Thursday, April 26, 2012

incidental music spot of the day

End by The Cure (from their 1992 album Wish) on the BBC's documentary Rowing The Arctic last night. If you happen to click on that iPlayer link while it's still active, it's from about 41:35 for 20 seconds or so and then another minute or so after that behind Mark Beaumont's commentary.

I was never the biggest fan of The Cure, as in general I have a bit of a problem with Goth miserablism, in that instead of it tearing at my very soul in the prescribed manner I tend just to find it hilarious. They have been around pretty much for ever, though, so there's a good chance of the odd good tune popping up here and there, and End is a cracking one which probably appeals to me more than most of The Cure's output because it features relatively little of Robert Smith's voice and lots and lots of guitars. I exempt Love Cats and Friday I'm In Love from any of this criticism, as obviously everybody loves those. Here's a live version of End from the Paris Live8 concert in 2005, with bonus Spanish subtitles.

As for the actual non-musical content of the documentary I have to simultaneously salute the courage and endurance of the people involved and admit to some slight irritation with the increasingly contrived nature of these stunts. I guess on a planet of finite size most of the obvious firsts have already been taken, you know, the North and South Poles, Everest, that sort of thing, so now people have to come up with variations on the basic themes - solo to the Pole, up Everest without oxygen, across the Andes by frog, that sort of thing. And in every case they now have to take a camera crew (or at least a digital camcorder) with them to record the whole thing for the subsequent documentary film, with coffee-table book and souvenir beermat tie-ins. I accept that this is how these trips get funded these days, but still. And there's something a bit grating about someone who's chosen, of their own free will, to ascend Kilimanjaro by spacehopper while blindfolded doing a tearful piece to camera saying "this is so hard, I don't know if I can do it": well, you chose to impose these ridiculous conditions on yourself, so, basically, shut it.

And one has to observe that even with the somewhat contrived definition of "pole" being used here (the conveniently southerly 1996 location of the magnetic North pole) the expedition failed according to its own terms, since they had to drag the boat 3 miles over ice to reach their destination. Not that I'm, you know, having a pop or anything.

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