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1) I love the royal family. Really I do. Outmoded dangleberries of a discredited imperial regime, they may be, but my god they add to the gaiety of nations.

Tomorrow's Currant Bun is splashing on Prince Harry at a party wearing a Nazi uniform: 100 pt screamer of a splash headline: "Harry The Nazi"

How stupid do you have to be to wear a Nazi costume in the 60th anniversary year of the war when you know that it will upset thousands of people, it's disrespectful and it's something your gran is sensitive about?

How stupid not work out that this is going to be snapped by any bright young spark with a cameraphone and the desire to make a minimum 500 nicker tip-off fee from The Mirror or The Sun?



Any paparazzi who got that shot will be minted by tomorrow morning: that picture is going to be used all over the world and unless a lot of people got it, it's going to be very expensive.

What really got me was that the party's fancy dress theme was given as "colonial and native". Which century is it again? Aside from the century of the fruitbat, I mean. Colonial and native? These are not value-neutral terms.

Of course, the dozy wee bastard has apologised -- or rather the now hair-deprived PRs who work for his dad have. This is a boy who is renowned for being a drinking, rousting rugger bugger, who scuffled with a photographer in public, who is so thick that they would put two short planks on Mastermind before they'd let him in the studio door, who probably cheated on his exams and still got Ds and whose nickname in the tabs for much of last year was Harry Pothead. If he had a brain cell it would be lonely

This is a rich seam of public stupidity, my friends, and I don't suppose the fact that they're packing him off to Sandhurst will entirely put an end to it.

A sneak preview of this Sunday's op-ed columns on the saga:
Model A (Sensitive Sunday Times-ish editorial)
"Why we should feel sorry for poor motherless Harry, clueless and adrift on a sea of tabloid sleaze, it was only a costume blah blah blah redemption"

Model B (Thundering Mail-On-Sunday hypocrisy)
"Someone should teach that disrespectful young whippersnapper a lesson, perhaps making him walk naked from Sandringham to Soho while Chelsea pensioners pelt him with rotten vegetables, then subject him to a sound beating by a large Finnish lady named Helga (because sometimes stick should be followed by carrot). The army will sort him out"

Model C (Achingly trendy Observer popkitten piece)
"The history of Nazi regalia as an expression of rebellion, taking in Siouxsie and the Banshees and a certain amount of post-fin de siecle jeu d'esprit etc etc"

Model D (Matily nauseating lad columnist in The Sunday People)
"Nazi regalia suits him, after all the royal family are all GERMAN anyway (ho ho ho, only jokin' your maj) That Harry he's a LAD innee. He's a ONE. He's done nothing wrong, it's just those PC bastards who are out to get him"

:::Repeat until vomiting ensues:::

I doubt most people are offended; they just think he's a vile little pillock.


* * *

2) Effusive thanks to coffeeandink because without her, I doubt very much whether I would ever have heard of Vienna Teng. The internet is a wonderful thing.



Last night, happily, I met up with nestra (and was deserted by my restaurant karma again, so we had unexceptional Italian food at a restaurant where I'd previously had a really good meal. comice knows whereof I speak.) and we meandered to a club afterwards.

We went to see Vienna Teng in one of the smallest clubs I've ever been to (The Troubadour Cafe near Earl's Court tube, if you know London). I only saw that she was playing because I was so bored at work I had to resort to reading the smallprint listings in The Guide.

If there were more than 60 people packed in there, I'd be amazed. It was Vienna Teng's first gig in Britain, just her on the piano and her mate Marika on cello and backing vocals.

She was on a double bill with a singer-songwriter called Charity, who was from Florida and was very much in the Serious Singer-Songwriter mode. Five will get you ten that Charity has a lot of Joni Mitchell records and a thesaurus on her desk.

The most exceptional thing about Charity was how much she was the record executive's wet dream of what a female singer-songwriter would look like: thin, young, tumbling blonde curls, pert everything-that-should-be-pert, smoky if unexceptional Sheryl Crow-ish voice, little black dress.

The problem was that the songs she had written were often identikit. There would be a neat phrase here and there but everything you liked about them was something that you'd liked in a song that sounded a lot like it. My favourite of her set, Home, I liked because it had that same alternating major/minor chord structure as David Gray's Dead In The Water, which is accomplished by taking the bass note down a semitone then up a semitone (I'm sure someone who knows more about music could tell me the technical name for it)

Nor did she have a lot of charisma. Part of that could be nerves, she was only a proficient guitar player, and she didn't have much of a rapport with an audience that was fairly happy to roll over and have its tummy tickled. It's entirely possible that Charity will find her feet more with an audience and with her songwriting, in which case I will happily listen.

She was perfectly adequate and only suffered by comparison with Vienna Teng, who was funny and amazingly bright for someone with heavy duty jetlag and whose musicianship and song-writing ability was a light year ahead of her bill-mates.

Vienna Teng doesn't look like a record executive's wet dream of a singer -songwriter but she has an easy wit, a great rapport with the audience and some lovely, angular songs that go in unexpected directions lyrically and musically. Also, she likes Elbow, which gives her about 50 zillion points with this listener.

She played Gravity and The Tower first, which was a disappointment only in the sense that I love Gravity and didn't have it to look forward to any more, then segued into a couple of new songs. Then her cello player went upstairs for a glass of wine and there were solo renditions of The Atheist's Christmas Carol and of Damien Rice's Cannonball

Confession time: I am the only person on the face of the planet who cannot be arsed with Damien Rice. I gave my copy of O to lilydale when she was visiting last spring. I can see why people like him, but it Passes Me By. Now I may have to download some because damn, I loved that song.

Anyway, then Marika came back and there was more hot cello action, and a rousing finale in which the tour manager was co-opted to play the drums, then an encore of Harbour.

Then she stayed behind at the end to flog her CDs and I lined up, bought everything they had because it was all way cheaper than the Amazon listed prices, got one signed, and made a tit of myself by trying to talk to her. In that order.

(I made the poor woman take the cellophane off her own CD because I was too stupid to realise it had cellophane around it)

I hope nestra was far enough away from me that she avoided being contaminated by the industrial strength uncool of me. But I got my Warm StrangersCD signed and only managed to make two stupid comments about the weather, so I count it a triumph.

When I got home I found that the third CD was the cellist's work with a group called Charming Hostess and it turned out to be Jewish folk songs and poetry from the Balkans set to music and other wonderful things.

* * *

3) For angstville, se_parsons and anyone else who likes the Scissor Sisters, the best mash-up I've heard since Freak Like Me. It's like sunshine in MP3 form and is generally marvellous

No One Takes Your Freedom, comprising
Take Your Mama Out, Scissor Sisters
For No One, The Beatles
Freedom 90, George Michael
Think, Aretha Franklin

Made by DJ Earworm, found via audiography

Also Sexual High. Radiohead's High and Dry and Marvin Gaye's Sexual Healing


* * *

4) The BBC broadcast Jerry Springer -- The Opera at the weekend.

I love that show, mostly because it's a proper opera, it's very clever, it likes swearing like a giggling 10-year-old who's just looked up fellatio and frig in the big dictionary and anything which mocks KKK members by putting them in tap shoes and a kickline is okay by me.

I understand why Christians would be very offended by it and why people who don't like swearing would be at a loss as to its appeal. Even I think it goes way too far in the second half.

However, the absurdly shouty campaign against it only ensured that thousands and thousands more people saw it than would have done if they had just said "we hate this and this is why". Can't we all agree that there is an "off" button and if people hate something they should just switch off?

Instead they are all "it's on the BBC and our TAXES are paying for this filth!!!11!!"

Well, true, but my taxes have been paying for Songs of Praise since I was 16 and you don't get me phoning Aled Jones and threatening to set fire to his stupid fluffy jumpers, do you?

Also, where do they think the National Theatre, whose production Jerry Springer -- The Opera is, gets its funding from? Father Christmas?

Taxes. Jerry Springer's filth is paying for your precious Shakespeare and introducing hordes of ignorant twentysomethings to the glory of opera rather than Oprah. You should be glad.



Now a bunch of idiots have threatened the lives of the controller of BBC2 and other executives and they have police guards on their property. I suppose this at least guarantees that someone takes the protesters "seriously".

The second stage of the whining goes like this: "You wouldn't put this on if it were about *Muslims* because you'd be too scared"

And this is a good thing? Are we going to turn "Who's Got The Scariest Mad Fundie Bastards" into some kind of competition now? Because evil Islamist extremists may be the form team right now, but Christian extremists have a serious winning streak behind them.

This is the second religion-based war over censorship this month: earlier it was the play Behzti, which was cancelled after Sikh protesters rioted at the theatre in Birmingham, drving its author into hiding. There's an interesting comment piece on the issue here. The play's author speaks out here

This is why the proposed new offence of inciting religious hatred is so insidious. It delivers power to well-organised religious pressure groups and tips the balance away from freedom of expression.

There is a problem of Islamophobia in Britain but this is not the way to tackle it. The BNP can be hamstrung under existing laws.

Comments

( 46 comments — Leave a comment )
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cofax7
Jan. 13th, 2005 01:47 am (UTC)
oooh, music! Yay! *makes note to DL this*

And I clearly need to get some Vienna Teng, don't I? Huh.

Sorry I haven't replied to any of the emails, I've been snowed under at work and generally exhausted. Will try to respond later tonight.
infinitemonkeys
Jan. 13th, 2005 02:01 am (UTC)
Don't worry about it. And yes, you should get some Vienna Teng. Or rather, listen to some to see if you like it. www.viennateng.com has free stuff on it and you can buy if you like.
(no subject) - jonquil - Jan. 13th, 2005 02:05 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - cofax7 - Jan. 13th, 2005 02:13 am (UTC) - Expand
violetisblue
Jan. 13th, 2005 01:48 am (UTC)
I didn't think Great Britain had enough Christian rightists to have protests like this. This is extremely parochial of me, I know.
infinitemonkeys
Jan. 13th, 2005 01:59 am (UTC)
Nor did I. This is the second most secular country on the planet, according to a survey last year (I think North Korea came first) so it's all a bit out of the blue -- for me anyway.

There's been a quiet resurgence in the evangelicals I am told by someone who knows, who are drawing strength from the schism over gay clergy and protests like the one over Behzti.

I find it depressing.
(no subject) - veejane - Jan. 13th, 2005 03:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - infinitemonkeys - Jan. 14th, 2005 12:26 am (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - infinitemonkeys - Jan. 14th, 2005 12:53 am (UTC) - Expand
leiliaxf
Jan. 13th, 2005 01:51 am (UTC)
1/ as I said at a gathering of like-minded Welshmen (and women), native and children/grandchildren of immigrants--"What do you expect from a bunch of bloody inbred Germans?"

To which I received a toast of admiration from one native Welshman to the effect of "I like you--you hit below the belt!" Much beer was consumed :)

It just wouldn't be business as usual if someone in that family didn't screw up something--Princess Maggie is dead, gotta find someone else to do it and it might as well be the 'spare'.

*snork*

infinitemonkeys
Jan. 13th, 2005 02:02 am (UTC)
*g* Of course you did. There are so many scurrilous rumours about Harry it's not true. He's good value I guess.
fourteenlines
Jan. 13th, 2005 02:08 am (UTC)
Still need to read the bulk of this post, but:

Cannonball.
infinitemonkeys
Jan. 13th, 2005 02:11 am (UTC)
Bless you. I'm going to have to buy bloody Damien Rice again, aren't I? *g*
(no subject) - fourteenlines - Jan. 13th, 2005 02:15 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - se_parsons - Jan. 13th, 2005 08:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - infinitemonkeys - Jan. 14th, 2005 12:26 am (UTC) - Expand
loosehorses
Jan. 13th, 2005 02:55 am (UTC)
Because evil Islamist extremists may be the form team right now, but Christian extremists have a serious winning streak behind them.

Truer words were never spoken. And I died laughing over your op/ed columns. I wish you were writing one yourself on the whole thing!
infinitemonkeys
Jan. 14th, 2005 12:38 am (UTC)
Thank you. I wish someone would employ me to write too.
lilydale
Jan. 13th, 2005 03:06 am (UTC)
I think I may have been guilted enough to go haul out O again. *g*

Glad you went to the show and that you got a CD signed (learning a valuable lesson about cellophane in the process). In trivial news, VT played some US shows with Hem, and that would have been so great to see!

Thanks for the mixes - I'll try to download them with my super slow connection.
infinitemonkeys
Jan. 14th, 2005 12:37 am (UTC)
Hem and Vienna Teng? That would have been quite something. It's like learning that Snow Patrol and Franz Ferdinand played on the same bill in the US. "Unfair", I think, is the word I am reaching for *g*
(no subject) - lilydale - Jan. 14th, 2005 02:27 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - se_parsons - Jan. 14th, 2005 04:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
coffeeandink
Jan. 13th, 2005 03:56 am (UTC)
So pleased to hear about the Vienna Teng concert!
infinitemonkeys
Jan. 14th, 2005 12:27 am (UTC)
It was marvellous and I would never have heard of her had it not been for you.
(Deleted comment)
timesink
Jan. 13th, 2005 12:07 pm (UTC)
I can't normally download and watch theatrical performances across the briney deep, like I am right now.

Well, that answers that question. {heads off to BitTorrent)
(no subject) - infinitemonkeys - Jan. 14th, 2005 12:28 am (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
cazling
Jan. 13th, 2005 05:17 pm (UTC)
Apparently it was a German desert uniform, presumably mining the rich costume possibilities of El Alamein. Oy vey. I suppose somehow it's reassuring that being posh and going to Eton can still result in a person being just as thick as the chavs under my tender tutelage.
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - infinitemonkeys - Jan. 14th, 2005 12:40 am (UTC) - Expand
angstville
Jan. 13th, 2005 07:31 am (UTC)
OooooI love this mix! I've listened to it about 5 times in a row! It's quite addictive.

I need that Blowers Daughter song, just because I do, and that may force me into buying some Damien Rice. *g*
infinitemonkeys
Jan. 14th, 2005 12:33 am (UTC)
See? It is addictive and lovely
franzeska
Jan. 13th, 2005 12:08 pm (UTC)
Bwa ha ha ha
I love your sample newspaper articles.
infinitemonkeys
Jan. 14th, 2005 12:33 am (UTC)
Re: Bwa ha ha ha
thank you
raincitygirl
Jan. 13th, 2005 04:29 pm (UTC)
Colonial and native. Colonial and native was the theme of the dress-up party? In the twenty-first century? Bloody hell.

Incidentally, it's fairly obvious that the Royal Family has been breeding for something other than brains for hundreds of years. It's amazing the resulting offspring can dress themselves in the morning. Not to mention a salutary reminder of how deadly it is to breed for breeding alone.

*Rain buries UK passport at the bottom of her sock drawer. At least here in the Commonwealth we only have to put up with the Royals once every few years.*
infinitemonkeys
Jan. 14th, 2005 12:35 am (UTC)
Incidentally, it's fairly obvious that the Royal Family has been breeding for something other than brains for hundreds of years. It's amazing the resulting offspring can dress themselves in the morning. Not to mention a salutary reminder of how deadly it is to breed for breeding alone.


Yes, all true, but on the other hand, when they're not insulting people all around the world they are tremendously entertaining in a your taxes at work sort of way.
cazling
Jan. 13th, 2005 05:19 pm (UTC)
We went to see Vienna Teng in one of the smallest clubs I've ever been to (The Troubadour Cafe near Earl's Court tube, if you know London).

Well wanking buggery bollocks. I really must start sitting down and methodically going through the listings in the Indie's Information section on a Saturday.

Our wennie is a big VT fan - I think it was she who first earwormed me with 'Harbour'.
infinitemonkeys
Jan. 14th, 2005 12:31 am (UTC)
Arse. I almost left you a message yesterday urging you to go to her second date but I wasn't certain whether you would want to schlep into London on a school night.

I'm working solidly until I go away; do you want me to mail those books to you?
(no subject) - cazling - Jan. 16th, 2005 10:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - infinitemonkeys - Jan. 17th, 2005 12:54 am (UTC) - Expand
thassalia
Jan. 13th, 2005 06:42 pm (UTC)
Am utterly useless with the uploading, but if you want to give Damien Rice a try again, the B-sides might be more your cup of tea. It's scratchier, a little more raw, with some of my favorite songs. And if I had any idea how to upload them, I would, but I can at least point you in the direction of his website. Were I not already infatuated, the cellist plucking Seven Nation Army in concert and Damien Rice singing Creep would have sold me.

And Radiohead/Marvin Gaye? I do believe, with this link, you've just made my week!
infinitemonkeys
Jan. 14th, 2005 12:32 am (UTC)
Thanks for the tip. I'll have to head to Limewire and see what's out there. Seven Nation Army on the cello? I am there. *g*
se_parsons
Jan. 13th, 2005 09:48 pm (UTC)
I went through DJ Earworm's links and found these, which are pretty fun.

Go here and get “Owner of a Lonely Butt”

Can’t…stop…laughing….

http://lionel.elektrobank.net/downloads.html

And here for “Chic Franzie Boys”

http://www.partyben.com/

the “Das Supermodell” and “We are all made of dead stars”here are more interesting than things you’d want to listen to over and over, but still, cool.

http://tristanshout.net/

And “Sweet Home Country Grammar” and “Just Bizarre”

http://www.mei-lwun.com/
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