26 November 2009

Vive les Americains!

Peter Peter Ivers Band – Terminal Love
Warner Brothers BS 2804, LP 1974

You could be excused for thinking I have a tendency towards albums by pretty maidens. And I do. However, to readdress the balance, here's a quirky record that I quite like by a man. When this album was recommended by a friend in Japan, I was a bit skeptical. Terminal Love, filled with songs titled My Grandmother's Funeral, Oo Girl, Holding the Cobra and Felladaddio might sound unusually corny to say the least, but then again Peter Ivers was never quite usual. Born in 1946 Ivers studied classical languages, but ended up in music business. In 1969 he released the remarkable album Knights of the Blue Communion (also featuring Yolande Bavan) on Epic records. The music on this album was used for the theatre play Jesus, A Passion Play For Americans, which was, in turn, the inspiration for Jesus Christ Superstar. Despite the massive success of JCS, the Knights LP album faded into obscurity. Ivers recorded a second album for Epic (Take It Out On Me), which was shelved. Being close friends to Douglas Kenney (founder of National Lampoon) and John Belushi, Ivers was introduced to David Lynch for whom he wrote In Heaven (The Lady In The Radiator), the theme song from the infamous, but utterly amazing Eraserhead movie. In 1981 Ivers became active in radio, where his manic presentation of the Night Flight programme became the stuff of legends. However, his career came to a tragic end in 1983 when Ivers was found bludgeoned to death in his LA apartment. His death still remains a mystery, which inspired the book In Heaven Everything Is Fine. His musical legacy is well worth a re-visitation and with the recent release of all his records on CD this is easily possible. Terminal Love is certainly one of the weirdest "normal" records ever. Upon first listen you may wonder about the weird, nasal singing or the strange quirky instrumentation that seems decisively normal. Repeated listening sessions however, will reveal a strangeness about this album, that is hard to define, but puts a smile on your face. Copies are not that hard to locate and very soon you will find yourself humming his tunes and wondering what the hell Warner Brothers were thinking when they released Terminal Love.

17 November 2009

Annika! (the sequel)

Annika did not disappoint.

13 November 2009


A few days ago I bought a double DVD of the original 70's Pippi Longstocking series (Pippi's full name, fact fans, is Pippilotta Viktualia Rullgardina Krusmynta Efraimsdotter Långstrump). Last night we watched the first episode, in which Pippi discovers a new word "Spunk" and spends the entire episode trying to find out what a "spunk" is. When Pippi, Tommie and Annika determine that it is not a dangerous animal or some sort of candy, Pippi develops a serious case of "spunk" and has to be taken to a doctor. The doctor examines Pippi, but luckily finds no evidence for "spunk". Pippi offers to pay for the consultation, but the kind doctor (70's haircut and glasses) assures her "spunk-consultations" are free. After 25 minutes of wonderful television they discover a beetle that turns out to be a "spunk". The End. I wonder if this was ever broadcast in the UK where "spunk" has an altogether different and less innocent meaning! As an aside: when I was Pippi's age and the TV series was shown on Dutch television I had a serious crush on Annika. Curious about what happened to her I spent some time on the internet (source of all knowledge these days). Annika was played by Maria Persson. After the Pippi TV-series she studied at the School of Theatre, but found it hard to find work as people related to her as the Annika character. She married a Spaniard and opened a bar in Mallorca (this part is a bit of a let down I have to say). She got divorced and now works with the elderly. A fascinating and slightly tragic interview with her and Tommie, albeit in German, can be located at http://efraimstochter.de/tommi_und_annika/euch_kennen_wir_doch.shtml
The picture shows Maria at 51, and I have to admit, she still looks good. Incidentally, the DVD, for which I paid 1,25 Euros, also includes the classic movie Pippi at Taka Tuka Land, in which she saves her father from evil pirates - I can't wait to see Annika in action against pirates!