Saturday, 16 October 2010

My Daria Morgendorffer

   Beavis and Butt-head was good for some things, but few scaled the heights of this misanthropy icon, who deservedly spun-off into her own series during her time with Mike Judge's name-making creations. God bless Glenn Eichler

   Insanely easy for the disaffected to identify with, as an archetype, Daria is more than due for a revival: so says the Paris Review. And, of course, so do I

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Basement Jaxx - Kish Kash (2003)

   Speaking of my past self, I am invoking him today to review my favourite record by the Brixton-based dance pioneers. This is my writing style of six years ago; a funny collection of tics, to be sure:
   Kish Kash didn't take much deliberation to make my number one [best album from 2000 - 2004], for it is everything Basement Jaxx is; everything that makes them compelling, surprising, frenetic, starry-eyed, intuitive and above all, just themselves. This is particularly apparent when you've come to terms with the consistency in the album's running order and the way it bursts not only with sounds but with life.
   Like Cornelius['s Point] and The Avalanches[' Since I Left You] (my no's 3 and 2, respectively), there's so much going on that if you don't take time to listen around, you might miss it (but thank God for the RWD button). Not only the sounds of the 3-parties-in-one that are 'Right Here's The Spot', 'Plug It In', 'Cish Cash' and 'Lucky Star' and the Jaxx's all-out Voltron-assembly of pop songs, Prince-outs and mismatched but purposeful sonic chaos, but the things they do to their special guests. In-between spitting catchphrases on every verse, Dizzee Rascal sounds like the electrodes attached to his secret places are working overtime, Me'shell flirts with a gender identity crisis that she can't conceal her enjoyment over, Totlyn deploys a winning bid for Queen (or King) Scatter of 2003, JC further hints at his growing case of Schizophrenia, his emergent tender sleaziness and his desire to be the most Purple teen idol ever, and erotic pleasure belies Siouxsie's dominatrix cries of "YOU'RE INSATIABLLLLLLLLLLLEEEEEEE!" And I'll be damned if I'm not. I don't want to miss a thing.
Recommended tracks: Good Luck, Plug It In, Lucky Star, Cish Cash

   I also had the great pleasure of seeing them perform twice in support of this record in December 2003, where Felix Buxton, Simon Ratcliffe and their carnival-spirited live band dynamically impelled their music into more frenetic but ever compelling arrangements - a warehouse party for the world stage, to be sure. However, it cannot be denied that in spite of the spirited renditions by their fill-in live singers, each special guest on the album utterly made their songs their own. Not surprisingly, the Jaxx spent part of the time between this album and their fourth as jobbing music producers, creating or remixing some underrated, would-be chart burners for the likes of Chasez and Lady Sovereign

   It remains highly recommended, by the way

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Post 200: Mode Parade HK

   At the time of writing, Mode Parade has been Hong Kong-based for seven days. I needed to relocate to a land where I am once again one of the tallest dominant lifeforms

   Actually, I have a plan and a purpose for being here. And all, as they say, will become clear within the coming weeks

   Needless to say, the preceding weeks teemed with activity as I placed a neat bow on my Accra life for the time being and ejected, leaving behind a trail of destroyed automobiles, puzzled cousins, supportive elder relatives and around 5 orders for solid gold signet rings. My acquisitiveness is nothing if not prolific

   Nice things happened to me in the run-up. My family confessed that I would be missed, primarily by the proprietors of the only club I regularly attended, and the city's car mechanics. On my connection from Dubai - which fills its airport with the sorts of travellers that actually make me look attractive by comparison - a kindly Arabian man told me that I looked "like a walking picture," which he eventually translated to "movie star." He'd evidently drawn the same comparison

   I've settled in well enough, though my temporary accommodation reminds me of my university days in a most disdainful fashion. Merely thinking of my 18 - 21 year old selves brings on the megrims quite forcefully. I also have not owned a laptop in a year, my book collection was not welcome on the flights and my phone's inaccurate GPS has led to some misunderstandings with taxi drivers. Usually when I'm crossing the road

   In my favour, there is a bar here that played this classic single by Strawberry Switchblade; karmic proof that whimsical, pretty things will not stray far from my world:

   By the way, Dubai's airport retails Guerlain's fragrance range in its duty free. Vetiver made my hand smell like unappealingly sharp citrus soap for the duration of my changeover (Tom Ford's Grey Vetiver, incidentally, was not much more suitable, though both experiences make me want to try them again in less long haul-centric scenarios), but the pretty sales assistant sold me on one of her two recommendations that she thought of as masculine scent perfection. The loser was the blandly designed, Justin Timberlake-endorsed Play by Givenchy, which dried down from its own citric assault into an unmemorable morass of powdery notes. Conversely, L'Instant de Guerlain Pour Homme Eau Extreme, her initial, immediate suggestion, stayed with me, figuratively and literally, throughout my browsing, and this compellingly mixed, (perhaps too) subtle, heady and strangely delicious EDP has proved pleasingly fortunate of late. Characterised by a number of candied, near-edible notes - patchouli and honey and cocoa, oh my - with a floral middle and a spicy, warm, woody, creamy base, the seduction, rare to say, was instant. To the right persons, I seem almost... edible. And I was seeking something odder, so there you go

   Two bottles, next time