Thursday, October 29, 2009
Prefab Sprout Steve Mcqueen. Never have I been able to convince anyone, anywhere of the greatness that is Prefab Sprout. They are difficult ones to proselytize for what with the glossy 80s production, the all too clever for the plebs-ness, the shoulder pads, the genius, the floppy fringeness, etc. They really do tend to send the kids sccurrying for shelter. First song-Faron- genius. I once read an interview with Thomas Dolby and in it he stated that he met Paddy sometime in the 70s. Paddy had miles of poems written on dog biscuits and paper plates and mylar kites and was waiting only for someone who could contain his inspiration in a vision of pop and pop songs. He found it with Thomas Dolby. I've only ever heard one Thomas Dolby song. It is the same one that everyone else has "only" heard. Thomas has probably heard many more Prefab Sprout songs than I ever will. I don't think he produced the new album. Paddy has graduated to the Dave Callahan level of producer indifference although his disaparagement of his on production skills is immense in interviews. Just writing a song about Faron Young is delightfully obscure for most but then you think of Faron's end, like Margaret Sullavan's end, Jean Seberg and the melancholic tinge arises. I'll have to defer to Alec Baldwin on the last one. Have I heard a Faron Young song? Unknown. This may have been written in 1973. They have just released a new record. I am desperate for it. I may be the only Prefab Sprout fan in all of Westminster. How lonely I feel living in Westminster buried beneath 27 inches of snow, alone in my McAloon worship, like a Christian in the snow. Very nearly. There are so many vehicles parked on the street for a snowstorm. Depressing. When I was a young boy there were so few autos parked on the streets. Non sequitur. I should have started a diary of my time spent on Weber drive. I didn't. I wasn't like Edward Robb Ellis. I've finished the abridged version of his diary. The unabridged copy is something like 22 million words. A world record for diarists apparently, I am certain I could eclipse that mark and I am also certain that I am a superior writer to Edward Robb Ellis. He's rather mediocre really, middling would be a compliment. Is the attention due to his being in the guiness book of records for diarists? I think that perhaps he has little other claim on reknown besides. And still it is a compelling read...walking through a century with a consistent voice is an interesting escape. His viewpoints held pretty steady throughout and it is remarkable how the soul does age so very slowly. My diary would be about all of the regrets I can't seem to lose my nostalgia over. I could write a page on tonight's activities. Dear diary, today I shoveled snow for the third time in 12 hours and then I built my new kitchen table on my kitchen floor. Dear Diary, I thought of painting my kitchen cabinets. Dear Diary, I think I shall paint my kitchen cabinets. Edward Robb Ellis was a mediocre reporter as well. Really I can't recommend his diary except for the experience of an average Joe in America. His strange reaction to Kruschev at the Waldorf was the most puzzling bit for me. It seems his proudest accomplishment is the fact that he seems to have slept with many attractive women. I have forgotten to write about the songs. Eddie's apparent reluctance to examine the demise of his first marriage is also a mystery. There is where your Lifetime movie of the week coul dbe drawn from. He's in Okinawa and suddenly he is divorced. I needed more information. Number four, I forgot to mention my favorite line oh wait it is coming up. Appetite is playing now. Oh no, here it comes "wishing she could call him heartache but it's not a boy's name". Is that not genius? It is. Does it always come down to sleeping with women? Am I abnormal because it doesn't come down to that with me? Or is that I haven't slept with enough women attractive or otherwise to convince me that everything I do including writing these inane twitterings is about women? As Graeme Downes said much more eloquently than Eddie Robb, 'all that I do, more or less, is for some woman's sake'. Is this song a remnant of Paddy's time on the prowl? He's now got a silly Brian Wilson beard. Does he have a sandbox? A Dr Landy of his own? He's still got a marvelous voice. Going merely by the sound of the first single from the new album. Now When Love Breaks Down, the first line just breaks your heart. He has loads of 80s cheese spread throughout the tracks but it's all so elegant and romantic. I am now returned from seeing Mary and Max at the theater. I feel saddened because all I see on the screen is my own reflection. I am alone all of the time. Mainly by choice, but it seems more of an automatic response and condition than a desire. I feel agitated when surrounded by people these days but that is due to their lack of decorum and intense self-interest. People will stop just short of murder to their own advantage and I don't think it would be a great leap to capital offences if the risk of being punished for their indiscretions was deemed low. People are dreadful. There are glorious sorts, Paddy, my friend Kate, but that is nearly the expanse of goodness of this planet. Oh and the director of Mary and Max. What a tremendously melancholic movie, it is a joy to watch, it is so lovely and beautiful, but the content was somewhat harrowing. The saddest animated movie of all time? Possibly. Goodbye Lucille #1. One of the mysteries of Prefab Sprout is the limited amount of space given to Wendy's backing vocals. Paddy is a marvelous singer but he had Wendy, with gorgeous graceful notes to spare and they are only sprinkled sparsely throughout the catalog. Was she working full time to support her family? Did Paddy not share the King of Rock and Roll millions? Paddy was Johnny Marr's drinking buddy. I think. Or was it Billy Bragg? Perhaps they were triumvirate, perhaps Johnny and Paddy needed to slum a bit by hanging out with an unrepentant bolshevik. Was Paddy consumed by jealousy, worried that if Wendy was singing his beautiful songs he might be moved to the background just as Matt Love was with Even As We Speak. How exactly did Mary Wyer end up featured? I mean clearly it was the right decision as she has one of the greatest indiepop voices ever but was it a collective decision or is Matt Love able to step back and be objective about the beautiful songs he toiled upon. I don't know. Even As We Speak have little to do with Prefab Sprout anyhow. Hallelujah. The standard thinking is that this album is front loaded. This line of thinking is incorrect. Desire As is still a few songs away. Hallelujah suffers alongside the singles only by its virtue being mainly obscurity rather than sunshine, hidden on side two, under dust motes and soda can rings. Thomas Dolby agrees with me. I've been reading old interviews with Paddy and he's always been smarter than everyone else. He's strange. He claims to have written hundreds of songs that we'll never hear. I want so to believe him. He lacks on the energy and resources to bring these projects to fruition and so my exasperation turns towards an indifferent world that can't recognize genius in its midst. Pink could probably bring the concept of Earth: The Story so Far to her record label and they would fall over themselves to bring it to birth. But Paddy has to live only his his head, in his heart and then wrestle with all of his feelings of insecurity that wrap themselves around the shadows of his imagination. Moving the River. Maybe not my favorite but it is still marvelous. The production is what dates these things. On Jordan the twinkles seem more timeless, more out of step with fashion. This record is very much of its time. Was that intentional? The songs are bizarre exercies of eccentricity. "Turkey hungry, chicken free". He doesn't much like his own singing voice. It is down to his physical limitations. I think he sings wonderfully and the passion in his uninhibited glee at being deliriously out of step with the rest of the pop world is sustenance enough for gentle hearts to rejoice over. It takes someone secure to play Moving the River in mixed company. When I am moved to play music at work I have lately been playing Sam Cooke gospel music. You can't go wrong with Sam Cooke. Paddy would agree. Turns out Wendy was his girlfriend. At least when the band started. He married. He had children. He had a bout of "seeing the woprld through a teardrop" and was almost nearly blind once upon a time before silicon injections in retinas saved him in time to prevent his descent into darkness. Horsin' Around. Sublime. It's this breezy little number that sounds smarter and more clever than you'll ever realise. Surely there are references I'll never connect, witticisms that will pass me by, heart stirrings will make me merely a mute witness to greatness. Now the middle section, the glamourous crooner bit, hairspray, trumpets and patent leather loafers. There could be an alternate universe where we relive the 80s through the eyes of Prefab Sprout protagonists. They look sharp, smell distinct, glide softly on clouds and the shoulders of angels. I love this song. It could have been one of the ubiquitous ones. It still would have not mattered as to Paddy's stature among the public at large. He'll be the forgotten man. Amity Shlaes could write a novel about him. Graeme Downes could commisserate with him. Ah, Desire As, so deceivingly simple. Double tracked vocals. A devastating opening line. More voices. Ah...The new album is not actually a new album but was meant as the follow-up to Jordan:The COmeback, I am now even more desperate for it. His very own Smile. An essay on Brian Wislon in the liner notes even. Whew. When will Matinee be releasing it then? Oh you've got to get that 19th Bubblegum Splash EP out instead. Oh...I see. I went to lunch today, so many people had invaded my favorite Indian restaurant that I was forced into a change of plans. See above notes on my loathing of the species. I went to a place where I was the only customer. I had gone a few weeks ago during the blizzard and counted ont he weather being the reason for the sparse attendance but today it was reminiscent of tragedy. The two owners proudly served me and offered pleasant conversation while American football played on the television screen. The kitchen seemed a bustle, perhaps the lunch crowd is late arriving in Glendale? Perhaps. I hope so. They could play Prefab Sprout because there isn't anyone in their restaurant to be perplexed over such delicate beauty. Their food is marvelous actually. And Vegetable Samosas on a buffet! Thrilling! "I've got six things on my mind...you're no longer one of them" or "desire is a sylph figured creature who changes her mind' Could someone define Sylph for the lead singer of All American Rejects. Last evening I spent part of the evening with High School students dressed to the nines at a shopping mall. Their new forum. IN tow werre parents, there to worship their dreadful children. Like owners trailing behind pooches with their waste bags in tow. At least a dog returns your love. I am d as dreadful as those I call dreadful. I am aware of this. Blueberry Pies was not playing over the intercom system at the shopping mall. This could pass for smooth jazz. The smartly dressed teens could have lost thier virginity to this, imagine the swell of emotions as they return to the moment in the back seat of a 2003 Toyota Camry when they lost their viriginity to some boy named Hickory. I am finding my heart warmed even as a vicarious dreamer. Next track up already, WHen the Angels. Beautiful. Wendy barely registers in the background, hardly seems fitting for a song about Angels. Paddy the former seminary student seems something of an expert on the topic. He's part of two triumvirates really. In this one we don't include Billy Bragg but Kate Bush and Morrissey. The smartest pop stars in the world ever. After I finished my uneasy crawl through the hordes of 6self indulgent teens I got into my car and listened to the SMiths. It seemed absolutely appropriate. God, it is the most rebellious music ever. The Smiths, yes! Beautiful pop music with lyrics filled with the alienation of being normal when the definition of normal has been perverted to suit the insecurities of those who can't bring themselves towards a distance from the herd. Last evening was the purest distillation of pack mentality. These good people are not guided by their own desires but by the expectations they perceive as being part of some larger whole. And still their children are monsters. I am always alone. I am more observer than participant in the larger scale of existence. I live through books and music and express passions in secret because I can't bring myself to love the world as it is.