Friday, August 30, 2002

Back to the future

We were recently asked to DJ at a wedding but the bride and groom wanted to know what kind of music we would play. As it happened, I had a mix on CD, which I had put together for Penny and Mike’s wedding. The CD put the kibosh on the gig for the following reason; the mix was, apparently, too modern. It wasn’t a mix of Gabber Jungle Trance (vocal or dub), it had 8 number 1’s and not one record that failed to break the top 10. Nor was it particularly ‘modern’ the average record was six years old.

It seems they wanted 60’s and 70’s stuff, which is, by my calculations 30-40 years old. Put into context, if my parents listened to 40-year-old music at their wedding reception, they’d be dancing to the Charleston, and I’ve checked, they didn’t.

Last night we went to see the Ralph Little Show recorded for the BBC. No real reason other than it’s a kind of fun thing to do. As we walked into the Auditorium they were playing Parklife by Blur, followed by a stream of mid nineties Britpop classics. McCalmont and Butler, a duo whose brief peak was at least four years ago, played out the show. Ralph Little’s dire questioning of Rocket Ronnie O’Sullivan asking how “Mad” things were, or, fawning over Ronny O’Sullivan’s Loaded style laddism, very 1997.

When we got home, the Stereophonics were on telly, and the drummer looked like he was some really bad 70’s rock cliché. As opposed to a really bad 21st Century rock cliché.

What I’m saying is that is the world moving too quickly for people? It seems to me that people began falling off the treadmill in about 1995 unable to keep up with changing music and fashion trends. It’s not my age, Ralph Little can only be 22-23 yet ever he is stuck in 1994. Is it not time that we stopped modernising for a bit to let us all catch up. Give me six months to master Crash Bandicoot on the Playstation, then I’ll buy a Playstation 2.... I'm coming, I'm coming.

Like hiking in the hills, modernisers should sit on a rock with their sandwiches and enjoy the view, whilst others’ catch up. Me, I’m stuck around 1998 and I admit I enjoy it, maybe I don’t want to modernise, and therefore maybe none of us do. Maybe it’s just time to stop.

Yep, let's stop being modern.

Monday, August 26, 2002

America's Pastime

I'm not ripping up any anthropological trees by saying that Americans are fat. They are a race of monstrously obese people, and whilst as a visitor it is fun to gasp at the portions, indulge a little and laugh at the backsides, it is not an understatement to say the obsession is killing America.

But food isn't America's pastime, Baseball is, it's a charmingly archaic sport apparently untouched by the ugly corporate monster. That's how it feels at Fenway Park, home of the Boston Redsox and the oldest ballpark in America. The game is a series of time honoured and wholesome rituals. Boys in their late teens dress in Red Sox Uniforms, complete with balls, bats and gloves . Each game begins with a ceremonial first pitch from some esteemed guest and is followed by the gratingly patriotic singing of the national anthem. The preamble is completed when a small brat announces...


Even during the game the rituals keep coming - Christ, in the 7th innings everyone stands up for The Stretch and sings a song accompanied by a live organist. This is a sport that still negotiates player's wages through trade unions. It's like it's been ring fenced off from the modern world and that America needs it in order to take a break from rampant modernisation once in a while.

It took me three pitches to realise we'd started - and I was concentrating. The other 31,998 spent the first five innings buying and consuming a bewildering variety of concessions from wandering hawkers. So complicit was the consumption of Crackerjack, hot dogs, peanuts, cotton candy and Coke at $4 a bottle that it is easy to consider baseball as less of a sport and more an imaginative way of consuming junk food.

During this opening feast the Red Sox players minds' were clearly on what The Sausage King was selling outside as the Texas Rangers raced to a 3-0 lead. The crowd greeted this with a general disinterest, probably because they had spied a lemon slush seller making their way up the terrace. The only acknowledgement of the game was when a fly ball hurtled into the crowd and everyone scrambled to grab the ball. The winner held it aloft and everyone around applauded politely before returning to their food.

In the 6th the Sox pulled one back, and in the 7th they tied the game up at 3... or made it 3-3. And then, at this point, as it approached it's exciting climax, with the game balanced finely between the resurgent Sox and the dominant but wilting Texans... people started going home. Perhaps through indigestion, or maybe because people wanted to avoid the rush at Wendy Burger, but about 1/3 of the crowd chose to forgo the final two innings, in which Boston notched 2 more runs for an exciting victory. Weird.

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