Monsieur R is returned from continental Europe and so we were back at work last Friday and may well follow suit tonight. Pyre Peyote drummer 2.0, Mr Silva has the structures established on his mental hell-plane now and so we rotate our focus to the act of performance and an overarching narrative. As it stands, I would happily play the record, plus one or two old favourites. Seven tracks seems like a maraschino mid, with potential for one well-owned cover as a wishful encore. There’s also ‘MBM’ that could squeeze in there if needed/wanted/called for. Bassface did decry the positioning of ‘Badtime Baby’ next to ‘Albino’ as stupid but his is a mercurial state of being and so only time and temperature will tell. As a way forward I’m saying it goes like this and y’all can fight: C, PM, PP / IG, SIK / BB, A // MG.
It is true that ‘Borderlands 3’ has many, many guns. It is also true that Gearbox have made another Borderlands game and that I like it. That should be enough of a disclaimer. If you didn’t like the first one or even the second one then you probably won’t like this one. If you were an aficionado of the systems they have at play and could either embrace or get past those occasionally/frequently obnoxious qualities present in the core writing then we have at least this much in common. I am playing on a baseline PS4 and it’s fine. There aren’t any trumpets blaring nor bells to ring in terms of performance - frame rate drops In menu places are a thing - but neither would I urge the villagers to sharpen pitchforks or kindle torches to light a path to Randy’s windmill just yet. There was a moment that I reached for my new favourite axe and it had vanished from my equipped inventory but I have a terrible, no one-to-blame-but-me feeling of loss that I had accidentally marked it as junk and sold it, along with other miscellaneous chattel. So sad. I didn’t experience any of the game in person prior to that sizeable day one patch but I have to imagine that there were a multitude of nasty little bugs squished and that there will be more to come and we live in hope.
The gameplay is exactly what I expected it to be and the multitude of small quality of life improvements (since kicking fifty shades of shit out of Handsome Jack) that I’ve clocked thus far have been one thousand percent welcome. Sanctuary is my new home and in lieu of a bunk on Serenity, I can find happiness here. She has a lived-in quality that the Normandy from ‘Mass Effect 2’ did not have and that’s been my thing since The Falcon and/or house boats. Canals are cool. I’m currently twinning both Fl4k and Zane as our internet situation at home is not totally optimal. These guys have any number of ways in which a lonely person might loot lands along the border and I have enjoyed the partnership of my semi-sentient, bipedal shotgun lion as much as I have channeling Irish Solo Lord. Contrary to my previous sentient that Moze was a dead cert, I have yet to clamber into that mech but we’ll see…
A gentleman was leafing through a copy of Carlo Mollino’s ‘Pictures’ the other morning and we got chatting, mostly about Polaroid and how it’s one of the better, if more awkward things in life. I asked him if he knew ‘Polaroids’ (The Name Books, 2016), by Francois Halard because it is a wonderfully sensitive and thoroughly accomplished collection of prime domestic photography. I am one to regularly espouse its qualities to anyone who will listen to my mumblings and this is a very nice object, 1164 of 1500 printed. He assured me that he was indeed familiar with the book, that he had a copy and that, on principal, he agreed with me. I was happy to have found someone (not on the internet) who would vindicate my predilection. He was graceful enough to introduce himself and my jaw remains somewhere under the reading table.
By all accounts, ‘Polaroids’ was quite a pain to put together, not least in part down to Francois’ prolific nature and the breath of material available, all shot over the past three decades. Choice must have been a toughie, being treated as we are to the likes of Tommy Hilfiger’s guitar collection, a portrait of the Duchess of Devonshire at Chatsworth House, Cindy Sherman’s studio in NYC, the interior of House YSL, the bathtub of Marie-Paule Belle in France, the Robert Mapplethorpe Archive, Mr & Mrs. Halard Snr, and his own feet as a final self portrait. Then there’s that shot of Central Park. Natural light takes centre stage throughout and each shot has a gorgeously unique softness, perhaps even a grubbiness about it that speaks to that light and the painterly, ephemeral quality of Polaroid. I could go on but we have form and you can refresh yourself here, should you so desire.
Memory fails me now but someone told me that I absolutely required a copy of Roxy Music’s ‘Flesh + Blood’ (Polydor, 1980) and so… Yes, I am aware that it’s not their most lauded output. No, I haven’t totally lost it [debatable] and yes, the cover is signed by Bryan Ferry. Their seventh studio album actually hit immediate commercial success, peaking at No.1 in the UK for a whole week and subsequently held on for sixty weeks in the charts. That didn’t stop critics from panning it. Ken Tucker from Rolling Stone called it ‘such a shockingly bad […] record that it provokes a certain fascination’ and I can’t help but think of that Stooges record and the reception it received at the time. Yet the massed kinda dug it and it would appear to now be something of a sleeper album. Who could have seen that coming?
Post drummer Paul Thompson, Roxy Music essentially morphed into a three-piece. Yes there were other players on the record besides Ferry, Manzanera & Mackay - Allan Schwartzberg, Andy Newmark and Simon Phillips all took responsibility for the drums, there are no less than three bass players, including Alan Spenner, and both Neil Hubbard (Joe Cocker and B.B. King) and Paul Carrack (Ace) saw additional turns on guitar and keyboards respectively - but as a core band on ‘Flesh + Blood’, the Roxy trio sound big, tight and kinda effortlessly confident. There’s little dangerous or exciting on side A. However, B gets that great line in with the bass on ‘Over You’ and I can always find room for album closer, ’Running Wild’.
JD - TACOCAT
[Props to Gearbox for the thumbnail image.]