Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

The wrap is a day late and a dollar short

This week’s reading list featuring populist demagogues, Beastie Boys, bootlegs, Post-It notes, the ‘Ndrangheta mafia, flamingos, the high five, shipwrecks etc

Flamingo time! Photo: Justin Anderson

Tue, Nov 22, 2016, 09:44


(1) What happens when a populist demagogue takes over a country? No, not that one, another one. Profile of Rodrigo Duterte, the self-proclaimed tough guy who took over as President of the Philippines earlier this year. It’s going according to plan.

(2) Sneakerheads department: how the Beastie Boys influenced the runners on your feet; not so sure if they ever rocked New Balances, but that brand is getting the kind of attention no-one wants at the moment

(3) The story of the high five: a film by Mike Jacobs on how two Los Angeles Dodgers baseball players came up with that hand signal in the first place

(4) All you wanted to know about ice-skating flamingos, but didn’t know who to ask

(5) Life, death and rap in Chicago: “there are hundreds of gangs in Chicago these days, a splintering that occurred in the wake of the collapse of the traditional “supergangs” like the Black Disciples and Vice Lords in the ’90s. As dangerous as their predecessors, they operate as block-level factions, making the city a complicated patchwork of warring territories. In a relatively recent phenomenon, many of these gangs produce drill music—a Chicago-born low-fi version of gangsta rap, full of hyperviolent boasts and taunts. (Think NWA, but grittier and without the hooks).”

(6) List of the week: the 25 most significant bootleg recordings of all time featuring Bob Dylan (of course), Elvis Costello, Prince, Aphex Twin, The Grateful Dead, Neil Young, Van Morrison and many more.

(7) A short history of the ‘Ndrangheta mafia: “since the mid-1990s, Italian prosecutors and police have been warning that the almost impenetrable ’Ndrangheta, with its intractable name and its roots in the most godforsaken corner of their country, was the coming force in organised crime.”

(8) Meet the dude who says he invented the Post-It note: Alan Amron claims he came up with the idea of the Magic Touch Press-On Memo in 1973, but the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing company (3M) beg to differ.

(9) What your favourite music says about your personality and occupation: researchers have looked at the tunes selected by guests for BBC’s Desert Island Discs to come up with some common themes. “When we looked at the Desert Island Discs interviewees, we found strong links between these occupations and music models. For example, those in the artistic occupational personality category, such as writers and actors, were more likely to choose sophisticated music like classical, jazz and opera. This explains why in 2007 Victoria Wood chose Prokofiev, Gerswhin and Fats Waller, for example. These kinds of people tended to choose longer tracks that were sadder, slower and low energy. They were much less likely to choose intense or contemporary music such as rock, alternative or pop.”

(10) Inside a lost world of shipwrecks: archaeologists have found more than 40 vessels in the Black Sea, some more than a millennium old, shedding light on early empires and trade routes.