Tuesday, 23 December 2008
This was a street in my neighbourhood two days ago. There's nothing like silence sudddenly descending on a city to make you feel Christmassy, or that war has been declared and no one told you.
So with that happy thought, it's time to sign off on this blog experiment for a short while, take a calorific holiday, then get back to work making the music that will either heal the world, or finally put it out of it's misery. I am nothing if not a humanitarian.
Have fun whatever you're doing, and see you in 2009.
P.S There's a little download you can grab of a Christmas classic - butchered, bled white, and slow roasted by me, on myspace. As soon as I can figure out how to put MP3s up here, I'll do that too.
Saturday, 20 December 2008
In my world, which approaches heightened levels of optimism at this time of year, I imagine the following scenario.
Mom calls up local movie theatre to find out if the vampire movie with kids is showing. It is. She takes her three corn fed kids and two of their fiends to see what they hope is 'Twilight'... instead they end up going to see 'Let The Right One In' - a Swedish movie, dark and funny, disturbing but deeply moral. It changes their collective world view. Mom and the kids throw away their terrible novels, start going to see films with subtitles, and occasionally read things with longer sentences and bigger paragraphs, without such a mind-numbing christian bias. The world becomes a better place for them and for us.
What actually happens is they go see 'Twilight', eat pop corn, get fatter and stupider and spend the next saturday night trying to phone vote for this week's pop idol.
Be like the smart people this Christmas. If you want to see a vampire movie, go see this, before the re-make comes out next year. Sentences you never hear at dinner parties: "the remake was so much better than the original". For this there must be a reason.
Despite taking it's title from a Morrissey song, it's a fab film. Let the Morrissey hate mail begin - it's not like I haven't framed most of those letters you know. My library in the west wing has a whole wall devoted to them.
Thursday, 18 December 2008
How time passed today between 6.23pm and 7.55pm today. This time of year can take my introspection to absurd levels. And drawing a circle seemed easier than finishing a song. I also tried listening to Sigur Ros. But you would need an electron magnifying microscope to see how little time I could actually manage. Enya for Guardianistas. But that's just my thoughts.
Saturday, 13 December 2008
I was was asked to submit my musical moment of the year, for Faber's Hang The DJ blog. Here's what I wrote: http://hang-the-dj-book.blogspot.com/2008/12/tom-mcrae-on-paul-simon.html
Monday, 8 December 2008
Last night the waves on the Hudson were tipped with white and the wind whistled a broken lullaby through the gap between window and sill. The uptown breeze on 8th was a downtown gale on 9th, obeying traffic regulations if not the laws of nature, while white plastic bags took to the air and grey seagulls took to the trees.
I like weather you can’t argue with. The true liberation of tyranny, all decisions made for you, nothing to do but comply. A day for eating soup, reading biographies and giving up on the search for meaning in things. A day for forsaking appearance in exchange for warmth, for wearing that hat that looks stupid on Oxford street but sensible on Broadway - or so I keep telling myself.
A day for staring only briefly at the Sarah Palin lookalike brushing the teeth of a cat in the window of a pet store, and for barely pausing before the festive tins of spam (?) in a deli on 14th. Like I said, a day when all that’s required is to put one foot in front of the other and hope they’re headed somewhere warm, a day for doing, not questioning. The best of days.
Tuesday, 2 December 2008
With 400 dead in religious fighting in Nigeria, a terrorist massacre in Mumbai, New York on high alert for an attack before Obama's inauguration, and the world seemingly in a state of perpetual war, it's important to keep perspective on things and not let the fearmongers win. So, I want to discuss coffee cups.
It's becoming an issue for me. Granted, not a life-threatening one, not even one that is of any real interest to anyone but myself - but an issue nonetheless. Coffee is a vital part of my day, it kick starts my brain, and more specifically the guilt lobe, which after an hour of reading about the state of the world and imbibing caffeine, forces me to try and mutate the base materials of life into three and half minutes of aurally pleasing gold.
What I need, therefore, is a relatively quiet spot, a relatively recent newspaper, a relatively decent cup of black coffee (none of your decaf skinny mochaccino hazelnut whip lattes here)... and most importantly, a fucking cup I can drink from. I am a widely travelled man, I appreciate different cultures, but when did it become fashionable for anywhere other than Paris to serve coffee in bowls? Granted, in France a croissant dipped into a bowl of hot chocolate can make a heartwarming breakfast - if you're seven, eating at a picnic table with smiling strangers, and suffering the freezing cold of yet another fucking christian commune when you thought you were going on holiday. But that's for another session.
Coffee in a bowl is the equivalent of a square wheel. My species evolved with opposable thumbs, and the ability to raise our elbows. Am I a fucking horse now? No, coffee should be served in something you can pick up, preferably with one hand, whilst idly flicking past the headlines to the sport, and simultaneously checking out your reflection in the mirror opposite. It should not be served in something that is so fucking hot you can't pick it up, so fucking cold twenty seconds later it's undrinkable, and so fucking wide that you give yourself a facial in the steam and dunk your freshly blow-dried fringe before finally giving up and asking for one to go.
Is it too much to ask, that in a dangerous and unpredictable world, at least one cafe in this part of Manhattan could serve coffee in a decent porcelain cup? Even a mug. Maybe it is too much, like peace in our time, religious tolerance, Ipods that don't freeze on long journeys, and accurate weather reports. Damn you, Obama, you gave me hope for a better world, and still I have to put up with this. Next week: Palestine vs Israel, who makes the best pastries?
Picture 1) Right.
Picture 2) Wrong, and against God and nature.