One knows one’s weak points so well, that it’s rather bewildering to have the critics overlook them and invent others. ― Edith Wharton
I was so happy to see that Super Duper Alice Cooper was on my flight out here to Las Vegas!
This documentary about the king of shock rock comes from Banger Films, who are the brains behind the Metal Evolution series, which is bloody brilliant must-see viewing for anyone with even a passing interest in metal.
Even if you aren’t a fan of Alice (what’s wrong with you?), the format of the film is really interesting. I haven’t seen The Kid Stays in the Picture, but that’s what it’s mostly compared to, visually. Photos comes to life, archive footage of screaming teenager are repurposed, and gnarly graphics don’t just provide visual pointers, but also echo vintage rock/skate imagery. Kinda reminded me of both my beloved Teenage and Vidal Sassoon: The Movie.
Anywhere, here are five things Super Duper Alice Cooper taught me about Vincent Furnier.
2. In his cameo, Iggy Pop reveals that the band had the most beautiful, feminine hair he’d ever seen. Of the five, he says drummer Neal Smith’s was the best. Neal is now an award-winning real-estate agent, known as the rock ‘n’ realtor.
3. Of all the newspaper headlines we saw in the film in association to Alice, the one that says: “Tarzan, chickens and monkey semen” intrigued me the most. So I found the story.
4. Alice has appeared on stage with a camel and an elephant, as well as the ubiquitous chickens.
2. Speaking of surfing, I rediscovered my own California playlist today and it made me really happy. You should listen to it, if the sun comes out this weekend. [If you claim not to like that Gypsy Kings song or the Katy Perry one, I’m afraid I’m going to have call BS on you being a big liar, liar pants on fire.]
3. Behind the scenes at Sesame Street. Beware, puppet-handlers are revealed.
4. Potentially a bit boring, but insanely useful – 30 tools to help journalists make better use of Twitter.
I’ve been calling these pink plastic sunglasses that I bought on Monday my creepy dude specs, because they look like something a weird guy would have worn in the 70s. The truth, however, is that they are my Shampoo glasses. Just like my plastic mac is my Shampoo mac, my leather mini skirt is my Shampoo skirt, and my hologram creepery-stompy boots are, in fact, my Shampoo boots.
If you want big pink plastic sunglasses so you can pretend you’re in the best girl group of the 90s, they’re from Topshop and you can get them here.
Word of warning. Unlike other sunglasses, you can’t glare at everyone in the tube and roll your eyes at people in secret because everyone can see through ’em. Apparently.
I’m drunk… what’s your excuse?
1. Wooster or Jez? [Would have been more effective if I’d posted this while Robert Webb was still in the Jeeves & Wooster play, but it’s still a gem.]
2. Did you know Sheffield had a creepy-deepy natural history museum to rival the Hunterian? Me neither! And I lived there for 21 years.
3. Metal cats. [N.b. the music kind of metal.]
4. 12 all-girl Japanese metal bands. [N.b. the cat kind of metal.]
The Desert Island Discs archive has been online for a couple of years now, but it’s only in the last month or so that I’ve really got stuck into it like the goldmine it is. I think I listened to a few over Christmas and maybe spent some time listening to the people that I’m fangirlish about in the past, but I’ve now reached the level of obsession where I’ll download anything that they’ve ever broadcast.
I’m powering through about four episodes a day right now. And there’s only 2,850 castways. Help.
There are lots of features by DID obsessives online – this Guardian one is good – and I don’t really believe that I can bring anything new to the table; I just really, really like it.
You spend 40 minutes listening to somebody talk about eight pieces of their favourite music and, by the end, you’ve learnt a buttload. It might be about history, it might about politics or it might just be the more obvious stuff about that person’s life – but I’ve not found a boring one yet. Even when it’s with a boring person! Or the music’s shit! Get someone talking about a song they remember from childhood and next thing you know, you have them spilling about their troubled relationship with their dad in a way that most interviewers can only dream of.
For a massive ignoramus like me, the musical education is also invaluable. I often wonder when I’ll become a true grown-up and know lots about classical music, because even the dummies on DID seem to have at least two or three favourite pieces of classical stuff; an operetta here, a concerto there. What, you’re not au fait with classical? Jesus, grow up, Gibson! All I know about is Zadok the Priest, and I got that from DID. Just look at the most popular tracks and artists! Who? What? Huh? Educate me!
Unlike most Desert Island Anoraks, I don’t have my own eight discs picked out and ready for the inevitable day that I get the call just yet. As mentioned above, the misery of not having eight pieces of grown-up classical music to reel off is just too shameful. I mean, I really went off Nigella when she picked Wheatus and while I’d never stoop quite that low, my love of the Mike Curb Congregation just seems kinda embarrassing.
One thing I have considered picking is Sleepy Lagoon by Eric Coates… which is actually the theme for DID. Not because I’m just that meta, but because I really, really love it. (I do have my book picked though; it’s a PG Wodehouse short stories collection, naturally. And I’d be in good company.)
Anyway – here are some of my DID picks that you should give a listen. Or maybe just download all 500, like me. S/O to the BBC for making the archive completely brilliant with its suggested listens and searchability!
Morrissey – massive flirt, really funny, picks a great selection of NYC punk
Hugh Laurie – every song he picks is great, if you like the delta blues as much as I do
Marlene Dietrich – because it’s Marlene bloody Dietrich!
Kathy Burke – funny, life-affirming, wonderful stuff
Ian Hislop – I just really like Ian Hislop. And it’s always interesting, as a journalist, to hear journalists being interviewed.
Alice Cooper – bloody love Alice and he’s a fascinating man with a fascinating history. His turn to religion in later life also makes for an interesting interview.
Cecil Beaton – Cecil Beaton!! How many interviews with Cecil Beaton have you heard? Exactly. He’s completely fascinating.
Clarissa Dickson Wright – man, has she had an interesting life. I thoroughly enjoy her attitude towards all the stuff that’s gone wrong for her.
Vidal Sassoon – because he’s the main man in my industry, his voice is like heaven and his life history is worthy of a movie (if there hadn’t been one already…)
Bonus mention: Barbara Cartland – why isn’t her episode available to listen? C’mon, I’m desperate for it.
[Picture: A cold day in Miami Beach, 1940 by Alfred Eisenstaedt]
I posted this picture on Instagram over the weekend and it seemed to get more likes than anything I’ve ever posted, which was very nice but also taught me a few things:
1. Getting your boyfriend to take a photo of you makes for a way more successful end result than a photo taken by gurning into your laptop camera. This is presumably why I’ve never been given a blogger book offer.
2. Giving the popular t-shirt that you’re wearing a credit might be a nice idea.
3. It’s by Heather Gabel (but it looks like it might have sold out – was that you guys?)
4. Sunshine makes your hair look good; giving your hairdresser a credit is also a good idea in this instance. So;
5. THANKS FAYE!
6. You guys are nuts.
3. What city skylines would look like without light pollution. Clue: ooooooh
5. Before Iggy Pop takes up residency on 6Music, Jarvis Cocker presents an entire show dedicated to the wriggling rock god. Tune in on Sunday, is gon’ be good!
6. The Goodhood Store‘s roundup of videos for International Women’s Day features pretty much every woman that I admire. So that’s awesome.
10. Sweet Child O’Mine as a New Orleans-style jazz standard. Amazing! (Via Ben Kay)
One of the main reasons things have been so quiet of late is because we’re moving house this month. After six years in sunny New Cross, we’re upping sticks and moving just down the road to Brockley.
Much as I’ve loved our little top floor roost over the years, I’m thoroughly looking forward to a fresh start in somewhere new. While the living room discos, kitchen views of St Pauls and general nest-like vibes of an attic conversion have all been brilliant, the lack of garden, noise and rotting sash windows are not such a blast. There’s also the colour scheme; lime green, yellow, sky blue, brown and jade might be some people’s palette of choice, I guess it’s safe to say it’s not ours.
Needless to say, we’re still renting. This is London, after all. But the place we’re moving to is wall-to-wall white, wood floors and massive windows and high ceilings. The only colours used anywhere are grey and black. Oh and green, IN OUR GARDEN. Much more like it. There’s not too much that can be done in a rented property, but that’s not stopped me planning the decorative doodads that I am planning on bringing to the new place.
All the design pics above are from my Pinterest and the other pieces are as follows:
PS We know Brockley pretty well, but any pro tips always welcome!