Friday, November 14, 2008

Going to see the Changingman

Teaching a session or two about novel writing at the East Ayrshire Book Festival today, before heading into Glasgow for a concert by Paul Weller. I've followed his career since he first burst on the music scene in the 1970s as leader of The Jam [I was raised in the wild by punks, at a time when most Kiwis were listening to Saturday Night Fever]. A lot of fans never forgave Weller for splitting The Jam, let alone forsaking it for The Style Council.

Me, I didn't mind. The Style Council's mix of soul, jazz and funk with a message chimed nicely with me learning to appreciate soul, jazz and messages. [I blame Level 42 for my antipathy to funk.] Weller stepped off that carousel by the end of the 1980s and became a solo artist, rediscovering his musical mojo along the way. Now he pumps out a new album most years, and tours like a Trojan. He's got a massive back catalogue of songs, it should be a good gig.

In other news, Variety contributed a new word to my collection of obscure language today. The Hollywood trade paper has a long history of invented lingo that requires some decoding for newcomers to its pages. For example, nobody leave a project in a Variety article - they 'ankle' it. Chicago isn't a musical, it's a 'tuner'. Today's Variety gives the new Broadway production of Billy Elliot a glowing review, praising the West End transfer from London.

In the midst of that the reviewer talks about the show's gritty 1980s Northern England setting, describing it as 'hardscrabble' - what a great word. I've already scrawled that on a post-it note stuck to the wall beside my writing desk. There it joins samizdat, policier, rustbelt, imbroglio, weltschwerz, kinslayer, cognomen and cartouche - all words that have tickled my fancy. Always handy to have a distinctive word up your sleeve when required.


Lucy said...

LEVEL 42 ARE BRILLIANT! You heathen. As for Paul Weller... Are you insane??? Never understood you oldies' love for a guy who always sounds the same. CONTROVERSY.

David Bishop said...

You're dissing Paul Weller, and think that Level 42 are brilliant?

Say no more.

Lucy said...

It's kinda ironic that he calls himself the "changing man" when he recycles the same chords over and over, but hey -- you clearly know better 'cos you is ancient, right?

; )

Piers said...

Can I just take a moment to jump in here and disrespect both of your musical tastes in the strongest possible words?


Robin Kelly said...

I expect you catched the rather excellent doc on BBC4 about Paul Weller? I've always loved The Jam and some Style Council but it made me appreciate his solo stuff a bit more and want to check it out.

Level 42 also had their moments but not enough of them to take Weller's crown.