Not China

“Dschinghis Khan” – A Eurovision disco tribute to Genghis Khan

The 2016 Eurovision Song Contest is upon us! As usual, expect an orgy of hideous stage attire and even worse music.
The format is simple yet tedious: Each European country sends an entry into the competition, and after an evening of improbable performances, the continent gets to vote on a winner.
Certain nations with languages unsuitable for pop music obviously have a much harder time reaching winning the contest; the Finnish are a case in point, only able to win when they are dressed up as heavy metal monsters.
But there were better times – in 1979, Germany’s entry was a teutonic disco exotica tribute to the greatest conqueror the world had ever know: Genghis Khan. (Youku link to video here.)

The lyrics, albeit of doubtful historical accuracy, cover a wide range of topics from the great Khan’s life: conquest (“Genghis rode to race with the steppe wind, with a thousand men”); sex (“he fathered seven children in one single night”); drinking (“let us get some vodka, for we are true Mongols”); and of course the pure joy of living (“HOOOH HAAAH HOOOH HAAAAH”).

Sadly, despite having a dancing Genghis Khan impersonator in an outfit somewhere between Star Trek and Taobao, the song only reached fourth place in the competition.

German disco was big at the time in Asia, and the song even spawned a Cantopop cover version called《成吉思汗》by George Lam 「林子祥」. If you’re ever in need of belting out the lyrics in a group setting, both the German and Chinese versions can be found in any well-stocked Shanghai karaoke parlour.

Mind-expanding Richard Ayoade interview (and some Jean-Luc Godard interviews as well)

Director and comedian Richard Ayoade showed us the full potential of live television this week. Talking to Krishnan Guru-Murthy on Channel 4 News, Ayoade exposed the utter absurdity of the medium in an interview on par with anything Jean-Luc Godard ever gave. Channel 4 veteran Jon Snow (no relation to Ned Stark’s bastard) can be seen laughing uncontrollably as Ayoade exits the studio.

And here are some Jean-Luc Godard interviews thrown in for good measure:

Banksy Mural in Folkestone Defaced

I would normally not quote the Daily Mirror, but these are exceptional circumstances: “Banksy wall art vandalised with giant penis in overnight spray paint attack”. The work in question is “Art Buff”, a picture of a elderly woman looking at an empty plinth. This is what the mural looked like before:

And this is what it looks like now:

This is as conceptually convoluted as a Borges novel; some kind of contemporary art world version of a dream within a dream: before the mural was vandalised, the building owner had added a sheet of protective plastic sheeting to protect the work (how they knew it was Banksy in the first place remains unclear).

Charlie Brooker on Internet Hyperbole + Kate Bush

I love Kate Bush – she added some flair and emotion to my otherwise dull childhood. It’s hard to describe her music without going into full-on hyperbole: ‘cosmic’, ‘mind-expanding’, or plainly ‘awesome’.

Recently, she gave her first live performance since 1979 and there were of course lots of people excited about that. In his latest column, “This awesome dissection of internet hyperbole will make you cry and change your life”, Charlie Brooker uses a friend’s disappointment about the gig to launch a tirade against the over-the-top language that now permeates the web:

Perhaps the impossible-to-live-up-to tidal wave of praise came about in part because [Kate] Bush had been clever enough to ask people not to stand around like mindless absorption pods, dumbly filming the gig on their smartphones. Maybe, with those smartphones tucked away, a sizeable percentage of the audience was being shocked by the reality of their first non screen-parlayed experience of the past five years. It must be like eating salt and vinegar crisps for the first time after weeks of a sense-numbing heavy cold: the sheer rush of unmediated reality almost takes your face off.

But maybe the praise reached deranged heights because nothing’s allowed to simply be “very good” or even “great” any more. We’ve ramped up the hyperbole: it’s amazing; it’s awesome. We focus on the personal impact: it’ll rock your world; it’ll change your life. You’ll be so stuffed full of wonder you’ll split at the seams.

He’s right, of course. Nowadays, it’s impossible to post an Instagram photo of a cupcake without describing it in words that were just a generation ago reserved for describing the most awe-inspiring sights that anyone could hope to see. Sites like Buzzfeed with their horrible genre of clickbait headlines make awe and wonder seem commonplace and even boring. Brooker is not far off the mark with imagined headlines like “The Late Leonid Brezhnev Just Invented the World’s Most Awesome Dance Move. What This Teacher Tells Her Class Will Change Your Life Forever. You Won’t Believe the State of this Guy’s Asshole.”

I wonder if this tidal wave of hyperbole and ‘awesomeness’ has hit China yet. (Clickbait certainly has.) If you know any good examples, you can leave a comment below.

New Flying Lotus Album Out Today

The new FlyLo album You’re Dead! just came out, and I’m as happy as these two kids:

The album is centred around death and the afterlife, but isn’t gloomy in any way; instead, we’re treated to a warm serving of Alice Coltrane-inspired soundscapes. As usual, Thundercat is there to provide his trademark gravity-defying basslines. Kendrick Lamar, Herbie Hancock and Snoop Dogg also make guest appearances.

Buy You’re Dead! at