Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Vangelis, Vandals & Vital Prose From Fernando Pessoa

Vangelis was a guest on Shooting Stars last night and he looked great for his age. He even previewed a new track ‘live’, or rather, a snippet from it. It was hard to tell how good that will be, but it sounded more like a return to his experimental material. I say ‘return’, but from what I’ve heard there isn’t a great deal of that. ‘Beaubourg’ is very good, and ‘Blade Runner’, of course, although even on that we can hear his leanings towards the commercial and melodic, which in that context is no bad thing. I’ve bought some rotten Vangelis albums over the years in search of greater depth and compositional radicalism, but only recently found ‘Invisible Connections’ from 1985. It sounds like he thought he’d try his hand at something other than cheesy soundtracks in the grand orchestral mode – ‘Chariots Of Fire’? What the hell, it must have paid the mortgage. This is worth hearing though.

Listen Hear

It was Vic Reeves or Bob Mortimer (hosts of Shooting Stars), can’t recall which, who asked ‘Are all ravens Goths?’ the other week – well, it made me laugh, as their show regularly does. The format might be a little worn, but on every show they manage to produce moments of lunacy that you just don’t get anywhere else on the box. I joked with a friend today about him being a Goth, then sent Mika Vainio’s ‘Goths’ to him. I happened to have been listening to it earlier in the day. It’s from the ‘Vandal EP’, which is brain-crushingly good. With all the recent talk of culture in relation to The Riots I wonder if the guilty vandals could do with hearing this EP. They’d probably hate it, but it at least it’s not advocating shooting cops, fornicating with loose women (ha!), or the acquisition of bling (as I believe garish jewellery is called) – which is exactly why they’d hate it. They left Waterstone’s bookshop untouched, we’re told – the fools. It’s the first place I would have torched. Novels are all written by liars, aren’t they? And besides, I’d love to have seen all the ‘Chick Lit’ go up in flames.

Talking of books, one I’ve dipped into and always found treasure is Fernando Pessoa’s ‘The Book Of Disquiet’. It was a lifetime’s work (he died in 1935, aged 37), first published in Portuguese in 1982, and English in 1991. There have been a few translations, some not rated too highly, but I’ve got the first Penguin hardback (2001) and the shorter Serpent’s Tail version. I don’t think there’s a ‘definitive’ one. The muddle of publications befits this collection of Pessoa’s fragmentary prose pieces, dreamlike contemplations of Life and Everything. The 517-page Penguin is one of the few huge books that I haven’t used to prop up something (bed, computer, speakers, even the flat itself, all stand with the aid of Robert Burton, John Dos Passos and others, you know). So, should you be out rioting one night, before passing Waterstone’s, smash your way in and grab this book, if they’ve got it.


  1. It wasn't Vangelis you fool. It was the comedian, Matt Berry pretending to be him.

  2. Yeah it was Matt Berry :D

  3. Alright, don't rub it in. I'm a fool...but then, I never claimed otherwise. :>)


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