Late last year, WoW spent several very intense days in a room with one of the world's most remarkable and ridiculous beatboxers, as he attempted to recreate the UK Top 10 from various years in history... using just his voice, his samplers, and occasionally a keyboard.
Dressed in period costume.
And talking to his equipment as if it were a person.
Brendan Mullen, the man behind legendary punk club The Masque – which had its home in WOW's basement – died yesterday of a massive stroke. Which is quite strange, as four days ago he was in my house, well and weaving stories to my housemates about obscure gigs and the Red Hot Chili Peppers biography he was writing.
"Amid the chaos, the ODs, and the flashes of genius that made up the scene, there was always Brendan, a free-spirited Scotsman and troublemaker who survived the chaos and, amazingly, managed to remember nearly all of it." (via Caroline Ryder)
I've seen the future. And it's a flashing clarinet-guitar.
Eigenharp's claim to be "the most revolutionary new musical instrument
of the last 60 years" got me excited. However, just as the first displays of synthesizers didn't really indicate
their awesome power to wreck the dancefloor, I don't think anyone can believe that this display justifies the 8 years that it's taken for Eigenlabs to create their platypus of an instrument.
Watch this reasonably baffling BBC video to find out more, but don't think you won't remain confused about why it has a blowhole.
Rainbow, the British Sesame Street, was no stranger to scandal, particularly when it came to sidekicks Rod, Jane, and Freddy. Rod began the series married to Jane, and ended up married to Freddy, with talk of a decidedly post-watershed crossover period in the interim.
One year, the team made a pre-Avenue Q, post-sexploitation X-rated X-mas party special, meant only for the team. I'm sure they found it hilarious.
In England, our heritage is kept alive by reenactment societies, who
hold dull performances in light drizzle during poorly attended county
fairs. The best we can hope for is the odd accidental death. It's taken
me a journey of more than 5,000 miles to really experience how life
was back home when men were men, and all the girls wore tiaras.
Medieval Times isn't for everyone, though. If you hate children, for
instance. Or if you can tell the difference between a real fight, and
one in which a knight ducks even before his attacker has even begun to
swing his battleaxe.
Clearly most Americans don't fit into either of these camps, as
Medieval Times' giant plastic castle, covered with realistic plastic
ivy, is usually booked full. These people aren't there just to watch,
either. Everyone is assigned one of six knights to cheer for (and given the corresponding paper crown), and our fellow time travelers
don't take this challenge lightly. Before their knight is even out,
many fathers and sororities are already off their chairs, screaming
incredibly aggressive insults at the green knight. This escalates so
far that I am not surprised that they put down screens for the final
joust-off in fear of a pitch invasion / access to the weapons strewn
across the sawdust.
There is a reasonably baffling, hackneyed story. There is falconry. There is food you must eat with your hands,
including a Medieval BBQ rib. There are incredibly expensive gifts you feel you must buy.
of all, though, are the announcements read out before the final
showpiece. I am shocked by how many significant wedding anniversaries
are celebrated here. It turns out the very elderly couple next to us
are there on honeymoon. Finally: "Welcome to Lady Sarah Hampshire who
is here celebrating her divorce." The crowd erupts in applause, for the
first and last time, in unison.
Anyway, while at Medieval Times there's a
gigantic skew towards entertainment over realism, the spirit of a
crazed feudal fayre was far more present there than in any limp British
affair. The only anachronism that really mattered was that the bar
closed at 9:30. That would never have happened.
As I'm sure Michael Bay agrees, any experience can be made better through a bit of dramatic music. I'm more apprehensive though about whether the best way to dramatize an
experience is through the medium of song. Although I'm not personally
acquainted with the man, I reckon Michael agrees on this one too.
I was a little unsure when I (literally) stumbled across a sign for Octomom: The Musical in LA the other day. I was even more unsure when I actually watched a video of it. Now I read that Burning Man, an experience virtually impossible to describe without actually going there, is to be turned into an opera. The demo MP3 of The Burning Opera starts with a barber-shop choir singing the text on the back of the ticket. Previews start this month.
I arrived back from Burning Man last Monday. Only now do I have the energy to post up a few photos for your enjoyment.
If I had just one piece of advice to give you, it would be to book next year's Burning Man right now. Not for the sex, nor for the drugs, not for the fact that you will talk to everyone and anyone, the odd art, the wild 'art cars,' playing croquet in the desert, the people you don't realise are performance artists until it's too late, not even for the unlimited free bars open 24 hours a day.
It's just that they have a fantastic ice-cream stand.