Friday, May 30, 2014

When you get home, Johnny Borrell is waiting for you

It hasn't been a great twenty four hours for listening to the opinions of those with the initials JB. Joey Barton didn't exactly thrive on Question Time, while Tim Jonze in The Guardian struggles to shape Johnny Borrell's thoughts into some sort of shape.

What could you say as a solo artist that you couldn't with Razorlight?
Err … [long pause, repeats the question] I dunno, I always see more similarities than differences. Errrr … Shit. I dunno. I'm not sure I can answer that with any accuracy whatsoever. Erm, what was the question?
Borrell is a bit vague about the process that went into making his godawful solo album:
I got a group of musicians together and they turned up at my house in the Basque Country to record an album, expecting me to have a studio. But I didn't, I just had a house. We had this 17-year-old kid called João [Mello], who had just turned up from Brazil, playing saxophone.
Now, I might not know how things work in Borrell's world, but I'm pretty sure you don't find seventeen year-old musicians "just turning up" at your door by accident.

Still... Borrell's really pleased at this idea of just turning up, and doing it, in a house.
I didn't have a drum kit so we used buckets instead. Wherever we play – be it a street corner or a festival – there's something very real about it.
That's fair enough, right?

Except... here's Borrell feelings on the problem with modern music:
I think the art of recording is being lost.
That's a bit rich from someone who can't even been arsed to book a studio and find a set of drums.

Jonze then asks about the stupid song titles on the solo record. Borrell doesn't usually read the media, man, but he had read the piece in the Guardian about that:
Well, interestingly, my friend is in literature and she reads the Guardian. She read an article on your website and she said: "Wow, that's amazing, I've never read an article before where the first four sentences all end in an exclamation mark." Now, that's very poor writing. That's got to be bad journalism if your first four sentences have to end with an exclamation mark.
As Jonze points out in a footnote:
None of the first four sentences end with exclamation marks, although the last sentence of the article does end with four!!!!
"A friend in literature" who can't tell the difference between a dog's dick at the end of each sentence and - in a clear Harry Hill reference - an over-the-top four stick at the very end? Now, that's amazing.

He's clearly obsessed with the idea that The Guardian doesn't like him - a pop psychology read would suggest that Borrell is desperate that people consider him sharp, and worldly, and wise; that the Guardian spending a lot of time snickering at him must kill him.
In fact, while we're on the subject of the Guardian, there was somebody on the island, I don't know who, but they wrote a nice letter to the Guardian saying there was never a mention of Johnny Borrell without a mention of his arrogance. And they said that I'd been there for four months and they'd found me to be this and that. So who am I going to trust? The person I've engaged with in their community or the one who's written an article?
It's somewhat difficult to find this letter in the Guardian archive. Although it's amazing that Johnny "very, very rare that I read the press" Borrell managed to come across that piece as well.

Borrell seems convinced he's being asked "leading questions", like The Sun would ask. He's confused the idea of a difficult question with an awkward one.

If we're unlucky, he'll write a song about this. If we're really unlucky, a twelve year-old flautist will turn up at his yurt one day and we'll have to sit through a sodding concept album.

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