View Sidebar

Post Tagged with: Music

The rise of Chinese pop culture…

The rise of Chinese pop culture…

When my sisters and I were growing up (younger than ten), we were somewhat discouraged from consuming Western pop culture, ie music and films, by our parents. (Can’t you tell?) Thus, while my schoolfriends were (perhaps) reading Smash Hits et. al., we were listening to Cantopop and comedy films from Hong Kong, procured at great expense and effort from Chinese shops in Liverpool.

One of the tapes we used to constantly listen to on those long drives to Liverpool were albums by Sam Hui, who along with his brothers also used to make knock-about comedy capers like Security Unlimited. They were simple, but had catchy tunes and comedy routines – in the back of my head, I can probably still recall the Security Unlimited way of learning how to drive. Think of a working class Nolan Sisters branching into Carry On films, with no innuendo.

Then we got a radio, I discovered how to control the television set, and I threw myself into UK pop culture (Smash Hits! Neneh Cherry! Doctor Who!) while my parents wondered where exactly they had gone wrong.

Fast-forward 25 years, and a chance Googling reveals that American casinos are so keen to get Chinese gamblers coming in, they book Sam Hui to perform at Las Vegas, and casinos in Connecticut have Chinese-language websites where lots of Asian pop stars perform, for the cash. I’ve seen casinos put up Chinese-language signs in London and Manchester to compel Chinese gamblers to come in, but this takes it to a whole new level.

As for that Security Unlimited – the film my sisters and I must have watched hundreds of times on repeat on a dodgy VHS – is now on YouTube, and also available via Amazon.com video-on-demand. Technology, eh?

Now if only I could speak Chinese.

"Put the f'king lotion in the basket…"

"Put the f'king lotion in the basket…"

You may have seen a musical clip from the frankly genius idea of Silence of the Lambs: The Musical set to Lego:

Anyway, it turns out the musical is coming to London mid-January! Who’s with me? We can all wear night-vision goggles and adopt cod-Virginian accents! (or surgical masks and cod-posh-Welsh accents)…

East meets emo…

East meets emo…

I’m watching a Chinese Cantopop music video, which has all the stylings of a Mariah Carey / Britney Spears video shoot. Groovy dancers, a wind machine, and a made-up lead singer in a short skirt.

However, the only English-language lyric I can pick up is “Loneliness is my best friend”. Just to reinforce this fact, it’s repeated about 8 times with subtitles underneath, before reverting back to Cantonese.

Fortunately, with a bit of Googling magic, I can now reveal the song is Bianca Yu’s Still A Wonderful Life

I think I’ve found my new hipster look for 2010.

I’m not too sure Google Translate does a good job with Cantopop lyrics though:

Neighborhood of a person dinner
Lit candles total available radiant
Black linen without a partner
Aroma had a comfortable night with me
Hard to meet the worry-free eating and drinking
Stressed the need to pay attention to Huazhizhaozhan
Fast repair the image of vulnerability
Then instead of hauling your hands I’m ready
Carefree to walk everywhere
* A person is willing to count on cold
Even if a person alone
A cruel diversion program
But I was still a refined *
I do not reason alone a vacation and then the time difference
Concerned about the love off like a light down
There is no road map to do a happy canvas
Random do like my home hotel
No opponent to make ends meet
I am happy every day I received a total shopping
Let me Tim newly installed additional temperament
You do not do not light easily manipulated
Chic is my code

and of course, Cantopop doesn’t have exclusive licence to use the word ‘loneliness’ in inappropriate places:

Quite possibly the best new Pet Shop Boys song of the moment…

Quite possibly the best new Pet Shop Boys song of the moment…

Throbbing beats that can’t be ignored, and a lovely heart-felt lyric. Straight from 1981 (or thereabout…)

Of course, you may prefer the cynical but hopefully romantic lyrics that the Pet Shop Boys are more justly famed for:

Ahhh…. Cardiff…

Ahhh…. Cardiff…

When I first moved to Cardiff in December 2001 and found myself at numerous friends’ Christmas house parties, I did note – as you do – that everybody’s music collection included plenty of CDs by the Stereophonics, Manic Street Preachers – and even Catatonia, depending on how old the partygoers were. Via some magical osmosis, without actually sitting down and listening to those CDs, by 2006 I was quite familiar with a fair few tracks, thus sparking off a sense of Welsh nostalgia every time Kelly Jones (he was in my local pub in West London, once) or James Dean Bradfield‘s voice spikes out of the radio.

Anyway, fast forward to today and I’ve only just heard the new single, Innocent. And I loves it. That quite Welsh lyrical combination of sour nostalgia for a time in the future. And a rockin’ good tune.

Or maybe that’s just me.

If you're a UK Pet Shop Boys fan

If you're a UK Pet Shop Boys fan

then apparently Absolute Radio is your UK radio station of choice, according to comparemyradio.com. Mind you, they’ve only played a track 11 times in the last 30 days.

Just thought you might want to know that.

Pet Shop Boys – you need love…

Pet Shop Boys – you need love…

The new Pet Shop Boys single. It’s fab. For the following reasons:

– It’s going to be fab at concerts, hearing fans scream back the various call-and-beck lines
– Lyrically, it’s an age-old theme but with the typical Pet Shop Boys twist
– It’s catchy as hell. Did I mention that?
– Love Etc. – I mean, could there be a more Pet Shop Boys title?

Magical musical tour

Magical musical tour

A former music writer colleague of mine once told me that the great thing about new music was that it was always there for you, when you were ready.

Given that my last CD purchases of simple pop bands Alphabeat and Scouting For Girls drew sustained moaning from my music-loving neighbour, it’s patently high time that I stopped hearing new music via music video channels, and had my musical horizons somewhat expanded. Fortunately, my friend muzikfiend is visiting from the States, with a declared intention to spend a week going to as many music concerts and clubs as possible, so I thought I’d join her.

So first off was Sneaky Sound System at the Koko. I’d heard pretty much nothing about them, so was pleasantly surprised to find a popular energetic electro-pop-dance band from Australia with a couple of catchy songs that I still can’t forget.

Next, it was Ladytron at the Shepherds’ Bush Empire. I have listened to, and liked a couple of their songs before so I was looking forward to it, but was “super non-impressed”, as muzikfiend puts it. It seemed as if they had no passion, no desire to be there – they were just going through the very bored motions, and they didn’t play their more popular tunes. However, the crowd around me seemed to love it, so it was probably just me not attuned to their cold ways.

Now, onwards to an impromptu club tour of London

Acieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeedddddd

Acieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeedddddd

A smiley face, as made by GreyArea and as seen on Flickr An email flew across UK new media types today, exhorting people to take part in a flashmob to celebrate 20 years of acid house. Or as most people would term it, acccieeeeeeeeeeeedddddddd – courtesy of D-Mob’s We Call It Acieed, which was probably the closest mainstream charts got to it.

But to hear people twittering and muttering about it, apparently everyone was simply getting on down t’acid house in the second summer of lurve (1988). Except unsurprisingly, I was trapped in my parents’ bedroom probably not doing much except watching TV and imagining that simply every cool kid was getting on down t’Acid House in the big cities. And they probably were.

Personally, out of D-Mob’s ouevre, I preferred D-Mob & Cathy Dennis – C’mon get my love. And to think she went on to write some of Kylie’s greatest hits. Ahhh, the 1980s…

How can we take the time if we never make the time?

How can we take the time if we never make the time?

Busy London commuters, taken by DriftWords There’s a fascinating article in the Washington Post about what happened when they persuaded a world-class violinist, using a rare Stradivarius, to play some of the world’s ‘best’ classical music purposes while standing on an intersection in a busy Washington D.C. Metro station. Would commuters stop, and listen in awe – or move on in their busy lives?

Ironically, the article itself – as presented on the web – is so hideously long and complicated, I had to skim-read to find out what happened next. So the article online is definitely not a work of art. 😉