THE KAISER BUSINESS

This Kaiser Chiefs business amazes me, intrigues me and makes me think a lot. I know, they’ve become one of the biggest rock bands from one month to another because Ricky Wilson sold himself (according to some) to The Voice. I am not going to judge his career choice, as a matter of fact he’s still a rather good musician with something different to offer in his CV.

The most surprising thing is how Kaiser Chiefs became THAT BIG with a ‘regular album’ of great ballads, epic tunes and songs perfect for mothers, sons, pets, teachers, students.. everyone. They should have been THAT MASSIVE ages ago!!! Think of  Employment and Yours Truly, Angry Mob, those albums  weren’t just interesting, but also catchy and cheeky efforts from a surreal, bizarre and self confident indie rock group. Still now, there’s nothing comparable to I Predict A Riot, Ruby or Everyday I Love You Less And Less beside your regular Franz Ferdinand, old Bloc Party and early Arctic Monkeys on an indie dance floor.

On one side, I feel happy for them. I’ve always liked them (apart from their horrible Off With Their Heads) and I’ve always firmly believed they were to good for a sold out Brixton Academy. However, I am a little bit worried ‘new found fans’ won’t understand they weren’t better but much more exciting quite a while ago.

Anyway, good job guys. Hopefully, the encore will still remain The Modern Way.

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IT’S FUNKY BUSINESS AS USUAL!

April is getting quite interesting for me. It has always been, hasn’t it?

Firstly, it’s Glastonbury time. No matter how hard you try to justify the price of the ticket in an objective way, truth is it is very expensive ( over £200 +booking fees and delivery charges), though it’s Glastonbury. Which means you are happy to pay that amount of money because you will be camping for nearly a week, you will be wandering around many stages and you will be watching countless bands. I like to compare this price to a ‘holiday’ one. Yes, going to Glastonbury means people have to take time off before and after (good luck to those who will go back to business on Tuesday, I am not that hardcore), buying the right clothes for the event (I have to leave my vintage ones in the wardrobe. Ironically, I always have to shop for ‘new’ scruffy ones) and also providing for food for the first couple of days. Food doesn’t come cheap down there, better go to Sainsbury on Tuesday night shopping for rice cakes, sandwiches and biscuits.

To stay grungey and scruffy, I would love to see Novana playing in Worthy Farm. I had the pleasure to see them live earlier this month in the Jazz Cafe. I am not interested in reviewing an awesome gig, kudos to three young guys who take themselves very seriously without causing any harm or embarrassment. A very nice gig indeed, Kurt Cobain is still alive.

And then it’s OASIS. I have to write the name in capital letters because Oasis.. is simply OASIS. (One of) my favourite band(s), still relevant after 20 years from Definitely Maybe. Of course, I went to Shoreditch for the exhibition CHASING THE SUN: OASIS 1993-1997. I didn’t feel nostalgic simply because I wasn’t there when the Gallaghers were chasing the sun. I was 4 years old and I had no clue about music, Britpop, Liam Gallagher. The incredible thing about the exhibition is the simplicity of it all. All the pictures taken from their heydays, Live in Knebworth 1996, videos taken from their first 3 albums. No fancy dressing (like my blog). It’s a tribute to a band who will reform at some point, I am sure.

Not satisfied with all these lovely experiences, I have sorted out my ticket and trip to Barcelona for the  Nowhere Festival. Still, I am not too sure why I am doing that straight after Glastonbury. And if it’s worth missing the World Cup for a strange experimental festival. Will it be possible to shift from the muddy fields to the desert in the middle of nowhere in just about a week? I’ve got my reservations, however the experience will be priceless (to be fair, £100 ticket). Hard to predict how psycho, irascible, hysterical I will become after over a week in the desert, but hey man. Some things simply need to be done.

I hope May will be as good as this month.

Of course it will. Bo Ningen, Arctic Monkeys are out there live to be enjoyed. And the gap to Glastonbury will be even tighter (probably even my finances).

 

It’s funky business as usual.

GLASTOVER

No, it doesn’t mean that. Glastonbury is not over, in fact it hasn’t started yet. It’s more a word play, it’s a mix of Glastonbury and fever. Yes, it’s not a secret that I am mad about Glastonbury. I am not crazy about who’s playing and who isn’t, in fact I couldn’t care less. Last year, I had the time of my life while I was watching Fatoumata Diawara at the West Holt stage on a sunny and incredibly hot Saturday afternoon. I hadn’t heard of her before, I wasn’t planning to go to that stage at that time. It just happened. It magically happened, I bet she was a Godsend because I was meant to be there and listening to her incredibly powerful Malian rock’n’roll. Days like these are regular at Glastonbury, discovering new artists, spontaneously dancing on the grass while sipping… my mineral water because you don’t really need to get pissed at 3pm in the afternoon. Not if you have planned to move to the Pyramid Stage to watch Primal Scream and Rolling Stones later on.

Glastover is Glastonbury + Fever. My sense of impatience, my urge to pay for the rest of ticket in few weeks because truth is, there’s no better Easter egg than the Glastonbury one. I am so looking forward to be there once again, I am restless, I’m a Glastonbury addict. Because after all, it’s not just about music.

It’s about dancing, silly partying, cabaret or just socializing with other happy festival goers. It’s simply the best festival in the world.

glastonbury sunset

Roll on April and let the countdown begin!

 

INSIDE A GREAT MOVIE

What  should I say? It is such a great great movie that doesn’t need any more accolades. Being equally a fan of good music and good cinema, I can’t help but feeling a sense of pride for Inside Llewyn Davis, aka the matter-of-fact tale of the impossibility of music glory. Oh yes, we’re so used to fairy tales of artists who somehow managed to change their humble beginnings into golden stardom. Artists born poor as the poorest creature on Earth who have managed to become successful, rich and most important, idols. I am not saying this is not right, I am just saying this is just a possible exception to the rule. For any Madonna who has manged to become a deity due to strength, courage and Lord knows how much determination, there is a Llewyn Davis who remains the underdog. No matter how hard he tries, he will fail. His failure in life, love and career is so helpless and brutal to become realistic and widely accepted. No one is destined to be a hero, surely not someone who doesn’t have that extra thing, that inner or outer light that makes him shine more brightly than the others.

I love Inside Llewyn Davis because I didn’t expect anything positive and optimistic from the minds of those two cinema Gods Ethan and Joel Coen. Superb screenwriters, poetic directors. You kind of expect a bitter ending, you know it’s gonna happen since the first scene. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have Javier Bardem in No Country For Old Men and we wouldn’t have Brad Pitt’s miserable end in Burn After Reading. But how much the movie hurts, this is down to personal taste and sensibility. I’d like to consider Inside Llewyn Davis as the most realistic tale of an underachiever. It doesn’t make you cry but it does make you think a lot. Are we all prepared to fail? Are we all prepared to earn nothing, work hard, commit mistakes to achieve some sort of success? I am not too sure, Llewyn himself gave up.

Just enjoy the movie or better, enjoy the devastating consequences of this fabulous piece of art.inside llewyin

WHAT I’VE LEARNT FROM ALL THOSE GOLDEN STATUES

End of another season. Of course Matthew won, of course Leonardo didn’t. Of course 12 Years A Slave won the top prize and of course Cate Blanchett was crowned Queen of the night. Did I learn how predictable the Oscars are? Of course NOT. A movie doesn’t build its reputation from one day to the other, it takes months of screenings and ceremonies to arrive in L.A. with some certainties. Like the Dallas Buyers Club has the best actors, Gravity the best visuals and The Great Gatsby the best aesthetics.

To begin with, the first lesson I’ve learnt is the importance of a power couple. When Rayon and Ron Woodroof are on screen together, you realize why both Mcconaughey and Leto have won their Oscars. It’s all about a person complementing the other, a little bit like in Titanic and Pulp Fiction.

Another lesson is the importance of an ambitious but otherworldly screenplay. Spike Jonze’s award for HER stands out for its creativity, craziness and unpredictability. The script is genius because it’s original, dreamy and totally reflects Jonze’s poetry and artistic education without trying to be something else, either too socially involved or political.

Spontaneity, that’s another thing I’ve learnt. Like Alfonso Cuaron who looks like your next door neighbor, minor the fact he has directed one of the most elaborate piece of cinema of the past years. And even if Gravity is mechanical, logical, perfectly crafted and masterminded, Alfonso’s cute approach to the public and his awards creates a terrific and sweet contrast. You still need to stay grounded even when you send George and Sandra on a mission.

And obviously, every year offers a great disappointment. Incredibly, American Hustle won zero awards in spite of being excellent, smart and groovy. It seems to be part of the ‘script’ to leave a very good movie with empty hands. This is what happened last year to Zero Dark Thirty, this time is American Hustle.

Finally, I’ve confirmed once again my passion for cinema. How diverse, emotional, nervous and glamorous it can be. How important screenwriters are, how fundamental make up artists and costume designers are for the final touch, the ultimate glory.

Next year, I will light a candle for Di Caprio. He’s to good to miss another Oscar and I am looking forward to Scorsese’s next masterpiece (if there will be any).

THE WOLVES OF HOLLYWOOD.

Of course, it will be all about Matthew against Leo. Or even better, Ron Woodrof against the super charismatic Jordan Belfort. Both cynical, evil, dangerously in love with risk, money and fame, energetic, promiscuous, whatever anti Hollywood comes to your mind this could possibly describe two of the most left-field and memorable characters in recent times.

Two super performances awarded with two Oscar nominations. If I was part of the Academy Award Jury, I’d be screwed. I wouldn’t know which one to choose. I do believe Jordan Belfort is Di Caprio’s best performance ever, however it will be hard  to ignore Mcconaughey for his impossibly good portrayal of the stereotypical anti hero. It’s not just about his dramatic weight loss, it’s about his bravura and masterful acting. The way he talks, laughs, provokes and kills the screen.

It’s quite impressive how Hollywood has decided to get naughty all of a sudden. Jordan Belfort is a junkie and party animal Wall Street trader, Ron Woodrof is a homophobic, danger seeking HIV sufferer and also Irving Rosenfeld played by an equally larger than life Christian Bale is a smart but slightly unlikable con man. No room for tears with these Hollywood leading actors.

Maybe pure and kind hero Solomon of 12 Years a Slave will prevail, like Chiwetel Ejiofor did at the Baftas. This should be really fun, a tough decision for tough cinema.

Like it or not, it’s Valentine’s week ladies and gentlemen when we  all become cheesier, more affectionate, more intimate and so sugary to feel sick. I’ve never been against Valentine’s Day -nowadays, days are dedicated to poverty, diseases, religious beliefs.. why not a day for Love?- and crucially, I’ve re-listened to Alicia Keys’s beautiful and magnificent You Don’t Know My Name because I was feeling the romantic vibrations around me. What a great song still, I thought and I remember loving it when it first came out over 10 years ago. I remember adoring it for its beauty, sophistication and elegance. Of course, Alicia Keys is a first class soul singer and I wouldn’t expect any less from her. I remember being crazy about the lyrics too. The idea that a beautiful waitress like Alicia falls in love with the office boy coming every single Wednesday for the special menu and a hot chocolate. Just thinking about it now makes me giggle and I think I am quite possibly melting.

I’ve fallen in love with many songs (and albums and artists of course) but You Don’t Know My Name occupies a very special place in my heart. Maybe because I was a teenager around that time and who knows which game my mind was playing at that time, this song will probably be in my top ten for the rest of my life. Funny enough, I’ve never been a fan of Alicia Keys as much as I respect her talent.

But it’s Valentine’s Day this week and this is me at my most romantic.