One of the greatest pleasures in this blogger’s life is the daily digestion of blog stats. At any given time I can see who’s visited here, where they’re from and what the most popular posts and downloads are (currently the Jake Holmes/Led Zeppelin one). I can also see who’s Googled what and arrived at Plain Or Pan either by sheer good luck or misfortunate malapropos. Current visitors include those looking for What Brand Of Cigarettes Does Keith Richards Smoke?, Pain or Fantasy and my favourite, African Jungle Horse Sex. I can just about understand why trouser arouser browsers looking for Teenage Fanny are directed here. I just hope the sad old bastards leave with a new-found appreciation of the Bellshill Beach Boys chiming guitars and honey-coated harmonies. But don’t stand anywhere near me at the next TFC gig, or you might just get a punch in the face. OK? I wrote something about the Stone Roses a wee while ago that said the bassline on Something’s Burning sounded like it came from the heart of Africa itself. And a long while ago I wrote about Johnny Wakelin’s In Zaire being total jungle funk, but how Google pointed a slevvering sexual deviant looking for quirky equestrian delights towards this mighty fine site four times in one day is beyond me.
Off course, there’s an underlying seriousness to all this. Clearly, people are using the internet for purposes other than tracking down obscure records by musicians only a handful of people have heard of. Whodathunkit, eh?
On a lighter note, the football transfer window closed at midnight on Tuesday night. This is a nerve-wracking time for fans of any club, but especially for fans of the less-fashionable, poorer clubs. As a Kilmarnock fan I’ve had to endure the pain of seeing our star players being snatched away from us at the stroke of midnight by ‘Sir’ Walter Smith and his satanic promises of first team football and the chance to wear the badge of the team they’ve “always supported since I was a wee boy“. To be fair to my club, the last time this happened they held out spectacularly for a decent sum (£2 million I think) for Steven Naismith. But this was only after failing miserably to command a fee any greater than £400,000 (to be paid in instalements, not even in the one go) for the services of Kris Boyd the season previously, a player who went on to score about 17 gazillion goals over the next few seasons (many against us), helped his team to a European final and cemented his place in the Scotland team, before getting his dream move to a bigger club. That’s Middlesborough, if you didn’t know.
The internet was buzzing on Tuesday night. Fans forums were in meltdown as everyone logged on trying to find the truth amongst the rumours, the rubbish and the rest. This year’s big worry was whether or not our star midfielder and captain, Craig Bryson, would be off to join up with recently departed Killie boss Jim Jefferies at Hearts. The rumour mills were in over-drive. At various points leading up to midnight he was at Tynecastle undergoing a medical, he was being sold for £400,000, he was being sold for £200,000 plus a player in return. At one point he was even off to Ipswich. Truth is, none of this was correct. By midnight, Hearts had had a couple of cheeky bids knocked back and Bryson remained with us.
Amongst all the Bryson rumours was a rumour about another player joining Hearts. Every team has fans’ favourites. Maybe not the most technically gifted set of legs in the team, but the one with the biggest heart, worn on the sleeve with pride. The player who’s first to question the referee’s authority whenever he feels a sense of injustice. The player who’ll give away the ‘clever’ foul and take the ‘clever’ booking for the team. The player who kisses the badge unironically cos he means it (maaaan), the player who, when a goal is scored, is the first to run to the crowd and not his teammates to celebrate, a player who can whip up a frenzy of excitement on the terracing by the sheer mention of his name.
At Killie, Manuel Pascali is that player. A tough, no-nonsene pro he breaks down attacks with a crunching tackle before distributing the ball wisely to a team mate. Not wisely distributing. That would infer that he’s incapable of anything other than giving the ball to a teammate to do the hard bit. No. I mean distributing the ball wisely, whereby at lightning speed he assesses the situation and from all his options picks out the best pass that’ll put his team on the offensive. He’s a bit like one of those Dutch or Spanish holding midfielders that slugged it out in that tetchy World Cup final a couple of months ago. Only not as good, or he’d be at a bigger club. Which takes me back to transfer deadline day and stupid rumours. Not only was Bryson going to Hearts, Pascali was off too! In fact, he was currently undergoing a medical and was about to put pen to paper. Noooooo! This was a disaster! While we were getting all hot under the collar about our star midfielder, our old manager had only gone and thrown a cat amongst the pigeons by pinching Pascali from right under our blue and white noses. Manu! How could you? Except, of course, he hadn’t. As all this drama was unfolding on the football part of the internet, over on the social networking section my close personal Facebook friend Manu Pascali was exclusively revealing we were not to worry, that he was sitting “at home watching a DVD” and that he was “Killie Til I Die!” Heroes, eh? Dontcha just love ’em?
Also over on Facebook, another friend had posted a video of lost Talking Heads‘ classic This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody). I’ve got Arcade Fire doing that I said. What, with their quirky nature and choice of instrumentation, it’s a song that suits them perfectly. So, for you, Mr Big Stuff and any other Arcade Fire fans (and there must be a fair few, given that they’re currently (ahem, cough) burning up the charts, here’s some rare Arcade Fire.
This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody) (taken from a 2004 CBC Radio 3 Studio Session)
Cold Wind (from the Six Feet Under TV series soundtrack)
No Cars Go (from the 2003 and re-released in 2005 Arcade Fire ep)
Poupee de Cire, Poupee de Son (Serge Gainsbourg cover, released on one side of a joint tour 7″ single with LCD Soundsystem. Sung in French. Or is that French Canadian?)
And if you haven’t done so already, you need to try this. Arcade Fire video + Google earth images of your address + some animated birds = pretty fantastic viewing experience. Warning – takes a wee bit to load. But it’s worth the wait.