Archive for November, 2008

Things I saw today (this isn’t happiness- wonderful images)

Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

The other week I tripped across a tumblr feed this isn’t happiness and I’ve been astounded ever since at the amazing images this person finds. The pics are from a wide range of eras and full of stunning beauty, originality, pathos and whimsy. It’s easily one of my new favorite sites.

A few from the site (though definitely check it out for yourself):

Las Vegas, 1955

Don’t Remind Me

Tokyo Nightclub, 1962

Ali v. Liston II


Blaise K

Shotgun Space

Eyvind Earle

— ckck

mandarin orange mandarino (via ninamylove) — suwaowalog



Eggelston – eccentric beauty and wonder

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

Untitled (St. Simons Island, Georgia), 1978

“Untitled,” circa 1975

“Untitled,” 1973

Peter Schjeldahl, in his New Yorker review Local Color: William Eggleston at the Whitney states:

You can always tell a William Eggleston photograph. It’s the one in color that hits you in the face and leaves you confused and happy, and perhaps convinces you that you don’t understand photography nearly as well as you thought you did. To view “William Eggleston: Democratic Camera, Photographs and Video, 1961-2008,” at the Whitney, is to be pummelled by eccentric beauty, and to wonder about it.

Schejeldahl’s review is is lucid, poetic and charming. He encapsulates so well the appeal and art of Eggelston’s work. Heres another gem:

…there’s no gainsaying Eggleston’s results. He shoots like a shutterbug and executes like a painter. Synthetic gorgeousness iconizes pictures that flaunt the nonchalance of snapshots.

I only disagree with Schjeldahl’s assertion that:

… the emotional key to his genius is a stoical loathing, unblinking in the face of one scandalously uncongenial otherness after another. His subjects have no ascertainable dignity, except that of stubbornly existing.

No dignity?

The girl at the commonplace counter with her red hair glowing like its own sunset stands as regally as the famous Elizabeth Siddal (Rossetti’s muse and a painter in her own right) whom she so resembles.

The girl lying sprawled on the grass is like a modern Ophelia (camera in hand, not flowers) who will, after soaking up the sun, not drown but jump up and run around the yard again.


I think Eggleston’s subjects, prosaic as they are, are fascinating precisely because of their homely rightness. His work does not look like loathing to me, rather detached observation but not angry, not demeaning. His photos are fascinating precisely because of their normality. A good photographer can make an attractive photograph out of a beautiful sunset or view or model but for me, the artistry, the genius of Eggelston is that he finds and distills the the interesting or the beautiful out of the dull or garish or common that surrounds us all the time.

(see more images at Time and The New York Times and The Eggelston Trust)

10 cover songs I prefer to the original

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

Max and Coralie and I were discussing cover songs the other day and Max came up with a challenge to list 10 cover songs we prefer to the original. Below are my choices (and here are Coralie’s).

1. The Clash, Brand New Cadillac

vs. Vince Taylor and His Playboys. No question, the Clash version kicks ass.

2. Devo’s Satisfaction
(video removed by WMG who hate people who love music)

vs. Rolling Stones. Cuz I am a geek.

3. Cake, I Will Survive
(original video removed by WMG, boo hiss!)

vs. Gloria Gaynor. This was super-hard, the original is fantastic, so passionate, an anthem really but I love the Cake version.

4. Iron and Wine, Such Great Heights

I like the original by The Postal Service but I love the slowness, solemnness of the Iron and Wine version.

5. t.A.T.u., How Soon is Now

vs. The Smiths. I know, I know, this is heresy, how can I prefer the cheap pop version of a song which moved generations of pale morose people like me? But I do, I love the t.A.T.u. version, it’s both light, fun and, to my mind, there’s a plaintive ache in the voice which suit the lyrics.

6. UB40, Can’t Help Falling in Love

vs. Elvis. There’s a sort of tradition in Ska music to do covers. I love Ali Campbell’s voice and the horn section is brilliant (UB40 hon mention: I Got You Babe)

7. Save Ferris, Come On Eileen

vs. Dexy’s Midnight Runners. I love the original but the Save Ferris cover gets me really revv-ed up and like I said, I’m a ska fan – I can’t help it, it’s the horns, the beat. etc.

8. Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Higher Ground
vs. Stevie Wonder. This is the Chilli Peppers at their best, pumped up and kicking it.

9. Tricky, Black Steel,

(see the actual video but embedding disabled) vs. Public Enemy. I love the original, a classic, but Martina Topley-Bird’s voice and delivery are fantastic.

10. The song which started the discussion, Faith No More’s cover of Easy Like Sunday Morning:
(original video again removed to WMG – wow, they’re awful!)

vs Lionel Richie’s

Extra: Hallelujah seems to be the classic cover song debate and many people are absolute and unyielding in their opinion. I know there is a strong Buckley faction but my preference is between Rufus and Leonard and it’s difficult to choose between the two. Rufus’ version is one of my all time favorite songs, but Leonard’s moves me. Rufus sings like an angel, his voice is gorgeous; Leonard’s voice is rough, a bit unsteady but passionate. Rufus’ version sounds like a hymn; Leonard’s more like some fervent prayer in the dark. I feel like Leonard means what he is singing. I’m probably always going to end up preferring the love song that is on it’s knees with yearning vs. one that soars above so for me this is an example where the original still tops a really excellent cover.

Rufus’ version:

vs. Leonard Cohen’s original (excuse the graphic, the original was removed)

Addendum: There were a few songs I was on the fence about and decided I like them both, but favored the original slightly more:
Bjork’s and Death Cab For Cutie’s All is Full of Love.
The Cure’s and Tricky’s Love Cats.

I can’t decide between Kate Bush’s vs. Placebo’s version of Running up that Hill. I love the darkness of the Placebo version and the passion of Kate Bush’s version.

Honorable mentions: Arctic Monkeys cover of Shirley Bassey’s Diamonds are Forever (Alex Turner has an incredible voice); Elvis Costello’s Please Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood and The Cardigan’s cover of Iron Man.

Lastly, but most cheesily, just for fun, Richard Cheese’s version of Creep is a must-listen.

Update: Another honorable mention is Rachid Taha’s part Arabic cover of The Clash’s Rock the Casbah. Also, it’s almost impossible to find a better cover of any song Nina Simone did, she just rips it up and owns it (see the Be Misunderstood hon mention above), but on the way home, I remembered this Muse cover of Feeling Good – an incredibly sexy song (original version removed by WMG – again, boo hiss x 100, WMG!

Update 1/11/09

Max mentioned that the Soft Cell version of Tainted Love is better than the original and it is such a fantastic song, I just had to add it here.
(another video removed by WMG due to a copyright claim. They are teh suck).

Yes we did!

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

update 9 November:
Another amazing image from Shepard Fairey

The posters quickly sold out but you can still buy the stickers

Yes we did!

There is something happening when Americans who are young in age and in spirit – who have never before participated in politics – turn out in numbers we’ve never seen because they know in their hearts that this time must be different…

…we will remember that there is something happening in America; that we are not as divided as our politics suggests; that we are one people; we are one nation; and together, we will begin the next great chapter in America’s story with three words that will ring from coast to coast; from sea to shining sea – Yes. We. Can.
– Barack Obama, January 2008


Sunday, November 2nd, 2008

more fantastic images from Shepard Fairey (