Question!

When is a holiday, not a holiday?

Answer:

Going away on a four-night break sure sounds like a holiday to me, even if it is with the current holder of the much contested title ‘Mrs Johnson’ and at least one of your kids. I mean, he’s hardly going to try to rustle them all up, now is he?

With the Afghan situation stubbornly refusing to follow Government policy and just sort itself out, and with Taliban leaders surprisingly turning out to not exactly be men-of-their-word, and with Covid cases on the rise and the discovery of a new strain, and with food supply chains crumbling away in front of our very eyes, this would, of course, be a ludicrous time for the Prime Minister to decide to go on holiday.

So, we can all agree: it ain’t no holiday (but it always turns out that way):

Pixies – The Holiday Song

This seems to be a new variant of the standard Government line of defence from criticism: ‘I may not be in work, but I’m not on holiday’, as opposed to ‘I was on holiday but that didn’t stop me working’, which is a fairly close summary of the explanation Foreign Secretary Dominic Raaaaaab for his inaction whilst he was off sunning himself. That and something inexplibably weird about the the sea being “closed”.

Raaaaaaaaaaaab was hauled in front of a foreign affairs select committee where he managed not to answer a single question in almost two hours, as far as I could see. At times, it was almost like he was trying to recreate this old classic:

That said, my favourite moment, which I have been desperately searching for a clip of to no avail, came in an exchange between Raab and Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat. You’ll probably have seen Tugendhat give this emotive speech in the recalled House of Commons last week, after the House was recalled from…erm…holiday:

Anyway, this is how the exchange went on Wednesday:

Tugendhat [reading from the Foreign Office’s principal risk report assessment from 22 July, in a question on why Raab had not acted on it]: ““Peace talks are stalled and US Nato withdrawal is resulting in rapid Taliban advances. This could lead to: fall of cities, collapse of security forces, Taliban return to power, mass displacement and significant humanitarian need. The embassy may need to close if security deteriorates.”

Raab: “I’m sorry, the source of that is….?”

Tugendhat: “It’s your principal risk report.”

Raab: [scrabbling for a document]: Oh…

Working really hard, but not actually bothering to read a month old risk assessment which could have prevented or at least lessened the harm done, the lives lost.

Since then, Raaaaaaaaab has stated that the UK “will not recognise” the Taliban; come on Dim Dom, they’re not hard to recognise: they’re the ones butchering the women who dared to try and better themselves, the children (girls) who dared to go to school, the colleagues who assisted us during the occupation. Much of which could have been avoided if only you had acted.

Truly we are led by donkeys.

Radiohead – Idioteque

TV on the Radio – Happy Idiot

Still, for balance: Tony Blair’s been pretty quiet recently, hasn’t he?

More soon.

Claps, Clicks & Whistles #15

I’ve been umming and ahhing for a while about whether to post this tune here or in my even more infrequent series on how to do a cover version.

See, as I’ve mentioned before, I think if you’re going to do a cover version, you may as well try and do something interesting with it, and that certainly applies to this cover version, so maybe it belongs over there.

But then, it’s so hot dang finger clicking good, it belongs here too.

Aww, who cares? Here it is:

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TV On The Radio – Mr Grieves

For the uninitiated, that’s a cover of a Pixies song. Not just any old song, mind. The song which contains the lyric which gave them the title of their simply massive album “Doolittle”:

doolittle

Pixies – Mr Grieves

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

Bands names are a minefield.

Some claim their name means nothing, just a couple of words thrown together. Such was the defence of The Soup Dragons. (Oh yeh? And you just happened to throw together two words which just happened to be a character from 1970s animated and shown just before the news series “The Clangers” did you…?)

Some name themselves after literary works. Generally, this seems to be either “A Clockwork Orange” (Heaven 17, Moloko) or “The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy” (Level 42…er…and I’m sure lots of others that I can’t think of right now. Radiohead’s “Paranoid Android”. There is, I kid you not, an estate agent in North London called Hotblack Desiato. I hate estate agents, but props for the name).

Then there’s the bands who place some intellectual worth on their name. Prime amongst these must be The Smiths, apparently chosen as a reaction against all bands who chose complicated named to emphasise their music (are you watching, Orchestral Maneouvres In The Dark? That’s you, that is)

And then there’s TV On The Radio.

Think about those words for a moment.

TV.

On.

The.

Radio.

That’s a hell of a mission statement.

Our music, they are saying, is so good, when you hear our songs on the radio (i.e. rarely), it’ll be like you have pictures shown in front of you.

A hell of a claim, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Last night, I went to see TV On The Radio at The Roundhouse in London. Their claim is not at all misplaced.

But first, a lil back story here that you won’t get in any of the other posts in this section.

Until about 18 months ago, I knew the name TV On The Radio, but knew nothing of them. Then one night round at my friend Neil’s flat, he played this: Wolf Like Me. My ears pricked up. What the fuck was this, and how have I managed to avoid hearing it until now??

This became a recurring joke. Whenever I was at Neil’s, we would drink some and listen to tunes, and he would pop that record on, and at first I would have forgotten who it was, and then ultimately I’d remember who it was, but would play along and ask the same question anyway.

“Who’s this?”

But then, around the turn of the year, there was a tragic loss in Neil’s family: his niece Jasmine died suddenly, inexplicably, unfairly. She was just six years old.

Now Neil is one of the bubbliest, happiest blokes I know, and for a while, as you would expect, that wasn’t the case. The wind was understandably knocked from his sails.

But.

Shortly after that, I saw him being utterly inspirational by picking himself up and doing what he could to raise funds for this charity.

I am genuinely in awe of the man. He makes me proud that I can call him my friend.

And I can count the number of my friends that I feel that way about on one finger.

I would urge you to make me feel a little less insignificant by donating whatever you can afford via that link.

Around the same time, I saw that TV on The Radio were coming to town, and I wanted to do something to make him happy again. So I bought me and Neil tickets.

That gig got cancelled, and rearranged for last night.

In the intervening 8 months, I could quite easily have cribbed up on their back catalogue, but I chose not to. I had a suspicion that seeing them live would be all the more incredible if I knew none of the songs.

This proved to be a well founded suspicion.

Last night I spent 90 minutes pinned to my chair, held in by how fucking brilliant TV On The Radio were. I wish I could be more articulate than that, but fucking brilliant is what they were, so let’s just call it what it was. Fucking Brilliant.

Neil, it seemed and I hope, loved it.

Here’s the song they opened with. This very much sums up what this thread Is about: music you can close your eyes to and just be transported away.

Mission accomplished.

TVOR_Young_Liars TV On The Radio – Young Liars