Sunday 3 December 2023

you stood and you watched as my baby left town (11. 162)

To the surprise of songwriter and music producer Geoff Stephens, the band formed of sessions players to record his novelty composition “Winchester Cathedral” climbed to number one on the US, Canadian and Australian charts of this day in 1966 for a run of several weeks. The New Vaudeville Band channelled the music hall style and megaphone vocals of Rudy Vallรฉe of the 1920s and the 1930s. The eleventh-century monumental titular building is the mother church of the ancient Diocese of Winchester and is the largest medieval cathedral in the world, only now surpassed by the later St Peter’s, Our Lady of Peace, Liverpool’s and St John the Divine in New York, and is a major tourist draw and pilgrimage destination as the resting place of Jane Austen.  Though only teaming up for this one-off gig, the New Vaudeville Band collaborated on several albums through 1988.

woty 2023: people’s choice (11. 159)

Oxford English Dictionary has a shortlist of nominees that were pitted against one another for several brackets including: Swiftie (a Taylor Swift enthusiast) vs De-Influencing, Heat Dome (a high-pressure weather system that traps hot air below it with deadly consequences) vs prompt—as in an improvisational cue for a Language Model), rizz vs Beige Flag (a warning sign that a partner is rather too tame and unoriginal, vis-a-vis the above) and parasocial (characterising a one-sided relationship that a fan has for a celebrity) vs situationship (an undeclared relationship) Check back soon to see if your favourite has won.


one year ago: assorted links to revisit plus The Book of Leaves

two years ago: Drake’s Equation, SMS (1992) plus a collection of airline safety cards

three years ago: your daily demon: Balam, a Roman holiday plus fifty-two gleanings from the year

four years ago: Camelot (1960) plus a Chicken Little opera

five years ago: a deck of Mayan playing cards, healthy brain flora, the cries and criers of Old London plus a deployment to the US-Mexico border

Friday 1 December 2023

9x9 (11. 156)

the saw lady: the virtuosity of Natalia Paruz  

tribalism: the worsening internet is an uncomfortable fun-house reflection of our inchoate proclivities  

holiday train show: a miniature NYC constructed from twigs and leaves at the city’s Botanical Garden  

bouzingos: the overlooked precursor to the Bohemian subculture  

microsleep: penguins take ten thousand seconds’ long naps per day to be rested but alert in noisy, hunted colonies

state-sanctioned socialist realism: the artistic duo of Komar and Melamid who turned subversive 

fairytale of new york: celebrating the life and talent of legendary Pogues’ singer Shane MacGowan—see previously, see also  

all about winning: Japan’s buzzword of the year continues a baseball-related streak 

busking: mapping live music public venues

Thursday 30 November 2023

blackbox (11. 151)

Via the always interesting Things Magazine, we are given some insight into in-flight entertainment with the audio selections until very recently and probably still on some airlines being a curated mix-tape played on a loop arranged for the different channels, stations that one could choose from. Such a technical legacy endures in part because of flight regulations (sort of like the armrest ashtrays and coffee-maker that runs on jet-fuel), reliability and ease of maintenance.

Monday 27 November 2023

radio ripping (11. 144)

The campaign given its soft-start the month prior, the British Phonographic industry trade group under the chairmanship of Christopher Wright began placing its slogan in the press on this day in 1981, believing that the rise in the availability and popularity of the cassette and recorder would cause a precipitous decline in record sales—recruiting a few celebrity spokespeople to support their initiative against the new media, like the Boomtown Rats and Elton John. Others, like Bow Wow Wow, the Dead Kennedys, Devo and Sonic Youth actively encouraged the practise, some releasing titles with blank b-sides for the buyer to record whatever they wished. The propaganda and rhetoric (often subject to parody over the manufactured hysteria) have re-appeared numerous times as an invective against VCRs, “Don’t Copy that Floppy,” and file-sharing even for art and entertainment that’s meant for public enjoyment and made more robust by its channels of propagation and retention.


one year ago: assorted links to revisit plus Makhno’s Movement (1920)

two years ago: an AI take on traditional wedding gifts

three years ago: an Italo Pop nonsense song meant to sound like English plus St Josaphat

four years ago: a font inspired by Trump’s handwriting, VR for happier cows, St James Intercisus plus a Monkees’ movie

five years ago: CARE packages, the collaboration between Stan Lee and Pablo Ferro, another Trump Dump plus Misinformation as Word of the Year

Saturday 25 November 2023

you ain’t got to feel guilt just selfless—give a little help to the helpless (11. 139)

Recorded on this day in 1984 at a studio in Notting Hill, the charity album written by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure to raise money for famine relief in Ethiopia, the title single by the Band Aid supergroup, comprised of artists including Phil Collins, George Michael, Boy George and members of Spandau Ballet, U2, Kool & the Gang, Bananarama, Duran Duran and the Police (with messages from David Bowie and Paul McCartney on the B-side), released on 3 December became the fasting-selling single in chart history—until surpassed by Elton John’s tribute song “Candle in the Wind 1997.” Far outstripping expectations, it raised over eight million pounds within the first year and the model led to a series of reprisals and other fund-raising ventures, like the Live Aid concerts and the “We Are the World” recordings. Whilst consistently ranked among most favoured Christmas songs, the song contains tropes of colonialism, evangelising and a simplistic view of Africa (Bono had to be begged to sing the line “Well—tonight thank God it’s them instead of you”), Geldof later laments being responsible “for the two worst songs in history”—the other being the above US-based “We Are the World,” but it wasn’t about the music but rather the spirit of the season.

Tuesday 21 November 2023

we already feel (11. 130)

The latest Linkfest introduces us to the previously unpublished early music of Carola Baer, a UK-extract relocated to San Francisco in 1990. Homesick and isolated, Baer recorded an album over the course of several months on cassette and gave it the studio treatment, photocopying a cover for The Story of Valerie. Never releasing it, Baer lost the only copy—for it only to turn up in a rummage bin of a charity shop in Oregon twenty six years, and with the finder’s help, Baer was not only reunited with this personal artefact, it was also given a limited release with five hundred vinyl pressings. Much more at the links above.

Wednesday 15 November 2023

that ain’t nothing—just make me your leading man (11. 121)

Our gratitude to Pasa Bon! for the introduction to the musical stylings of King Solomon through the timely and resonant number Political Rag from his 1978 album Energy Crisis (see also). On the touring circuit as an opening act with the likes of B B King, Etta James and Sammy Davis Junior, originally the artist was not much known outside of local venues in Los Angeles and Las Vegas but later gained recognition for his solo career in funk and experimental music. 


one year ago:  assorted links worth revisiting  

two years ago: the Free City of Gdaล„sk

three years ago: more links to enjoy, the Cluttlers Murder (1959) plus Doc “Joe” Baker

four years ago: animated book covers,  more faรงadism plus the ethnography of dialing-codes

five years ago: Little Orphan Annie (1885) plus the musical stylings of Fugiya and Miyagi

Saturday 11 November 2023

clip show (11. 111)

The 1976 musical documentary by Susan Wilson that juxtaposed Beatles covers with newsreel combat footage and propaganda vignettes that was roundly rejected by critics and audiences was released on this day in 1976 and pulled from cinemas after less than two weeks of screenings. Shrewdly realising that money was to be made from the soundtrack with new renditions by popular artists, the accompanying film score debuted three weeks earlier and generated far more revenue than the movie, remanded mostly to obscurity outside of a few airings that attracted a cult-like fascination with several charting singles like Rod Stewart’s “Get Back,” Elton John’s “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” the Bee Gees’ “Carry That Weight,” Helen Reddy doing a version of “Fool on the Hill,” Tina Turner on “Come Together” and introducing Peter Gabriel with “Strawberry Fields Forever.” It was rumoured that Monty Python cartoonist Terry Gilliam was approached to contributed animated interstitials but that was apparently untrue. As singular as this enterprise seems, All This and World War II was inspired by a documentary by Philippe Mora from the previous year called Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? made up of newsreel footage and interspersed with clips from contemporary films and songs as a scrapbook of the Depression Era through the Attack on Pearl Harbour, with musical selections from Cab Calloway, Bing Crosby, Billie Holiday, Woody Guthrie, Busby Berkley and the Andrews Sisters. More from Open Culture at the link above.


one year ago: assorted links to revisit, MacArthur Park, the Feast of St Menas plus Kurt Vonnegut Jr at 100

two years ago: more links to enjoy, 3 quarks daily, superannuated image formats, Bliss symbols, an autumnal walk plus more out of the way wanderings

three years ago: the Trizone anthem, more links worth the revisit plus an observatory receives a new name

four years ago: the Feast of St Martin plus early generative text

five years ago: the Armistice of 1918, more assorted links plus a Bosch-bot

Friday 10 November 2023

9x9 (11. 110)

tragedy of the commons: Tokelau’s country-code top level domain (see also) turned the tiny Pacific island into a virtual den of thievery—via Web Curios  

hanna-barbera educational division: a bizarre 1979 film-strip about getting home safe for latch-key kids featuring some ranger danger 

itinerant filmmaker: travelling from town to town, The Kidnappers Foil was a four-decade vanity project for local talent, produced hundreds of times over  

suspense accents: add the sound of drama to your day—via Things Magazine  

mixtape 2023: Cardhouse’s annual audio/visual revue

bjรถrn of the dead: Iron Maiden vocalist Bruce Dickinson to play a starring role in an apocalyptic ABBA-tribute band horror movie—via Good Internet  

so red the nose, or, breath in the afternoon: an Oakland, California speakeasy bringing back drinks from 1930s—including Ernest Hemingway’s favoured Champagne cocktail  

merrie melodies: a snippet of the score for the cancelled Coyote v Acme—see more about the shelved project 

legal autopilot: a neural network negotiated and finalised a contract—an NDA—without human intervention

welcome to the pleasuredome (11. 109)

Released at the end of October and assured a chart entry due to advanced sales of over a million records, the debut studio album of Liverpudlian synth-pop group Frankie Goes to Hollywood climbed to the top spot in the domestic market on this day in 1984, coinciding with their first US television appearance on Saturday Night Live, performing the tracks “Two Tribes” and “Born to Run.” Though incredibly commercially successful, the record drew some criticism for being heavy with remixes and cover versions (“Relax”) of their repertoire that had already received a lot of airplay, songs like the below ballad have given the album enduring, iconic status.

Thursday 2 November 2023

6x6 (11. 091)

in front of the children: a Betamax find from 1983 on the BBC’s six decades of television for younger audiences 

ofrenda: a shrine on All Souls Day to the recently departed Paul Rubens, (clap! clap! clap!) deep in the heart of Texas 

terraces: an obscure 1977 made-for-television movie about tenants of a high-rise featuring Miss Julie Newmar, Jane Dulo and some gay neighbours  

forest friends: a profile of ecologist Simona Kossack’s three-decade residence in a secluded primeval wood  

now and then: The Beatles release their final song  

goldar: the late 60’s Japanese tokusatsu series, Ambassador Magma—the original Transformers, that achieved cult status in foreign markets as The Space Giants

Wednesday 1 November 2023

7x7 (11. 089)

rough trade № 5: experimental post-punk band The Raincoats recording their first single  

seo: an after-party for those who helped ruin the internet 

fungiculture: narrated by Bjรถrk and presented by biologist Melvin Sheldrake, an upcoming documentary on on the ties that bind—see previously 

top level domain: Anguilla’s .ai internet suffix is a significant portion of the island’s gross-domestic product  

spectral analysis: the missing colours of the rainbow accounted for with Frauenhofer lines

survey sez: a newspaper accuses an advertiser of reputational damage after a poorly placed poll 

the kingsmen: the story behind Louie Louie—see previously

Sunday 29 October 2023

il dissoluto punito (11. 082)

The two act masterpiece, commissioned after his successful tour of Bohemia and finished just the night prior, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s (see previously) Don Giovanni opened in Prague’s The Estates Theatre on this day in 1787. The adaptation of the centuries old Spanish legend of Don Juan, a haughty libertine and lecherous young noble, believes no one can resist his overtures or match his wit until encountering on that is unmoved and singularly unimpressed, the vengeful funerary statue of the angry father of his first sexual conquest, killed by Giovanni in a duel. Inspired by the character Il Commendatore (Don Pedro), a statue was installed in 2000 in the forecourt of the theatre, which still hosts performances of the opera.


one year ago: places lived and just past through plus a last day in Crete

two years ago: Constantine’s victory at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge,  Orinoco Flow (1988), a Mario marathon, celebrating a Renault classic, a collection of horror GIFs plus the end of the Salem Witch Trials

three years ago: assorted links to revisit plus referring to parents by the names of their offspring

four years ago: the political alignments of Mario Kart characters

five years ago: Italy battles the EU over its fiscal policy, Merkel to not run again for party chair, synthetic traditional Chinese medicine plus more on Angela Merkel stepping down

Thursday 26 October 2023

suiko t-50 (11. 075)

Via Pasa Bon!, we are directed towards a rare, vintage synthesiser hardly known outside of the Japanese specialists’ market made as a training device for Koto (็ฎ) players, the plucked zither-like instrument, and as accompaniment to recited, classical poetry, with a keyboard following the fret and bridge layout of the strings and tuned to the minor Hirajลshi scale and mode. More at the links above. 


one year ago: more adventures in Crete

two years ago: a Roger Corman classic (1958),  Austria declares neutrality (1955) plus assorted links to revisit

three years ago: William Shatner in an Esperanto language film, more links to enjoy plus the Trump-Biden debate

four years ago: more links worth revisiting 

five years ago: Monster Mash, time travel with the dictionary plus Star Trek: Lower Decks

Tuesday 24 October 2023

gym and tonic (11. 072)

Originally a co-production from Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter and Bob Sinclar (officially unreleased as Jane Fonda objected to being sampled), the Spacedust cover—with re-recording by a session vocalist—reached the top of the UK singles chart on this day in 1998. The accompanying music video, intentionally made to look cheap in homage to the aesthetic of 1980s work out videos, was frequently voted among the worst of all time. Both versions became extremely popular in clubs throughout Europe. And bounce!

one year ago: a visit to Knossos 

two years ago: the hymn of the United Nations plus Trog (1970)

three years ago: When the Wind Blows (1986), assorted links to revisit plus the Centre for American Politics and Design

four years ago: chaos erupts as Trump impeachment hearing as supporters disrupt testimony 

five years ago: an audio grimoire read by Vincent Price, the 2008 Recession, more inventions from Simone Giertz, more links to enjoy plus an interesting case of tort law

Sunday 22 October 2023

11x11 (11. 070)

post-amazon era: monopsonic retailer’s workers’ are writing about the dystopian company to fight back—via Slashdot  

sublet: tech startups are relinquishing office space office space back to their landlords  

stop making sense: negative manifestos, rule-breaking and by defined by what one is not  

deci-lon 10: an outstanding collection of slide rules curated by the analogue computer’s appreciation society—named after their seventeenth century inventor, William Oughtred of Cambridge—via Web Curios  

dancing delicacies: 3-D printed plate and nano technologies promise interactive meals  

primer simposium tecno: a 1981 electronic music concert in Madrid  

piramida: updated plans for the restoration of Tirana’s Brutalist landmark  

destroilet: an automatic combustion plumbing solution popular in the 1960s and 70s 

down in the underground: agencies of the subsurface 

fiver: a new adaptation of Watership Down as a graphic novel 

proposition m: San Francisco passes a punitive tax of vacant housing speculation  

the faanmg index: the blush has worn off Amazon’s rose—via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links (lot’s more to explore there)


one year ago:  brittle egos bristling at Karen’s Garden plus modern sundials

two years ago: the International Meridian Conference of 1884, The Last Picture Show plus an early alternative currency

three years ago: the father of psychophysics, red food dye, another failed doomsday prophecy plus the Humument series

five years ago: the US Gun Control Act of 1968, the WWII bombing of Kassel, the spread of disinformation, anticipatory libraries for other worlds plus RIP to the inventor of the Little Library

Thursday 19 October 2023

pomp & circumstance (11. 067)

Whilst originally romanticised as a battle song pre-World War I and juxtaposed to military pageantry in comparison with the dismally terrorising nature of fighting with the anthem “Land of Hope and Glory,” the orchestral marches of the future Master of the King’s Musick Sir Edward Elgar, premiering on this day in Liverpool in 1901 (shown at the Proms two days later), the trio of movements is a nearly universal graduation processional in the United States (after the occasion of his honorary degree awarded by Yale in 1905 with other institutions of higher learning following the example), Canada and the Philippines. Although subsequent experience turned public opinion against celebrating the sanitised side of conflict, the march—with various arrangements and title taken from Othello “Farewell the neighing steed and the shrill trump / The spirit-stirring drum, the ear-piercing fife / The royal banner, and all quality / Pride, pomp and circumstance of glorious war.”—is employed for weddings, sporting events and coronations.


one year agoSt Frithuswith, Take on Me plus assorted links worth revisiting

two years ago: more links to enjoy

three years ago: font founder Ed Benguiat plus the Hochrhรถnstrasse

four years ago: a coffee substitute,  Europe’s long distance walking trails, lizard people, the maps of Alexander von Humboldt, an unusual session of Parliament plus a corner office

five years ago: more grammatical non-errors

Tuesday 17 October 2023

6x6 (11. 064)

narnia: the wardrobe portraits of Sarah Ainslie 

there’dn’t’ve: an exploration of contractions—both the probable and the practical  

ghost swing: Louie Zong returns with another spooky symphony—via Waxy  

an mj winkler production: the Independent film studio behind the centenary of Disney  

compound pejoratives: the affixes of insult and their pattern distribution—see also 

 murphy tub: a folding bath from the 1930s—via Messy Nessy Chic

Sunday 15 October 2023

queen of jazz (11. 059)

Having recently learned about the career and contributions of the Jazz Age legend Adelaide Hall, we appreciated having her biography limned more fully by the British Newspaper Archive (via Strange Company), gaining an appreciation of how Hall achieved the status of true superstardom in her adoptive UK and was remarkably resilient in her touring and performance schedule, appearing everywhere and adored by audiences. Spanning more than seven decades, Hall was inscribed inscribed in the Guinness Book of World Records among the most enduring recording artists and collaborated with Cab Calloway, Rudy Vallee, Duke Ellington, Josephine Baker and Louis Armstrong among countless others. Here is Hall in 1948 performing one of her signature songs, “A World is Turning,” at the Nightingale Club. More at the links above.