Monday, 26 November 2012

News, Views and Music Issue 172 (Intro)

December 5th:

Dear reader, here we are again, still crazy after all these issues. If you haven’t had a look yet then guess which album we’re reviewing this week!...
Meanwhile Cameron’s back on the war path again. Further to last week’s revelations – that plans are underway to prevent anyone appealing a Government decision, including all the awful ATOS assessments – comes the news that the Government have had the bright idea of signing jobseekers up to a new computer software that monitors what they do. Let me make this clear: Government computer systems do not work. The Coalition have nothing to gain from setting up this new system at a ridiculous cost to the taxpayer except to harass jobseekers into seeking jobs that aren’t there. Under this new system applications for each ob will be in the millions (and they were already too high in the tens of thousands) – doesn’t anyone else realise the harm this will do? Apparently not judging by the media reaction which, predictably, talks about the few pounds savings it will make from sanctioned jobseekers as opposed to thousands of pounds cost on a machine that won’t work properly (the Government have form at this kind of thing!) Not since Stalin have so many liberties been taken with democracy in the Western world in the space of one term in Government – and this in peace time with absolutely no reason for changing the system at all (compared to how in debt we were in the 1950s 70s and 80s is like comparing Steptoe and Son to Donald Trump). I guess the world is just like the F1 one – deeply unfair (Alonso the brave lion felled by Vettel the lucky bull). Even the leech Schumacher did well in his last race so there’s definitely something wrong with the world somewhere...

Moan over, we now pass you onto your normal newspaper-style news section which you can access by clicking this link. But before you go, remember – if people ask you why music is your life then reply to them that the real world is for people who can’t imagine anything better. More philosophy next week!

♫ Rolling Stones: A few words on the two Rolling Stones nights. The first part of Crossfire Hurricane was an interesting collection of early material drawn from TOTPs, Ready Steady Gos and newsreel footage that, like the ‘Early Beatles’ doc of 1982 told the story with ‘real’ footage without any hindsights added. That was all saved for the much more boring part two, which dragged like anything without Brian Jones to hold out attention and mainly repeated the Altamont story. Much more interesting were the red button interviews with three of the four band members as they are now (Charlie cried off) which was actually really sweet and had both Mick and Keef talking about their families. The BBC compilation of footage was short but sweet – I’m sure there’s lots more that could have been found over and above the 40 minutes but there were some little seen gems, including a fascinating documentary about pills from the mid 60s that used a long lost TOTP performance of ‘19th Nervous Breakdown’ as the soundtrack. The concert of the band with Muddy Waters in 1981 was, erm, interesting and nice to see, even though the band clearly haven’t bothered to actually learn any of Muddy’s songs. The best, however, was saved to last: the complete 1965 documentary ‘Charlie Is My Darling’ shown unedited at last and what a fab document of its age it is, following the band on their Irish tour. The band play two sets, both of which are interrupted by riots and the cameras are really up close, capturing the mayhem of the teenagers crushing their idols and each other while middle aged security men (and vicars for some reason) look on aghast. The scenes of the Stones backstage are revealing too, even though they’re either travelling (there’s a great scene of the band nearly getting mown down by a train as they try to escape their fans) and messing around and filling in time for the most part. Note how pally Mick and Keef are already, how thoughtful Brian is (‘The thought of growing older is incomprehensible’ he spookily adds near the end), how absent Bill Wyman is even backstage and how much of an outsider Charlie Watts tries to be, but fails, the others taking his bored looks and one-word answers as hilariously funny and Stones-like. A mixed night, then, but the last part (shown last Sunday) alone acts as a great tribute to the Stones’ character and a strong reminder of them on their 50th birthday.

ANNIVERSARIES: Birthday beneficiations to those AAA members born between November 28th and December 4th: Gilbert O’Sullivan who turns 66 on December 1st and Chris Hillman (bassist with The Byrds 1965-68) who turns 70 on December 4th. Anniversaries of events include: John Lennon’s last concert takes place – a three song cameo in the middle of a show by close friend Elton John. Lennon hadn’t been on stage for three years and only took part after Elton bet the ex-Beatle single his latest single ‘Whatever Gets You Thru The Night’ would make #1 in the American charts (November 28th 1974); Lennon is busted for possession of cannabis on the same day he and Yoko release their experimental LP ‘Two Virgins’ (November 29th 1968); The Beatles top the NME ‘favourite group’ poll for the first time – with the exception of 1966 when The Beach Boys win it, The Beatles will hold the title right up until their dissolution in 1970 (November 30th 1963); Wings release their second band single which is, incidentally, their second banned single – the controversial drug taking ode ‘Hi Hi Hi’ (most fans will probably know the B-side ‘C Moon’ better) (November 30th 1972); John Lennon and Yoko Ono release ‘Happy Xmas’ (War Is Over) on December 1st 1971, a date so close to Christmas that the single flops badly on first release before becoming a mainstay of the charts in the festive season of 1972; The Monkees score a record that has still to be broken when fourth album ‘Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones’ becomes their fourth non-compilation #1 record of 1967 (December 2nd); The Moody Blues release the last of their ‘original’ pre-split albums ‘Seventh Sojourn’ (December 2nd 1972); Members of The Who and associates are jailed overnight for causing $6000 of damage to a hotel in Montreal. John Entwistle is not amused – he slept through all the destruction and has no idea why there are policemen knocking on his door! (December 2nd 1973); Pink Floyd’s inflatable pig flying over Battersea Power Station (as seen on the front cover of the band’s 1977 LP ‘Animals’) breaks free from its moorings and disrupts airspace for a good few hours, confusing several pilots and getting the band a great deal of free publicity (December 3rd 1976) and finally, eleven audience members are killed and dozens are hurt during a rush for seats to see The Who in Cincinatti on December 3rd 1979, an event that contributes to the band’s eventual split in 1982.

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