Friday 9 December 2011

News, Views and Music Issue 124 (Intro)

December 9th:

Well, against all the odds I’m still here and still just about hanging on after the miserable experience that is the Atos medical. Though ‘medical’ is perhaps too grand a term for an hour of watching a doctor with three weeks’ training ticking some boxes on his computer and telling me to shush about my illness because he’s only got two options to tick. Talk about computer says no, Little Britain must have been through the process at one time or another. This year’s odd medical question: what shaver do I use? (just beating the bizarre ‘do you have a mobile house?’ which, to be fair, got a garbled in translation and tuned out to be ‘are tyou mobile around your house?’) We shouldn’t be treating our ill and vulnerable like this, where you have to play a ‘game of chess’ with your answers because the person at the other end is restricted to a tick-box system and I’d fight it even harder than I do now if it didn’t make me so ill. Goodness knows when I hear the results – ‘God, I don’t know!’ is the only answer I got – I shall keep you posted if I have to appeal (and if I do, I’m going to have Atops tied in so much red tape they’ll never work in this country again, just as patients in France and America got them kicked out).

In the meantime, our website seems to have stalled at 11,600 odd visitors recently – please come back! – although I have had some more nice comments on ‘Best Ever Albums’ (which now has added text from your truly, written at 6am one morning last week when this whole atos fiasco meant I couldn’t sleep!) Also, check out pur twitter feed if you haven’t already – there’s 122 of you now following my every move, fascinating as I’m sure that is for you all (no, in truth, you just get some great AAA youtube links from time to time and the odd pun about the royal family taking us for a ride). Oh and best representation of a chronic fatigue patient in the week: ‘Mongrels’. I thought BBC3 were already following me about when they came up with the gentlemanly feral fox Nelson (the UK’s best comedy character since...umm...Nick Clegg) but no, this week they’ve added a tortoise with me who does things...very...slowly (and thinks life is all one Government conspiracy). All I need now is a 1960s music loving red squirrel who thinks he’s a timelord to join the gang and I have all of my personalities together on one show...

On with the news and a rather dissapointing selection it is this week. Come on BBC6, you were giving us a really good run there for a few weeks...


Rolling Stones News: Some Girls isnt the best known or best-loved album by any means (see news and views no 30) but the band have always seemed to like it and, well, it probably is their one last significant extension to their canon. Even so the new re-issue bonanza for the album seems crazy theres now three different editions of it, including a super-deluxe edition that includes loads of period concerts well known to bootleggers which are nice but not really essential. What does sound slightly more eseential is the addition of some never before heard outtakes, which rather begs the question why they never turned up on the LP at the time (its one of the Stones shortest) and how they survivied the three albums of vault-raiding that went on in the 1980s. Still, if theyre even a smidegeon as essential as the Exile Street outtakes like the press are saying this month then theyll be a great find indeed. They are: Claudine So Young Do You Think I Really Care? When Youre Gone Spare Parts Dont Be A Stranger  We Had It All I Love You Too Much  Keep Up The Blues and Petrol Blues plus covers of Tallahassee Lassie and You Win Again. Unfortunately, though, this time there are noi alternative vcersions of released songs, a pity because theres a particular good Mick Jagger-sung version of Before They Make Me Run doing the rounds, never mind what else the band has up their vault-sleeves. For the record, you can buy the set as a remastered single CD (why bother? MY CD from five years ago sounds perfectly fine and the technology hasnt improved that much since 2006), a double disc set and a deluxe box set.

ANNIVERSARIES: Birthday greetings to those AAA membersw born between December 6th and 12th: Bobby Elliott (drummer with The Hollies 1963-present) who turns 69 on December 8th and Ray ‘Jacka’ Jackson (lead singer with Lindisfarne 1970-72 and 1978-89) who turns 63 on December 12th. Anniversaries of events include: The first of seven specially made Beatles Christmas Flexi-discs is sent to members of the fab four’s fanclub (December 6th 1963); A busy day for The Rolling Stones who record their classics ‘19th Nervous Breakdown’ and ‘Mother’s Little Helper’ in the space of a few hours (December 6th 1965); Four people die at a free festival – one of them murdered by the Hells Angel security - held in Altamont Speedway 40 years ago this week, headlined by The Rolling Stones and also featuring AAA groups CSNY, Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane (whose lead singer Marty Balin is concussed after breaking up a fight between Hells Angels and audience; December 6th 1969 – the film of the tour, ‘Gimme Shelter’, premieres on the same day in 1970); The Beatles’ Apple Boutique opens its doors at 94 Baker Street (December 7th 1967) and finally, the NME are first to reveal that Graham Nash is leaving The Hollies to work with David Crosby and Stephen Stills in an as yet un-named band (December 7th 1967); The Beach Boys release their first single ‘Surfin’ on the independent Candix label a staggering 49 years ago (December 8th 1961); Pink Floyd release their seminal album ‘The Wall’ – it will go on to be the last #1 by anybody of the 1970s (December 8th 1979); John Lennon dies outside his Dakota Building home in New York weeks after his 40th birthday (December 8th 1980); The Moody Blues with Wingsman Denny Laine score big with their first hit ‘Go Now’ (December 10th 1964); Otis Redding dies at the age of 27 in an aeroplane crash (December 10th 1967); John Lennon releases his first solo LP ‘Lennon/ Plastic Ono Band’ (December 11th 1970); Pink Floyd perform their first gig under that name at an Oxfam charity show (December 12th 1966); The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus, also featuring The Who, is filmed but left unscreened for another 30-odd years (December 12th 1968) ansd finally, John Lennon also plays his first post-Beatles gig with the Plastic Ono Band at Toronto Peace Festival (December 12th 1969).   

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