Wednesday, October 10, 2012

In which I introduce a grateful world to my two new enthusiasms: Pink and Boardwalk Empire

Well, it’s all happening: Syria is shooting at Turkey, Turkey is shooting back at Syria, Angela Merkel is in Athens, apparently expressing her solidarity with all those she is reducing to pauperism but actually merely showing that when it comes to tact, the Germans aren’t always on the button, one in four Spaniards who want to work can’t, just months after being elected King of France (although the French don’t actually call it King), Francois Hollande is now less popular than a turd on a living room carpet, and surveys in America report that the voters don’t like Obama or Romney. Yes, it’s all happening, but I have something far more important to report: I have two new enthusiasms.

. . .

The first is the music and songs of a lady called Pink, who might be known to some of you, but perhaps not to all of you. When I mentioned it the other day, I colleague said he was astounded, quite possibly because I am 63 next birthday, or quite possibly there is some other reason. I don’t know. What I do know is that among her peers (although I should add the I haven’t actually heard very much by her peers) I think she stands out rather well.

Discovering her and her music was purely by chance and if it hadn’t been that I heard a particular song, liked it and then heard it was by some singer called Pink, I doubt very much I would have followed it up. But the song, Family Portrait, rather touched me. These days, the only time I hear new music, rather new pop music, is when I am in the gym at work. I

was familiar with her hit Get This Party Started which, although a great pop song, is not, at the end of the day anything more than just a great pop song. And Family Portrait, too, could be seen as just another pop song. But what struck me when I heard it for the first time and what strikes me every time I hear it again, is that Pink sings it from the heart. In it’s way it is as far removed from all the crappy Britney Spears pop mush as a Bach cantata (although superficially it has more in common the Britney Spears than a Bach cantata. That much I’ll admit).

It is a sad song in which Pink simply pleads with her parents not to split up and can’t the family try to get back to what they once were. And that is it. But not much upsets me more than unhappy children, and even though Pink was an adult by the time she recorded that song, part of her still hurts and it comes across in the song. After that I bought one album, then another, then another, and I like her music. For one thing she has a great pop sensibility, but more than that she has a strong voice and can sing. Finally, she has a sense of humour. All in all, 63 next birthday or not, Pink’s my gal.

I might add here that I have also recently bought Dylan’s latest album Tempest. That is great, too. I don’t know how he does it - and the chances are that he doesn’t either - but Dylan does it more or less every time. To this day that opening chord of Like A Rolling Stone sends a shiver down my spine. (And if, by the way, you like it as much as I do, check out Johnny Winter’s version. He makes it a different song, but in its way it is just as good.)

 . . .

 My second enthusiasm is Boardwalk Empire, the story of Nucky Thompson who I read somewhere is described as a gangster and a politician who can’t decide whether he is more the gangster or the politician. The series is made by HBO and many, many, many of the great

talents who produced The Sopranos are involved in making it. Quite a few film makers have said that the bless the day when television started to allow them to make such series and allowed them to take their time telling a story, letting characters develop. They say that isn’t really possible in the conventional film of between 90 and 120 minutes. If you haven’t heard of it, check it out. Some people say it is ‘boring’ because it is ‘too slow’ and that ‘nothing happens’. Well, if that’s the case they should stick to their Britney Spears collection of albums and leave more room for the rest of us to enjoy it.

. . .

I am always take a look at the stats for this blog every day. It’s a form of vanity, I know, but it is also an interesting insight into what people like to read and what they are interested in. And bugger me if this particular entry doesn’t regularly beat all other entries into a cocked hat. The odd thing is I really don’t know why. Someone care to tell me?

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