The BBC World Have Your Say team hit Mexico city a couple of days ago. They went there to talk about the narco wars that have crippled the country and left more than a few people headless. Instead they walked into swine flu central which, just a few hours ago was followed by a 6.0 Richter quake. That’s what I call bad luck.
You couldn’t create an album with less female appeal than this if you’d tried. What other men try to conceal beneath the periscope hood of ageing parkas, Mark John Hibbett proudly thrusts into the open. All of blokedom is on offer here from Linux to DIY. Hibbett’s mission in life is to pounce on the dullest of subject matter, hold it up to the glaring light â€“ blackheads n’ all — and pronounce it good. Read more
SET BLOW OWN TRUMPET = ON
A wonderful piece of radio courtesy of my programme World Update. If you’ve ever looked aghast at the use of Comic Sans and wondered why then here is the place to go. Featuring Vincent Connare himself.
The production on this album is astounding. If folk music from the western Xinjiang province is not your bag then at least marvel at the rich sound of this Chinese gem. Mamer sings with a warm bassy croak while gentle guitar and lilting dombra fill in the gaps and if at times the morose low-fi threatens to teeter your speakers off the table and disturb sleeping dogs — as on Mountain Wind (aka While My Catarrh Gently Weeps) – you soon get used to the sonic depression and to be honest I actually started to find the whole effect kind of soothing and, whisper it, accessible.
Of course I’ve no idea what he’s singing about (for what it’s worth it don’t sound like no Chinese I ever heard) but to help you along, the tracks for the most part are given simple one-word English monikers — Eagle, Blackbird, Man – and seem designed to evoke wistful contemplation of mother Earth as you light another scented candle. This is no bad thing.
If the language is alien then hopefully the sounds won’t be. Fans of Led Zep’s Bron-Yr-Aur will love Celebration and while overall the album stays on the introspective side of chilled there’s some beautiful melodic respite in Blackbird.
This is just brilliant. A warning to any budding or indeed established Jeremy Paxmans out there.
I came late to The Alarm, finally getting their best-of ‘Standards’ in 2005 or so. Read more