Saturday, 21 November 2009

Harry along now youngster

This is just a quick wee post because a) I haven't written anything in a little while, but mainly b) I read something muchos lol-ita the other day and feel obliged to spread the chuckles to those that haven't already chuckled at it already.

The Fiery Furnaces are an American band that primarily consist of siblings Eleanor and Matthew Friedberger, and who - now somewhat regrettably - I rather like. My regret is induced by Matthew Friedberger rather bizarrely mouthing off about Radiohead's touching and respectful tribute to Harry Patch, who had been Britain's last remaining World War 1 veteran until he passed away in July earlier this year. Thom Yorke, moved by a 2005 interview with Patch on Radio 4, recorded the song 'Harry Patch (In Memory Of)' and it's available to download on Radiohead's website, with all proceeds going to the The Royal British Legion.

Sounds like a thoroughly worthy cause, non? PAH, WORTHY AS FUCK! Let Matthew Friedberger cut through all the crap and tell it like it really is:

"'Oh, please listen to our new song about Harry Patch'. Fuck you! You brand yourself by brazenly and arbitrarily associating yourself with things that you know people consider cool. That is bogus. That's a put-on. That's a branding technique, and Radiohead have their brand that they're popular and intelligent, so they have a song about Harry Patch."

Yeah! Fuck you Radiohead, you DICKS. Thom Yorke's clearly spotted the fact that all the kids on the street were rocking Harry Patch ringtones and baseball caps, and Tweeting about how cool it would be to be the oldest man in the UK, and third oldest man in Europe, and he's only gone and exploited Harry Patch's status as a hipster's wet dream to release a bloody TRIBUTE SONG. And what's that? What's he done with all the profits? Only gone and DONATED THEM ALL TO THE BRITISH BLOODY LEGION! I know! What a blood-sucking opportunist!

But, err - hang on. Although Harry Patch will now forever be far, far cooler than Matthew Friedburgerandchips, I wouldn't have thought that anyone could be accused of bandwagoning or deploying self-promotive branding techniques by paying homage to a man who may easily be considered a hero, but less easily a figure of cool. So, Matthew Friedburgeranddietcola, what the bloomin' heck are you on about? Me thinks a follow-up but possibly even more confusing statement is needed!

"Like most creative musicians, Matt Friedberger is not a fan of Radiohead and most of their chart busters. Of course, Matt and all the Fiery Furnaces family are great fans of all Tommys living or dead, so much so that lots of the Fiery Furnaces' work is, because of the pun, dedicated to imitating the Who's Tommy.

"Back in the fall of 1996 or whenever that interview was conducted, the interviewer asked what Matt thought of the Radiohead song celebrating a WWI veteran. Matt naturally thought it would be interesting to pretend that they wrote a song about the celebrated American composer of a similar sounding name, hence his joking in the interview about Radiohead composing a song with something like 48 notes to an octave. It was easy and amusing to imagine Radiohead's attempt to colonize that relatively arcane bit of our musical lifeworld. This is what they used to call, in some bohemian and advertising circles, 'riffing' or fooling around.

"Matt has not heard the Radiohead song about Harry Patch, but if he did, he is sure he wouldn't like it. No doubt Radiohead and their fans can ignore his opinion of this matter and continue with their triumphant artistic interventions. Matt would have much preferred to insult Beck but he is too afraid of Scientologists."

The celebrated American composer of a similar sounding name is Harry Partch - click on that Wikipedia link and pretty much the first thing you'll read is "Not to be confused with Harry Patch". So it's now clear that Matthew Refriedbeans obviously doesn't like Radiohead, but made a fairly understandable mistake (especially as he's American, so the importance of the last British Tommy wouldn't be so pertinent) and confused Patch for Partch. And, to be fair, it would be a tad pretentious to out of the blue record a tribute to an experimental composer. But Matthew Kentuckyfriedchicken doesn't want us to think of him as a generally well-meaning bloke who, like all of us, is susceptible to mistakes. No - he wants us to think of him as a twat. He wants us to think of him as the kind of man who "naturally" finds it INTERESTING to pretend that other bands have written songs which they in fact haven't written. If someone told him that JLS had written a song about the pre-Industrial Revolution method of fabric production, he'd probably jump with glee and spend 4 days solid locked in his room acting out every possible consequence of such an action, Synecdoche New York-style.

Then, for no discernible reason whatsoever, he ends his head-scratching statement with a dig at Beck. Matthew Fridayschildisfullofgrace and Beck may have some deep-rooted blood feud which I'm not aware of, but to the casual observer it appears that the Fiery Furnaces man has decided to use the 'Random Target Generator' which once featured in an episode of Never Mind The Buzzcocks, whereby a button is pressed and a name of a celebrity is generated completely at random to be the subject of mockery and scorn.

As I don't actually like the Beck track and cannae be arsed to wait ages for my slow internet to upload the song on to Mediafire, BUT I feel like it's appropriate to try and rub Matthew Friedberger's face in it as much as possible, if you wish you can download 'Harry Partch' from this blog.

I'm now off to ridicule (*generating*) Paolo Nutini for recording a song about (*generating*) Ipswich Town midfielder Grant Leadbitter.


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