THE AMERICAN CULTURAL PAGES
For practical reasons, the "culture" section has been
split into two separate pages, Films seen in America and Books read in
America. The pages are no longer updated, since we are now happily back
in Sweden. Perhaps later I will create some active cultural pages as well.
There is no fancy graphical interface on this page yet (but it will
appear Real Soon Now). Simply choose from the alternatives below:
Perhaps there will, one day, be a music page as well.
Until then, our Unknown Artists Awards go to
New films. Here you can find our opinion about
all the new films we saw in America, and also some comments on older films
that we discovered during that time.
Books. Why would you be interested in what books
I read in America? Beats me. Anyway, this is an incomplete list of the
books I read between October, 1996 and October, 1997.
|Osamu Kitajima: Behind
the light (Synth)
Wench: A Tidy Sized Chunk (Hard Rock)
The Award For Artists Who Aren't As Well Known As They Deserve To Be
goes to Judie Tzuke.
Recommended listening: Wonderland (Essential Records/Castle Communications,
Credits to Lestat for these
Extra: Concert in Miami.
Friday the 15 of August, the Man Without a Name, the
Unspeakable Symbol, appeared at the Miami Arena. The old Prince concerts
were often very visual, and on entering the large indoor amphitheatre,
I was therefore disappointed to find that the stage was quite bare. The
only decorations, apart from a drapery with the artist's ideogram, were
two medium-sized golden statues of griffins that would have looked more
appropriate in an Oriental junkshop. The statues stood rather hidden behind
the monitor speakers and played no part in the show. Perhaps they had been
left behind by the Beijing Opera.
Half an hour late, the performance started with
a brief collage of well-known Prince tunes, all play-back. The band entered
the stage, and, well, they started playing. Some classic Prince/Revolution
songs mixed with newer material. No dancing girls, no props, very low-budget.
Also the tunes themselves were stripped rather bare, consisting mostly
of heavy percussion and base guitar backing up the singer's guitar and
piano, which he would occasionally play. The impression was that of pop
tunes reworked into a rap/hip-hop formula. Some songs were performed with
only piano accompaniment, but only a few bars of each in a kind of medley.
What really spoiled the concert was that the polyonymous
artist spent long periods making speeches that at least I utterly failed
to comprehend - but God seemed to be involved somehow - while the band
was idling in the background, grinding out some simple rhythm that served
to drown whatever message was being delivered. At times things seemed to
pick up, as when the band started to perform a quite new and daring version
of When You Were Mine, but again, after a few bars, it was as if they had
got distracted by something and started searching for a new beat while
the singer concentrated on teaching the audience how to wave their hands
in the air. And so it went on, with the concert occasionally picking up
speed as with Little Red Corvette, then getting a touch romantic with a
bit of When Doves Cry, then grinding to an irritating halt with more antics
from the lead singer. Also, I can't really blame His Former Princeship
for not being able to dance and sing at the same time, but then he should
concentrate on the latter.
Other impressions of the concert are that the
sound was tremendously loud with booming bass, shrill, piercing guitars
and cymbals, and not much more - a somewhat tiresome combination when carried
to excess and in combination with poor acoustics. The audience was if possible
even noisier, screaming at the top of their voices, and the overall sound
level was beyond anything I've previously experienced at a musical performance.
Being old and wise, and tired of whistling noises lingering in my ears
after concerts, I had taken some precautions to avoid unpleasant after-effects,
which probably is the only reason I still have my hearing intact. The operators
of four large and powerful stroboscopes, aimed at the audience, were far
too keen on continuously using these flashlights, making it quite difficult
to see the performers. The audience was leaving already during the first
part of the concert, for reasons unknown to me- the concert wasn't that
bad - and surprisingly many didn't bother to wait for the band to get back
on the stage for the traditional bonus performance, which proved to be
quite a large part of the show.
After the concert I thought to myself, "What kind
of half-assed, low-budget jam-session was this, anyway?" Then I realised
that the tour was actually named "Jam of the Year". I got exactly what
I had been promised. The Character and his pals were just trying out some
new rhythms, guitar riffs and dance steps in front of a paying - and mostly
enthusiastic - audience.
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