October 10, 2006

I wish I had a dream or a nightmare in my head

walker evans, abandoned house, 1973

* Top ten conservative idiots, the Mark Foley edition.

* Serge Gainsbourg's Melody Nelson to be performed live in London in October. It will mark the first time these songs have ever been played live. excerpt:

"He is known to many as 'the filthy-minded Frenchman,' but another side to Serge Gainsbourg will be revealed at the Barbican later this year with the first live performance of his most influential album.

"Gainsbourg made his name in the yé-yé tradition of France's take on Sixties pop, with hits such as 'Bonnie et Clyde' and 'Harley Davidson.' His notoriety in the UK began when Jane Birkin breathed heavily over his No1 hit 'Je t'aime... moi non plus.' In the Eighties, he scandalised TV audiences when on a chat show he talked dirty to Whitney Houston.

"Yet, in between, Gainsbourg showed himself to be a clever lyricist and innovative artist with a concept record that continues to influence musicians today. Nevertheless, were his ghost to be aware of the recent Monsieur Gainsbourg Revisited album, he might well be turning in his grave. Ever the sophisticate, Gainsbourg's sometimes excellent confections were habitually infused with ironic distance. So to hear the usually excellent Cat Power and Karen Elson knowingly revisiting 'I Love You (Me Either),' Gainsbourg's arch musical tête-à-tête, is to experience more than a little ennui. Other interpreters of his songs on the set include Michael Stipe, Jarvis Cocker, Tricky, Franz Ferdinand and Jane Birkin.

"Many years before this supposed trubute, Gainsbourg's early compositions had been revealing a literate mind and a playful musical touch. But nothing prepared his fans for Histoire De Melody Nelson. Released in 1971, its musical arrangements are so involved that they have never been performed live. At least, that is, until October when the BBC Concert Orchestra aims to recreate them. Lyrically, the set is just as ambitious, as Melody tells the story of the narrator's love affair with an English schoolgirl. A narrator in a Rolls Royce knocks Melody off her bike, seduces her, and enjoys a brief romance, cut short when she decides to return to her native Sunderland. Melody dies in a plane crash, possibly caused by narrator's evil thoughts. The album closes with one of the most haunting choral works heard outside of a Gregorian mass.

"France's most celebrated songwriter died in 1991, so his vocal parts are to be sung by Jarvis Cocker, Damon 'Badly Drawn Boy' Gough and the Super Furry Animals frontman Gruff Rhys, all fans of Gainsbourg's masterpiece."

* "A synonym is a word you use when you can't spell the other one." -Baltasar Gracián


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