I feign a passing interest in this upcoming US Presidential election. In truth I couldn't really give a monkeys who is president of a country a few thousand miles away. I don't discriminate against the US. I couldn't give a shite who the president of any country is. That said, you don't like to be caught on the hop when discussing politics with equally uninformed individuals over morning coffee. As such I was browsing some online reports about the upcoming election. After what was reported as a rather downbeat debate between the presidential candidates, the focus has now shifted to the vice-presidential hopefuls. Given that Ireland has an illustious history of electing mentalists and blackguards as their public representatives I for one don't find it strange that a moose-shooting, self-proclaimed hockey mom should be in the running in the US. Now matter how odd she appears to most I can list at least ten Irish politicians who are twice as mental. Anyhow, this is one of my patented long winded ways of introducing the topic of this particular post.
It appears that David Axelrod is the Chief Strategist for the Barrack Obama campaign. On first reading this today I wondered about the wisdom behind appointing a 72 year old psychedelic pop producer to such a post. I mean he's a wizard behind a sound desk in the studio but how would he fare on the campaign trail? I need not have been so worried. It turns out that there's more than one famous David Axelrod. The one that I'm more familiar with is the genius behind such gems as 'Holy Thursday' from the 1968 album 'Song of Innocence'. The one that's onboard with Obama is the one who is more famous for running a company called ASK Public Strategies that engages in 'astro-turfing'. This peculiar practice first came to my attention in a book called 'The Corporation' written by a chap called Joel Bakan. The actual practice involves pushing an agenda by both overt and stealth means to create an impression that there's a grassroots interest in a particular thing. It's use is also rising amongst blogs. If that is indeed the case then I for one need to employ one of these fuckers for my blog. Given that one David Axelrod is tied up until at least the November election I was wondering if anyone had the number for the other? I'm sure he'd give it a try.
In other completely unrelated news Julian Cope lists his twenty favourite JapRock tunes over on the FACT website. Mr Cope has also written a book about the phenomenon called JapRockSampler. Sounds bleeding magic.
The local Oxfam shops are bereft of any seven inches worth buying so I've taken to looking in the book sections these days. I managed to pick up three nice musical reference books for less than a tenner. The first charts the story of hip-hop and is called 'Can't Stop, Won't Stop'. Its written by a bloke called Jeff Chang. The second is by a chap called Lloyd Bradley. 'Bass Culture: When Reggae Was King' charts the development of the reggae sound from its roots in 1950's Jamaica right up to 2001. It misses out on the recent dancehall explosion which appears to have been to the detriment of all other strains of reggae but otherwise is bang on as a great reference tome. The final book is another reggae job called 'Young, Gifted and Black: The Story of Trojan Records'. I guess that the second part of the title gives you an idea about what its about. However rather than it being a history of the artists on the label it instead looks at the stuff that went on behind the scenes over the course of its brief (ok six years) existence. Or at least that's what I read on the cover, in reality it appears to be more like this. Ah well, as Meatloaf sang, two out of three ain't bad.
I also picked up two collections of stuff by Flann O Brien; The Hair of the Dogma and Myles Away from Dublin. This means that over the course of the last two years I've picked up nearly every bit of Flann O Brien stuff with the exception of 'Flann O'Brien At War: Myles na gCopaleen 1940-1945' and 'At War'. It all came in at under twenty quid. As you can tell, I'm a fan of Flann. Not in a Tommy Tiernan sycophantic way but in a normal, I get a buzz out of him way. I reckon Flann invented astroturfing.