The D+C Files

Daphne & Celeste in the video for "Alarms"Earlier this week, super-cute electro-pop-saviours Daphne & Celeste released the video for their latest single, “Alarms”, in which our heroines make first contact with an unidentified alien*, and proceed to feed it, read to it, and pillow fight it, until it (literally) coughs up its secrets. M’kay. Apparently the vinyl edition boasts a cover of “Hi-Fidelity” from Fame as a B-side, which isn’t available in a digital format as yet (boo!), but can be previewed at this handy site.

Meanwhile, they’ve also been giving plenty interviews to promote their imminent new album, including this one for Dazed in which they wax retrospective about their contemporaries from the turn-of-the-millennium music scene** … and this one for i-D in which they reveal that the “nice guys” from Slipknot offered them a (metaphorical) shoulder to cry on after being bottled off the stage at Reading festival, back in the day. Believe it or not, there’s actually a surprising/pleasing amount of crossover between D&C and many of my fave metal acts… such as the heartfelt tribute to Lemmy (of Motörhead fame) that Celeste posted via her Instagram page, following his passing. Bless.

* Er… am I the only one who thinks that alien kinda looks like a giant furry phallus? Was that intentional…?

** They also discuss the original “darker” video for their debut single “Ooh Stick You”, which I never even knew existed before… it’s kinda like a lost episode of Misfits, with them using evil mind-control powers to make random Londoners lip-sync to the song!

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Get In!

Screen-cap of a web-search, circa 4/3/18This weekend, I was idly Googling for new Chelsea Peretti videos, when I was confronted with the results pictured here. I was actually quite offended (on her behalf) by the headline… and even more-so by the fact that when I followed the link, the article wasn’t really about Peretti at all… it’s a brief summary of Peele’s career to-date, featuring a single line identifying his wifey as a “comedian and Brooklyn Nine-Nine actress”, followed by a jokey tweet from her about Get Out. Meanwhile the largely-unrelated embedded video rather ironically declares that this is the year when “women are stepping into their power”. Dammit, InStyle, you really suck at Feminism!

That said, I was pleased to discover this morning that her high-profile hubby has become the first black writer to bag an Oscar for “Best Original Screenplay”, which he can now add to the many other awards that he and his stunning debut feature have collected thus far. The fact that he achieved this barrier-breaking feat with a horror-comedy flick is all the more impressive, and I’m extremely envious of how he managed to explore so many touchy cultural/political issues, while also scoring solid laughs, within the formula/framework of a “genre” story. Kudos!

P.S. Oh, and a shout-out to Allison Williams and Betty Gabriel for their sterling work as “supporting actresses”… I’d have given them both a nomination, at the very least…

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Diane Morgan a la "The Archiveologists"Two weeks ago, with eff-all fanfare, the Beeb began broadcasting The Archiveologists, a six-part series of spoof-documentary shorts, for which Diane Morgan and Joe Wilkinson have re-dubbed/re-purposed old-timey archive footage, to “put their own twisted comedy spin on British social history and institutions.” The result is a brief blast of sweary irreverence and absurdity that scored big laughs from me (once I became aware of its existence, shrouded in the late-night schedules, that is)… so snaps to them for that!

[It airs at 22:25 on Tuesdays, on BBC2, in case you’re curious… though I’m just watching it on the iPlayer myself]

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D&C’s L.P. E.T.A. F.Y.I.

Daphne & Celeste circa 2018Fans of super-cute snarky synth-pop rejoice! Daphne and Celeste have (finally) reunited with composer Max Tundra to produce a album full of shiny new tracks, modestly titled “Daphne & Celeste Save The World”, due for release on March 30th (and available for pre-order via their website, in a bumper variety of bundles and formats (including cassette!)). This exciting announcement was accompanied by a lyric video for their latest release, “BB”, a song that sees the dynamic duo taking aim at Bob-Dylan-aping “basic buskers”, and their ubiquity across the airwaves. Fair’nuff. Meanwhile, tickets are on sale for a pre-release live performance at The Dome and Heaven in London, just a couple days before the album drops (March 27th, to be precise). Hurrah!

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“Pogo! Pogo! Pogo! Pogo!”

Back in November I was bemoaning the fact that Britain’s foremost (and funniest) rock/rap-covers comedy act, The Lounge Kittens, hadn’t played any gigs near me, and hoped that there might be some coming up in the near future… then, less than a fortnight later, my whiney wish was granted, when they revealed that they’d arranged a couple special live appearances for February 2018, in honour of Independent Venues Week. Not only were tickets for the Bournemouth show a total bargain, I also discovered that the chosen venue (Sound Circus) was literally just-across-the-street from the train station (and had very positive word-of-mouth on t’internet), meaning I had absolutely no excuses to be a lazy/antisocial stay-at-home potato.

The Lounge Kittens @ Sound Circus - Bournemouth (2/18)

I bought my ticket early, and waited for the weeks to grind by… only for a hugely disappointing bombshell to drop on the morning of the gig itself, with the announcement that TLK wouldn’t actually be taking to the stage until 9:45pm, a mere half-hour before the last train home (for me) departed the station. I was faced with a gruelling choice: Either leave early to catch the train and miss a sizeable chunk of the show, or stay to the end and be stranded in a strange-ish town for the night! I had spine-chilling visions of being forced to ride a night-bus around and around the borough just to stay warm, while I waited for the trains to start running again the next morning… but apparently all of that fretting was just a foolish, shaky-legged waste of sweat, because the angels (or possibly the Super-Moon?) were smiling down on me that night, and they somehow managed to delay the final train by a full hour. Hurrah!*

Consequently, I was mighty glad that I chose to chance it, and enjoy TLK’s set to the fullest, because it was honestly the best night out I’ve had in years. Their sweary three-part harmonies sounded just as gorgeous in person as they do on record, with the added bonus of hilarious facial expressions, minxy dance moves, and adorable between-song banter… which I can’t really repeat here, because I’m sure it would sound a lot ruder coming out of my fingertips, than it does coming from the mouths of good friends ribbing each other. All in all, it seemed like they were having a great time up on stage, and thankfully we were all invited to share in the fun, with joyful singalongs during their marathon mash-up medleys. I can’t even imagine how anyone could sing those things as beautifully and relentlessly as they do without passing out, but I guess it’s a combination of natural talent and tireless practice? Certainly you can’t accuse them of resting on their laurels, as they actually have/had another three (sold out) shows scheduled for the next day (today) in Southampton, including two (non-sweary) all-ages matinees!

The Lounge Kittens @ Sound Circus - Bournemouth (2/18)

With all that on their plate, we could’ve easily forgiven them for wanting an early night, but as soon as they’d finished their set the Kittens hot-footed it straight from the stage to the bar area to chat with their fans, and pose for pics, without so much as a sit-down or a backstage tea-break beforehand! Bless ‘em. Sadly I decided not to take my camera along (because of all the hopelessly blurry disappointments I’ve captured with that thing at previous live events), so I have no photographic evidence to prove I was there (the above pictures were snaffled from their Twitter feed)… but I did buy a T-shirt and a badge as souvenirs, after self-consciously/awkwardly explaining that I already owned their album and E.P., otherwise I’d obviously have bought them too. Because they are ace.

P.S. The title of this post is a reference to my fave song in TLK’s repertoire, “Bounce”, originally recorded by System of a Down. The repeating “pogo” line makes me laugh hysterically every time I hear it, and last night was no exception… which is unfortunate, because I have a very unattractive/unmanly laugh… thankfully no one turned to glare at me, or ask who’d accidentally let a braying donkey into the club…

P.P.S. Since the point of IVW is to shine a light on smaller venues, I should also say how much I loved Sound Circus, and heartily concur with the online reviews regarding the friendliness of the staff. It felt very homey somehow, and they had some great rock/metal songs playing between acts, so if you’re ever in the area and looking for a hang-out, then I highly recommend it.

* Though I doubt the people who were actually expecting it to be on time were quite so happy, of course…

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HMD 2018

Yesterday I slouched into town for the annual Holocaust Memorial Day service, which is rather unfortunately held in an exposed park near the train-tracks, meaning that speakers are often drowned-out/interrupted by the sound of passing locomotives. Symbolic, or just annoying… who can say? This year we also had a car-washer stood in a car-park overlooking us, waiting patiently to resume his work, which was a little disconcerting… especially when we were all asked to sing the Jewish blessing “Shalom Aleichem” (meaning “peace be upon you”) for several rounds, despite the fact that we, a random group of non-Hebrew-speaking strangers, couldn’t seem to agree on a tempo, tune, or consistent pronunciation. Sigh…

Annelies Marie Frank (1929 – 1945)On the plus-side, this year’s theme was “The Power of Words”, which prompted several readings from Anne Frank’s books, including these timeless observations from her think-piece “Give” (one of several essays collected in Tales from the Secret Annex):

“Everyone is born the same, everyone has to die, and nothing remains of their worldly glory. Riches, power, and fame last only for a few years! Why do people cling so desperately to these transitory things? Why can’t people who have more than they need for themselves give that surplus to their fellow citizens? Why should some people have such a hard time during their few years on this earth?” “There is plenty of room for everyone in the world, enough money, riches, and beauty for all to share! God has made enough for everyone! Let us all begin then by sharing it fairly.”

On the way home, I happened to spot a brand new DVD of Fiddler on the Roof (1971) for sale in a charity shop, and bought that to watch in the evening. It isn’t actually about the Holocaust, of course, but does depict an impoverished Jewish community being oppressed and uprooted by Anti-Semitic authorities, so there’s a resonance there, right? Either way, it’s a very funny and moving musical, with a great cast and classic songs, so I highly recommend it… though my enjoyment was slightly impaired by the fact that I have Yidcore’s punky cover version of the soundtrack embedded in my brain, from repeated plays…

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Celeste Dring and Freya Parker (aka “Lazy Susan”) circa 2017A couple months back, the BBC decided to throw up a registration-moat around its iPlayer, to make it impossible for casual viewers/listeners to catch-up on shows they’d missed without typing in a username and password every damn time… which is an especially painful process if you’re doing it via an onscreen keyboard using a set-top-box remote, dammit!* I resisted for a while, but two shows swayed me to finally sign-up/in… one was the latest season of French crime-drama Spiral, and the other was Radio 4’s The East Coast Listening Post, a spoof investigative “human interest” podcast written and performed by character-comedy duo Lazy Susan, aka Freya Parker and Celeste Dring. Here they play a pair of interpid American sisters, transplanted to the UK to report back on interesting people they’ve encountered, including eccentric feuding aristocrats, has-been costumed mascots, and repressed support-group leaders.

The episodes are only 15-minutes long, but they pack in plenty jokes, engaging story-arcs, fun performances, and an impressive supporting cast. I also thought that the lead characters, ‘Jenna’ and ‘Dana’, came across as genuinely charming, cool, crush-worthy co-hosts, who I’d happily follow across multiple formats/media… so, snaps to their multi-tasking creators for that!


* Though I admit that being able to “follow” favourite shows will save having to type their titles in every week, so I guess it balances out in the long-run…?

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