12 October 2006

Degrees of Separation

This is my week of Northern Blotting. I have exactly 51 minutes, 08 seconds before I have to take my membranes out of the anti-fluoresceine alkaline phosphatase-conjugated antibody and submit them to several rounds of wash steps. Hopefully, something will develop by the end of the evening. On to the topic of tonight's post.

Each piece of music is connected to every other piece of music, just as all actor's are connected to one another in the Kevin Bacon Game. All music is connected, and not just through shared influences, shared recording studios and such. I like knowing that all of the music in my collection is made by this network of musicians and technicians, this family of artists. My family, somehow. Just for fun, let me list some connections, off the top of my head. No sleeve notes, no Googling.

Let's start with Goldfrapp. Alison Goldfrapp performed vocals on Tricky's debut album, Maxinquaye. Tricky used to be a member of Massive Attack. Massive Attack did the arrangements for I Want You on Madonna's collection of ballads, Something To Remember. Justify My Love was written for Madonna by Lenny Kravitz. Bedtime Stories was written for Madonna by Björk. Björk used to go out with Tricky. Tricky is from the Bristol trip-hop scene, same as Portishead. Tricky's Hell Is Around The Corner is built around a sample from Portishead's single Glory Box. Portishead made some really good remixes of Walking In My Shoes for Depeche Mode. Vince Clarke used to be a member of Depeche Mode, but is now half of Erasure with Andy Bell. Jake Shears from Scissor Sisters performed a duet with Andy Bell on his solo album Electric Blue. Blondie's Parallel Lines is Andy Bell's favourite record - both Blondie and Talking Heads used to perform at the punk night club CBGB in New York. Scissor Sisters are also from New York. Deborah Harry from Blondie performed a memorable duet with Iggy Pop (Well, Did You Evah!). Depeche Mode covered the Iggy Pop and the Stooges song Dirt as the b-side to their single I Feel Loved. Erasure's 1992 ep Abba-esque was a collection of covers of this most successful Swedish band. The Cardigans are widely regarded as the second-most successful Swedish act of all time. The Cardigans performed Burning Down The House with Tom Jones, a song originally done by Talking Heads. The only song Depeche Mode ever recorded for a soundtrack was Death's Door, for the Wim Wender's movie Until The End Of The World. This soundtrack also featured original material by Talking Heads (Sax and Violins) and Until The End Of The World by U2. This song originally featured on their album Achtung Baby. The cover of this record was designed by Anton Corbijn, who also did music videos, record sleeves and stage design for Depeche Mode. Andrew Fletcher from Depeche Mode manages an independent record label called Toast Hawaii. The only act currently on Toast Hawaii is Client. The vocalist from Client is Sarah Blackwood, who used to be in a band called Dubstar. Dubstar mention Morrisey in their song The Day I See You Again. Morrisey was the vocalist for The Smiths. Death Cab For Cutie did a cover of This Charming Man by The Smiths on their album You Can Play These Songs With Chords. Ben Gibbard from Death Cab For Cutie is also part of The Postal Service, whose song We Will Become Silhouettes was covered by The Shins. Two songs from The Shins feature on the soundtrack for the movie Garden State, along with a song called Such Great Heights, performed by Iron and Wine, but originally written by The Postal Service. The Garden State soundtrack features a track by Zero 7, often called the British Air. Air has produced two remixes for Depeche Mode. Rex the Dog has produced dance remixes for Depeche Mode and also for Client. Which brings us back to Dubstar. Dubstar site Portishead, Cocteau Twins and Durutti Column as influences. Martin Gore from Depeche Mode performed a cover of a Durutti Column track on his Counterfeit ep in 1989. Martin Gore performed a guitar solo for a track on Gwen Stefani's solo album Love. Angel. Music. Baby. The track was never used. Gwen's band No Doubt intended to record A Question Of Lust by Depeche Mode for their singles collection, but decided on It's My Life by Talk Talk instead. Gwen Stefani added her vocals to the single version of Moby's Southside, from his album Play. Moby's use of blues samples on this record is influenced by his experience recording Bloodline with Alan Wilder's project Recoil. Alan Wilder used to be a member of Depeche Mode. Mute Records is the label for Moby, and also Depeche Mode, Goldfrapp, Erasure and Nick Cave. Nick Cave performed a duet with Kylie Minogue, called Where The Wild Roses Grow. Kylie sang songs written for her by Scissor Sisters and Emiliana Torrini. Emiliana Torrini is from Iceland and is often confused with Björk. Nellee Hooper has produced albums for Björk and Madonna. Shep Pettibone produced Madonna's Erotica album, and did a remix of Depeche Mode's Behind The Wheel. The Cure did an exceptional cover of Depeche Mode's World In My Eyes. Katie Melua did an exceptional cover of The Cure's Just Like Heaven. World In My Eyes was produced by flood, who also did prodution on U2's Pop, together with Nellee Hooper. Pop's cover art was designed by Anton Corbijn, who designed the cover for R.E.M.'s Automatic For The People. R.E.M.'s Fretless also featured on Until The End Of The World, as did a song by Nick Cave: (I'll Love You) Till The End Of The World. Anton Corbijn has taken photographs of Annie Lennox, who is part of Eurythmics. Sweet Dreams by Eurythmics was covered by Marilyn Manson. He also did covers of Soft Cell's Tainted Love and Depeche Mode's Personal Jesus. Personal Jesus has also been covered by Johnny Cash. Johnny Cash did the vocals for The Wanderer, the final track on U2's Zooropa (1993). The stage design for the ZooTV tour was done by, you guessed it... Anton Corbijn. Dutch photographer Anton Corbijn has shot promotional material for BMW. Madonna was featured in online ads for BMW. The music video for Madonna's single Fever was directed by Stéphane Sednaoui. Stéphane Sednaoui also directed many videos for Björk and tricky and also the music video for Dream On by Depeche Mode. The sleeve and promotional material for Depeche Mode's The Singles 86>98 was produced by the London design company Intro. Intro shot the cover of Exterminator for Primal Scream, who supported Depeche Mode during their 1993 Devotional world tour. Intro also created the cover of Life Thru A Lens for Robbie Williams. Robbie Williams performed Kids with Kylie Minogue, who also did that duet with Nick Cave, remember? Kylie had a thing for Michael Hutchence from INXS. The promotional material for the last INXS album, Elegantly Wasted, was also handled by Intro. I could go on and tie Fatboy Slim, Queen, Groove Armada, Moloko, Franz Ferdinand, Pearl Jam, Enya, Pet Shop Boys, Ladytron, Peter Gabriel, Tori Amos, The Doors, Prince, Thievery Corporation, Beck, Grace Jones and Stan Getz into the equation, but I'm kind of tired now so I guess I'll stop. Play this game with me. Maybe you can figure out what the links are?

0 minutes, 20 seconds. Gotta go.

8 October 2006

Tag, I'm it

Thanks to Arcadia, who tagged me here. Seems like I'm always the last to get around to doing this sort of thing. Hope you're not all bored to death with it by now.

One. Everyone seems to start with this one. I was born in the Mary Font Hospital, Pretoria, on the 1st April 1981 by caesarian section. Yes, and I do get the April Fool thing every year, folks!

Two. Dexter-sinister factoids: I'm left-handed, but use scissors made for right-handed people. I wear one contact lens, in my left eye, to correct short-sightedness. The right eye has perfect vision.

Three. Seeing Depeche Mode in concert at Wembley Arena was the highlight of my year.

Four. In 1989 I fell down part of the waterfall at Klein Kariba. That was the day I broke my left leg (see point two).

Five. Kate Atkinson is my favourite author. I'm dying to read her new novel, One Good Turn, but need to finish my thesis first. It will be my reward once it's all over.

Six. I like going to movies on my own, but definitely feel uncomfortable sitting in restaurants alone. Maybe it's because I don't smoke? What do you do with your hands?

Seven. Christmas makes me melancholy. Easter is a much more guilt-free religious holiday (it's kind of the point of Easter, isn't it?).

Eight. In 1997 I was presented with a HAT by Prof. Elize Botha for being the overall winner of the Afrikaans Expo. The following year, one of my poems was read aloud at the award ceremony by Jannie du Toit. These were proud moments for me.

Nine. I dislike passionless people and zealous extremists in equal measure. But I think I hate bureaucrats most of all.

Ten. I lived in Pietermaritzburg from 1989 to 1993 and have fond memories of biking around the Ferncliffe Nature Reserve and the Sappi plantations.

Eleven. I received a Fulbright scholarship to pursue a PhD in the USA in 2007.

Twelve. I cannot stand gem squash.

Thirteen. I'm a closet fan of romantic comedies.

Fourteen. The longest I managed to stop biting my nails is 4 weeks.

Fifteen. People are always surprised by my athleticism. Sports make me tense because I'm competitive and I hate feeling hot and sweaty; that's why I'm not that active. Not because I can't do it, it's that I don't like to feel tense and bothered.

Sixteen. I'm pro-choice, but think each case has its own merit and needs to go through a commitee review process first.

Seventeen. I tend to switch off when boring people talk to me, then snap back and realize that I have absolutely no idea of what they're on about. Bad habit or sanity preservation strategy? Methinks the latter.

Eighteen. My favourite record is Songs of Faith and Devotion by Depeche Mode, and I've had it for over ten years now. It has this gigantic wall of sound that never ceases to amaze, entertain, intrigue and move me. Each time I listen to it, I discover something new. It's that complex and layered. Like an ogre.

Nineteen. Ten thousand six hundred and forty-five is the amount of words so far completed for a humorous novel I started writing in 2000, but now know I'll probably never finish.

Twenty. I'm an obsessive-compulsive hypochondriac. But a sensible one.

2 October 2006

5 things I plan on doing (but secretly know I never will)

1. Watch every Woody Allen movie ever made.
2. Learn to speak an African language.
3. Read a Jane Austen novel.
4. Learn to play the guitar.
5. Repot all the orchids in a single marathon weekend session.