The Goods


96 Football, Fay Weldon


99 Hundred Reasons, Sallf Keita

Games : :9

104 Super Monkey Ball 1,

Hi “JOHNS TOM WAITS Blood Money/Alice (Anti-) 0000 /0000

I’m sitting in a diner in California with Tom Waits. We’re in Watts, incidentally, the town where Waits married his wife and musical collaborator Kathleen Brennan. We’re drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes, just like in the short film directed by Tom’s pal Jim Jarmusch, the one in which Waits got into an argument with Iggy Pop over a few cups of java.

Choosing his moment carefully - as l slurp - Waits says in an almost inaudible growl: ‘Misery’s the river of the world.’

‘Eh?’ I reply with a hard gulp. ‘Yeah? That so?’

‘If there’s one thing you can say/ About mankind/ There’s nothing kind about man,’ offers Waits, his curly hair and silver imperial making him look like a cross between a goat and the devil. He trails off with: ‘I don’t believe you go to heaven when you’re good/ Everything goes to hell, anyway . . .’

I light 3 Lucky, and Waits, now a non-smoker, eyes me with . . . what? Suspicion? Animosity? I’m here to talk with an ageing imp about his, count ’em, two new albums, Blood Money and Alice. Both albums have origins in theatre. Blood Money collects Waits’ songs from the production of Georg Biichner’s 19th play, Woyzeck, directed by the American Robert Wilson and which opened in Copenhagen in 2000. Alice features recently re-recorded songs from the 1992 Wilson, Waits and Brennan production dramatising the relationship between Lewis Carroll and Alice Liddell, the author’s muse for Alice in Wonderland.

About the latter, Waits quips: ‘You wave your crooked


105 The Piano Teacher, Heist


v- “Q 104 Etiquette, gambling

" ‘T .‘ :34 '33-


106‘Murder, Plain Jane

wand/ Along an icy pond.’ Uhuh, I grunt, not really following Waits’ poetic train of thought. ‘And the skates on the pond,’ he continues, ‘they spell Alice/ I’ll disappear in your name/ But you must wait for me. Somewhere beneath the sea.’ I see: Carroll loves Alice.

It’s been three years since Waits’ last record, Mule Variations, which was released after a break twice that long. But Waits has such a lengthy musical history committed to record it’s hard not to compare his new music to his old. Some songs on Blood Money sound like the bar fly blues of, say, The Heart of Saturday Night, others more like the industrial stomp of Swordfishtrombones. Alice, meanwhile, mixes the cracked crooning of Blue Valentines with the symphonic slumming of Frank’s Wild Years.

Ah, fuck it, both albums mix up every era Waits in a big gumbo stew. Nevertheless, I suggest to Waits his lyrics have been getting darker and his music rougher, harder, spikier as the years pass by.

‘Please don’t tell me what you feel or what you think,’ Waits says, raising his eyebrows and wrinkling his large forehead in an expression both disdainful and disinterested. Then he shrugs and pours us both more coffee. I shut up and drink the black stuff. An awkward silence follows during which Waits looks about the diner, the beginnings of boredom descending upon him. At a loss, I decide to smoke another Lucky Strike. (Miles Fielder)


107 World Cup merchandise


109 Mary Contini, Lupe Pinto’s

Rear view

120 Phil Kay, John Fardell

.0... Excellent 00.. Recommended 000 Good

.0 Flawed

0 Poor


Both albums mix up every era Waits in a big gumbo stew

"-. v THE LIST 95