Saturday 29 September 2012

News, Views and Music Issue 164 (Intro)

October 10th:
Dear all, I recently came across a statistic that said that ‘MacBeth’ was only a piddly 18,000 words long. I thus realised to my horror that I complete at least half a ‘MacBeth’ in these newsletters every week and expect yopu to read it all, so I shall try and keep it short this week (frankly it seemed one hell of a lot longer when I had to study the flipping thing). Incidentally I write about a third of a ‘hamlet’ every week too (approx 32,000 words) although I have a bit to go before I approach Tolstoy’s ‘War and Peace’ (561,000 words – the equivalent of around 37 newsletters; although to be fair I bet Tolstoy didn’t write all of his work in a 9 month period like I have!)
Website statistics this month include 23,700 visitors to our ‘Moonfruit’ site and 3,200 to our ‘Blogspot’ site so we’ve more or less hit the 27,000 mark in total. Not bad going for a business with no real budget and only poorly me to look after it! We’ve not had any responses to our change in news sections yet (thanks to we now have a link to a newspaper style column filled in by official sources of 25 of our AAA artists and so don’t have to write them ourselves anymore), but have picked up some traffic from it so we’ll continue to use it unless you say otherwise, dear reader. The link is here:
♫ Beach Boys News: Just one item to add; well that was quite a week for us Beach Boys fans in the UK wasn’t it?! First up, Monday’s ‘Beach Boys at 50’ doc told the usual story of the band’s journey from surfing boys to Pet Sounds adults in break-neck speed (the second part is this coming Monday, radio 2, at 9pm). New interviews were taken with the surviving members but not much new was really added to the story for long-term collectors. The closest we got to rarities were the backing tracks from the ‘Pet Sounds Sessions’ box set but, still, if you were a newcomer to this band you’d have been well served as all the important developments were here. More interesting still was the ‘Beach Boys In Concert’ 90 minute set (which was in truth more like 60 minutes once the chat was taken out) where the band sounded much better than expected to be honest. Most of the expected songs were there – up to 1967 anyway, with ‘Heroes and Villains’ the most recent song barring the news stuff – although some gems from the early period not heard since 1964/65 were a very welcome addition to the set (the glorious ‘Catch A Wave’ and a cover of Frankie Lymon’s ‘Why Do Fools Fall In Love?’) There was nothing from ‘Smile’ except ‘Villains’ I noted and nothing from Pet Sounds bar ‘God Only Knows’ and the excruciating ‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice?’, but its still nice to hear some songs out of the usual.
The final Beach Boys appearance was on Jools Holland this Tuesday (with an extended edition due Friday as I write) where the boys played two so-so songs from their new album ‘That’s Why God Made The Radio’ and a seemingly improvised ‘Barbara Ann’. What’s interesting to note is how mutes Mike Love was, how edgy Brian Wilson still seemed (despite having his excellent backing band The Wondermints on hand to help) but how confident part-time Beach Boys Bruce Johnstone and David Marks (out of the band since 1964!) were. A delight to have the band around at all, although I can’t say I’ve taken to their new album very much, which is just an average Brian Wilson solo album with a couple of guest spots (and a long way down from even Brian’s ‘That Lucky Old Sun’ set of 2008). Incidentally the Radio Times for this last week listed a Radio 2 repeat of the Beach Boys’ ‘Producers’ documentary I missed a few years ago, but – typical – it got replaced by a documentary on Gene Kelly instead, seemingly at the last minute. Was this yet another late decision by one of the band in true Beach Boys style?!

ANNIVERSARIES: Birthdays have come around again for this week’s AAA members (born between October 3rd and 9th): Kevin Godley (drummer with 10cc 1972-76) who turns 67 on October 7th and two very different and much missed ‘John’s: Lennon and Entwistle (Bassist with The Who 1965-82) who would have been 72 and 68 respectively on October 9th. Anniversaries of events include: The release of the fab four’s first ‘proper’ single ‘Love Me Do’ (October 5th 1962); Jefferson Airplane add a new member, making his debut with a band after time as a solo performer – step forward Papa John Creach, a violinist in his 50s! (October 5th 1970); Art Garfunkel releases his first solo single, the moody ballad ‘All I Know’ (October 6th 1973); the same day Ringo scores his first #1 with the George co-write ‘Photograph’ (October 6th 1973); The Rolling Stones are in trouble again when the Rev Jesse Jackson (close supporter of the late, great Martin Luther King, the most important figure of the 20th century that wasn’t a musician) takes umbridge at lines in the Stones song ‘Some Girls’ (which, to be fair, pick on everybody!) (October 6th 1978); John Lennon wins his ‘green card’ (which, ironically enough, is blue) just in time for his 35th birthday, allowing him to stay in America despite his 1968 drugs bust (October 7th 1975); John and Yoko meet for the first time at the latter’s exhibition at London’s Indica Gallery on John’s 26th birthday (October 9th 1966) and finally, Sean Lennon, John and Yoko’s son, is also born on this date in 1975 – John’s 35th birthday! Bet October 9th was a busy day in that household!

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