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Hello... and Song of the Day #1

I don't have many criteria for a decent day at work: interesting projects, perhaps. A pleasant, decisive boss in charge for the day. The absence of the urge to set anyone on fire. Last week, however, failed all these tests and more. It's a good job that I can't make things spontaneously combust with my brain, or we would no longer have a building. I worked 10am to midnight, one day, 11am to 11.30pm the other. It was very, very silly.

I am so knackered that the final episode of The Great British Bake-Off made me cry with happiness. It wasn't about the beauty of the cakes, though the cakes were beautiful.

It was more seeing Ruth, who had at first appeared to be arrogant and a Scary Mother of Boys *, beam with pleasure when revealing how her confidence had soared as she discovered how good she was at baking, or the lovely coda where they revealed what happened to all the contestants. Some were using their baking to raise cash for charity, but others had started small businesses. And Edd, who was working as a bank drone, quit his job to work as a pastry chef. No one had emerged unchanged.

I loved it so much. I didn't even particularly want to eat the cakes, there's just something wonderful about watching a person do something really well, whether it's dancing or making bread. Please let them do another series.

One of the things that did bring much happiness at work, despite the gloom, was this video. It's a short, wordless animation, and all you have to do is name the 26 hidden movies:



The other thing I watched that made a real impression on me this week was this interview with Russell Brand, by Jeremy Paxman. It's not only funny, it's also notable how acute Brand is at pinpointing how his rudeness to Andrew Sachs has been used as a baseball bat to beat the BBC by those with political interests in seeing a public broadcaster brought down.

The benefits cuts that are being announced almost daily, leading up to the Comprehensive Spending Review on the 20th, are not just scary in their implications for the future running of Britain, they also have the awful whiff of having been scribbled down on the back of a fag packet when Osborne and his rich mates went down the Gentlemen's Club for a pint of Chartreuse and a packet of hedgehog crisps. I don't think they've thought it through, I don't think that the Lib Dems in the coalition have protected the constituency they traditionally protect, and I think it's going to come back and bite both parties. Lord, I hope so.


Finally, I thought I'd try something I've been thinking about for ages and try to write about a song a day.

Day 1 Devil's Spoke / Sneh Ko Marg by Laura Marling and the Dharohar Project
Devil's Spoke [original here] comes from Laura Marling's second, Mercury-nominated album, I Speak Because I Can, and I like it a lot for its dark atmospherics, even though I think the lyrics are mostly a series of startling images that clank against each other without much deeper meaning.

However, this version – created when Mumford & Sons and Laura Marling went on tour to India and then invited the Rajasthani Dharohar Project back to London to collaborate – is one of the best things I've heard in months, a genuine collaboration, rather than some western outfit coming back from India and lathering a sitar over the middle eight of their drippy folk song while talking bollocks about how deep their experience was, maaaaan.

Devil's Spoke/Sneh Ko Marg takes the urgent strumming of the original and gives it a pounding urgency, banjo, guitar and tabla layered thickly on top of each other, until the middle eight slows and quietens, then at the four-minute mark, it explodes again, faster and louder than ever.

I don't understand the words, I don't even know whether they're Hindi or Punjabi, but I don't know how anyone could resist the headlong, glorious rush of it.

• Devil's Spoke / Sneh Ko Marg by Laura Marling and the Dharohar Project [m4a]
If you can spare some cash, I urge you to get hold of the four-song EP. It's well worth your cash [link]

[* it's a thing that happens to women who only have sons, wherein they are so used to being the worshipped female figure in their house that it turns them a little peculiar]

This entry was originally posted at http://finisterre.dreamwidth.org/1725.html. All comments welcome anywhere. comment count unavailable.

Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
comice
Oct. 8th, 2010 02:09 am (UTC)
I'm sorry that work has been entirely silly, but not at all sorry that you linked to the Russell Brand interview, since it has allowed me to undergo an 180 degree turn on his skinny self. He is maniacally energy-filled, and far, far more intelligent and interesting than I'd ever have suspected. He's also, I think 100% correct. How fascinating.
infinitemonkeys
Oct. 8th, 2010 07:28 pm (UTC)
I think a small amount of Russell Brand-as-comedian goes a very, very long way but when he's talking (or writing) about serious subjects, he's a really interesting voice. I also warmed to him when he talked about being poleaxed by falling in love with Katy Perry, because he didn't feel the need to lard it with defensive irony.
se_parsons
Oct. 8th, 2010 03:40 am (UTC)
Sorry work is sucking and that benefits are going away.

Also, MacAfee hates mediafire. And i got a virus from downloading a song from Mediafire a while back, so I think it is right.

infinitemonkeys
Oct. 8th, 2010 07:28 pm (UTC)
Oh, bleh. I'll look into other means of sending the songs then.
(Deleted comment)
infinitemonkeys
Oct. 8th, 2010 07:31 pm (UTC)
You're totally right. I didn't warm to Ruth until the last couple of episodes when I thought the producers did really well at showing us the insecurity behind the steely arrogance. A lesser programme (i.e. most reality shows) would have edited it so she was the villain and I liked that they didn't.

I also cheered at the bit about Edd. I hope he found somewhere. It's not really a posh pastry-friendly part of the economic cycle.
predictivememo
Oct. 8th, 2010 07:46 am (UTC)
Welcome back :D

Edited at 2010-10-08 08:11 am (UTC)
infinitemonkeys
Oct. 8th, 2010 07:31 pm (UTC)
Thank you. How are you?
predictivememo
Oct. 8th, 2010 09:26 pm (UTC)
I am very, very well. It won't last :D
lilydale
Oct. 8th, 2010 11:50 am (UTC)
I am 100% behind this song a day project. I'm grabbing these and will happily listen soon.

Although I cannot understand such a reaction to cakes, I will forgive you for watching a show about cakes and not wanting to eat them all.

Sorry about work being bonkers, and sorry that it revealed the inability to set things on fire with your mind.
infinitemonkeys
Oct. 8th, 2010 07:32 pm (UTC)
Sometimes too much cake is too much. I know, I don't understand it either but there it is.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )