his brother to be a compassionate soul, whose compassion simply doesn’t extend to him. While I can imagine Dave’s more impulsive responses and wilder behaviours, together with his tendency to attack his brother in interview, are a source of constant infuriation for Ray. In a quote from the same book:

They have never said they love each other in all their lives, and what they are to each other is so embedded that Elizabeth can’t feel it, any more than she can feel her own bones and blood. … The edginess between them tips one way into closeness and the other into fury.

First Kinks bassist Pete Quaife, who sadly succumbed to kidney failure in 2010, offers some insights into the potential difficulties in a 1998 interview.[4] When asked if Ray encouraged original material from him or Dave, he retorts:

Are you kidding? I would have been squashed with a size 16 boot if I had have even suggested they listen to a new idea from me! Ray wanted complete control of everything. He was a control freak. As for Dave, well, I think Ray felt obligated to listen to his ideas a little more because he was blood. But Ray sure as hell didn’t encourage it from Dave either.

unsuredave

‘Hold my hand, it’s gonna be all right': Dave may need some assurances.

And he believed Dave was unnecessarily insecure about his songwriting capabilities, especially compared to Ray. He didn’t need to emulate his brother – they would always have completely divergent approaches to their craft, Dave’s being more instinctual and natural. Pete’s of the opinion that Dave ‘felt he would never be as good a musician as Ray was. That’s funny, considering he was always a much better guitar player than Ray.’[5]

Pete often acted as a peacekeeper, trying to calm things down before fists started to fly, whether between Ray and Dave or between the latter and drummer Mick Avory. And, asked what he would change if they could do it all over, he wishes, ‘That we’d put all the altercations and abuse out the window’.

But the competition, friction and tension could also be in part what fuelled the creative energy of the band. The Kinks could never be bland and complacent because, at war with each other, they were also constantly fighting for their place in the music industry.

As Ray says at the beginning of this exhilarating performance of ‘I’m Not like Everybody Else’, memorably featured in a Sopranos episode:

I like this song very much. It kind of sums up everything that we’re about, The Kinks. Because everybody’s expecting us to do wonderful things and we mess it all up usually.[6]

Live versions of Kinks songs like this were often totally different animals from the studio tracks, mainly thanks to Dave’s virtuosity on his instrument. As Ray concedes,

There are certain bands that can thrash out chords but no one has that edge that Dave has. It’s totally self-taught and it’s brilliant.

The sheer indifference of a British music press who obviously considered the band redundant is confronted with good humour by Ray in ‘The Road’ in the couplet

 And still all the critics keep saying
’Are they still around? When they gonna stop?’

It’s true in many ways – it’s a wonder they lasted as long as they did, what with the infighting and the battle to survive and stay relevant, right up to 1996 in some form or another. Ray explains this longevity, insisting that he’s most at home within the confines of a group:

If I was left to my own devices … I think I would have really truly disappeared up part of my anatomy because I do think too much … I miss being in a band. I was in a band for so long, years and years, decades.

oldband

‘All of my friends were there': Dave holds onto Pete and Ray leans on Mick in the original quartet.

Dave is currently playing regular gigs in the US with The Jigsaw Seen. But there’s evidently communication between the brothers about the potential for a reunion. Even Mick, who Dave at first didn’t want to be included, is now being called upon to comment,[7] so let’s hope the younger Davies has reconsidered his initial moratorium on the faithful sticksman.

Dave has said, ‘It’d be a great shame if we don’t try and do something.’ But what was the one thing that had to happen before the spiritually inclined sibling would consider a reunion? The thing that he couldn’t do, that someone else had to, presumably Ray, the thing that’s referred to at the end of the Do It Again film. Now film-maker Geoff Edgers knows what it is; Dave knows what it is; but does Ray know what it is? And does anyone else have the faintest idea? Very intriguing. Has it happened now? Or doesn’t it matter any more?

I reckon the success of this venture will largely depend on Ray relinquishing control and recognising Dave’s right to be a partner in all decisions. The balance of power has shifted somewhat and both guys are equally vital to the project. It will also require wholehearted commitment from all parties. As Dave says in Jon Savage’s official biography of the band, ‘I don’t really function at my best unless I can put my whole heart and soul into what I’m doing.’

I’d like to think they could be reconciled enough for something great to come out of negotiations, that they could be as mature and enlightened as the characters in the bittersweet ‘The Informer’:

Isn’t it strange meeting you here
Two old friends
Just sitting down quietly drinking a beer
But knowing your past the way that I do
After all this time I’m surprised
You’d even come to this rendezvous

And that their rendezvous results in something amazing for all The Kinks fans who’ve kept the faith for so many years.


[1] Their first two singles that year, ‘Long Tall Sally’ and ‘You Still Want Me’, were followed by ‘You Really Got Me’, which hit number one. And let’s remember what Dave said about that first smash: ‘It’s not about wining and dining or middle class behaviour; it’s about ”I like you, I want to fuck you.” ’

[2] There could have been  extenuating circumstances here, of course. Like how good were the chips and how many did Ray have left?

[3] I’m sure many of us feel this way about our siblings much of the time.

[4] Full interview available at http://www.kindakinks.net/misc/quaife/.

[5] But Pete was always a Dave supporter, remembering that ‘Working with Dave was always a pleasure. He never tried to do it all himself, he always asked for advice from all of us.’

[6] And this amazing song was originally a B side. This version, with its electrifying guitar,  is on the live To the Bone album recorded at Konk.

[7] ‘We’d have to knock our heads together and rehearse if we meant to do it properly.’

Lyrics from kindakinks.

‘In a time when it’s all so confusing / We can win and it feels like losing’: but I doubt whether Timothy Schmit ever feels like losing

timeaglesonline

‘It’s amazing how it all worked out/I am living like a king’: Tim only sees bright sides.

It’s hard to believe some people find Timothy B. Schmit’s ‘rambling’ at his solo gigs annoying. I read a pretty negative review of one of his live shows on the Poconut[1] forum website but can’t find it again now.

If you want to hear someone really ramble, go see Fleetwood Mac. Lindsey Buckingham should by rights be togged up in a gilet and walking boots, with his trousers tucked securely into some sensible socks and a laminated map nestled next to the pac-a-mac in his pocket.

fleetwood

‘Thinking on the days of old’: Lindsey Buckingham just can’t say goodbye graciously.

Lindsey has a tendency to deliver self-aggrandising mini-lectures between numbers, which only really serve to prove that he has not let anything go or matured significantly over the years. Stevie Nicks was only once guilty of an overlong song introduction but at least it had a point. Other than to prove that she’d been right along, which was the gist of all of her bandmate’s diatribes. Honestly, why is he trying to justify Tusk now? As Don Henley might advise: ‘Get over it.’

But you put up with it for the music. They tell their stories better in song and, apart from the odd self-indulgence, the shows are amazing.

Some folks’ onstage patter almost rivals their musical ability. The late and so much more than great Jackie Leven was a supreme storyteller of often hilarious anecdotes. About a visit to a chip shop with no food in Bethesda, Wales. Or people at gigs in the Midlands able to dispense helpful advice on furthering his career, such as

Why don’t you get on Jools Holland’s programme? They have all sorts of crap on there. You should be able to get on there.[2]

jackie

‘You might love me for what I’ve sung’: always and forever, Jackie.

Or

Why don’t you make a single with Shania Twain? Some of your stuff’s just like hers.[3]

Jackie was truly one of a kind. He could as easily have been a comedian as a singer-songwriter. I guess it calls for the same observational skills to some degree but the Scotsman was uncannily adept at gleaning the most humour and absurdity from his everyday experiences.

Now back to that Schmit fellow. Here he is introducing a Poco song called ‘What Am I Gonna Do’ at a solo concert in Sacramento in 2009. I find his talking voice so listenable and appealing that I have to admit some bias. But I reckon this is a charming set-up of just the right length. He paints a picture of the past in a few simple words, leading you into the song smoothly, but with a better idea of its age, history and significance.

This next song was written by my good friend and mentor Richie Furay … Richie came, for those of you who don’t know, came from the Buffalo Springfield and then he got me into the band that was to be Poco

[I learnt] a lot about singing, about the whole scene. I first went on the road, went to New York City for the first time, with Richie and the band.

This song was originally written for the From the Inside album, in the early 70s, and he wanted me to sing it. But we went on the road before we recorded it and he, during that period of time, he actually, he was prophetic, because he actually started living the scenario of this song and I had reluctantly said you gotta sing this on the album. And he agreed.

And I was pretty sad in some ways. I really wanted to do it. So. Now I can do it.

I like the album version but this may be even better. And he tells jokes. What’s not to like?

Described by Glenn Frey as ‘a total sweetheart’, on Twitter TBS is relentlessly upbeat and positive, downplaying his throat cancer as a ‘setback’. Everything is ‘fun’, ‘all is good’, ‘well’. He’s ‘excited’ and ‘busy’, rather than terrified and exhausted.

He says of the cancer:

Although my issues were disheartening, and I went through what the doctors called, ‘major surgery’, the truth is I was only bedridden during my three night stay in the hospital. I was up and about right after, starting with daily walks on the streets of Manhattan. After another week I received a clean bill of health and headed for home on the west coast. My voice is coming along nicely … So … All is good.

timandothersmoody

‘A dream of how good it all can be’: Tim thought it ‘a great fit for everybody’.

Much as he’s presented in Jason Hare’s hilariously realised scenario in Mellow Gold Theatre, Timothy’s a look on the bright side person. After all, as he confesses in ‘Secular Praise,

I don’t know
Why some have less and some have more
All my sorrow could all fit in a bedroom drawer.

Mellow Gold envisions Don (‘Mr Don Henley’ as he insists on being addressed) as laconic, gruff, materialistic, demanding and cosseted, attended by a bevy of naked Korean girls. Glenn appears as an overgrown schoolyard bully delighted to be confronted with his favourite prey, the perfect victim and Tim suffers his assaults with a nervous mixture of terror and delight, dubbing Glenn ‘playful’ as he’s tackled to the floor. Joe Walsh is unconscious somewhere under the sofa.

Don, referring to the inflated price of Eagles tickets, points out that fans at a gig oughta stay in their seats the whole time because ‘Every time you turn your head away from the stage, you’ve wasted approximately 27 dollars.’

He reminds the blithely optimistic Tim of the torture involved in making the last album:

How Azoff had to ply us with $100 bills in a trail from our houses to the studio?’ to which Tim responds, ‘I didn’t get any $100 bills. He just had his assistant call me and say, “Be there at 8 AM.” And you guys didn’t show up until 2.[4]

The spoof is of course a comic visualisation of how such a scene could play out, exaggerated greatly for maximum humorous effect but it wouldn’t work if we couldn’t all imagine Timothy behaving somewhat similarly to this and hear him uttering those lines in his instantly recognisable dulcet tones. And it does fit in with what we know of his personality.

tim with poco

‘I don’t know why fortune smiles on some/And lets the rest go free’: Poco never achieved the massive mainstream success they deserved while the Eagles went stratospheric.

I don’t think Tim would sell himself short, however. He knows his value to the band. When he was invited to join them with no need for any kind of audition, he recollects:

I thought it was a great fit for everybody. I had no hesitation about that. It was perfect for me, obviously, and I was thrilled. I was actually getting a little disenchanted with the whole Poco thing around that time. I thought: This is so great for me, and I thought: It’s a good fit for them, too. And then “they” became “we”.

Main picture from Eagles fan forum, the Border.

Here’s a blog post comparing the Eagles and Poco.


[1] That is such a cool fan name, Poconut. See the forum here.

[2] I have to agree that a lot of the stuff on Later with …  is rubbish. But perhaps that wasn’t the best way to sell the recommendation.

[3] It’s really not.

‘A little less conversation, a little more action please …’: country music star Christian Kane rocks out at the Jazz Cafe in Camden

ck

‘Aint you been listening?’: there’s an 11 pm curfew and then I’m outta here.

If he’d spent less time exclaiming about the alleged 11 pm curfew, Christian Kane might have had time to sing a few more songs for the loyal army of fans who turned out to see him in Camden in November.

Might also have helped if he’d come on stage a tad earlier in the evening than 10. I’m just saying …

Why exactly did we need three warm-up acts? Even though the first was on stage by 8.15 or so, by the time the main attraction hit the stage, the crowd weren’t just warmed up; most of them were totally hammered. And some, I have to say, a bit scary and aggressive.

I happened to read my horoscope in the free paper on the train on the way up. It had counselled against confrontations and involving myself in battles I couldn’t win so I refrained from sticking up for myself when the going got tough. This restraint meant I had to put up with being elbowed in the throat by someone who felt the need to constantly fluff up her hair (she did have nice hair, I have to say) and then toss it a few times (each time nearly knocking out my contact lenses), to make sure the fluffing up had worked before refluffing just in case it hadn’t. All this she accomplished while back and forth to the bar for more drinks and participating in a conversation consisting mostly of asterisking expletives with her gang of friends. I’m forever taking evasive action while not daring to look at her any way that might be interpreted as wrong as I can just see myself headbutted, floored and trampled underfoot.

stewart mac

‘Well I know they say all goods things/Must come to some kinda ending’: Mac may have played more songs than headliner Kane.

The Jazz Cafe is packed out and it’s pretty hard to find a spot where you can even glimpse the stage if you happen to be on the diminutive side and not anxious to start a commotion. In our previous place we’d been continually buffeted by folk trying to get past but maybe that was the lesser of two evils.

The crowd is super-excitable and ultra-responsive. This I expected – Kane fans are not called Kaniacs for nothing. But they detain the third support, Stewart Mac (with Dean Roberts), for an encore. He’s not bad and I enjoyed hearing more but I’m painfully aware that, the more we see of him, the less we’re going to see of Christian.[1] Do the math, guys.

But another good thing about the Kaniacs is that they’ve just about captured the whole concert for posterity. They considerately want to share their experience with fans who couldn’t be there. A little less considerately, you might be able to hear more of them than Christian on the resultant clips.

When CK finally takes the stage, curls of long hair escaping from under a grey-brown hat, sporting a shirt that looked kind of indigo in the stage lights over a lighter-coloured long-sleeved T, sleeves of both rolled up, blue jeans with trainers and a big macho leather wristlet plus some kind of medallion round his neck, no one can deny he’s a sight for sore eyes. And his late arrival has successfully built anticipation to a fever pitch.

He seems like a genuine, genial guy but the country rocker spent an inordinate amount of time chatting, goofing around with and hugging buddy and guitarist Hank (Henri O’Connor), thanking the venue for having him, saying what a great venue it was, thanking us for coming out, telling us how he much he likes being in London, failing to retune his guitar, losing his pick and fucking up the beginnings of verses and suchlike (fine, funny, adorable if you’ve all the time in the world which, as he kept reiterating, we didn’t).

JazzCafe

‘And you need a place you can let it go': the Jazz Cafe.

In fact he reminds us of the time constraint every few minutes, declaring, a little less than sincerely, I suspect, his willingness to play all night if it weren’t for the curfew. I’m getting a little incensed by the procrastination and the protests too much, if you know what I mean. I’m beginning to wonder if it’s more of a self-imposed deadline than anything set in concrete. And, in fact the single encore included, he stops at 10.55, so depriving us of a possible further five minutes.

Some of these fans appear so devoted that they just might whoop, cheer and applaud if Christian decided not to play any music at all. And the actor/musician seems to appreciate and acknowledge their dedication and maybe on this occasion take advantage of it a little.

Time gripes aside, what we did hear was awesome, from breezy opener ‘Happy Man’ to thoughtful, self-analytical encore ‘Dusty Rose’: ‘A little dirty, a little rough around the edges …  And no tellin’ how many times/You cut your hands holdin’ me’.

He was in fine voice and high spirits and more than ably accompanied by O’Connor, with whom he enjoys an obvious onstage chemistry. In the YouTube clips the women singing or shouting along (in various versions of off key) sound like they are practically drowning the singer out but this isn’t that apparent on the night, thankfully. I realise this must be gratifying to an artist and is indeed encouraged (‘If you know it, please sing along’) but, let’s be real, audience participation is all fine and dandy but we’re not really shelling out to hear somebody next to us bellow out their renditions of our favourites.  His voice is ever so slightly better than theirs, after all.[2]

We were promised a couple of new songs, one of which, ‘Sever’, was delivered. Co-written with Hank (‘This is a song that me and him wrote’), it made quite an impression – one of those moody laments chronicling a foundering relationship (‘Don’t ya know the sky aint fallin’, don’t ya/Don’t ya know if it was I’d catch it for ya?/Don’t ya know if I was gonna leave, by now I would have done so long ago’). Covers included ‘The One I Love’ (‘Somebody else [David Gray] wrote this but it’s one of my favourite songs in the world’) and ‘Jolene’. Enjoyed terrific versions of ‘Thinking of You’ and ‘Let Me Go’[3] as well as crowd-pleasing roustabouts ‘Whiskey in Mind’ (during which Christian admits ‘By the way, I fucked up, he didn’t fuck up’ of Hank, who’d only just learnt the song) and ‘The House Rules’. But we kind of lost the momentum of ‘Different Kind of Knight’ when they kept dicking around before the last verse. Yeah, it was sort of charming that he doesn’t take himself too seriously but, once again, made me acutely conscious that time wasted was time off the performance.

KaneLive

‘Sit on the floor/And lock the door/Dancin’ with a bottle': ‘Track 29′ from the live CD.

It’s an indication of the extent of his back catalogue that he didn’t play a single track featured on the Live in London acoustic CD from 2004 that we bought at the gig, any of which I would also love to have heard.

I know you’re meant to leave your audience wanting more. But the fine-looking blue-eyed sex kitten just didn’t give us quite enough – a mere ten songs – and I thought he was bound to play ‘Rattlesnake Smile’. He only played one encore but he’d drilled the so-called deadline into everybody’s heads so much that I think most of the audience had resigned themselves to the inevitable and considered their time well and truly up.


[1] At the Grant Hart gig in The Miller the week before, a number of  support acts similarly delayed the advent of the headliner till about 10. He played nearly 20 songs nevertheless and continued till at least 11.30.

[2] I can imagine Kane would call me a ‘motherfucker’ for daring to criticise the singalongers. He abused a punter who pleaded for quiet at one point, responding: ‘Shut the fuck up, man! Absolutely don’t be fucking quiet!’ I don’t think he appreciates the exquisite agony of having someone tone deaf screaming in your ear all the way through a concert. It’s not something I’d recommend anyone try, especially when you’re desperate to hear someone perform live. But I think he truly revels and thrives in the interactive atmosphere of his gigs.

[3] During which the whooping between verses gets a little out of control, breaking up the song and a little voice from the crowd says ‘Sorry’ to which the singer replies reassuringly, ‘Don’t apologise at all for that –  that’s awesome.’ I get it – instant feedback is good.

‘Where did your long hair go?’: thankfully not something we need ever wistfully wonder when we look at Timothy B. Schmit

tritt2

‘A white boy from Sacramento': Timothy B. Schmit with Travis Tritt and assorted Eagles.

What tickles me about the video for Travis Tritt’s rendition of ‘Take It Easy’, apart from the fact that it’s not a patch on the original version, is that the usually verging on the girlish Timothy B. Schmit looks the most macho in it.

The rest of them resemble a passel of maiden aunts next to Tim, with his cool facial hair, who narrows his eyes in a boy you wouldn’t take home to mom way and even manages a particularly manly shake of the mane at one point.[1] I’ve always been a sucker for a sexy hair toss and it has to be said that no one has hair more fitted to the task.

He strides forth like a gunslinger swaggering out of a saloon whereas the others amble along like a bunch of old buddies thinking about going fishing.

We know from The History of the Eagles documentary film that at this point, finding himself back with the boys and everything going swimmingly, Timothy B. was thinking to himself, ‘Come on, guys!’ in an endearingly plaintive way, wondering how they couldn’t recognise how right it was to be playing together again.

Having graduated from the freebie t-shirts and dungarees of his unpretentious youth in Poco and early Eagles days, Timothy’s sartorial style as a mature artist had betrayed a penchant for teaming polychromatic shirts of a Hawaiian bent with contrasting jazzy waistcoats in colour clashes of epic proportions.

But here he eschews all that flashy malarkey, keeps it simple and simply rocks. In a red flannel shirt, sleeves rolled up to reveal his forearms, over a black t-shirt and plentiful masculine wrist jewellery, TBS is the only one I’d bother lining up against a wall.[2] But I’d volunteer for that duty whatever the hell he was wearing.

This longhaired desperado looks just the type you might encounter playing pool in a bar in the middle of a weekday in somewhere like Winslow, Arizona. I’ve stood on that corner and had some kind of pickup pull to a halt for the driver to ask if I knew the way to the probation office. Ever feel like you’re in a film? Even if it is a trashy afternoon made-for-TV movie, the kind you give up on halfway through.

So I’m assuming Travis Tritt is younger than the Eagles (yeah, by about fifteen years) but here he looks like someone’s slightly pudgy uncle in a billowing blouson trying to act a bit tougher than he is and fit in with the old hands.

This song was recorded for a 1993 thirteen-track tribute album, celebrating the band’s music,[3] with a portion of the profits going to the Walden Woods Project, founded by Don Henley in 1990.

For his interpretation of the Eagles classic, Tritt requested that the 1980 line-up of the country rock legends (Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Don Felder, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit) feature in the video. By some miracle engineered by the gods of music (possibly after a gentle nudge from Irving Azoff), they agreed. And the rest, as they say, is history.[4]

Photo half-inched from timothybschmitonline.com.

For first blog on Timothy and Eagles, see here.



[1] Thank whatever gods may be that, when we look at TBS, we don’t need to wonder wistfully, ‘Where did your long hair go?’, a lyric from ‘Caroline, No’, a Brian Wilson song covered by Tim.

[2] No, actually, I could definitely be persuaded to give Don Henley a thorough pat down too.

[3] The album hit the number one spot on the Country Billboard chart.

[4] But, if you don’t know, by the next year, hell done got froze over, the band reformed and toured. Amen to that. And thanks be to Travis Tritt.

‘There’s no way we can agree': rumours of a Kinks reunion unravel

flaskera

‘Together we can find a way': Kinks lineup featuring John Dalton, John Gosling and Mick Avory.

Why do the Davies brothers do this to Kinks fans?

Periodically, they raise our hopes, then stomp all over them in their vicious Cuban heels.

Ray and Dave Davies have reportedly been in talks about a possible reunion to mark The Kinks’ 50th anniversary. Hallelujah, we cry, but also cautiously elect not to hold our breath.

Just as they seem to be edging toward something like rapprochement, Dave will throw a spanner in the works and Ray will counter that with a wrench. And the 50/50 odds bandied about in the press start to look slimmer by the second.

For one minute Dave is behind the proposal, fanning its flames into a virtual bonfire of expectation, the next he’s pouring cold water all over it and stamping on the embers.

In a positive frame of mind, blossoming in a healthy new relationship with writer Rebecca Wilson, playing gigs on a quite regular basis on the US east coast, Dave reports of his meetings with Ray:

We talked about the old days and maybe doing something next year. I thought to myself, ‘Oh shit, maybe we could do something before we fall down dead.’

daved

‘Yet we’d heard it all before': one minute Dave’s all ears, the next he doesn’t want to hear it.

This is the first time I’ve known Dave even lend the possibility the least consideration. It seemed to take Ray by surprise too.

But, guess what, things quickly soured when they had their last cup of tea before Dave’s return stateside. Describing his sibling as ‘negative, grumpy and just mean’, Dave interpreted Ray’s changed mood as disapproval of his trip, saying ‘I feel like he was miserable because I’m happy. He’s a really troubled man.’ And went on to recall times when Ray was ‘fucking horrible’ to him in the past. Maybe so but now’s not the time to dredge all that up again.

Many of us believed that Dave’s new relationship would rejuvenate him and rebuild his confidence, along with the American tour. But his sensitivity to Ray’s (real or imagined) criticism sets him immediately back on the defensive.

The younger Davies also underlines the fact that he doesn’t want any other ex-Kinks to be involved. Why not?

Of original drummer Mick Avory, he states bluntly, ‘I hope we don’t bring him back’ before going on to claim:

I love him, but it’s water under the bridge. [1] We need new people. Sometimes when you’re with the same old people, you get the same old thing.

Um, it’s not a reunion if it’s just Ray and Dave and a bunch of other guys.[2] There are plenty of other ex-Kinks out there, still playing the material. Mick is an original member, for goodness sake.

We not only have the much maligned Mick, but his replacement Bob Henrit, John Dalton, John Gosling, Ian Gibbons, Jim Rodford, all fine musicians with a great track record of involvement in The Kinks.

bernie

‘We’re all tryin’ to get along': Bernie Leadon had finally had enough.

And surely, the point about a reunion is that you do get the old people back together and at least play some of the same old thing?

The Eagles have understood this, even drafting in original member Bernie Leadon for their latest ‘farewell’ tour, History of the Eagles. Bernie had made his early departure after pouring a beer over Glenn Frey’s head (probably long overdue if you ask me). Randy Meisner was invited too. Okay, Don Felder has yet to make a reappearance this time around. But he was included in the 1994 Hell Freezes Over tour.

The Davies brothers would also look to be at odds regarding new material. Ray is insisting that any reunion should involve new music: ‘As long as there’s something new to go forward with rather than stay in the past, I’m interested.’ But on the subject of making an album together, Dave demurs: ‘I can’t face the concept of days and days in the studio with Ray. I just can’t do it.’ Surely some compromise can be reached?

Ray has taken a gracious path and declined to retaliate, saying Dave’s

a great player. Whenever I write a song, I think of how it could be improved by having him on it, and what his power chords would bring to it. [...] I don’t know what next year will bring. Let’s see if he’s polite to me the next time we meet.

Mmm, maybe it would take more than hell freezing over to reunite this amazing band. The brothers are so diametrically opposed to each other that it’s like they’re in different planetary orbits.

mick and ray

‘You’re a lot like me, that’s why I’m still your friend': friendship that lasted the course.

A year or so back, any kind of reunion appeared to be out of the question, a remote possibility, a distant dream, with Dave dismissing it out of hand while Ray has always been more open to the idea, once admitting:

I’m still ­waiting hopefully for the phone call to go back on the road and tour with The Kinks. I tour now, I’ve got a good band who I’ve been with for a few years. But I still carry The Kinks in my mind and Mick Avory is a very good friend of mine. I never say never because suddenly these things will happen.

Sadly, before original bassist Pete Quaife died, The Kinks had been planning to record together again. He’d said:

Ray, Dave, Mick and I are going into Konk Studios this fall. We’re doing a CD of new material. Just the four of us. Just like old times. There’ll be a fight. I can almost guarantee it.

I think the lyrics of the song ‘Hatred’ probably reflect the real current situation as much as any press report.

You and me accept reality
There’s no way we can agree
The world can’t make us alter this position
At least you and I know where we stand
We can’t be friends, walk hand in hand
My hostility for you defies description

Hate’s the only thing we have in common
There’s no escape, we’ll always be this way
So we might as well just learn to live together
‘Cause we’re gonna be this way till our dying day

If you keep on putting me down
Rub my name into the ground
I’ll drag the dirt all over town about you

The reunion didn’t come up at the Purcell Room on the South Bank, where we witnessed Ray in rather awkward conversation with John Wilson, pretty close to Waterloo Bridge and not that long after sunset. Maybe Ray wasn’t that comfortable because on the wrong side of the river but I have the feeling the whole promotional aspect of the situation rendered him a bit sheepish.

Publicising Americana, his latest book, which delves into his relationship with the US and its denizens, necessitates events like this and book signings galore (the queue afterwards was pretty lengthy but very ordered and patient) but I wouldn’t think it’s Ray’s favourite activity.

I attended this rather than a normal book signing because I hoped to hear the promised excerpts from the text. But we only got one, an extremely short one at that, so I was left unresolved as to whether to buy a copy or not.[3]

you really shot me

‘Don’t wanna get myself shot down': Ray ended up getting shot down as a 21st century man.

Along with an interview, we were also treated to a homemade video of some of Ray’s US travels as a solo performer, starting with a 2000 tour beset with transport problems after September 11th and covering his time in New Orleans before and after being shot.[4]

He also touched on the band’s six-year ban from the US, quoting Mick Avory’s pithy rationalisation as to its probable causes , ‘a combination of bad management, bad luck and bad behaviour’.

Ray also responded to some questions from the spectators, who were invited to scribble these out in advance for submission.

Returning to the question of a reunion, though, I guess I can forgive Dave his misgivings. Whereas Ray has maintained friendly relations with his old bandmates, Dave has been somewhat isolated and estranged. No doubt he expects that, if disagreements arise, the others’ loyalty will lie with Ray, which has led to friction in the past.

Testing the barometer of other fans in attendance, it would seem that few hold out any hope that The Kinks will ever reform.

But let’s leave the last words to Dave:

I really do want to do something with Ray before we both decay and decompose. I said to Ray last week, ‘We don’t have much time left.’

Some quotes from Rolling Stone, NME, Uncut and the Daily Star.

For all things Kink on bashful blog so far see http://bashfulbadgersblog.wordpress.com/2013/09/19/everything-kink-on-bashful-blogs/.


[1] ‘Water under the bridge’ generally equates to letting bygones be bygones.

[2] Though both have been playing regularly with the accomplished backing of other bands like The Jigsaw Seen , Bill Shanley and The 88.

[3] It was on sale for the jacket price of £18.99. It was £15.19 with free delivery from the Waterstones site, £12.72 on Amazon. The cheapskate in me won out and I didn’t make the purchase.

[4] Dave is currently soliciting crowd funding for a similar film project, The Rock’n’Roll Journey, documenting his own experiences on the road. For details see http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/dave-davies-rock-n-roll-journey-film.

‘It starts when you think it’s the end’: Timothy B. and the Eagles

He’s in a bar and out of itpoco3

Eyes nowhere near home

Turned out the music wasn’t quite enough

When it came right down to it

Without a little something

To help everything along

To keep on night after night

Became so much harder

Without some kind of hit

b&wguitarHow they picked him up

Swept him off his feet

Let him finally feel

Everything would be all right

No use pretending to be coy

When he can’t conceal his joy

So he just opened his arms way out wide

‘Sometimes you just gotta let it ride’

An eternal waiftimothybeach

In dungarees

Hair so long and free

A giveaway t-shirt

And tight blue jeans

Natural right down

To his split ends

And hopefully expectant smile

They gathered him in like

The harvest of their lives

timdungareeseagles

Sometimes he looks down at

His guitar with such sweet

Self-satisfaction that it

Simply warms your heart

His submission disarms them

Like a rainbow in a storm

He’d been so disenchanted

When this shot came his way

It’s like a dance he’s always known

He’d get the chance to dance one day

It was a trip like no other

Furious, frenzied and far too fastwith another

For anyone to believe it could ever last

It was so much of all he ever wanted

That it almost made him sick

Fated to crumble into bits

Just as he was getting used to it

He hits the ground hard

Lies still as a stone

They hit the ground running

Before he knows it they’re gone

For poems and imaginary scenarios on Timothy and Eagles, see http://bashfulbadgersblog.wordpress.com/2013/09/11/bad-timing-with-the-eagles/ and http://bashfulbadgersblog.wordpress.com/2013/07/31/timothy-b-schmit-and-the-eagles/.  For a blog on Poco and Timothy B., see http://sshh-sshh.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/some-called-it-country-some-called-it.html.

‘Visions of things that used to be’: everything Kink on bashful so far

limpwrist

‘And I remember myself in my tie dye sweater’: but conveniently forgot the crocheted tank tops.

Here’s a digest of all bashful posts on Kinks topics as I’ve realised it’s pretty hard to navigate around the site for some reason. So, for instance, the Dave Davies satsang posts are listed under the relevant heading below, in chronological order so that they hopefully make a little more sense. Likewise the speculation about the relationship between the Davies brothers …

General Kinks stuff

http://bashfulbadgersblog.wordpress.com/2012/12/23/looking-up-the-kinks/

http://bashfulbadgersblog.wordpress.com/2012/05/29/the-kinks-yo-yo-1982/

http://bashfulbadgersblog.wordpress.com/2012/07/03/the-legacy-of-kinks-legend-pete-quaife-rocks-on-in-muswell-hill/

http://bashfulbadgersblog.wordpress.com/2013/04/19/kinks-brothers-hair-tour-and-book/

http://bashfulbadgersblog.wordpress.com/2013/08/23/how-we-deciphered-song-lyrics-before-the-internet/

http://bashfulbadgersblog.wordpress.com/2012/12/03/kinky-art-at-konk/

Kinks reunion

http://bashfulbadgersblog.wordpress.com/2013/10/21/rumours-of-a-kinks-reunion-to-mark-50th-anniversary/

http://bashfulbadgersblog.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/can-a-kinks-reunion-really-happen/

Kinks film and casting

daveguitar77

‘While Dave the Rave hit the rock’n’roll riffs’: Dave’s currently playing gigs in the US.

http://bashfulbadgersblog.wordpress.com/2012/07/16/desperately-seeking-dave-davies-2/

http://bashfulbadgersblog.wordpress.com/2013/01/28/everybodys-in-movies/

Kinks London tours

http://bashfulbadgersblog.wordpress.com/2011/12/27/walking-in-the-footsteps-of-the-kinks/

http://bashfulbadgersblog.wordpress.com/2012/04/02/on-the-trail-of-the-kinks-one-sunny-afternoon-in-london-town/

Dave Davies satsang weekends

http://bashfulbadgersblog.wordpress.com/2011/10/08/a-weekend-with-dave-davies-of-the-kinks/

http://bashfulbadgersblog.wordpress.com/2011/10/19/more-on-my-weird-and-wonderful-weekend-with-dave-davies-of-the-kinks/

http://bashfulbadgersblog.wordpress.com/2011/11/07/coda-to-dave-davies-satsang-weekend/

http://bashfulbadgersblog.wordpress.com/2012/04/24/soaking-up-spiritual-refreshment-at-the-home-of-the-kinks-dave-davies/

http://bashfulbadgersblog.wordpress.com/2012/05/06/destination-undisclosed-a-close-encounter-with-dave-davies/

http://bashfulbadgersblog.wordpress.com/2012/05/22/to-boldly-go-a-return-to-the-realm-of-renegade-kink-dave-davies/

http://bashfulbadgersblog.wordpress.com/2012/10/03/ex-kinks-dave-daviess-secret-shangri-la-2/

http://bashfulbadgersblog.wordpress.com/2012/11/08/truly-truly-trust-your-heart-further-arcadian-adventures-in-kinkdom-with-dave-davies/

innocentray

‘You were the best friend I ever knew’: Mick and Ray are still mates.

Relationships Dave/Ray/Mick

http://bashfulbadgersblog.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/its-family-innit-ray-and-dave-davies-kinks-1/

http://bashfulbadgersblog.wordpress.com/2012/02/28/its-family-innit-ray-and-dave-davies-of-the-kinks-2/

http://bashfulbadgersblog.wordpress.com/2012/03/15/its-family-innit-ray-davies-and-dave-davies-3/

http://bashfulbadgersblog.wordpress.com/2013/01/14/the-uncertain-smile/

http://bashfulbadgersblog.wordpress.com/2012/09/03/that-special-kinks-relationship-between-ray-davies-and-mick-avory-and-the-rather-less-special-one-between-mick-and-dave-davies-episode-one/

http://bashfulbadgersblog.wordpress.com/2012/09/25/episode-two-on-the-love-hate-triangle-between-ray-davies-mick-avory-and-dave-davies-of-the-kinks/

http://bashfulbadgersblog.wordpress.com/2012/10/23/the-threads-unwind-between-the-kinks/

Dave’s new girlfriend

http://bashfulbadgersblog.wordpress.com/2013/08/12/dave-davies-of-the-kinks-hits-town-with-new-girl/

Ray solo shows

rayhmm

‘I hated my textbooks and my school uniform’: well, the trousers at any rate.

http://bashfulbadgersblog.wordpress.com/2012/08/01/am-i-ready-for-ray-davies-like-a-fool-i-went-and-said-ok/

http://bashfulbadgersblog.wordpress.com/2012/10/11/ray-davies-on-the-road-theres-gas-in-his-tank-and-hes-still-got-a-way-to-go/

Kinks lyrics

http://bashfulbadgersblog.wordpress.com/2013/08/23/how-we-deciphered-song-lyrics-before-the-internet/

http://bashfulbadgersblog.wordpress.com/2014/06/11/some-lyrics-stand-the-test-of-time/

Incidental mentions of Kinks

http://bashfulbadgersblog.wordpress.com/2011/09/07/smart-casual-words-that-will-always-strike-fear-into-my-heart/

http://bashfulbadgersblog.wordpress.com/2012/08/20/postmortem-on-the-olympics-fiasco-triumph-or-a-bit-of-both/

P.S. Ray is doing the rounds promoting his new book Americana, so catch him at a bookshop near you in October.

‘Armed with nothing but a song': Timothy B. Schmit leaves Poco for the Eagles in 1977 and they break up in 1980 – he can’t tell you why

Bass Guitarist Schmidt of Poco

‘I wake up and find you’re really not there’: the wallflower awaiting plucking, a bloom soon to be scattered to the wind.

Timothy, the prettiest and most retiring wallflower at the dance, is overjoyed when the handsome tough boys finally recognise his desirability and reward his patience by snapping their fingers for him to join them.

He jumps up with a shy delighted smile and demurely stretches out his hand, inwardly bracing himself for a wild and thrilling ride. Only to be bewildered and disconcerted when all of a sudden the music stops, the lights come on and the party’s over. Somehow he has been cheated of his moment of glory.

He’s been whirled dizzyingly round the floor once in a delirious haze under the magical flickering light patterns cast by the mirror ball, then abruptly relinquished – to reel, flounder and fall in fluorescent relief.

His head is still spinning. Everything was so vivid and so real. It felt like he was finally in a blissful state of abandon he could call home. Like he was where he’d always known he belonged. The boys’ grip was so firm and proprietary, yanking him around and showing him off like their latest flame, before they so unceremoniously let him go. He turns in a quandary of despair to see them swagger out the door.

They’d whisked him away like a tornado through a Kansas cornfield, before redepositing him in the windswept farmyard in just the same cavalier fashion. Exhilarated and breathless, this brusque relegation to his humdrum existence leaves him as disenchanted as the Pevensey children catapulted back from a glorious and action-packed sojourn in Narnia to the stark reality of wartime air raids in the Blitz. And with a fourteen-year yearning for a similarly invigorating sequel.

Unexpectedly at the end of his tether and disappointed down to his soul, he breathes out a soft yet undeniably exasperated sigh, drops his head, glances away. Picks himself up from the sticky parquet and dusts off his best dungarees.[1]

‘We make it harder than it has to be': No one can rock big headphones like TBS.

Last blog on Timothy at http://bashfulbadgersblog.wordpress.com/2013/07/31/timothy-b-schmit-and-the-eagles/. 

With a second part at http://bashfulbadgersblog.wordpress.com/2013/10/03/timothy-b-schmit-and-the-eagles-part-2/.

Also check out http://sshh-sshh.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/schmitten-part-one-flow-of-energy-was.html and http://sshh-sshh.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/schmitten-part-two-sweet-talking-guy_25.html.


[1] His dream, ‘his super dream’, as he calls it in interview, is dashed almost at the point of its realisation. When he’s told that it’s over, he confesses, ‘I didn’t wanna hear it.’ No wonder that, once informed that a reunion may be on the cards, he tried to be cautious, confiding, that, though excited, ‘I didn’t want to get too excited.’ Once bitten. Luckily, the second time around has lasted a lot longer.

‘And we danced all night to the best song ever’: Niall Horan of One Direction vows to frolic naked in the aisles at an Eagles show

niallandeagles

‘The new kid in town': Eagles Timothy B. Schmit and Don Henley flank 1D’s Niall Horan.

Maybe the Eagles (touring the US at the moment) will reach a preteen audience desperate to see Niall Horan of 1D in the buff, the young heartthrob having pledged to dance naked in the front row at one of their gigs.[1]

Thrilled to meet his all-time musical heroes at the premiere of the film History of the Eagles,[2] he posed for a photo with Timothy B. Schmit and Don Henley, which he tweeted along with the declaration that in the event of a tour, ‘I‘ll be there starkers at the front!

Perhaps Niall has already fulfilled his promise, I don’t know. Maybe he hasn’t got along to a show yet or is waiting for a UK tour. Somehow I doubt whether it will ever come to pass.

The Eagles already appeal to all generations but this development can only extend the band’s legendary fanbase.

Perhaps the veteran country rockers had some words of advice for Niall about coping with the excesses of the rock’n’roll lifestyle, as they’re rumoured to have capitalised on all it had to offer and emerged whole the other end (if not always the best of friends), even Joe Walsh, possibly the worst offender when it came to overindulgence and unruly rockstar behaviour.[3]

Niall, reportedly Simon Cowell’s favourite member of the group (I suspect they share a similar taste in music, with the pop mogul’s known affection for ‘Desperado’, often prevailing on his mentees to essay renditions on The X Factor), has also sported an Eagles 75 shirt, as pictured everywhere recently.

One-Direction-2

‘Everyone else in the room can see it': Harry Styles is determined to be the first to strip off while the other lads check out his butt.

I admire the fact that the nineteen-year-old star is proud to claim allegiance to a band originally formed in 1971, often tweeting their lyrics to fans.[4]

Suddenly I have a whole new respect for One Direction. Well, not really. But still. Who would have thought?

For more on Timothy B. see http://bashfulbadgersblog.wordpress.com/2013/07/31/timothy-b-schmit-and-the-eagles/.


[2] It is not known whether any of the Eagles repaid the compliment by attending the premiere of This Is Us, the newly released One Direction film.

[3] Joe even had a ‘mentor in chaos’, namely The Who’s drummer Keith Moon. If anyone ever had less need of such a mentor than Walsh, I can’t think of them.

[4] He is also a fan of Frank Sinatra and Bon Jovi.

‘I’m a bus, I’m a tourist cigar’: the evidently drug-induced line I heard Al Stewart sing in ‘The Year of the Cat’ – hey, it was the 70s, man

tdkBefore the internet – do you remember that world? – if you wanted to learn the lyric to a song you would just have to play it over and over again until you worked it out. Unless the artist in question had thoughtfully transcribed the words on a single or LP sleeve. Or it happened to feature in one of those few magazines that occasionally printed lyrics.

And then, you heard more variety on the radio in those days – you got oldies on all the stations as well as the latest material. You were just as likely to hear a classic song from before you were born as a contemporary hit. But in those days you needed good luck, judgement and perseverance if you were ever to understand all the words to your favourite song.

‘Let’s all get up and dance to a song/That was a hit before your mother was born’ – I’ve always loved this Beatles song.

Often it was a case of combining careful listening with an educated and informed guess. Except that an eleven-year-old girl’s guess at a thirty-five-year-old man’s lyric from some forgotten decade couldn’t really be that informed.

Audio cassettes were great (TDK C90s were a favourite)[1] for fathoming out lyrics – you would rewind and relisten to a line umpteen times sometimes before being able to decipher it. Of course you’d probably recorded it off the radio in the first place and were still trying to tune the station in at the start, then grimacing as you witnessed it waver in and out throughout the whole track. Anything you taped off Radio Caroline actually sounded like it was being played on a ship in a choppy North Sea, for instance.caroline

Everything in those days involved a certain investment of time and effort. Not to mention patience. Waiting for a version of a song without some inane DJ blathering on right up to the vocals. Then that might be perfect, only for them to cut it off halfway through the final chorus. Most of the time you couldn’t predict when a song would be played so chart shows on Sunday were a good chance if your favourite had made it into the top forty. Then you had to maintain a constant state of alertness. The track you missed on one station you might still be able to catch on another, cueing frequent rapid retuning and running up and downstairs in the middle of tea.

Lyric interpretations sometimes provoked debate. You’d argue the toss for your transcription over someone else’s. It was something to celebrate when you had a breakthrough. I found the whole process frustrating and rewarding in pretty much equal measure.

st louisBut those lyrics stayed in your head for decades. I have files of hastily scribbled words to songs, from Meet Me in St Louis’s ‘The Trolley Song’ to Grant Hart’s ‘The Main’.[2]

It’s not only Ian Rankin who has a propensity to hear the wrong words. His latest Rebus thriller was titled after a Jackie Leven song that he’d misheard, making it Standing in Another Man’s Grave rather than the song’s ‘Standing in Another Man’s Rain’. He was at least close. My own interpretations often bore only a passing resemblance to the actual words and sometimes made even less sense. Still, I became quite fond of some of them.

In Michael Jackson’s ‘Man in the Mirror’, I didn’t get ‘They follow each other on/The wind ya’ know’ but the rather more true to my life ‘They follow each other on/The whinge and moan.’

And in ‘Dirty Diana’ I kept hearing the chorus ‘Dirty Diana, Nah’ as, inexplicably, ‘I need an answer-phone’.

Go figure. Sometimes it had nothing to do with logic.

In ‘Dreams’ by Fleetwood Mac, I particularly liked my interpretation of ‘When the rain washes you clean you’ll know’ which was the even more Nicksian (in my opinion) ‘When the rainbow shares your dream, you’ll know’.

stevieBet she wishes she’d written that.

Another favourite hails from Al Stewart’s 70s classic ‘Year of the Cat’, in which I clearly discerned the evidently drug-induced ‘I’m a bus, I’m a tourist cigar’ and didn’t blink an eye at the fact that it made little narrative sense, man. [Actually the completely ordinary 'And the bus and the tourists are gone'.]

Whereas, in the line in the Eagles’ ‘Hotel California’, ‘Warm smell of colitas[3] rising up through the air’ I naively imagined ‘politas’ (as I heard it) as some fragrant flower native to the US west coast or some exotic home-cooked Mexican foodstuff yet to make it to my southeast London suburb.[4]

And then there’s that catchy line, now sounding as if it comes from one of the plethora of those tedious do-up-your-home shows that blight the modern-day TV landscape – ‘I’m not talking about the linen’.

If you can work out the actual lyric and the song, I’ll definitely take my hat off to you.

For The Church’s soul-stirring ‘Under the Milky Way’, I made out, no doubt inspired by the ‘If you’re tired of London …’ epigram, the poetic ‘Lower the curtain down on Memphis/Lower the curtain down on life’ rather than the far more prosaic and a little boring ‘Lower the curtain down in Memphis/Lower the curtain down all right’.

Here’s a version with lyrics on screen. And for those of you who don’t like to be spoonfed, here’s the link without http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Q6nKP10j4s.

Since I became a Kinks fan in 2011, I started to work out my own lyrics to their numbers, despite the excellent resource of kindakinks.net, that carries words not only to Kinks songs but also to the brothers’ solo material. I don’t know, I just can’t help myself. My versions seem to be more X-rated than the original ones, based more on what I’d learnt about the band’s sexual shenanigans than what they actually sang.

So I came up with ‘Sometimes there was some sex on the sand’, ‘Fuck some bird’ and ‘I’m gonna shaft ’em all’.

Which are actually the much more PG ‘Sometimes there were sunsets on the sand’ (‘Animal’), ‘Luxembourg’ (‘Fortis Green’) and ‘I’m gonna shout for more’ (‘Lincoln County’).

More innocently and mysteriously, in ‘The Road’, I thought Ray remembered that he ‘Started playing blues in a cartwheel bar’, of which I’m sure there were dozens in Muswell Hill in the 60s.[5]

Ray Davies has surely penned some of the greatest lyrics ever written, so well observed, often humorous, self-deprecating or scathing. But he also does melancholic, vitriolic, neurotic. How about ‘So the nation built them a utopia/With pebbledash on the outside’ in ‘Million Pound Semi Detached’?[6]

And ‘He sits in the armchair, watching Channel 4/But his brain’s not expected home for an hour or more’ from ‘Yo-yo’?

‘Trojans and some of ‘em used': I had no idea what that was about. Sheltered childhood.

Digressing on to best opening lines, one of the most arresting beginnings ever has got to be from Prince’s ‘Little Red Corvette’ – ‘I guess I shoulda known/By the way you parked your car sideways/That it wouldn’t last.’

That intrigues you and hooks you in, right?

Similarly, you want to hear the rest of the story once Jackie Leven of Doll by Doll sings ‘She lives in a steel comb world/Where sad men in leather will fight over girls’ in ‘Human Face’.

Or when the aforementioned Al Stewart croons so softly ‘On a morning from a Bogart movie/In a country where they turn back time’.

A country where they turn back time. What an amazing line.al stewart

I miss those days and those misheard words. Nowadays those sought after lyrics are available in seconds online. YouTube most probably carries a version of the song featuring onscreen lyrics so you can sing along. No effort. No problem. No fun.

More on lyrics in another blog – the most unlikely and most multisyllabic words, mentions of famous people, words that had to be changed for children’s TV shows, progressive and liberal values promoted by lyrics in the great musicals of the 40s-50s.

No apologies for the gratuitous Stevie Nicks picture because she’s just so gorgeous.

Next lyric blog is here.


[1] If you don’t know what an audio cassette is, see http://everyrecordtellsastory.com/2013/08/21/cassettes-a-newbies-guide-for-cassette-store-day/ for a beginner’s guide. For more on archaic music equipment, see http://sshh-sshh.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/music-centre-nostalgia.html.

[2] ‘I was smack in the middle of alphabet town/There was life on the corners and death all around’.

[3] My version of Word interestingly keeps autocorrecting this to ‘colitis’, inflammatory bowel disease. It actually means marijuana, which you can now smell very strongly all over my suburban residential cul de sac.

[4] I seriously believed there could be no one deeper, cooler or more poetic than Don Henley when it came to lyrics. Come on, ‘Somebody laid the mountains low/While the town got high’.

[6] Let’s make Ray Poet Laureate. More on favourite Kinks lyrics in a later blog.

‘If you don’t believe I’m going/You can count the days I’m gone': looks like you can take the man out of The Kinks …

This post has been withdrawn due to threatened legal proceedings for libel and copyright infringement from Dave Davies.

First time around for Timothy B. Schmit and those Eagles boys

First time around

There is something so unalloyedtimboat

About his capacity for joy,

Like he’s living his life

Way better than the rest of us.

Hopeful in his skinny youth

And smiles wide like Christmas morning,

He is so unadulterated

That it makes you quiver.

headphonesHe clings on to the rails

As the wind batters him breathless.

He’s finally where he feels

He should have been all along.

The smile never leaves his face

He wants to inhabit every second

And make this last the rest of his life.

While he’s determined to enjoy this trip,boataction

Sunbathing in jeans, bare-chested

But for a gold crucifix,

Or grinning into the camera,

Wrapped in a seafarer’s cable knit,

Behind his unsuspecting back,

Everyone else has already abandoned ship.

dungarees

The picture of 70s innocence

Distilled in Timothy,

In headphones and white dungarees.

A wide-eyed doe-like wonder

That he’s even really here.

You want to brush that long dark hair

And freeze him there so free from care.

And this spirit, his blithe trustfor lyn

In the sanctity of his happiness

So soon betrayed, ashes, dust –

You catch it through the PC screen

Through forty years of time between.

You still feel so satisfied

When you can see him smile.

[Most of the photos half-inched from http://www.eaglesonlinecentral.com.]

For a slightly more informative blog on Timothy, Poco and the Eagles, see http://sshh-sshh.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/schmitten-part-one-flow-of-energy-was.html

And for an imagined scenario of Timothy’s experience with the Eagles, see http://bashfulbadgersblog.wordpress.com/2013/09/11/bad-timing-with-the-eagles/.

For a second poem, see http://bashfulbadgersblog.wordpress.com/2013/10/03/timothy-b-schmit-and-the-eagles-part-2/.

‘Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin …’: let Timothy Olyphant tell you a story – why the Justified actor is a born entertainer

raylan1

‘I still see suspicion in your eyes': a guarded gaze from Deputy US Marshal Raylan Givens.

The Justified star is a very funny guy[1] although not everyone gets his humour, it has to be said.

In interviews he’d rather talk trash about his family or his pets than wax on about his latest TV show/film, which means every appearance is a blast as far as I’m concerned. Surely we’re all fed up with guests hell bent on relentlessly plugging their latest project and dodging all questions about absolutely everything else, including their personal lives?

The actor gets on swimmingly with talkshow hosts like Ellen DeGeneres[2] and Bonnie Hunt, who realise virtually no answer is going to be in deadly earnest and lead him on to subjects he can rap on to his heart’s content. Other interviewers take a while to catch on, taking him seriously for far too long before twigging that he’s being flippant. The added bonus of Tim’s approach is that viewers glean more of an insight into life chez Olyphant in general rather than just his views on his work.[3] Though naturally I’m sure he only reveals what he wants you to see.

So if you want to find out how ‘needy’ he finds his kids, if they think he’s cool or not, how he sneakily procured them a pet cat, or learn how his dogs threaten him when it comes to going for a walk, watch his interviews.

Bonnie admires Tim’s best-looking man head tilt, which he is somewhat charmingly able to reprise on cue, ever the consummate professional.

My problem with Justified is that I feel it’s gone downhill since the very first season. The characters then became so extreme that they ceased to be realistic. Surely not everyone in Kentucky is a trigger-happy drug dealer, whore, pimp, felon, crime overlord or cold-blooded killer? And is life really held that cheap there that folk shoot each other so casually on such a regular basis? [But who am I to judge when suddenly it’s everyone’s favourite show and a four-year-old in a town called Hopkinsville has just shot and killed his six-year-old sister?]

I confess that I’ve never been a particular fan of Elmore Leonard’s work ,[4] taking particular issue with his portrayal of women. The writers here seem to be falling into the same trap – their female characters are mostly smart-mouthed fast-talking untrustworthy propositions, with the exception of  Ellen May (Abby Miller). I’m all for a femme fatale but please let’s have some variety.  The men who aren’t homicidal maniacs are portrayed as simple dumb creatures bewildered by the actions and motives of a whole bunch of tricksy, foxy women.  Sometimes the male redneck roles verge on the retarded (these people must be hilarious because they’re so stupid) and frankly it’s getting old.

boydandraylan

The frenemies briefly united in adversity.

I can appreciate that there can be black humour in every kind of situation but the scriptwriters are not locating it consistently. Sometimes you recognise a line that’s meant to raise a laugh but it just doesn’t work. It’s not funny enough and they’ve lost their way. The writing needs to be tighter and the lines need to be sharper.

I’m relieved that they don’t intend to turn Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins) into a cartoon baddie, as it looked for a while like it was headed that way. The obstacles on his quest to go straight and become respectable could prove dramatic dynamite. I approve of the introduction of Colt (Ron Eldard), a reasonably diverting individual, and can see the potential for all kinds of conflict there. But I still reckon Boyd’s ambiguous relationship with Raylan is one of the programme’s greatest hooks.[5]

Tim remembers when he had to stroke Walt Goggins in order to ensure his compliance in the first part of this chat about Season 4 of Justified.

Incidentally, cool dude Olyphant hasn’t bothered to enter anything on his Facebook page since changing his cover photo on 30 April (let me just check that was this year – oh yes, well that’s something at least), yet had still managed to rack up nearly 92,000 likes. Is less more in his case? Is he one of those people who never has to try too hard?[6]

Actually, I don’t think so. He could do with someone posting news and photos on his behalf. Otherwise he’s not really capitalising on any of those fans who’ve given him the FB thumbs up. He could be stimulating us with all his latest trailers, outtakes, fan art, archive pictures, whatever, to repay our interest.

Few celebrity Facebookers are as assiduous in updating their pages as Josh Henderson of Dallas fame. Josh can post a video of himself whining about how he spent one and a half hours trying to upload another video of himself making a sandwich. Yes, he makes a video of himself making a sandwich … then he makes a video about making the video about making the sandwich. You gotta love him. Perhaps he’s taken it to extremes, but he grants fans such great access that they experience a genuine connection and subsequently feel invested in his career and success. See previous blog on the multifarious benefits of ‘liking’ the new John Ross Ewing.

Here’s proof of Tim’s olyphantastic qualities as an entertainer as he tells his buddies about an encounter with Vince Vaughn at the Go premiere after party.

Check out the way he controls the conversation, makes sure to repeat himself if spoken over, puts a hand up to silence the others and let them know he’s still going. Nobody puts Timothy in a corner.

He’s fantastic [Vince Vaughn]. So here’s what he said. He said something nice to me. We were introduced because of Doug Liman, because he was there. And he said something nice to me. And I tried to repay the compliment. And sincerely by the way …

He said, ‘No, no.’ He interrupted me, he wouldn’t let me repay the compliment.

He said, ‘No, no, this is your night. This is your night. And you know why? Because, because, because [Tim has to repeat himself to make sure the others shut up and listen] you were a little bit of the sexy guy and then you were a little bit of the menacing guy. And you didn’t push, and you didn’t push. And you trusted yourself, and you trusted yourself.’ And he says, and he said, ‘And you did that, you trusted yourself. This is your night. What are you drinking?’

And I said, like, ‘Johnnie Walker Black on the Rocks.’

And he said, ‘Johnnie Walker Black on the Rocks.’ And he walked away.

And I’ve never seen Vince Vaughn again.


[1] Even if he does say so himself, as he does (jokingly) in the above chat with Walton Goggins, assessing his contribution as ‘hilarious’.

[2] But, OMG, what do they give the women in the Ellen DeGeneres Show audience beforehand? Please tell me they are pumped up on some pharmaceutical cocktail or jeroboams of high sugar content soda. I can’t watch it any more because their way-overexcited, juvenile screaming, shouting, jumping up and down and hugging each other drives me absolutely crazy. It’s not charming, it’s not funny. Frankly, it’s pathetic. And it seems that, the more frantic and high-pitched they are, the more likely they are to be pulled on stage to win prizes. And the stupider they are, the more likely they are to win more prizes. A recent episode featured a woman who didn’t know which country Paris was in. I’ve been at TV show recordings and I know that the host will try to work the spectators up into a frenzy of enthusiasm but this is too ridiculous and over the top. It’s not worthy of the Ellen I used to love. And why aren’t there any men in the audience?

[3] Although he does exclaim after one brief synopsis [‘My character’s has been sleeping with someone I shouldn’t have, he’s shot a few people and he’s about to get in trouble for it’] when asked to set up a clip from a Justified episode, ‘I mean, that’s a good show, right? … When’s that on?’ in the Bonnie Hunt interview above.

[4] But actually I did love the films of Jackie Brown and 3:10 to Yuma.

[5] See previous blog on the conflict between these kinds of frenemies at http://bashfulbadgersblog.wordpress.com/2013/03/21/southfork-revisited-a-look-at-the-new-dallas/.

[6] Now he’s past 93,000 Facebook likes without posting anything new. There’s no holding this guy back.

Boyd and Raylan photo from istudiogossip.blogspot.com.