Observations: Radiohead no Patch on Partch
Friday 11 December 2009
As musical beefs go this is one of the more lame (and one-sided) brouhahas in recent rock history. A few weeks back, in an interview with music website Spinner UK, Matthew Friedberger of brother-sister duo the Fiery Furnaces took issue with Radiohead's tribute to Harry Patch, declaring: "You brand yourself by brazenly and arbitrarily associating yourself with things that you know people consider cool. That is bogus. So they have a song about Harry Patch... Is it 48 notes to the octave? What does it have to do with Harry Patch?"
Friedberger had seemingly confused Harry Patch, the recently deceased First World War veteran, with Harry Partch, a relatively obscure but celebrated American composer. Partch, who died in 1974, worked in microtones and was famed for his use of a 43-tone scale.
On realising his error – or, in fact, clarifying that he was making a deliberate mistake (it all gets pretty confusing) – Friedberger decided to double down with a sarcastic statement on his band's MySpace: "Of course, Matt never 'misread' any song title, as has been reported... Matt naturally thought it would be interesting to pretend that they wrote a song about the celebrated American composer with a similar sounding name... Matt has not heard the Radiohead song about Harry Patch, as opposed to his imaginary one about Harry Partch, but if he did, he is sure he wouldn't like it."
He then concluded with an out-of-the-blue word for Beck: "Matt would have much preferred to insult Beck but he is too afraid of Scientologists." Radiohead didn't respond to any of this and the "spat" seemed to be petering out until Beck weighed in (tongue firmly in cheek) with an actual tribute song to Harry Partch, utilising the 43-tone scale and various other Partch innovations. It's streaming on Beck.com.
It should probably have ended there, with some decent music, but Friedberger felt obliged to respond to the possible musical zing with more outpourings on his MySpace blog. They're fairly rambling, rather nonsensical, wandering off on various tangents and probably best avoided. It's all a bit pointless really, but at least there are some positives to come from the silliness: a fine new Beck tune and an introduction to a composer most of us knew little about. Time for a lie down.
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
The best underrated Christmas movies from Love, Actually to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
Ukip founder Alan Sked and Nigel Farage 'begged Enoch Powell to stand as a candidate'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant