Monday, September 22, 2008

In Every Tourer Caravan a Portatoilet: The Roxy Music Story

On Saturday I watched More Than This: The Roxy Music Story. I'm certain the BBC only have the one narrative arc for these rockumentaries, interspersing the talking heads with stock footage of Thatcher, the Miner's Strike, football hooligans or the generalised white dog shit Britain of the 1970s, as chronologically appropriate. The social realist rags to outrageous riches yarn is British pop music's favourite bedtime story and Bryan Ferry's is pretty outrĂ©, “escaping” Tyne and Wear for art college, then London, Jerry Hall, Bel Air, Miss World, Marks and Spencer &c &c &c.

However, what interested me wasn't so much the fabulously strange records of Roxy's early career - Ladytron, Virginia Plain, In Every Dream Home a Heartache and Do the Strand – but their other lineage, the one that held vast appeal for the core 35 – 44 audience of medium wave radio stations specialising in smooth, contemporary classics. During my early nineties childhood, grotesqueries like Dance Away, Avalon and More Than This were still in heavy rotation on Yorkshire Coast Radio. As the hiss n' crackle soundtrack to summers spent in a tourer caravan on the coast of Filey, those records, along with Weather With You by Crowded House, Spandau Ballet's True, Hazard by Richard Marx and Save the Best for Last by Vanessa Williams, still smell of car sick, soft furnishings and boredom. And I'll never be able to associate them my Dad's copy of Virginia Plain on lilac 7”, which was the mainstay of our front room discos on nights that mum was at work.

Watch here.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Hardest Way to Make an Easy Living


Appleby Horse Fair, Dave Thomas

... and hello from my desk, a corner of our front room that's currently pretending to my office, and where I can be found - intermittently - ploughing through research assignments, attempting to summon a PhD proposal from the depths of my psyche and half-heartedly making peace with the city of Norwich (Fine City, I love you, but you're bringing me down) as my final days here rattle through at a pace that's something like fast-slow-fast-fast-fast-slow.

Appleby Horse Fair, Dave Thomas

I'm peering above the parapet to direct you to photographer Simon Robert's response to my look at his work-in-progress We English. That is, if you're interested in two Englishness pervs hashing out the finer points of the concept of nostalgia. And to urge you to look at the archive of Northeastern film and photography collective Amber who are pretty much too wonderful to write about (although I'll give it a go in the next few days, no doubt). Go look!

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Mind Perceptions of Hot Virtual Girls

And hello to the new readers from an esoterica site I linked weeks ago, still finding me in sort-of significant numbers by clicking the link "24 year-old Blonde from England". Yup, that's me.


So, regular readers (scratch that, regular IRL listeners to my one glass of wine fantasy-ramblings) will know that in a matter of mere weeks myself and J will be transplanting the J&J Roadshow from dearest Norwich to Budapest, Hungary! As a subscriber to the fail-safe strategy of “talk about it enough and you'll have to do it” I've not been able to shut up about it. In fact, if you've been within a five metre radius of me these past six months, you won't have missed:

  • Optimistic proclamations of the relative cost of living, UK vs. Hungary (it's half! I've calculated! Well, sort of...)
  • Incoherent plans to become an internet millionaire/professional photographer/all-round good guy/actual grown-up before our projected lift-off date of late (very late) October
  • Rapturous descriptions of the elegant balconnied, high-ceilinged, two-bedroomed apartment that will (hypothetically) be Chez Jenny come aforementioned date
  • Foot-in-mouth attempts at transcultural understanding
  • Graphic descriptions of the dental work I need before I go
  • Tedious and unrealistic in-depth budgetary calculations

And, of course, its been a hive of careful preparation this end. J has the small matter of a PhD to put to bed, of course, whilst I've been scouting down the back of every available sofa for money to put into the emigrating kitty. On Friday, I passed my first leaving town landmark: I left the job where I've been reluctantly shilling my “general office skills” for the past six months, and as of today I'm fully freelance and fancy-free.