WAS my Blog (Hey! I’m not really a blog I’m a magazine - but not your usual sort of) Magazine. BLOGZINE. It's stopped being anything now, as of April 9, 2008.
But what is online stays online, and what's here is what happened while it was happening. The Chinese above, in Pinyin, is huānyíng, and it means “Welcome” and it’s meant. The girl (pictured) is my television lawyer, just in case. E&D is (or was) a mix of poetry & reviews and sometimes charmingly gentle rhubarb (sometimes with hot custard); it has a heart of rolled gold & the word ‘acerbic’ (is that related to ‘cynical’?) doesn't come into it. There are music reviews too, of gigs at the local music halls. This bit was on hold for a while because I was in China for two years, but now I'm not, though I'm going back soon. Anyway, everything here is all a kind of mysterious (I’d like to say it’s sensuous but it isn’t) zone of gentle & benign happiness (whatever the hell 'happiness' is), where headaches disappear & people are friends, & your shoes never need cleaning, & I hope you enjoy it.
This is a re-designed site, launched in October 2006. You can view the original website, and all the stuff published there, by clicking here.
Oh, & if you want to find out about my poetry, please go to my Home-From-Home which is a site almost as heavenly as this one.
The Fiery Furnaces have always been pretty good live. The last time I saw them three years ago they were good, even though that particular day was one of the worst days of my recent life (for reasons that I am, of course, not going into here.) Mr Belbin and I have been fans of the FFs since way back when “Gallowsbird's Bark” came out. One feature of their live show has always been how they’d take songs you knew and throw them all into a big bag together and shake them up and then tip them out into a medley of fragments and play it all in a way you’d never heard before and it was exciting and energetic and challenging and the FFs never sound like anybody else.
They still don’t sound like anybody else, but last night what we’d suspected might happen happened. The FF's recent records have been difficult to listen to. To put it another way, the FF's recent records have been pretty much unlistenable. They do a lot of storytelling in their songs, which is good, but they do a lot of stop/start, fast/slow changes that can get tiring, frankly, but most significantly they’ve somewhere lost or abandoned the idea of melody.
What we got at this gig was individual songs, mostly tuneless, if there were stories in the songs it was beside the point because the words were inaudible, and though there were quite often some decent rhythms thumping around you could also rely on it all suddenly stopping for a change of pace, which always means everyone stopping while Matthew plays some tinkly bits on the keyboard for a few seconds.
I like a decent tune, and the only time we got a hint of that was when they did a brief medley of old songs, including a barely recognisable but still great “Tropical Iceland”. Oh, I say the only time, but there was one song late on that started with a quite lovely tune, but they abandoned the tune after about 30 seconds and replaced it with some more of the same thumpy ramblings.
To be honest, the best thing about the evening was Eleanor’s hair. She’s got a new style. Don't look at the picture; it's better than that now, or perhaps it's exactly like that but she'd just had it refreshed. Anyway, it's a very fashionable fringe and the sides are feathered (a technical term I’ve learned from knowing more than a few girls). And it was very shiny and obviously in very good condition. I spent all evening looking at it and waiting for a decent tune.