Friday 22 May 2009

News, Views and Music Issue 32 (Intro)

May 22:

Well another week has been and gone, without an AAA artist at number one (where is all this bad music coming from?!) – but fear not, dear readers, for your weekly escape-pod from modern life is here again with yet another issue packed full of pithy, practical and pulsating reviews to sink your reading glasses into. First up, it’s Eurovision week and I shall shock all of you by saying that I enjoyed this year. The less said about that awful Lloyd Webber ballad muck the better, but in Iceland and Estonia we had no less than two deserving songs to take the title (typically Eurovision, though, the title ended up going to some fairytale nonsense from Norway that only a grandmother could love). What else to tell you? Oh yes, sorry if you’re getting this issue and the next couple a bit late but the library is still closed and our resident IT expert Mike is unavailable for the next couple of weeks (and, unusually, it’s not because the ewok ninjas have got him). So this will all be belated news by the time you get it but no bother – it was current when I wrote it!

Beatles News: The only real news to tell you this week is that a previously unknown fan letter written by George Harrison has come to light (George has been having a busy month, what with last week’s unheard song and all). Alas the letter, which is due to be auctioned sometime soon, is not as revealing as most of the music press will have you know – the main theme of the letter is ‘we don’t like jelly babies when they’re being thrown at you en masse’ – something that every Beatle fan since 1964 surely knows already (not to mention anybody who has actually had jelly babies thrown at them while trying to sing Beatles songs – what a party that was!)

So, with nothing else to tell you, it’s on to our anniversaries column. Happy Birthday To You if your name is Paul Weller (mod god 1979-present), who turns 51 on May 25th, Ray Ennis (singer with the Swinging Blue Jeans) who turns 67 on May 26th, Pete Sears (bassist/keyboardist  with the Jefferson Starship/Starship 1973-86) who turns 61 on May 27th, Cilla Black (cloakroom singer turned blind date presenter) who was born on the very same day in the very same year and finally Ray Laidlaw (drummer with Lindisfarne 1970-72, 1978-2004 and with Jack The Lad 1973-76) who turns 61 on May 28th. Anniversaries of events include: amazingly, it’s 40 years since the release of the Who’s seminal album ‘Tommy’ on May 23rd 1969; just as amazingly it’s 45 years since the Beach Boys released their seminal single ‘I Get Around’ on May 23rd 1964; the Grateful Dead play their first ever British concert at Newcastle’s Hollywood Music Festival on May 23rd 1970; the Jefferson Starship are barred from playing a free concert at their homebase of Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, on May 23rd 1977 after a ban on electric instruments in the park (the band go on to write their best-seller ‘We Built This City’ about the incident nine years later); The Rolling Stones release ‘Jumping Jack Flash’ – a single generally referred to as their ‘comeback’ (comeback from what exactly?!) on May 24th 1968; Simon and Garfunkel replace themselves at the top of the album charts by releasing ‘Bookends’ straight after their soundtrack for the ‘Graduate’ – the first artists since the Beatles and the Monkees to secure this feat (May 25th 1968) and finally Ronnie Lane surprises everybody (including the group) by quitting The Faces to record with his own band Slim Chance (May 28th 1973).

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