Respect: Approximation of a playlist §35

20 09 2008

Songs which include references to other artists, perhaps not always as respectfully as they should.

My perfect cousin – The Undertones
Cast no shadow – Oasis
Rock Me Amadeus – Falco
The Prince – Madness
Geno – Dexy’s Midnight Runners
Joy Division Oven Gloves – Half Man Half Biscuit

Lady stardust – David Bowie
Elvis Ain`t Dead – Scouting For Girls
Let’s Dance to Joy Division – The Wombats
Levi Stubbs’ tears – Billy Bragg
Paul McCartney – Scissor Sisters
Elvis impersonator, Blackpool pier – Manic Street Preachers
Song for Bob Dylan – David Bowie
Velvet Underground – Jonathan Richman
Mahalia – The Bible
Daft punk is playing at my house – LCD Soundsystem
When Smokey Sings – ABC
The Bastard Son Of Dean Friedman – Half Man Half Biscuit
Fergus sings the blues – Deacon Blue
Bowie – Flight Of The Conchords

Ash and Bone: more please

17 09 2008

Ash and Bone by John Harvey

Excellent. Parallel, interwoven plots featuring Cornwall, London and Nottingham as Frank Elder is brought out of retirement to get involved in another tough case. And then he has to deal with the challenges of his fractured relationship with his daughter. A whole series of credible characters, scenarios and settings and a really gripping narrative make this one of the best of Harvey’s books I’ve read. Keep them coming…

Another gripping one

13 09 2008

Flesh and Blood by John Harvey

Flesh and blood

Flesh and blood

Mixed reviews for this one on Amazon. Sense some disappointment from those who have been spoiled by the qualities of the Resnick series but this really is a pretty good effort at a different approach with retired tec Frank Elder being asked to pick up an old cold case involving a missing girl and then getting drawn into a whole new set of more current crimes. Elder is entertainingly curmudgeonly and tortured but makes a credible lead. Pretty compelling in large part.

It’s always Tiger Time

10 09 2008

The Malayan Trilogy by Anthony Burgess:

Time for a Tiger
The Enemy in the Blanket
Beds in the East

Malayan Trilogy

Malayan Trilogy

Burgess’s trilogy dissects the racial and social prejudices of post-war Malaya during the chaotic upheaval of independence. He uses a range of characters, from all races, to explore the tensions of the end of empire and the move to the new republic. A powerful and thoroughly entertaining set of novels in which Burgess demonstrates real insight:

Leaning back in his armchair high above the jungle, lulled by the engine noises, Crabbe tried to take stock of himself.He felt very much alone. Malaya did not want him.The romantic dream he had entertained, the dream that had driven Raffles to an early death, was no longer appropriate to an age in which sleep was impossible. The whole East was awake, building dams and canals, power-houses and car factories, forming committees, drawing up constitutions, having selected from the West the few tricks it could understand and use. The age of Raffles was also the age of Keats and Shelley, the East attractively misty, apt for the muffled clang of the romantic image – Cathay all golden dragons, Japan the edge of the world. Liberalism, itself a romantic dream, had long gone under, and there was no longer any room for the individual, there was nothing now that any one man could build.

Quality stuff.

Previously Presidential: Approximation of a playlist §34

9 09 2008

Songs by artists with Presidential names/aspirations

Summer Of ’69 – Bryan Adams
Fly Me To The Moon – Matt Monro
Bad – Michael Jackson
Total Eclipse Of The Heart – Bonnie Tyler
I don’t wanna dance – Eddie Grant
Sweet Soul Music – Arthur Conley
Reet Petite – Jackie Wilson
All Time High – Rita Coolidge
After The Watershed (Early Learning The Hard Way) – Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine
Better Together – Jack Johnson
Army Dreamers – Kate Bush
Don’t Call Me Baby – Madison Avenue
California uber alles – Dead Kennedys
Mad about the boy – Dinah Washington
Lump – The Presidents Of The United States Of America

It’s raining again

7 09 2008

The rain before it falls by Jonathan Coe

The rain before it falls

The rain before it falls

Rosamund lies dying in her remote Shropshire home. But before she does so, she has one last task: to put on tape not just her own story but the story of the young blind girl, her cousin’s granddaughter, who turned up mysteriously at her party all those years ago.

She tells the tale through the device of describing a series of photographs. This structural device works pretty well although I must admit at times I thought it felt just too contrived. Nevertheless, there is something about Coe’s writing which is just so powerful that it is impossible not to be drawn in and taken along for the ride. Not his best but still worth a go.

Just don’t: Approximation of a playlist §33

4 09 2008

Songs containing advice

You Can’t Always Get What You Want – The Rolling Stones
Don’t put your daughter on the stage Mrs Worthington – Vic Reeves
You Can’t Hurry Love – Diana Ross & The Supremes
Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing – Incognito
Drive Safely Darlin’ – Tony Christie
(Don’t fear) the reaper – Blue Oyster Cult
Treat Her Like A Lady – The Temptations
Don’t Sleep In The Subway – Petula Clark
Your Mother Should Know – The Beatles
Don’t look back in anger – Oasis
Honey Be Good – The Bible
Don’t Marry Her – The Beautiful South
Handle With Care – Traveling Wilburys
Billy Don’t Be A Hero – Paper Lace
You Should Be Dancing – Bee Gees
Don’t talk – 10,000 Maniacs
White Lines (Don’t Do It) – Grandmaster Flash & Melle Mel
Don’t cry for me Argentina – The Shadows

Cold light of day

3 09 2008

Cold light by John Harvey

From the back cover:

A cabbie’s just been beaten up, there’s a drunk and disorderly in the interview room and a possible child abuser on the way in. Nothing unusual there, then, just a pretty normal Christmas holiday for DI Resnick and his team. Normal, that is, until Dana Matheison calls to report her flatmate, Nancy, missing.

Another fast-paced and compelling outing for Resnick. They do seem to get better each time.

Icelandic oddness

2 09 2008

The Atom Station by Halldor Laxness

The Atom Station

The Atom Station

The Amazon synopsis has it thus:

When the Americans make an offer to buy Icelandic land to build an atomic war base, a storm of protest is provoked throughout the country and it is here that Laxness finds the catalyst for his story. Told by a country girl from the north, the novel follows her experiences upon taking up employment as a maid in the house of her Member of Parliament. She finds herself in a world very different to that of her upbringing and, marvelling at the customs and behaviour of the people around her, she emerges as the one obstinate reality in a world of fantasy. Her observations and experiences expose the intellectual society of the south as rootless and shallow and in stark contrast to the ancient culture of the solid and less fanciful north. The colourful, yet at times dark, cast of characters whom she meets personify the southern fantasy world. In this black comedy, Laxness has painted a masterpiece of social commentary as relevant today as when it was first written in 1948.

It really is a very good book indeed but thoroughly odd at every turn. The solid north appears as bonkers as the fantasy south which makes it a bit hard to grasp as a relevant social commentary.

Small town affair

1 09 2008

The Alphonse Courrier Affair by Marta Morazzoni

Nice, charming small town story with real touch of melancholy and a few twists along the way. Unpromisingly set in Auvergne village a century ago it nevertheless offers a vivid and entertaining narrative involving a small cast headed by Courrier the ironmonger, his wife and mistress and his friend the vet.

%d bloggers like this: