Yesterday was the 69th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, and Newsnight had a wonderful piece on Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, a cellist imprisoned by the Nazis but who survived thanks to her being a musician.
The really remarkable thing about the video is what she said of Dr Joseph Mengele, the notoriously murderous physician who did all sorts of foul experiments on twins and the general population. It was he who decided who lived, who died and who should be experimented upon, yet even he and his broken brain saw beauty in Schumann. Musik, nicht arbeit, macht frei.
I never imagined I’d have cause to write about the spoilt little brat, but here I am – and at least I’m forecasting his demise, not applauding his genius like his misguided disciples. I just got a CNN alert (I’ve had them for 12 years and still don’t know how to turn them off) that he’s been arrested. That alone made me angry; how has Justin Bieber become of the global breaking news agenda? He “was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and drag racing this morning”, and for some reason CNN seem to think this is a shock or bad news.
Bieber’s actions today are a positive sign. The world of music and entertainment doesn’t need him and clearly he feels the same way, edging towards the cliff of destruction before he jumps off spectacularly. He’s clearly growing up and showing an existential awareness beyond his years; he acknowledges his own pointlessness and is seeking a way to rectify it, and in doing so, obliterate his name from public life in the only sensible way possible.
It was rocktacular, epic and sweaty. The only possible link to cricket this post has is, after the gig, Miller and I decamped in the nearest pub and met a very old Jamaican and slightly younger Jamaican. Cricket was discussed, among other things…
“Is it the Ashes … yes, it’s the Ashes, England have won the Ashes!” Those words, memorably and rather wheezily uttered by Brian Johnston in 1953, are often impersonated in Cricinfo. And on a rare day in which we had no cricket to cover, I discovered a brand new game with which to irritate my colleagues: singing in the style of Johnners. It is a game of infinite possibilities and variations. Be it punk, metal, folk, garage, rap, you too can sound as daft as me. I had particular fun with Talking Heads’ Psycho Killer while my boss, a fellow Ramones fan, suggested Sheena is a Punk Rocker:
Well the kids are all hopped up and ready to go
They’re ready to go now
They’ve got their surfboards
And they’re going to the discotheque a go go
But she just couldn’t stay
She had to break away
Well New York City really has it all
Oh yeah, oh yeah
Sheena is a punk rocker
Sheena is a punk rocker
Sheena is a punk rocker now
She’s a punk punk, a punk rocker
Punk punk, a punk rocker
Punk punk, a punk rocker
Further to Scott’s post, and Andrew’s piece, comes this example of YouTube at its brilliant, bizarre best. Among the historical gems, a lot of the other videos there are fairly drab’n’dull recollections of fans playing village cricket. Boring. But searching for “cricket” throws up the odd seemingly inexplicable video, such as this: a band called the Geoffrey Oi!cotts. Their MySpace entry reveals the following:
Freddy Skintoft (vocals) W.C. disGrace (bass) A.P.E. sKnott (drums) Devon Malcolm McClaren (guitar) The Dickie Birds (backing troupe and groupies)
Influences Yorkshire pride.
The thwack of willow on leather on a sunny yorkshire afternoon..
What a brilliant image that is. Alan Knott on drums (still equipped with wicketkeeping gloves, and a toothy grin); Devon Malcolm, massive 1980s bottle-top glasses, attached to a Fender and – best of all? – several Dickie Birds, rolling up their sleeves and tottering in the background. The Geoffrey Oi!cotts, based in Leeds, also do a passable cover of the Cockney Rejects’ only decent song, Oi! Oi! Oi!, as below (click here if it doesn’t show up).
All of this musicery begs the question: which five cricketers, past or present, would be in your band? The stupider, most unlikely the better. Tony Lewis would have to be lead vocalist for a start, closely followed by Mike Smith on drums…
First there was Darren Gough. Then Mark Ramprakash. And now, Mark Butcher is the third recent England cricketer to swap his whites for the mic. It’s passed me by until now but, on a drizzly Sunday evening, what else can you do but wade through the TV channels and find some nonsense to watch? The nonsense is called Just the Two of Us and is one of these reality TV things. I hate them with furious passion.
Whereas Gough and Ramprakash had no dancing ability whatsoever, yet still somehow managed to win, Butcher is a guitarist and musician of repute. So he’ll probably win it like his two England colleagues did.
All is not lost, England. Andrew Flintoff is a keen Elvis fan so look out for him on this show next year, with Steve Harmison on maracas and Chris Read and Geraint Jones fighting for the drumsticks.
“It’s not a blood sport; this is music,” Butcher said. “It’s not about hurting people it’s about making you feel good, and hopefully we did that tonight.”
God help us all.
Update Superb work from Will. Moments after posting that, Butcher was cast off into oblivion. Sorry!
We spent a while talking about the Ashes today; the hours, the days, the Christmas, the New Year and all that kind of jazz. I’m going to be delighting the masses with my own brand of ball-by-balderdash but, during session-breaks and shift-breaks, I’ll need something to keep me awake during the small hours.
Music. Lately The Black Keys, Wolfmother, the Ramones, Undertones, Buzzcocks and Longpigs have been on a constant loop on my iPod. I need something new. Your suggestions please. It should ideally be loud and rocktastic but I’m open to suggestions.
Disclaimer: I can’t promise I won’t publicly humiliate you if your choice in music makes me laugh.