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Mott’s CD review
Book Review: The Funniest
Thing You Never Said
by Lang Reid
rather large book caught my eye this week, while perusing the Bookazine
shelves. The Funniest Thing You Never Said (Random House, 2004, ISBN
0-09189-766-1) has been compiled by Rosemarie Jarski, who admits to being
suspended from convent school for narrating risqu้ jokes in the chapel.
Her book is a large collection of jokes and witticisms, and even risqu้
in places, so the suspension did not teach her much! Apart from that, there is
not much more that Ms. Jarski reveals, I’m afraid.
The almost 550 page book is divided into sections, each of
which has further sub-sections. These include Humanity, Sports and Leisure, the
Natural World, Arts and Entertainment, the Word, Science and Technology,
Society and Politics, Nations, Universe, the Body, the Brain and the Mind.
In the introduction, Ms. Jarski suggests that this is the
book to stop you being caught verbally flat-footed at an important gathering.
“The smart remark, the snappy comeback, the sharp one-liner would always be
there at your fingertips” is the promise, and indeed the smart remarks,
snappy comebacks and sharp one-liners are all there, but unfortunately not in a
rapidly, instantly downloadable format. The book is too large to fit in a
jacket pocket, and indeed would need a medium to large plastic bag from
Tesco-Lotus to make it portable. Hardly the item worn as a fashion accessory by
the deliverer of rapid repartee. But that is really the only downside of this
book. It certainly is a wonderful resource, though I would personally prefer a
hardcover imprint, if one were to be keeping it on the shelf. The contents are
well itemized and it also has an index of witty contributors at the back. Ms.
Jarski has decided that the index should indicate the person who spoke the
lines in some TV series as the originator, which is not quite strictly correct,
as it is the scriptwriter or gag-writer who should get the credit, not the
talking head. However, semantics aside, it is a good effort from the compiler.
It would be hurtful not to let a few of these gems on to
this page, so try these for size: “A woman’s rule of thumb, if it has tyres
or testicles, you are going to have problems with it” (Ella Gough); “Lord
of the rings is simply unreadable, and for me that always sort of spoils a
book” (Will Cuppy) and that has to be the book reviewer’s ultimate
expression of despair, “I was once so poor, I didn’t know where my next
husband was coming from” (Mae West), and finally “I took a speed reading
course and read ‘War and Peace’ in 20 minutes. It’s about Russia”
At B. 450 off the shelves at my local Bookazine outlet, this was a cheap
week of laughs and giggles. For anyone who has to give speeches, it is a
reference book to keep handy, and for someone who likes to drop anecdotes in
the pub, it is the ideal resource manual to keep hidden, so that your friends
think you are genuinely an original wit.
Mott's CD Reviews: Badger - One Live Badger
by Mott the Dog
Swizzled by Ella Crew
After ‘The YES Album’, their 3rd, the members of YES
cast their beady eyes around and set their designs on the multi-banked
keyboards of the Strawbs’ keyboard player, a certain Mr. Rick Wakeman. To
make room for the new keyboard wizard, the old one had to go. Therefore, with
undue haste, founding member Tony Kaye was dumped from the line-up. (YES had
once before done that, after their second album, when founding member guitarist
Peter Banks was unceremoniously kicked out of the band to be replaced by the
more manageable Steve Howe. Not a nice thing to do.)
After two more albums another founding member in the shape
of drummer Bill Bruford would leave. However, to be fair, he jumped rather than
being pushed. This left YES with an everlasting reputation for having a
revolving door style line-up. Very rarely have two consecutive albums been
recorded with the same line-up. At one time in the early nineties there were
actually two line-ups touring under the YES banner, and then they all (eleven
of them to be precise) combined for one ridiculous tour and album.
After being dumped by YES, Tony Kaye first set up his
keyboards with old cohort Peter Banks of Flash and helped them record their
first album, the self-titled ‘Flash’ (1972). After the recordings were
completed, Tony realized that Flash was actually Peter Bank’s band, and
perhaps it would be better if he went on to set up his own band under the
Badger moniker. After a handshake the pair went their own ways; however, unlike
many of the other past members of YES, Tony and Peter have remained friends to
Bassist David Foster was the first to be signed up, having
come to Tony Kaye’s attention when he was playing with Jon Anderson of YES in
a band called the Warriors. Next to join was one of the true warhorses of rock
drummers, Roy Dyke. He had previously been with Remo Four; Family; and
represented one-third of Ashton, Gardner, and Dyke, who had scored a worldwide
smash hit with ‘Resurrection Shuffle’ in 1971.
The fourth member to join was a very young Brian Parrish on
lead vocals and guitar. He proved to be a very good addition as he arrived with
a bag full of ideas for songs as well as having a guitar style that was vastly
different to anything like Kaye’s former band styles, therefore lessening the
Feeling that the band might be left behind in the fame
stakes if they didn’t get an album out on the record racks at its earliest
opportunity, the Rainbow theatre was booked for two concerts in mid December
1972, both of which were recorded for a live album; a very novel idea for a
debut album. When the album was released in early 1973, it came in a gatefold
sleeve designed by Roger Dean with pop up badgers when you opened the artwork.
With a blaze of publicity from their label Arco Records and the gimmicky
artwork, the album broke into the bottom of the top thirty in both America and
Great Britain. Unfortunately, that is just about the last of the good news for
this Badger. After early good sales they soon dropped off.
The music was competent, proficient even, but certainly not
startling enough to keep the public’s interest, even though some of the
guitar/keyboard duels are extremely exciting. There are only six songs on this
album, but it still clocks in at a very respectable forty-two minutes. Closing
song ‘On The Way Home’ has one of the heaviest organ introductions you are
ever likely to be lucky enough to hear.
On the downside, the songs all tend to sound a bit the same,
which I believe is due to the band not having had enough time to bond
sufficiently before going into a studio, where they could of perhaps worked out
some better song structures. At least it would have allowed them to get to know
each other’s strengths before unleashing them on the public. The other huge
glaring mistake was the lack of a front man. Although Brian Parrish’s singing
is not bad, it certainly is not good either.
By the end of the first tour Parrish and Foster were let go
to be replaced by ex-Stealers Wheel guitarist Paul Pilnick and Roy Dyke’s old
band mate Kim Gardner. The search for a front man was settled with the addition
of Jackie Lomax, a very charismatic and talented soul singer, but definitely
not the man to put into what was supposed to be a rock band. This was
definitely a classic case of “wrong man, wrong place”.
The band then went into the studio to record the studio
album ‘White Lady’ (1973), with all the songs written by Jackie Lomax. With
so many influences within the band - rock, funk, soul, reggae, jazz, pop, and
to top it all a progressive rock keyboard player - the music released upon the
public was some of the worst ever to be released by a major label. Fortunately
for those involved, the band had already disbanded in disarray by the time of
its launch, so no embarrassing post mortems had to be endured. What a sad end
to a great idea. Even so, the first album has its moments to remember Badger
by, but you have been warned about the dreaded ‘White Lady’. You don’t
get the pop up badgers with the CD release either, what a swizz.
Tony Kaye - Keyboards
Brian Parrish - Vocals and Guitar
Roy Dyke - Drums
Dave Foster - Bass Guitar
Wheel Of Fortune
Wind Of Change
On The Way Home
To contact Mott the Dog
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