Wednesday, August 11, 2004
Eat a Dog
Hit up The Verve on my iPod earlier, on the way home, 20 tracks and the ‘shuffle songs’ function, but only after I’d selected “A New Decade” first. I love the way it whispers and whimpers and then crashes in, Ashcroft a bag of spite and vision, “a new decade / the radio plays the sound we make / and everything seems to feel alright / coming through your lonely mind…” When I was 16 I actually did believe he’d seen things, been places, that the sky had bruised and left him blind, and who’s to doubt it now? I skipped “She’s A Superstar” after two minutes, fell asleep on the train (I always do) during “Let The Damage Begin”, to be awoken by the shoulder-shake of the conductor, and twitched through “Brainstorm Interlude”, possibly my favourite piece of music by The Verve, and always the most maligned track on A Northern Soul, because it is a mess and a yowl and how do you deal with it if you came to this band from, say Oasis? I came to Oasis from this band though, so I dealt with it and loved it.
Zane Lowe played “Bitter Sweet Symphony” as his – what?-crowdrocker?-krautrocker? – whatever, he played it, and it was magnificent. It struck me that the strings could easily have been waxed onto something from The Blueprint; I remember Ashcroft at the time muttering something about “takin’ what we’d learnt from ‘ip ‘op” and it makes sense, the drums don’t work like a rock tune [dyswidt?], it’s layered in a manner more akin to hip hop production, and they got raped over a sample, so there you are. If I were in an ambitious mood (I’m too tired), I’d stake a claim for it being the defining tune of the 90s, but not now.
I notice everybody at FT (apart from Swygart) is down on Goldie Lookin’ Chain’s new single, which is, I suppose, not surprising, because it is in essence a joke tune. But then again I thought “My Name Is” was a joke tune the first couple of times I heard it back in 98 or whenever it was. Anyway, I quite like the Chain, in a vague, enjoy-them-on-the-radio way. I think a mate of mine was at uni with them.
Why so tired? FOOTBALL! Scored a hat-trick, drew 7-7, first goal a clumsy touch to control, wet ball wet boot, spins up, instinct VOLLEY bottom corner like a bullet. If I believed in god instead of people then I’d say it wasn’t me who scored the goal so much as something that took over me, some gift or talent or something, but that’s bollocks. When I was 13 I used to spend hours a day practicing volleying a ball against the back of a garage, and all that work has contributed to some kind of biological memory or footballing instinct. And I’m far from a great footballer. I’m not even particularly good. I can see a decent pass and I can score a few goals, but I’m out of shape and never did play enough, even when I was 13, to get really good. Now my brother, he IS really good. It pisses me off to see Seth Johnson, ruptured cruciate ligament and all, drinking in Dawlish pubs rather than sorting himself out, because to play football every day for £30k a week is some kind of bizarre dream. (The second goal was a quick turn in our half of the pitch, leaving Rick, an excellent defender, for dead, and then head-down, Ronaldo style, and surge for goal before powering it, left footed, so it canons off the post and into the net on the other side – most satisfying.)
I’ve long had a problem with the notion that "talent is God given"; I've thought for a long, long time that this belief is the lowest form of envy and dismissal, and is a sister to the kind of attitude which is the foundation of statements such as "The Beta Band sound like they must be on drugs!", the inference being that it is drugs (or God or alcohol or mental illness or depression or whatever) that is responsible for art or talent or beauty or any form of human endeavour, rather than a fuck of a lot of hard work and effort and perseverance. Beckham is good at free kicks, for instance, not because God made him so, but because he practices them for hours and hours every week until he knows how to do it. Embrace write great songs not because they're blessed but because they work fucking hard for a long time putting them together. Timbaland is a great producer because he spends every available moment in the studio putting things together and taking them apart. I think it's kind of selfish and smacks of jealousy and excuse-making to write off talent as God-given, to say "oh well they're blessed and I'm not so I may as well not bother," and use that as an excuse to never really work to try and achieve something, maybe in case you fail, maybe because you assume that other people just know they are blessed with a talent rather than love doing something and choose to work at it.
I’m tired and my wine is nearly finished.
8/11/2004 10:31:00 pm