Monday, September 10, 2007


I spent most of today down in Fremantle, wandering about while my car was being serviced and undergoing some minor repairs. I had lunch with my sister, sat in a couple of cafés drinking coffee and reading magazines, and browsed in my kind of shops – vintage clothing stores, recycled CD outlets, second-hand bookstores and op shops.

The only things I actually bought were a couple of used CDs. One was a compilation of “soul” music, which I bought since I’m on a bit of a soul kick at the moment. However it transpired to be a late 70s/early 80s definition of “soul”, and thus as thin and anaemic as Woody Allen. While the early 70s soul was raw and sensual, with a bass line that brings to mind sassy black vixens in afros and paisley halter tops, the early 80s soul is pale and sexless, bringing to mind discos full of white women with big hair and plastic earrings dancing in circle around their handbags.

The other CD turned out better – a compilation of Nina Simone’s performances of jazz standards. I’m a bit of a Nina Simone heretic, in that I far prefer her exquisite interpretations of the jazz classics over her rather tiresome political songs. Given a choice between another musical diatribe about the civil rights movement and a virtuoso rendition of ‘Mood Indigo’, I’d pick the latter every time.

Having said that, I admit that her version of ‘Stompin’ at the Savoy’ sounds like it was recorded by a pod person. But she lends ‘House of the Rising Sun’ the full weight of her trademark melancholy, telling the story from the perspective of the downtrodden whore rather than, as is customary, the addicted client.


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