[JPL] Dom Joly: Jazz: love the lifestyle, can't stand the music

Jazz Promo Services jazzpromo at earthlink.net
Sun Sep 28 11:22:37 EDT 2008


>From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Dom Joly

Born    November 15, 1968 (age 39)[1]
Beirut, Lebanon
Occupation    Political researcher, comedian and writer
Dominic John Joly (born 15 November 1967) (better known as Dom Joly) is an
award-winning British television comedian and journalist. He came to note as
the star of Trigger Happy TV, a hidden camera show, and Dom Joly's Happy
Hour, a spoof travel show in which he explored the drinking habits of other
cultures and more recently his new show "The Complainers". Joly is also a
writer with several books to his name and several regular columns in UK
nationals and periodicals, including a spoof column for The Independent as a
fictional American journalist Cooper Brown.[2]

Dom Joly: Jazz: love the lifestyle, can't stand the music
Sunday, 28 September 2008

I think I've always hated jazz music. The whole bepbopdadooscoobydoo scat
thing just gets my goat. I'm sure aficionados will say I'm wrong and I'd
never pretend to understand it properly. It's just, to me, it's always
seemed to be random, tuneless nonsense. The jazz lifestyle, on the other
hand, is something I've always been rather attracted to ­ louche "cats" in
shades and polo necks smoking "jazz" cigarettes and most likely reading
"jazz" mags in between radical smoky basement sessions surrounded by groovy
femmes fatales.

To me, jazz had always been synonymous with beatniks and Kerouac and hazy
anti-establishmentarianism. It's a great shame, therefore, that I've always
found the music so totally unlistenable to. Maybe, as with classical music,
I just need educating. Sadly, I've always felt that if you needed to be
educated to like something then it was most probably bollocks. I do have to
admit to owning Miles Davis's Kind of Blue. It's one of those albums with
the word blue in it that it seems to be almost compulsory to own (another
example is the completely indigestible Blue by Joni Mitchell, an album of
aural torture). I do quite like the Miles Davis album ­ it's good for
wafting over the pool on a sunny day or as a gentle soundtrack to a dull
dinner party. If I had a lift then I'd pipe it through my lift speakers.
(Who chooses the music for lifts? Just once I'd like to get in one to find
it playing Napalm Death or Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music.)

But I digress. The reason I'm riffing free-style on the whole jazz scene,
man, is that last week I found myself squeezed into a booth in Ronnie
Scott's in Soho. A friend had invited me along to see a singer whom he
really likes. He wanted to get my opinion on whether we should do something
with her for our production company.

The last time I'd been to Ronnie Scott's was when I was about 23 and I took
a girl there who was subsequently to break my heart not once, not twice, but
three times. It was enough to turn any self-respecting jazzman to heroin.
I'd been trying to impress her by appearing sophisticated. I remember
sitting in there worrying about how expensive the drinks were and hoping
that my card wouldn't be refused, and wondering whether she was enjoying the
music. I certainly wasn't, despite doing my very best to nod in time to the
syncopated beats and pretend that I was.

Fifteen or so years later, and here I was again. I looked round the intimate
little venue ­ tables of hushed couples sitting around in moody lighting,
their faces strained with earnestness. Often, when I'm out and about, I'm
hassled by strangers who want to know whether I have my Big Mobile with me.
I do my best to hint that those days are well behind me and that I'm now a
serious man of letters. This particular evening, however, a familiar feeling
started to raise its ugly head. As a particularly sensual and soft jazz
ballad was being crooned, you could hear a pin drop. The longer it went on
the more I got the old urge to stand up and scream: "NO, I'M IN A JAZZ CLUB
strong, like that disturbing magnetic feeling you get when you're near a
cliff's edge and something seems to be pulling you towards it (maybe that's
just me). It was like some long-buried addiction coming back to haunt me. I
fought the urge hard until the ballad finally ended, and then I bolted.

This was very definitely not my scene, man. As Bart Simpson once put it so
succinctly: "Cartoons ­ America's only native art form. I don't count jazz
because it sucks."

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