Archive for January, 2013

January 17, 2013

Readable music videos: One Direction

I watched the video of ‘Kiss You’ by One Direction so you don’t have to.

I’m not ashamed to admit I don’t know the proper names of all these twinks. I’m older than they are combined.

So, meet The One Who Always Looks Worried:

1D 2 worried

Quiff Richard, and his designated driver Evil Fotherington-Thomas:

1D 3 car

Oh, that’s why The One Who Always Looks Worried is looking worried – Harry Styles has been hiding out in his back pocket.

1D 6 Styles appears

Taylor Swift will never think to look for him in there.

TS toy
“Like EVER.” [Checks tracking devices.]

Now I know what you’re thinking: “I’m sure there were more than four members of Juan Derek Chun.” You’re right. The fifth one has been demoted to shifting scenery:

1D 7 scene

Just kidding! Here he is, taking the part of Jennifer Patterson for the band’s pastiche of Two Fat Ladies.

1D 8 Jennifer Patterson

Fun Fact: Harry goes to the same hairdresser as Clarissa Dickson Wright.

Over in the car, Evil Fotherington-Thomas has been enjoying some bird-watching:

1D 9 bird hands

“No, I don’t think that was an egret, actually. It looked more like this.”

Now here’s a surprise: despite their international success, the Wanda Rex Yon videos are still really low-budget. They’re not on a real road, and they can only afford waxworks to operate the lights.

1D 10 waxwork

That’s the old Loyd Grossman statue from the set of pre-Torode Masterchef, wearing mufti.

By now you must be bored, having had to wait a whole forty seconds for the homoeroticism to kick in.

1D 11b homoeroticism

Feel better now?

Cut to…

1D 13 suggestive

…JAIL? What?? Boys, it’s 2013; it’s no longer illegal for you to do all those things the slashfic writers want you to do with each other.

The pitch for this video, in one screengrab:

1D 14 B*witched

“One Direction hijack their school production of Chicago to perform their B*Witched tribute act.”

1D 15 brujo

With an encore of “Lafayette turns into the brujo-face at the end of True Blood series four” tribute act.

You know how the papers get hold of school photos of criminals? Like everyone, Won Dire Act Choon have their fair share of embarrassing yearbook pictures.

1D 16 drums

“The Oneders, doing that thing they do.” (In Harry’s case, banging. Of course.)

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January 2, 2013

top books of 2012

Some for work; some for fun; most not published in 2012, merely read by me in that year.

Music:

The Last Party by John Harris. Britpop was the dominant music movement of my mid-teens, and I never got into it at all. This came out ten years ago and even by then Britpop already seemed like a relic, an oxbow lake off the river of popular music. It’s well worth reading just to make yourself feel relieved that the 90s are well behind us, and to giggle at the self-importance of Justine Frischmann, whose musical legacy is, as far as I can tell, the theme to Trigger Happy TV.

How Music Works by David Byrne. It’s uneven, but when it is good, it is very good. I particularly enjoyed the chapters about the mechanics of how music works, eg how the different types of venue influenced the form.
Also I can’t remember the last book I had which had been manufacturered to this standard: thick pages, padded cover, even the Canongate business card had three different coloured layers. I wasn’t aware these things mattered until they did.

The Castrato and His Wife by Helen Berry. Worshipped by society but not accepted. Fetishised by women but forbidden to marry them. Irreversably physically altered as children for a slim chance of musical superstardom. Being a castrato was no picnic, right guys? And as this book demonstrates, it was also considerably more complicated and interesting than just having your nuts removed so you kept singing like Bieber forever.

Mid-20th century fiction about pairs of unhappy sisters:

Thanks, I’ll take two: Easter Parade by Richard Yates, and Cassandra at the Wedding by Dorothy Baker.

Self-serving memoirs:

The Kid Stays in the Picture by Robert Evans. Sure, Evans is a tool, but he’s a very entertaining tool when he’s describing his short sharp rise to Hollywood success followed by the long, bumpy decline. Evans is anxious to set the record straight – most of that was not his fault, OK? When your ego is the size of a planet and it gets bruised, you have a LOT of beef; wealthy, coke-fuelled Hollywood beef is the best beef.

Cyndi Lauper: A Memoir by Cyndi Lauper with Jancee Dunn. Somebody has even more scores to settle than Robert Evans. All the people who over the decades have overridden Lauper, or forced her to ignore her instincts, or are Madonna – up yours! Oh, and by the way, Lady Gaga and all you other outlandish pop stars of now – CYNDI DID IT THIRTY YEARS AGO AND BETTER.
When she’s not moaning, or being amusingly bitchy, Lauper gives a vibrant account of the New York scene in the 70s and 80s, following a rough childhood (and adulthood, frankly). With indomitable spirit throughout, she remains a fresh lunatic even now she’s pushing 60.

Not self-serving not-exactly-memoirs:

It’s Not Me, It’s You! by Jon Richardson. I don’t think many writers could make this work, but Richardson is intelligent, funny and painfully observant enough to do so. The book evolved out of this 2010 Guardian article; it goes into near-molecular detail of a fairly ordinary day, the humdrum providing a backdrop to relentless self-flagellation, epic loneliness and minute obsession.

Heartburn by Nora Ephron. I know it’s technically fiction, a ‘thinly veiled’ memoir, but Ephron herself makes it plain how very thin the veil is. The bitter disintegration of a marriage was rarely so wrily depicted.

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt. Shortly before Christmas I visited Savannah, Georgia and this is THE Savannah book so I took it with me. Then I was too embarrassed to read it in public in Savannah because I hate to acknowledge how predictable I am like all the other tourists. Anyway: murder mystery, courtroom drama, drag queens and the history of town planning make an irresistable combination, no wonder everyone went so crazy for this book.

Your suggestions for books I should read this year are very welcome. If you’re looking for more titles, here are my top books of 2011.