I knew there was a reason why I don't take holidays very often. As I fortified myself with a late morning coffee at Cafe 130 in Leederville yesterday, I totted up how much I'd spent in the four hours or so I'd been awake.
Newspaper - $1.30
Breakfast at Food For Me - $13.20
A few odds and ends from Ikea that I probably could have lived without - $18.50
Essential supplies (Tia Maria and a 12 year old scotch) from the Re Store - $87.90
Three CDs from Urban depot - $70.85
Coffee - $3.50
Total - $195.25... and I was only just on my second cup of coffee for the morning.
At least my three CDs proved to be winners. I found Nina Simone's 1958 debut album 'Little Girl Blue', which I've never even seen in a record store before. I have most of the tracks on various Nina Simone compilations, but I bought this one so that I could give it to my brother-in-law, who only knows Nina from her later work. He's missing out - the combination of Nina's deep, sultry voice and her classical training in piano gives standards like 'Love Me or Leave Me' and 'Mood Indigo' a rich new life. And her version of Rodgers & Hart's 'Little Girl Blue', bizarrely mashed with the melody from 'Good King Wenceslas', is exquisite.
The second CD was also Nina Simone's, after a fashion. 'Nina Simone - Remixed and Reimagined' is a compliation of her songs given the remix treatment by the sort of black skivvy wearing Eurotrash who do this kind of thing for a living. The standout track is undoubtedly Groovefinder's infectiously exuberant version of 'Ain't Got No/I Got Life'. By adding a throbbing funk bassline and an excitable brass section, the song evolves from being a cry of political defiance into a celebration of its success. Although of course this is before it's sold to a German dairy corporation for use in a yoghurt commercial
It's more of a curiosity than a work of art in its own right, but we all need some curiosity in our lives.
Lastly, I found Amy Winehouse's debut album 'Frank' going cheap. I was expecting it to be lacklustre - a false start before her massive success with 'Fade to Black' - but I think I actually like it more. It's a retro influenced modern urban sound, rather than the full blown appropriation of Motown she immersed herself in for 'Fade to Black'. It was recorded when she was a relatively clear-eyed nineteen year old Jewish girl from North London, before the beehive hair, the bad prison tattoos and the drug habit responsible for making her look like a pikelet wrapped around a skewer with a slash of lipstick on it.
Now, at this point it's traditional for bloggers to appeal to Amy Winehouse to pull herself together and stop it with the drugs and the skeezy men for the sake of her health. I'm not going to do that. To hell with her health. I want her to stop it with the drugs and the skeezy men for the sake of me.
. I say get your act together for the benefit of Blandwagon, woman! I like your music! I want to hear more of it! I can't do that if you're passed out on a concrete floor in Brixton with broken bits of crack pipe embedded in your cheek.
Failure to oblige me will result in crankiness. And we wouldn't want that, would we?