Song Of The Day #20.

Gogol Bordello – Rebellious Love

Ahead of an upcoming gig, my research has led me to this song, which I think is rather good. It’s a little crazy and chaotic, but I think there is some organisation there… Maybe. Anyway, what do you think? Are we a fan of the gypsy influence, or is it too Eastern European for you? Or is that small injection of it into today’s music something good? I think it is, so for a few moments, do enjoy some Bordello goodness.

The Tuesday Muse – Pictures In Your Wallet

It is Tuesday isn’t it?

I believe it is.

Today, the subject of the Muse of Tues is wallets and what one keeps in them. I work, depressingly, in a sandwich shop in town, which means we feed what feels like the population of Bath on a daily basis, and I see a hell of a lot of wallets. Some are fancy, some are sparkly, some jangle (fucking annoying), so are far too big for the required purpose, some are far too small, some have elastic straps, some have zips and some have buttons. But what interests me is what people put in there. surely the main purpose behind a wallet (or “bill fold”, if you’re in America) is the hold money, and things that give you money. Like credit and debit cards and so on. Also, it’s quite a useful place to store your non-paper driver’s license, which can also double up as ID. Do we really need anything else?

Essentially, no.

So, why do people fill their wallets with all the oddities I’ve seen? One customer poured his change out onto the counter one time (I made him), and within this coin pile was a triangular one: which obviously requires the question “where on EARTH did you get that one from?” On holiday, was the answer. I thought possibly he’d just come back and not had time to change the foreign money over properly. But five months on, the coin is still there. Is this pointless? I think so. It’s a rather fancy-looking coin, but is it just in there for a talking point? It can’t hold any monetary value over here, so maybe it’s just a reminded of a fantastic holiday? Who knows.

I have another customer who never accepts any change smaller than a 50 pence piece, as he doesn’t have a change compartment in his wallet. I’ve given him a free sandwich before as the spare change mounted up to so much. Probably should do that again soon, it’s been a while. I think he told me to keep it as beer money or something.

In another customer’s wallet (or purse, it was a female) today, there was a sonogram picture (should I call this an ultrasound image?), which I have to say, I’ve never seen before. But thinking about it, it’s kind of the best picture to put in there: you have yet to meet this child, so for about 8-9 months, there’s going to be excited apprehension and nervousness every time you see this picture. I don’t think it was the customer’s own personal scan, which is possibly why it’s a little creepy, but it was rather a nice idea.


Absolutely disgusting, no? Note the plastic window to display things



Other pictures usually include what I presume to be the other half of the customer I am serving, which I’ve always found a little bizarre. Obviously it’s a touching idea and that, and I suppose makes the wallet that’s been mass-produced for everyone a little more personal, but shouldn’t a wallet be for money and cards? Plus, if you see this face most days anyway, why dull the excitement of seeing it in the evening after a long day, if you can see it all the time anyway? That said, does it make me sound emotional dead to say all this? Sometimes it feels so, as I have no pictures in my wallet. My wallet is a felt watermelon that I bought in a German Christmas market along the Thames, and there is no space for pictures and no plastic window to display them in.

Some people keep pictures of their children in there too, which is another odd one. From what I hear, people complain about them so much, why do they want to be reminded of them? Plus, is it really likely, that in the 8 or 9 hours that you are at work, you’re going to forget about them? But then, are these photos actually used in a new colleague scenario – “Oh yes, I have a wife and kids, here they are” sort of way? Do they serve a genuine purpose? I would like to know, as I feel society seems to say “stick some pictures of loved ones in your wallet, you’re a little soulless otherwise”

Music Mondays – The BSO.

What’s this? A genuinely cultured evening? I think so! It should be stated here that I also went to the costume museum in Bath the other day too, it’s not just all about television and sweaty gigs. So there.

The BSO, or Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, are a very good world-famous orchestra who play mostly in Poole, at what is now known as The Lighthouse. They also perform along much of the south, and this evening, my housemate and I trekked out on a wet and windy November evening to see them perform an anthology of Michael Nyman music. I like the BSO, I like Michael Nyman – how could this evening possibly go wrong?

The only downside could be that, once again, I hadn’t had enough time to delve fully into his back catalogue. My dad always said that he got the best out of concerts when he knew the music, and to an extent, that is very much true. But with classical music, unless it’s something dire like Stravinsky, I find prior knowledge of the works is less important: it’s usually universal enough to just wash over you in a relaxing and unobtrusive fashion. It’s no noise rock anyway.

Collecting, after arming ourselves with white wine for me and a gin and tonic for Zoe, in Hall A of Colston Hall, I was rather disappointed to see only a handful of support for such an orchestra. I believe only about 400 tickets were sold for this evening’s performance, which, let’s face it, is pretty bad. Our tickets were only £8 as that seems to be the standard price for ‘Under 26’s’ (why do not more people go to these?!), and we had rather good seats – although Zoe disputed the fact that you needed to actually SEE an orchestra. It was all about sound. I disagreed – I like seeing how orchestras work. We had a good view of the cellos and double basses, but couldn’t see that much else – the piano was shrouded completely by the violin sections, which was a shame as what is, arguably, Michael Nyman’s most famous piece — here:

contains a piano. That said, when they performed this piece, it was OUTSTANDING. Goosebumps a-go-go. I loved it.

For their Nyman Anthology, the BSO played:

Gattaca Suite:
The Morrow (I loved this)
God’s Hand/Becoming Jerome
Not The Only One
The Departure
(and this!)

The Draughtsman’s Contract:
A Watery Death
The Garden Is Becoming A Robe Room
Chasing Sheep Is Best Left To Shepherds

Drowning By Numbers:
Trysting Fields
Sheep and Tides
Wedding Tango
Wheelbarrow Walks
Fish Beach
Knowing The Ropes

The Diary Of Anne Frank:
Amsterdam Dawn/Candlefire
Concentration Camp/Silent Separation
First Kiss/Lament For Lost Youth

The Piano:
To The Edge Of The Earth (this was another favourite of mine)
The Promise/The Heart Asks Pleasure First
Here To There
Lost And Found
The Embrace
Dreams Of A Long Journey
(and so was this!)


This final piece was, and you’d know if you played the piece above, outstanding. I think it’s the only one I’ve played since going to this musical evening.

My other observations ran as such..

– The men were all in white, which I’ve never seen before. Almost like an away strip or something, but all the ladies were in black. And some of the latter were wearing trousers. Now I know it’s a liberally society these days and all, but I’m not sure if I’m cool with it. A full length skirt seems to be more appropriate for the occasion.
– As the pieces played were from soundtracks, which would obviously run seamlessly from track to track, we frequently were left with quite abrupt ends. This wasn’t a massive mood-killer or anything, but it did keep reminding me that this was music written for slightly the wrong performance type that we were seeing.
– THE BRASS SECTION IS AMAZING. I love ensemble brass, it’s the best way to have it. Solo can be good, but not in a jazz context. Never in a jazz context.

Aside from that, everything was excellent! I can’t really fault them at all, so this has seemed like an odd blog to write – for once, I have nothing concrete to criticise. Does this mean live music has actually satisfied me for once? Dear lord.

The BSO in their natural surroundings, at The Lighthouse

Song Of The Day #19.

Wu-Tang Clan – Gravel Pit

What the hell is this song about?

Does it matter?


This, like a lot of my other (good) new music, was first pressed upon me by 6music. Which I think you should all be listening to. It was deemed by the presenters of the show as “one of the only Wu-Tang Clan songs we can actually play as there’s no swearing in it.” Miracle.

Now I don’t know much about what I innocently and naively deem “black people music” (it’s like a whole genre in itself, and seems very much to be on that side of the proverbial pond – seems so much less accessible than something like the Manics), but I think this is outstanding. No I’m not racist. You can have a proper groove to this – go ahead and try. And then recommend some similar stuff to me: it’s all undiscovered territory.

Challenge Of The Week –

Name all NINE members of Wu-Tang Clan. Without the help of Wikipedia.