Sunday, May 07, 2006


Grant McLennan, co-founder of the Go-Betweens, has died in his sleep aged 48.

The critic Robert Christgau once described the Go-Betweens' music as "chamber pop," and "Bye Bye Pride" from Tallulah, their best album, does indeed contain the greatest oboe solo ever recorded (you can quote me on that). This could sound precious were it not for McLennan and Robert Forster's discernment and taste - nothing is overdone on a Go-Betweens record; everything is just as it should be.

McLennan was the McCartney to Forster's angstier Lennon but, despite my antipathy towards Macca, McLennan is my favourite songwriter of the two. "Bye Bye Pride", "Cattle and Cane" and "Born to a Family" (which you can listen to here) are three of the most perfect pop songs you will ever hear. I have written before about the difficulty of accepting the absence of a person when they die; for a pop fan, and especially one who has followed a cult band throughout their career, the loss of a great voice is just as hard to take. Grant McLennan's voice and his songs will be sadly missed.

GRANT MCLENNAN - 1958-2006

On a merrier note, many happy returns to poet and socialist Michael Rosen, a homo ludens if ever there was one. When one starts a blog, it takes a while to work out whether anybody is reading, and if what you're writing is of interest to anybody but yourself. So when Michael left a couple of perspicaceous comments on here a couple of weeks ago I was, as Pinter would say, chuffed to my bollocks. I am far too much of a gentleman to disclose Michael's age, but I can tell you that the matron's announcement "it's a boy, Mrs Rosen" coincided more or less exactly with the setting up of Sony.

If any other Homo Ludens readers would like a birthday shout-out, please do let me know. But you have to write a poem as good as "I Love Chocolate Cake" first.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jesus, I had no idea about that! I even bought one of his solo albums once,and it had two good songs on it, one of which was called 'Fingers' (googles) and the other was called 'Lighting Fires'.

On a brighter note, isn't it great that the Pet Shop Boys have just released a love song for asylum seekers?!

9:11 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home