Monday, February 20, 2006


Today, I thought I'd talk about music.

I've talked about what I like to read, or at least the latest writers I enjoy reading and thougt, well... what about music?

A few months ago, I took part in a national Pop Quiz. In fact I was only there making up numbers. The only records I recognised that my teammates didn't were "I predict a Riot" by Kaiser Chiefs and "Romeo" by Mr Big. But what was interesting about this quiz was a round based on favourite tracks chosen by the members of all the teams (4 people, 13 teams). I chose "Land" by Patti Smith although in fact they played "Gloria" instead (the one that begins "Jesus died for somebody's sins but not mine"). It's got me thinking about favourites generally.

Patti Smith

I've mentioned "Land" from the Album "Horses". It's 12 minutes long with a pounding beat. Apparently it was written after Patti Smith was raped ("The boy looked at Johnny, Johnny wanna run but the movie kept moving as planned).

Whether or not that's true, it's become linked in my mind both with Tony Parsons and Julie Burchill's book on Punk, "The Boy Looked at Johnny" and even more with the TV series, "Millennium". At the end of the second series, where the world, including Frank Black's wife is dying of Bird Flu, the blonde female member of the Millennium Group loses her mind. The camera focusses on her, watchign her fall apart. There is no dialog, only "Land", the full extended version. It's one of the most powerful music videos ever and yet was never released as such.

I've been into Patti Smith since the first days of punk, perhaps even longer. I bought the album "New Wave", which is an eclectic album with tracks by artists as diverse as the Boomtown Rats, Richard Hell, and the Talking Heads. It includes Patti Smith's "Piss Factory", an extended rap record long before rap's time and that was enough. I was hooked. Since then I've heard other great tracks from her, "Because the Night", "Kimberley", "Easter", "A Room in Lebanon", "Ask the Angels", "Gandhi" etc.

And now I've gone on so long about Patti Smith that I'll have to do another entry about music more generally.


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