Category Archives: video

Catching up with Flight of the Conchords

Flight of the ConchordsYeah, you’re probably thinking I’m oh-so-behind-the-pack by only now blogging about New Zealand-in-New York musical comedy duo Flight of the Conchords. Fair enough. The first season of their sitcom premiered on American TV in 2006, and they were even nominated for the Perrier Award at the festival of my hometown, Edinburgh, in 2003.

So it’s inexcusable that I’m only now joining their no doubt uber-cool fanbase. But anyway, I got the Season One DVD boxset for my Christmas, watched the first six episodes, and I confirm that it is very, very funny. It does take a while to ‘get it’, and there’s more than a little suspicion that they’ve seen the Mighty Boosh a few too many times, but it still feels quite original, and how can you not like a sitcom about two clueless indie blokes set in New York, who burst into spontaneous, insincere love songs at the drop of a hat?

Season Two starts on January 18  on HBO and the online premiere is available on Will Ferrell’s Funny or Die website – for Americans only unfortunately. But what do I care? I’ve still got the rest of Season One to enjoy. In the meantime, are you ‘into it’…?

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‘Hallelujah’, cries Leonard Cohen’s accountant

'Cheers', says Leonard CohenIt’s looking more and more likely that one song could occupy number one and two in the Christmas singles chart this year – an unprecedented achievement at this or any time of the year.

What’s more uncertain is which version will pip the other to the festive top spot: X Factor winner Alexandra Burke’s rendition of Leonard Cohen’s exquisite, Old Testament-informed love song ‘Hallelujah’, or the late American singer/songwriter Jeff Buckley’s version, which has already been held up as one of the finest covers ever recorded.

Buckley’s version was catapulted back into the charts thanks to a Facebook campaign by fans presumably terrified that such a perfect song could be ‘tarred with the X Factor brush’.

But the general public, who’ve probably never heard of Buckley (or Cohen for that matter) and probably don’t use Facebook, and probably don’t care about such things as a song’s reputation, are already snapping up Burke’s version in the thousands, to the extent that it is already seen as an unstoppable Christmas number one.

The cynical view is that the whole ‘controversy’ is not about artistic integrity though; it’s intended to get people to buy records, so the PRs will be rubbing their hands with glee while millions of people debate which version should win, and put their money where their mouth is.

Personally, I think Burke’s warbling effort is a bloody travesty, and I’d like to see anything but an X Factor drone win Christmas number one. Alternatively, I’d like to see someone actually make a Christmas record, although ‘Hallelujah’ certainly has a Christmassy feel.

But in the end, perhaps the most important result of all this is that Leonard Cohen, one of the greatest songwriters of the past fifty years, gets a little financial boost this Christmas after his manager nicked his retirement fund.

Which is the best ‘Hallelujah’? Compare below…

Jeff Buckley

Alexandra Burke

Leonard Cohen

John Cale

Bob Dylan

Rufus Wainwright

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And the Bowie/Bing award for most unlikely collaboration goes to… David Byrne and Dizzee Rascal

Yep, that’s right. The silver-haired Talking Heads legend and the East London merchant of grime both – inexplicably – contribute vocals to ‘Toe Jam’, a single from Brighton Port Authority, Fatboy Slim’s new ‘secret’ alter-ego.

Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, there’s nakedness too:

Expect future contrubutions from Iggy Pop, Martha Wainwright and Jamie T.

Mr Zoe Ball clearly has some clout in the music biz.

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