Baby, it’s cold outside.

Winter has made its presence felt and a number of places here in the UK have seen their first flurries of snow.

And, sure enough, it’s cold outside.

But it wasn’t until a couple of days ago that I noticed the change to the lyrics in Kylie Minogue’s version of the song.

The line ”Say what’s in this drink?” sung by the female half of the duet was changed to ”Say was that a wink?”

There may be other changes but that was the one I noticed.

Doing a search reveals a lot of criticism about the song being predatory with the male protagonist doing everything he can, including plying the woman with unknown drinks that may have been spiked, in order to keep her there.

The allusions to date rape are most frequently among its criticisms and, in our 21st century world with accusations of inappropriate behaviour all over the media, it’s easy to see why.

That’s why this piece, written by a woman and arguing the exact opposite, is particularly interesting.

The author refutes these interpretations by examining the context of the song and taking the lyric as a whole rather than as a collection of separate lines which can be construed independently.

I’ll let you make up your own mind but it’s a useful reminder that there are different sides to every story, different interpretations that can be made, and a warning against getting caught up in our own biases.

(See also the response to this and the piece here.)

Baby, it’s cold outside.

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I spent a few hours yesterday taking a trip down memory lane, falling down a YouTube rabbit hole browsing for the back catalogue of Pete Namlook (real name Peter Kuhlmann) and his label FAX records.

I still have a sizeable collection of CDs stashed away in a cupboard from the early to mid 90’s when I would fanatically hunt down each new release.

Each CD ran to only 500 or 1000 (and later 2000) copies so finding them was often a challenge. Virgin Records in Oxford Street, of all places, became one of my main sources.

A couple of staff members, realising I would buy them, always tried to order some copies in, so I would take frequent trips to London just to see if I could find anything new.

Music has always been a big part of my life but the early FAX releases have a special place in my heart as they got me through some difficult times.

While I could link the music to a hard period in my life and not want to hear it again, I prefer to remember the joy, comfort and solace it brought.

Listening to some of it again (in certain cases it has been the first time since those days) is like meeting an old friend you haven’t seen for years but instantly remembering everything you used to get up to as kids.

It’s still hard to believe, or accept, that Peter died five years ago this month. Someone I, and many others, never knew but felt a connection to through his music and the way it made me feel.


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Incidental is as incidental does

Talk to anyone who's a fan of the original Blade Runner and they'll tell you that that the atmosphere created by the combined visuals and soundtrack is a big part of the reason.

It just felt special.

The impact of Vangelis' score was on a par with the choice to use classical instead of quasi-futuristic music for 2001 and John Williams' scores for the likes of Jaws and Close Encounters.

I’ve listened to the original parts of the Blade Runner 2049 soundtrack a few times now and it just doesn’t capture the imagine in the same way. When I said the opening track needed to be longer I didn’t realise it was going to set a precedent.

And then I realised, the reason the soundtrack to the original Blade Runner is so iconic is that Vangelis wrote it as a series of actual songs each of which could stand alone as a self contained piece of music. His compositions also dripped with feeling and emotion - a true master at work.

The new soundtrack, however, suffers from the same fate as many others: it is written purely as the incidental music it is intended to be. It doesn’t evoke the same emotions or prompt the same reaction because it is too busy trying to be a soundscape rather than tell a story.

I wrote that the opening track captured the essence of Vangelis’ original but, on repeated listenings to the whole thing, that’s also where it stopped.

Now, I love soundscapes and extended ambient drone music with environmental overlays etc. - general weird shit - but they work because they are longer pieces allowing the listener to lose themselves in the subtleties and nuance of gradual shifts.

The new soundtrack tries to achieve the same effect with pieces lasting only a few minutes. Just as you might begin to immerse yourself you are forcibly ripped from the moment and on to the next track. Even the longer pieces (and there are two of around 10 minutes) suffer because they are artificially broken into jarring, disparate sections.

Vangelis’ work was never meant to fade into the background and just become a part of the scenery. Instead, it was a core component in the emotional projection of each scene.

Something far from incidental and that’s what made it so great.

Incidental is as incidental does