Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Meaning and Celeberiddeee

Darn it!  I’ve been meaning to check this out before, but one of my pet ideas is the removal of meaning from words in the modern world.  I‘d been wondering if this still goes on as it seemed to me it might be on the wane.  One example from a few years ago was the proposed renaming of the Post Office (what were they going to call it, Consignia or something?) so as to remove from its name any clues as to its purpose.  But it is clearly still going on.  For example my mum recently received a letter to tell her that Adult Social Care Services Lincolnshire (I think that’s the name) is being renamed (it’ll be ‘re-branded’ of course...) ‘Focus’ or somesuch.  So previously it had a name consisting of 5 words that gave up to 5 clues as to what it actually was - and this is now being replaced by a meaningless buzzword which makes you think of cars or photography or something.

I also have a theory (and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one) that the word ‘celebrity’ has come to mean ‘someone very few people have heard of’.  I just found a list of the most recent Celebrity Big Brother contestants.  To my consternation I’d still heard of 2 of them, namely Louie Spence (the pantomime gay stereotype) and Ron Atkinson (possibly racist football manager).  I recognised the face of a third one too (Bruce Jones it seems) but I have no idea what he does.  Turns out he’s in Corrie...why am I checking?

Sunday, September 08, 2013

And now...here they are...The Rutles! - I feel good, I feel bad...

Now, it’s impossible to explain here what the Rutles are all about if you have no idea...but here’s my quick go....at sometime in the late 70s (probably) there was a Beatles documentary on the telly called ‘All You need is Love’ which was basically a potted history of the Beatles – could have even been a series.  It was pretty good and included interviews with people such as Brian Epstein’s mother and well, some of the usual ‘people who knew the Beatles’. 

At the time ex Python Eric Idle was involved in a new series called ‘Rutland Weekend Television’...I should really direct you to Wikipedia.  Anyway...it included a spoof bit about the ‘Rutles’ along with such golden phrases as ‘the legend that will last a lunchtime’ and ‘the pre-fab four’.  Neil Innes wrote some very Beatle like songs.  And 25 years later they’re playing those songs live.  In fact have a look at this... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rutles

So...the Rutles were at the Brudenell Social Club t’other night and I went along. 

I'd been slightly confused by the advertising – it mentioned ‘The Ruttles’ (2 ts) somewhere for a start and said they featured Barry Wom and Ron McNasty.  Now how can you put on the Rutles without a) being able to spell the name of the band and b) knowing that is was Ron Nasty and Dirk McQuickly and that there was no such person as Ron McNasty?  Ah well, people are strange (in Double Back Alley?)

On the night I was slightly put out that none of the instruments used were anything like the proper Beatles ones (let’s not even mention amps fact fans...)  They’re not a tribute band in the rubbish er, tribute band sense of the word.  They are sort of an affectionate parody – but the odd Hohner bass or Rickenbacker guitar wouldn’t have gone amiss in my world.  They were pretty good though.  But here’s the weird thing...the two most memorable bits were 1) Neil Innes playing the ‘Brave Sir Robin’ song from Monty Python and the Holy Grail and 2) a version of All Things Must Pass (The George Harrison song from the album of the same name) which somehow managed to be both a tiny bit silly (Mr Innes was playing a ukulele for a start) but also really touching and heartfelt.  A really serious song (optimistic, nah, not really) done with a light touch that just brought out the beauty of it all.  So it all felt good!  This isn’t a great quality vid but it’s the only one I can find on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUz6nokcLsw  I don’t think this is as good as the version they played in Leeds either!

So the Rutles were fun as I expected them to be though the sounds were a bit unauthentic...Nearly forgot to mention, back in the day my band Greenhouse played a version of the Rutles ‘I Must Be In Love’ live at the few gigs that we did supporting the Wedding Present.  So far as I know no recording exists of us doing this!

If you’ve never heard the Rutles you should first of all be a Beatles fan.  You should then buy the Rutles first album.  The second one is more Innes and less Beatles and to be honest not as good – but worth a listen.  Meanwhile I really should have written this a bit more, like proper...apologies.