Go west?

“Go West! Life is peaceful there!”
So sang the Village People and then so also sang the Pet Shop Boys.

So it must be true.

Trouble is, if you’re in Cape Town and you’re planning to follow that advice, life is going to be rather wet there too. (West being the South Atlantic, for the geographically-challenged.)

That’s why I’m going to turn things around and Go East! this weekend.
Logic suggests that life will be turbulent there, and, should we extrapolate through the rest of the song, that we will be enclosed, alone, there will be rain in the summertime, the skies will be grey and we will do anything except be just fine.

Hmm. East seems a bit crap, to be honest.

Still, the beaglesitter is booked and we’re heading off… East… for a weekend away. Posts here will continue (obviously), and my Instagram is always open for your delectation.

Have yourself a good one. And try not to contract antibiotic-resistant Gonorrhea. (That latter bit of advice applies beyond this weekend, to be honest.)

The Dictator Decides

Will someone please say the unsayable?
Will someone please tell me I’m wrong?

If JZ was looking for a way out of this mess of a Presidency…

It’s Impeachment Day here in South Africa, or rather (unless something very incredible happens in the next few hours) Failed Attempt At Impeachment Day.
Also I’ve been listening to the new Pet Shop Boys album.

At present, these two facts seem wholly unlinked, but please bear with me as I intertwine their currently separate existences through the medium of interpretive dance blogging.

One of the standout tunes for me is track 5: The Dictator Decides. Now, while I’m not suggesting that Jacob Zuma is a dictator, he’s edging closer to the definition of that moniker every day. And while this track is probably written about the (apparently reluctant) rise to power of North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, there are a few choice lines that could have been penned specifically for our JZ:

The joke is I’m not even a demagogue
Have you heard me giving a speech?
My facts are invented
I sound quite demented
So deluded it beggars belief
It would be such a relief not to give another speech.

Here’s the song if you’d like to hear the whole thing:

I’ve kept it deliberately small so that you don’t die from the flashing album covers accompanying this audio version. You may still struggle a bit though. Sorry.

The President isn’t very good. The Pet Shop Boys album, however, is. (It’s actually really good).
If you’re a glass half full kind person, this should be enough to see you through your day. Just.

Super Simple

This looks like I’m being lazy again (it’s not deliberate), but I just found this interview really interesting, and I wanted to share. It’s with Mark Farrow, who has been designing Pet Shop Boys record (CD, tape, album) covers for ever so many years now. He’s just done the same again for their latest one, Super, which I’m currently listening to (spoiler: it’s not misnamed).

download

I’m not into “design”, but I really like the idea behind this latest cover:

This time we went pop art, a fluorescent circle containing the word “SUPER” in a contrasting fluorescent colour. Then each format, CD, LP and digital, was given its own fluorescent colour scheme. The different music streaming services even have their own colour schemes. These colour schemes then come together in an animation of clashing colours used for online advertising and digital poster sites. Unhinged and brash, yes, but it also feels considered and complete as a campaign.

And yes, look – they’re all different – here’s Simfy and the Wikipedia entry:

  Screenshot_2016-04-04-11-55-57       Fullscreen capture 2016-04-04 115656 AM.bmp

So let’s get this straight… This guy has been a designer – a successful designer – for at least 30 years (he did the cover for West End Girls back in 1987) and he has come up with a circle with a word in it? A word that he was given. He didn’t even have to think of the word. Seriously, aside from the circle (which is hardly a complex addition), could it actually have been any more simple?

No. No, it couldn’t.

Thing is though, it’s absolutely brilliant. And even those true cynics amongst us have to take a seat and just admit that sometimes less is more. Maybe you need to be a top class designer – supremely confident in your ability and reputation and in your clients’ belief in your work, to be able to challenge them and their fans with something so audaciously basic and fundamental.

It’s so unpretentious that it might just be the most pretentious thing I’ve ever seen.

And I love it.

PSB in CPT

I can’t believe it. I pop across to the UK for a couple of weeks and the Pet Shop Boys decide to make an appearance in SA.

“Cheers guys.” “Thanks for that.”

The “Pioneers of synth-pop and global music icons” are over here in December headlining the Sónar Cape Town and Johannesburg festivals (15th & 16th December and 12th December) before doing a standalone concert in Durban on the 19th.

I’m not here for any of them. Gutted. I think it would have been an absolute must.

On the plus side, Kasabian and the Inspiral Carpets are on while we’re over in the UK, so that might ease some of the pain.

Stay With Me For The Weekend

No, it’s not an offer – it’s the tagline from the Pet Shop Boys’ track Thursday, which, when reviewing the album, I decisively described as:

my favourite, I think

Now there’s a video to go with it, featuring the guys doing a concert in Shanghai, and it would surely be rude not to share it:

Lovely stuff. This has been a great year for good music.