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Despite the ranting, GWB's visit has turned into something of an anti-climactic event. The Resist Bush Tea Party sounded like fun and the main demo is today but there was little trouble. Touch wood, it will remain that way. GWB gave a rather good speech at the Banqueting Hall in which he outlined an international ethos I could live with. If the actions were to match the rhetoric, it would be a start.
I recommend Timothy Garton Ash's article in today's Grauniad. Comment section. For a counterblast, look for Michael Gove in The Times.
It's 4.30am and I can't seem to sleep. That's bad because I have to leave for work in six hours. Oy. (Speaking of which, the critic application crashed and burned but at least I didn't chicken out.)
Most of the people I know well at work are going on the demo. Them being them, they're going to the pub first. A fair few are going to work afterwards. The rest will probably go back to the pub.
No excitement for London later today, please.
It's a measure of how well GWB's visit is going that the papers have been full of Michael Jackson and the ever-mutating swirl of allegation and rumour, and the rather fabulous story of the journalist who infiltrated the palace as a footman to discover such gems of national importance as the discovery that the Queen reads the Racing Post of a morning, the royals have tupperware dishes on their table and Prince Andrew greets the footman who is sent to wake him with the words "fuck off" and fills his apartment full of teddy bears.
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The NE will not be on the demo, though it's undoubtedly something he would like to do, because he is flying to Australia for the weekend. Leaving later today, back at work on Tuesday.
His friend has a spare ticket for the Rugby World Cup Final and he said he always regretted not going to the Olympics, so he's going to see England bottle it at the final hurdle (may they prove me wrong by not choking against the fearsome Australians).
The NE -- who is a sports fanatic, from football to cricket to rugby to retuning the TVs at work so he can watch baseball -- dreamed of seeing a final, so he just said "bollocks" and booked the flight.
Of course, it's costing him a thousand quid, but still, isn't that the most wonderful example of carpe diem?
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In further proof of the theory that I will buy any old crap if it promises to have a music list in it, I have bought Q's 1001 Best Songs Ever. Disappointingly, for the anal retentive among us, it doesn't seem to count down from 1001-1, but instead meanders through several top 10s and focuses on a few songs such as Penny Lane, Walk This Way and Rock Your Body
Needless to say, I love this magazine with the fire of a thousand suns, despite its faults.
As I know there are some music geeks on this list :::waving to Lilydale, Musesfool, Thassalia and the other great journallers who wax eloquent about music, much to my delight:::, here are the 10 songs that end the list:
River Deep, Mountain High Ike & Tina Turner
Possibly the best thing Tina Turner ever recorded (well, aside from that Thunderdome thing *g*), it's a dizzying slab of pop put together by Phil Spector, perhaps the ultimate expression of his "wall of sound". Its failure to make a dent in the US charts led Spector into virtual retirement. It's the musical expression of euphoria for me, anyway. And Ike was excluded from the studio for the whole time.
Live Forever Oasis
Oasis may be sad caricatures of the defiantly stupid rock monster these days, but this was the real McCoy, all brittle defiance and soaring guitars. It reminds me of being young and thinking I could take the world by the scruff of the neck.
Independent Women Destiny's Child
Picture the scene. Friday night, the toilets at any club across the land. Three women in front of the mirrors, adjusting their lippy, patting a fourth on the shoulder and saying "Don't cry, he isn't worth it... oh, go on then, let it all out." Suddenly they hear the chunky chords announcing this "I Will Survive" for the oughties. Little Ms Sob wipes the mascara dribbles from her cheeks, pulls her strappy top straight and totters out into the discolit night to dance around her handbag in defiance of bastards who chat up blondes in front of her. She is an Independent Woman, goddammit.
Result -- Insta-catharsis! Destiny's Child 1; dastardly chaps, nil
So very much not my favourite Radiohead song, probably because it's one of those anthems that only really means something at a certain age.
My Name Is Eminem
Unfortunately yes, he's big and he's clever. I'll never buy any of his records but this one makes me smile.
In The Ghetto Elvis Presley
This is about as subtle as a fried banana sandwich but somehow Elvis makes it work. This and Suspicious Minds are the two great late Elvis songs.
A Day In The Life The Beatles
I can remember the first time I ever heard this. I would have been about seven years old and we were in assembly at school. I went to a Church of England village school, which meant that assembly was usually a bible story and a hymn and some kind of homily on being nice to one another and not throwing stones at the ducks. But at some point in the late 70s, there was a sudden wave of what I can only describe as "grooviness", with all the waffle-brained, flare-wearing, "we mean it, man" earnestness that implies. (Maybe they were afraid of punk). Anyway, they started trying to instill in us a love of music, playing Pavane for a Dead Princess, On Hearing The First Cuckoo In Spring and La Mer
Then one day, they played A Day In The Life. It starts mesmerically, with Lennon's surreal rhymes, swaps into jauntiness with Macca's middle section, then there's that astonishing crescendo of noise, leading up to an almighty bang, like the creation of a new world and the sustaining chord the peace that follows it. No one fidgeted. Then we went off and wrote poems about holes.
I went home and asked my mother about hearing it again but she replied that she didn't have Sgt Pepper because The Beatles had got silly after 1966 *g*
Smells Like Teen Spirit Nirvana
I love this record. It's become cliche, and I still love it. Even if it does rip off Boston's More Than A Feeling
I Say A Little Prayer Aretha Franklin
This starts brilliantly. "The moment I wake up, before I put on my make-up, I say a little prayer for you..." It's simple, just someone going through their day. You never quite know what's coming until that chorus begins its sublime ascent...
And it's Aretha. I mean come *on*
The Edge has some wonderful things to say about this, which may be U2's best song. Certainly one of their darkest. I flip between liking this, I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For and Kite best of all U2's songs. Johnny Cash's version is a thing of beauty. But I'm going to leave you with The Edge:
On one level it's a bitter, twisted vitriolic conversation between two people who've been through some nasty, heavy stuff: "We hurt each other/ Then We Do It Again". But on another level there's the idea that "We get to carry each other". "Get to" is the key. The original lyric was "we have to carry each other" and it was never quite right … but "get to" … it's like it's our privilege to carry one another. It puts everything into perspective, introduces that idea of grace … The honesty of it helps -- the bare-knuckled telling-it-like-it-is-ness
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So. Give me a number from 11-1001 … let us speak of music