The Null Device
Pitchfork has a new interview with Jens Lekman, in which he talks about listening to the Sly Hats, plans to move to Melbourne (where he has more friends than in Gothenburg), the Arthur Russell covers EP he has put together, and incurring the wrath of the South Swedish Elvis Society:
There's one song with Frida [Hyvönen] that is a song that we wrote together in Finnish that I think is coming out sometime. I played it for a lot of people. It almost made it onto the album, actually. I think it would have actually fit pretty good on the album. But we just took the four phrases that we knew in Finnish-- she knew two phrases, I knew two phrases-- and we just wrote them down and realized, "Oh, this would actually make a really great song." And it starts off, like, I sing, "I love you," and she sings, "I'm sorry, I don't understand." And I repeat, "I love you," and she says, "I'm sorry, I don't understand." And then the chorus goes, "Wonderful, cutie-pie, wonderful." And that's the whole song, but it's a really beautiful song. Yeah, you will love it. I think you will really like it.
So I was thinking of just trying to settle down. I think I need a new home and a new place and to see how that place and home and how the people who live there will influence my music. I guess that will be Melbourne, if I don't find something else before that. It's going to be interesting.
No, I don't have a girlfriend. No, I don't. I haven't had a relationship in years, actually. But yeah, I'm still looking. It's kind of nice to be looking for a home at the same time. And I really think I need to find a home. I don't know if that includes a girlfriend or not, but first I need to find a home, definitely. Because I felt pretty homeless in the last couple of years, and I never felt at home here in Kortedala. So it's time to find someplace where I feel like it's home.
After having had its licence fee increase rebuffed, the BBC is planning to cut 12% of its workforce. Most of the cuts will happen in the factual division, which produces programming such as Planet Earth and stands to lose up to 50% of its budget. The BBC's trashy-populist-entertainment operations, however, look set to emerge unscathed.
One could question the rationale behind this peculiar set of priorities; after all, its Reithian ethos of worthy factual programming is a big part of the high esteem in which the BBC is held across the world. Indeed, one could ask why, for example, EastEnders is any more of a public service, and thus any more worthy of funding from a mandatory tax on television receivers, than its commercial rival Coronation Street, or whether or not something like Top Gear could be provided by the free market with no loss of values. It could be argued that the populist fare fulfils an important function: that of buying social approval for the BBC's license fee. Were the BBC to cut back on it and concentrate on "quality" programming, the majority of license-fee payers might start to question whether they should be obliged to pay over £100 per year for the privilege of skipping the BBC and going straight to Sky One. From then on, it would take a campaign on the front page of The Sun (whose proprietor, it must be remembered, would dearly love to see the BBC reduced to something of the size and stature of the American PBS or Australian ABC; underresourced, timid and marginal) to put the dismemberment of the BBC on the legislative agenda in time for the next licence fee review.
Which is a rather sad state of affairs. Surely the purpose of that unique institution, the license fee, should be to fund quality, enlightening programming in niches which the market, left to its own devices, wouldn't fill, rather than to provide popular mass entertainment (a task which the market has always stepped up to catering to)?
Phrase of the day: "white lobster": cocaine dumped by traffickers and washed up on beaches, bringing fortunes for the villagers and fishermen who find it.
It also sounds like a good song title, in a 1970s-revivalist sort of vein.