Tied up with string: January

What’s been tickling my fancy this month then?

A Song

Song of the month is Traktor by Wretch 32 featuring the ungoogleable “L”. Wretch says CHOO CHOO GO HARD GO FASTER in it, it’s made of an insanely good combination of beats, synth wooshes and surf guitar, and it’s stupidly addictive. I had it on repeat play ten times in a row at one point. Ahem.

An album

I already put it in my Top 20 of last year, but it’s only really come out in the UK this month, and it’s a big grower. Last Train to Paris by Diddy – Dirty Money is superb. It sounds to me like an electro-R&B sequel to Kraftwerk’s Trans-Europe Express, with a consistently hypnotic chug about it, a strange atmosphere of repressed minimalism, and some brilliant songwriting. Hear it on we7

SOME TELLY

How lovely was ‘Head Over Heels In Rats’? I am now broody for a rodent friend who isn’t my toy rat from Ikea.

A film

‘What about the King’s Speech?’ asked a colleague on the bus the other day, as I was confessing to my Black Swan addiction (I’ve seen it FOUR TIMES at time of writing). ‘Oh I couldn’t give a shit whether the King makes his speech or not,’ I replied. And I couldn’t.

I've been looking at you, you've been looking at me

I want 100 minutes of extreme close-ups, brilliant sound design (SO LOUD in the cinema!), paranoia, feathers, creepiness, crotch-grabbing, and mirrors, mirrors, mirrors. It’s Roman Polanski meets John Waters meets David Cronenberg and I can’t remember watching a film so obsessively and repeatedly since I got my hands on a VHS of Nightmare On Elm Street in the mid 80s. I suppose there’s my formula: give a girl an eccentric mother figure and throw her into a world where the boundaries of reality are always shifting, and I’ll love it for life (see also: Run Lola Run, Hellraiser).

Some adverts

I’m a big fan of the Which? advert with the ‘genuinely filthy dog’ in it. Why does it speak to me so much, this creature who starts out all clean and handsomely muzzled before going off to have adventures, lick tramps and rifle through bins? Who can say?

Genuinely filthy dog

I also admire Jedward’s well-judged self-mockery in the Money Supermarket ad; they’ve certainly managed to appear in the only watchable Money Supermarket ad I’ve ever seen.

And an honourable mention for holidaying in Jersey, not an amazing advert in itself, but I like that they’re now ‘The Warmest Place in the British Isles’. It’s a vast improvement on previous years’ Channel Islands campaigns which have proudly boasted ‘WHERE A POUND IS STILL A POUND’. That’s a revolting slogan which speaks only to the aspirations of Daily Express readers, who like the idea of going abroad but only if they don’t have to endure any foreign muck or funny money.

Animal of the month

Born to make you happy

And finally, a salute to the humble cochineal, whose pulverised remains are once more featuring in the ingredients lists of some of Britain’s favourite shop-bought cake slices. They went away for a while, but these days with ‘No Artificial Colours or Flavourings’ a big selling point, they’re back back back!

Thousands of these otherwise unloved beetles are dying every day to ensure that our cakes are just that little bit more red. WE WILL NOT FORGET.

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