Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Can blue men sing the whites?

I’d been thinking about aesthetics and identity a lot since my last post. Then on Friday I saw a trio of fantastic performances by black musicians in the shape of Allen Toussaint, the Neville Brothers (time off injured last season has improved Gary’s keyboard playing no end, I swear, though he looked a bit different…), topped off by Abram Wilson’s fantastic jazz band reinventing New Orleans jazz whilst covering the Arctic Monkeys, Michael Jackson and James Brown and it felt very much ‘mine’ and very much ‘other’ at the same fun, exhilarating time. Then on Sunday night I watched the wedding reception episode of Gavin And Stacy series one. (Yeah, I know, late catching up – I’m always out at ‘art’, you know.) Which was one of the most pitch perfect bits of writing I’d seen in a long time, and very like the wedding reception I went to in Preston a couple of weeks ago.

So I thought I’d also throw out a Nick Hornby-style ‘Five things that Aren’t Saturday Night Sunday Morning but what is’ list, just for fun…

· The poetry of Jim Burns (a Preston poet to his bones despite moving to Cheshire some years ago, and being the world’s expert on the Beats). Start by looking at a few of his poems on the fantastic Poetry Magazines archive. http://www.poetrymagazines.org.uk/search/index.asp?search=Jim+Burns
· The work of the Side Gallery – treat yourself to a few minutes browsing their website.
· Control by Anton Corbijn – not the whole rock star suicide thing, obviously. But the depiction of bookish grammar school boys and life in Macclesfield has the tang of truth about it. (Looks great too.)
· David Eldridge’s Market Boy. This play definitely rang true from my (mercifully brief) time in London in the 80s, but had a joie de vivre and zest that made me think there is life beyond Northernness… (Would it be fair to call Eldridge Lee Hall’s Essex cousin?)
· The Royle Family can be a bit crude at times but I spent what I think of as literally years sitting on the sofa and brewing up like the Ralph Little character, though I was reading a book too. My mum even looked a bit like Sue Johnson, and although we would never have gone in for the belching, farting, banjo-playing thing, my granddad did have a neat Xmas party trick that involved whipping out his dentures…

Which makes me think that one man's box is another man's identity is another man's cliche, which would take me on to Peter Kay, so it's time to stop.

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