Thursday, 9 August 2012

News, Views and Music Issue 156 (Intro)

August 10: Dear friends, you may have noticed our last issue on doesn’t look quite right. Presumably this one won’t either but we’re not quite sure why – apparently we can only post in ‘html’ format that takes all the colour and font differences away, making it rather a hard Dear friends, you may have noticed our last issue on doesn’t look quite right. Presumably this one won’t either but we’re not quite sure why – apparently we can only post in ‘html’ format that takes all the colour and font differences away, making it rather a slog to read. Sorry about this – if we can ever work out what’s wrong we can re-post everything but in the meantime you can always read exactly the same posts via our ‘old’ site at Perhaps we’ve just written so much that we’ve crashed another site! In other news – if you didn’t get to see either the BBC ‘Panorama’ programme or the Channel 4 ‘Dispatches’ special about the horrors of the benefits system then, please, look out for them on Youtube or Iplayer now. Both programmes try their best to be neutral but the sheer scale of the ineptitude and downright evilness of the Coalition and ATOS creators needs to be seen to be believed and has been creating quite a stir amongst the UK national papers, despite both programmes being hidden away in the beginning of a week of Olympics. Everyone everywhere has been saying ‘shame on you ATOS’ and both documentaries laughably expose the Government’s claims that there are no targets for ATOS to reach as an outright lie thanks to undercover filming. The fact that the only Government minister they could find to speak out in defence was Chrius Grayling speaks volumes – this bastard, who claimed that doctors ‘should look beyond the first appearance’ and force thousands back to work claimed £10,000 last month of taxpayer’s money to have his house re-decorated. You’d think after such a growing scandal the Coalition would back off, but no – professor Harrington, hired to come up with an independent inquiry into the ATOS benefits system has basically just been sacked. Oh and which two companies do you think have just been hired to control the PIP benefits system due in 2014 which will be even more ridiculously over-bearing than the current one? ATOS again and G4S, the very same company who couldn’t be arsed to turn up to do the security at the Olympic games and got a stiff telling off from the nation. How absurd, how stupid, how very Coalition. Pass the news on if you can – we need to get them out before even more harm is done. As if that wasn’t enough we pass our sympathies on to our brave brethren who took the Government to court rather than face months of unpaid slave labour on a workfare scheme. Corectly arguing that as a graduate with high grades there was nothing she could gain from working shifts at Poundland, she had been arguing that the decision was a breach of her human rights – sadly her case was thrown out of court. Let’s hope all that publicity got her a decent job offer and that next time around the judges will realise how poor the empoloyment market is at the moment and how making people work for nothing is not good for businesses or employees. End of rant (till next week!) There’s not much other news for you this week. Our site hits seem to have slowed down a tad recently, although we’ve still rocketed past 22,000 hits total for both sites. Anyway, it’s on with the news... ♫ CSN News: There’s a fascinating Graham Nash interview just posted at the excellent CSNY fansite 4 Way Site (link here: The most interesting concrete news is that the Stills box set is due out in October (it will be like the Crosby and Nash solo sets already out). The most interesting emotional news is how hurt Stills was when Neil Young cancelled the planned Buffalo Springfield gigs and how Crosby and Nash rallied round, cancelling their own tours to go out on the road as CSN to make up for the loss of money (and loss of face). In case you think that’s a bit too pally for CSN then Nash goes on to talk about how angry he was 33 years ago to the day when Stills’ solo set over-ran by three songs (in his attempts to impress Bob Dylan sitting in the audience). Dead fans might be interested to hear about Nash sharing a studio with Jerry Garcia while working on his ‘Songs For Beginners’ album and getting him to play pedal steel for the first time on ‘Teach Your Children’ and Airplane fans might be surprised to learn about Nash getting the hots for a visiting Grace Slick in a metallic dress! ♫ Monkees News: ITV documentary ‘We Love The Monkees’ was surprisingly good given that it’s a record 4th time a documentary has attempted to tell the Monkees’ tale in an hour. Both Micky and Peter took part, offering up some new nuggets about the band’s early and later days and there was some fantastic unseen footage of Davy returning home to Manchester and looking round his old neighbourhood in the early 70s. Perhaps the greatest thing, though, was that Davy’s family talked to us for the first time, offering their insights into the pop star as an ordinary man at home rather than the celebrity he was on stage. I would have liked more details about The Monkees’ revolt on ‘Headquarters’ and their next two records which all passed by in a bit of a blur, but at least this documentary spoke to more of those who mattered than normal, with third album producer Chip Douglas, engineer Hank Cicalo and even some of the episode writers giving their first interviews for quite a long time. It’s a shame there wasn’t a new interview with Mike Nesmith, though, or that the producers failed to use his comments in archive footage, the way they got round the hole that was usually filled by Davy’s comments. ♫ The Who News: The Telegraph have this week published perhaps the most controversial music-related letter since the Beatles took over the Times to campaign for the legalisation of marijuana in 1967. Pete Townshend is among several dozen British musical stars protesting against the unfair arrest of the Russian girl band Pussy Riot (who were thrown into prison for calling on the Virgin Mary to ‘arrest president Putin’ live on stage). Putin is visiting London for the Olympics the day the paper is released and the stars hope that the Russian President will listen to their pleas and give the girl band a fair trial. The wording reads: "Dissent is a right in any democracy and it is entirely disproportionate that they face seven years in jail for what we consider a preposterous charge of 'hooliganism motivated by religious hatred'. We are especially concerned about recent reports that food is being withheld from them and that they have appeared in court in a cage. We believe firmly that it is the role of the artist to make legitimate political protest and fight for freedom of speech.” More news if and when we hear it. ANNIVERSARIES: Birthday bashes are happening at the houses of AAA members born between August 8th and 14th: Mark Knopfler (guitarist, singer and pretty much everything with the Dire Straits 1979-93) who turns 63 on August 12th and David Crosby (singer and guitarist with The Byrds 1965-68 and with Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young various dates between 1969 and present) who turns 71 on August 14th. Anniversaries of events include: August 8th 1964 saw the release of perhaps the greatest AAA spin-off single of all time: ‘Ringo For President’ by the Young World Singers’. ‘It would be nice but I don’t have the time right now’ quipped Ringo when asked it!; Ready! Steady! Go! for perennial TV favourite Ready! Steady! Go! which premieres on August 9th 1963 and runs for three years and four months; the infamous Charlie Manson murders take place in Laurel Canyon, relevant to this site as Manson is a close friend of Beach Boy Dennis Wilson, quotes various songs from The Beatles’ White Album at the crime scenes and causes several AAA members living in California’s Laurel Canyon to emigrate elsewhere (August 9th 1969); Paul McCartney is arrested on his first ever drugs charge, several years after John and George, although conversations later suggest he actually carried the rap for wife Linda who is pregnant with daughter Stella at the time. Ironically, this drug conviction means Macca is not allowed to visit the States for any length of time and Lennon’s drug conviction means he can’t leave there – this is pretty much the only thing stopping a Beatles reunion at this point in time (August 10th 1972); the first of the annual Richmond Jazz Festivals takes place on August 11th 1963, with those well known jazz musos The, umm, Rolling Stones headlining; The Beatles announce the formation of Apple Records barely a week after first mentioning their plans for their new company – the first release is the band’s ‘Hey Jude’ (August 11th 1968); A tearful John Lennon gets as close to an apology as middle America will ever get over his ‘Beatles bigger than Jesus’ remarks (August 12th 1966); The now sadly forgotten ‘Festival Of Hope’ takes place, the first to be designed from the outset to raise money for charity (that decision came late in the day at Woodstock). Headlining are AAA men Jefferson Airplane (one of their last gigs) and Stephen Stills, but despite the talent on offer the festival ends up making a loss (August 12th 1972); The Kinks’ first charting entry ‘You Really Got Me’ is released this week (August 13th 1964) and finally, Jefferson Airplane make their debut performance at San Francisco’s Matrix Club, a venue that just happens to be owned by vocalist Marty Balin (August 13th 1965).

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