This is one of my favourite Neil Hannon songs, from the ‘Regeneration’ album. I hadn’t seen the video until this morning, when I got to it in rather a roundabout way. I was watching Portlandia, season 2, the episode where Kirsten Wiig plays the groupie/stalker/kidnapper. Amber Tamblyn does a turn as an intern in the feminist bookstore, too. And there’s another guest, Miranda July, who plays someone who’s had a bunch of jobs but, happily (and to a musical number) “she’s making jewellery now”.
Miranda July is a Portland-based artist, married to artist Mike Mills who directed the ‘Bad Ambassador’ video. There’s a connection, too, via the roller-skating theme, to the video Emma J Doyle and Cory Philpott shot in San Francisco for James Vincent McMorrow’s song, ‘Gold’…
…which we’ll be performing a special version of at Electric Picnic this weekend!
* Tom Moon, the reviewer on the NPR site, muses on the album’s title; of how “there’s a trace of magic in an echo. It’s like Narcissus’ reflection, only better”. I was racking my brain trying to place the piano and orchestra melody that appears a couple of times in between tracks — was it Tchaikovsky? Then it dawned on me: Rachmaninoff’s ‘Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini’, variation 18.
This is an inspired choice. The melody comes late in Rachmaninoff’s work, a beautiful tune after a lot of virtuosic fireworks based on the famous Paganini Caprice for violin (you know it…). This new tune doesn’t seem to bear any relation to Paganini’s, though. And here’s the thing — it’s a literal “reflection, only better”. In music it’s called an inversion:
Rachmaninoff taking stuff he loved from the music of the past and refashioning it. Tip of the cap to you, Kimbra 😉
Yesterday we played on the radio — Ray D’Arcy’s show on Today FM. It was a really good experience. We haven’t done a lot of ‘pure’ radio as a band, i.e. without any video/webcast element. Not having a camera there made for a more relaxing atmosphere. Just as we were setting up, Eamonn Dunphy was being interviewed about the previous night’s Twitter-igniting football match between Brazil (1) and Germany (7!) in the World Cup. At one point — I didn’t catch the context — he got up out of his seat and held up a pink dress against himself. Radio allows odd things to happen. When we’d finished, a cool-looking Australian man swallowed a sword and then a lady called in and let us all listen to her enjoying a custard slice. A rich tapestry 🙂
Here’s the Australian man, Aerial Manx, swallowing the sword:
James also played his brilliant cover version of ‘Higher Love’, which you can hear just past the ten minute mark.
Finally, a video of an acoustic version of the last single from Post Tropical, ‘Gold’, that James and I performed back in April at the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto on the afternoon of our show there. I’m wearing a ‘Post Tropical’-themed t-shirt that I found in Hamburg earlier this year.
A video of me playing one of my party pieces at the Millstone the other week. A bit noisy, and the waitress (who has, tragically, abandoned us for her sunnier, native Spain) interrupted me in the middle, wondering if I was just watching myself in the iPad as I played!
I’m going to start recording performances from my Millstone restaurant gigs as I don’t have many examples of what I do up on the web. For the first one, I’ve done Seven Days by Sting — my longtime party piece 🙂