The great Glastonbury clean up
Festival goers head home as volunteers begin the massive task of clearing up after 180,000 people at Glastonbury festival…
Full gallery on The Guardian.
Found Things is a compendium of curiosity.
The internet, it’s a truism to say, is studded with hilarious buffoonery.
I was recently doing a little recreational Googling to find some lyrics, as one does, as it had occurred to me that I’d never actually worked out what was being said in a particular song, and this Googling led me into a comically dumb corner of the web: lyrics meaning sites.
The song in question was Placebo’s ‘36 Degrees’. I was listening to their first album the other day, and it reminded me of the many conversations that took place at school back in the nineties around what on earth Brian Molko was singing in the chorus.
This was pre-Google, pre-smartphone, it was all just teenage guesswork. So having listened to the track countless times over the years I’d never known what the lyric was - but it’s 2014 now, we live in a shiny digital future, and such questions can be answered in seconds.
I looked it up, and it turns out that the lyric in question was “Someone tried to do me ache”. No wonder we didn’t guess it, that’s a really weird thing to say. Here, take a listen, see if you could have got it.
Anyway, being a fastidious kind of soul, I looked on quite a few lyrics sites to see if they were all in agreement, and in doing so happened across songmeanings.com.
Now, this isn’t a site that scientifically analyses song lyrics. They don’t employ a panel of linguists and poets to pick apart the nuances, imagery, construct and references that are inextricably intertwined within any given song’s lyrics. No, it’s basically just that same conversation that me and my teenage chums were having back in the nineties – this is a site full of unfounded guesses by uninformed kids.
And so it was that I found myself scrolling through a hilariously shit series of interpretations of ‘36 Degrees’, increasingly amused by the idiocy of it all.
For example -
"I read somewhere that 36 degrees is the temperature that your body drops to if you have drunk way too much.”
“Actually, I believe the 36 degrees refers to a 36 degree angle because he has his shoulders touching his toes and he is bent back with his knees being the centre point.”
And my favourite of all -
“Supposedly this song is about the perfect temperature to have sex at.”
I mean, come on. What a bunch of fucking clowns.
The last one there was presumably written by someone who’s never attempted to have sex at 36 degrees Celsius (or indeed at all, ever, probably), or they’d know that the first thing you’d do would be to find an air-conditioned room. ”Supposedly”? Supposedly according to whom?
This stupid guesswork amused me greatly. So I plugged a few more songs in to see what the berks of songmeanings.com had to offer…
1. David Bowie – ‘Space Oddity’
“To everyone who said that this is a response to the Apollo 13 film with Tom Hanks, it is simply not because Space Oddity was written in 1969, whereas the film was made in 1995.”
There is much confusion on the site – some people think that ‘Space Oddity’ references the Apollo 13 space mission; this is unlikely, given that it happened a year after the song was released, but they don’t let anything as frivolous as a fact get in the way of arguing their point.
This has naturally evolved into some people thinking that the song was a response to the movie Apollo 13, which came out an impressive 26 years after the song did.
Cue much facepalming.
Also, this is insightful -
“It’s obviously one giant metaphor.”
Great, cheers for that.
2. Eminem – ‘Stan’
“I don’t think anyone should get offended by the way Stan killed his girlfriend.”
Blimey. That misses the point somewhat. I’d suggest that perhaps the offensive shockingness of the subject material is what gives the song its power. But maybe there’s something deeper afoot?
“Stan could be a combination of the word stalker and fan. Stalker + Fan = Stan.”
Ah, thanks professor. Tricky concept you’ve formulated there, I appreciate the detailed explanation. Anything more from the community?
"I LOVE THIS SONG! it’s so deep and makes me think about things… That’s all i can really say about the song… But i love it, and i love you, Eminem! (Marry Me, Please!)”
Right. OK, thanks.
3. Blur – ‘Song 2’
It’s worth remembering, before you read the following analysis, that ‘Song 2’ was a deliberately frivolous and shallow track, intended to parody and lampoon the American rock - and, more specifically, grunge - scene of the era.
It is purposefully devoid of deep meaning. But check out this guy’s attempt -
“I always thought the song was about fear of flying. Perhaps it’s him telling about the first time he flew on an airplane. Every noise and every bump is terrifying: ‘I got my head checked, By a jumbo jet, It wasn’t easy, But nothing is, No’ I think the next bit is him hearing the engins and feeling the terror (pins and needles) of something happening. Who knows maybe he was on a plane that had engin trouble (heavy metal) when he was younger: ‘When I feel heavy metal, And I’m pins and I’m needles’. The next bit he’s telling himself that everythings going to be alright and talking to the person in the neighboring seat to help keep calm: ‘Well I lie and I’m easy, All of the time but I’m never sure When I need you, Pleased to meet you’ I think the ‘I got my head done when I was young’ means that the whole thing is past tense and just him remembering it or telling a friend what happened. Ultimately the, ‘Woo hoo’ is just the terror he feels every time the plane bumps and jostles. It also is probably exilerating to know he survived and to think back on it.”
Come on. If you haven’t got a clue, you shouldn’t just guess. You’ve taken a cheery little throwaway song and turned into some kind of shit sixth form poetry there.
4. Kelis – ‘Milkshake’
Picture the furrowed brow of the person writing this one, deep in concentration, perhaps with their tongue poking slightly out of the corner of their mouth -
“Taken on a literal sense, this song generally means a woman who is “yummy”, like a milkshake, it taste good and brings you pleasure when you are enjoying it. On a more context level, it could mean that milkshake is using the body to tease the boys and they like it, so she flaunts it.”
Good-o. Thanks for giving it to us on a ”context level”, that was starting to get quite cerebral.
5. The Beatles – ‘I Am The Walrus’
This should be an open-and-shut case.
The genesis of this song is that John Lennon had received a letter from a fan, a schoolchild, telling him that their English teacher was analysing Beatles lyrics in lessons.
So Lennon set out to craft the most befuddling, random set of lyrics he could, designed specifically to be impossible to analyse for deeper meaning.
Because there was no deeper meaning. As such, presumably the folk of songmeanings.com will be aware of this, and there will be just one entry that explains the situation, right? I imagine they hold the song up as a sort of icon of impenetrable wordsmithery, the yin to their very yang?
“I heard that there is a British- (or something) folktale that when you see a walrus it is the ghost of someone who recently died.”"Everyone in their lifetime is at one point the walrus, the eggman, and even.. the goo goo goo joob. so i suppose the walrus is the leader, the eggman is the follower, and the goo goo goo joob is just undecided. this song holds all the answers.“
“The first part, ” I am he…” has four pronouns, and four lines. There were four Beatles. They are the “pigs from a gun”, since everywhere they went they had to run, or fly to, since Beatlemania was in full effect. A cornflake is a very fragile thing, and sitting on it would cause it to break. Fame is very fragile, and one false move could make or break your career. The next part refers to the various media events the Beatles were always a part of, like TV, radio, etc. Since they were first a “boyband”, their sponsers always wanted them to be cheery and fun. John was not one to smile, hence the”face grown long”, and would have a fake grin when asked to smile…”
Oh dear. That last one goes on like that for some time.
6. Spice Girls – ‘Spice Up Your Life’
Sometimes the sheer depth of analysis within songmeanings.com becomes quite post-modern, entirely transcending conventional critiques to enter a whole other realm of literary wisdom -
"I LOVE THE sPICE gIELS THEY ROCK i’M 15”"YOUR A FAG“
“shut the hhhhhhhhello up you are just a freakin queer”
“Ya’ll both suck cock-a-dooodle-dooo! wuhahahahahahaha!”
7. Lady Gaga – ‘Poker Face’
“Maybe it has to do with blowjobs. Poke her face”
Actually, yes, that’s probably correct.
I could go on all day. Why not have a go yourself? It’s really annoying and you’ll wish you hadn’t.
Thanks to the iPod, music just isn’t special any more
Wait, no, that’s a horrible thing to say. Sorry, let me explain myself…
In the good old days - the sixties and seventies; before my time, but the time when my parents were growing up – recorded music was something special, something to be cherished. Each album was an event, to be hunted down and appreciated holistically and repeatedly. There was none of this ‘download a track here, download a track there’ nonsense – you had to actually go to a shop and buy the album you wanted. You’d devour it whole, appreciating the album as it was intended by its creators; the first track is the opener for a reason and there’s method behind the running order of the subsequent tracks, the cover art has depth and significance, and so does whatever liner notes they chose to (or not to) include. It was a thing. And because vinyl was chunky and substantial, you had to have somewhere to keep it, and it was always obvious. You couldn’t buy an album and forget about it.
This specialness helps to attach memories to music. On the day that Ian Dury & The Blockheads’ ‘New Boots & Panties!!’ album was released in 1977, my dad went to every record store in Canvey Island trying to find it, asking each baffled proprietor “excuse me, do you have New Boots and Panties… ?”. Picture that. He was lucky not to get a thick ear, cheeky sod. In fact, when you think about it, half the stories of that generation have some sort of über-cool musical significance; my wife’s parents, for example, actually met at a Beatles gig at the Cavern Club. How rock ‘n’ roll is that? You can be sure they think about that every time they flip ‘Rubber Soul’ onto the turntable. The rhythm was all-pervading, it was everywhere in everybody’s lives.
I remember when I was growing up, my parents had maybe a hundred records (compare that to the amount of music on your iPod right now). I knew every one of those long-players inside out. Still do, in fact. The Rolling Stones’ ‘Sticky Fingers’, ‘Let It Bleed’ and ‘Exile on Main Street’; Graham Parker’s ‘The Up Escalator’ and ‘The Real Macaw’; Led Zeppelin’s ‘II’; Budgie’s ‘If I Were Britannia I’d Waive The Rules’; Nazareth’s ‘Hair of the Dog’… we knew them all by heart. Because that’s what we had.
Broadly speaking, we can say that the sixties and seventies were the vinyl era, the eighties were all about cassette tapes, the nineties (and early noughties) were the time of CDs, then it went online.
I was lucky to straddle the cusp of tape and CD, wherein the ideals of the vinyl album still held but the music was a little more portable.
Recordable cassettes allowed us to share music with friends. ‘Home taping is killing music’, cried the industry, but they couldn’t have been more wrong; home taping perpetuated kids’ fascination with music, broadening horizons that ultimately bolstered the industry as a whole, encouraging another generation of adolescents to spend their spare time going to gigs and hanging out in record shops.
Most of my pocket money was spent in Gatefield Sounds and B-Side the C-Side, respectively the local independent record store and a second-hand music exchange – it was the latter that spawned my fondness for rarities and collectibles. You see, I had this ingrained love of the album – these snapshots in time created for us by our music idols, representing their own perspective on that particular period, captured forever in a bundle of musical memories – and, once I had sufficient spare change to start collecting my own, I became obsessed with completism: if I’d bought an album I really liked (Mansun’s ‘Attack Of The Grey Lantern’ say, or 60ft Dolls’ ‘The Big 3’), I’d collect all of the associated singles in all their forms, as well as any demos and imports I could get my hands on. These were the times, remember, when releasing a single actually meant something – when people would have to make the effort to go to the shops to buy it, and bands would reflect this effort by releasing a single on two CDs, cassette and 7” vinyl, with different b-sides on each.
You could be really snobby about it too: “What, you haven’t heard the acoustic version? No, not that one, the demo? You mean you only bought CD1? Huh…”“
I hate downloading music. If I’m going to buy an album or a single, I’ll buy a physical copy of it and store it in a rack, so that if I want to listen to it I’ll have to find it and make the effort to play it. The band went to great lengths to create it in exactly that format, so it’s the least I can do.
In my whole life, I’ve probably downloaded no more than around twenty songs, and they were all from MySpace in about 2005 (and, to be fair, they were by bands like Milburn and Bromheads Jacket, whose CDs I then went out and bought in a shop).
I’ve only ever bought two tracks from iTunes – they were ‘Damn Damn Leash’ by Be Your Own Pet and ‘Bug Powder Dust’ by Bomb The Bass – which are now lost on an old, scrapped version of iTunes on a defunct laptop. I object hugely to the shitty strategy of only allowing you to listen to things you download on an Apple device – I’ve paid for the fucking track, why shouldn’t I be allowed to burn it to a CD and listen to it in the car? I should own that copy of the track, not just rent it from Cupertino on a limited basis (don’t worry, I tracked down an original promo copy of ‘Damn Damn Leash’ on CD - complete with cover hand-painted by the band - on 991.com, and the Bomb The Bass album ‘Clear’ was sourced from the play.com marketplace – they’re mine now. I can listen to them wherever I want).
(Editor’s note: you can transfer out of iTunes with ease you know… it’s been DRM free for like, forever.)
So anyway, back to my opening statement about the iPod.
Now, it’s a bloody clever little device, and I love mine to bits. I use it every day. However, the gadget’s ubiquity adds to the maelstrom of musical indifference demonstrated by a lot of people these days. This is illustrated most vividly by the people you see who are still using the fucking awful white earbuds that come with iPods. These are so crap for listening to music with, you might as well be hearing reel-to-reel tape, underwater, through a tin can attached to a bit of string. They’re horribly weak and tinny, and they have no bass whatsoever. None at all. And no dynamism. You lose all perception of the magic captured in the studio, you’re just listening to a faded and discoloured facsimile of the music you’ve paid for. People who use these earbuds don’t really want to listen to music in any meaningful sense; they want a background noise that they can ignore, to drown out reality.
They could just as easily be listening to white noise.
So the equipment’s all wrong, but so’s the attitude. Downloading a song here and a song there and smooshing them all together into a little music box is sacrilegious to the creative process that spawned the tracks in the first place. There’s nothing special in treating music like an all-you-can-eat buffet. It’s disrespectful.
I said earlier that “the rhythm was all-pervading, it was everywhere in everybody’s lives”; you could argue that this is still the case today, that people spend far more time listening to music than ever before because the versatility and portability of technology allows them to do so. But it’s not the same. Listening to it and hearing it are two very different things.
Maybe I’m just a crotchety old sod.
Listen to a recording of a song written on a man’s butt in a 15th century Hieronymus Bosch painting
From the you couldn’t make it department -
Last week, the Internet became all excited when an enterprising blogger named Amelia transcribed, recorded, and uploaded a musical score straight out of Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights, painted between 1490 and 1510.
The kicker? Amelia found the score written on a suffering sinner’s butt.
Now hear this: Play With Fire / The Rolling Stones
"Play with Fire" is credited to Nanker Phelge, a pseudonym used when tracks were composed by the entire band, even though Jagger and Richards are the only Stones to appear on the track.
The song was recorded late one night in January 1965 while the Stones were in Los Angeles recording with Phil Spector at the RCA Studios.
Joe Strummer’s handwritten lyrics for London Calling, 1979
What an amazing song. “London Calling” by The Clash, written by Joe Strummer and Mick Jones.
The title alludes to the BBC World Service’s station identification: “This is London calling …”, which was used during World War II, often in broadcasts to occupied countries.
The lyrics reflect the concern felt by Strummer about world events with the reference to “a nuclear error” to the incident at Three Mile Island, which occurred earlier in 1979.
“We felt that we were struggling about to slip down a slope or something, grasping with our fingernails. And there was no one there to help us.”
- Joe Strummer
The line “London is drowning / And I live by the river” comes from concerns that if the River Thames flooded, most of central London would drown, something that led to the construction of the Thames Barrier.
Strummer’s concern for police brutality is evident through the lines “We ain’t got no swing / Except for the ring of that truncheon thing” as the Metropolitan Police at the time had a truncheon as standard issued equipment. Social criticism also features through references to the effects of casual drug taking: “We ain’t got no high / Except for that one with the yellowy eyes”.
The lyrics also reflect desperation of the band’s situation in 1979 struggling with high debt, without management and arguing with their record label over whether the London Calling album should be a single- or double-album. The lines referring to “Now don’t look to us | Phoney Beatlemania has bitten the dust” reflects the concerns of the band over its situation after the punk rock boom in England had come to a close.
So you think surround sound & multi-tasking is something new? Think again
This is possibly the silliest thing I’ve seen all year, but I’m smiling corner to corner!
Oh, and you really should see this second video to fully appreciate the magic of the American Fotoplayer.
Soft spoken genius: Jimi Hendrix’s fantastic final interview
On September 11, 1970, Jimi Hendrix sat down with journalist Keith Altham for what would be his final interview before his untimely death on September 18.
Full screen, volume up. Something fun & colourful to brighten your day
"Catch Of The Day" is the second single off Sally Seltmann's “Hey Daydreamer”, the Australian singer-songwriter's fourth album for Arts & Crafts, including two under the moniker New Buffalo.
"Hey Daydreamer" was produced with the collaboration of her husband Darren Seltmann (The Avalanches), and is Sally’s most fully realized work to date, with pervasive melodies and lush instrumentation intermingling in bright, vibrant environments, as seen in this video directed by Isobel Knowles.
Sally is well-known for having co-written Feist’s hit “1,2,3,4”, and is also a member of Seeker Lover Keeper.
A wonderful and rare glimpse inside the mind of a maestro
Listening to what he is thinking as he conducts and plays is quite wonderful…. a shrug of the shoulder here, a unconscious lean to the first violins there.
A literally play-by-play commentary: just about everything that’s going through his brain as he conducts and plays is described.
I’ve never heard anything quite like it. And I loved it.
Pete Seeger, folk singer and activist, has died aged 94
Pete Seeger, the banjo-picking troubadour who sang for migrant workers, college students and star-struck presidents in a career that introduced generations of Americans to their folk music heritage, died Monday at the age of 94.
Seeger’s grandson, Kitama Cahill-Jackson said his grandfather died at New York Presbyterian Hospital, where he’d been for six days. “He was chopping wood 10 days ago”, he said.
Seeger leaves a treasure trove of wonderful music behind. From We Shall Overcome to Where Have all the Flowers Gone?, here are 10 of his best -
1. We Shall Overcome
2. If I had a hammer (the hammer song)
3. Waist Deep in the Big Muddy
5. Where Have All the Flowers Gone?
6. Bring ‘Em Home
7. Oh, I had a golden thread
8. My Rainbow Race
9. Turn! Turn! Turn!
10. Kisses Sweeter Than Wine
We’ll miss you.
Do not believe what you see!
We all know that just about every image of a person we see on TV or in the movies these days has been digitally retouched to some degree.
These changes are often kept secret however, because the directors don’t want the public to know just how different the person we see on screen looks from their true self.
Hungarian directors Balint Nagy and Nandor Lorincz have exposed the extremity of these changes in their latest music video for Hungarian artist Boggie.
The video not only reveals how intricately tweaked and unnatural the faces and bodies of celebrities are when they appear on screen or in magazines, but also makes us wonder whether the “perfected” version of Boggie is truly more beautiful than her raw form.
214 songs to get you excited for Coachella 2014
The hip-hop duo will be headlining the first night of the weekend-long event, with alternative rock groups Muse and Arcade Fire headlining Saturday and Sunday, respectively. The festival features over 150 different musical acts of all genres, offering prominent acts to music fans of all types.
Music fans are sure to recognize big names such as Ellie Goulding, Lorde, Girl Talk, HAIM, Beck, Neutral Milk Hotel, Nas, and Pharrell Williams, but there are plenty of lesser-known artists or you to familiarize yourself with ahead of April.