Desert Island Discs: No.4 ‘My Girls’

This is just glorious: ‘My Girls’ by Animal Collective, from their 2009 album Merriweather Post Pavilion.

Slow build, partial release… Jittery glittery gold!

For the full effect, enter a darkened room, put your headphones on and turn the volume up to 11 🙂


Desert Island Discs: No.3 ‘Empty Glasses’

I first came across ‘Empty Glasses’ by The Amps on the soundtrack to one of the many skateboarding videos I used to watch as a teenager. The Amps were a short-lived American band formed in 1995 by Kim Deal of The Pixes / The Breeders fame. Whilst at first listening this is a fairly unremarkable mid-90s indie-rock number, it’s certainly stuck with me for its raw, dirty energy and, probably, because it reminds me of the freedom and excitement of whole weeks spent skateboarding around the city. It also got me into The Pixes, about which, possibly, more later.

Desert Island Discs: No. 2 ‘Miserere mei deus’

I was first introduced to Gregorio Allegri’s ‘Miserere mei deus’ (the Italian composer’s setting of Psalm 51) by my mother whilst she was on a research sabbatical from teaching at Merton College, Oxford. I guess around 1995. Composed in the 1630s for exclusive use in the Sistine Chapel, it’s an extraordinarily beautiful piece of Renaissance church music. The story of how Mozart ‘stole’ the piece by learning it from heart and transcribing it afterwards is equally astonishing. Read more about it here.

Obviously, nothing beats hearing this live, in a church setting. But here’s one of the better YouTube settings I could find, by The Sixteen. And with the added bonus of the venue – St Luke’s in Old Street.


Tallis Scholars in Rome
Kings College Chapel Choir in 1987

Desert Island Discs: No. 1 ‘Blue Flowers’

Welcome to a new sporadic series – my very own Desert Island Discs. Though I’m not limiting myself to eight. And the order is accidental. I’ll post stuff up when I think of it.

So, to start.

‘Blue Flowers’ by Dr Octagon

The above is actually the Dan the Automator remix, but I like the video on it. You can hear the original here. Some wit on YouTube described the track as trippy astro panic shockï»ż corridor style and actually that’s a pretty good stab at it. Just drool at those lyrics.

Gettin’ ‘Pataphysical

Via reading about the Canadian poet Christian Bok, I found about the mysterious world of ‘Pataphysics. This is from the Wikipedia entry:

‘Pataphysics (French: ‘Pataphysique), a term coined by French writer Alfred Jarry (1873 – 1907), is a philosophy or pseudophilosophy dedicated to studying what lies beyond the realm of metaphysics. It is a parody of the theory and methods of modern science and is often expressed in nonsensical language. A practitioner of ‘pataphysics is a ‘pataphysician or a ‘pataphysicist.

And then I realised that The London Snorkelling Team, who I am seeing tomorrow night at The Bishopsgate Institute, describe their music as a ‘Pataphysics of Sound.


The Mystery of Love

The mystery of love is greater than the mystery of death

Back from Latitude Festival.

My highlights were:

Ephemera of the month

Recent cultural consumption has included –

Generation Kill – 7-part mini-series from the makers of The Wire which follows a company of US marines during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Brutal and very funny. See clip below.

In the Loop – biting political satire with creative swearing and the best cameo ever by Steve Coogan. “Fuckety-bye!”

Re-read A Martian Sends a Postcard Home by Craig Raine, which I enjoyed a thousands times more than when I first read it. I don’t get why the bad rep.

Third Wish Wasted by Roddy Lumsden – recommended.

Wolf by MacGillivray. Haunting, uncomfortable, beautiful folk by Kirsten Norrie.