Talent in a Previous Life

Because It's Never Just About the Music

Friday, January 30, 2004

All New Thoughts of the Pops 

Well, it's Friday night and we're not in the pub, so is there any better way to spend it than watching Top of the Pops? Yes, we know, there are lots, but never mind. Here's what we learnt this week.But the main thing we learnt was that when you have a band as unbelieviably brilliant as the Scissor Sisters on the programme, you have to fill the rest of the show up with absolute dross so that the quality of the show remains at an average level of mediocre, something which has clearly been set down in the BBC guidelines.

Oh, and did we mention that we really liked the Scissor Sisters performance?

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

We Love Them Cause We Have To 

We're off out this evening to see Dogs Die in Hot Cars; not actual canine suffering of course, that would just be cruel (and pretty unlikely given the leaky-boom-boom-day-esque snow storms whipping the country) and besides, we much prefer to see hamsters cruely kept in oven-like glass cages. No, instead we're going to see the Scottish (whisper it) indie band. Lets hope they're as ace as covering your fingers with safety glue, letting it dry, then peeling off the bits.

Monday, January 26, 2004

Oz; Born 

Today is Australia Day and, in a nod to our visitors down under, we thought we'd use this occasion to list all that is good about Australian Pop. So, here we go:-Umm, so, hooray for Australia! Yay!

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Burns, Baby, Burns 

The problem with January, other than the cold weather, post-Christmas blues and general pointlessness of the month, is the fact that bugger all happens in the world of pop, hence the sporadicness of updates recently (though we should really have mentioned the Scissor Sisters single that was released this week, but you all know how ace that is anyway, don't you?). Fortunately though, we're nearly into February when we're sure lots of exciting things will happen, but as today is the 25th, and as such, Burns Night, we thought we'd use that as an excuse to a) talk about Burns for a bit and b) discuss the influence of Scottish music on pop. Is that a plan or what? No, that's a rhetorical question, don't actually answer it.

Anyway, Burns Night is a chance for Scots all over the world to get pissed. Although to be be fair, this isn't exactly unique as we will use most occasions and events to have a couple of swift drinks including, but not limited to, Christmas Day, Christmas Eve, Boxing Day, the Day After Boxing Day, the Spring Equinox and Shrove Tuesday. It's also traditional on this day to practice one of the two traditional forms of Scottish cooking, dousing everything in whisky and hoping for the best. The other form being, of course, to deep fry everything until every last vitamin has been destroyed. Quite why we don't lead the world in terms of health ang longevity, we're at a loss to explain.

Burns himself was an exponent of the hard drinking lifestyle, and the womanising, and the being a bit of a bastard, if all things are told. Basically he was the Robbie Williams of his day, though Burns did have a better way with a rhyme and a melody than Mr Williams does. As does virtually everyone who has ever lived, a glass ashtray and two short planks. He's best known as a poet (Burns that is, Robbie is best known as something which is far too rude to publish here), the writer of such works as To a Mouse, To a Mountain Daisy, To a Haggis and To a Chippy for a Smoked Sausage Supper, Salt and Sauce Please, the latter not one of his best and lost to the public for a while, as many thought that the Scots used in the poem was of an obscure dialect, in fact it turned out simply to be incredibly slurred. The closing line of "I'll get youse you radges, you want some, huh, huh?" however, is said to be one of his most moving. As in bowels.

Of course, Burns was merely the first famous Scot to be involved in music, since then, we've managed to produce a torrent of crap which floods the chart in the the same way that crumbs flood your sheets when you're eating toast in bed, though slightly more irritating. Even ignoring novelty acts such as ,b>Andy Stewart, The Krankies and Texas, we still seem to supply a disproportionately high amount of rubbish compared to other nations, and when you throw in the fact that the most successful Scottish artisit ever is Lonnie Donnegan, the King of Skiffle, it makes you wonder whether we should have all our instruments taking off of us and be banned from writing any songs until Mr Tune takes up residence and starts offering lessons.

Other reasons to be embarassed by Scottish pop include the Bay City Rollers (apart from Shang-a-lang), bloody Lulu, who still believes it was her involvement that got Relight My Fire to number one, Rod Stewart, who isn't even Scottish, and Travis, a group that makes The One Continuous Note Band sound like an interesting concept. We've provided very few diamonds for the charts, other than Shirley Manson, 500 Miles by The Proclaimers and Aztec Camera's Somewhere in my Heart. Except for those it's been Deacon Blue after Simple Minds after Mero after Lemonescent, and do we try and make up for our ignomius past? No, instead we decide to give the record buying public none other than the Pop Why-dol herself, Michelle McManus, a woman who has only 3 dance moves; the left hand extension, the right hand extension and, for particularly emotional bits of the song, i.e. the key change, the dual hand extension. We despair, we really do.

Still, at least we managed to get through this piece without mentioning Mull of Kintyre. Oh...

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Some call it Dogcore... 

or A Brief History of Canine

When we announced that this year would see the first all poodle number one, a wave of excitement, intrigue, and admittedly a lot of disinterest, raced through the TiaPL readership. As a result, we'll be keeping you up to date with the poodle based news throught the coming year, but before that we realise that the whole concept of dog-based pop music might seem like it's come out of nowhere and is a nonsense idea, much like using a chainsaw to cut your toenails, but this simply isn't true. It's had a long, illustrious history, and it's that which we want to educate you with today.

Although there were some classical canine composers, most notable Johan Sebastian Bark and some who were favoured by King Charles, the music ability of dogs was not really held in high esteem for many, many years. At least, not in public anyway. As time went on it became more and more common for artists to take pup music, repackage it and use a more human-friendly artist to sell it. The most notable exponent of this theft was Elvis Presley, who's disrespect for the culture he was plundering was by far the most degrading thing about his actions. When he recorded "Hound Dog", a song which, by it's title, should have been celebrating his hairy chums, instead insulted them, a million voices howled in protest. Their revenge came with his final indignity - when Elvis died he was found looking like a bloated shadow of his former self, pumped fill of drugs, with his trousers round his ankles, sitting on a Pug.

The first proper pup star was the sheepdog duo of Dog Dylan, a collie who spearheaded the popular folk movement. He's probably best known for Sniffing in the Wind, featuring the famous line "How many times must a dog be walked before they call him a dog". Unfortunately their career was scuppered for two reasons:- firstly when he swapped his favourite, traditional rubber ball, for a new modern electric toy to chase after instead, but secondly, and more importantly, due to his long and hard fought battle with Cat Stevens. Dog's career pretty much ended when the singer got stuck up a tree and needed to be rescued by the fire department.

Even with minor successes like that, the pup-pop movement never really took off, mainly due to the sixties being the era that insect bands made their mark. Something that has never been repeated since the invention of insect repellant in the seventies. With them out of the way, it paved the way for the glam rock movement to make it's entrance. While the more butch hounds, such as bulldogs and pitbulls gave this a wide berth, many took the opportunity to put on a sparkly collar, get a tartan jacket and rock out in a ridiculously camp way. Bands such as Sweep, -Rex and Rolling in Mud snapped at the heels of the lower end of the charts but, like most doggy efforts to communicate, they were pretty much ignored and got left outside in both the metaphorical and literal kennel.

The eighties were a lean time for dog musicians, though their influence did live on, mainly in the dog-caller based fashion sense of goths admittedly, but other than a few exceptions, such as Paw-chestral Manoeuvres in the Park and Spaniel Ballet, the musical mutt's kept their heads as low as a mongrel who's owners have just discovered his mess in the corner. Even the summer of love and acid house music failed to tempt many hounds out to play, mainly because no-one else could hear their whistles.

As we headed into the nineties, a more political music began to emerge, with Billy Bragg (from Barking, Essex) heading the Red Setter movement, designed to encourage the UK youth to vote Labour. Alas, it wasn't a huge success, and many bands that held similar political views ended up as rivals, despite the similar ideology, and the bitterness still remains to a certain extent, evident at Glastonbury in the late nineties, where Billy Bragg bemoaned the fact that the Manic Street Poochers had set aside a lampost for their own use only.

It's the mid-nineties that we discover the apex (so far) of the Dogcore movement, the chart-troubling Brit-Pup scene. Based around notorius indie hangout, The Winalot Mixer in Camden, a whole host of bands appeared and seemed about to inherit the earth. For a while it seemed that simply having one jangly bell on your collar and a glossy coat would guarantee you a record deal. Bands such as Cur hit the top ten with their hit Barklife, who could forget the attempts at androdgyny by Spayed (Best known for Animal Irate), an attempt which did, admittedly, end up pretty sexless. The pretty pups of the movement were Menswe@ratmeifibarkatthem, who despite having no tunes did have a nice line in well fitted collars and two tone coats. It was their deification that ultimately led to Brit-Pup being seen as a joke by the media, much along the lines of the novelty Jingle Cats scene.

After that collapse, the dogs retired to lick their wounds (and their testicles), but soon they'll be back... the might of poodle pop will take on all, and we'll be keeping you fully informed of all the exciting dog based events as the year progresses. Forget Michelle, this year it's all about the Pup Idols.

Friday, January 16, 2004

All New Thoughts of the Pops 

It's an all new year, but does this mean that All New Top of The Pops has magically improved? Alas, no, but here's what we learnt from watching this weeks show, anyway:-

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Have You Spleen Her? Tell Me, Have You Spleen Her? 

A horrible scream fills the air, the sort of tortured wailing which can only be caused by a rusty scalpal cutting into an already infected wound. This means only one thing - the TiaPL Spleen is back to answer your pop related questions, so lets watch as this weeks questioner gingerly steps up to the bloody organ.

Dear TiaPL Spleen

If I wasn't the most hottest, the most stylish or even the most baddest...would it matter to you? Because why can't I make you see the real things in life are free?


Yes, unfortunately it would. This is down to the major flaw in your argument when you claim that "The real things in life are free". This is quite clearly nonsense. Real things are stuff like bread, pigs and balloons, stuff that costs money in your local Inflatable Sausage Sandwich shop. The only free stuff they offer is the rancid, unsold cuts which you could perhaps find in the bin, assuming they don't float away that is. Unreal things are stuff like Gryphons, magic sparkle dust and the successful pop career of North and South, i.e. stuff that only exists in the minds of madmen (and women) and are therefore free, at least until the days of brain projectors which will turn your thoughts into real objects. But as the whole concept of brain projectors is also completely imaginary and unreal, these too will be free, making my argument as watertight as clingfilm over a toilet seat.

The Spleen

Umm, yes... thanks for that Spleen. Clearly the christmas fun and frolics has made him somewhat woozy about whatever passes for his brain. Either that or it's the aneasthetic. Anyway, if you have a suitable question for The Spleen then either mail us at talentinapreviouslife@hotmail.com or leave it in the comment box below.

Monday, January 12, 2004

Brits: All Gone Wrong, Again. 

The nominations for these year's Brit Awards have been announced. Anyone interested? Thought not.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

The Future's Bright... The Future's Ginger 

We've been to the year 2004, don't worry though, not much has changed and, unless you're particularly submarine obsessed, you're unlikely to be living underwater. This doesn't mean that this year is going to be uneventful though. Quite the contrary in fact, so here's a guide to all the exciting pop related things that will be happening over the next 12 months.Well! What an exciting year we have ahead of ourselves. Except for us of course, as we've already experienced it, so it's going to be a bit dull. We've not revealed everything as that would spoil the surprise, but it's safe to say that we certainly wouldn't want to be Will Young in July. Who would have thought one spider could have done all that?

Friday, January 02, 2004

Simply the Worst? 

Last night Channel 4 counted down The 100 Worst Pop Records of all time. Unfortunately there was clearly some mis-communication when this programme was being researched as virtually all the songs selected where fine examples of 3 minute genius. The show was a 3 hour long smug-fest, designed to allow rubbish comedians and commentators the chance to rehash some old jokes and generally make themselves out to be a bunch of arses. Are we really supposed to trust the opinions of people who happily call themselves Jupiter Joy and Diamond Dave? (We realise that we expect you to trust the opinions of someone who happily calls himself Flum, but that's not the point, who's on trial here?!)

Anyway, with this in mind, TiaPL has rather foolishly decided to present to you a complete review of every single track listed in the Top 100, so join us as we present The 100, In General, Actually Rather Good Pop Records of All Time... Ever!
So, what have we learned, partly that bad pop isn't what's represented in this list, bad pop is the the dull, emotionless Westlife style ballads, it's the half-hearted R&B, the watered down versions of electro-music styles and the meaningless cover versions that clog up the charts. We've also learnt that people will have an opinion on just about anything if you stick them in front of a camera and offer them money, however the main thing we've learnt is that it's a lot harder than you might think to come up with near enough 100 different ways of saying "No, actually, this one is quite good".

Well done for reaching the end. Have a cookie.

Thursday, January 01, 2004

Past: Tense 

Well, another year over, so lets have a look back and see what, if anything, we've achieved over the past 12 months.

SuccessesSo, looking at that list it looks like the year was quite upbeat, but let's look at the list of failures for the year.

FailuresWith all the above weighing down heavily on the negative side of the good/bad see-saw, this year can be summarised as being a bit poor. Hopefully next year we'll manage to avoid being in piss-poor boy bands and will discover something of scientific importance. Or at least get a decent job.

Happy New Year, everybody