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February 27, 2007

Mora's Modern Swingtet's 20th Century Closet

Mora's Modern Swinget's 20th Century Closet.

A contemporary band who specialise in the sort of music I like most (earlier swinging jazz and 20s hot jazz), the Swingtet are a smaller version of the Rhythmists (they could be a completely different band that Mora runs, I haven't checked - I have Dumb Brain right now). I was happy with the Rhythmists' Call of the Freaks and have my eye on their latest album
This is fun stuff because the quality's good, the songs are really neat (some of my favourites) and this sort of action is a great introduction to old school music for the more conservative/groover dancing crowd.

It's nice to have a few songs by my favourite artists - I'll list them below - my favourite small group artists:

The album contains 20 tracks of great swing of the 1930s and 1940s, originally performed by such bands as the John Kirby Orchestra, Artie Shaw's Gramercy Five, Tommy Dorsey's Clambake Seven, and the Duke Ellington small groups
And you know how I feel about Ellington. But I'm also a keen fan of John Kirby. I like that smaller, 'chamber jazz' sound. Maybe I need to explore Tommy Dorsey's smaller groups?

Song highlights:
Hop, Skip and Jump - 191bpm - 2004 - 2:44
It's interesting to compare this with the Campus Five version (which I talked about here). I might prefer the Campus 5 version, but I haven't listened to them back to back yet, so I can't be sure.

Krum Elbow Blues - 162bpm - 2004 - 2:45
I love the Ellington version of this song that I have ('Krum Elbow Blues' - Johnny Hodges and His Orchestra - 153bpm - 1938 - The Duke's Men: The Small Groups, vol. 2 - 2:35), and I don't have Mora's liner notes in front of me, but he could have used that arrangement (that's actually a big fat guess). It's still a great song, and this is a decent version.

Effervescent Blues - 122bpm - 2004 - 3:07
Another 'cover' of one of my favourite songs ('Effervescent Blues' - John Kirby Sextet - 119bpm - 1939 - John Kirby Sextet: Complete Columbia and RCA Victor Recordings (disc 01) - 2:50), I do prefer Kirby's version, but the quality of that version that I have is a bit dodgy. Not really up to places like CBD at all.

Jump Steady - 172bpm - 2004 - 2:39
I don't have the liner notes in front of me, nor do I have another version of this in my itunes, so I'm not sure who the original's by. But this is fun.

There are many other great tracks, but these are the ones at the front of my brain right now.

I do have some complaints about this album, though. I'm not struck on the vocalist, Kayre Morrison. She's a bit... hoity toity. This band, all over, is a bit... uptight. Unhep.
I prefer the Willie Bryant versions of Rigamarole and A Viper's Moan, for example, because they sound rawer, wilder and more emotionally authentic. The problem with some of these recreationist guys, is that they spend so much energy and effort on doing really careful reproductions of other artists' work, they forget to put themselves into the music. I've written about this before here, so I needn't say more than to repeat the last line of that post: "I like a little grunt, a little grit in my".

"Mora's Modern Swingtet's 20th Century Closet" was posted by dogpossum on February 27, 2007 7:58 PM in the category digging and djing and music

Roy Eldridge's After You've Gone

Roy Eldridge's After You've Gone.

I'm feeling a bit tired and bashed about my the anithistamines I've had to take to save my sanity (I could, quite possibly, scratch my nose off my face otherwise), so I can't write much.

Song highlights:
All the Cats Join In - Buster Harding with Roy Eldridge and his Orchestra - 176bpm - 1946 - 2:45

Jump Through The Window - Roy Eldridge and his Orchestra - 154bpm - 1943 - 2:42

Hi Ho Trailus Boot Whip - Roy Eldridge and his Orchestra - 224bpm - 1946 - 2:45

Sometimes a bit too much squawky brass, but also some greatly fun dancing action.

"Roy Eldridge's After You've Gone" was posted by dogpossum on February 27, 2007 7:52 PM in the category digging and djing and music


This is a lovely clip (URL) of Frankie Manning and Norma Miller Dawn Hampton dancing together at the The Jelly Roll 4th Anniversary Party in New York on the 10th February this year. Frankie is 93, Norma Dawn is 87 ??. Both of them can still dance like mofos. The song is Shiny Stockings (Basie, of course, but performed by the George Gee big band).

I'm currently going through a big Frankie Manning phase. If I'm leading dumb I think to myself 'what would Frankie do?' Sure, he'd tell a long story about boobies, but then he'd do something silly to make the ladies laugh. I dig Norma Dawn, but this is a story about Frankie.

Manning has an autobiography coming out soon, which you can pre-order on amazon here.

There's also an interesting interview with Manning (which you can download here, or grab via Yehoodi). At one point Manu asks Frankie about segregation. Manning's answer is interesting, as he tells a number of stories which, while illustrating the nastiness of segregation, are also funny. They also - most interesting of all - make it clear that the best way of dealing with segregation if you didn't want trouble was to quietly leave the room - to avoid conflict. It made me wonder if all those years of avoiding conflict has contributed to older African Americans metaphorically 'leaving the room' when segregation and race politics enter the discussion. Just quietly avoiding the issue or redirecting with a funny story. It's fascinating, and something I'd like to find out more about.

---EDIT: to correct my not-paying-attention mistakes. Dawn Hampton and Norma Miller are two different people. Trev also pays more attention than I do ---

---EDIT #2: Frankie Manning will be in Australia, in Sydney, in March/April (you can read the most unhelpful website here). I have no solid information on this gig, as it's run by a woman/school who don't do very good promotion. But of course, if you're interested, this is one of the few chances you'll get to hear/see Frankie teaching, talking and dancing in person in Australia---

"manning-palooza" was posted by dogpossum on February 27, 2007 12:50 PM in the category lindy hop and other dances

February 26, 2007

nothing distracts like the frustration of being a very slow learner

I gots the email monkey. Each time the little red bubble thing pops up to let me know I have a new email I have to rush and check. If it's come to my 'official' email address (ie not one that has anything to genetic engineering gone totally wacked) my heart rate jumps.

I'm waiting word on a postdoc I applied for that is 'totally me'. In fact, so me it's like they wrote the application with me in mind. The Squeeze said I should just have sent them my thesis with a short note: "I hear you have a position for me?".
All this 'it's just so perfect for you!' talk (which seems to have spread all over the continent - friends in Canberra, Perth, Brisbane and Tasmania have commented - the Ps are still being Proud Ps and blabbing my academic achievements to the world) only adds to the pressure. It's entirely likely that I didn't write a terribly great application letter, that my CV was crap and my discussion of my current research interests was dodgy. I don't have enough experience with academic job applications to know what I'm supposed to do. And I'm not very good at being really serious and formal. It doesn't help that this is a postdoc with a very flash American university. Pressure? What pressure?

Applications had to be in by the 13th February.

Finalists will be determined, appropriate visits to campus arranged, and a candidate selected by March, 2007.
So we're looking at about two weeks til I hear, right?

God, this is killing me. I don't really feel like I have a chance (though I look ok on paper, even though I don't have millions of publications - I have about 5 waiting for paper incarnations but who cares about them when the chips are down?). But I'd really like the job - it's a job where they want someone like this:

...a scholar in dance history/theory who examines dance forms as cultural practice with relationship to any of the following: international cultural exchange, globalization and globalizing practice, national and/or nationalist formations of embodied identities and cultures, and/or transnational and diasporic practice. We are open to the following geopolitical areas of specialization: Latin America (including the Caribbean, Central and South America), the African Subcontinent, the Middle East, East Asia, and South Asia.
See what I mean? Even the area of geopolitical specialisation applies, as I'm big on African vernacular dance history. It really is like they thought 'hm, we want this girl. How can we get her?' That, of course, makes it even worse. I really don't feel positive about this application, but then, it is a perfect match. But did I communicate just how perfect? I mean, you have to be pretty crap to screw up a job application for which you are perfect, don't you? I know it's not helpful to think like that, but with the dentist thing dealt with and the thesis over, I need something on which to focus my irrational fears. Can't undo all those years of tertiary programing education just like that, can we?

And it's not like there are many of us thinking about dance as cultural practice, with an interest in dance history/theory (again, I'm both). And who's talking about international cultural exchange? God, it's like they read that paper on lindy exchanges and camps as un/national networks. Globalization? Well, more like localised globalisation, but what's one letter? Embodied identities? Embodied cultures? National or Nationalised formations of said identities? Diaspora? Baby, I got your diaspora right here.

It's scary. And so I can't stop checking my email. This is one application I haven't just forgotten about. It's bothering me. And no amount of work or music-listening or sewing (three dresses in a weekend, folks - one house dress, two wearing-to-a-wedding options, only a couple of hems and one set of buttons to finish) can distract me.

I think I need some Big Apple time. Nothing distracts like the frustration of being a very slow learner.

"nothing distracts like the frustration of being a very slow learner" was posted by dogpossum on February 26, 2007 4:18 PM in the category academia

February 22, 2007

24 sucks arse

I am up to episode 10 of the first season of 24 and I think I'm beginning to hate it. I can overlook the dumb story line. But now that the whole 'real time' thing has become more familiar than novelty (I was a bit interested in the way a meta story arc would develop over a season if we're talking one hour at a time - a season one day long... though soap operas have been into that shit for years), I've had time to notice other things.

1. The black presidential candidate David Palmer. I'm sorry, but I'm just not accepting the idea that the US would have a black candidate as a realistic presidential hopeful. I certainly don't dig the idea that he'd have so great a chance as to prompt a complex, expensive and utterly unrealistic assassination project. But perhaps there are other issues I haven't yet met, seeing as how I'm only up to episode 10. But I'm afraid I'm just not buying it.

2. The gender stuff. Holy fuck. Rape, rape, rape. And then, most wonderfully, male vengeance for female victims. It's beginning to make me insanely angry. I hated the Crow for this little narrative element. What is it with people writing media? Can't they imagine a woman avenging her own rape? Can't they imagine a woman who is not a victim, a potential victim or man-bitch-who-you-wouldn't-fuck-but-can-kill?

While 24 no doubt thinks it's being clever, it's no I Spit On Your Grave - there are no ambiguous gender politics or opportunities for resistance here.

The rape stuff:
Let's see. First we have Palmer's daughter, who was raped seven years ago, but then avenged by her teen aged brother. Even more wonderfully, her mother Sherry colludes in covering up the brother's vengeance. Sherry is increasingly painted as a deceitful, ambitious, nasty, emasculating harpy who doesn't do as she's told. There's bad stuff in their family generally - a father with a secret (and inability to love his family properly, hence making him responsible for the daughter's rape, the son's having to avenge her and the mother's having to take control of the family), a damaged daughter, an angry murdering son and a harpy mother. It's not good. It's certainly no Bartlet family.

Then we have the hero Jack Bauer's daughter Kim's friend who is apparently date raped, or at least drugged and drunked to the point where she'll have sex in a furniture store (I'm not buying the 'safe sex' clue - the used condoms helping the mother figure out they were there. These are not condom boys). She ends up getting killed by someone the rest of the characters think is her father. Nice. No one punishes a whore like the patriarchy, right?

Then we have the daughter Kim's 'faked' rape while held captive. The male abductor(who is now her 'friend') lies to his fellow guard, telling him he's going to assault Kim, while really he uses this as a cover to sneak her out and help her escape (though she doesn't escape).
This rape story then serves as a plot device, with the implication that this character's story about having his way with Kim placed the idea in his fellow guard's mind. This guard, apparently aroused by the daughter and mother's terror as they're on their knees with guns at their heads, awaiting execution, then decides to assault the daughter.

This is the bit that makes me fucking furious. The mother, Terri, volunteers to sub in for Kim and 'allows' the abductor to rape her. Though this is revealed as her using the chance to steal his mobile phone, she is later punished with some nasty cramps.

Meanwhile, Jack is rushing to save the 'family' - the vulnerable mother and daughter - save them from... whatever. And the point is repeatedly made in episode nine that all this is to preserve their family. Their nice little nuclear family.

This whole 'mother subbing in for daughter as rape victim' thing makes me so fucking angry. I just don't see it serving any narrative purpose other than disturbing titillation. And the old 'protect virgins', 'women who've had sex don't mind being raped' thing drives me wild.
I know that that the narrative relies on the mother and daughter needing rescuing (which sucks, but well, what can you do?), but why can't they make Terri a dangerous captive whose actions mean that she is more likely to be killed, and so making Jack's speedy completion of his mission all the more important?

2a. The gender stuff - general female characters.
Ok, so now I'm seeing some serious misogyny. What female characters do we have left?

1. Jamey. Asian/Latino (I'm not sure, though Latino is implied, and one of the dodgier characters, Tony, makes a muttered (and presumably racist) comment to her as she's tied up in episode... eight or nine (I can't remember which)). She's a traitor, she 'commits suicide' (I haven't seen enough to be sure of this - it looks like it was set up by Tony, who could be a baddy, but I don't think he ends up being a baddy. I can't actually predict this show, which tells me it's either cutting edge, genre-bending plot action or just a bit messy. I suspect the latter), she's a single mother. She has to die. Quite bloodily and nastily. She was a technical wizz as well, and of course, had to die.

2. Nina. Skinny, dark hair, the hero's number 1. Is told by a nasty bloke that she used to have a good reputation, that she was 'going somewhere', but her affair with Jack has left her a low-status has-been lapdog for Jack. I'm not sure how or why, and while this male character is kind of unreliable, Nina apparently believes him.
Nina and Jack had an affair while Jack was estranged from his wife Terri. Nina is punished by Jack when he shoots her and shoves her down a hill (she's not really dead or shot, but it's suitably emblematic of their relationship). Nina is also continually jostling with the unreliable Tony for Jack's attention/the number 1 position.

Nina sucks. She's pathetic. She gets bossed around by Jack and Tony, refuses to think for herself and gets into deep shit.

3. Nina is pushed aside by the pale skinned black woman Alberta, Jack's replacement as boss of the department. The pale skinned black woman thing is important - all the 'black' female characters are very pale skinned, while the black male characters are darker skinned. This shit is so fucking old school racist it's like I'm at the Cotton Club watching the 'tall, tanned and terrific' show girls. Alberta is also painted as a bit of a ball-breaking vagina dentata. Lots of red lipstick and well-fitting suits, but nasty.

4. Lauren, the girl Jack kidnaps as a hostage.
I can't even go into this one. But she's the deceitful, morally bankrupt working class stooge character. And it makes me ANGRY because I just BET her weight (ie she's not a super-skinny stick like all the other women) is deliberately intended as a signifier of her untrustworthiness.

5. Terri, Jack's wife, Kim's mother.
Dumb. It's her fault she and Jack separated (she couldn't deal with his post-traumatic stress syndrome after a nasty secret mission). She was sucked in by the pretend father of Kim's friend. She couldn't escape properly. She's too skinny.

I really do think I hate 24. I will see out the season, though, to see if this stuff turns around. But I am really having trouble with the fact that the mother and daughter Terri and Kim are held captive in a barn (with bales of hay, no less), and there's such a nasty undercurrent of sexual tension surrounding them. It really, really makes me angry that they're just waiting there to be rescued.

There are no decent female characters in this show. It sucks.

In direct contrast, West Wing has interesting gender politics. We are up to episode five or six of season 2, and I had had some concerns about CJ's character. She was the only character who doubted her abilities/appearance and her repeated stuff ups were given lots of plot time. But the most recent episode, The Lame Duck Congress deals with that in an interesting way. We see CJ deal with a difficult general - she nails his arse (though her decision is later countermanded by the president...which is a bit disturbing, but works within the context of the show's premise - everyone has to kowtow to the president, not just chicks) and is super-clever and brilliant. I feel better about WW's handling of gender stuff because it's more complex. It's not cut and dried. I think I need to read and think more about it, because I haven't made up my mind yet, but for now, it's really interesting me and keeping me on board. It certainly kicks 24 arse.

"24 sucks arse" was posted by dogpossum on February 22, 2007 11:15 AM in the category 24 and television and west wing

February 21, 2007

she who dies with the most fabric wins

Bravery report
Ok, so I survived the dentist yesterday. The appointment took about 10 minutes, was absolutely painless and very effective. The dentist was all "Why didn't you come in? There was no reason to suffer that pain for so long for such a little thing?" and I was all "I was scared," and then he was "but I'm not scary, am I? You can talk to me" and then I went "it wasn't rational. If it was rational I would have come in."
But it didn't hurt, he didn't charge me and it doesn't hurt any more. It was just a bit of sticky-out filling that was bumping out into my bite and needed filing down so it didn't echo impact up into my jaw. So now it's all nice and I am much braver about the dentist. He had to remind me: "But that last time was a root canal. That's the most painful thing you can have done. Nothing else will hurt like that." I can't help these things.
I was pretty brave all up. I only teared up a bit when I told him I was scared. I don't know what my problem is - I can get up in front of a few hundred people and do a bit of strutting and telling of shit. I can get up in front of zillions of people and dance like a fool (with authentic chicken steps and all*), do the worm and so on. I can deal with aggressive bullying blokes. I can teach groups of surly teenagers about the internet. I can run massive week-long dance events. I can play music to ensure a room full of picky dancers have a good time. But I can't handle a bit of pain.
Sigh. Something to work on, I guess.

So I go back in a year for a regular check up. I'm sure I'll be back to my pre-surprise-root-canal bravery by then.

Yoga update
On other fronts, I went to yoga again today. That's two weeks since last time. I suck, because I love yoga, it makes me feel so good (though it's hurting at the moment), it helps me avoid injuries and muscle strain in dance and it's fun and social with lots of nice nannas. But I went, and that's what counts.
Then I went to Sugardough and had a nice salad roll and a cup of tea followed by a nice brownie. Then I bought an olive bread thing (like a skinny french loaf, but not as skinny as those Italian bread stick things - help me out here, Galaxy, will you?) which I love eating toasted with fetta cheese on top.

Sewing news
Then I went to the-fabric-store-whose-name-we-cannot-speak and bought too much fabric. I will blog images if I can ever get them off The Squeeze's camera (I have a backlog on there). I bought:

  • some black stuff to make a dress for The Squeeze's sister's wedding (two weeks away or something). It will have straps, a high waist (sort of empire-lined, but A-line skirt), a bodice that's in three bits (I've forgotten the proper name, but it gives a more fitted look) and I'm going to make some little flower petals or some sort of shaped pieces to sew onto the front to add detail. I have a nice purple version I should also blog - I'm too fat for it these days, but it's still one of my favourites. The shaped bits will be like petals (two pieces sewn together to give a bit of a 3D look) and are a black-on-purple paisley-esque print. Very tasteful.
  • some cream background craft fabric with nice green crocodiles printed. This will be a bodice for a dress with a high waist (again - it makes my body look longer), with the sirt made out of an interesting greeny patterned craft fabric. All crocodiles would have been fun, but perhaps a bit too unflattering. I like interesting prints, so I wouldn't have minded the crocodiles all over. Just not the cream background. It will have the green as bias binding around the top of the bodice, and maybe the straps will be the green as well. I'm thinking a crocodile pocket as well. But I haven't decided on the pattern yet. If I love this dress, it may be the wedding outfit. But it's my first green dress ever and I usually don't like any colour that's not black, purple, pink, red, maroon or some other warm colour. I look shit in blues and greens and whites and yellows and oranges (because I am 'olive' coloured. Which means I look yellow when I don't have a tan, which means I look a little jaundiced. I also have dark eyes and eyebrows)
  • two big pieces of white voile with black prints. One is a nice rose sort of pattern (like a line drawing - I know it has a real name but I've forgotten it). The other has a stronger black print and is William Morris-ish. I doubt I'll ever make anything from them but I like looking them. And as we all know, she who dies with the most fabric wins.

Quilting news
Come on, summer, get over yourself. I have a new project to finish and it sucks to have to put the fan on so I can bear to work on it.
Remind me to post some pics of my latest (divine) job, will you? I am all about quilting using found or remnant fabrics, so most of my quilts are quite small, but also quite beautiful**. It's nice to see vintage fabrics from which I made favourite dresses (which died ages ago) all matched up in one quilt.

Cinema review
Yesterday I saw Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man and really enjoyed it. I'm a big fan of Cohen's music and I really liked all the music in the film. It's a doco, but a pretty arty farty one (not much useful knowledge in there), and it's mostly footage of other people at a concert singing Cohen's songs. Rufus Wainwright does a freaking amazing version of Everybody Knows which blew my brain and made the whole film worth the entry cost.
It does, however have fucking Bono and The Edge talking about Cohen and performing with him. I wanted to scream profanities at them. I fucking hate U2. I fucking hate Bono. He sucks arse. And can't sing half as well as he thinks he can. And the Edge? Shit, I could play guitar better than him. It was so pathetic to see them playing with Cohen after people like the Wainwrights, the Handsome Family, Nick Cave and Jarvis Cocker doing these wonderful, interesting versions of Cohen's music. And Bono is suck a wanker. I mean, Hallelujah is a wonderful song, but so freaking obvious.
But aside from thaose nasty little Irish moments, the film was neat. Go if you love Cohen, but don't go if you don't like him. It'd suck if you didn't like him.

*the peck is a very Frankie Manning move. These days I am saying "what would Frankie do?" whenever I want to spice up a basic step. So I imagine I have a giant, 90-year-old-man arse, an interest in boobs and a really low centre of gravity. It really helps me get down off my toes and work it. Just like a dirty old man.

** not in a 'man, you're so talented! what a fabulous bit of patchwork/quilting!' way, but in a 'aren't they nice fabrics?' way.

"she who dies with the most fabric wins" was posted by dogpossum on February 21, 2007 3:12 PM in the category domesticity and fillums and old sew and sew

February 20, 2007

one phrase. that's 4 8s. or 16 bars. or about 4 seconds

Yesterday I spent an hour and fifteen minutes doing some dancing in dah house and managed to:

  • go over the Tranky Doo a few times
  • go over the Big Apple (FKP) bits I know
  • learn one phrase from the line bit of the BAFKP. That's some difficult shit. But I am totally onto it. I should have this routine learnt in about... ten years. Or by the end of 2007

It's still really difficult to learn the partner bits on my own. But I think I'm doing a pretty good job.

I need someone to help me style the Tranky Doo so I don't look so honky. Or, as Sally kindly pointed out on Thursday night, so I don't dance like my elbows are glued to my sides.
But the BAFKP taught me how to to do one of the difficult transitions in the Tranky Doo. Goddess Bless the internet.

"one phrase. that's 4 8s. or 16 bars. or about 4 seconds" was posted by dogpossum on February 20, 2007 1:34 PM in the category lindy hop and other dances

Tommy Dorsey's Yes Indeed!

I probably spent more on this baby than I should have (I have a $30 dollar limit for single CDs, including postage), but this is some sweet action.
Trev mentioned it eight days ago, I checked it out, did some late night impulse CD purchasing, and it arrived from somewhere foreign yesterday. How's that for amazingly speedy gratification?

Ok so here's what I think of it:
Some bits are a bit squawky. But that's ok... well, I don't like that squawk much because it sounds fucked at CBD, but it's ok for this album. Some bits are a bit sweet, but, well, we can ignore that. Overall, there are at least six songs that I'd happily DJ, a couple that I'm very keen to DJ and some that probably need to be tested. There are also a good number of clappy/shouty songs, which is pleasing.

We're looking at a spread of stuff from 1939 to 1945, reasonable sound quality (well, at home anyway) and some nice liner notes. Not amazing liner notes, but useful liner notes. It seems Sy Oliver is my man.
What tracks? Have a look down there below. But let's look at some highlights.

What a coincidence - The Minor Goes Muggin', as crapped on about here (and which I now realise I do like, have liked and have had a copy of for ages). Duke Ellington with Tommy Dorsey's Orchestra in 1945.

Well, Git It!, made fairly famous with local dancers by the Mad Dog people in 2003 (check out that performance on youtube here). Mad Dog of course included a bunch of now-rockstar dancers. I had a couple of versions of this song, but this is the slower one and it's decent quality. It's less sweet than the version that's on that Swingin' in Hollywood, but not quite as good as the chunky fun version Mad Dog used.

I really like At the Fat Man's (more clapping and talking about food) - nice, unscary tempo. Bit squawky, but fun. Fun lyrics, too.

There's also a great version of Easy Does It (made famous by Basie and his versions are the ones I've heard mostly - kind of dull though goodish). This version chunks along and really makes me feel like dancing.

The version of Stomp It Off (a song originally written for Jimmie Lunceford by Sy Oliver and recorded in 1935) isn't anywhere as good as the Lunceford versions I have. In fact, the Lunceford versions are ones I really adore - they make me dancing-crazy, clock in at about 190bpm and have a fun, upenergy, perky feel. This Dorsey one is a bit too sweet and kind of annoying. The tempo is a bit low as well, so it kind of drags. It doesn't feel as 'crisp' either. But it's a curiousity.

Swingin' on Nothing is an old favourite, and I'm fond of it. It's a trifle slow and draggy for me, but it's a goody for newer/tireder dancers. Bit squawky, but you know, I can deal.

Well, All Right is fun, but I can't decide if it's the same song as the Lunceford Well Alright Then, which I'm fond of. There are vocals in this Dorsey one and they're different tempos. I don't think they're the same. The Lunceford one is better, of course. But this is kind of fun. Reminds me of Calloway. But Calloway sung by a straighty-one-eighty chick.

There are songs like Opus #1 which everyone has a copy of and I don't particularly like. It's ok.

So What, Quiet Please and Swing High are fasty fun tracks (I prefer the last one, but there's good shouting in Quiet Please). The rest are either a bit sweet, a bit slow or a bit dumb. Or I've just forgotten to talk about them.

But this is actually a good album if you want some good Dorsey action.

Lonesome Road, Part 1 Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra 1939 Yes, Indeed! 2:36
Lonesome Road, Part 2 Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra 129 1939 Yes, Indeed! 2:19
Well, All Right Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra 150 1939 Yes, Indeed! 3:13
Night In Sudan Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra 139 1939 Yes, Indeed! 3:14
Stomp It Off Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra 160 1939 Yes, Indeed! 3:46
Easy Does It Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra 155 1939 Yes, Indeed! 3:15
Quiet Please Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra 292 1940 Yes, Indeed! 2:47
So What Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra 301 1940 Yes, Indeed! 2:43
Swing High Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra 251 1941 Yes, Indeed! 2:49
Swanee River Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra 111 1941 Yes, Indeed! 3:14
Deep River Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra 277 1941 Yes, Indeed! 3:59
Yes, Indeed! Sy Oliver and Jo Stafford with Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra 134 1941 Yes, Indeed! 3:30
Loose Lid Special Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra 114 1941 Yes, Indeed! 2:47
Swingin' On Nothin' Sy Oliver and Jo Stafford with Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra 126 1941 Yes, Indeed! 3:17
Hallelujah Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra 277 1941 Yes, Indeed! 3:04
Moonlight On The Ganges Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra 136 1942 Yes, Indeed! 2:55
Well, Git It! Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra 189 1942 Yes, Indeed! 3:03
Mandy, Make Up Your Mind Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra 152 1942 Yes, Indeed! 2:59
Opus #1 Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra 170 1944 Yes, Indeed! 2:55
Chloe Edythe Wright with Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra 1945 Yes, Indeed! 3:14
At The Fat Man's Charlie Shavers with Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra 151 1945 Yes, Indeed! 3:11
The Minor Goes Muggin' Duke Ellington with Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra 177 1945 Yes, Indeed! 3:01

"Tommy Dorsey's Yes Indeed!" was posted by dogpossum on February 20, 2007 12:39 PM in the category digging and music

February 18, 2007

i have yet to put on clothes

It's currently 38 degrees, the house is all dark because the curtains and blinds are trying to keep the heat out, and The Squeeze is still asleep - I think he's just not recognising today as a proper day at all. He went to bed at about 1 or perhaps a bit earlier and has just slept right through. I did get him up to change beds earlier because he was drowning in his own sweat in the other bedroom. In fact, I think I need to go wake him up to force some water into him.

I, however, have done some fiddling on the internet, mucked about with an article I have to get back to the journal eds by next week, wished I had access to a couple of nice DJing books (they're not even in the library so I can't go check em out this afternoon), listened to a bunch of music and thought about buying this, worked out it would cost me $189 or so, revised my stance. Reviewed the bands/band leaders on the set (the Chocolate Dandies, Henry Red Allen, Mildred Bailey, Fletcher Henderson, Teddy Wilson, Cab Calloway, Lionel Hampton, Billie Holiday) and decided that I might just have to have this after all. It's seven CDs for $189. That's twenty or so dollars each. For awesomely re-mastered loveliness. Still, there is the whole being poor thing.

Yesterday I didn't do a very good job of coping with the heat. Usually I'm pretty tough, but yesterday I ended up having to go home and lie down. After quite a few hours at the pub in the air-con. But riding about in 38 degrees is a bit rough. Especially if you spent the night before dancing and sweating like a fool.
It's still hot. The house is hot. I'm sitting in front of a fan and trying not to let my metabolism respond to the exciting music I'm listening to - no elevated pulses!
I think I'm going back to lie on the bed and read some more.

I have yet to put on clothes today.

"i have yet to put on clothes" was posted by dogpossum on February 18, 2007 5:17 PM in the category domesticity

i just couldn't get it together

Friday night I played a crappy craptastic set at Funbags.

It was pretty hot, I'd been feeling a bit crook during the day and I didn't take time to go through my music.
I was also pretty uncomfortable with the set up for the DJ. The sound system was pretty good, but the whole thing was at the same counter where the punters pay to come in near the front door. We had to sit our laptops on the counter with our backs to the mixing desk so we could see the dancers, but this meant that our cables had to hang across the entry to the behind-the-counter. And people kept coming in and out of that space all night, climbing under the cords. In addition, I was ideally placed for people to come talk to me.
I need at least ten minutes of alone time at the beginning of a set to get settled - fix the sound a bit, sort my laptop, pick out a couple of good starter songs so I can go walk the room, de-jitter, etc etc etc. But I don't mind being visited later in the set.

I just couldn't get it together - I had to tell people to leave me alone a couple of times and to move out of my way so I could see the floor at least three times til I gave up.

As a result, I was a bit jittery and couldn't relax and get into gear. There was too much talking and bustling around me and it kept me on edge.

So the set sucked.

It was also a bit of an odd crowd, mostly beginner dancers with a couple of more experienced people. It also felt more like an after-class gig than a 'social dancing' gig, so pumping, upenergy crowd-kicking songs fell a bit flat. Those sorts of hardcore songs really go down better with more experienced dancers. The Bechet track was a particularly heinous fizzer.


I didn't kill the floor, though. I just couldn't make a coherent set that really worked the energy in the room. Because it was mostly newer dancers who just love dancing, it was ok. But it wouldn't have worked on a more experienced crowd.

I'm a bit sick of my music as well - I feel like I'm just playing the same old stodge each week. The same old songs. I haven't bought a lot of great music lately, just a lot of stuff I really like.... well, that's probably not true, that's just how it feels. I actually feel like I'm a bit limited in the music I can play. I feel like I can't pull out the less crowd-pleasery stuff. There are some songs that are just like chips at a party - they go down well, you can just keep filling the bowl and the crowd'll just keep chewing em down. But they're nothing special.
I want to make hoors doovers. Not chips.

I dunno, guess I need to spend more time listening to my music I spose. I think I need to find another artist that really drives me wild so I can get inspired again.

I'm actually feeling like I'd like to play a supergroove set - really pull out all the really good supergroove stuff. But I don't want to waste a big night on that rubbish. I'd like a more mellow late night perhaps for that. A really late night... but I can't fight my 'drive them crazy' arse-kicker instincts.


Just so's you can compare, he's the set list. All good songs, just combined in a really shitty order.

(first set, Funpit 16 Feb 2007) song - artist - bpm - album - song length

My Baby Just Cares For Me - Nina Simone - 118 - The Great Nina Simone - 3:38
Cow Cow Boogie - Jennie Löbel and Swing Kings - 120 - 2001 - He Ain't Got Rhythm - 2:56
Jump Ditty! - Joe Carroll and The Ray Bryant Quintet - 134 - Red Kat Swing 1 - 2:53
Oomph Fa Fa - Jonathan Stout And His Campus Five - 129 - 2003 - Jammin' the Blues - 3:35
B-Sharp Boston - Duke Ellington and His Orchestra - 126 - 1949 - Duke Ellington and his Orchestra: 1949-1950 - 2:54
Jive At Five - Count Basie and His Orchestra - 147 - 1960 - The Count Basie Story (Disc 1) - 3:02
Splanky - Count Basie - 157 - 1966 - Live at the Sands - 3:52
Hallelujah, I Love Her So - Count Basie - 145 - 1959 - Breakfast Dance And Barbecue - 2:36
Undecided Blues - Count Basie and His Orchestra with Jimmy Rushing - 120 - 1941 - Cutting Butter - The Complete Columbia Recordings 1939 - 1942 (disc 03) - 2:55
Hey Now, Hey Now - Cab Calloway - 121 - 1994 - Are You Hep To The Jive? - 2:56
Four Or Five Times - Woody Herman Orchestra - 141 - The Great Swing Bands (Disc 2) - 3:09
Back Room Romp - Duke Ellington and his Orchestra - 155 - 2000 - Ken Burns Jazz: Duke Ellington - 2:49
Flying Home - Lionel Hampton and His Orchestra - 159 - 1940 - Tempo And Swing - 2:58
Cole Slaw - Jesse Stone and His Orchestra - 145 - Original Swingers: Hipsters, Zoots and Wingtips vol 2 - 2:57
Lavender Coffin - Lionel Hampton, etc - 138 - 1949 - Lionel Hampton Story 4: Midnight Sun - 2:47
Redskin Rhumba - Charlie Barnet - 186 - 1940 - Charlie Barnet : Skyliner - 2:41
Savoy Blues - Kid Ory - 134 - 2002 - Golden Greats: Greatest Dixieland Jazz Disc 3 - 3:00
Perdido Street Blues - Louis Armstrong and His Orchestra with Sidney Bechet - 148 - 1940 - Blues In Thirds - 1940-41 - 3:00
The Greatest There Is - Duke Ellington and His Orchestra - 133 - 1949 - Duke Ellington and his Orchestra: 1949-1950 - 2:43
Come On Over To My House - Julia Lee with Jay McShann's Kansas City Stompers - 138 - 1944 - Jumpin' The Blues (Disc 1) - 2:52
Six Appeal - Jonathan Stout And His Campus Five - 141 - 2004 - Crazy Rhythm - 3:29

"i just couldn't get it together" was posted by dogpossum on February 18, 2007 1:44 PM in the category djing and lindy hop and other dances

down down down

This clip caught my eye (you can find it here on youtube) because I'm fond of the Basie version (I have a 1941 version on a collection called Cutting Butter). But watching it, the race and gender stuff was kind of interesting... note the whiteness of the girls' skin. The two girls dancing towards the end of the clip aren't terribly great dancers (I wonder who the blokes are?), but I suspect they were picked for their looks.
And of course the lyrics are kind of interesting (the Basie version I have is an instrumental).

"down down down" was posted by dogpossum on February 18, 2007 12:50 PM in the category lindy hop and other dances and music

February 15, 2007

i am a complete baby

Ok, so I've been trying to pretend that I haven't been having any trouble with that tooth that I had the wonderful surprise root canal in last year.
I thought it was just me being picky when it continued to ache and ache in December. In January. But now, in February, it actually hurts a fair bit more, and aches up into my jaw.

Needless to say, I've discovered I have a new dentist phobia, and making an appointment to see the dentist has been ... difficult.
But today I did make an appointment, and I'm going in next Tuesday to have my head cranked open again. Yay for brave me!
I am pretty freakin' scared. Like, scared in a crying way.

I can't even say that I'd much rather have them dig it out and fix it than continue to suffer through it. There's something much worse about going in and choosing to lie there while they dig around and hurt me a fair bit than just suffering with an ache. I know it's not rational or logical talk here. There is no ration. There is no logic. Just scaredness.

But the dentist lady said that what's probably happened is that the crown 'sits a little too high in the jaw' and that my 'bite is affected'. So they'll just 'take it down a bit' (a couple of milimetres at most) so that it sits a little lower. Basically, the top bit of the root filling is sticking up and getting bumped a bit too much when I bite down and that this is causing pain that feels like nerve pain. It really does feel nasty.
But that's all speculation. I'm actually going to believe the speculation because I'd much rather a bit of tidying up than having the whole thing dug out and done again.

I really wish that the anaesthetic had been more effective last time. I think, if I had to have another root canal, I'd choose a general anaesthetic. All the joking of my previous posts aside, that was some pretty scary stuff. And some pretty nasty pain.

I am a complete baby. But at least I'm tough enough to get myself in there for another appointment.

"i am a complete baby" was posted by dogpossum on February 15, 2007 10:57 AM in the category domesticity

February 12, 2007

the partner stuff is really hard to learn on my own

The Big Apple is easier than the Tranky Doo, but it's kickin' my arse. I can do 8 phrases now. So that's about a minute. Of three minutes.

The partner stuff is really hard to learn on my own. :(

"the partner stuff is really hard to learn on my own" was posted by dogpossum on February 12, 2007 5:34 PM in the category lindy hop and other dances

teaching ideas

Here is an interesting teaching post.

"teaching ideas" was posted by dogpossum on February 12, 2007 1:20 PM in the category teaching


this (found here) caught my interest.

It's dance, captain, but not as we know it.

My first response: oooh, man-dancing. That was just my initial response - how masculine the dance was. The performance was. Shouting, synchronised, 'fighty' style. I don't know anything about Yosakoi(I'll go read more in a tick).

But then I was interested in the synchronised-ness of it (that always fascinates me, obsessed as I am with the Af-Am lindy where you were 'synchronised' in that you all did the same steps, but it was almost mandatory that you add your own, distinct styling).

And then with the music (ooo, contemporary music. Interesting).

And then with the shouting.

I was thinking, last Thursday night as I ran around on the dance floor, mid-way through the Big Apple, completely lost in the steps (ie, I had no clue what I was doing), but really enjoying all the running around - we were doing the spank the baby bit where you run around in a circle... that was the best bit. Crinks had apparently decided that Brian was running too slowly, so she decided to run faster and overtake him. The rest of us, competitive instincts obviously stimulated, responded by running faster as well, and adding a few pushes and shoves. Jazz dance = contact sport. That bit with the spank the baby got kind of washingmachine-like. There was also a lot of shouting during that bit, and also during the "Charleston!" bit, and then, just random shouting bits. Not all of us knew the damn thing. That didn't seem to bother anyone, though I was (once again), the last one to grab a partner so I ended up on my onw for the partner bit. Again. It's because I'm a lead-follow and I'm not fast enough to grab someone. There were about... 10? of us doing it on the social dance floor - Sally had stood up, saying "I'm going to do the Big Apple" and then gone straight onto the floor and done it. It was like a siren call - people descended on her from all over the room. I still don't know any more than the first few phrases, but that didn't stop me.

Ok, so I was thinking, as I was running around on the dance floor, shouting, about how the shouting is quite important. Some of my favourite songs are the ones where the musicians shout out - to each other, with excitement, just because. If I hear a musician shouting 'yeah!' at the end of a solo, or at the excitingest bit of a solo, I'm usually with them. Frida is a big shouter - you can hear her yelling all through that Todd and Naomi clip just before. And when she shouts when she's performing, people respond.

But not everyone feels comfortable with the shouting. Usually the people who don't feel comfortable with the not-perfectly-synchronised-routines.

So, watching that yosakoi clip, I was struck by the shouting, and how ordered it was. Nothing like "Charleston!" and the "yaaaah!!" shouting getting around last Thursday night at CBD.

"shouting" was posted by dogpossum on February 12, 2007 11:41 AM in the category lindy hop and other dances

web 2.0

Web 2.0 ... The Machine is Us/ing Us via Purse Lip Square Jaw via Digital Ethnography @ Kansas University

"web 2.0" was posted by dogpossum on February 12, 2007 11:35 AM in the category clicky

As dangerous as a midnight coffee

Glen's started a meme over here, and it's one that actually caught my eye.

I meme when I'm trying to be cool, but I think this one is actually quite me.

I am starting up a meme. It is called the “As dangerous as a midnight coffee” meme.

Blurb: Five songs for going nuts when IT HAS TO BE DONE. This isn’t the Nike Just Do It song list of inspiration. It is a savage beast that attacks your weaknesses, and gives you the perspective of sickness, thus forcing you to be stronger. The songs have to currently be on a portable music playing device that you listen to at midnight brewing a coffee and getting ready to attack IT (or comparable scenario).

I do own an ipod (well, The Squeeze owns an ipod, and I see it as my Sistahly duty to appropriate it and use it for previewing old skewl jass for DJing on the bus... well I did, when I was catching the bus. I also used to use it for 'read-a-long' sessions with Gunther Schuller (I've just been humming and ahing over his books on abebooks, btw: I need them. I do. I really do)), but I think this meme really lends itself to the 'hypothetical set list'.

Midnight Coffee - hm. I'm thinking of late night after parties, when the crowd are warmed up from the first gig, but you've just changed venues, so you have to get them really cooking again.

So, to rework the meme-theme, here are five songs that (I'd hope) would work together to GET IT DONE. In other words, five songs that would hopefully drive a crowd of dancers into a frenzy.
Now, five songs really isn't very much for crowd frenzying, so let's assume I've spent about five songs getting them warmed up.

...actually, I'm going to do two lists. One will be a chronological list of five songs, in the order I'd play to get the crowd nuts. The other list will be five seriously hardcore-kick your muthafucking arse hardcore YAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!! dancing songs that I would never play all in a row. Not if I wanted to have the floor even partly full.

1. 'Blues In Hoss' Flat' Count Basie 142bpm 195? Big Band Renaissance Disc 1 3:13
Because Basie is the only way to kick a bunch of dancers into a frenzy... well, not really, but it's a nice place to start.
I'm imagining I'm working with the Melbourne crowd at CBD rather than at MLX or another big exchange. Because exchanges are a different kettle of fish.
This song rocks because it's hi-fi, it's late Basie, it has some pretty major brass and people know it and love it. It's also a very manageable 142bpm - a nice warm-up tempo.


...look, this isn't going to work. Five songs isn't long enough for me to guarantee mass insanity. I ain't that good, and I need to see the floor to judge my choices.

Instead, I'm just going to go list five arse kicker songs. The sorts of songs that make me crazy. That I've made dancers crazy with (with which I've made... whatever). And they'll probably be my current favourites.

1. 'Back Room Romp' Duke Ellington and his Orchestra 155 2000 Ken Burns Jazz: Duke Ellington 2:49
Man, I can't believe I only have one version of this song! It's the best. This is a great warm-up track.

... wait, I'm doing it again! I just can't list five big songs without working up to them!

Ok, now I'm just going to do hardcore, arse kicky songs that I might play at an afterparty. Maybe not all in a row, because the dancers would die. But definitely within one set. Between about 2 and 3 perhaps - when people have all arrived, had a slurpy or their second (or third) Red Bull and something to eat and have the energy to burn. Let's also say that the room is pretty warm (but not hot - just not chilly), and it's pretty crowded. But not so crowded you can't really swing out like a fool.

I'll try again.

1. 'Jumpin' At The Woodside' Count Basie 237bpm 1938 Ken Burns Jazz Series: Count Basie
The 1930s versions are best. This is one kick your arse song. You can tell Basie got his start with a bit of stride piano with that stomping intro. The tempo is hot (but doable), there are lots of nice layers building up the energy.

Actually, I'm into this now. Now I'm just going to list hardcore songs that I love that would kick your arse if you danced to them all in a row.

2. 'Lafayette' Benny Moten's Kansas City Orchestra with Count Basie 285bpm 1932 Kansas City Powerhouse 2:48

My comments for this one read "difficult but good fast dancing; ok quality". It comes in shouting and then pounds away at 285bpm. I've never danced to it, I'm not sure you could, but it's a cracking song. I like the stompy base. Basie of course began with Moten's band - this is hot Kansas city action (those Kansas doods were wilder and rougher).

3. 'Hotter Than Hell' Fletcher Henderson 275bpm 1934 Tidal Wave 2:58

This is one frickin' fast song. But it really rocks. Henderson is the king of hot, arse-kicking music for lindy hopping.

...I'm getting really excited listening to this stuff. It's going to be impossible to settle down and work after this.

4.'Blues In The Groove' Jimmie Lunceford and his Orchestra 205bpm 1939 Lunceford Special 1939-40 2:35

Not everyone's pick of the Lunceford action (I know I was torn between this and 'Lunceford Special' or 'Blue Blazes'), but this one, while it doesn't have that pounding, driving structure is one of those songs that you can't help but dance to - it makes you jump up and jiggle around. So it's a 'get it done song' because it'll get you dancing, despite yourself. And that's a DJ's job - getting people dancing despite themselves.

5. 'Rigamarole' Willie Bryant And His Orchestra 240bpm Willie Bryant 1935-1936 2:35

This one doesn't actually sound all that fast, but it really builds you up and makes you crazy. It says DANCE MUTHAHFUCKAH! So people generally do. Mostly like crazy fools. It has shouting in it as well, which always helps. I often play the Mora's Modern Rhythmists version for dancers because the quality is better, but the MMR version doesn't have the same punch as Bryant's.

That's it, then.
There are about a million other songs I could have listed - we're all about hard fast, getting-you-moving music here in the swinguverse - but these are five of my favourites.
I know some people'd be suprised to see no 'Ride Red Ride' in there, or 'Man from Mars' (or Chick Webb at all) or 'Sugar Foot Stomp' in some incarnation. I'm also a bit sorry not to have any really hot Ellington action there something like 'Jubilee Stomp', a 1928 Ellington track that clocks in at 265bpm (I have it on The Duke Ellington Centennial Edition: Complete RCA Victor Recordings (disc 01)) would have been a sensible addition. But I could have gone on forever. I could have done a top 5 Basie arse kicking songs. Or a top 5 old skewl. And I didn't even touch the dixie or 'charleston' music.

Anyone got 5 other good, arse kicking, 'get it done', 'dangerous as midnight coffee' music?

"As dangerous as a midnight coffee" was posted by dogpossum on February 12, 2007 10:28 AM in the category clicky and djing and lindy hop and other dances and music

February 9, 2007

hanging my head in shame

I've just realised that I don't actually own any Dorsey albums. Just a bunch of one-off songs from compilations.
I am ashamed.

Can anyone suggest any sure-fire winners?

"hanging my head in shame" was posted by dogpossum on February 9, 2007 10:38 PM in the category djing and music

because trev is a little baby

Last night I DJed for the second time since... well. I've only DJed three times this year, since November 2006 really. The last time was actually very ordinary and I wasn't very happy with it (see earlier comment). Thing is, when I'm not DJing a lot, I'm dancing a lot. So it's a trade off.

Anyways, last night I DJed a set which made me very, very happy. Practicing yesteday afternoon for the first time in ages probably helped (practicing = going through my music and doing 'test' sets, re-familiarising myself with all my music... well, most of my music).
Partway through the first or second or third (can't remember which) song I had that crazy pulse-thumping 'this freakin' RAWKS' feeling. I said to Dan about ten times "God, this sounds so GREAT on a big sound system!" Which was kind of duh, because it was either the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, from an album that every swing dancer and DJ must own - fabulous live recording of a fabulous band doing fabulous Ellington music, or it was Basie. And Basie is the best.

The night started kind of strange when a girl I thought knew my music asked if I could play some 'old school' music. And I thought she might be joking because I said "That's like asking me if I like to lindy hop". But she thought... well, who knows what she thought. Anyways, the upshot is that she really wanted to hear some Cats and the Fiddle. I showed her a short list of stuff I'd put together that afternoon with plenty of CATF, Slim and Slam and the Mills Brothers - male vocal groups which feature lots of guitar. And are, incidentally, from the late 30s and 40s for the most part. 'Old school' to me means early 30s, late 20s - serious scratch. It's not difficult to convince me to play that stuff - I loves that action (and I'd probably add some select Fats freakin-wonderful Waller and Cab Calloway to that particular subgroup - sillier vocals, smaller groups (though not necessarily with Cab... though his earlier stuff has the right sort of sound), chunking rhythm section.

Despite the impression I might have given here, it was actually quite nice to be asked to play stuff I adore. I had to stop myself suddenly go through my music and revising my plans for the set. I had to stay cool and just work with the plan.

As it turns out, I didn't play any of that stuff (not even any Cab!), nor did I play any serious old school, though I did have Who Stole The Lock (On The Henhouse Door) by Jack Bland and his Rhythmakers with Henry 'Red' Allen (1932, 243bpm) on my short list. In fact, I think it's time for a little gratuitous lindy hop pr0n.

That's Todd Yanacone and Naomi Unami (blowing all my arguments about ethnicity to shit right there) kickin' it old school at the Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown in 2005 (linkage). Dat is where it's at.

But I didn't end up playing that either. That's the sort of music that I think of as old school, and I'd add people like Willie Bryant (oh Willie, how do I love thee?), Henry Red Allen, Mills Blue Rhythm Band, McKinney's Cotton Pickers, early Cab Calloway and early Ellington to that group). I really freakin' love that action - it sounds crazy and fun and you can really hear the transition from 'charleston' music to 'lindy hop' music - ie this is where the swing is actually getting into jazz. It's not quite right for hard core lindy hop, a la Frankie, but it has the crazy energy of the music that makes you dance de charleston and other ol' timey dances. This is the sort of stuff that I associate with the breakaway - precursor to lindy hop (which you can see in the After Seben clip - Shorty George does the breakaway with an unknown partner right there at the end before the solo stuff (and that solo stuff, incidentally, was my obsession for a while - I love that crazy eccentric dance stuff)).
Though I adore this stuff, it's not terribly general-audience-friendly. The tempos are generally very high (above 200 at least) for lindy hoppers... for Melbourne lindy hoppers - I'm sure Trev could offer some nice examples of lindy hoppers in other Australian cities and their tempo-comfort. And the lack of swinginess can actually make for quite tiring dancing when you're doing lindy. It almost demands a more upright position and you don't get that 'flying' lindy look. But, as Todd and Naomi demonstrate, it still makes for freakin' amazing dancing.

Anyway, back to me and me and my stuff and me.

I think I'll just cut and paste from my comment over on Swing Talk. Here's my set list and commentary on how the set went:

[song title - artist - bpm - year - album title - song length]

Happy Go Lucky Local - Lincoln Centre Jazz Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis - 110 - 1999 - Live In Swing City: Swingin' With Duke highenergy - 6:57
Moten Swing - Count Basie - 125 - 1959 - Breakfast Dance And Barbecue - 5:17
Blues In Hoss' Flat - Count Basie - 142 - 1995 - Big Band Renaissance Disc 1 - 3:13
Shoutin' Blues - Count Basie and His Orchestra - 148 - 1949 - Kansas City Powerhouse- 2:38
Four Or Five Times - Woody Herman Orchestra - 141 - The Great Swing Bands (Disc 2) - 3:09
Shout, Sister, Shout - Lucky Millinder - 140 - Apollo Jump - 2:44
Back Room Romp - Duke Ellington and his Orchestra - 155 - 2000 - Ken Burns Jazz: Duke Ellington - 9:07 PM
A Viper's Moan - Mora's Modern Rhythmists - 143 - 2000 - Call Of The Freaks - 3:30
Savoy Blues Kid Ory - 134 - 2002 - Golden Greats: Greatest Dixieland Jazz Disc 3 - 3:00
Perdido Street Blues - Louis Armstrong - 144 - 1997 - Priceless Jazz Collection #3 - 3:08
Joshua Fit De Battle Of Jericho - Kid Ory And His Creole Jazz Band - 160 - 1946 - Kid Ory and his Creole Jazz Band 1944-46 - 3:12
Lavender Coffin - Lionel Hampton, etc - 138 - 1949 - Lionel Hampton Story 4: Midnight Sun - 2:47
Cole Slaw - Jesse Stone and His Orchestra - 145 - Original Swingers: Hipsters, Zoots and Wingtips vol 2 - 2:57
Solid as a Rock - Count Basie and His Orchestra with The Deep River Boys - 140 - Count Basie and His Orchestra 1950-1951 - 3:03
Joog, Joog - Duke Ellington and His Orchestra - 146 - 1949 - Duke Ellington and his Orchestra: 1949-1950 - 3:00
B-Sharp Boston - Duke Ellington and His Orchestra - 126 - 1949 - Duke Ellington and his Orchestra: 1949-1950 - 2:54
Jive At Five - Count Basie and His Orchestra - 147 - 1960 - The Count Basie Story (Disc 1) - 3:02
Six Appeal - Jonathan Stout And His Campus Five - 141 - 2004 - Crazy Rhythm - 3:29
All The Cats Join In - Peggy Lee and Frank DeVol's Orchestra - 150 - 1998 - Complete Peggy Lee & June Christy Capitol Transcription Sessions (Disc 2) - 2:18
Flying Home - Lionel Hampton and His Orchestra - 159 - 1940 - Tempo And Swing - 2:58
Blues In The Groove - Jimmie Lunceford and his Orchestra - 205 - 1939 - Lunceford Special 1939-40 - 2:35
Hop Skip and Jump - Jonathan Stout and his Campus Five, featuring Hilary Alexander - 192 - 2004 - Crazy Rhythm - 2:48
For Dancers Only - Jimmie Lunceford and His Harlem Express - 178 - 1944 - 1944-Uncollected - 2:22
Till Tom Special - Lionel Hampton and His Orchestra - 158 - 1940 - Tempo And Swing - 3:23
Jumpin' At The Woodside - Count Basie - 235 - The Complete Decca Recordings (disc 02) - 3:10

I always begin with something 'safe' and hi-fi at CBD so I can fuss over the tech set up (because it always sucks). Happy Go Lucky Local went down really well (which surprised me). I'm not sure if I actually played Moten Swing or not - it was on my list but I think I was deciding between it or HGLL and didn't actually play it. Whatever.

Keith tried to suggest the one-in-a-row rule to me at about Blues in Hoss's Flat but I scoffed. I derided. Basie is such a great opener for a set - he really is the best lindy hopping music. Nice, high energy, kind of straight up and nothing too scary or difficult, you can get nice quality recordings and people know a lot of his stuff.

I consciously played a lot of favourites during the set - sort of speckled them in there between other 'mini-sets' (the mini-sets in order: the norleans set, the shouty-clapping set, the 'chilling' set, the 'finally you're warmed up, so let's kick your arse' set). Perdido Street Blues is one of my old faves which I actually DJ very rarely (it's also actually a song I think of as 'Sidney Bechet' rather than Armstrong). I can't play Blues My Naughty Sweety Gave To Me again - it make me want to hurl. Even though people love it, I'm over it. PSB was my BMNSGTM substitute.

The 'mini set' thing wasn't deliberate - it just kind of worked out that way as I tried to play songs in a logical order (ie matching styles and then moving between styles using the clutch rather than just hacking them in there).

I did scew up at one point, doing a dreaded double click 3/4 of the way through Til Tom Special, which sucked, as I was building them into a frenzy for the last song. But no one seemed to mind and an jam circle formed instantly. It was the first spontaneous jam I've seen in Melbourne for ages. There were a couple of grumbles from people who wanted to dance to that song, but I say - get in there and DANCE to it.
I think I have to add for the non-dancers reading, that that last song Jumpin' at the Woodsideis an iconic one. It's hardcore Basie, doing the very best Basie action. It's fast (though this wasn't the version I thought I played, which is about 270 odd bpm), it's fun and it's crazy. It's also been stamped as a 'jam song'. I didn't intend a jam, I just wanted to play an arse-kicking, fun, crazy fast song to close my set. As bigpants comments in that Swing Talk thread, though (and I really like this line):

"We interrupt the regular broadcast for this important jam announcement"

Maybe you shocked the jam into us. It worked.

If only I could say that I planned this. But I'm afraid it was sheer fluke.

One of my favourite parts of the night was playing Blues in the Groove (I'm on a(nother) Lunceford kick atm) and seeing people run to the floor. I blame that version of Flying Home - it's slower but gets people all worked up. And you have to love balboans - they get in there and work it at all tempos.

Another highlight was playing that version of For Dancers Only - it's off a new album I saw pimped on SwingDJs recently and which I absolutely LOVE. I think Gracenote has the wrong name for the album, but it looks like that to the right there.

As you can see from the Amazon link, it's crazy cheap. And worth it for that version of FDO alone (incidentally, Dan played a version of Wham last night - I am currently loving that song atm. Lunceford and Hamp are my men).

Then Dan played his first Melbourne gig and did a neat job. We had a bit of a scuffle over who'd play what. The best bit of DJing first is that you get to play what you like, while the second DJ can't repeat anything. Tough luck if you dig the same stuff (though that rocks because you get to dance to the stuff that way). But then, the first DJ has to suffer through thinking 'why didn't I play that?!' in the second set. Actually, I enjoyed DJed with Trev at the Speegs at MLX - we have similar tastes, but different collections, and of course, different ways of putting a set together. I played the first set, he the second, me the third, and it was really nice rubbing in/bewailing our choices.

And just in case you thought I was the nerdiest DJ in the whole world, go look at this link and see I'm not. WHY didn't I find that clip before I wrote that stuff about youtube?

Rightio. Enough postage for you there, Trev?
I have a job application to write, so I'm outy.

LCJO image stolen from here.

"because trev is a little baby" was posted by dogpossum on February 9, 2007 12:48 PM in the category djing and lindy hop and other dances and music

February 6, 2007

textual analysis = dangerous

This is exactly the reason I didn't name names in my thesis, and am reluctant to publish some parts of it.
I just know I'll get a serve for pointing out the obvious.

I might write more on this later when I'm not so busy.

"textual analysis = dangerous" was posted by dogpossum on February 6, 2007 11:29 AM in the category academia and clicky

February 5, 2007


Today is a sad day. I can no longer access the databases and online journals at LaTrobe via the internet - my library membership has expired with my lack of enrolment.
Researching this article is suddenly a whole lot more difficult.

":(" was posted by dogpossum on February 5, 2007 2:55 PM in the category academia


This article on Bruce Osborn rocks (c/o Mz Tartan).

"clicko" was posted by dogpossum on February 5, 2007 12:32 PM in the category clicky

i suspect it's more a matter of post-phud malaise

I've decided dancing a lot makes you dumb. Or, rather, it makes it impossible to string a few words togethere coherently (let alone creatively). I'm arguing that it's because you've shifted gears and are now focussed in a new medium.

...though I suspect it's more a matter of post-phud malaise.

"i suspect it's more a matter of post-phud malaise" was posted by dogpossum on February 5, 2007 12:17 PM in the category academia

go read them - they're good

I'm just about to get jiggy with another paper draft, but I just wanted to draw your attention to Galaxy's series of great telly posts. Go read them - they're good.

"go read them - they're good" was posted by dogpossum on February 5, 2007 12:11 PM in the category clicky

February 2, 2007

i like this dancing - she is mighty fine. but she also demands a fairly steep tithe.

Ok, so I've decided to get back into the dancing hardcore in the last month.

  • I have time and can stay up late a few nights a week because I'm not teaching
  • I need to get a bit fitter and healthier, and there is no exercise as physically demanding as lindy hop except perhaps basketball. 20s charleston, however, kicks both their arses for arse kicking
  • I missed it - I missed the creativity and the physical challenge and the sheer wonderfulness of jiggling about to music I love with a partner

Things I have noticed:

  • I am not 25 any more. My recovery time is kind of long. Today, after dancing like a fool for a few hours (including my first public showing of the Cranky Poo and the bits of the Big Schnapple that I know) last night and then riding home I feel quite rough. I have aches and pains. I have ringing ears (argh, noob DJs: walk the room, doods, walk the room. Decibals won't replace base). I am tired and look quite awful.
  • It's frickin' fun. When you've got a bit of fitness back and your body awareness and general coordination get back up above the sloth level, dancing is easier, you can do more things and the endorphines... oh, those lovely lovely endorphines.
    For the first song you're kind of clunky. The second, your heart rate gets up a bit, your muscles are warming up nicely and you're remembering how to dance. Midway through the third it's like someone's thrown a bucket of ecstacy over you. Ecstasy made of chocolate. Ecstasy making really fabulous jokes. You start grinning like an idiot, then laughing like a fool. You're a dancing queen - nothing goes wrong, you rock. You know every single note of the song, your partner is beautiful (and possibly made of chocolate as well). You physically feel frickin' good - it's like... I was going to compare it to sex or something sex-like, but it's not - it's better. It's kind of like you get a drumming in your ears. You suddenly want to touch your friends more and squeeze your partner. It's really nice.
  • I really don't give a fuck who I'm dancing with - I'm just happy to be dancing. Because dancing - she is good. She is also the bringer of nice chemical action.
  • Music - she is even better. Suddenly all the songs you like listening to have added purpose and meaning. Dancing to them makes them better
  • This stuff is addictive. I can see, as someone with no real demands on their time or actual focus, how people do let dancing consume them utterly. How they end up living, breathing dancing in a pretty scary way. Think I'm into dance in a big way? Imagine if I was teaching it. And in a performance troupe. And training for a competition. That's at least 3 or 4 nights a week on top of social dancing twice a week and the sort of practice you do on your own. That's insane. When would I have time to watch telly? My conversational skills would deteriorate, my attention span would drop to about 3 minutes max (ie, the time between dances) and I'd suddenly find it difficult to retain basic information about new friends. And those endorphines - did I mention their goodness?

Last night I went to sleep still hearing jazz and with my brain running through dance steps. And this after a couple of hours coming down - riding home for 20 minutes, hassling The Squeeze, reading, eating something, showering.
I like this dancing - she is mighty fine. But she also demands a fairly steep tithe.

Tonight I DJ the second set. And I'm kind of looking forward to sitting down and getting some physical and emotional distance from the dance floor.

"i like this dancing - she is mighty fine. but she also demands a fairly steep tithe." was posted by dogpossum on February 2, 2007 2:35 PM in the category lindy hop and other dances

February 1, 2007


I'm allergic to tea tree (and all melaleucas), but I love lavender. But it's not for boys.

"ladies'" was posted by dogpossum on February 1, 2007 5:36 PM in the category clicky


I'm doing a set this Friday night (second set, if you're interested, preceded by one of my least favourite DJs) and I'm not really on top of my music. I have been too busy reading and writing and haven't spent enough time listening to music. I don't listen to music when I'm working because it either distracts me or I just stop hearing it after a while.

"hm" was posted by dogpossum on February 1, 2007 2:29 PM in the category djing


I've been looking at some interesting acka blogs lately - sort of the American (I assume) version of people I'm already reading.

  • Digital Audio Insider, an interesting chat about digital music. I need to read more of this dood's blog. Especially when he gets talking about itunes (because swing DJs have a rather love-hate relationship with itunes - there's some freaking amazing, obscure shit on there, but the quality simply isn't good enough for DJing).
  • Fandrogyny, a blog with a post about Heroes at the top, and of course, we're all over Heroes at our house at the moment.
  • terra nova, a kind of all-round internetty/acka-ish group blog which has a really interesting article about three ackas choosing to synchronise their posts about second life:
    The posts are intended to be the beginning of a coordinated conversation. According to Henry, "After corresponding with Shirky and with my colleague Beth Coleman, it was decided that we would offer some new statements about this controversy across our three blogs today and respond to each other's posts in about a week's time. We also agreed that we would post links to the other posts through our sites which would help readers navigate between the various positions." (from that entry)
    That's some interesting stuff - I've been thinking about the way early career ackas (or eckas, I guess) use blogs to network. And it's only a matter of time til more grown up ackas start using the lovely discursive potential of the internet. I don't doubt, though, that finding the time to do this stuff will be something only fairly well positioned ackas will be able to do.
  • apophenia, more lovely fan talk

"clicky" was posted by dogpossum on February 1, 2007 2:02 PM in the category clicky

things i like to do

I like to go home via Sydney Road late at night. I avoid the road during the day because it's so busy, but I like being driven up it at night because it's interesting. I ride up it late Thursday night (if you watch out you might see me riding up it tonight at some point between 11pm and 12.30am), but that's getting increasingly scary. It used to be empty and 'safe' but now it's full of wanker 'I'm so cool' kids spilling out of The Spot and The R... pub that starts with R whose name I always forget and the grotty bars full of old furniture. I don't like those sorts of people.
But I do like riding straight up Sydney Road, having gone up Queen Street, through the Vic Markets car park, along William Street and then through the roundabout of death.

When we're riding east from Sydney Road The Squeeze always asks if we can take this one particular side street. I once saw a giant bunny looking out at the road through the gate of a house on that street, and The Squeeze has only seen it once. So we ride down that road hoping to see it again. We haven't.

I like to ride down through the parking lot at the Vic Markets on my way to dancing on Thursday nights. I come down William Street, past the top of the markets and then down through the carpark. There are usually millions of seagulls hanging about in there and I love riding my bike down through the crowd of them, yelling. It's slightly downhill, and a big, empty space. There's never anyone around and it's dark and empty. It's a bit scary because I could hit something and fly off my bike, or the seagulls could decide to pull a Hitchcock on me, but those thoughts just make the whole thing more fun.

I like riding to the Laundry (a venue) on Saturday afternoons to see local jazz band called Virus. The band's made up of a raggle taggle of younger doods and older doods who really know their shit. There's no sheet music, they share the solos around during the song, and visiting musicians from out of town drop in to do a guest song or two. This is proper jazz - sometimes they check the sheet music before the song, but not always. The decide what to play on the spot - there are no set lists. They take requests. They wear scrappy clothes (shorts and thongs, dress pants and tshirts, ill fitting suit coats with jeans), drink a lot of beer and make crude jokes. The music is fricking fast, fricking hot and fricking good - it kicks your arse if you're dancing.
The venue is narrow and loud and crowded and smokey. We dance sometimes, but mostly we drink beer. That's how jazz should be - loud and fun and crowded and with lots of heckling (between the band and the audience). Not with rules about not talking and turning off your mobile phone. Heck, you're lucky if you can hear your mobile ring at the Laundry. This gig is on every single Saturday afternoon between 4 and 7 and is free. After we've seen the band, we usually go to eat somewhere. It's lots of fun, but it makes you stink like a dirty old pub floor.

Go to the cinema on my own during the day to see lady films and art house films. Long, boring things with no action scenes. I like to get a chilli chocolate ice cream if I'm at the Nova or a bag of joobs if I'm at the Westgarthe.
I like to go to the Astor for a double session on the weekend, though I haven't done that many times.

I like going to fabric shops and spending hours and hours in there choosing fabric.
I like doing the same at the video shop.
And in music shops.

I like riding down through Royal Park from Royal Parade, down the path past the stadium and giant play ground to the cemetary and then down to Lygon Street. It's all a bit brown and dry and crispy these days, but it's still a nice ride.

I like it that bikes and trams get a green light on Swanston Street at the intersection of Swanston and... LaTrobe? Where Melbourne Central is. I like being able to zoom off at the lights while the cars are left at the lights, cranky.

I like riding my bike through the Edinborough Gardens, past the giant possums at night and around the fountain during the day. Even though you're not allowed to. I ride carefully so I don't hit anyone.

I like going to Brunetti's and having an Italian hot chocolate with a tiny biscuit and reading my book.

"things i like to do" was posted by dogpossum on February 1, 2007 1:37 PM in the category dogpossum