Saturday, 14 May 2011


It's said that Ludwig van Beethoven, mad and deaf, had to be turned around to see the applause of the audience at the first performance of his Ninth symphony; it is a poignant example of Art really being created for its own sake, written over decades, never to be heard by its composer; if you cried, you know you'd fill a lake with tears.

Biographies have revealed that he was stone mad, as well as stone deaf, how could he not be? His diaries read, Monday: engaged housekeeper, Monday afternoon, dismissed housekeeper; Tuesday morning: engaged housekeeper, Tuesday morning, dismissed housekeeper, just couldn't get the staff, those days - I know how he felt, it has been a long time since I have been even content with the efforts of anyone I have engaged to do anything for me, and if I ever was, it was only because I was stupider then than I am now.

Outside his muses, Beethoven's relationships were shit, nobody really knows who Elise was and his closest known relationship was up and down, one-sided, with his nephew, he infuriated friends and patrons alike and sank, eventually, into tragic, lonely deafness. Doesn't matter a fuck, at least not to us -  sonatas, quartets, concerti, symphonies, opera, among the greatest ever to be pulled from whoknowswhere and written down, sometimes sixteen lines at a time, for the rest of us to hear, to weep and wonder at, the quality of genius, troubled, ailing, non-conformity bursting out of the shadows, outshining wretched normalcy, provoking, captivating and enchanting the Earthbound.

I listen to the Beach Boys now and again, normally in the Summer - Little Deuce Coupe, I Get Around, Barbara Ann, Help Me Rhonda; Fun, Fun, Fun and on into the sublime God Only Knows, Good Vibrations, Heroes and Villains; perfect pop songs, albeit snippets of white, verging on redneck Americana; Chuck Berry, sanitised in four-part harmony, carsangirls, loveanmarriage, California girls and beach parties, all summer long......Before he became too much for himself and disappeared into bed, sandpits, drugs and therapy, Brian Wilson, the Beach Boys' composer, arranger, and producer, pissed all over everybody, including the Beatles, crafting his pet sounds into  popular songs and albums rated as among the best ever. Ever.

Jools Holland, however, is rubbish. He suits the BBC, though, what with his clunking, faux Edwardianism, his midget suits with too many buttons and pockets and his arse-clenchingly embarrassing interviewing style, ladeezangennulmen; he wasn't even the main man of his original band, Squeeze, a no-account bunch of Cockney wankers, still, sans Jools, performing their handful of miserable chart-toppers, in tiny concerts, unplugged, at any opportunity. Christ alfuckingmighty, bad enough we endlessly revisit the 'sixties - although there were hugely important societal changes in that overfluffed celebrity decade - the 'seventies and 'seventies 'ensembles don't bear thinking about.  Squeeze and Jools Holland, who the fuck are they?

I don't know many people but I must have known a good half-dozen who could play better barrelhouse piano than Holland - and as for his R and B Orchestra, well, you wouldn't go and see them if they were playing in your back garden. Jools sings, but he shouldn't, he has no voice. He's like a Bruce Forsyth-lite, for our times, doing duets with the proper stars, only he can't sing or dance, like Brucie does. Rock icon, Carol Vorderman, was on the show, tonight, often it's the bints from AbsFabs, R and B legends like Krishnan Guru Murty, off Channel Four News, a charmed circle of Celebrity shits, drinking our money and cheering any old rubbish, as though any of them gave a fuck about music. Time it was scrapped and Joolsie sent off to his wardrobe studies, producer Mark Cooper sent to work on the Archers. There have been seriously important artists on the show, for sure, - although Seasick Steve isn't one of them - but Holland is an intolerable, smirking, over-promoted prick and the format - of us watching liggers, media whores and Z-list cclebrity cocksuckers cheering to order - makes tabloid the occasionally excellent. Who says that this little tosser must be the vehicle through which popular music is presented, this isn't intelligent music broadcasting, this is Goddamned fucking Hobbitry.

Brian Wilson was on the Jools show tonight and he shouldn't have been. Fronting his own Beach Boys tribute band, a slew of session men, singing all the parts and playing most of them, Wilson perched on a stool, gutty and goitred, playing nothing, barely singing, waving his arms like a loony at the mental hospital long-term residents' Christmas Party, making wavey gestures with his fingers, in time to Good-good-goo-ood-Vibrations, an offence against Man and God. Lord, how the studio crowd loved it.

It doesn't matter, much, that Bob Dylan grunts and wheezes his way through his own repertoire; instrumental flawlessness, sophisticated arrangements and heavenly harmonies were never his stock-in-trade, on the contrary, swift Chaos, unrehearsed, wrought his ensemble meisterwerks, often first takes, recorded live and people, maybe too young to know any better, still visit his dreary concerts, it doesn't matter, man's a legend, people have bootlegs of his kettle boiling, his dog barking. In concert, Paul McCartney plays Beatles' songs much better than did the Beatles, and generally that's saying something. The Rolling Stones do what they've always done, play a load of old dross, illuminated by selections from their two or three exceptional albums, nobody overvalues the Stones, just as long as they get to hear Keef Richards riffing in open-G, like he was a bluesman, or something.

But Brian Wilson, tonight, a madman in an empty room full of heartless strangers; a third-rate, jive-talking emcee, who believes that his being there, gobbing, dignifies the unforgiveable, is all; and one of the very few musical  classics of our times is trashed by its composer. Watch it and weep.


PT Barnum said...

I never did 'get' the Beach Boys, perhaps because the geographical specificity of the lyrics left me confused back then (and ergo mildly resentful). I still recall some line about having/getting a woody...

But if there is a Hell, Jools (how old is he now?!) will be condemned to the ninth circle, for offences against his superiors and against hospitality. A munchkin soul and a dwarf talent,knowing as much about music as Woss does about film. Bring back Whisperin' Bob.

call me ishmael said...

That'll be Surf City, mr ptb -

Two girls for every boy

I bought a '30 Ford wagon and we call it a woody
(Surf City, here we come)
You know it's not very cherry, it's an oldie but a goody
(Surf City, here we come)
Well, it ain't got a back seat or a rear win-dow
But it still gets me where I wanna go...

written by Wilson for Jan and, I believe, Dean. Yes, it was all terrible West Coast juvenile hedonism, cars and girls in place of later groups' - like the Eagles - cocaine and bondage. But God Only Knows and Good Vibrations and Heroes and Villains transcended all that white boys on surf rubbish. Maybe try them again, in the heat of the Summer.

Whisperin' Bob, one always felt, had more genuine affection for the music than for himself, not a charge one could level at the hobgoblin, Holland.

How is it that such pisspoor broadcasters get such a stranglehold on popular culture? Woss, Holland, and, for fucks sake Chris Evans? Maybe it's those Oxbridge types at the Beeb, 'avin a laff at us.

mrs narcolept said...

I still miss the Whistle Test.

Anonymous said...

Whistle Test bring it back! Brian Wilson you have failed. Go back to your mansion and gorge yourself on royalties which come from our hard earned money to maybe some day write something nearly as perfect as your art.

mongoose said...

Bob, whisper it, is the nephew of my neighbour and we have spoken on a couple of occasions. He is a thoroughly nice lad and quietly looks after his elderly aunt when she needs it.

And on that subject, I was at my mum's earlier in the week and the man called to fix the freezer. Two minutes and he wrote it off. "What's up with it?", I innocently enquired. He had only opened the door. He had not looked at anything meaningful, too idle was the bastard to unfasten it from the carcass and pull it out to look at the bits that actually do stuff. I didn't bother to say that a freezer is a compressor - that's a motor and a pump to you - something to compress, some electricity and a temperature switch. This is as basic as technology gets, old son. Even mad, deaf Beethoven could have fixed a freezer.

Anyway, a few sentences of swinehood ensued and the unspeakable cunt then gave my old mum a voucher for £99 off a new one if bought from one of their "partners" (in crime). It turned out that she had been sold "insurance" for all her kitchen appliances - forty-fucking-nine pounds every month so that a bastard can come out and steal from an old lady when one breaks. Eleven years times 12 months times £49... Fetch me, mother, please, that nice stout tow-rope from the garage. Six-and-a-half grand stolen from a now eighty-year-old woman. It is simple theft. Corruption so now natural to them that they cannot even see it. Stealing from old ladies is now simply business as business is done. Fuck her! Who gives a shit if she has no money to put food in the fucking thing. Aww, if she starves, at least she'll have a nice new freezer to come to the funeral.

Anyway, we have fixed it by the simple procedure of taking off the electrical connections and putting them back on - much quicker than problem-solving and you would be astonished how often it works. But don't tell anyone - this is Engineering Magic! And I have cancelled the insurance. I am after all cheaper than £49 per month. A pox on them all.

PT Barnum said...

Surf City, ah. I shall try them again if the sun comes out, although my neighbour's love of gardening to local radio has offered me a share in Good Vibrations recently.

Perhaps, Mr mongoose, you would be so good as to pass on the collective (apparent above) affection of the Ishmaelites to Whisperin' Bob if you see him again? These days, even a younger version of him would be deemed untelegenic and not properly demographically aligned. Never mind the quality of knowledge, just feel the width of ego is the modern way.

(And kudos to you for going to bat for your mum. It has taken me a decade for mine to accept that it is not charity or a sign of their dotage for me to be belligent on their behalf.)

mongoose said...

Well, I take no great credit for looking out for me old mum, Mr PTB, but thanks anyway. It is indeed a narrow line we tread between keeping the thieving bastards at bay and "You're treating me like a child".

Dick the Prick said...

Geez, Mr Mongoose, in a situation like that in the kitchen, with knives close at hand, it would have been awfully easy to slip and accidently sever the guy's head Tenerife style. Luckily, my old mum used to work for the electricty board (what that?) and has for all my natural treated with mild contempt salespersons talking bollox and specific insurance being akin to sparking up fags with tenners.

You did very well not to lose your rag. Odious cunts.

Caratacus said...

Mongoose - what Mr. DtP said. I admire your self-restraint, thieving bastards.

Visited my old Nan many years back and went, as usual, to add to her pile of 50p coins in the lecky meter cupboard situated adjacent to the front door of her flat. Inside, next to the pile of coins, was a large 2lb lump hammer. The following conversation ensued:

"Yes darlin?"
"What's this hammer for next to the meter?"
"Oh - that's in case any bleeder comes to the door and I don't like the look of him son".

Still miss her, even today...

jgm2 said...


With the banks putting aside several billion quid apiece to pay for their PPI insurance scam I think the next scandal has to be the kind of evil shit that the wicked fuckers have been up to with the likes of your mum.

Six thousand quid over ten years?

Utter, utter cunts. You could have tossed out the fridge/freezer every six months. Or the washing machine every year and still be quids in.


Woman on a Raft said...

One of my favourite shops has the floors themed to decades. Up on the top floor it is 1960 and that is where all the tacky handbags, shoes, and rayon dresses go, waiting for someone to re-animate them.

The 60s saw the introduction of mass-produced synthetic fabrics, many of which have proved durable. You spark up, obviously, but those jaunty and optimistic white synthetic silk scarves with bright eggy-yellow motifs firmly believe things are getting better.

Items which were previously the preserve of the rich were re-interpreted for the rest of us; little rigid-frame handbags in plastic, grooved to imitate some bizarre leather, pointed court shoes, dresses in vulgar colours for the joy of not being pastel and restrained. Few of the glace pvc macs have survived - it was a pliable plastic and it often was not on a cotton matrix so it went gluey and was abandoned - but when it was new it looked unearthly, as if you were wearing a piece of the night sky.

On the top floor they use a record player, a crackly Dansette, and it is usually the Beach Boys. It is impossible to be entirely gloomy even if you know what happened next.

call me ishmael said...

As neat a symbiosis as one might hope for, mrs woar, sixties fashions and fabrics and the Beach Boys, albeit bordering on at least one area of fetishism. But why not, no less a moralist than Professor Greer, herself, is commending the current demand for a SlutWalk, which Polly Fillas in all the rags are opining on, for and against. it would, of course, be an education to see Ms Yasmin Alibhai Muslem in microaskirt and platform shoes, Mad Mel Rosenberg-Phillips-Himmler in full rubberwear and although we have seen rather too much of her over the years, Germaine Greer in any utfit she chose, all of them marching down the Mall shrieking, You Can Look, But You Better Not Touch.

It is a consciousness-raising event prompted by some foreign policeman thinking aloud that If Women want to dress like streetwalkers and sluts then they cannot or should not complain if they are attacked and sexually assaulted. Baldly there, on the page or the screen, it does seem a foolish remark but it is a debate which needs to be had, as we now say, especially with regard to the spin-off, sexualisation of infants, children and early teens by stupid parents and wicked fashion manufacturers. I see tourists walking down the middle of my local lanes, as though they were in a national park, and me going about my lawful business, well, I'm just a some sort of Earth criminal, how dare I drive where they want to walk with their nasty little families, and if their perilous and scnctimonious wanderings should result in injury to themselves and emotional trauma to me, then it will all be my fault, common sense and the Highway Code be damned....... continuez

call me ishmael said...

continued.........I view parents who let their kids out dressed like jailbait in the same way, they need a quick rub-down with a housebrick and never mind a woman's or a child's right to dress as provocatively as they wish, as long as no-one, no demon-driven nonce, no hormone-and-drink-fuelled young man is provoked.

A mongoose's tale is cautionary, that is how business is done, but speak it softly, for these people are the wealth creators, who may leave us and fuck off abroad, takimng their sahifty ways and their greed with us.

On a previous post, mr jgm2 was railing against the LPG vehicle conversion game being another taxpayer funded scam, by which unscrupulous chancers grew rich for very little effort, most of it incompetent. Here, in the Highlands of Scotland, Avanti Telecommunications charge me over £40 per month for shitty sattelite broadband, average speed less than half a meg, against a promise of four or five. Some prick came out do an upgerade at the weekend and left me, after two hours installing a new dish and box with no connection at all. When I discovered this I realised I had to catch him because he would not be in the area again for months. I flew off down the highway in the Yellow HotHatch and more by luck than judgement found him heading for Metropolis, I roared around him and eventually got his attention and brought him back. Oh, terribly sorry about that, Sir, I didnae see that this is an ASDL router and it disnae talk tae this here Hughes box, normally there's a wee message comes up on the screen, when they dinnae talk tae one another but this time it didnae. This prick is travelling the country and I daresay remote parts of Europe subbing his non-existent expertise to Avanti, fucking-up people's connections and making a fortune and I know that if I complain to Avanti some braindead Aussie bint will snarl that it's all my fault and that if I complain to the MP or the MSP they will both be in the pocket of Avanti and any number of Cowboy Windmill operators. I fear that the appliance insurance scheme, loathsome as it is, is but the tip of the iceberg. Aren't the CEOs of these larcenous enterprises the same gang who urged us a while back to vote Tory, vote for cuts, in a shopkeepers' open letter, supporting the numbskull Cameron?

Wouldn't be so bad to live in a nation of shopkeepers, were they but decent, legal and truthful,in addition to them being none of these things, they are happy to sell hard-on threads to children, Up against the wall, motherfuckers, that's what they need, captains of commerce and retail.

And as for the lonesome humiliation of Maestro Brian Wilson, before a studio audience of nitwits, well, I suppose it'e better sport than watching your fellow-shopper getting her head carved-off, but not much.

Dick the Prick said...

My old dear stayed up for the Wilson and was very angry - not normal angry, quite really pissed angry. Does criticizm help matters along? I'm quite lucky having dance music but what do kids do without a vibe? Music not hitting the Hit Parade is hardly relevant when it's all downloaded. I think what i'm moving towards is 'are current pop stars shite?'

Agatha said...

Wow- what a lot to think about:
1) Brian Wilson's performance and appearance were dreadfully upsetting and misjudged. He should be pottering around somewhere in his slippers, not appearing on national television, attempting to sing young men's songs. Does he need the money that badly? Where did they get the sycophantic audience? Dear DtP, all pop stars, not just current ones, are shite. The ones we like are the ones that we heard in our salad days, when the sap was rising.
2)A slut walk, for pities sake! A female friend of mine says that women should take responsibility for themselves, dress appropriately and keep away from dangerous areas. So should men. I agree. It is dangerous out there and to court further danger by wearing clothes to entice the beast and heels that you can't run in is not entirely sensible. Where did the idea come from that women express their freedom by dressing in constraining and revealing ways? From capitalism, of course, which commodifies sex as it does everything else.
3) Despite being a mother and a grandmother,and drawing my State pension, I don't feel like anyone's "old dear". I appreciate it is a phrase used in fondness, but I dread the day when I'm referred to as "my old mum".
4) Thanks, as ever, Mr Ish, for spotting the strange, the controversial and the risible.

Dick the Prick said...

Dear Mrs Agatha

@3) - there's nothing wrong with being someone's 'ol' dear'. Mum's do have a problem with raising boys and gaining their own respect. As long as a lad is honest with his mum, it kinda involves roast dinners. Mums like chatting about family shit and it's good for them to get it off their chest so....

Looking forward to Ken Clarke get out of this one - he should do. QT is in a prison which is a bit of a piss take. I'm kinda fundamentally against prisoners having votes because of that little social contract thing 'don't be a git'. Whatever next? Get next door neighbour's cat's opinion?



yardarm said...

How about, for all these corrupt suit wearing bastards masquerading as businessmen and, God help us, entrepreneurs, how about a Cunt Walk ? Or if you like, a Rally for the Cunts.

They walk down the streets proclaiming in their right to rip everyone off and be regarded as a fucking hero for it. Philip Green heaving his bloated guts along; all the City chair polishers proudly preening in their beautiful suits. Ashcroft carried in a sedan chair by Hague and Cameron; Osborne leading the parade, like some ponce of a pre Revolutionary French aristocrat. As proprietor of the Met, Rupe could arrange the police escort.