Monday, March 17, 2008

One day we'll go deaf

I found myself flicking through Welcome to the Machine the other day. No, I haven't quite yet descended into the Norma Desmond zone, transfixed by the flickering image of my own lost glory. I've been asked to contribute to a new Radiohead-related project, and I was trying to calculate how much of the previous text I might be able to recycle without matters slipping through the hazy fence that separates postmodern self-reference from tedious repetition and self-plagiarism.

Anyway, my finger happened to stop leafing at the picture section in the middle. Now, I didn't want pictures in the book to start with, and I had nothing to with the selection or the design. But there is an intriguing collage on the 12th page, just under the representation of a tiresome student's bookcase. (Franz Kafka next to Philip K Dick may be an Alan Bennett joke, but I suspect not.)

It consists of a number of portraits of people I mention in the book as having some sort of influence, however tenuous, on OK Computer. They are: the White-Album-period Beatles; JG Ballard; George Orwell; Samuel Beckett; Kraftwerk; Louis Armstrong; Miles Davis; Kurt Cobain; and someone who I thought might be Umberto Eco (which would have been pretty shrewd thinking on the part of the designer, because I didn't actually mention Eco in the book, although I really should have done) or perhaps the possibly-done-in-by-spooks weapons expert David Kelly, but now I'm pretty certain it's the Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki.

Which in turn got me thinking: what a bloody incredible band they'd make. OK, some of them aren't strictly musicians, but those guys could write lyrics and hit cowbells. In fact, I'd like to see Beckett as an on-stage dancer, like Bez, or the naked lady from Hawkwind. I just can't think of a good name for them. Anyone? And is there a deliriously unfeasible dream supergroup you've concocted in your own idle moments?

17 comments:

patroclus said...

Krzysztof Penderecki and the Beckettes?

At least it would keep the music industry sub-editors on their toes.

Geoff said...

Power Ballard.

(But you'd need to add Britpop's own John Power to the list).

Did Armstrong and Davis ever play together? That would be a horn of plenty.

patroclus said...

Bez Beckett and the Horn of Plenty.

No, wait, that sounds like an 'adult' remake of a Harry Potter film.

dh said...

Can't go wrong with a JGB reference. He's suffering from advanced prostate cancer BTW and may not be long for this world.

Tim Footman said...

Damn, P, you're on a roll. Must be the hormones. I'm particularly taken with the Beckettes. I can see them in their pink satin frocks and dusty bowler hats.

Geoff: I don't think Armstrong and Davis ever played together - in fact, I'm not sure either of them ever worked with another trumpeter. (Now waits for father to e-mail me with a sniffy reminder of Satchmo's 1934 Kansas City session with Blind Wilbur "Bigtrousers" Shufflebottom, when they played 'Lawdy Lawdy My Miss Delilah Done Gone Set Fire To My Rice and Beans Blues'.)

Tim Footman said...

Sorry, Dick, just missed you. Yes, he's mighty poorly, is old Jim. But I think he can be quietly satisfied with his perceptive imagining of... well, now, pretty much.

dh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dh said...

Major Influences Subconscious Minds Club Band.

patroclus said...

Your dad sounds great - if he does send you a mail like that, can you post it up?

I had a discussion with my own dad about the supergroup, and we jointly came up with Eco Beckett and the Pendereckettes. I feel some sort of alliterative supergroup nirvana may soon be achieved.

FirstNations said...

although somewhat lacking in the tit department, Samuel Becket would indeed make a wonderful band dancer. i imagine his style would be more along the lines of the odd man who used to stand in the Fiorruccis window, though.

i can't see a group containing both the Beatles and Kurt Cobain. thats just...kinda...wrong. talk about a big 'ol slapfest!

Tim Footman said...

That's good, Dick... although maybe a little too much like Scientology...

I do wonder sometimes whether one of you lot isn't my dad in disguise, P. The Pendereckettes sound appropriately atonal, btw.

Maybe Sam could be more of an MC, FN. Leave the actual dancing to George Orwell.

patroclus said...

I'm pretty sure I'm not your dad. If I am, there's some hefty temporal and genetic tomfoolery at play. I can't speak for anyone else, though.

Betty said...

George Orwell would definitely be a good interpretive dancer ... "imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever".

Murph said...

Miles D., Dozy, UmBeecy, Beck and Twitch.

Satchmo used to appear in adverts for Laxatives under the catchy line "Leave it all behind ya!". Eventually he did.

dh said...

You never know. Was your mum at Woodstock?

Billy said...

I see Krzysztof Penderecki featuring on saxophone. Possibly in a Roxy Music-type costume.

Tim Footman said...

The Oracle has uttered, P:

"One should not over-excite the young, so I shall whisper in your ear that it was most likely that when Louis moved from New Orleans / ‘King’ Oliver / cornet to New York / Fletcher Henderson / trumpet he did not immediately take lead trumpet. It does seem widely repeated, however, that in jam sessions many challengers trying to keep up with him retired with split lips."

So, that told me.

I like the stamping idea, Betty: Orwell as one of those Australian blokes in vests and boots.

An on-the-road diet of senna and sensimilla as I recall, Murph.

If she was, Dick, she can't remember. So, probably.

With John Tavener on drums, perhaps, Billy?