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Tom Ze

PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 4:03 pm
by Gordon Neill
Howard suggested:

I'd like to request that Gordon track down the old Brazilian surrealist to see if he can get a sensible word out of him. Failing that, one of the long-legged soul sub-divas would do.

I’m always eager to please and, in response to Howard’s request, I managed to get an interview with Tom Ze. To be honest, I went for a long-legged soul diva, at first. But they’re pretty thin on the ground in Fife. Actually, that’s not really true. They’re quite short and stumpy in this part of the world. And even when you do find one, they tend to be surrounded by camera crews, DJs, journalists, and overseas adoption agencies. The usual hangers on.

So I just had to make do with Tom Ze, one of the truly great artists of the past 50 years whose surname starts with ‘z’. An avante-garde artist sometimes compared to Captain Beefheart, he is in fact closer to Frank Zappa, the Zombies, Zager and Evans, and Lena Zavaroni. But quite…. um…. interesting and, contrary to expectations, he doesn’t smell of pee. To be honest, though, I think Howard sold me a pup. Professional jealousy, no doubt. This was the toughest interview I’ve done so far. Still, it’s all good experience. Anyway, here’s the rough transcript. Clearly, I’ll have to do a bit of tidying up. I'd like to think that all of Tom Ze's words were sensible, but just a bit ahead of their time.

TZ Not at all. I’ve enjoyed it very much.
G Er….
TZ Similar to yourself, Socrates used the question as an argumentative tool. In your hands, it is a tiny surgeon’s scalpel and I am alive and dissected by you. Not that this is a cruel act without an objective.
G Um… sorry, I haven’t actually asked you a question yet. This is a bit…. um…….. er…. How small is the surgeon?
TZ I don’t believe that it is important to understand all the references, especially when there are diverse layers of significance, mainly the non-verbal significators, the mythological references, the indirect, the shockingly noticeable.
G Absolutely……….I couldn’t agree more or …. er…..disagree less. Eh…. no, hang on, I’m not sure if I got that the right way round……
TZ I have constructed an instrument made of triggered typewriters, blenders, radios and floor sanders that took up two swarms of bees. The sound was so beautiful that it brought tears to my eyes.
G Actually, my mum said something similar. But…….
TZ I ask you to publish the questions, even though to a certain extent they teach journalism. The reader will be able to see firsthand the art of asking questions with a totally different point of view, and a type of metamorphosis of the different segments
G Er…. Yes… I’ll definitely publish the questions. Definitely. Er… I believe that R&B singer Amerie plays guitar on your new single ‘Take Control’. How did that………Oh, hang on, I’m not sure if I got that the right way round. Er….
TZ I was born alongside an operatic representation which, following in the tradition of the medieval European nobleman, throws out the arabs.
G Er…. Was Spike Jones an important influence?
TZ The ficus leave is not a traditional instrument, but a toy that children play with. I worked with the toy until I was converted into an instrument.
G I mean there are some similarities, although your stuff isn’t as funny.
TZ My music is work and not pleasure for me.
G Me as well.
TZ That attracts me enormously, because musical discourse sustains one’s tensions or, in other words, with dominants, subdominants, modulations etc. The induced harmony provokes a sensation of tension even when we are alone. It invites the listener to ‘correct’ the harmony. Right away the errors become apparent on purpose.
G Er….. so are your CDs a bit cheaper then?
TZ The fact that it is not completed is because I did not hope that I could resolve the complexity of the problems between men and women or, more specifically, I couldn’t reach closure on these problems.
G I believe that you were jailed twice during the sixties by the military junta. Did they not like your records? It seems a bit harsh.
TZ A woman nowadays is slightly suspicious. She is always tense, worried, and confronted with a potential enemy. An attitude created due to the psychological context of this situation in society.
G Eh…. moving on…. I notice that you recent album has….
TZ I am too low to get up, but too high to fall off. I’m making it clear to confuse you. I’m going blind so I can guide.
G Right…… I notice that some of your songs are really short. ‘Um Oh a Um Ah’ is 52 seconds, and ‘Cademar’ is only 45 seconds. Although they seem much longer. It’s quite clever. Sort of like Dr Who’s Tardis. What’s the shortest song that you’ve ever……
TZ I’d just like to apologise in advance. I confess that I am scared at the fury of the questions which you might ask of me.
G Um………
TZ Oh.
G A… um…….
TZ Ah.
G Oh.

PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 8:29 pm
by howard male
Thanks, Gordon. That was delicious. And thanks also for clearing up the Amerie question - I think...

PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 8:35 pm
by Gordon Neill
I can assure you, Howard, there's several minutes' research goes into every interview. According to Wickedpedia: a guitar riff from Zé's song "Jimmy, Renda-se" is sampled on R&B singer Amerie's song Take Control.

PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 8:39 pm
by howard male
I've just googled it too and I'm delighted to report that Amerie has actually used the artwork from Ze's 1973 album 'Todos Os Olhos' for the cover of her new single. I don't imagine that her or her record company are aware that it's actually a picture of Mr Ze's anus with a marble inserted into it.

Lost his marbles...

PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 8:44 pm
by Gordon Neill
Er... I'd like to thank you, Howard, on behalf of the SOTW community for that image. Who would have guessed? Was it the result of a childhood accident?

PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 9:14 pm
by howard male
Gordon N wrote -

Was it the result of a childhood accident?

I think it was more the result of a perverse socio-politically surreal sensibility. Or maybe he was just having a laugh. And he did have the last laugh when the album cover went up in shops across Brazil due to the fact the image looks sufficiently abstract and psychedelic to suggest a planet floating in the void or something.

Once the truth came out, the displays came down, and I believe that Ze's expulsion from the official history of the Tropicalia movement had a lot to do with this prank which essentially made fun of the over strict censorship rules of the time.

Gary Moore

PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 1:57 pm
by Gordon Neill
A while back, Gordon Moore suggested that I interview Gary Moore and in a shoe shop of all places. I didn’t give the matter any more thought. But I happened to be in the Cowdenbeath branch of Dolcis on Saturday and had one of those strange encounters, almost as bizarre as Howard being charged £5 for some shopping. One of those extraordinary coincidences that can only be down to fate. Or feet, I suppose. It wasn’t really an interview. In fact I think Gary ended up asking most of the questions. But I wasn’t expecting to meet him. And I’m still not sure who he is, to be honest. But I think I handled the situation quite well and avoided any cheap jokes about sole music.

G Hi. I’d like a pair of these blue suede……. Er… excuse me… you’re not? Are you?
GM That’s right. Gary Moore. Ha ha.
G Oh sorry. No. I thought you were someone else. Sorry…….
GM Eh…..
G ……….although it is a bit strange that you have the same surname. And the same leather jacket with tweed elbow patches. Even weirder, he says he’s your number one fan. I mean, you can’t get much weirder than that.
GM I like the sound of that. ‘Number one fan’. A chap with good taste. Ha ha.
G Not really. Remember that film ‘Misery’? Tied to the bed? Leg smashed with an axe? Forced to play all his favourite solos on a toy banjo? That kind of number one fan.
GM Well, thankfully I don’t know any maths teachers like that. Ha ha.
G I didn’t say that he was a maths teacher.
GM Oh shit.
G What’s going on?
GM Look for God’s sake keep quiet about this. I’m between albums at the moment. It’s bad enough being a shoe shop assistant. But if word got out that I’ve been a maths teacher, I’d be ruined. I’d end up on ‘Celebrity Love Island’ or something.
G Who are you, again?
GM Gary Moore.
G That old astronomy bloke on the telly?
GM No. Gary Moore. World famous guitarist. I played with Thin Lizzy for a while.
G Gosh. Was that you on ‘Whiskey In the Jar’? That was really good.
GM No that was someone else. And I’ve played with Peter Green, you know, the original Fleetwood Mac.
G Oh yeah, the guitar on ‘Albatross’ was terrific. Was that…..?
GM No. But I bought that 1959 Les Paul guitar off him. I’ve taken it apart and discovered the secret of his magic. Its all to do with the coils. Not the pickup being turned backwards as most rock historians have argued. Get this, its two coils had been reconnected in parallel and out of phase. Absolute genius. The neck pick up magnet had been reversed! With his secret, I can rule the world. I’ll show them. If I could just work out how to put the thing back together again. There’s a couple of screws loose.
G I know. But I don’t get it. Why are you pretending to be your own number one fan, Bobby?
GM Gary. Gary Moore. I’m not pretending. I am my number one fan.
G But how come you keep appearing on our website?
GM Well…. I just use these aliases to raise my profile. It’s just a bit of harmless fun. I sign up to these music websites and every now and then throw in some stuff about me and how great my new album is and only £11.99 at Woolworths, WH Smith and other leading retailers.
G So that’s it, Michael? You’re your only number one fan?
GM Gary. Gary Moore. No, I’ve got another number one fan in Denmark. He’s written a 600 page biography of me. ‘The Lord of the Strings’. So there.
G 600 pages. I must admit that is pretty impressive.
GM Well, obviously, that includes the 595 page discography as well. Appendix A is in alphabetical order, Appendix B is in chronological order, and Appendix C lists all the trains he saw between 1992 and 2006. It’s a very thorough piece of research and highly readable, or at least it would have been if the publishers hadn’t used such a small font size and insisted on using Times New Roman when I made it clear that Ariel was by far the better option, and that the text really needed to be justified..
G You mean it was you? You wrote your own biography. And in Danish?
GM No. Not in Danish. In Denmark. I was resident guitarist at Legoland for a couple of months. It was just a bit of harmless fun. Hopefully it’s helped to raise my profile a bit.
G But why the shoe shop? Surely even a man with your background could have got something better. Your own newsagent, perhaps. Or one of those shops that cuts keys.
GM No no. I’m just doing some research. I’m doing a cover version of Bobby Bland’s ‘Shoes’ on my next album and I just wanted to get into the part properly. You know, how Marlon Brando was a method actor? Well I’m a method guitarist. I need to get into the part. Really feel the shoes.
G Oh, that reminds me, I’d really like to get into these shoes, please. Size 9.
GM Yeah yeah. In a minute. Listen. You want to win a copy of my latest CD? Pop quiz. Five questions?
G Can I say ‘no’, Brian?
GM Incorrect answer. And it’s Gary. Gary Moore. What’s the name of my latest album?
G Erm……’No Moore Please’?…. ‘Moore Than Enough’?
GM No. It’s called ‘Close As You Get’.
G Is it any good?
GM Well, it has described as being ‘filled with the kind of chiselled bravado that only experience can afford’.
G Gosh.
GM Next question, name my top ten hit single.
G Um….’Albatross in the Jar’. Oh no, that wasn’t you. Er….
GM What is a beefburger guitar?
G Um…I’ve really no idea. What is it?
GM Actually, I don’t know either. I was just hoping that you might. OK. You seem like a nice chap. Here’s an easy one. What’s my name?
G Er…sorry. I’ve got a memory like a sieve. Sorry.
GM I’m afraid you’ve scored zero points and missed out on a free copy of my latest album. But you do get a consolation prize. Do you know what it is?
G Two copies of your latest album?
GM You guessed didn’t you? That was just a lucky guess……

PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2007 2:37 pm
by howard male
Hurry, Gordon! I just saw Bebel Gilberto in the West Norwood Sainsburys buying some two-for-the-price-of-one salmon steaks. She wouldn't have anything to do with me, even though I said I knew you - kind of. I suppose she's getting her Omega 3 levels up in preperation for her concert at the Barbican on Friday. Ask her if she could sing louder if she wanted to. She was checking out the smoothies, just past the eggs and milk.

PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2007 10:43 am
by Gordon Moore
I've had a message from GM. He says:

Could that weird bloke with the wellies, the goat, and the Lulu badge, please come and collect his shoes. Oh and could he return the albums he borrowed.

end of message.


PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2007 9:40 pm
by Gordon Neill
I was pleased to arrange to meet up with Malouma, just as the news was breaking of her success in being awarded the SOTW album of last month award. I had to get the bus into Edinburgh, but I feel that it was worth the expense. She was quite emotional about it all. She seemed to need constant reassurance that her album wasn’t complete rubbish. I hope that I was able to provide some comfort, in my own rough and ready manner.

G Congratulations on winning the SOTW album of the month award. You must be very proud.
M Eh.. the SOTW award?
G The Sound Of The World. ‘Yesterday’s news today’. You must be very proud.
M Yeah, definitely. It’s ehm… a great honour. Eh… the Sound of the World?
G Yeah. You know like the Golden Globes, how they’re really rubbish and completely lack credibility?
M Oh sure. They are just nonsense. These people are just idiots. They know nothing about music.
G Well the SOTW is chosen by a panel of world music experts. It’s widely recognised as a step towards getting a Golden Globe.
M Really? A panel of experts?
G Well, it’s just Charlie, actually. But he knows his stuff. There was nothing else in the shops that he fancied so he hardly hesitated in plumping for your one.
M So you guys like my album then?
G Well, according to Charlie the ‘rock tone and attack are as intrusive as a car alarm’. I think that speaks volumes.
M Eh… that doesn’t sound as if he likes it
G I can see where your coming from. His comment is a bit careless and ambiguous. I think what he was trying to say is that lots of people like the sound of car alarms. I mean, if you think about it, they really grab the listener’s attention, they have a steady rhythm and, particularly from a distance, they don’t sound too bad. He was probably just excited and a bit hasty in not proof reading his review.
M Hmmm. I’m not so sure about this Charlie person.
G No no. There’s more. Get this: ‘I believe she is one of the great singers of our time. She hasn’t previously made an album to confirm such a claim and unfortunately……’ Oh. Sorry. I think that must be a typo.
M But you like the album, yes?
G Well, I haven’t finished it yet……
M What do you mean, you haven’t finished it?
G Well, you know, It’s terrific stuff by all accounts. Apart from Charlie’s, possibly. But don’t get me wrong. I love it. I just feel that I’ve got to take it in small doses.
M But you do like it?
G Absolutely. It’s terrific stuff. But I’ve been quite busy recently. I mean there dishes that need to get washed, carpets to get hoovered.
M It doesn’t sound like you like it that much either…
G No no. It’s just that it’s a very…um…. inspiring album. It’s changed my life. I mean, my house is much tidier. You should really put a sticker on the front cover. There’s a whole market out there of idle men who need to be inspired. Especially at this time of year, there’s lots of spring cleaning to be done, getting the garden under control. That sort of thing. I think your album could really appeal to women.
M Eh, right…. thanks.
G And, you know, you could get some quotes for the back sleeve. Or at least make them up. You know, something like…. ‘at last, the lazy blighter has cleaned out the septic tank’ or ‘our sex life has been transformed’.
M Right…
G Although, obviously, there’s some people that it won’t suit. I mean, for some women it could just bring back umpleasant memories. But you can just ignore that feedback. Just be selective.
M Well that’s very interesting, but I don’t think I’ll be able to attend any presentation ceremony. I’m quite busy at the moment. I’ve got to take the dog to the vets and I’ve just got so much ironing to…
G No, no. SOTW doesn’t stand on ceremonies, or sit on them, or anything. It wouldn’t be practical. We scour the entire planet every month for the very best in pop music that no-one else can be bothered about. It would be a nightmare getting the thousands of artists together. Besides, we wouldn’t want to listen to all those tedious acceptance speeches, would we? All that stuff about world peace? And there’s always the risk of sobbing. You’re not feeling like peeling an onion, are you?
M Well, actually..... I am feeling a little bit upset. I’m sorry, but I….
G Well let’s get this over with quickly then. It’s embarrassing watching grown adults blubbing. It can be funny, of course. But at SOTW we’d rather not laugh at our pop stars. Not in public. Not when they’re baring their soul, or whatever. But, if you want, you could give me some words just now.
M Eh…. well….. thanks, I…
G Oh brilliant! Liverpool just scored! Brilliant! Oh no. Kuyt was just offside. Eh... sorry... what we're you saying?
M I... I... I was just thanking....
G That’s fine. That’ll do nicely. Nice and short. Unlike some of the tracks on your album. Ha ha.
M Uh.... if there’s no ceremony.... what’s involved then? Do I get some money?
G No. That would be sordid, wouldn’t it? We don’t like to mix grubby commerce with the world of art and pop records. It would compromise your integrity.
M Oh....... So what do I get then?
G Well you get a picture of your album cover on the website. Eventually. And not just for a month. It gets archived alongside all the other hopeful winners of previous years. It’ll always be there to show to your children in future years, when they refuse to believe that you ever amounted to anything. Oh, and you get this trophy. You can keep it on your mantelpiece. If you have a mantelpiece. Wherever you keep your precious thngs.
M Eh….. I… I…… thanks.
G I’m afraid you’ll have to get it engraved yourself. We’re trying to cut down on costs. You know, global warming and that. Something appropriate. ‘SOTW best not bad album, April 2007’. Something like that. Whatever.
M The little figure on it….. it looks like he’s a footballer.
G Actually, it’s judo, but it’s an easy mistake to make. Yeah, we got a bulk discount at a sports shop. I thought it looked like he was dancing.
M Right… I…….. I……. I’m sorry… I think I’ll have to…..
G Oh dear. You’ve started crying, haven’t you? It’s an emotional time for you, I know. I think we better stop now. The second half's starting. But congratulations. You must be very proud.

Tony Blair

PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2007 12:14 am
by Gordon Neill
At such a busy time, it was remarkable that Tony Blair was willing to spare some time for the SOTW Forum. I happen to live in Gordon Brown's consituency and I think Tony was on his way to meet the dour one and give him some much needed tips on how to grin convincingly. But I'd also like to think that Tony still remembers his roots as an aspiring guitarist and has a soft spot for nerds like us.

GN You started out as a student, with ambitions to be a professional musician. Remarkably, all these years later, you have ended with a lucrative career as a lawyer and one of Britain’s longest-serving Prime Ministers. Where did it all go wrong?
TB Well, I would dispute that it has gone wrong at all. I would say that I have continued my deep and sincere commitment to music.
GN Eh.. fair enough. But when you first came to power in 1997, you put forward a vision for Britain. ‘Tough on pop, tough on the causes of pop’. Do you feel that you have succeeded?
TB I think……. we have done very well. After 10 years, with many pressures on us, our proposals are….still intact. And there’s not many people could say that.
GN Well that's true. What do you see as your main achievements?
TB Well…..I think our record speaks for itself.
GN Um… could you at least provide some subtitles?
TB Well. No one is pretending that there isn’t work still to be done. But I think we can all recognise that we live in a much different world. Let’s not forget that Britain had to go cap in hand to the IMF, the International Musical Fund. But the Labour government has made a real difference. ‘Top of the Pops’ is now a thing of the past. The number of axe wielding maniacs has been reduced by 45% since we came to power. A new national curriculum and performance targets to suggest that we are doing well are now firmly established. And when was the last time that anyone threatened to bring out a concept album?
GN Hmmm. That is true. And we can be grateful for that. But some people would say you have really just presided over an enormous increase in spin.
TB Well, in a democratic society people are entitled to express their wrong views. That is our strength, and it helps to identify the troublemakers. But I would just point out that I have personally witnessed the introduction of mp3 players, and on a massive scale. Turntables are now a thing of the past. Although I would be the first to accept that we need to remain vigilant against the vinyl nerds.
GN Hmmm. That’s true. Good point. But what about the new emerging industries? Do you think you’ve done enough to equip us with pop charts fit for the 21st Century?
TB Well, I think that Oasis, Blur and the Spice Girls would be the first to acknowledge the key role that I played in meeting them. I can’t think that David Cameron has met anyone important. And as for the Lib Dems and the Cheeky Girls!
GN But do you feel that you’ve been successful in dealing with the Eurosceptics? Despite all our best efforts, Britain has had a dismal record in the Eurovision song contest.
TB Well, I would say that ‘dismal’ is overstating matters. It is fair to say that we have not won every year since I became Prime Minister. But it is not simply about ‘winning’, it’s also about taking part. I don’t think that even David Cameron could deny that we have successfully taken part every year since we came to power. I would also say that there are some green shoots of revival. Let’s not forget that it was only in 2003 that we came last. Scooch’s second equal last represents real progress. I think that the massive investment that we have made in the pop sector will benefit generations to come.
GN Do you think that you made any mistakes over the past 10 years?
TB Well clearly we shouldn’t have allowed Margaret Beckett to sing at the party conference.
GN No, that wasn’t your finest hour. Or however long it lasted.
TB Absolutely. Cabinet ministers should be seen and not heard.
GN Are you concerned about the immigration figures? A lot of people are worried that our pop charts are becoming too crowded.
TB No. I think everyone would accept that we now have a high wage economy. A lot of people nowadays are too busy chattering on the interweb or eating crisps. They simply don't have the time to grow their hair and bash something out on a guitar. The introduction of new talent, and at cheaper rates, from overseas has been a major boost to our pop charts. I would remind you that since 1997 I have overseen the introduction of the Bueno Vista Social Club, Rachid Taha, and Amadou & Mariam. I think our society has been greatly enriched by their pop songs.
GN Are you claiming credit for their achievements?
TB Well, it wouldn’t be fair for me to take all the credit for my success. Clearly, individuals have played their instruments. And very well, if I may say so. But my government has played a crucial role in providing the right environment to encourage these great artists to provide their catchy tunes.
GN Fair enough. But what about Iraq? Do you not have any regrets.

TB Absolutely not. The search for the lost chord will continue. I am absolutely convinced that we will find it. It may be in a 100 years, long after we've all forgotten about it. But it will turn up. After all, our military bands are the envy of the world. They are professionals and they will complete the task that we have given them.
GN There has been an ugly rumour, Prime Minister, that you have plans to return to your musical career. Some of your enemies have gone so far as to claim that you’re going to form a band with Bill Clinton. Can you assure us that this isn’t the case?
TB Well, if I may say so, I really don’t think that is the key issue. The media is too concerned about personalities. No, I will decide when the time comes to do whatever Bill decides. Ideally, we would like UN approval but only if they approve. Ultimately, however, we will just have to decide what is right for us. That is the burden of responsibility which goes with being a great leader.
GN And finally, Prime Minister, what is your favourite sit-down-and-don’t-listen record?
TB ‘Things Can Only Get Better’ by D:Ream. I used this back in 1997 as my rallying song. I would put it to you that it remains as relevant to our modern world as it ever did.
GN Hmmm. That’s true. Good point.

PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2007 10:24 am
by Rob Hall
You've excelled yourself Gordon. I nominate you as the Forum's very own Jeremy Paxperson.

Julie Fowlis

PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2007 1:00 am
by Gordon Neill
Occasionally I get to escape from my office and visit some of the interesting parts of Scotland. However, last week I ended up in Stornoway. Unusually, it was raining heavily (as opposed to just steadily) and the ground was getting very soggy (it was a relief to get back to terra firmer later in the day). Anyway, I was sheltering in a nearby chip shop when I happened to bump into Julie Fowlis. I think she was there with her school chums getting her lunch. If you don’t know yet, she’s the new singing sensation from North Uist. Which I think is the pointy bit on the top left of the Western Isles. Although, obviously, it depends on what direction you’re coming from. Or facing. And now I think about it, the Western Isles is full of pointy bits. Anyway, the thing is she’s from there, wherever it is exactly. It doesn’t matter really. Just accept that it’s somewhere, out of harm’s way.

G Congratulations on your new CD. It’s really great.
JF Isthatrightmister?
G Erm…… yes…..I really like the first track, you know. I think it’s called Hug Air….. er…..hang on, I’ve got it written down somewhere…… ah yes……Hug Air a Bhonaid Mhoir….. erm… I’m not sure if I pronounced that right?
JF Youareabonnymoron.
G Ah, right. Thanks. Anyway, it’s the fastest singing that I’ve ever heard. How do you managed to go on so long without breathing?
JF I’musedtodivingintotheseaandholdingmybreathandthat. Youknow, tohelprescuebarnaclesthathavegotintotrouble. .
G Hmmm. I’m sorry, but I don’t speak Gaelic.
JF Whatareyouonabout?
G No, I’m sorry. I didn’t quite get that.
JF Areyoutakingthepishorsomething?
G Erm. Could you slow down a bit, please. I think I caught something there.
JF DoyounotunderstandplainEnglishorsomethingmister?
G No, I’m sorry. I think what I could do is record this interview and then slow it down later and get it translated.
JF You wot?
G I said that I think that…. hang on. I understood that. That was almost in English.
JF Wot?
G I think it’s just that your accent is quite hard to follow. Could you speak a little more slowly?
JF Whydon’tyoujustgetfasterears?
G Well never mind. I can just edit this later and sort it out. Where are you from originally?
JF Overthere.
G Where?
JF Overthere. Thehousenexttotheblackpuddingshop.
G Right. And are all the traditional songs on your album traditional….. erm… songs…. from erm… that house over there?
JF You wot?
G I mean like…. er… you know…. er …. keeping alive the… er…. living traditional songs from…… er…. that house over there? Or, indeed, other houses from…. er…. over there.
JF Yeah. Whatever.
G Oh. Right. Fascinating. Erm… so who were your main influences?
JF Wot?
G This is hopeless. WHAT SINGERS DO YOU LIKE?
JF Ohyouknowthechartsandthat. BritneyAvrilLavigne.
JF There’snoneedtoshoutI’mnodeafyouknow.
G Wot?
G Oh. Right. That was clear enough. Receiving you. Loud and clear. Right…. er…. let’s see….. um…. Have you always liked traditional Gaelic songs?
JF Youmustbejokingthatstuffsisjustforoldfolkandnerds. Ijustlikegoingtothediscoandgettingpished.
G Er… you ARE Julie Fowlis, aren’t you?
JF No. IneversaidIwas.DidI?Iwasjusthavingalaffmister.
G Oh. Very funny I don’t think? What will I tell the SOTW readers?
JF Whocares?They’llnonoticeanyway.Bunchoflosersifyouaskme.
G Well I’m not asking you, thank you very much. I’ve a good mind to report you to your headmaster. Where do you think you’re going? Julie? Julie? I mean…er….. Oh stuff it.
JF Byeeee!

Well there you go. It wasn’t an easy interview. But what can you expect from a wee lassie that’s still at school? A bit mischievous, but I did find Julie to be quite charming. If it was Julie, I suppose. I don’t know. But I don’t think Julie would be the kind of girl to pretend to……….. Oh no, of course. If it was Julie. Hmmm. Well, it doesn’t really matter. The main thing is that she’s out there somewhere. On one of those pointy bits on the top left. Depending on where you’re coming from, obviously.

PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2007 11:53 am
by Gordon Moore
Ya'd better no go to Blahpoool on Glasgeeeeow Weekend then....if you cannae unnnerstand.

Glad to see the return of the SOTW interview, still in fine form I see. :)

Mr Kronos

PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2007 11:43 pm
by Gordon Neill
I was in my local fruit shop yesterday, taking advantage of one of their two for the price of three offers when I couldn’t help noticing that the chap in front of me was that bloke from the Kronos Quartet. I recognised him from his photo in the latest ‘Songlines‘. Outside the shop, he was good enough to share some thoughts with the SOTW readers, despite being weighed down with a large bag of cheap but, in my view, overripe bananas.

Thank you Mr Kronos for sparing some of your valuable time. I was wanting to….
My name isn’t ‘Mr Kronos’. It’s David Harrington.
Oh, sorry. Is Mr Kronos not around then?
There is no ‘Mr Kronos’.
It’s just the name of the group.
But you are the lead singer, aren’t you?
No. We are an instrumental string quartet. No singing.
Oh right. And how many are in the band?
We are known as a quartet.
Sorry… ‘the Quartet’. How many are in the Quartet?
[sigh]….. Four.
Right. Give me a sec., I’ll just write that down.
You don’t seem to be terribly well informed.
Well… um…. I think you can be over-prepared for this sort of thing.
Really? I wouldn’t have thought that was a difficulty that you laboured under.
Yeah, you know, I think it’s better to keep it fresh. You know. As if we were two strangers just having a bit of a chat and finding out stuff.
Yes. I can see that you have a fair amount of ‘stuff’ to discover.
I have done some research, you know.
Yeah. Like, I know that you formed the band – sorry, the Quartet – in 1973.
That’s right. I was keen to dispense with the rigid formalities of….
And yet in all those years you’ve never had a hit single.
I beg your pardon.
Nothing. Not even a top 50. Although that isn’t really what I would call a ‘hit’. As far as I’m concerned, it would have to be top 10.
I really don’t think that….
Mind you, there are exceptions.
I really think that we…
‘Run Run Run’ by Jo Jo Gunne, for instance. I always remember that one. ‘AYM 101, got to number 21’.It’s like a poem. It was a great record. All things considered, I would call it a ‘hit’.
We at Kronos really are not interested in these matters. For your information, we do not release ‘singles’.
You’re joking. No wonder you’ve never charted. You guys need to get a new manager. And you’ve got competition now, as well.
I don’t think so. Kronos is a truly unique project which seeks to…
Have you never heard the Ukulele Orchestra?
I don’t believe that I have had that pleasure.
They’re really good, you know. They play all these pop songs on ukuleles. Really fast. And, no disrespect, but they’re even funnier than Kronos.
I beg your pardon!
No, no. I accept that you’ve got staying power. I dare say these Ukulele blokes will just a passing fad. But there’ll be others. You know, a kazoo orchestra or a trombone quartet or something. Fair dues. You guys have had some great gags. The Jimi Hendrix stuff, and the pendulum microphone thing. That was great. But now you’re just reduced to being Asha Bhosle’s backing group. I mean…...
This is ridiculous. We were in no way Ms Bhosle’s ‘backing group’. It was a meeting of equals, of different cultures.
Although she has had loads of hit singles. Truckloads.
I really think that I need to terminate this interview. You have no idea. ……
No please. Please stay. Tell us about your favourite record.
My favourite record?
Yes please.
Well, I would have to say that it’s ‘Pari Intervallo’ by Ritva Koistinen. It consists of a single note, played on the Norwegian zither. It is simply exquisite and incredibly sad, but cheerful. It is an immensely moving piece.
Yes, I could imagine it making me move. It sounds like it might be a bit… um… dull?
I can assure you the merest intonations of the monotone allow one to glimpse the inner feelings of the artist.
But you wouldn’t be able to pick that up on an mp3, would you?
I beg your pardon.
An mp3. It’s… um…. well, you know…. It’s a bit like mp1 and mp2, I suppose, but….. um…. a bit better. Or maybe it’s not as good. To be honest, I’m not very sure.
I’m not sure what point you are trying to make. But, if we may return to our discussion, ‘Pari Intervallo’ is a truly unique piece. It was especially commissioned by Kronos, you know. Her family have been involved for three generations in the construction of the Norwegian zither.
How big is it?
I really don’t see the relevance of the instrument’s dimensions.
Well, if they’ve been working on it for three generations, it must be huge. Or, I suppose, they could just be fussy workers. Maybe they should have worked on a ’Finnish’ zither! Ha ha!
No! The Finnish zither has an entirely different tone. And I didn’t mean that they had been working on the same instrument. I meant involved in producing a whole series of Norwegian zithers. Lots of different ones. Over many years.
Oh. Right. Well, anyway, moving on, what’s your second all time favourite record?
I would say that it is the Chant of the Aka Pygmies.
Is it a short track?
No, not at all. I’ve no idea why you think that it might be short. In actual fact it runs to over six minutes. I recorded it when I was on holiday. It is the sound of an entire village lamenting the start of the rainy season and the stacking of the traditional deck chairs. It is a record that I go back to again and again. I regard it as a gift to the world.
I think it might have preferred a record token instead. Er… well…. What’s your third favourite all time favourite record then?
Are you going to keep asking me what is essentially the same stupid question? I could arrange to have my secretary email you a list. Do you not have any other questions?
Um…….. well OK. I was really saving this one for Britney Spears, but what the heck. If you were one of the Mr Men, which one would you be?
The Mr Men? I don’t believe this. I’m afraid that you will have to complete this interview on your own. Goodbye!
So would that be Mr Grumpy then? Er…. hello? Mr Kronos?