Monday, February 11, 2008

"Fifteen pounds of fuck-puppy in a 10-pound bag"

So how, one may ask, do you fill your lonely hours of late, Jay? Well, despite spending a big hunk of each day writing a dusty thesis, I write. The only negative thing I could say about being in New York was that I didn't write as much as I should. Even that's not totally fair, as I was writing for school a great deal, but as much inspiration as there was to be had in the big city, I can't help but feel now I wasted a lot.

However, I got a big breath of inspiration not too long ago, and (touch wood) it seems to be lasting and prospering. Not all moody Indie music lends itself to working out, but not too long ago I started listening to Franz Ferdinand's first album at the gym. I had sort of given up on them as far too mainstream, but coming back to them and giving them a good listen, I clearly need to go back and tell myself to get over myself.

Time was, I thought the sun shined out of their shapely and seemingly available bums:

: Franz Ferdinand Album: Darts of Pleasure EP
Label: Domino Records Rating: 5 out of 5 *s

Oh. Yeah. Boys.
Being the Boy With His Thumb To The Pulse Of The Scottish Scene (TM ;0) I had heard rumors of the band Franz Ferdinand: wonderful, extatic, nigh-swooning things. And they were all right.
Franz Ferdinand is exactly what the whole lo-fi garage thing tries and fails miserably to be (Suck it up: The White Stripes, Jett, The Raveneonettes, et al. blow): fun, dirty and original.
What does it sound like? The above bands with a spark, with touches of Bowie, Steppenwolf and a little added Funk. On top is some sharp but subtle political edge (track three is about the gentrification of their hometown, Glasgow).
What separates these guys from their Big Label Clones is probably not surprising to any Kid around: they may be as hip or self aware as, say Jett, but they don't take themselves so damn seriously. They have fun. They're irony-light, yo. Play it now. "

[This, of course, was from the defunct Jaylemurph Reviews. I've been reading a few reviews there lately, after having, for soon-forthcoming reasons, wanting to find out more about the band. The material stands up pretty well, and the style pretty well matches up with the subject. It makes me smile]

Clearly, I like what I'm hearing there, and do again. And it's nice to have an excuse to spend some time listening to their work since that and their first full album came out. And it's good. The song "Michael"...

...struck a chord. The sort of louche pan-sexuality the band and their music exudes resonates as a concrete musical example of the theoretical, critical dullness I've been writing about for my thesis. This article, by Rob Sheffield and from the Village Voice, does a pretty good description of it, and is also really good a putting a finger on their musical influences. This entry's title comes from the article.

But of course the band does a much better job themselves:

Seriously, don't you want to grab one (or potentially, a few) of those boys from IndieBoyz?*

But obviously, gentle reader, cheap titillation aside, I'm sure you're champing at the bit to see where I'm going with this and my non-academic writing. Okay.

I'm writing a musical adaptation of Marlowe's Edward II using the music of Franz Ferdinand.

I still think it's a brilliant idea. Anyway, I've got the feeling this will be a profitable place for me to come to hammer out the details: I've got specific ideas for individual songs and how to use them, a general idea of what I'm going to change, and why, a general concept for plot, and -- best of all, if not the most useful -- as specific concept to build all these up on.

But I can get into those later. A lot of them are relatively complex dramaturgical issues that need more time and energy than I'm willing to expend this second.

One thing that is sort of tangentially exciting is that my good (and drop-dead gorgeous) friend** Jacob, who's finishing up his DFA at Yale, was the dramaturg for a production of Edward recently. Ish. I know I can bounce ideas of him, since we've worked together before, and I have the greatest respect for his knowledge and experience. His expertise is on modern theatre, but he has a solid understanding of the Elizabethans. And that's not praise I throw around a lot.

*Perhaps not completely incidentally, Eurocreme (well, technically their sub-studio IndieBoyz) has released Indie Boyz 2. The original is better (what sequel is ever as good? And no, don't say The Godfather...) but it's still hotter than 99.9% of the rest of the porn in the world. If this show ever gets on its feet, I'm totally giving small parts to the boys in these movies. It's only fair.

** Uhh... Maybe I shouldn't have said that, but I'm reasonably certain that a) he's never going to read this site, b) he knows I think that anyway, c) it's not at all mean and d) it's as true as anything I've ever said, if not more so.

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