Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Erasermemory, Eraserhead & The French Music Connection

In the Info Torrent era it’s as easy to lose information as gain it, don’t you think? Take The Missing Page – yes, the site I found, supposedly Favouritised, and do you think I can find it now? The Info Avalanche and rapidity of click research has another downside, being an inability to memorise – in my case anyway. The Machine memorises for me, for us all, I’m sure, although I’m reluctant to rope you into my problem. Nigel Slater’s recipe for pork and apple I can always find, oh yes, but this arts-based site, no. When saving I may have accidently placed it in the ‘Rick Wakeman’ folder, but no. The ‘Winsome American Female Songstress’ folder? No. Talking of which, I was in Gap the other day and realised that the only play Winsome American Songstress music, and that bugs me, or would if I went in there often enough. Admitting that I don’t go in there often undermines my claim, I know, but what the hell.
   Music in shops is always bad, or nearly always. Oxford Street shops are awash with melisma-ridden R&B, which must be one of my most-hated genres although, if I gave it much thought, the list would be very, very long. I was, however, trying on shoes once in Selfridges to the tune of Charlie Parker, no lie, G.I. I was dumbstruck, and elated. As you can guess, such a pleasing public space music experience has never happened again, and never will. That said, almost as good has been the French music theme that emerged recently. It started by discovering Philippe Petit’s album, ‘Henry: The Iron Man’, then watching the film ‘Gainsbourg’, followed by a coffee at Cafe Rouge in Highgate, where they played Django Reinhardt, and finally yesterday, in The White Swan at Twickenham, they were playing old French songs – funny, eh? I like that theme. How much I like Petit’s album though, is hard to say. But I like the fact that I don’t know how much, or even if, I actually like it. ‘Like’ isn’t an adequate word, is it? A weak word, really, although too much time on Facebook renders everything either ‘Like’-able, or not. Petit’s music came from a dream he had, apparently, in which Lynch’s classic mutated into ‘Henry: The Iron Man’, and he was given the task of providing the soundtrack. The three tracks are very ‘Lynchian’, if that’s a type of music – you know, nightmarish ambient mutations. They involve the crackle of vinyl history and mechanised noise of the modern configured in such a way as to suggest vague horrors, with partly submerged industrial beats and a saxophone somewhere in the mix. All of which make for an interesting experience; Henry rebuilt as scrap Iron Man made of old records and rusting computers. I first read about the album on The Missing Page. What’s stored on my computer does, at times, appear to be some kind of Lynchian labyrinth of trails that lead nowhere, and mysteries destined never to be solved.


  1. Consider yourself lucky. Every supermarket in Bangkok plays anaemic Scandinavian bossa nova covers of 80s pop hits. There Must Be An Angel by the Eurythmics, but far worse.

  2. Sounds hellish, Tim, but amusing, whereas twee post-Folk is not funny. I'd prefer old-fashioned Musak in the supermarket, but Camden being so trendy, we're more likely to get Amy. In fact, market research proves that playing Back To Black increases the sale of alcohol and cigarettes by 15 per cent.


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