Alexa, play that song that goes santa baby.
Nico – These Days
It is perhaps a bit obvious, but this winter weather and Nico seem to go so well together I couldn’t resist.
Van Morrison – Cyprus Avenue (live)
On Friday night I was thinking about how much I like the album Astral Weeks. (My introduction to this album was through an excellent Lester Bangs article in his book Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung; a book I wholly recommend to you.) Browsing the web for songs off the album to listen to I stumbled upon this live version of ‘Cyprus Avenue’ recorded at the Fillmore East in 1970 – Van and his band channelling the spirit of Otis Redding.
Kenny Rogers – The Gambler
‘The Gambler’ packs so much into its 3 minutes and 31 seconds. It’s a great example of vivid but economical songwriting and storytelling; each line revealing something (the Gambler – always on the make – drinks not just a bit but the “last swallow” of the narrator’s whiskey); it’s what country songs especially can do so very well. And come on, what a chorus…
There will be time enough for counting when the dealings done
Sufjan Stevens – John Wayne Gacy Jr.
Another someone who fell off my radar. Perhaps this was due to Stevens not releasing a follow-up proper to his 2005 album Illinois until 5 years after; in the interim releasing a record of outtakes (The Avalanche) and a mixed medium artistic exploration of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (The BQE). You never think you’re one of those fans who the musician / band intends to shed after a critically lauded album, but perhaps in this instance I was. Anyway, I’ve been revisiting the albums Seven Swans and Illinois. This is the devastating ‘John Wayne Gacy Jr.’ from the latter.
I’m recommending a visit to The Glass Room in London this weekend if you’re able. (It’s free but donations are welcomed.) I went yesterday late afternoon. It’s an impressive looking space. Walking around the exhibit, however, I couldn’t help thinking that the overriding sense visitors would come away with, after learning how our data is collected, stored and used, is one of powerlessness.
I brought this up with one of the Tactical Technology Collective who are dotted around and available to chat to. He recognised visitors do get a sense of being creeped out or not in control, but this is exactly why TTC had put together, and people could pick-up for free, their Data Detox Kit (now also available online). With this kit, he said, people not only left with a practical tool to enable them to take back some control, but they hoped these people also left with a sense of optimism.
Reading: The Driver’s Seat, Muriel Spark