A personal diary keeping people abreast of what I am working on writing-wise.

Monday, April 03, 2006


Morrissey Watch: The new album, Ringleader of the Tormentors, is out tomorrow, and the first single came out last week. "You Have Killed Me" has three B-sides.

My favorite is "I Knew I Was Next." It's the sort of top-notch treat I have come to expect Morrissey to tuck away on the back of a single--an amiable rocker with a wavy melody. There's no great innovation, but none is needed with such a catchy hook. In keeping with his latest lyrical obsessions, "I Knew I Was Next" is all about rising up in the face of negativity. "And when you've slapped around the one more slap can't hurt you..."

"Good Looking Man About Town" reminds me of classic Bona Drag-era Bs. The sound is distant and echoey, with Middle-Eastern, sci-fi siren FX. The filter on the vocal matches the alienation of the song, the delivery possibly taunting rather than sympathetic, looking without rather than within. The sound grows even more distant with the refrain of the never-said "Marry me, marry me," the dream--and the clarity--getting further and further away. Only when Moz insists that "the dream becomes sand in my hands" does all the emotion, ironically, crystalize. All is of one piece in a world of anxiety.

Rounding it out is a cover of the New York Dolls track "Human Being." I think this is the third cover Morrissey has done of one of their songs ("Trash," "Subway Train," any others?), but the first done in the studio. The mood is raucous, with an opening countdown in Italian (Spanish? I'm no linguist, though I am cunning). Morrissey captures the intensity of the original (which Christopher kindly sent to me), letting its strengths stand tall rather than working it over too much to make it his own. The lyrics are kind of a mouthful, but he seems to relish every syllable. It's clearly the fulfillment of some teenage dream. He spits out the word "ain't" as if bad grammar is the greatest rebellion of all time, asserting our own humanity the most radical idea in this mechanical new world ("from machine to machine")!

Speaking of...

Also out Tuesday is the DVD of the documentary on the bass player for the New York Dolls, Arthur "Killer" Kane. New York Doll tracks Kane's history from the inception of the band through its implosion, and through Kane's dark years and his rediscovery of himself, leading up to the band's reunion in 2004. Since Morrissey, probably the biggest Dolls fan in history, was responsible for bringing the remaining band members back together, he's all over this thing, and the DVD packaging trumpets its exclusive twenty-minute interview with him wherever it can be squeezed in. Which, fine enough: he's elegant and eloquent throughout, the fannish joy the Dolls still bring him obvious in his eyes. It's actually quite special to hear hm talk about them, to communicate how music affected him in the same way he has so many others.

But the true star of the movie is Kane himself. He's a genuinely sweet man, and representative of every kid who ever dreamed of being part of something special. Seeing him realize his dream of getting on stage and playing the songs one more time is heartwarming viewing. The ending is a little bittersweet, but yet tidy and perfect in its own way. It's essential viewing for anyone who has ever had a special connection with a band and its music.

My package with both the Moz album and single shipped today, and in with it is the newly released DVD of The Nun's Story, starring Audrey Hepburn. I took a weirdly perverse pleasure in ordering these items together. But then, Morrissey forgave Jesus and is now on speaking terms with God, so surely he would approve?

Working On: Manga script for Go! Comi.

Blog Addition: The awesome Teddy Kristiansen now has an art blog.

Currently Reading: Bonjour Tristesse by Francoise Sagan (2nd edition hardcover, 1955)

And where, pray tell, are my video picks for April? Well, Trilogy Video has changed ownership, and this month we are having a tribute to our departing manager, Jake Kelly, instead of employee picks. This means my choice of Bambi for the "Little April Showers" song will be a month late, but oh, well...

Current Soundtrack: a mix of Morrissey, Babyshambles/The Libertines, Lara Michell, Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins, Antony & the Johnsons, The Decemberists, Belle & Sebastian, Dot Allison, and Depeche Mode

Current Mood: exanimate

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[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2006 Jamie S. Rich

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