Monday, 25 October 2010

The King Of Rompelstan

The King of Rompelstan, yesterday.
According to TS Eliot, in the poem The Naming Of Cats, cats can have up to three names.

Firstly, there are the sensible names that the family use daily.

Secondly, there are names that are peculiar and particular to only one cat: names that help keep a cat's tail perpendicular.

And thirdly, all cats have a secret name, that only they know...

Well, my cats have their everyday names. They are known as Tommy and Minty to the rest of the world.

They also have a variety of peculiar names, according to my mood and their fancy. See Tommy Pom Poms and Minty Minstrel on Kittenwar!(Come on Minty, you so cute! Tommy! Get down from those curtains!).

But recently, I have felt that I have come very close to guessing Tommy's real name - the one that only he should know. I can tell by the loving looks he gives me when I say these names:

Pompadom, Pomplemousse, Rompelstiltskin, and, most revealingly of all, The King Of Rompelstan.

And just yesterday, I caught him wearing a golden crown, just like a real king...

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Pop Quiz Number Four: Scotpop All The Way!

Is this a rabbit?
It's Pop Quiz time again! After two artist-based quizzes in a row (The Magnetic Fields and The Wedding Present - follow the Pop quiz tag on the right to find them), it's now time for the first quiz based on a geographic location.

After thirty-plus years of outstanding left-of-the-field pop, choosing Scotland for this quiz was easy. Not so easy was who to include, and who to leave out...and stopping after ten clips wasn't an option either. So, for this quiz, there are thirteen introductions to Scottish underground pop songs, ranging in date from circa 1978 to the mid-2000s.

Press Play on the player below. Listen to the thirteen clips. There are short gaps in between each intro in which you can Pause the player to note down your answer. There are a maximum of 26 points available - one point for each correct song title; one for each correct artist. If you score more than 12 points, consider yourself a Scotpop Expert! Be warned though: this is a tough old quiz...

Answers will be posted in the Comments section after a week or so.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Indiepop Mansions: Rote Kapelle

A prize to anyone who can name this Moomins character!
Rote Kapelle ("Red Chapel") were active on the Edinburgh music scene between 1985 and 1990. They shared members with Jesse Garon & The Desperadoes, The Fizzbombs and Shop Assistants (the extended family tree also included Meat Whiplash and The Motorcycle Boy). They were the spiked-up, awkward-pop members of the gang, neither purely pop, nor purely awkward. With their male/female vocals and bumpy/jumpy guitars, they got the mix right more often than not. Their second and fourth singles are particularly good.

They released six records:

The Big Smell Dinosaur 7" EP (1985)
These Animals Are Dangeroos 7" (1986)
It Moves... But Does It Swing? 12" EP (1987)
Fire Escape 7" (1988)
San Francisco Again 12" EP (1988)
No North Briton LP (1990)

All but the first EP came out on the magnificent In-Tape Records.

"But never mind that - this is the famous Indiepop Mansions series! Tell us, where did they live?"

Well, I have taken their contact address from the first two singles and gone a-searchin'. It seems they lived in a rather pleasant part of Edinburgh, not far from the University, and a short walk from Holyrood Park. To be precise, Duncan Street, in the National Grid square NT2671.

View Larger Map
And this is the building I assume at least one band member lived in (the one who enjoyed answering their fans' letters, I suspect - or, more likely, the one who had most contact with gig promoters and suchlike, which in pre-interweb times was probably the prime reason for printing an address on your record sleeves).

Perhaps Jesse Garon & The Desperadoes, Meat Whiplash et al lived in the same building? It looks like flats - possibly student accommodation. Handy for the chapel next door (but not a red one!) and a dental practice in the same road. For the book-lovers in the band, the National Library of Scotland was just around the corner.

Andrew Tully (of Rote Kapelle and Jesse Garon & The Desperadoes) went on to run Avalanche Records, where you can still buy Jesse Garon & The Desperadoes vinyl. Rote Kapelle MP3s are currently available on Emusic, Itunes, and probably other places too. I don't suppose the band have made much money from them, but if you want to help them buy a can of beans, they are there...

More Indiepop Mansions another time. Who will it be next?

Pleasure City Hip Parade, September 2010

Betty and the Werewolves enjoy a nice cup of tea
It's high tea for Betty and the Werewolves, but the bearded one doesn't look like he wants to join in! Never mind - he can cheer himself up with the thought that he contributed to my most-hummed tune of the month!

Here is the Pleasure City Hip Parade for September:

1. (-) Betty and the Werewolves - Should I Go To Glasgow? (Obsessions over the past year or so: Vivian Girls > Wetdog > Dum Dum Girls > Best Coast > Betty and the Werewolves. Spiky, independently-spirited pop)
2. (1) Best Coast - Goodbye (still rockin' my world!)
3. (17) Tender Trap - Do You Want a Boyfriend? (One of the brainy Amelia Fletcher's finest moments. Up there with Oh Katrina and C Is The Heavenly Option)
4. (-) Betty and the Werewolves - Purple Eyes (at last - someone else who doesn't understand the appeal of The Libertines!)
5. (-) The Notes - Dancing Shoes (Awake and Summer Love also recommended)
6. (8) Withered Hand - New Dawn
7. (3) The Maladies of Bellafontaine - Longsocks
8. (7) Jesse Garon & the Desperadoes - The Rain Fell Down
9. (10) Rote Kapelle - Sunday
10. (-) The Go-Betweens - Wait Until June
11. (-) The Dole - New Wave Love
12. (-) Mathew Sawyer and the Ghosts - Revenge of the Extra from Zulu
13. (6) Helen & the Horns - Freight Train
14. (5) Best Coast - Happy
15. (2) Liechtenstein - Passion for Water
16. (-) Best Coast - Wish He Was You
17. (-) Fabienne Delsol - Come Away
18. (12) Heavenly - Wrap My Arms Around Him
19. (-) Shine! - I Just Can't Celebrate Today
20. (4) Rote Kapelle - These Animals Are Dangeroos

Nine new entries over the course of a month would mean approximately two per week if I did this weekly (which I won't). Seems about right.