Friday, June 27, 2008

My London Diary: Dave Berry

The singer Dave Berry is almost a mythical figure to me. I know nothing about him, except what I know from watching him on old TV shows like Shindig. He had an incredible stage presence with his extra-slow movements on the stage. Almost campy, but not quite. More dream like and therefore he stayed in my memory for many years.

Classic footage of Dave Berry doing 'Little Things.'

Dave Berry doing Ray Davies (The Kinks) "This Strange Effect" live on some British TV show.

Footage of Dave Berry on tour.

"Crying Game" is probably Dave Berry's biggest hit in the States. Tragic song. And I can't find a version by him on YouTube. Go figure! But meanwhile here's Boy George's lovely version:

On a French TV show

"Goodbye to my childhood."

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Paul Knobloch and Tosh Berman at Book Soup with Free CD on June 23, 2008 at 7:00 P.M.

To promote and encourage you to purchase Boris Vian's "The Dead All Have The Same Skin" i put together what i imagined is the soundtrack to the novel. Well, in other words, music that I thought of or was hearing during the production of this excellent book.

So the deal is (and it's a deal believe me) is that CD will be given away free to the first 30 people who purchase the book at Book Soup during our event on June 23, 2008 at 7:00 P.M. And like the excellent book, this CD is a remarkable mix of low jazz at the wrong time. After hearing this, one can smell the whiskey off your breath - and you don't even drink! It's that good, believe me. And don't even try to guess where the music came from or what film or any of that. It's an obscure one in a million type of stuff, believe me on this one.

Also if we are out, we're out. It's bad luck not to have this CD, and I realize your disappointment and etc. But I can only do what I can do. Ok?

Here are the selections for this special CD:

1) "Angoisse" Alain Goraguer
2) "Ascenseur (Evasion De Julien") Miles Davis
3) "Susan (The Sage)" The Chico Hamilton Quintet
4) "Jazz A Go Go" France Gall
5) "Brigitte Strip Blues" Georges Arvanitas Quintet
6) "Ce Mortel Ennui" Alain Goraguer Et Son Orchestre
7) "Blues" Andre Hodeir
8) "Générique" Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers
9) "Complainte Du Chauffeur" Barney Wilen
10) "La Boheme" Charles Aznavour
11) "Goodbye Baby" The Chico Hamilton Quintet
12) "Track 6" Andre Hodeir
13) "Le Cinema" Claude Nougaro
14) "Le Samouraï" Francois De Roubaix
15) "Tom" Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers
16) "Etude In "E" Jack Nitzsche
17) "Bach: The Well Tempered Clavier" Jacques Loussier Trio
18) "Dieu Est Nègre" Juliette Gréco

Friday, June 20, 2008

Katherine Hepburn by Sparks plus Shopping Mall of Love

This is my favorite Sparks' song that have not been recorded by them. It's an incredible song. Beautiful melody. Beautiful everything. I put this song up on my site, but this is a much better version sound and visual.

Sheperd's Bush in London June 13, 2008

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Incredible Ending to Sparks' 21 Concerts in 21 Nights

For me personally, it is one of the most moving moments i have ever had in a concert. The trip is finished, and i need to focus on the book I am writing on the shows - but wow, what an incredible series of live shows. Sparks did something that no other band or artist have done on stage. It's almost up there with Raymond Roussel's "Impressions of Africa."

Sparks 'Likeable' (Live at Sheperd's Bush, London May 13, 2008)

The end of the SPARKS set for Exotic Creatures of the Deep (Sheperd's Bush, London May 13, 2008)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Paul Knobloch and Tosh Berman sign Boris Vian's THE DEAD ALL HAVE THE SAME SKIN at Book Soup

Paul and i will be presenting and reading from the latest TamTam Books' release of Boris Vian's "THE DEAD ALL HAVE THE SAME SKIN."

There will also be free CD's of Vian related music put together by yours truly for the event. First come first serve. And of course limited to a few.

The playlist will be posted on this blog in the very near future.

So the reading and signing will take place at:

Book Soup

8818 West Sunset Blvd

West Hollywood, CA 90069


On June 23 at 7:00 P.M.

*Paul Knobloch* and *Tosh Berman* presents and sign *The Dead All Have the
Same Skin*

Translator Knobloch and publisher Berman are proud to present the newest translation nof Vian's classic. Written one year after the controversial (putting it mildly) "I Spit on Your Graves," you think Vian would have known better.

But no, he decided to do another violent shocker that is ripped out of today's (or was it all in my head?) headlines. This surreal masterpiece of 'dark' writing is about Daniel Parker who is a bouncer in a drink hell bar hole somewhere in New York City (Vian, a French man never been to the States) who is blackmailed by his long lost brother who is black and threatens him to tell the truth about his brother's racial blood. Parker is not going to take that. His life, by that admission, becomes a tipsy topsey
one-way ticket to hell.

"I'll be seeing you."



Tuesday, June 10, 2008

"Tsui Hark"

Sparks Diary for tonight June 10, 2008 "Lil Beethoven"

And this is for tonight - "My Baby's Taking Me Home"

"My Baby's Taking Me Home" Live

"The Rhythm Thief"

....and a bonus. "This Town...with the additional help from Bernard Butler (Suede)

Sunday, June 8, 2008

My London Diary: Jake Thackray

I discovered Jake Thackray through a review in MOJO Magazine of his box set that came out some years ago. i was intrigued because the reviewer compared him to an English verison of Jacques Brel. Actually he's more of a Northern British version of the great French Marxist songwriter Georges Brassens. And also he reminds me of early David Bowie (pre-Space Oddity) and Scott Walker. Here's a man who was influenced by the French song, yet turned it around and made it very British sounding genre. He was an unique artist. I hope he doesn't mind, but I am going to quote Momus (a man of great taste) from his website regarding the talents of the late and great Jake Thackray. I got this at: dailyphoto271202.html

Le Grand Jake
Jake Thackray Remembered

'When I go, I don't care what happens to me. They can put me in a rubbish bag and throw me off the end of the pier for all I care.'

Jake Thakray, Le Grand Jake, one of Britain's greatest and most interesting songwriters, died today aged 63. In the vague vicinity of the pier he may be-- that evocative, rotting, somewhat forgotten pier of the British vaudeville tradition -- but nobody will be throwing him or his memory off it. Jake Thackray is going to be remembered with, I think, surprising upswellings of affection and admiration.

Before Morrissey was the last of the viciously tender, caustic vaudevillians, Jake was the last of the topical satirical francophile chansonniers. They don't make them like Jake any more, but if you wanted to make a Jake in your mind you'd have to gene-spice DNA from people like Jacques Brel, Tom Lehrer, Georges Brassens, Tom Waits, Paolo Conte, Rob Wilton and early 'Uncle Arthur'-period David Bowie.

He was a perverse bugger, Jake. So very English and yet so essentially French, so vehement and yet so whispery, so underrated for a man who was, in the 60s, a 'household face', so very electronic for a folk singer, so populist for one so aloof and didactic. Jake, savage and yet tender, caustic and yet sentimental, so timeless and so topical! Great Jake, austerely hieratic yet surprisingly sexy, sexist, smutty, saucy, in such a sixties way! Jake, smooth, mild, sinister and cheeky as milk!

Yes, you could be forgiven for thinking him flung away and forgotten in 21st century Britain, off the pier, off the Fringe, off the map. But only last month I made an iTunes playlist for mp3s of Jake's songs, and went, I don't know why, ransacking websites for photos of the young Jake, wide-lipped and handsome as a god, and the old Jake, a bit bloated and old-blokey, snapped by fans in his modest retirement on a street in Monmouth, next to a coach or a car park, with a plastic bag in his hand.

I've been fascinated by him for as long as I've been conscious. There's Jake in a roll neck sweater, amusing my parents on a small black and white TV in 1968 with his pointed, surreal, topical songs on the David Frost programme. There's me in my Chelsea bedsit twenty years later, learning how to play his fantastic, Brechtian song 'The Bull':

The bull, the bull
He's the biggest of all
He is the boss, he is
Because he's big and we are small
But the bigger the bull (bigger the bull)
Bigger the balls
The bigger the bull the bigger and thicker and
The bigger and thicker and quicker and
The bigger and thicker and quicker and slicker the bullshite falls!

There's Jake on vinyl, influencing my own work like crazy, ending up on every compilation tape I made for friends. There's Jake performing at the Edinburgh Fringe, dressed in a dark suit and tie, one foot up on a wooden chair in the style of the classic French chansonnier. There's modest, cool, beloved Jake asking an endlessly applauding audience if they haven't got a home to go to? There's Jake in live bootleg tapes recorded in smoky folk cellars, Jake post-TV, literally going underground in an 80s too fascist and psycho to understand his gentle, humane 60s satire.

There's Jake talking to me on the phone in the late 80s, agreeing to be interviewed for the NME -- it was to be my first and only interview assignment for the paper -- telling me, a non-driver, details of how to meet him in some brewery pub off some roundabout near some motorway after one of his Radio 4 appearances. And there's just a Jake-shaped space when, over an hour late, I finally find the place. A Jake-shaped space that, with his passing, is now permanent.

Now that he's gone, there will be the chance to raise him to his rightful place in the pantheon of dark comic masters, creators of odd, touching, telling, comical worlds. He'll be there with Kafka, Chaucer, Ivor Cutler, Jacques Tati, and Francois Villon. He'll be alongside his great mentor Brassens.

There will be documentaries, illustrated with classic archive performances from 60s TV, unwiped by the BBC. There will be CD rereleases, and a chance to listen again, above all, to those brilliant, oddly troubling story-songs: Lah Di Dah, Leopold Alcocks, One-Eyed Isaac, The Bull, The Jolly Captain, The Lodger. New generations will wonder at their stilted phrasing, their tender misogyny, their clumsy demotic elegance and homespun technical brilliance; songs as fakely folkish and comically compelling as the stories of Moliere, Boccacio, Plautus or Juvenal.

Put him in Westminster Abbey, then throw that off the end of the pier.

Momus, December 27th, 2002

Jake Thackray performing Georges Brassens' "Brother Gorilla"

A mini-documentary on Jake Thackray from the 'Look North" program.

Jack Thackray performing his "On Again"

Jake Thackray "Caroline Diggeby-Pratte"

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Foyles and Waterstone's Bookstores have Boris Vian TamTam Titles!

I just want to let you know that the London bookstores have plenty of Boris Vian in stock For instance Waterstone's in Piccadilly (203-206 Piccadilly W1J 9LE)

and the legendary and great Foyles Bookshop on Charing Cross Road.

Sparks' "Change"

I have many favorite Sparks' song, but "Change" is very special to me. Down below are three videos of Sparks doing 'Change.'

Sparks doing "Change" on British TV. Best video ever! All bands should do this.

Sparks doing "Change" on another British TV show. With Ron Mael dancing!

A solo Piano by Ron and Russell's voice Unbeatable version. From Moscow 2007. And Vasilisa shot this footage.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Bo Diddley, Baby Please Don't Go!

My London "Diary" Anthony Newley

Anthony Newley, Michael Caine, James Fox, at Roman Polanski & Sharon Tate's wedding

Anthony Newley with Lucy Ball and the Dave Clark Five on Kings Road . Uber-Mod!

Anthony Newley with overtures to Kenneth Anger Anger?

British 60's Surrealism with Newley, Joan Collins (his wife at the time) and a baby

Sunday, June 1, 2008

TamTam Books' Tribute to Yves Saint Laurent

1962 Footage of Yves St. Laurent

David Lynch's Opium (YSL) Commercial

The great Jean Claude Vannier's (Gainsbourg's arranger for Melody Nelson) music for YSL fashion show