Monday, January 31, 2011

[Turn toward camera with gun drawn & cue brass section]

It's not breaking news that composer John Barry is dead. Most know him from his work writing theme music and scores for the James Bond films. And no, he didn't write the Bond theme, but it was his arrangement that everybody knows.

The Typing Monkey encourages readers to celebrate Barry's music by watching the 1960 film Beat Girl, aka Wild for Kicks. Barry wrote or co-wrote nearly every song in this tale of teen delinquency and his agility with various genres -- sugary Your Hit Parade pop, beach-nik (sic) rockabilly, greasy rhythm & blues and noir-ish jazz, among others -- always impresses us no matter how often we see the film.

If you buy the soundtrack reissue from él Records it won't disappoint and you'll be able to stage your own (implied) cannabis-fueled teenage layabout shindig as you dance to the incomparable "It's Legal" as sung by Shirley Anne Field.

In a film dominated by Adam Faith and Gillian Hills vocals -- neither of them too shabby -- it's Field's syncopated ode to all the things teens can do without breaking the law that steals the show. Something tells us she's in danger of ignoring her own message.

There's a full stream of Beat Girl on Youtube, or you can watch it in nine installments, which unfortunately breaks Field's one vocal number right in half. ["It's Legal" begins around the 9:15 mark in this link. It picks up again here.]

Adieu, John Barry, and thanks for all the music.

Tangent obituary: Esoteric electronic music composer Milton Babbitt also died. The AV Club has an educational and compelling summary of his career and influence.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Yippee! Hooray!

On January 21, The Typing Monkey turned three. There were snacks and drinks and everything and in the excitement we didn't even put anything up here.

So treat yourself, as we did, and take a little click on over to Cosmic Hearse, which continues to entertain, educate and expand our musical horizons. In this case, it's The Ben Webster Quartet's Soulville album. Don't ignore Hearse driver Aesop Dekker's fun copy either. The man can put a sentence together.

We thought it was serendipitous that Ben Webster showed up on Cosmic Hearse since we just bought a copy of Ben and "Sweets" (Ben Webster and Harry "Sweets" Edison) a few weeks ago for the office. Mr. Webster's tenor sax sounds the way a well-made Manhattan tastes.

Do it. Come on. Do it.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

We Pause Now to Bring You This Important Message:

"Lulu's Back in Town"

[Courtesy of NantoVision1]

Reader Mail

Hi Sweetie,
I found it funny that in "Death and the the Mouse" you started the second paragraph with "that's all there is to say about that," but went on to post two updates to the story.

Clearly that wasn't all there was to say about that.


The Amazing Mrs. Kendall

Dear The Amazing Mrs. Kendall
Yes, you're right. Is that what you want to hear?!

Hello Typing Monkey,
I'm still reading this stuff, but you should probably write something interesting instead of just posting a bunch of links to news stories and YouTube. Wasn't the whole point of this site to talk about music or something? I'm bored and may have to seek other free content on the Web. Did you fire the good writers?
Looking Out for You

Dear LOfY,
Ouch. However brusque, your comments have caused us to pause and reflect on what The Typing Monkey has been, is and could be. [It also caused us to have several staff meetings and a serious round of negotiations with the board of trustees.] And you're right, we should be posting pointless cultural theories, comparison/contrast essays that speak only to those who share our interests, and fake letters to the editor.

So stay tuned for actual content. But in the meantime, we're going to leave you with something created by others that is meant to be enjoyed as purely as entertainment can be. Sit back and relax. There's more to come. Thank you for reading.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Dammit Gerry

As if if that line from "Baker Street" about giving up "the booze and the one-night stands" needed to have any more poignancy.

Farewell, Gerry Rafferty.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Goodbye, Anne Francis

The AV Club wrote a good obituary for the New York-born film and television actress who in 1965 starred as the title character in Honey West, the first TV show to feature a female private detective in the lead role.

Francis was 80 years old when she died Jan 2, 2011.

Her comic-book girlfriend looks likely helped her land the role of Altaira, the romantic lead in the classic 1956 science fiction film Forbidden Planet. Loosely based on Shakespeare's The Tempest, Francis and Leslie Nielsen played Miranda and Ferdinand to Walter Pidgeon's Prospero. (Nielsen's character is called Cmdr. J . J. Adams, Pidgeon is Dr. Morbius and one of the most iconic robots in all cinema, Robby the Robot, stands in for Caliban.)

Kids, if  you have to read The Tempest for school, and think you'll take the shortcut by watching that dreadful looking Julie Taymor film, watch Forbidden Plaent instead and you'll do better on the quiz. It has Anne Francis plus bettter sets and effects.

From the Fortean News Desk: In the Dead of Night

Sometime before midnight on Dec 31, 2010, thousands of dead blackbirds fell from the sky above Beebe, Arkansas. As of Jan 3, 2011 workers were still collecting bodies to send for testing. Though preliminary tests show no signs of poisoning, and it appears the birds suffered some sort of physical trauma, it's easy to let the mind wander into conspiracy territory.

Especially because early in the week, some 125 miles north of the site of the blackbird deaths, thousands of dead drum fish washed ashore for a 20-mile stretch along the banks of the Arkansas River. Surely Charles Fort would have loved these news stories.

These people probably have a theory too.