Thoughts on the Harry & Meghan nuptials

Well, it sounds like the Royal Wedding went off okay. That has to be a relief, I’m sure.

I slept through it, as is my own personal tradition for royal weddings, but I know a lot of people were excited and worried about different bits so I’m glad everything seems to have been tickety boo.

I suspect people were watching Prince Philip closely at that bit where the minister asks if there is anyone who has any objections to the marriage. I could just see him raising a choleric argument or two.

Anyway, best wishes to the happy broadcasters and dress makers.

Err. I mean, couple.

Reasons to be Cheerful

Ian Dury’s birthday. One of the cleverest wordsmiths to ever front a rock band – and what a rock band. The Blockheads were magnificent, especially the rhythm section of bassist Norman Watt-Roy and drummer Charley Charles.

Here’s the band live, and in their prime. Love that great loping bassline.

Today is also World Chronic Fatigue Day, which is definitely something not to be cheerful about. I was diagnosed with this at Uni: unlike some, I got over it, albeit gradually. Others haven’t been so lucky.

Not so Stranded in Paradise…

A million miles from New Orleans
Drinking a can of beer

I think about Memphis and Detroit  City 

I hear you ladies there are young and pretty

Will there be rhythm and blues on the radio?…

 ‘No movie stars or really big deals,

Me and the band just need a place to play

What more can I say?

This is a record  with pictures from New Zealand

This is for Kiwi Music Month. Street Talk is a band which has been kind of forgotten, or overshadowed some of the higher profile bands of the era. They had, in Hammond Gamble, one of the most distinctive lead vocalists of all the Auckland bands of the late ’70s, and some great original songs, but they didn’t have the decadent, squalid glamour of Hello Sailor or the brattish bad boy image of Th’ Dudes.

At least one of the key lines from this album track, “Stranded in Paradise” lives on in the title of John Dix’s great history of New Zealand rock music. Street Talks’s two albums appeared, without any real promotion, on itunes about a year or so ago.

I recommend them as examples of good, ballsy, meat and potatoes rock/ r&b from the time. I just wish the non-album single, ‘She’s Done It Again’, was also available.

And I love this song, as much for the overall feel of it as for the playing (especially that great keyboard work and lead singer Hammond Gamble’s gruff, bluesy singing).

we got a band that’s been milkmen
and taxi drivers
and truck drivers and
postmen too

accountants and door to door men, believe you me:

we got jukebox heroes just like you.

All very wistful and pleading. There was always a feeling, in New Zealand, that anything that mattered happened elsewhere. I think that’s the big difference in mood in the past 15 years or so.

Yes, New Zealanders are still big travellers, and we will continue to be so, I think. We still look energetically and often a bit excessively overseas.

But more of the younger generation of godwits, I think, will return.

And I think, now, we’re less prone to assume what we do here does not matter as much, or isn’t as good, somehow.

For the new addition to the Royal Family

One of the many cover versions of this song. Saw them do this at Sweetwaters ’84. I think it was probably worse than this version.

Perhaps, if Prince Louis ever becomes King, (he’s what, fifth in line? It could happen) this could be the new British Commonwealth Anthem.

 

The Oscars, fillums, Churchill, 1940, etc etc….

My taste in fillums is decidedly unsophisticated. Divert me for a couple of hours and don’t insult my intelligence are generally my main criteria. Oh, and I really don’t like anything that involves subtitles. Nothing to do with xenophobia, its just if I want to read I’ll pick up a book, and I find I miss too much else going on on the screen if I’m having to read.

But it was a neat-ish coincidence to be going to see Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri this week just as the Oscars were being announced.

Have to confess I don’t pay much attention to the Oscars, normally, but they swum into my consciousness this year a bit more.

It’s all hype and hooplar though, isn’t it? All a bit OTT and naff and just…colossally bloated with its own regard.

Unusually, this year, I’ve seen three fillums which featured.

The one which did least well at the Oscars was the one I enjoyed the most – Dunkirk. Worthy of the term ‘epic’ but without the overblown connotations which are associated with that.

Pretty historically accurate, from what I can gauge. I’m one of those sad war history buffs who watches for these things. In particular, anything 1940/battle of Britian era related. The only error I saw was those Spitfires were shown as having far more ammunition than they would ever have been able to shoot off in real life.

Even when the deliberate mythologising (and there is certainly no shortage of that) is stripped away from the 1940 story, it is still pretty stirring stuff.

The other feature associated with 1940 is of course the Winston Churchill saga Darkest Hour.

This had far more historic inaccuracies – the part in which Churchill goes onto the London Underground was completely made up, and at least one, I think two, peices of dialogue were from later periods of the war but which were included because, in one case, it gave the character of his wife a bit more to do and in the other case because it was funny.

From what I have seen and read, Clement Attlee did not, in the House of Commons, conducting himself like the stem-winding ranter depicted in the Darkest Hour. The Labour leader tended to be Mr Matter-of-Fact, rather than Mr OTT.

Gary Oldham’s performance?

Some have said it was over the top, but come on: this is Churchill. It takes a ham to play a ham, which is why the best portrayals of Churchill have often been by people like Robert Hardy or John Lithgow.

Or, now, Oldham.

Churchill was playing a role most of his life, it seems: at times it looked grandiloquent and verging on the ridiculous, but in 1940, the times matched the actor.

It’s kind of tangental, but also not: the Kinks, from their abandoned rock opera Arthur or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire – Mr Churchill Says. it’s a clip that’s not, all things considered, too badly put together.