Around the Web: Antony loves whistling, John Peel's secret collection is revealed, and 50 Cent calls W. a gangsta.


Salon Staff
November 5, 2005 12:40AM (UTC)

There is a suitably long, typically "meta" interview with Antony (of "and the Johnsons" fame) over on Pitchfork. Unsurprisingly, there's rather more Pitchfork than Antony in the transcript, but it's still an insightful, sweetly fawning piece. The newly crowned Mercury Prize winner holds forth on the differences between his current record and his previous one: "My theory is that the songs on this album are more internally focused. The first album is a reflection, a vision of the world, a landscape of the world, and this new one is an interior landscape." He also speaks about dual national identities: "When I talk to an English person I get very English-y. When I talk to an American I get very American. With accents, I wouldn't say that either of them is me. Both of them are real, both of them are fake. They're just me responding to the world." And Antony also has some ideas on whistling: "Sometimes I like to just whistle and see if I can get the audience to whistle with me to create a little aviary. Sometimes the whistling thing can be so beautiful. We did it once at Town Hall -- it can be so magical, it's one of those group participation things that really can be exciting."

What would the late, much missed, British DJ John Peel have made of the success of Antony and the Johnsons? Given his predilection for the haunting, soulful or unusual, he probably would have liked it, if his record box is anything to go by. Peel kept tens of thousands of records at his rural home, a treasure trove that is being sought by private collectors and the British Museum, but the "emergency" box of 142 7-inch singles -- the subject of a forthcoming British TV documentary -- offers the most personal insight into his eclectic tastes, from the evocative soul of Stanley Winston's "No More Ghettoes in America" to gimmicky curiosities like "Oz on 45" by the Squirrels ("Wizard of Oz"-sampling punk rock). The good people on the I Love Music message board are currently immersed in the unenviable, but honorable, task of trying to upload the whole crazy selection.

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One question that arises from Peel's list is: Why so much White Stripes? Jack and Meg make up the biggest number of albums in the emergency box, with 12 singles. "The only reason for so many White Stripes singles is that they were his latest band," explains Peel's son, Tom Ravenscroft, who's behind the documentary. In other words, the collection was an ongoing project, showing off only a slice in time of Peel's always-changing tastes: "In another 12 months, there may not have been any White Stripes at all."

Ever wondered which political leaders pop stars have most in common with? Rapper Cam'ron has some predictably grandiose suggestions, following his revelation that his recent shooting might have been something more sinister than a straightforward botched carjacking, as he had previously thought. "You gotta realize you in a position of power ... It's like Malcolm X and Martin Luther King," Cam'ron explains to MTV.com. "I hate to use them as examples, but they both got murdered and they were both great leaders." Jamiroquai's Jay-Kay, meanwhile, likens himself to Cambodian mass-murderer Pol Pot in this stream-of-consciousness interview in the Guardian. Well, technically he says that he is "not as bad" as Pol Pot -- those who bought his last album may wish to disagree. And 50 Cent is exactly like George W. Bush. Following the rapper's comments on Hurricane Katrina in defense of Bush -- "The New Orleans disaster was meant to happen. It was an Act of God" -- and his direct defense of W. -- "There is a lot of pressure on Bush as president of our country. A lot of things going on, this doesn't happen so often all the things that have happened under his presidency" -- the political analysts at Pop (All Love) have produced a compelling comparative study. "Neither Bush nor 50 seem reluctant to solve problems or quell foreign threats through intimidation and force (and) both are obviously keen on the merits of loyalty, often to a fault. 50 has G-Unit, Bush has/had Harriet Miers." Not convinced yet? "Fiddy shares a birthday (July 6) with both Dubya and Nancy Reagan." Or take it from 50 himself: "We are both gangsters." So now you know.

The latest threat to the poor, embattled New York music scene may not come from rent hikes or the disappearance of CBGB's after all. If Mike Bloomberg wins reelection, Brooklyn Vegan reports, NYC bars and music venues could be forced to close at the decidedly un-rock 'n' roll hour of 1 a.m. A tragedy for all the night-owl hipsters, no doubt; but spare a thought for the bartenders, door-people and sound guys who have to make their way home in the wee hours, their ears ringing from yet another god-awful open mike night. In tribute to these poor souls, a selection of the FAQs answered ever-so-slightly sarcastically on the Web site of Los Angeles venue Hotel Cafi.

Q: I am playing tonight, can my guest list be 50 people?
A: No.
Q: 30 people?
A: No.
Q: 10?
A: Maybe.
Q: 7?
A: Yes.
Q: I'm not on the list, but I am *insert industry related job title here*, can I get in for free?
A: No.
Q: What if I give you my card?
A: No.
Q: It's a nice card
A: Yes it is.
Q: So, how about it then?
A: No.

-- Matt Glazebrook


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