December 1st, 2004



Now that acronym has reassured me that they're "achingly hip" (and he should know), I can confidently recommend The Secret Machines to my readership. (Website requires SWF, natch, and extreme coolness.) They're playing The Scala on Monday, and I'm sorely tempted. (I mean, King's Cross is nearly in Cambridge, right?) Of course, I'm mainly considering this to take my mind off the realisation that at this late date I may not be able to afford eBayed tickets for either of The Tears' gigs. At which point I will just sneer and say that I liked them better before they reformed. (Honestly, actually playing gigs is so mainstream.)

Meanwhile, there's always Pop Art to look forward to. The last one featured a guest set by the non-blond from The Vichy Government, but the next one beats that hands-down with guest DJ Steve Lamacq. Book your tickets now for another evening of glorious INDIE DISCO.

Back home, I am feeding my Donkey Konga addiction -- yes, addedentry and I are now the proud owners of a Gamecube. (That's the pitter-patter of BONGOS that you can hear.) It's clear that there could be a huge karaoke-CD-style market for discs of extra songs, or the ability to convert one's own music collection into DK challenges -- remember when all good arcade games included a levels editor where you could quickly discover how impossible it was to create playable games? -- but less clear whether anybody will provide this for a game on a console which will be obsolete in, well ... [checks watch]. sion_a groaned at my punning suggestion that the final end-of-level challenge before finishing the game should be a Bruce Springsteen song; but if I had the ability to give my own music collection the Konga treatment, I'd be more interested to see people try to drum along with Captain Beefheart.

On a quite different tack, now that it's December I can enjoy Christmas songs and carols without shame. I'll be singing carols with the Portfolio Singers in Cambridge's All Saints Garden Art and Craft Market this Saturday at 1pm (all donations collected will go to a local children's hospice). We'll be doing some of my all-time favourites: Pearsall's fantastic setting of "In Dulci Jubilo", Vaughan Williams' arrangement of "The Truth from Above", Berlioz's "Shepherd's Farewell", Darke's setting of "In the Bleak Midwinter", Cornelius's glorious "Three Kings from Persian Lands Afar". Then, of course, there's all the old standards; you just can't beat the final verse (with soaring descant) of "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing".

"But what about more populist popular musical celebrations of Christmas?" I don't hear you cry. Well, there's always some tension between the members of the group who want to expand our knowledge of the Phil Spector canon and those who are more interested in obscure new settings of medieval verses such as the interestingly heretical "Adam lay ybounden"; we're doing "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer", but only because we feel we have to. I'd put in a bid for "Fairytale of New York", but I suspect that yelling "you cheap lousy faggot" at people might just scupper our chances of extracting cash from them.

In other only-tangentially music-related news, at the risk of blowing my own trumpet, I find myself the flattered but surprised recipient of bateleur's LJ comments award, a contest of which I wasn't even aware until my helpful delivery daemon pointed it out. At least nobody can accuse me of trying too hard.