With just nine days left until I get on a plane to Shanghai, I’m basically spending all my spare time making mix CDs for the
same-sex civil partnership registration celebratory event lesbian wedding disco which I’ll be missing during Christmas week.
Happily, the brides-to-be and most of their guests are of the same fortysomething vintage as myself. This means that I can keep to the tried and tested old chestnuts, without being obliged to “drop” any of that scary avant-garde modern stuff, like Oasis or The Prodigy.
(Although I have let myself go with a little bit of Robbie Williams. It’s a risk which I’m prepared to take.)
(And, no – I know they’re lesbians, but I have not included “Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves”. I may not have been to many lesbian discos recently, but I reckon I can spot a “Hi-Ho Silver Lining” when I see one.)
Anyway, despite being up to my gills in 1970s disco and 1980s electro-pop, I have still found time to serve up a little light linkage for you.
1. For the local crowd: EatNottingham.com is a blog which bills itself as “one man’s epic quest to eat at every decent restaurant in the English City of Nottingham.” The writer in question – despite sporting a bow-tie of a disturbingly virulent hue – is clearly a chap after my own heart, food-wise at least, and I found myself whizzing through all his archives in mere minutes.
2. I’m linking to Stylus Magazine’s Top 50 Singles of 2005 for the second time this week, as we have now reached Numbers 20 to 11, and they have seen fit to include my pithy deconstruction of the post-modernist phenomenon that is Miss Rachel “Her Out Of S Club” Stevens. Incidentally, there will be more from me about the whole end-of-year list-making process, appearing soon in Another Place. Details as we get them.
3. Finally, regular readers will no doubt have found this for themselves already, but just in case… you do know ‘Tis the Season is back again, don’t you? It’s blogging’s very own Advent Calendar, with a Christmas-themed post for every day in December, and with four contributors this year instead of the usual two. I shall be reading it every day when I’m in Hangzhou, in order that I might at least experience the Festive Season vicariously. Maybe I’ll take a handful of pine needles over with me, to crush in my palm and inhale whilst reading. (Inhale the aroma, that is. Not the actual needles. Way too hardcore.)
Rachel Stevens – Negotiate With Love
This bears the distinction of earning the year’s highest score on the UK Singles Jukebox—and with good reason, as it encapsulates all the noblest qualities of that much beleaguered old war-horse: Manufactured Pop. Observe, if you will, the classic dynamic tension at work here. Strutting her stuff on the telly, we have the dutifully pouting yet curiously absent FHM-babe cipher that is Rachel: emotionally disengaged, pleasantly under-performed, not quite getting it. But of course, she’s the decoy. Some of us have almost tuned her out, concentrating our attention on the sharp, inventive, gleefully over-performed composition/arrangement/production job. As with Xenomania’s work with Girls Aloud, you sense that these are people who know and love their pop music, its history and its heritage. Indeed, there are so many witty little nods and references on show, that you almost feel yourself being personally nudged and winked at from behind the mixing desk. Thus, while Rachel woos the masses (with conspicuous lack of success, judging by this year’s lousy chart positions), so her backroom boys flatter the cognoscenti, the poptimists, and the gentlemen of a certain age who never quite stopped loving Kim Wilde and Dollar.