'Uneasy in my Easy Chair'
Although I am UNDISPUTED winner of the inter-blog cheapskate competition for getting a limited edition tape copy of The Modern Dance by Pere Ubu for TEN PENCE, the great flaw in charity shop digging is leaving something, erroneously believing that you don't really need that book/record/trinket, do you? Well, yes you do. Still kicking myself for not buying the Edward Weston monograph for a quid, and currently, for not buying a load of records sat in the bin at the Salvation Army shop in Deptford by easy listening arranger Nelson Riddle.
As my current obsession is In the Wee Small Hours, his staggeringly bleak concept album with Frank Sinatra. According to Woebot Riddle was 'superhack', and one of the most poignant things about a consistemtly wrenching record is its tension between schlock and pain. Riddle's arrangements are phantasmagoric, maintaining a crepuscular dialogue with a singer who often sounds like his bon mots and cliches are sung through gritted teeth. Their showiness, weaving through string soaked glossy misery to mock-atonal piano plonking, makes them seem somehow anthropomorphic, grostesquely akin to some mocking commentary on Sinatra's dramatised despair. (No One Cares, without Riddle but apparently similarly grim, is discussed by k-punk here)