Friday, May 27, 2016

Peaky Blinders (again) and don’t miss Alpha House, but most of all: RIP Prince, who had more talent in his little finger than many wannabes can dream of

Bad Gastein - Last Day, but enough of that.

This is the second post tonight. The first, which you might have spotted was in what I’m sure would be called ‘dog Turkish’, that is ‘bloody terrible Turkish. I used Google Translate to translate my post into Turkish and as I know from testing it translating from English to German and vice versa, it’s useful, but not great. That’s by way of introduction.

Today was my last day here in Bad Gastein, but I shan’t balls on about it because like yesterday I did very little (as planned). Instead I shall rave and recommend two series which you will be able to catch. Then there’s Prince, who died recently. First off, Prince. I came across him one morning when I was trying to wake up and then get up when I was working on the Birmingham Evening Mail. In those days, the early 1980s, I had a clock radio which was set to BBC Radio 1. They played the usual shite but then a track came on which, in my soporific state, woke me immediately and I thought: who is that! The track was When Doves Cry.

What doesn’t quite add up is that, according to Wikipedia, the song was released in 1984. Trouble is that by 1984 I was no longer working for the Evening Mail and was no longer living at 45, Milner Road, Selly Park, where I seem to remember waking up and hearing it. So what is going on? Obviously false memory syndrome, though to this day I can ‘remember’ waking up to the song and thought I was still in Milner Road. But what the hell.

The point is that I was hooked and thought – and still think – that the guy was streets and streets ahead of more or less anyone else. I do remember Purple Rain (on cassette – remember them, must have been in the dark ages) and subsequently buying earlier and subsequent albums. Yes, he could go off the boil, and I remember being vaguely disappointed with the album in which Diamonds And Pearls figured. But Prince mediocre was still streets and streets ahead of many trying their very best and not getting there.

Maybe he really hit his high spot with Sign Of The Times, but even after that he came out with real gems. I was getting a little older then (I was 40 in 1990), so I wasn’t religiously buying Prince albums just because they were Prince, but I did carry on buying them after I had been able to listen a while.

Sadly, times moved on and left him behind. Hip Hop, especially, more or less threw a spade or two onto his grave, though it most certainly didn’t bury him. But then again he would suddenly come out with a true gem: if you like Prince and haven’t yet heard it, try Breakfast Can Wait: it’s on
what was once an EP or the digital equivalent and is the same song done in about eight different styles.

His death came as a surprise, but what is even more surprising is that there has been very little follow up.

I did read a piece by some guy who claimed he was selling loads of speed to Prince, and there were also reports that he was seeking help for addiction, but all that seems to have gone quiet. Why, I don’t know.

I wouldn’t at all be surprised if, despite his public distain for drugs, he had got himself addicted to amphetamines because he was knocking on – we all get older, even you – and the energy, the staying up all night in the studio playing, rehearsing and recording did have to come from somewhere. Let’s see what the real score was.

Next up, the two series. I think I have already mentioned Peaky Blinders, but here’s another mention. Try it, it’s good.

Most recently I have been binge-watching the first two series of a political satire available on Amazon Prime called Alpha House. Don’t be put off by the name. It isn’t some kind of latter-day coarse-arsed frat comedy, but a very funny, and very satirical take on the lives and doings of four US senators. As they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so give it a whirl. The humour is – thank the Lord – dry rather than ‘comedy’, but it is all the better for that. Try it. I am off to Old Blighty tomorrow, and wish I wasn’t. I am now chilling and could do with more time off, but…

The next time I shall take a full two weeks rather than these nine/ten day breaks. Oh, and the next time I shall make damn sure I don’t get myself sunburnt. Finally, hello Libz, haven’t forgotten you. Keep in touch.

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