Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tune of the day - Temptations - on the naughty steps

The Tempts L-R: Dennis Edwards (lead Tenor/baritone), Paul Williams (lead Tenor/Baritone), Otis Williams (Baritone), Melvin Franklin (Basso Profundo), Eddie Kendrick (lead Tenor Falsetto).

Perhaps the most talented vocal act to ever emerge from the giant Mowtown roster was 'The Temptations'. As far as I know, this is the last public performance from the 'Mighty Tempts' to feature Eddie Kendricks, doing his trademark gossamer high tenor/falsetto on the #1 "Just My Imagination", performed on the Ed Sullivan Show in early 1971.

He had long planned to 'jump' from the group, and was already organizing a solo career, which ended up being periodically successful (he even made it to 'Live Aid' years later, with discarded iconic Temp David Ruffin and Hall & Oates);

The saddest thing on this is the prophetic body language... The guys are sitting on separate steps, like a string of broken couples waiting in their divorce lawyer's office. The 'world's greatest vocal group' was in a state of open warfare around this time, with Kendricks constantly butting heads with the Otis Williams/Melvin Franklin axis, which had bounced former co-lead singer David Ruffin from the group a couple of years before.

The regular peacekeeper in the group - and Kendrick's best ally and closest friend since childhood - Paul Williams (bottom, middle step in the video) had become really ill by this time and presents a rather sorry figure as he sings the 7 words of the baritone counter-lead vocal part and looks almost like he is about to collapse. After the departure of Kendricks. Paul Williams deteriorated rapidly and was moved to a backstage role. A great singer in his own right, he, tragically, took his own life about 2 years later.

The Tempts were in the middle of their 'Psychedelic soul' period at this time, and had one more huge hit after this (without Kendricks) - the epic 'Papa Was a Rolling Stone'.

Otis Williams, to this day, still runs, and tours with, a 'cabaret-type' version of the Temptations but this performance pretty much marked the end of their 'Classic Five'-era lineup (or Six, if you include late-comer Dennis Edwards, who also has his own Temps tribute act these days, and had come back in the 80's performing on the club classic "Don't look any further" - covered in the 90's by M-People). Edwards had replaced the bespectacled, free-spirited, egomaniac Ruffin.

David Ruffin - Lick my ermine fur, baby - you know you want to!
At least the memories remain...
Anyhoo, following this show, things were never quite the same again for the 'Emperors of Soul'...

Monday, July 27, 2009

Get them to the church on time

One thing I always found strange in Irish society is the obsession with weddings.

I have to admit, I've never accepted an invitation to wedding (or reception) in all my adult years - just don't get the attraction - especially if it comes from people you scarcely know and have no real empathy with. Of course, one consequence of this is missing out on the hours of free champagne and the possibilty of a good punch-up happening at any moment...

A pre-wedding, firm 'good-luck' handshake with the prospective groom or 'peck on the cheek' with the prospective bride is all I can usually manage...

Worse still is the dreaded moment when the honeymoon is over, the couple returns to earth and you get deluged with the wedding photos (especially in this digital age).

I find it difficult not to be irreverent and ask the wife questions like:-
'How did you manage to fit into that dress?'
'Wow - you've really let yourself go since the wedding'

or to the husband:
'Jayzus - I bet you're regretting this now! - I'd give it 3 months maximum...'

Anyhoo, Here are some classy photos from a typical Irish wedding. Roll your mouse over the pictures to view comments. They obviously got their styling advice from Michelle at Brown Cow:-

The groom's sister cops a sly feel as she trys to figure out if the bride's bazookas are real.

Just wait till I get you into the back of my Hiace.

Late night TV in Ireland (Part 2) - Magic Moments

A follow-up to a previous post, regarding the ongoing PlayTV scam:

Feck it, can't sleep, so just flicked on the TV. Guess what? TV3 are at it again. Their stellar PlayTV production is still running the same competition that they had on 2.5 hours ago. It is a grid of 50 ladybird icons - 3 of them have 4 legs on the right hand side. All of the rest have 3 legs.

It's a 'Spot the difference' game - the prize money has gone up to 2,500 EUR (if you can find the open line?). A partially-sighted person could spot these differences - I know I did 2 hours earlier... but the shameless shit who is presenting the show is still exhorting callers to 'foind that open loine...', even though it is obvious that nobody has found the 'open line' and got through to the studio.

JG: Foind the open loine, NOW! You know 'quite literally' that you want it...
Sorry caller - it is a great, great guess, but MINGE is not the correct answer. However, please do try again...

Oh, wait - there is a countdown now of 10 'moments' and the presenter J.G. is getting really agitated and spewing bullshit like there is no tomorrow -

  • "Only 7 MOMENTS' remain for you to get through"....
    "Where is that money going?"
  • " You know what - I should have ended this game - but I'm going to stretch it for this 3 moments"
  • "Capitalise on your last 2 moments"
  • Surprise - We are at 'quite literally' the last moment. No callers yet... The 'Moment' clock has been at zero for the last five minutes. JG remains silent, as if he's at a funeral.
  • Oh - he's come back now - "do I hold on? or do I start another game, with less proize money?", he admonishes the viewers.
  • He relents, but decides that we (the viewers) need to realise that this is 'literally' the very last 'moment' and he has 'got to have a winner now', since his 'winner is overdue'.
  • Trouble now - "only 45 seconds remain - it's your choice".
  • "Why isn't the phone ringing - what else can I do? That one person is struggling to foind the open loine"
  • There only are a few moments left... It's a necessity to foind my winner... This saga is at the penultimate stage..."
  • Another '10 MOMENT' countdown. J.G. has pledged not to leave the studio until he has a winner (provided that they call within the next '8 moments'). "'Quite Literally' , the game has to end RIGHT NOW!"
  • 5 minutes later - "One solitary viewer is all I want - what's it going to be? Very last moment... Dying breath of the show..."
  • 'Moment' clock is at zero again - J.G. notes that there are just a few dying 'moments' left now, but he can't stress enough that it is the end of the show, but he just wants a winner.
  • J.G. 'knows you have the answer'. 'You will deserve every penny'. He believes that 'somebody will win before this show is over'. If so, it will be a 'huge weight off his shoulders'.
  • 20 minutes later - J.G. believes that 'somebody is going to call, but is worried because he hasn't had the answer'.
  • Another 5 minutes pass - Yet another 60-second countdown has expired. J.G. 'doesn't know what else he can do?' This is becoming surreal... I'm going to bed. Not sure how J.G. can sleep at night though...
  • Shit - yet another 10 'moment' countdown... This is when J.G.'s 'winner will be dee-soided' we are told.... He is 'literally holding his breath'.
  • Wait a second - Wahoo! - Stephen from Galway has just won the money. Don't think that J.G. was too pleased when Stephen from Galway pointed out that he had wasted 30 EUR over the past half-hour trying to get through to the non-existent open line?

Anyway - all is well that ends well - the Production staff can now go home and the cleaners can move in.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Tune of the day - Seu Jorge - "Life on Mars"

This was from the soundtrack of the inexplicably bad mess of a Bill Murray movie 'The Life Aquatic' from a couple of years back. For the movie, Brazilian music star 'Seu Jorge' did his effortless versions of most (or all of) the tunes on David Bowies 'Ziggy Stardust' album. He also acted in the movie. His music, in my stupid opinion, is the only redeeming quality from that train-wreck production, which is unwatchable from about 10 minutes in.

Here is the man, interpreting 'Life on Mars', in Brasilian Portuguese.

I was lucky enough to see Jorge live in 2008 at the regular summer cultural festival in Dun Laoghaire and got to meet him, and some of the band afterwards (you can probably guess - in the smoking area of the venue...). Struck me as a really laid-back, amiable person. I kept calling him 'Mr. George', as I couldn't pronounce his name correctly, even with the advice of Brazilian acquaintences. Pissed off now that I didn't think to get a photo but still have the autographed ticket...

Was a bit miffed at the time though, when a skanger-dealer mistook me for the band's 'mule', asking me if I was Fernando' and if I 'had the cash' to pay for the weed stash the band/promoters had obviously pre-ordered... All ended well when the real Fernando appeared, and no - I did not inhale...

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Hurry on down to Belmullet Town

They seem to have great bargains on fellatio in Belmullet, Mayo at the moment (only for July) - Any 2 for 1 Euro:-

Bring your own bell (and mullet...)

Tune of the day - Delaney & Bonnie

This is one I've loved for years:-

Husband and wife team 'Delaney and Bonnie' whip up a storm with 'Coming Home'. The 'supergroup' band reads like a who's who of musicians who were hot in that late 60's period. George Harrison (guitar), Eric Clapton (guitar), Bobby Whitlock (piano), Carl Radle (bass), Jim Gordon (drums), Bobby Keys, leading the brass (tenor sax), and an unseen, but audible towards the end, Billy Preston (organ).

The thing that strikes me about the lineup is that they were almost all cursed in some way (not surprising, given how spaced-out most of them look!). Worst hit, in later years, was the rock-steady master session drummer Gordon (who wrote the beautiful piano Coda on Clapton's 'Layla'). He had always had mental health issues and ended up killing his mother with a well-placed axe to the skull (Ouch!).

Bonnie is still around and did some acting on the 'Rosanne' show a few years back. She got her pelvic gyration moves from working briefly with Ike & Tina Turner, prior to hooking up with Delaney.

Bonnie Bramlett had no idea that her blonde wig look summoned up images of notorious UK serial child murderer Myra Hindley.

Delaney Bramlett never admitted to being the father of Sri Lankan cricket all-rounder Tillakeratne Dilshan, but the facial similarities tell a different story...

Worst Irish websites of all time (Part 1)

You have to love the following site, which, although it looks for all the world that it was put together by a 12 year old, with extreme special needs, is nevertheless frighteningly real:-

Michelle Heaton takes a well-deserved rest...

Laydeez - please brace yourselves! The aptly-named 'Brown Cow' salon in Sandyford, Dublin 18, is offering you the 'once in a lifetime' chance to obtain a personal styling consultation from Michelle Heaton, a 'native of Newcastle who now lives in Dublin (and) is a former band member of the chart topping group “Liberty X"'.

I think Michelle is the same Z-list celeb who is regularly pictured falling out of London nightclubs, exposing her erogenous parts at any opportunity, usually in the company of horrific professional slut Katie Price (a.k.a. Jordan)?

Michelle, like Katie (and the sainted Jade Goody before them) strikes me as the kind of person who would not be averse to selling the contents of her sanitary pad to 'style' mags like OK, Heat or Hello, if it brings in a quick buck...

Hello sailor! Triple Bacardi and coke please...

You'll be delighted to learn of the ultra-competitive rates (tailored to take account of the credit crunch challenge!):
1 x person 1 x hour = €150
2 x people 1 x hour = €225

For the guys who may be interested, it doesn't say if this rate includes a 'happy ending', or who exactly is expected to deliver (or receive) one of the 'Fabulous Facials' offered on the website.

Don't worry if you forget your credit card, I'm guessing that the easy-going Michelle will be quite willing to accept a discounted payment in cash at any time, for Brown Cow's unique services.

The site does list some caveats about Michelle (probably on the strict advice of their law agent):-
'(She) does not claim to be a style guru or indeed a fitness or nutritional expert; on the contrary, Michelle’s talents come from her wealth of personal experience and her down to earth attitude with that fab girly flair she radiates.'

Well, the promise of 'Fab Girly Flair' banishes any concerns I may have had... I'm off there now to blow €150 on a full 'Manzilian' wax (crack, sac and back). Hope Michelle has sharpened her razors, gargled with Listerine and washed her hands!

I may even splash out on some more services offered by 'Europe’s most innovative and desirable beauty boutique':
e.g. pamper myself on the 'just for him' menu, visit their 'scrumptious pedicure areas', have some jewels added to my 'delicate areas' and just generally enjoy the 'high energy' and 'style-savvy' experience that is Brown Cow.

Just look at the results from Michelle's latest relaxed personal consultation. How can you resist? Have a deb's ball, Bar Mitzvah or wedding coming up? Or even if you simply want advice on how to enter the world's oldest profession (like you mother before you)... What are you waiting for? Get on down to Brown Cow, Now!

Another satisfied Brown Cow customer returns from a personal styling consultation...

Friday, July 24, 2009

Tune of the day - Tim Buckley

Came across this recently when looking for guitar tabs. This is a rare clip of Tim Buckley, appearing on the last ever episode of 'The Monkees' TV show (in the 60's).

He is probably more known these days for having been the father of Jeff Buckley, but I remember hearing this memorable tune (Song to the Siren) way back in my schooldays in the 80's, performed by This Mortal Coil (a splinter act from the Cocteau Twins?).

TV: Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares USA

Where's your passion for the f*cking food?
Where's your f*cking passion for the f*cking food?"

Have watched this over the last week on some satellite channels, given that the bold Gordon's business and personal difficulties were widely reported on in the media recently.
Based on a few shows, some thoughts come to mind...

The formulaic scenarios seems to be pretty consistent:-

  • Gordon shows up at a US restaurant.

  • Gordon meets the owner, who is up to his/her oxters in debt and can't take it anymore (cue weeping).

  • Gordon samples the food and hates it.

  • Gordon meets the chef and hates him, often squaring up to him, like a pre-fight weigh-in.

  • Chef goes on camera and calls Gordon every name under the sun, while insisting that he has "been doing this job for 15 years and never had any god-damn complaints".

  • Gordon inspects the kitchen and finds cockroaches, rat droppings, traces of ebola virus and swine flu etc. You'd have thought, if they knew he was coming, basic decency would suggest that they have a bit of a cleanup beforehand.

  • Gordon insists that service is shut down immediately.

  • Gordon confronts chef again and the kitchen area gets a good cleanup in next to no time.

  • Gordon confronts chef once again and asks where his passion for food has gone; Chef has a hissy-fit and leaves. The shy sous-chef gets promoted.

  • Gordon shows the newly-promoted chef some simple dishes.

  • Gordon simplifies the menu. If it's any kind of ethnic restaurant, he can normally reduce it to one succinct paragraph...

  • Gordon's team redecorates the restaurant, including the exterior signage, in next to no time.

  • Owner(s) and staff show up and collapse in tears, overcome by the beauty of the facelift the place has gotten.

  • Original chef returns, admits to alcohol and anger management problems, and agrees that he had lost his passion for food and needs to regain it.

  • Sous-chef sighs and goes back to being shy and submissive.

  • Gordon takes the waiting staff, usually led by a sassy, feisty waitress, out on the street with samples from the new simplified menu.

  • Grand re-opening night. Strangely, where they used to have 3 customers, it is now a full house.

  • Chef keeps mislaying tickets in the kitchen. Chaos ensues. Customers complain to camera. Feisty head waitress screams at chef. Chef curses out the feisty head waitress, Gordon, the manager & the owner. Chef goes outside for cigarette. Sous-chef takes over cooking duties again. Gordon squares up to chef and demands to know where his passion for food has gone.

  • Meek sous-chef wonders what the f*ck is going on...

  • Chef weeps, as we learn that his wife has left him, his dog has died, and his cocaine addiction has spiralled out of control, so he hasn't had passion for food for quite some time, but eventually composes himself and returns to kitchen. Sous-chef sighs and goes back to chopping celery.

  • Chef pulls his shit together, finds his passion for food again and the night ends up as a fantastic success. Everybody, including the local mayor, is happy.

  • Gordon checks the evening's takings with the owner. Owner weeps with joy.

  • Chef does tearful 'to-camera' piece, admitting that if it wasn't for 'chef Ramsey', he'd probably be living in a faeces-encrusted cardboard box, drinking his own urine and self-harming with a rusty razor...

  • Gordon says his goodbyes, reminding the whole staff of the need to keep up the good work.

  • Gordon revisits the place 3 months later and announces that "sadly, since my last visit, the bank has repossessed it". Oh Well, at least it wasn't the health inspectors who shut it down.

  • Viewers are left wondering whatever happened to the genial sous-chef and the feisty waitress.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Tune of the day - John Coltrane

The great John Coltrane and his 1961 quintet, with this sublime, blazing interpretation of the Rodgers and Hammerstein show tune 'My Favorite Things'.

This was from his 'post-Miles Davis' period, when Coltrane was cleaning up his life, setting out on his own and preferring soprano sax to his more regular tenor... Featuring his team of players of that time, some of whom are regarded these days as jazz legends in their own right - Elvin Jones (drums), McCoy Tyner (piano), Reggie Workman, later replaced by Jimmy Garrison (double bass), and Eric Dolphy (here on flute).

Class is permanent.

Watson - the needle! (Get in the Hole Tom)

In the Hole Tom!

Thanks very, very, very much Tom Watson. The 59 year old golfing legend managed to let the British Open slip from his grasp on Sunday last, costing myself and thousands of occasional, casual gamblers millions in potential winnings.

Although he was leading after two rounds, bookmakers were still offering insane odds of 100-1 on him winning. I guess this was based on an 'ageist' assumption; Perhaps their actuaries felt that Watson would inevitably keel over, suddenly develop dementia or prostate cancer, be assasinated by a mysterious figure from a grassy knoll, or need to be wheeled around in a chair for the final two rounds.

Now, I haven't played a round of golf for a few years but I reckon I could have made a par on that 18th hole (although, I might have needed to take my drive from the ladies tee). Unfortunately, Mr.Watson left his brain on the tee and couldn't quite make it.

In the ensuing playoff, it was like watching one of the excellent Dutch football teams from recent world cups - you just know they will feck up the penalty shoot-outs.

Anyways, my main stake was 30EUR at 100-1. Had almost spent my 3,030 returns in my mind, when the old git fecked it up on the 18th. Fortunately, had a covering 'top 5 finish' bet placed also, so made a small profit in the end.

Not sure golfers are anything to be admired anyway. I seem to recall a politically-based survey of US professional golfers a few years back. All but one professed an allegiance to Bush & the Republicans. The one dissenter was 'bad boy' John Daly. Go figure...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Late night TV in Ireland (Part 1) - PlayTV

Welcome to the first posting on the SWEETSHOP, which I intend to use as a forum for semi-insane rants, musical links and (quite probably) deluded opinions on the state of the world; All this from an increasingly grumpy, recently-made-unemployed, 30-something, Dubliner.

Having, of late, found myself thrust into redundancy, by the company I had served with very occasional diligence, sometimes downright indolence, for 12 years (no - I am not at all bitter!), I seem to have developed some form of insomnia, so often find myself channel-flicking on TV at 2 a.m.+

Of all of the horrors encountered on Ireland's high-class late night televisual offerings, the most stupifying, yet strangely addictive, must be TV3's PlayTV - a late night quiz/game show which preys, like a horde of rotten vultures/hyenas on the stupid, the aged and the vulnerable.

Hoi! I'm (quite liderally) the smarmy wanker from PlayTV. Laydeez - you can look, but don't touch, unless you're 'liderally' asked to do so, at the 'penultimate point'...

The premise is fairly simple - viewers call in to answer the puzzle that appears on screen. The big catch is that each call costs approximately 1.50 Euros and the callers have no guarantee that they will find 'that one Open Line' to get through to the studio. This usually results in individual competitions continuing for 2-3 hours at a time, with (surprise, surprise) no caller managing to find the mysterious 'Open Line', until the very end, while the gurning, sleazy, media-studies graduates who present it, drag the show on with sickening, patronising, urgent requests to viewers, bellowing scripted lines like:-

"Really need your calls RIGHT NOW (almost in the manner of Geldof pleading for famine relief during Live Aid) - the producer is telling me we need to end this game; need to close the studio! We have to shut it down... NOW!"

"This is 'quite literally' the 'last MOMENT' on this competition"

"You may be tired, I know it's late, but I really need to give this money away. Think of what you can 'quite literally' do with the 750 EUR on offer? You know what??? Even though the producers are going to 'quite literally' kill me... I'm going to put the prize money up to 900 EUR. Think of what you could do with that kind of money (quite literally)... "

My suggested response to the last one would be:- "For 750 Euro, I could hire 3 thugs from Finglas to track you down and break your fecking legs, you morality-free, total piece of shite..."

Anyhoo, back to the game format - the trick they seem to use is to start with an easy question, with a few callers in the first 30 minutes who mysteriously manage to get through to the 'open line' in the studio with consumate ease, and a 250 EUR prize, which is always 'quite literally' won - normally by an elderly-sounding lady, e.g. Mary in Tipperary, who seems to have hearing difficultes, and has probably already just about reached her regulated 80 EUR limit in calls on that night.

Presenter: "Mary - It is a tough one - it's 'quite literally' not at all easy... think of an animal beginning with 'D' ending with 'G' ?
3 letters, if that helps?..."

Helloooo? I'm only on a non-contributary pension and I just spent all my savings on a hip-replacement, but is the answer 'Dog' by any chance?.

After that, the next game will normally continue into perpetuity, with nobody finding the non-existent 'Open Line', but with the prize money increasing incrementally to, close to, or under 2,500 EUR. Meanwhile they rake in the money on the callers who consistently can't seem to find that elusive 'open line'.

As things continue, the scumbag presenters introduce innumerable on-screen countdowns, designed to indicate to the viewer that the golden prize is 'quite literally' slipping from their grasp:

"Call us NOW! We only have 90 seconds left on this game. I know it's you! I know you have the answer. You deserve this money!"

These presenter countdowns occasionally are 'minute/second' based but often deal in a 'previously-unknown-to-science' unit of measurement known as 'MOMENTS'; Not sure what Einstein would think of this innovation? In truth, this is a scam they use to get around the media regulator.

Presenter: "We only have 10 MOMENTS left on this game"

Presenter (2 hours later) "We only have 'quite literally' moments left now - you really need to call"

"Ooooh, Matron! I'm an utterly tedious, annoying asshole who gets paid to behave like this for a living.

This magnificent production comes from the same people who had a late-night game show shut down on ITV (hosted, as I recall, by unctuous, professionally effeminate, 'annoying-as-pubic-lice' Big Brother winner - Brian Dowling), following the revelation that they ran a competition asking for guesses regarding what a woman would typically have in her handbag. They encountered some trouble when some of their 'answers' were revealed as:


'Rawl plugs'

Now 'Rawl Plugs' is fair enough - I can imagine the independent, modern woman carrying them around, to get some drill-based DIY done at the weekend. However, 'Balaclava' is a completely different matter, unless the question-setters were looking in the handbags of the 'very late' Ulrike Meinhof or hideous northern ireland nutcase - Continuity IRA moll - Bernadette Sands McKevitt.

Balaclava babes on heat...

Back to the concept of 'Moments' - in the context of this show, a 'Moment' can last anything from 5 seconds to 5 minutes (quite literally), so the presenter summons a throbbing numerical icon onto the screen to indicate that the game will end in (quite literally) 10 'Moments' and the 'Moment clock' begins to tick in a descending manner. You can put the kettle on, take the dog for a walk, pleasure yourself (twice), or someone else (once), shave your back, mow the lawn, run a mini-marathon, drink 10 shots of Jaagermeister/fall asleep, wake up, then take a bath/shower, do the ironing, yet still be assured that the 'moment clock' will be hovering betwen zero and three, once you get back to it.

Often the quiz questions/answers verge on the ludicrous - "Name an animal beginning with 'C'. The 'correct' answer is normally something along the lines of 'Chinese Giant Salamander'. In the meantime, thousands of suckers are trying to find the 'Open Line' with guesses of 'Cat' or 'Cheetah', reeling in tens of thousands each night for the production company and the beleagured TV3.

Presenter: "Sorry caller - it's not cat; great, great guess though. You're on the right track. We may have had that already, 'quite literally'. Very close - please try again! "

The true 'jewels in the crown' of this show are the curiously embarassed? presenters (whom I suspect are paid so little that they are secretly signing on the dole, disguised in Jackie Kennedy Onassis headscarves and sunglasses, using ID they have stolen from people in homeless shelters), but I'll save my comments on them for another day...

Recommended Youtube musical link of the day is:

This is the excellent, relatively unknown, King Khan, with the Shrines, blowing out 'Welfare Bread' in a Toronto record store. And no, he is not the illegitmate son of Little Richard!

The tune to me, initially sounds a bit like it's ripping off Van Morrison's 'Domino', but is delivered with a sense of ease and fun which, I suspect, Van would never be capable of ...