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Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

It's just a comic, not much more

In the wake of reports that the News of the World — Britain’s “biggest-selling” newspaper — is finally shutting up shop this weekend after 168 years in business, it seems only right to feature this song (below).  Released in 1978, News of the World, the song, reached number 27 in the UK singles chart.  It’s what I hear in my head when anybody mentions the newspaper it’s critiquing, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.  Not just a rocking tune, but some sage 1970s wisdom regarding tabloid journalism too.  And a video filmed at Battersea Power Station.

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I was visiting friends in Brighton this past weekend.  We heard the news on Saturday morning that Gil Scott-Heron had passed away and I’m guessing we weren’t the only folks who immediately went to YouTube and played this song, loud.  Here is an obituary from the Sunday New York Times, and here is a lengthy profile from The New Yorker from last year that talks among other things about Scott-Heron’s struggles with addiction and smoking crack.  Doesn’t look like the cause of death has been released yet, but he was apparently HIV-positive and had been previously hospitalized with pneumonia.

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U.K. Subs – Warhead

U.K. Subs - Warhead

Some songs are just burned in your brain, like it or not.  This one is in mine.  Chances are I saw the below performance on Top of the Pops from 1980 at the time.  It used to be on at 7pm on Thursday.  This was still before music videos were widespread and you had to sit through a lot of crap to see a few good songs, if you were lucky.  And the music wasn’t even live.  The performers mimed and pretended to play, and half the time they didn’t appear at all, and we got to see some interpretive dance instead.  The audience pretended to be fooled, except in cases like this one, where they just look bored.

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We Hunt on 15th Ave NW

Pacific Tax plies its trade on 15th Ave NW in Ballard, on the particularly forlorn stretch north of NW 65th Street.  Terracotta and really any type of architectural detailing is in short supply on this street.  But it’s only fairly recently that I noted this detail, which I initially thought said “We Hunt.”  Accountants who hunt: what is this, Montana?  (I’m giving Pacific Tax the benefit of the doubt here and assuming they’re actually accountants.)

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Train in Vain

Train in Vain

I drove out to Walla Walla in southeastern Washington a couple of times last year, and both times noticed this train, seemingly abandoned, near the town of Touchet.  Trains don’t get much use in eastern Washington, despite all the grain exported from the region.  Why use rail, when you have the “Columbia-Snake River System?”  Here are some interesting “facts” (pdf) about the system from the Pacific Northwest Waterways Association.  Hmm.  Strange: no mention of fish. 

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Singer-songwriter Gerry Rafferty, best known for the above song, passed away today after a long illness.  He was 63 years old.  I mention this here because I’ve always had a soft spot for Baker Street.  I gave my sister the 7″ for Christmas 1978.  And it has added significance these days now that I actually live on Baker Street.  Baker Street in Ballard that is.  Here is a lengthy obituary from The Guardian.  And here’s a link to the wikipedia entry on Baker Street (song).

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I have to admit I’m not a big fan of The New Yorker‘s Food Issue.  The most recent one featured fermented food, root vegetables, depression-era kitchens, blah, blah, blah.  With that kind of choice, no wonder I settled on the article about New York gastropubs.  And I was rewarded with the following:

Gastropubs had started cropping up in the early nineties, when a generation of young British chefs decided they’d like something more appealing to accompany their two pints of lager than a packet of crisps.

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