Saturday, November 10, 2012

Let’s hear it for the Fourth Estate or why Kim, Kourtney, Jen, Em and Jess are keeping democracy alive. Then there’s the rekindling of a love affair: me and Don

Here are some spiffing items of news you might well have missed over these past few days. But be reassured that throughout the Western world dedicated man and women are beavering away around-the-clock as I write to make sure you are always up-to-date. So did you know that Jennifer Garner has a bit of trouble carrying her child and a rather heavy handbag? Bet you didn’t. Well, there’s another reason to read this ’ere blog.

Here are some further items which it is essential you should know if you are planning on meeting a friend for coffee or considering having your hair done: Kourtney Kardashian takes her son shopping to Hamleys in London; her sister Kim - remember her? - wears a jumpsuit in rather chilly weather; Pippa Middleton - remember her? - has the same hat and dimple as Cheryl Cole and a rather similar dress; Helen Flanagan - no, I don’t have a clue who she is, either - vows to eat anything during he stint in an Australian ‘jungle’ for a TV show; Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez might have split up! Lordy, can it really be so? Rihanna wears a flame-coloured jacket on a night out; Van Diesel takes his daughter to the beach; Rose McGowan - no, I don’t have a clue who she is, either - decides to wear rather warmer clothes as the weather in Los Angeles gets a tad nippy; Jessica Alba goes shopping in patterned trousers; Miranda Kerr and Alessandra Ambrosio relax (separately, apparently); Emma Roberts - no, I don’t have a clue who she is, either - buys three iced coffees; Ashton Kutcher holds open a door for Mila Junis.

To put all that vital stuff into some kind of perspective, since the beginning of the year 21 journos have been killed in Syria, 12 in Somalia, five in Pakistan, three in Brazil, and one each in Thailand, India, Nigeria, Lebanon, Ecuador, Phillipines,  Bahrain, Bangladesh, Tanzania, Cambodia and Indonesia. That’s 52 altogether, all of them, one hears, rushing around getting the latest lowdown on the Kardishian sisters, Ms Garner, Ms Kerr, Ms Ambrosio and the rest of them.

You thought only fuckwits in the West can’t breathe without knowing how many iced coffees Ms Roberts likes buying. Well, think again: in 2012, 52 hacks and hackettes gave their lives trying to find out and bring you the latest ASAP. Or not, as the case may be.

LATER UPDATE: Anyone really anxious to hear the latest about the Kardashians, you can find out what happened when Kim and Kourteney went shopping in London.

. . .

I was planning to write a piece on how we, almost inevitably, fall out of love, whether it’s girlfriends, boyfriends, gobstoppers, sherbet lemons or, in this case, our former music heroes. The hero in question was to be Donald Fagen, who has just released his fourth solo album, Sunken Condos. He might be better known to many as the other part of Steely Dan, and they were - are I suppose - one of my fave bands. The trouble was that after his first solo album, The Nightfly, which he released in 1910, his next two didn’t really set my loins alight. Each - Kamakariad and Morph The Cat - had one or two good tracks, but the rest . . .

Then, a few weeks ago, I was in touch with a friend who asked whether I had heard Fagen’s most recent solo album. Well, dear reader, I didn’t even know he had realeased on. So I bought it and had Amazon deliver it and listened to it. And I was exceptionally underwhelmed. Many pieces of music take a while to grow on you, but I didn’t even think that was going to be the case. It seemed to me that Fagen was almost parodying himself, what with those ‘sophisticated’ (I think that’s the word they use) chord changes and cynical lyrics. In fact, I happened to go for a drink with the friend who mentioned the new release and I said as much.

Well, last night, for some reason, I decided to listen again. And I am glad to report that this particular story has a happy ending. I now think it’s rather good, better, in fact, than solo albums two and three.
On the lines of falling out of love, though, I must admit that where Prince was also once a big favourite of mine, he does, of late, seem to have lost the plot. Once he was original and interesting. Now he just seems to settle for interminable funk workouts. Now, I happen to like those, but if it’s funk workouts you want, it has to be said you are spoiled for choice.

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