PopCornucopia is all about free associative pop culture tidbits as they strike my fancy, just like kernels of corn exploding into fullness at a random and unpredictable pace. And of course, the cornucopia is the horn of plenty.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Tiaras aren't just for beauty queens

In the past two weeks my wine consumption must have increased by at least fivefold (seeing as I rarely drink). Not only was this due to my cousin Tak and Deanna's wedding, but last night my wine-loving friend Sophia brought over a nice bottle of South African wine to honor my forthcoming trip. Consulting my dog-eared Cape Town guidebook from the San Francisco Public Library, we educated ourselves on a bit of background concerning the origin of the wine we were about to enjoy.

And I felt it was my duty to pass on the word about the wine that was imbibed on evening last. It has been a while since I got tipsy on something just because it was that pleasant on the throat. The wine was a 1997 Simonsig Tiara (a red wine blend). Which probably means nothing to you unless you are interested in hunting out a bottle for yourself. But I wouldn't mention it if it were not highly recommended.

Albeit I know nothing about wine, but this one smelled nice, tasted great, went down super smooth, and induced a nice, lulling, non-irritating inebriation. And mom, who drinks even less than I do was not averse to partaking.

A picture of the 1997 vintage was not available from the Simonsig website, so this will have to do.

Certainly, last night's experience was enough to convince me that a trip along the Stellenbosch wine route will be on my mandatory to-do list in Cape Town and surrounding areas.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Ya know, Brits don't always get it right

For those of you who know Gil-Scott Heron, you must be aware that this wordsmith and musician never fails to be direct and politically upfront. Even if you don't always agree with his stance on things, there is still a lot going on in his work that is worth exploring.

I am still a newcomer to his stuff, but I just watched a film he was in, Black Wax/Is That Jazz? which serves as a great entree to his work for the uninitiated.

Searching YouTube again, I found this interview which is pretty amazing with regard to the interviewer's sheer ignorance. And if anyone was in the Toni Morrison class with me in college, it may remind you of a similarly ignorant British interviewer. Thinking about it, it might have been the same one...

Monday, September 18, 2006

BritPopCornucopia #3: Paul Weller, Couture and Coiffure Chameleon

I've been hooked on what the projectionist at the Balboa Theater would call "the N word", Netflix. Having been brought over to the dark side of movie rentals, I recently indulged in putting a Style Council music video collection in my queue. When it arrived I immediately popped it into the DVD player, having never before seen any of these music videos. While some of the Style Council's music was admittedly mediocre, the fashion statements of their fearless leader Paul Weller never were.

Hipster boys everywhere have used Weller as a sartorial crib sheet whether they know it or not. Take one look at him in any footage during his days as frontman of The Jam and The Style Council, and you don't need me to tell you. Of course he borrowed heavily from the mod aesthetic, but whatever he wore, he clearly made it his own: super-fitted pants, sport coats, neat man scarves, skinny ties, brightly colored sweaters, cardigans, pastel button downs--and the Modfather even got away with making white trousers look good. And white trousers don't often look very good. Well, the near-emaciated body frame must've helped. I think Hedi Slimane would agree.

In honor of Paul Weller's incredible style, (and let's face it, if you name your band The Style Council you had better live up to it) I am linking you to 3 music videos that feature his taste in clothes and his ever-changing hair moods:

When You're Young--The Jam: Check out the kick ass jacket! And cohorts Buckler and Foxton have admirable clothing choices as well.

The Lodgers--The Style Council: An example of the white trousers. And the striped top with blazer makes it look as if he was poised to school future fashion imitators even back then. Oh yeah, and Dee C. Lee is wearing such a cute dress!

How She Threw it All Away--The Style Council: First of all, I love that there's a flute solo in this song. Follicle-wise this is a pretty good example of the semi-scary bleach blonde phase, and it's intercut with an example the slick back brunette look. And Weller is unbeatable in his interpretation of suit and pocket handkerchief. To drive the point home, this also features another instance of white trouser genius.

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Thursday, September 07, 2006

BritPopCornucopia #2: B-Pop Brothers From Another Mother

Here is Jarvis Cocker, lead singer for britpop legends Pulp.

And here is Chad Stuart from the 1960's British invasion duo Chad and Jeremy.

Uncanny resemblance, no?

And an extra special treat courtesy the Chad and Jeremy official website: Chad and Jeremy singing "On Distant Shores" on 60's pop variety show Hullabaloo (real player file).

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BritPopCornucopia #1: Kick Horns o' plenty

I have decided to start a series on this blog that features Britpop and its sources, tributaries, and distributaries. It is not meant to be an update on news of the britpop world so much as it is a place to feature little funny observations and factoids about a musical genre that I love. It is also a genre that I have outgrown a little too, but I assure you, the love remains steadfast.

Given that many britpop ditties feature horns or were influenced by horn-using musical acts, and that britpop has a wealth of interesting stuff you can say about it...I think that just about explains it.

Well, this first entry in this series pays tribute to a great ensemble:


Ah, the legendary Kick Horns. Not only have they worked with Britpop forefathers like the Rolling Stones and The Who, but most essentially in my opnion, collaborated with Blur on their studio albums to great effect during the creative triumvirate, the "Life Trilogy"--an output of three albums (Modern Life is Rubbish, Parklife, and The Great Escape) that were to set the standard of the britpop aesthetic.

I was lucky enough to catch this kick-ass brass ensemble at the 606 club in London. My, what a treat. It was one of many Blur related pilgrimages I made while there, and I will share some of those other pilgrimages in later posts, perhaps. But I highly encourage anyone going to London the check out a gig at this particular establishment.

A well known jazz club, 606 is an extremely intimate space, and the entry is not readily apparent. In fact, you have to find the entrance and then ring a doorbell to get in. They buzz you inside and you go down a stairwell into a warm cavernous space. There's a kitchen where they serve food and when I was there the audience was a nice mix of the moderately cool looking people, young and old.

Joined by my friend Hilary, we sat at a table for two and soaked up the blast from trumpets and saxes. They did everything from classic improvisational jazz stuff to a heady dose of their famous ska-inflected sound. And that sound so familar to me from listening to the "Life Trilogy" countless times came through much to my enjoyment. Check out their incredible list of collaborators in the full discography.

*Please note that the picture does not feature all of the personnel that have played as a kick horn.

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After I changed the URL it really is a palimpsest!

Welcome to the first entry of PopCornucopia! This is the more self-indulgent, trivial alter ego of the Avera Palimpsest. A little obsessive about certain facets of pop culture, I wanted a place where I could rattle off and proselytize about music, films, television and the like. Who doesn't? So many blogswebsitespulicationsshows do this that this is far from unique and I wonder if this even has an audience. I guess that's why it mainly exists for unabashed self-ingratiation.

Sure, I could have combined this with the Avera Palimpsest, but I felt that this deserved a separate space, espcially since I am trying to maintain some sort of focus for each of these blogs. It seems a little out of place to talk about semi-serious information that I think is worth sharing right alongside the perfectly inconsequential--albeit very fun--fluff.

Yes, one may say that the fluff matters more than people may intially think, and combination of the two may provide for some interesting results. But I'd prefer to compartmentalize my preoccupations a little bit for now.

I hope you enjoy the fluff with gusto!