Saturday, 17 December 2011
News, Views and Music Issue 125 (Intro)
Hello and welcome to the AAA, the only newsletter run from AAA batteries! Christmas is coming, the bankers are getting fat, please don’t put any more in their big white hats...so much for them, we’ve still got our last ‘normal’ newsletter to go for 2011 – well, if you include a wacko review of a wacko album and a top five where your I-player tells you your fortune as normal...In the meantime: I still have no news about my assessment so still can’t tell you much about the future of this site as yet. I’m almost ready for xmas too (just as soon as Amazon get a move on with my last present) and have done most of my wrapping now (although that said most of the wrapping got stuck to various parts of my anatomy rather than the presents). With any luck that last piush of effort means that, once this week’s review is written, I can finally crash and catch up on all the hours of sleep I haven’t been getting for the last two months thanks to anti-Santa Atos and their unfriendly elves (see last few issues for more moaning on the subject). Assuming I wake up in time and don’t have anything nasty in the post to deal with, next week should see the – gulp – fourth of our regular Christmas issues. Sorry you can’t hang it under your tree (unless you;re reading this on a new phone) but just in case we get waylaid in the coming weeks we at the AAA just wanted to wish all you readers a very merry xmas and love and mercy to the world (barring David Cameron, naturally). Tune in soon too for our best releases of the year, which are as controversial as ever (well, I got two comments in my inbox about my decision last year anyway...)
♫ Beatles News: Ahh remember the days when yuletide meant a new Beatles album under the tree, an exclusive fanclub disc in the post and quite often a classic fab four ditty at the top of the charts? Me neither, alas, I’m too young – but compared to modern times when all your presents are downloads, the post includes bills and there’s some godawful girl band at #1 that makes The Spice Girls look good its easy to get nostalgic for a happier, more sensible time. Tuesday, December 27th at 11.30am has Alexiei Sayle presenting his own take on the links between The Beatles and Christmas, with discussions of those fanclub discs (reviewed last year in these very pages), ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ and, most intriguingly, the infamous Beatles panto that ran in London at the end of 1963. Beatles press officer Tony Barrow adds his input into the discussion too. Later the same day Yoko Ono will be guesting on ‘Food For Thought’ at 1.45pm also on radio four, discussing her Japanese heritage and her and John’s favourite American dishes. Alas that’s it for AAA stars over xmas in stark contrast to last year’s decidedly Kinksy Xmas, barring some long overdue tributes to the late great Jimmy Saville. Howsaboutthatthen?!
♫ Bee Gees News: Note – this moaning review contains spilers, so if you haven’t seen the programme yet look away now...OK, so they aren’t really an AAA group but I just had to moan about ITV’s belated follow up to their ‘top greatest Abba songs’ poll with a programme about the Brothers Gibb. First moan: why was this programme reduced to 20 songs? At least the Abba programme had more space for the lesser known (but better) moments in their canon. Second moan: why was there so much emphasis on the godawful songs from the 70s and 80s? ‘How Deep Is Your Love?’ at #1? You Win Again at #2? (at least Massuchessets made #3, I was getting worried it might not be on at all! Third moan: How come all time classic and one true masterpiece ‘To Love Somebody’ only made it as high as #13?! And where the heck was ‘New York Miningt Disaster’?! For the record my favourite Bee Gees songs is a fight between ‘Every Christian Lionhearted Man Will Show You’ and ‘I Can’ty See Nobody’ (both songs from their best album by far ‘1st’, which is actually their fourth – don’t worry about it, its too confusing to explain) but I’m not surprised they didn’t get any votes as so few fans even know about them! Let’s hope if ITV ever get round to giving an AAA band this treatment it’ll be a longer and better advertised programme...(Additional moan four: who says its a nationwide survey? I never heard about the programme in time to cast my vote and I run a music website for heaven’s sakes!) Nice interviews though, to be fair, and at least seeing The Bee Gees made a welcome break from the likes of tonight’s dreaded horror: a night in with Justin Bieber (kill me now...)Ah well, if nothing else its inspired me to get my old Bee Gees CDs out wich I haven’t played in ages, so expect a top five devoted to the Brothers Gibb sometime soon!
♫ The Who News: I’ve heard some mighty strange Radio 4 Plays in my time – Pete Townshend’s ‘Lifehouse’ near the top incidentally – but never have I heard a play quite as unusual as last week’s effort ‘Burning At Both Ends’. This latest play was narrated by the ghosts of Who drummer Keith Moon and Who film actor Oliver Reed, who met on the set of ‘Tommy’ and started a long and boozy relatiaonship filled with mayhem and destruction until the drummer’s death in 1978. The apri are still at it too according to the play – give it a listen on I-player and apologies for not noticing it sooner (I check lots of TV and radio listings on my set-top box regularly for this site, but strangely Inever thought of checking the Radio 4 Afternoon Play!)
ANNIVERSARIES: It’s that time of year again for bouncing AAA Birthday babies born between December 13th and 19th: Frank Allen (bassist with The Searchers 1965-present) who turns 68 on December 14th, Tony Hicks (guitarist with The Hollies 1963-present) who turns 68 on December 16th and Keith Richards (guitarist with The Rolling Stones 1962-present) turns 68 on December 18th. Anniversaries of events include: The Who perform ‘Tommy’ at the Coliseum Opera House in London (December 13th 1969); Paul Simon scores his first hit in seven years with ‘The Boy In The Bubble’ (December 13th 1969); Ringo takes a close-up look at the younger trendy pop sensations when he dons a camera for ‘Born To Boogie’, the Apple label’s documentary film about T Rex (December 14th 1972); Mick Taylor quits the Rolling Stones after just four albums with the band (December 14th 1974); John Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band play the first solo gig of any Beatle at the Lyceum in London, weeks before the announcement of a split (December 15th 1969); George Harrison breaks up the Beatles when he is deported from Germany for being underage – thankfully for music as we know it the band decamp to Liverpool and reunite in the new year (December 16th 1961); The Who bow out for the first time after 17 years on the road, after a show at Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens (December 17th 1982); JohnandYoko appear in a ‘bag’ to highlight racism classism and sexism during a memorable event during London’s ‘Alchemical Wedding’ Christmas celebration (December 18th 1968) and finally, Keith Moon collapses onstage for the first time of many during a Who gig at Windsor’s Ricky Tick Club (December 19th 1965).