09 December 2008

Autumn-End Stew

Jour du Nonidi - Decade II - Annee de la Republique 217

Nearly mid-December now and time for an update. We haven't been doing a whole lot lately, aside from the Cornwall holiday last month.

We did go see Frankie Boyle at the New Theatre in Oxford about a week ago. We stopped off at The Mission, the Mexican food place on St. Michael Street, before the show. I ordered two massive chicken burritos--finished the first and and barely made it through half of the second. Pretty tasty and fairly cheap..I'd recommend trying there if you're in town. The support act was Martin 'Bigpig' Mor, hailing from Northern Ireland. Most of his set was of the 'point-out-people-in-the-audience-and-tease-them' variety. He did generate some laughs, but for us in the upper deck, it wore thin from not being able to see the people he was hurling his barbs at. Frankie took the stage and performed a set that was just over an hour. Most of his material came from the stuff he's used on Mock The Week, but there were bits I hadn't heard. He riffed on some 'behind-the-scenes' aspects of M.T.W. as well, like jokes he'd had to leave out of the show. One of the "Scenes We'd Like To See" segments involved "Things To Kill The Mood At A Dinner Party" and Boyle said "If we're all at this dinner party, who's watching Madeleine?" He also joked that the cast are very close and often have group sex before filming an episode--he said he gets there late and it's like a 'fleshy jigsaw puzzle'. Needless to say, Boyle doesn't have much time for being P.C. He riffed on the Shannon Matthews trial, saying "That three weeks was probably the best time of her life...have you seen her mother?!!" There was the oblilgatory "point-out-people-in-the-audience..." portion of the act as well, but Frankie made it a lot more entertaining than Mor had. A guy in the audience said that he's studying music and Boyle asked him if he's going to get a band together. The bloke replied 'Yes' and Frankie came back with "I hope you enjoy working in that call-centre a year from now." A heckler tried his best with 'When are you getting The Proclaimers back together?' and Boyle unleashed a torrent of insults nearly comparable with Bill Hicks' Rush Limbaugh poem. In fact, Boyle admitted at the show that Hicks is a big influence on his comedy. Of course, Boyle doesn't seem to be a slavish Hicks imitator to me--his Scots humour is far too upfront for that. I kinda wish he had tried out some new material, instead of using a lot of the "Mock The Week" stuff--but all in all, I'm glad we caught him on the crest of his popularity. You know how fickle John and Jane Q Public are. He could be playing The Old Fire Station next year.

I've been on a bit of a 'prog-lite' (or radio-friendly prog) kick lately. Listening to some Kansas and Alan Parsons Project records. I know - I don't really know why either. I did see the re-issued A.P.P. discs on Amazon and purchased the first few (Tales Of Mystery And Imagination, I Robot & Pyramid). At the same time, I bought the re-issued self-titled Kansas album and the 2002 re-issue of Point Of Know Return (which I thought I owned already, but when I checked the collection, found I didn't at all). Both bands remind me of the early 80s, when Dust In The Wind was making the regular rounds on the AOR stations (soon to be christened 'classic rock' stations) and the A.P.P. had the biggest hit of it's existence with Eye In The Sky. Thing is, I'm enjoying the music. Trying my best to remove the albums from the influence of my memory and any sort of 'coolness' criteria, I've found that, despite the (sometimes) over-produced sheen and blatant attempts at chart-bothering, there are great moments on the albums. Parsons, of course, was the tape-op on the last few Beatles records and the producer of Pink Floyd's The Dark Side Of The Moon. The A.P.P. albums, bearing his name, would naturally be worked and re-worked to his specs. The band, made up of session musicians, deliver that kind of polite, late 70s rock--but it's a bit weirder than Chicago or Fleetwood Mac. Kansas were fans of Genesis, Gentle Giant and Yes and tried to create an American version of UK progressive rock. They nearly succeed in some of their tunes, though they lack the whimsical, humourous aspect of Genesis' and especially Gentle Giant's music. I'd recommend each group's 70s out-put. Kansas seemed to stray far from their prog roots after their 1979 release Monolith and the A.P.P. had already started with "Eye In The Sky", released in 1982. Both groups finally called it a day in the late 80s...though Kansas have re-formed with different line-ups since. They've released a few records of slightly dubious quality as well.

Speaking of polishing turds...oh we weren't? My mistake. We will now. The big X-Factor finale is tonight..yippee. I haven't watched any of it since the mass auditions at the beginning of the series. I know it's cruel watching deluded no-talents butchering R&B and soul tunes in front of a panel of industry hacks, but I do find some of it very funny. Don't bother telling me who "wins" tonight--I dont really care.

Lastly, I apologise for the lack of a new podcast episode. I meant to have one ready a few weeks ago--but I've been rather busy. I'm aiming to have one finished before X-Mas, but it may have to wait until January.

1 comment:

Singing Bear said...

Thanks for the update of things happening in Gooroo and Pixieland. Re: thgings happening in Oxford - do you know that RT is doing his '1000 years of Popular Music' near you in January? He's doing Cardiff too but as much as I'd love to see that show I have decided to leave getting back into gigging for later in the year (Dylan in April).

Frankie Boyle - I sometimes laugh heartily but he does get a little TOO tasteless for me. I'd have been very disappointed to se him live to find all that Mock The Week stuff comeing back at me.

Kansas - didn't they do 'Carry On My Wayward Son'? Bloody wonderful song. It's a big favourite at Bear Manor. Don't know any of their other songs, though!