Sunday, 25 December 2016



Unlike the music of, for instance, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin or the Velvet Undergound, Status Quo's recordings are unlikely to have driven hapless listeners to drug addiction or the loony bin.  Relentlessy good-timing over a loose twelve-bar format Status Quo might have been a bit louche and laddish  and Francis Rossi always looked like a prat but they were never notably sinister or unwholesome and people shaking their heads in time to the beat, well, the Sufis, the dervishes, the Native Americans would call that a holy state, meditative, and so, I suppose, would I.

People associate the twelve-bar and turnaround with the blues but I don't think Status Quo ever made a blues record. I would hesitate to pigeon-hole their style, I don't think there was ever anyone quite like them;  they just did what they did, quickly, efficiently and consistently, over and over and over again; no matter,  there is nothing wrong with prompting people to tap their toes, clap their hands,  shake their heads and have a good time, nothing at all; rocking in auditoria and stadia all over the world , theirs was an Ode to HeadBanging Joy. 

 A more musically cultured nation - and a more artistic ensemble - would have called time on Status Quo's boogie decades ago but showbusiness isn't like that, as long as the cash registers are beeping or hissing or whatever they now do, people like Parfitt and Rossi will continue churning it out, their thing, and even at its worst the Quo repertoire was at least  renewed, refreshed  and reinvented, unlike that of, say, the Rolling Stones, playing the same '70's catalogue decade after decade;  there are worse, more corrosive aspects of showbusiness than Status Quo.

Odds are that business will dictate Francis Rossi continues in some way or another to milk the brand, for the fans, they will say, of Status Quo. Now, however, there is no more Status Quo; with Rick Parfitt finally dead, Rossi should  hang-up his trainers,  everybody has to sometimes break the rules.

Here's how good they were at what they did. It's a slow start and there's some camera shake, but it shows what a pair of silly old men can do, with enough practice.


mongoose said...

I did not see the point of the Quo, mr ishmael, although that means little. The lad didn't seem to me to be the darkest soul in in the shed. The Quo, eh? Just good fun without the rest of it.

Merry Christmas to you and yours.

call me ishmael said...

Thank you, mr mongoose, we are both up late, and although I suspect you might be Santa-ing about the place, I, having had three heart attacks, like Mr Quo, am too scared to go to sleep.

That there was no point to them was the point I think, they had no great artistic pretence but they made audiences happy. I think they had more point to them than Yes or Genesis and far more than nobodies such as Spandau Ballet and Duran Duran; as you say, good, almost harmless fun and to live to 68 after a full, extravagant life, much-loved, after decades of drug abuse, well, we all should be so lucky.

A Merry Christmas, my old friend, to you and your kin.

I'll just go and check my blood pressure, before lying tentatively down.

Mike said...

I'm not a Status Quo fan - far from it - but it looked like the lads were having fun, or at least having a laugh at everyone's expense.

Rick always looked somewhat lumpen on his instrument- he was no Mozart - but I feel sorry for his passing. I'm also sorry to hear he stepped off the coil in Marbella - one of my least favorite places, like Blackpool on steroids, with a side of bling, but somehow appropriate.

call me ishmael said...

A mastery, nevertheless, mr mike, of a simple form. I never heard him play acoustic guitar but I guess he wohld've surprised us, some sweet harmonics in that Down- Down stuff. Marbella always sounds as you describe it.

Woman on a Raft said...

I liked them because they never insisted on being taken seriously. In interviews in later years Parfit always seemed cheekily aware that he had been very lucky and the chosen track was the shiniest charm on his bracelet, a fragment, a phrase having been sold over and over. I do not think it was the money which drove them. It was just that they found a way to be which suited them but needed a huge amoount maintenance money to keep the Quo on the road.

Woman on a Raft said...

Parfitt. Not to be confused with parfait which is one of the ice cream dishes the Rossi family served. Now there was a coffee bar which showed the Brits that the war had been over for some years, so could they please stop it with the tinned peaches and mock-cream. If Francis feels like a change of career, he could go back to the family roots and build a chain where one feels utter joy in every cup.

call me ishmael said...

I often look at these old blokes and wonder what on Earth are they on, people like these two and Keef Stones, I only have to see Keef's hands to wince and Status Quo's playing, although broadly the same thing as the Stones' open G schtick, looks even more painfully arduous, night after night, those barre chords, to paraphrase Dolly Parton, it takes a lot of effort to make something look this easy.

In a way it's stoners' music, Status Quo, once you get into the drones of open tunings you can just fall off the edge of conventional acoustical reality and into the Music of the Spheres - y'know, like that Indian sitar music, notes just cascading into one another, resonating into Infinity.

I diverge therefore, mrs woar, but only slightly, on the matter of seriousness, Down Down, maybe accidentally, is as serious as the ears attending it.

I believe that in Glasgow members of the Italian ice cream diaspora, when not selling drugs to children, are entitled to two votes each in
the succeeding IndyRefs; 'sbecause a yon lovin' cup, hen, that they sell tae folks. A rich dramatic seam awaits a playwright's
pick'n'shovel, in the world of violent, frozen confectionery.

Doug Shoulders said...

Merry Christmas to you, yours and your mates on here Mr Ishmael.

The quo eh? They did a stadium Rock piece - In The Army Now which was quite good. Otherwise a bunch of lads quite good at their trade.

Suppose I should get up on the roof and fix the flashing now. Just about time before the in-laws arrive.

Woman on a Raft said...

Brilliant idea, Mr Ish. I'm off to do research; I will probably put on three stone as a consequence of having to eat one of everything from each family gelateria, but one must suffer for one's arse.

call me ishmael said...

Be mindful, mr doug, of the late and unlamented Mr Rod Hull, crashing to his death from a similarly foolhardy roof-scaling enterprise. Send aloft, instead, the in-laws, you are feasting them, after all, and one good turn deserves another. I had forgotten In The Army, Now; it was quite a good song, for Status Quo. May Happy Christmas wait upon your table.

call me ishmael said...

I have had a Radio Four play rattling around in my head for some years, I just don't know how to write it down. although after seeing Alan Bennet, last night,I hardly think that matters. Maybe there's a Playwrighting For Dummies book, y'know, like for Windows 10.

Caratacus said...

An old chum of mine worked at one time as a prison warder in Brixton Nick. As you may expect, he had a fund of stories about the 'guests' which used to entertain, and appal, in equal measure; but his eyes would mist over a bit as he related his conversations with an overweight, hare-brained musician who had once achieved great things. He was a gentle soul apparently and lived only for his music which he pursued single-mindedly whether it brought him riches or penury, and my chum liked to think that he was instrumental in convincing said chap that he still had much to offer. His name was Peter Green.

These chaps are driven by engines unfamiliar to the rest of us, it seems to me and I for one am as grateful as hell about it.

call me ishmael said...

I knew he had been in hospital, Peter Green, but not the nick. A nice man, by all accounts, although had he not succumbed to LSD the world would have been spared that dreadful Rmours rubbish, so beloved of filth like the Clintons.

alphons said...

"..... y'know, like that Indian sitar music, notes just cascading into one another, resonating into Infinity."

Much as I like some of the music being discussed here I think I would prefer "that Indian sitar music, notes just cascading into one another, resonating into Infinity." Ravi Shankar is very good but there are better sitarists than him.

call me ishmael said...

Although Ian Hislop isn't one of them. Sorry, I'll get m'coat.

It is, indeed, a whole other thing, m. alphons, Indian classical music, more cerebral than the highest, high-brow Western classical. Shankar's is the only stuff I even vaguely know and while it is breathtaking I am always eventually stalled by the alien, untouchables culture from which it springs; I guess we are Euro-Indian but if's so far back that I don't care. The Incredible String Band, in the 'sixties, introduced indian instrumentation to Western popular culture, creating a beautiful legacy of riffs, reels and ragas, eventually to be exploited by that preposterous Beatle, Dopey George, and others of his idiot ilk.

Whatever you are listening-to, or not, Happy Christmas, m. alphons.

mongoose said...

Here in Bandit Country we have lost another soldier in George Michael - a close enough neighbour for us to have worried about the cats hearing making his warble in his bath audible. It seems to have been a statistically heavy year on the celeb death circuit. Every one of them someone's son or daughter, I guess. A bientot.

The political year starts to turn too. The defeated are wiping their eyes and are staarting to dig in for a counter attack. Look now for the gambit otherwise known as "let's call it something else". The LibDems maybe will become the New SDP or soem such illiberal madness.

Across the water The Trumpster is going to have a high old time this winter's end and spring. Have you encountered Briebart's Milo? A mad, gay, fast-witted lad to strike fear into the footsoldierly plodding faithless of the Democratic Party. And while we are on the subject, poor Nick Clegg. One's heart goes out to him, so it does. Nicola too is about to work out why she and not Wee Eck is leading the retreat. It is going to be a bloodbath, though not all of it will go the way of the godly.

Happy New Year, if I do not surface for air, mon brave.

Bungalow Bill said...

The George Michael lamentations are unbearable. I suppose we should be grateful they're not driving his remains through "Royal" Wootton Bassett and that Lady Sir Elton isn't adapting something from his songbook by way of elegy. Or do I speak too soon? He was, after all, one of Princess Diana's winged attendants, George, wasn't he? Hair, teeth and stupendous vanity, all just so.

It is for others to say whether his musical gifts were indeed astounding, and whether he was truly a ministering angel to the desperate (stories of his healing touch are spreading). But I suspect that here we just have another of the incontinently mourned, as sure a sign as any that we can no longer bear to look properly at ourselves.

Anonymous said...

Sounds, Mr BB, like he couldn't, either, poor bastard.

Candle in the what? Before the watershed? Oh, for charidee...well, that's all right, then.


walter said...

Merry Christmas too you and yours mr ish,Have you seen the autistic 10 year old girl from northern ireland and choir singing cohen,s hallelujah....the girl has a beautiful voice

call me ishmael said...

And the same, mr walter, to whomsoever you enfold. We must make the most of this armistice, you, in your small corner, and I, in mine.

Yes I have seen that, it is extraordinary. I just hope it doesn't ruin her.

It is, melodically, one of those songs which invites and relishes interpretation. Shame that Lenny didn't do a few more like that. It is still a dirge but it climbs up out of itself somehow, unlike his famous, earlier compositions. Did you listen to the Tom Waits prayer, above?

call me ishmael said...

The only Milo with whom I am familiar, mr mongoose, is in Catch 22.

All I know about this guy is that he published some controversial comments but that is like holding Colonel von Fawkes responsible for the thoughts of stanislav, a young polish plumber, publishing it isn't writing it. I must also say that there are moves afoot, doomed, I'm sure, to excise what they call Fake News from the public discourse; all the more need, then, for people like Milo, in his former occupation, at any rate.

I am unaware of any new Cleggings but I am sure that you, and your servant, here, have had an apt measure of poor, wee, angry Gnasher and her delusions.

A Happy New Year to you, too. I did think, on hearing the news, that you and the mongeese would be walking the lonely way to St George's dwelling, perhaps barefoot, lit candles in hand, to pray for his poor soul, outside his gaff. There is, I guess, still time, should you properly set aside the fol-de-rol and merriment of New Year's Eve, Perhaps, if you listen attentively, you will hear, from On High, the sounds of Lenny and Ricky and Georgey and Princey and those prats from ELP, jamming. At least that's what the New People are saying will happen.

call me ishmael said...

I cannot offer, mr bungalow bill, an opinion on St George's ouevre. except to say that what little I did hear of him I considered irrelevant, so much of that stuff was; Bros and the rest,so obviously eye candy for teenies, so obviously talentless. I do think there have been some talented boybands, just not British ones,. A Ha did some good pop songs and to this day I absolutely love Hansen's M'bop, believing it one of the greatest pop records ever, With George Michael I could never venture beyond his moody image into his product, I just thought he was a prat. Later, I kind of admired his reaction to the toilet bust; long before gay rights was a phrase I raged against that practice of sending pretty cops into toilets to entrap gay men and I thought Good for Him, for fighting back. Other than that I have probably seen more of his work on telly this past coupla days than I ever did before, and I remain unimpressed, finding no originality and no musical intelligence, just a petulant, phoney imagery. The New People must all be perpetual teenagers to so highly rate such indifferent product. But then they are, aren't they; expecting them to look at - or listen to - themselves is wishful thinking.

Jackson Browne's immortal Don't confront me with my failures, I had not forgotten them ....would find no resonance among the flashmourners, nor, I suspect, in the late artist, Mr George.