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Can I Get A Witness?

January 7, 2010


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Willie Mitchell (seen above in the studio, with Al Green), who shaped the elegant yet gritty sound of Al Green, Ann Peebles and other stars of soul music as the house producer at Hi Records in the 1960s and ’70s, died Tuesday in Memphis, where he lived. He was 81.

The Willie Mitchell sound — prominent horns, delicately strummed guitars, some sweet organ and a steady, straightforward beat — is instantly recognizable on records by singers like Mr. Green, Ms. Peebles, Syl Johnson and O. V. Wright, and on the instrumentals Mr. Mitchell recorded as a bandleader. Both raw and sensuous, it became Hi’s signature sound as the label rose to prominence with Mr. Green in the 1970s.

Although its legacy has been less celebrated than those of Stax or Sun, two other pioneering record labels that got started in Memphis in the 1950s, Hi was an integral part of the development of the Memphis soul sound, and Mr. Mitchell is widely credited as one of its architects.

“It’s the laziness of the rhythm,” Mr. Mitchell said in Peter Guralnick’s 1986 book Sweet Soul Music: Rhythm and Blues and the Southern Dream of Freedom. “You hear those old lazy horns half a beat behind the music, and you think they’re gonna miss it, and all of a sudden, just so lazy, they come in and start to sway with it. It’s like kind of shucking you, putting you on.”

In 1961 Hi Records, then four years old, signed Mr. Mitchell as a recording artist, and from 1964 to 1969 he scored a number of minor R&B hits, including “Soul Serenade” and “30-60-90.” But he began to make a greater mark as the label’s combination producer and talent scout, bringing in Ms. Peebles and others. (He also produced Bobby Bland’s 1964 album “Ain’t Nothing You Can Do” for another Memphis label, Duke.)

In 1968 Mr. Mitchell was booked to perform at a club in Midland, Tex., with a fledgling singer from Michigan named Al Green as his opening act. On hearing him rehearse, Mr. Mitchell invited Mr. Green to Memphis and promised to make him a star.

Coached by Mr. Mitchell, Mr. Green found his voice, and by 1971 he had reached No. 1 on the pop charts with “Let’s Stay Together.”

Mr. Mitchell’s style proved a perfect canvas for Mr. Green’s finely finessed vocals, and together they made 13 Top 40 hits between 1971 and 1976, when Mr. Green left secular music for gospel and a career as a minister. Mr. Mitchell acquired an ownership stake in Hi in 1970 and remained with the company until it was sold in the late 1970s.

Mr. Green has said that he owes much of his success to Mr. Mitchell, especially his coaching, beginning with their first recording sessions together. “I was trying to sing like Jackie Wilson and Sam Cooke and Wilson Pickett,” Mr. Green said in a 2003 interview, recalling Mr. Mitchell. “He said, ‘Sing like Al Green.’ ”

NYT, Jan 6, 2010

Let’s have poems on your favourite soul singer. Take it to the bridge…Good God…Hit me..

58 Comments
  1. pinkroom permalink
    January 8, 2010 12:36 AM

    Bobby Womack

    I drop the needle and there it is,
    behind the eyes and nose,
    the smelling salt tone,
    somehow lost to digitisation
    of Bobby
    playing those rippling,
    bitter-joy runs of his:

    “I wanna dedicate this song to all the lovers tonight”

    Tonight?
    Or more likely the early hours,
    that could have been anytime
    between March 1988
    and September 1989.
    The year or something I lived
    mostly alone

    “And I expect that might be the whole world”

    with sometimes
    my various lovers

    “Because everybody needs something or someone to love

    When it’s cold outside who are you holding”

    Drawn to my door, three floors above.
    And if they didn’t show,
    well, there was always Bobby
    rapping in that
    man-of-the-world way,

    “You know
    If y’all don’t mind I’d like to talk about this woman of mine
    She’s always complainin’ ‘bout me never bein’ at home
    But when I’m there broke…”

    And you knew. This was his truth.
    Not the pleadings of a boy,
    but the sound of a fully grown man –
    The Poet; experienced, yet with a heart
    still passionate.

    “She’s tellin’ me about the things that her girlfriend’s got
    What she ain’t got, and she wants me to go out and get ‘em for her…”

    As ever; the double-bind of the man,
    the man, who is both lover, player
    and a working man,

    “But, but girl, I can’t be in two places at one time”

    And you know
    that this is a man
    pushed
    by her
    to the very, very limit
    of Love.

    “If you think you’re lonely now, huh
    Wait until tonight, girl”

    Past the very, very limit
    of Love.

    “(If you think you’re lonely now) I’ll be long gone…”

    To that Heaven and Hell,
    where the cruellest spite bleeds,

    “(Wait until tonight, girl) And you’ll find another man that’ll treat you right”

    with
    the tenderness

    that will bring them back.

    Bobb knows. Bobby knows.

  2. InvisibleJack permalink
    January 8, 2010 1:53 AM

    All the Broken Heart Songs of Ben E. King

    Fickle moon, one eye of dust
    your face is white, you shine on trust
    that when you go, right back you’ll come
    fickle moon

    My tears fall down, a silver rain
    like bitter money, just buys me pain
    and then you go, and now you’ve gone
    my tears fall down

    The lies you told, a room of lies
    and I’m locked in with all my sighs
    the lies of love, of love-me-so
    the lies you told

    This moonless night, the stars are weak,
    I cannot see the star I seek
    for now you’ve gone there is no light
    this moonless night

    Jack Brae Curtingstall

  3. 3p4 permalink
    January 8, 2010 2:23 AM

    new post over at Doggerel B,,its very nice,,thought you might like to know,, [Thanks for the heads-up, Nick -Ed.]

  4. Captain Ned permalink
    January 8, 2010 2:45 AM

    Even by your standards, Jack, that’s some poem.

  5. January 8, 2010 9:23 AM

    Frankie Lymon

    Why do fools fall in love?
    Can there be
    A better way of putting this
    Poetically?

    I’m not a juvenile delinquent.
    A sweet voice
    Challenges the jury’s
    Verdict choice.

  6. mishari permalink*
    January 8, 2010 9:51 AM

    Great work from everyone. Good to see you back, Ned.

    I’m trying to write a verse paean to The Hardest Working Man In Show Business, Mr. Dynamite, The King Of Soul…Mr. Jaaames Brooown…but I keep finding myself doing the rooster-strut around the kitchen and shouting “Good God…Thass right…Uh…Hit me…Good God…Take it down…Uh”.

    It’s not helping much.

  7. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    January 8, 2010 9:59 AM

    Monosyllabic But Frank

    Do I Love You?
    I Lay My Heart
    Down At Your Feet
    I Pray The Lord
    Your Soul To Keep
    Do I Love You?

    In Deed I Do

  8. January 8, 2010 10:09 AM

    Mishari If you’re in the kitchen take it to the fridge.

  9. mishari permalink*
    January 8, 2010 10:19 AM

    Al, I almost never do this (Marina Hyde described it as ‘the seal-honk of the half-witted across the internet’) but…LOL…

  10. HenryLloydMoon permalink
    January 8, 2010 10:40 AM

    …the seal-honk of the half-witted across the internet…

    SHOTHWATI!

  11. freep permalink
    January 8, 2010 11:45 AM

    Can’t sing a song
    Cos I done you wrong
    And all I got left is tears

    Oh the Baker’s been and left no bread

    I won’t sing a song
    Till I’m feeling strong
    And it’s hard when you got no beer

    Hey the Butcher says his mamma’s dead

    Won’t sing a song
    For my whole life long
    Just hated those careless years

    So I’m not singing, just clinging to my lonesome bed
    Until the sea and the sky turn red
    Yes
    The sea and the sky turn red.

  12. January 8, 2010 12:54 PM

    My favourite James Brown line:

    I may not know karate/But I know ker-azy

  13. mishari permalink*
    January 8, 2010 9:19 PM

    Please…please..please…

    Oh… sorry; still trying to write my James Brown poem…get up-a…get on up…stay on the scene, get on up…get up-a…get on up…like a sex machine…shit:

    now I’ve broken into a dumdumdumdumdum Cold Sweat…

    OK, I’ll stop now and…Get Up Offa That Thang, dumderdum, dumderdum…

    Help!

  14. InvisibleJack permalink
    January 8, 2010 11:55 PM

    James Brown Calls the Last Exchange

    you’re a / female / tele- / phonist
    you’re a / female / tele- / phonist
    speak in my ear / yeah
    speak in my ear / yeah

    oh / it’s / gibberish / baby
    oh / it’s / gibberish / baby
    it’s here / in my ear / yeah
    it’s here / in my ear / yeah

    you’re a / female / tele- / phonist
    you’re a / female / tele- / phonist

    what’s my / number?
    what’s my / number?
    six six six / yeah
    six six six / yeah

    it’s the real truth / yeah
    it’s the real truth / yeah
    six six six / yeah
    six six six / yeah

    you’re a / female / tele- / phonist
    you’re a / female / tele- / phonist
    don’t cut me / off / yeah
    don’t cut me / off / yeah

    what’s my / number?
    what’s my / number?
    six six six / yeah
    six six six / yeah

    Jack Brae Curtingstall

  15. January 9, 2010 3:58 PM

    Mishari, thought you might enjoy James Brown, environmental sculptor.

  16. mishari permalink*
    January 9, 2010 4:31 PM

    Lovely, Tom. Great poem, great images. Thanks for those.

    I hope you and A. had an agreeable holiday (if that’s what it was)?

  17. MeltonMowbray permalink
    January 10, 2010 11:35 PM

    I have no soul, so this is a difficult one for me.

    Water started pouring through a bedroom ceiling on Thursday night ( snow/ice dam ), so I’ve been busy tearing my hair out. Up all night emptying buckets, no roofers available, finally called the fire brigade but their commander said he couldn’t risk his lads’ safety on my roof. Fucking pansies. What do they do when there’s a fire? Oooh, sorry mate, can’t go near that, it’s too dangerous. Mrs M managed to get a roofer round next day. His safety equipment consisted of a gigantic jester’s cap ( worn in honour of the season ). He cleared the roof in half an hour. Something to be said for private enterprise, I suppose.

  18. mishari permalink*
    January 11, 2010 12:03 AM

    This troubling lack of soul…would that be because of inherent brutishness or because you sold it to Satan? If the latter, you should have inserted a ‘roof repair’ clause…

    Sorry about your tribulations but perhaps now you see the wisdom of my own mode of living? The tents, the herds of livestock, the migrations in search of pasture, the raiding and blood-feuds…never a dull moment, I assure you and if a tent burns down? Why, I just have the womenfolk weave a new one…

    I simply have to share this. Nathan Rabin’s excellent blog My Year of Flops put me on to it.

    Special thanks to XB, who put me on to Nathan. This wonderfully over-the-top loopiness is apparently a re-make of the classic Edward Woodward film. In Nathan’s words:

    In one of his best/worst performances Cage plays an uptight cop who travels to a mysterious island to find the missing child of a past love. Cage is treated with disdain veering into contempt by pretty much all the locals, a matriarchal bunch that views Cage as little more than an apoplectic sentient penis. Once Cage arrives on the Island pretty much every line he utters is a variation on “What the fuck is going on here?”. Wicker Man charts Cage’s slow-burning rage as he gets angrier and angrier the more he’s jerked around by the island’s man-hating power-brokers.

    Clearly something wicked and Estrogen-fueled is happening on the island and Cage’s escalating rage can be traced by the ever-increasing volume of his demands. After a certain point Cage begins screaming every line with hilarious urgency. When that doesn’t suffice Cage starts punching and kicking random women in the face. Just when it seems Wicker Man has reached an unstoppable apex of jaw-dropping ridiculousness Cage dons a bear suit and starts yelling things like “Killing me won’t bring back your fucking honey!” It is at this point that Wicker Man becomes unbelievably, almost inconceivably awesome.

    Check it out:

  19. InvisibleJack permalink
    January 11, 2010 2:15 AM

    Mish,

    According to Desmond Swords, you and I are the same person, and this is actually my blog. You should check out his latest ravings on that Augusta Webster thread of POTW. I’ve been laughing my arse off for the past hour. (However, you might not be so amused. But I somewhat think you might be.)

    Jack Brae

  20. January 11, 2010 9:41 AM

    Many thanks Mish. Sorry I couldn’t find a video clip of “Money Won’t Change You”. For some reason I couldn’t get that song out of my head all through the… are we still calling it “festive season”?

    As you ask, the holidays here weren’t much, but were the better for your asking. A very happy 2010 to you and Inez from us.

    Speaking of the superior wisdom of the house, A. thought you might like this bit on/from another Master of Soul.

    Meanwhile, for a touch of sane balance, I would submit this Woman of Soul.

    (By the by, when I heard the legendary DS being again heralded, I had to check to see if it was Groundhog Day yet. Greater myth hath no man.)

  21. MeltonMowbray permalink
    January 11, 2010 11:39 AM

    I sold my soul at the bottom of the market. A few months later I could have got a lot more for it. Eternal tumescence has been a benefit, less so as the years go on, but I hadn’t anticipated the problems with getting trousers on and off or those awkward moments at the urinals. There’s always a downside when you’re dealing with the devil.

    I couldn’t be doing with the tented lifestyle. Two weeks in Bognor cured me for ever. The raiding sounds like fun, though, but only in semi-permanent accomodation. A well-appointed RV would be ideal.

    Swords is ‘fairly unique’. What kind of idiot would think Jack and the Prince are the same person? Well, I suppose WN7 probably does, but I think I rest my case.

  22. mishari permalink*
    January 11, 2010 1:27 PM

    Poor Des. His grand farewell speech was a little, erm…premature, then? What a surprise.

    I must say, although it comes as a bit of a shock to learn that Jack and me are one and the same, I’m delighted to learn that I’m a much better poet than I thought. Seriously, though, it really speaks to Des’ tin-ear if he really thinks Jack is me and vice-versa. What an eejit.

    Thanks for the lovely Johnson poem, Tom. Funnily enough I’ve been reading my way through Johnsons’s Dictionary recently and what a source of delights it is.

  23. January 11, 2010 1:45 PM

    Alternatively it could speak volumes about the quality of your multiple personality disorder that you are able to summon up such vastly different personae at the click of a “Submit” button.

    I have a team of amateur psychiatrists and gossips hard at work combing the mishari-jack ur-texts to see if there is but one iota of a Freudian slip to be able lay the accusation of sock puppetry fairly and squarely upon. So far no results. Impressive stuff.

    When I lived in Whalley Range there used to be a sikh who wandered the streets arguing with himself in 2 completely different voices. So far he’s the benchmark of MPD but if my researchers unearth anything this will run him a close second.

  24. freep permalink
    January 11, 2010 2:18 PM

    Thanks for the Johnson, Tom; always warms the heart. Of Anna Williams, there’s a handful of her poems in the excellent Roger Lonsdale’s Oxford Book of C18 Women Poets. She has one called The Nunnery (1766), which is about a project by sundry gels to disdain matrimony and build a nunnery; it ends:

    … Thus spoke the fair: the project all commend,
    And all their wishes to the Nunnery bend.
    The Chaplain named, and articles begun,
    Full half the work appeared already done.
    Whene’er they met, they spoke of future joys,
    And the Nuns’ Castle all their thought employs.
    But when the various statutes were surveyed,
    And nicely read by each judicious maid,
    What sudden changes in their looks appear!
    Some are too mild, and some are too severe.
    Dorinda cried, ‘Are visits then a crime?
    And shall we see no friends at any time?’
    ‘Shall dancing be allowed,’ Sempronia said,
    ‘And yet no partner ever to be had?’
    ‘Must no man enter here?’ brisk Lucia cried;
    Then burn the plan,’ fair Thestylis replied;
    ‘Let fellows rather style me wife than nun.’
    And thus the Castle sunk ere yet begun.

    I would hope any poet would have a few voices at his / her command. Like Mr mishari-jack, the Spitsbergen submarine engineer. I knew a man called Mr Dalal from India once, whose English was jittery, and who slipped with unconscious ease among three different accents. When he phoned me he would always begin, ‘Mr [freep], I am speaking Dalal, good morning…’ and henceforth he was always known as Mr Speaking Dalal.

  25. mishari permalink*
    January 11, 2010 2:36 PM

    I’ve always found that the nexus of Hindi/English (or Hinglish as it’s sometimes called) produces some rare delights. I’ll try and dig up some of the over-heated Hinglish prose culled from Bombay film magazines.

    Speaking of which, have you ever looked through Hobson/Jobson, freep? Some cracking stuff in there…

  26. freep permalink
    January 11, 2010 2:55 PM

    I don’t have a copy of HobJob, mish, but have had enough Indian and Bengali and Pakistani friends to have accumulated excellent memories of crazed and magnificent Hinglish. A Sri Lankan friend was always very inventive. He would bail out of one job and bail into another, and was known to have crawled overneath the table when drunk. He was a young old boy in his youth, and his brothers both had PhDs behind themselves … etc …

  27. mishari permalink*
    January 11, 2010 3:08 PM

    Excerpts from an interview with Jagapathi Babu, star of Telegu film. Check out the webzine Telegu Cinema for more delights:

    Jagapathi Babu looks fitter than ever now. Praise comes for his looks not just from girls but also from established filmmakers. Probably that is the reason why he accepted to play the role of a student as well as a lecturer in Madan directed Pravarkyudu as he knows he can carry off a P.G. student role so easily with his current looks. He speaks at length about Pravarkyudu and Gaayam 2 and much more in this chitchat..

    Tell us about Pravarkyudu..

    Basically it is a love story about a couple who fall in love when they are students and separate from each other and 10 years later they meet again. 10 years later, she turns out to be a college principal and he joins the same college as lecturer. The conflict here is a girl (Priyamani) searching for emotional basis in relationship and boy (me) seeking physical pleasure.

    Looks like a bold concept!

    Yes, indeed, it is bold concept as director Madan has also dealt with the issues of sexual games. Girls always mature fast than boys. They know emotional bonding is important than mere sexual attraction but boys look for the latter first. It takes time for them to realize. These theme is undercurrent but on outset, Pravarkyudu, is good romantic drama with lots of fun, entertainment and good songs.

    You seem to share sizzling chemistry with Priyamani?

    We are good friends. We have love and hate relationship between us. I like to be very natural on screen and she is also natural actress. So it reflects when we act together and seems very natural when romance on screen. Regarding Priyamani appearing in sexy outfits in couple of songs, I would say I insisted director Madan to do that way. We ourselves took liberty and did sensual number in the film as it attracts the audiences and also helps the movie.

    Are you happy with the producers?

    Tolly2Holly is going to be bigger banner than they are known. They are sensible people and know everything about the industry. They didn’t step into filmmaking as just novices. Tolly2Holly is reputed distribution company in USA and they distributed my movie Pellaina Kotthalo. So they approached Madan and Me, to do the same magic. They are going to be happy too with this flick.

    What differences did you notice in Madan – from Pellaina Kottalo to Pravarkyudu?

    He has always been matured. His strength is writing and knows perfectly about his ideas. He has made this film much more treatment oriented with good aesthetic values.

    You are playing as a college student in one episode in the movie. Then how did you achieve younger looks?

    Right from the beginning, Madan told me to look me younger and so I worked on it. I confidently say now that I don’t look awkward in student role in the film. Best compliment that I got for my looks is from master director RGV. He smsed me that I am looking fantastic in Pravarkyudu. He is not a filmmaker who just compliments anyone and he doesn’t give his opinion just to please others.

  28. mishari permalink*
    January 11, 2010 4:19 PM

    A New Jersey company says it has developed “the world’s first sex robot,” a life-size rubber doll that’s designed to engage the owner with conversation rather than lifelike movement.

    Douglas Hines, founder of Lincoln Park, New Jersey-based True Companion, said Roxxxy can carry on simple conversations. The real aim, he said, is to make the doll someone the owner can talk to and relate to.

    “Sex only goes so far – then you want to be able to talk to the person,” Hines said.

    The phrases that were demonstrated were pre-recorded, but the robot will also be able to synthesize phrases out of pre-recorded words and sounds, Hines said. The laptop will receive updates over the internet to expand the robot’s capabilities and vocabulary. Since Hines is a soccer fan, it can already discuss Manchester United, he said. It snores, too. – The Indy, today

    I’ll bet it does.

    I have to say, though, she looks like a bit of a slut… Actually, she looks like she’s dead. A sex doll for necrophiliacs, then.

    And who’s that sat beside her? Why, bless my soul, it’s our old friend Mowbray, ahead of the sexual exploitation curve, as usual…

    And speaking of Mowbray, he and Alarming have released a video promoting their new get-rich-quick internet scheme. Wisely, I think, they’ve chosen to disguise their identities behind the pseudonyms Gabe and Max. Mowbray’s the fat one. Check it out, potential webo-nauts:

  29. January 11, 2010 4:30 PM

    I told the director the purple tie was a mistake. The incessant chewing shows my unease at wearing the black-shirt, purple tie combo. I could have elected to have forgone shoes and socks to distract attention away from a beige suit like XB did ( for it is he ).

    Next time I’m going to suggest using an iron…..at least once.

  30. freep permalink
    January 11, 2010 5:08 PM

    Looks a useful ready-for-action robot to me. I’d put her in a candlewick housecoat, personally.
    As to the interview Mish, I can only say that my Telugu needs a bit of polishing – not to mention my Marathi and and Tamil. And my Gujarati is rustier than ever.

  31. mishari permalink*
    January 11, 2010 11:53 PM

    Did everyone note the passing last week of Tsutomu Yamaguchi? The 93 year-old was a fairly unremarkable Japanese gent; unremarkable but for one thing–or more precisely, two things.

    On Aug. 6, 1945, while visiting the city of Hiroshima on behalf of his employer, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Yamaguchi was badly burned when a U.S. Air Force B-29 bomber, the Enola Gay, dropped the world’s first atomic bomb.

    Yamaguchi managed to pass the first night in a shelter and then decided to make his painful way back to the safety of his hometown.

    He covered the distance of 180 miles in about two days, arriving just in time to witness the dropping of the second atomic bomb on his hometown…Nagasaki.

    Next time you think you’re having a bad week, remember Tsutomu Yamaguchi.

  32. January 12, 2010 12:39 PM

    Mish,

    A bit spooked (as well as more than a bit pleased) to hear you too read Johnson’s Dictionary for pleasure, and are willing to confess it.

    Do coincidences really exist?

    I have been stuck the past few nights on the “fi” words. A delirium of lexicographical joys. E.g.:

    fico. An act of contempt done with the fingers, expressing *a fig for you*.

    to fig. (1)To insult with fico’s or contemptuous motions of the finger. (2) To put something useless into one’s head. Low cant.

    to fillip. To strike with the nail of the finger by a sudden spring or motion.

    fillip. A jerk of the finger let go with the thumb.

    & c.

    The impoverishment of our present gestural vocabulary thus revealed.

    Freep, lovely citation from the wonderful Anna Williams.

    The blind granddaughter of Milton… Dare we say she may have been his equal in scholarship?

    When the masque of Comus was performed for her benefit at Drury Lane, Johnson contributed a Prologue, to be spoken by Garrick, and employed all means at his disposal to enlarge the audience. Greater love, & c.

    Dorinda cried, ‘Are visits then a crime?
    And shall we see no friends at any time?’
    ‘Shall dancing be allowed,’ Sempronia said,
    ‘And yet no partner ever to be had?’
    ‘Must no man enter here?’ brisk Lucia cried;
    Then burn the plan,’ fair Thestylis replied;
    ‘Let fellows rather style me wife than nun.’
    And thus the Castle sunk ere yet begun.

    Ay, what is it made that century so much better able to acknowledge human nature in its full embracing complication?

    A.W. was also the first person to describe the emanation of sparks from an electrically charged human body.

    This work came in her twenties, when she still had her sight. The sensitivity appears to have only increased with age. Evidently, like many blind people, she had a greatly enhanced sense of touch, as, for example, in the sparking of a kiss.

    How wonderful those late night tea conversations with Johnson must have been. One likes to imagine the odd spark or two, advancing years notwithstanding, as would be no more than natural.

    ‘Her curiosity was universal, her knowledge was very extensive, and she sustained forty years of misery with steady fortitude. Thirty years and more she has been my companion, and her death has left me very desolate’.

    I shouldn’t wonder.

  33. January 12, 2010 1:10 PM

    Tom a less metaphysical apparition of sparks from the body.

    A friend of mine was doing up a house with his girlfriend and as a result had to stay in a caravan all winter until there was a roof on the building .

    One particularly cold day they got into bed where things got a bit amorous. Each time they touched each other they felt something special pass between them.

    They both thought “This must be real love” but it turned out that the whole caravan had become extremely damp which affected their electric blanket so that each time they touched they completed a circuit and so were only experiencing mild electric shocks.

    If the earth hadn’t have been wired in properly in the plug the results could have really made the earth move.

  34. January 12, 2010 2:11 PM

    Al,

    Well let me first say I do like a purple tie with a black shirt. Excellent gumchewing as well, I can see a fortune in store for you and your full-bodied partner.

    Excellent also that amorous tale of static electricity.

    The world’s first sex robot might well take note of the possibilities of electrifying atmospherics.

    Though why it would need sparking sex when it can already discuss the doings of Scholesy and Giggsy… but then, it’s a bit difficult to imagine it finding another sex robot in New Jersey with similar interests, but one never knows.

    Throwing a hair dryer at it, should it act up, might result in fireworks comparable to those experienced by Tsutomu Yamaguchi.

  35. January 12, 2010 2:25 PM

    Tom I’ll leave it to others to imagine how that sexbot could even be considered sexy. No fault of the sexbot but it would need some serious re-wiring in my head and a shutting down of my eye functions before “I would” as they say on-line.

    My partner’s cousin works in AI in Sydney and apparently they have android soccer tournaments in Tokyo every year to test how sophisticated the technology has become.

    One imagines robots feigning injury to gain the upper hand, arguing with the ref and slyly controlling a ball with their robo-hands as the ultimate signifiers of matching human intelligence but perhaps I’m being too cynical here.

  36. mishari permalink*
    January 12, 2010 2:29 PM

    When the soccer-bots start marrying Page 3 models and pop stars, crashing their Ferraris into lamp-posts and developing ‘substance abuse’ problems, the AI chaps will know they’ve succeeded.

  37. January 12, 2010 2:50 PM

    I wonder what substance the soccer-bots will abuse? WD40? HP11 batteries? Jump leads?

  38. January 12, 2010 6:16 PM

    Come one. come all…

    http://artchaeology.wordpress.com

  39. mishari permalink*
    January 12, 2010 11:05 PM

    What have you done with ExitB, you monster?

    By the way, lest anyone think that the above link will whisk you to some site that’ll steal your credit-card details and pauperise you overnight: calm yourself, timid web-o-naut. It’s the new blog I mentioned the other day, where neglected figures from the past are disinterred and re-evaluated.

    All contributions are welcome, so if there’s an unjustly forgotten figure you’d like to bring to the world’s attention (or the attention of the 3 people from MI6 and a dog that read this blog), send your copy to:

    forgotten.misremembered-at-gmail.com (replace the ‘-at-‘ with a ‘@’ obviously.

    I’ve set it out that way to foil email address harvester-bots. I thought wordpress forbade them but after I published my email address on this blog, I started getting emails from fantastically generous Nigerians, offering me vast sums of money. Sigh….

  40. MeltonMowbray permalink
    January 12, 2010 11:47 PM

    Robot sex couldn’t be any worse than some encounters I’ve had in the ( distant ) past. One which was programmed to recite some galloping doggerel, such as, say, How They Brought The Good News From Ghent To Aix would be ideal, though I couldn’t promise to make it to the final stanza.

    Out for a walk on the virgin acres of a local playing field the Mowbray ladies, inspired by the sight of some young lads in the distance drawing with their boots in the snow, created a gigantic heart. Noticing the lads had gone they went over to see what they had delineated. CUNT.

  41. mishari permalink*
    January 13, 2010 12:06 AM

    …and people say romance is dead.

  42. freep permalink
    January 13, 2010 6:35 AM

    ….and people on the IoW are not only romantic, they are very good spellers. Round here. every piece of snow art has been neatly signed and marked out with a small yellow dogg signature.

  43. January 13, 2010 8:46 AM

    Finanlly got some proper snow in London today.

    thanks for explaining Forgotten & Misremembered properly, Mishari. I was in bed with a cold yesterday, and the only lucid thought I seemed capable of was recalling obscure men of the stage.

    We can add other WordPress users (and other commenters?) as Experts and administrators, so, as Mishari has said, the more inter-disciplinary experts we draw, the wider the field of rediscovery. Get digging.

    And it was, of course, me in that video. I do eschew the shoe and, whilst now lean and mean, there was a time when a student – after I stopped being vegetarian and before the all-lager diet became passe – when I may well have been seen well-fleshed, confused and wearing a beige suit.

  44. January 13, 2010 5:40 PM

    Hey, Pongo! I posted another reply to you at the Chesterton article in the Guardian. It might get your furry little tail hair to stand up, but you should read it.

    Keep chasin’ them mice!

  45. mishari permalink*
    January 13, 2010 6:24 PM

    This Just In– The only hippopotamus in Montenegro has escaped. The two-ton female swam to freedom when torrential rains flooded her enclosure. She has taken refuge in a local restaurant, where patrons are feeding her hay and loaves of bread. I am not making this up

    Query: where do restaurant patrons get hay?

    Sorry, Kevin: I won’t bother, if you don’t mind. Debating with people who believe in the supernatural is an essentially futile exercise. To take the position you do requires ‘faith’ and faith is irrational, ergo: debate is pointless.

    And the argument that these things are people’s ‘deeply held beliefs’ and that somehow makes them respectable cuts no ice with me. I don’t doubt Himmler’s anti-semitism was a deeply held belief. Toxic nonsense is toxic nonsense.

    Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism et al…all religion is fundamentally toxic and I hope to see it all consigned to the dustbin of history alongside flat-earth theory and phrenology…

    Sorry.

  46. MeltonMowbray permalink
    January 13, 2010 9:08 PM

    … and ornithology… load of nonsense… geography… don’t get me started…

  47. January 14, 2010 11:52 AM

    Not phrenology!!!! Holds hands up to the constructiveness area of the skull and screams. Noises emerge from the rowdiness area of the skull.

  48. mishari permalink*
    January 14, 2010 11:06 PM

    I was doing a bit of research into the latest thinking on low-energy water desalination, when I came across the Watercone, an intriguing concept that I’m going to be looking into.

    Boy, that Steven Augustine sure does have a lot of arrows in his quiver. Apparently, he designs BMWs as well…

  49. MeltonMowbray permalink
    January 14, 2010 11:21 PM

    Good-looking guy too.

  50. mishari permalink*
    January 14, 2010 11:47 PM

    Yeah, but with a black dick.

    BTW, if you’re interested, MM…I’ve got Inglourius Basterds (or however they spell it), Up In The Air (which I liked and is directed by Jason Reitman, who directed Thank You For Smoking, which I also liked), The Men Who Stare At Goats, A Serious Man (latest from the Coen bros., which I think Al recommended) and the film of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.

    I’ve only watched Up In The Air but various people have recommended the others. Fancy any or all of them?

  51. MeltonMowbray permalink
    January 15, 2010 12:02 AM

    Sounds great. I’ll take the lot, if that’s OK. Thanks. Did you get the FHM book? Read out loud it’s very good for annoying the ladies. I have a copy if you have someone you want to annoy.

    The watercone is a neat idea, and so bloody obvious you wonder why no-one came up with it before. Build one ten miles wide and Kuwait’s water supply will be assured for ever.

    Got my arm twisted to watch Glee. I can’t get that Journey song out of my head now.

  52. mishari permalink*
    January 15, 2010 12:16 AM

    It is a brilliantly simple idea..elegant, even. Part of its beauty is the scalability. You don’t really want one huge one because then you’re at its mercy.

    Lots of small to medium ones is the way to go. A solar powered pump to get the sea water or brackish water to them and Bob’s yer uncle…

    Kuwait has (or had) the world’s largest desalination plants. Virtually all of our fresh water comes from them and it’s hellishly inefficient and energy-hungry. This is the way to go.

    I have the FHM book on order and expect to get a few sharp slaps. Those flicks will be in the post shortly and should reach you, assuming an inch of snow doesn’t bring the fucking country to a halt again.

  53. pinkroom permalink
    January 15, 2010 12:44 AM

    Not in the top five perhaps, but always in my top ten: it is with great sadness that I hear the soul singer Teddy Prendergrass has passed.

    A joy to be (with Teddy P)

    Joy
    Joy

    The Stork Club, Radford,
    climbing the stair.
    I hear you still Teddy
    and pay our 50 pennies,
    or whatever, to the grumpy girl
    at the turn, at the top
    and order four full pints
    of the Caribbean on draft.

    It’s a joy
    Joy to be
    To be near you

    This is of course
    a strictly after hours,
    club, but it’s June
    and still only twilight,
    and we are all,
    I still recall, just
    so happy. The warmth
    still utterly on our skin
    and the taste of the cold,
    thin, sherbertty beer
    ready on our breath
    and sinsemilla,
    sweet around our noses
    and Teddy,
    with his
    baritone promises
    of bright night kisses,
    and sex again
    at dawn about
    our ears.

    I want you here with me.

  54. MeltonMowbray permalink
    January 15, 2010 4:20 PM

    Don’t stop… believing… hold on to that feeling

  55. mishari permalink*
    January 15, 2010 4:36 PM

    Good poem, PR and another sad loss. I liked his work with Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes, as well.

  56. InvisibleJack permalink
    January 15, 2010 7:56 PM

    Nice one, Pinkroom. The Martian Academy is very pleased. Keep that groove…

    Jack Brae

  57. hic8ubique permalink
    January 15, 2010 11:51 PM

    Warm and transporting and thoroughly sexy, pinkroom.
    Sensuous. A treat!

  58. February 3, 2010 10:32 PM

    I found this blog extremely educational. thanks very much!

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