Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Air War For The Underground

Damn it's great to be blogging from bed again, coffee in one hand, shuffling the iPod like billy-o. Truth be told, and we know it's only 9.45 am, and we've spent 80% of the time since we got in sleeping, but we're feeling pretty acclimatised. What time we didn't spend quiching/sleeping, we spent in Blue Ribbon, swilling Spanish wine, and treating the appetiser menu like tapas.

But there was time for a quick gawk at NY1, which has come up with a suitably doom-laden sting to attach to its transit strike coverage. NY1 is obviously also the channel to pick when you want to run badly-produced pro-labour adverts.

Thus we sat through TWU 100's effort, which consisted of jumping between three talking aheads against a rather unfetching beige backdrop. The three were middle-aged, African American ladies explaining that their position was really rather reasonable, and could they please have a contract? (To digress, briefly, can we note that NY labour negotiations are always premised in such a way that a contract is always presented as something that it is in the power of employers to give, rather than the product of bilateral negotiations?).

Anyway, the advert, while amateurish, at least succeeded in giving you a hint of the essential decency of transit workers, an impression that is highly necessary, given that many New Yorkers have an impression of MTA workers as barely civilised jobsworths, if not a band that includes quite a few out-and-out sociopaths. Not that we bear them any ill will, that's what public workers in NY do.

Anyway, NY1 is seriously flooding the zone with its subway coverage, so it was only time before its search for nutbars lurking within the fine body of transit workers bore fruit. It managed to grab a vox pop from a somewhat overweight, ginger, and belligerent bus driver in (we're guessing) Queens, which ran just after the aforementioned cuddly ad break. In it, and we paraphrase only slightly we got this: "Jesus, I can't believe that we decided at the last minute not to strike. Now everyone will think that we're pussies." Bring on Tuesday, kids.

Anyway, bugger the topical posts, it's time for some found audio, digitised from the impressively rare record collection Daddy Gringcorp. Since the rest of our digitisations date from a small window of 1992-1996, we hope you will enjoy this scratchy, poppy recording from 1958 by Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee. They harmonise quite delightfully together, as you can hear from a Folkways recording that was rereleased in 1992.

Brownie McGhee & Sonny Terry - "Better Day"
Buy "Brownie McGhee & Sonny Terry Sing" here. Their families are likely poorer than RL Burnside's ever will be

We've picked up a willingness to rifle through old blues music from Gringcorpdad, well him and Jon Spencer (rather than, um, John Spencer, RIP). Yet, we had no idea till yesterday that Eric Clapton, who's made more money of black music than any white man since Elvis, once gave this hideously racist speech saying that England would become a "black colony". The man clearly had a better idea of what he was doing than David "I was so f***ed up I had no idea I was giving the old seig heil" Bowie.

In fact, we have a former acquaintance that was much more disturbed by him making so much money off that song he wrote about his deceased son. To be frank, we find that a bit less disturbing, maybe even understandable. Hopefully Alexis Korner would approve.


Post a Comment

<< Home