Monday, March 31, 2014

100 reviews # 9 - Shotgun Wedding. Mayo Thompson with the Sven-Ake Johansson Quintett

First of all, the question has to be asked, htf did this record release pass under my radar? I thought I was a magnet for all Mayo Thompson-related releases. Perhaps I was just guilty of imagining that Drag City was the only label with the expendable income (?) and good taste to release MT things, so I only looked at the DC site to see whether there were new Red Krayola releases (there hasn’t been one for a few years now, but the last one was freaken awesome) and didn’t delve further afield. Well, there was this, apparently and it came out a few years ago totally secretly. And the internet and any informants I thought I may have had just didn’t know either or in any case failed to let me know.

It’s one of those reinterpret-my-hits albums, with no new songs. Apparently Albert Oehlen was given the job of choosing which of MT’s back catalogue would be good to reinterpret with a freeform but pretty bangin’ Swedish/German jazz ensemble. Being a bigger MT fan than anyone in the world makes me judgmental in the extreme, and I have to say I wouldn’t have chosen most of these songs. There’s a trio from God Bless the Red Krayola, and good ones too – ‘Ravi Shankar Parachutist’, ‘Save the House’ and ‘Coconut Hotel’, but then everything on that album’s unbelievable, so hard to go wrong really. Then there’s a couple from the Corrected Slogans/Kangaroo records (I think they’re both on both albums), ‘Born to Win’ and ‘Plekhanov’. Always liked ‘Plekhanov’, not so sure about the other (since writing that originally I have come to greatly enjoy this version of the song; particularly the slightly atonal piano that tweets throughout). The others are random – nothing from Corky’s Debt, and the newest song is about thirty years old – it’s ‘The Sloths’, probably the weakest track on Black Snakes and probably the weakest here, too (also the longest).

So, we get a mix of interpretations of trippy sixties psychedelic art-rock; interpretations of overly verbose leftwing early seventies transatlantic Art (yes capital A) rock; and some other even less categorisable works that even fall outside ‘80s indie’, remade by a very sympathetic and vibrant group who most definitely have a strong pop sense. Johansson himself is a stupendous drummer – Thompson only works with the best from Jesse Chamberlain to Epic Soundtracks to god, you know, the others. Um, George Hurley. And more.

But in truth I think the most honest thing I could do is leave this review here for now and, in a few months when I have more insights from frequent listening to this incredible record, come back and scrub it all and write something with depth. If I still can.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

new mews

I freely admit there are an awful lot of dog walking photographs here lately to the degree that even I – who can really only appreciate their significance as records of major life chapters significant to me and to Barry and Ferdy – am starting to worry that I’m getting a little esoteric on it.

So look these are pictures of a walk Ferdy and Barry and I took on Saturday 29 March but they are more than just pictures of a satisfying and happy event they also serve as a record of what’s going on at the ‘Valley Park’ development about a km north of Lorraine.

I documented what was here before, before I knew it was going anywhere. It was the site of a small public housing development with a distinctly (and I never say this lightly) British feel, shared car parking space in separate small structures and little spot open play spaces hither and where appropriate also thither. See here here and here .

It was demolished I think around 2010 and the site including roads etc completely cleared. The next step has been a long time coming.

 The new houses through the trees.
 These are the old houses across the park, observing the scene.
 A bit of you know road.

More of the buildings being built at present.
 Someone planted a bunch of quite good trees.

The bridge is on one of those pictures from 3-4  years ago, with Charlie on it, which was kind of sad for me to see.
...although then again Charlie and all who loved her are probably lucky she didn't bite someone or start a fight with another dog, it was always  a bit fraught with her. Anyway the sign below continues to get up my nose for over a year and a half now because the footpath's still flamin' closed. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014


I just spent a few minutes reviewing my links to the right and deleting those that were no longer active. I think I got them all. Actually, anyway, that's not true I didn't delete those that were no longer active in total, as there were some I couldn't bear to get rid of (Sorrow at Sills Bend for instance) although I'm pretty certain we're not going to see anything happen there again. But who knows. But it's still worth reading anyway.

I wonder if the Buggles have anything to say about Facebook killing the blogosphere. It was an interesting few minutes I just spent reminiscing over links that once led to so much dazzling effort and action which now lead you to dead pages with a few scant chinese characters or random instructions about hotmail. 

Lorraine Crescent is coming up to its first decade. In the early days, being a blogger did get you some very minor celebrity and looking back on it I realise it was a little like public radio and/or the fanzine world was for me in the early 80s - you were in an elite network and a lot of your consumers were producers themselves, it was a bit like that Robert Wyatt line from an early Soft Machine song, about pop stars who 'drink each other's wine, plough each other's earth', with slightly less of the sexual connotation. It wasn't quite as exciting as the early 80s because nothing could be (joke), but it had that mutual pleasure-in-the-possibilities-of-a-medium, it-was-easy-it-was-cheap-go-and-do-it sense to it. 

I won't say that's all gone, because I still enjoy blogging, though I have always hated the word (I always hated the word 'fanzine' too if it comes to that, and don't start me on 'zine'). I have much less time these days because of work, which is fine, because work satisfies a lot of the things that things like blogging used to be for (and so, in all honesty, does Facebook). These days I imagine (probably ridiculously; I suppose I could wake up tomorrow morning to find all of blogger - what is blogger? - has disappeared into the vortex) that this is more of a real diary than anything - a genuine record that I can look back on for things I did and said. How egotistical. But as I said in the title of the last post, it's not like I'm forcing it on you. Am I? 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

another walk. alright i know they're not very interesting but i enjoy them and it's not like i'm wasting paper or even your time unless you're up for it.

Ferdy has an Albert Namatjira moment

Robert Smith 

 Tony Abbott always likes to see cranes on the horizon as they symbolise progress.

For this walk we broke the fourth wall of the Jacana Reserve/ Broadmeadows Sporting Club land and went south of the Western Ring Road towards Gowanbrae.

I must find out what this thing is, come back later re-edit this post and pretend I always knew and that you are a dummy for not knowing. 

 They love the water. Don't they.

 The seventies

 Grim 90s

Tag first, look up in dictionary later
 Can't get there from here

 I might have been trying to photograph some ravens

sunday walk jacana reserve

See the map below pinched from google maps. The green is Jacana Reserve, and what is south of it is Broadmeadows Sporting Club land. At one point it was slated to be a golf course, how that was going to work is anybody's guess. 

Below: this is where the fence has been removed recently between Broadmeadows Sporting Club land and Jacana Reserve - looking west from about where the faint grey trail emerges from the Jacana Reserve.

The B'meadows SC land, which has very recently had all its bushes and grasses pruned very severely, is quite different.

Below; this is looking up the hill with the dividing line between the BSC land and JR very clearly defined.

 Looks like a bit of old gate

This is the dry wetlands. At present you can walk right across. The ground is a bit spongey but only on the very surface.
For some reason the open space - or the mix of open space and reeds? - made Ferdy very frisky.

Barry would not be playful off his own bat but he can be persuaded.

I guess with the right conditions this could be fossil footprints in a few million years. I suppose there will be fossils of shoeprints then.
 Makes you think

 Or not