Monday, January 31, 2005


blow the man down bullies, blow the man down

i know how cinderella must have felt. it's 23.38 and i've just got home and i have to post something before 12.00 or i'll miss my one post every day that i've kept up for three or four months now.

i have nothing really to say and no time to read the papers online so i've pulled this photo out of my archives:

it's back rockfield road, in liverpool. on the right, out of shot is anfield, liverpool football club's stadium and the road runs down to my grandparents house in fountains road - about half a mile away - where i was born and lived until i was 9 years old. after the match i used to run down that road, jinking in and out of the crowd and replaying the game in my head.

it looks more squalid now than it did in the 50s. liverpool is more squalid now. post-industrial. there was no graffiti back in the 50s. i guess because nobody could afford to buy the paint. graffiti is for rich kids. not that we weren't delinquents, we just did it in a different way. there's a great film about the liverpool of the fifties called distant voices, still lives, directed by a guy called terence davies. you should check it out.

i have to post now or it will be too late. tomorrow i'll check out a link for that film and stuff.

Sunday, January 30, 2005


there ain't a lady living in the land as i'd swap for me dear old dutch

great successful marriages #12: mr and mrs methuselah

check out the old guy at the top of the page. that's methuselah, the oldest man in history: here's what the catholic encyclopedia has to say about him:

When Methuselah had reached the great age of one hundred and eighty-seven years he became the father of Lamech. Following this he lived the remarkable term of seven hundred and eighty-two years, which makes his age at his death nine hundred and sixty-nine years.

some guy, right? but what about that wife of his, she had to be some kind of a heroine if you think about it. imagine, you have this 187 year old guy knocking at your tent door asking for it. most women would have sent him on his way with a box of kleenex and a pornographic papyrus, right? but not mrs methuselah, she loved her man.

all in all one of the great successful marriages in history, as i'm sure you'll all agree.

sorry about the quality of that photo, it was all they had over at google images (i guess cameras were pretty rustic objects way back in biblical times). there wasn't even a bad one of mrs methuselah. she was probably the shy type or something. i did manage to find a sculpted head of the great man, though. clock this:

as my mother used to say, he's no spring chicken.

late-night update

almost forgot. there's an anniversary of biblical proportions today. words not necessary. you passed the audition, guys.

Saturday, January 29, 2005


a taste of honey, tasting much sweeter than wine

forgotten greats #12: albert finney

you see these style icons, cult faces, teen idols around everywhere. posters in the street. wherever you go in the world you see the same old faces: brando, che, jim morrison, the pope, james dean, kurt cobain, sid vicious (never johnny rotten, always sid). and sometimes you think, well, maybe a few guys have missed out here.

this guy for instance:

he was the first cool guy i ever saw on screen, early sixties. i know now that he was copying brando a bit, but so was james dean, paul newman, everybody. and anyway, finney was something english, something very english. maybe that's why his face isn't on the posters.

one of the greatest experiences of my life was seeing this guy in a small theatre in london in the early 80s performing live. i fluked tickets on the front row, i was about six feet away from him for two hours while he acted his way through a play called orphans (which later became a film). the play was nothing special but he acted his way into my head that evening and i still think about it now. when you see the power of a great artist just a few feet away from you it's not something that doesn't change the way you live your life.

so why isn't albert on the posters? why isn't he a cult figure? maybe because he was just a great artist and didn't sell himself to some junk guru, or progressive ideology. maybe he just did what he knew how to do well.

wouldn't it be great if artists just did what they know how to do well and then just shut the fuck up? like albert.

Friday, January 28, 2005


It's a Hell of a Town

by Glenn Cripes

'A return to form' is a term that is applied often in reviews of records like New York by Lou Reed.

'A return to form' is usually short for 'not as much of a piece of shit as his last record'. His previous record Mistrial could rightly be known as Lou's worst regular non-concept LP. New Sensations which came before was a great piece of work. Lou was funny and engaging. With New York Lou takes on the mantle of social criticism. Lou looking at life with opera glasses from the balcony.

Hey, this New York...crazy, man, crazy!

The first cut Romeo Had Juliet is harmless enough, I suppose....just a Springsteen West Side Story by way of Lou parable. The problems start with the next song, Halloween Parade, where he contemplates the aftermath of the AIDS epidemic. Lou used to hit the mark back when he was writing about needles and butt sex--stuff he knew, but here's Lou pretending to be sad, when he's really smirking that he's still alive to the tune of Andy's Chest. Last Great American Whale...I'm not sure what he's on about here. Environmentalism? Dom Deluise? Next up we have Beginning of a Great Adventure where Louis contemplates being a father. Please, please tell me that this idea never got past the planning stages. This is a guy who has been 86'ed from all the kinky sex clubs in NYC. I'm hoping Lou was an only child...heaven help the kid who has an 'Uncle Lou'.

What's this on side 2? Why it's Lou informing us we need a Busload of Faith to get by. Thanks a lot Reverend Lou. In Good Evening Mr. Waldheim Lou admirably takes on the likes of Jesse Jackson. I saw Lou on the New York tour which showcased this record and he left this song off the setlist. Chickenshit. Not that it's a great song or anything, but Lou once again failed to walk the walk.

I would be remiss in my reviewing duties if I left out Dirty Blvd.. This is Lou doing it right. Great riffs and funny lyrics. Quite possibly his last really good song.

Lou is at his best when he's writing from within the belly of the beast. When he's telling some guy to drag his girlfriend who ODed out into the street and leave her there, or when he's celebrating an ex girlfriend losing her kids.

I gotta put a fork in it--see you next week.

Thursday, January 27, 2005


ya ha deedle deedle bubba bubba deedle deedle dum

the first books i read about the holocaust were cheap horror paperbacks passed round under the desks in school in the late 50s and early 60s. nazi doctor experiment stuff. it shocked you even then, and kids are hard to shock. and you didn't realise at the time how recently it had all happened. only 10 years earlier. i grew up playing in bombed houses in post-war liverpool.

anyway, i've read a lot of books about the subject since and the best is a book by a guy called bruno bettelheim:

great face, right? he spent a year as a prisoner in dachau and buchenwald and wrote a book about what he observed there. it's called the informed heart. bettelheim was a psychologist so his take on the camps is a bit more professional than many other writers. he had many great insights into human nature. it's not an easy book to read but it's worth trying. you can't buy this book very easily and i wanted to give it a bit of exposure so i looked online for a photo of the cover or something and i discovered that you can actually read the whole thing free. internet is great, right?

here's the book: the informed heart.

i suggest you save it as text and convert it into a more readable format. on paper or something. it's worth it.

bettelheim was one of those guys who survived the camps and continued with his life. he became one of the most important child psychologists of his generation. he spent his life helping kids with problems. then, like so many survivors, he commited suicide. go figure.

cripes takes us back to our reality

life goes on, as they say, and you have to laugh, right? it's a survival technique. maybe the only one. tomorrow glenn "cheer up, it's not the end of the frickin' world" cripes will be here with his musicology lecture.

i'll be back on saturday.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005


gonna build a mountain from a little hill

a sensational piece of news caught my eye in la repubblica:

Roma, 16:15
In un giorno lontano qualche milione di anni, il mar Rosso potrebbe diventare un oceano.

wow! the cnr is the consiglio nazionale delle ricerche - the italian national scientific research council - and they've stumbled across a good one this time. the article says that the red sea "could become", in a "few million years time", an ocean. now that's putting your professional reputation on the line, right?

mrg: the manho research group

inspired by the guys over at the cnr, i've set up a manho research council myself and we've come up with these startling facts:

the cotswolds:

the delightful group of hills in gloucestershire, england will almost certainly develop into a range of mountains several hundred times larger than the himalayas:

and this waterfall:

near ambleside, in the lake district, will become a furious swirling torrent on the scale of niagara falls:

urban constructions won't escape the mind numbing ecological turnarounds, either. studies show that sac city, iowa:

will balloon into a mega-metropolis with a population (28,000,000) similar to that of mexico city:

and if you think that's sensational, wait till you see what's in store for the humble sparrow:

yes, an eco cataclysm will turn this friendy bird into a sweating woolly mammoth.

and one last piece of news is more startling than all the rest put together. studies reveal that the scientific research team at the cnr:

will almost certainly - possibly within a matter of months - morph into a completely different social group altogether:

Tuesday, January 25, 2005


in my paisley shirt i feel like a jerk, in my yellow shoes i get the blues

trish from brighton's style pointers






Q: What colour are your wigs?
A: Ede and Ravenscroft wigs come in one standard colour that we have developed over many years. We use a combination of dark and light coloured horsehair to produce what we refer to as a 'salt and pepper' colour.
Q: How should I look after my wig?
A: If you look after your Ede and Ravenscroft wig well, it will last you a lifetime. The best way to ensure that your wig is stored well when not in use is to keep it in an Ede and Ravenscroft wig case. This will protect your wig from damage. When you are using your wig you should handle it with care. You should not grab it by the front fringe but should hold it by the sides when putting it on. Ede and Ravenscroft offer an expert refurbishment service for wigs.
Q: What are wigs made of?
A: Wigs are handcrafted from 100% horsehair, which has been treated according to UK health regulations.

Monday, January 24, 2005


a good woman is hard to find

the best photographer of all time was a guy called man ray. check him out over at google images. he did some great stuff. his lover and muse was a woman called lee miller. here she is in a snap by mr ray:

she was pretty cute, right?

anyway, lee was a pretty heavy guy herself. she was a war photographer, and unlike most of the male war photographers she was actually good. she didn't just do the cliched stuff, she found some original images. and she had a sense of humour. here she is washing the grime off her sublime body in adolf hitler's bathtub in berlin, 1945:

and this is one of the photos she took at buchenwald when it was liberated:

you have to make the image original, and you have to make it beautiful. otherwise it means nothing.

Sunday, January 23, 2005


here's captain spaulding exploring the amazon, here's godiva but with her pyjamas on

why a duck?

i came across this site a while ago looking for stuff online about lenny bruce. this guy, robert b. weide made a documentary about lenny and it looks good:

then i sort of started looking at other things in the site and it turns out this weide guy has done stuff about a lot of my favourite comedians:

he also directs that curb your enthusiasm tv show. i've read about it, is it good? we don't get it here in sicily, and even if we do it'll be dubbed into italian. i watched seinfeld for two years dubbed into italian. do you think i missed some of the nuances?

anyway, this site is full of interesting stuff. check out each comedian's page and over on the left you'll find lots of fascinating information about the artist.

this is my site of the week. 5 manho stars. here's the link again.

Saturday, January 22, 2005


white light moved in me through my brain

is it just me or is this century flying by at a far greater speed than the last one? it only seems like yesterday that we were waiting for the new millennium, right? then you blink and half a decade has passed. is time getting faster or something?

remember how slow the last century was? you had to wait 14 long years for the first bit of action:

then you had to wait four long boring years for it to finish. god, was that a slow war. then you had that interminable "between the wars" period: economics, strikes, economics, more strikes, more economics. let's face it, nothing happened and it didn't not happen fast. then we got the next bit of action:

but that was slow, too. the german army was still using horses, for christsake. bicycle regiments were considered cool. slow, slow, slow, and we were only halfway through the 100.

then you had all those decades, remember? each one with its own particular flavour:

and each decade seemed to last 10 fucking years or something. that was one slow century.

then you wake up on january 1st, 2000, expecting more of the same and... whooooosh, the next century is half over before you have time to say, shazam!.

what can it all mean? can anybody explain it?

Friday, January 21, 2005


Clock the Putz

by Glenn Cripes

What happens when you've shot your artistic wad and outlived your brilliancy? You get a job and Punch the Clock.

Check out my new look! Yeah, I invented it

This is the first LP of Costello's artistic decline and he knew it, ergo the title. He had a good run. This Year's Model, Get Happy, and Imperial Bedroom were brilliant, original records, and the rest of them weren't bad either. Nothing lasts forever, and luckily for Elvis, he had learned enough songwriter's tricks to fool the masses with smoke and mirrors.

For instance, Let Them All Talk is simply a Bacharach swipe (Always Something There To Remind Me) with fake soul horns added. This album is swimming in those goddamn horns and female backup vocals. Songs like TKO (Boxing Day) are the worst of the lot. At least he attempts to work a little bit of a melody into his bid for a single Every Day I Write the Book, but the end result rings false.

Costello tries real hard to be profound with numbers like Shipbuilding and Pills and Soap, but he's just tiresome. Attempts at amusing fall flat with Mouth Almighty ('Crawling round with my crooner cufflinks and my calling card cologne'?--ewwww), and The World and His Wife ('the conversation melts like chocolate down our open jaws through the loud appeal of laughter'--the mind boggles). The Element Within Her isn't bad, but that's just because it isn't as patently phony as the rest of this record.

Costello's next LP Goodbye Cruel World was even worse. To his credit, he admitted it. After that it was collaborations with Paul McCartney, Burt Bacharach and numerous prestige artists, all in a desperate bid to hide the space his muse left when it ran dry.

Without Costello, we wouldn't have had Joe Jackson, would we? We live in an age where the terms 'singer/songwriter' and 'dork' are synonymous.

Thursday, January 20, 2005


every time I see your face it reminds me of the places we used to go

i've been inundated with requests this week to post a photo of myself on the blog. i'm wary of this because over the years i've noticed that the "cult of the personality" can spring up from a molehill and drown a whole country - tsunami style - within a period of just a few weeks. it's dangerous stuff. i saw it for the first time with this guy:

and then this chinese guy caught on to the power of the image and he caused a few problems as a result:

basically, it's a modern problem. it's applying technology to politics. not difficult to understand, but the guy on the horsham omnibus seems to fall for it every time.

that's the reason i've been loathe to post my mugshot online. i don't want to start some mass movement that ends up with millions of guys getting their testicles twisted off with a monkey wrench, right?

anyway, as i've had so many requests i will post a photo. this one was taken last summer, on holiday in corfu:

he's here, he's there, the fat guy's everywhere

i feel purified or something after posting that photo. i might even give the kalooki lesson a miss tomorrow and just do some simple yoga or something.

in my meditative absence yer man from friscoville will be here with his wacky take on modern sounds. yes, glenn "cult? you callin' me a cult?" cripes will be here all day friday.

see you guys on saturday.

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