Friday, 11 November 2011
News, Views and Music Issue 121 (Intro)
Hello again, dear readers, and what a week its been! Firstly, thank you for the kind comments about the site – I see there’s more and more of you leaving posts for me on various sites around the internet where we’ve advertised Alan’s Album Archives and its lovely to hear positive feedback from people I’ve never actually met! We’ve also shot past 10,700 in record time which is very promising indeed so thank you for all the views – please carry on spreading the word if you think other people would like this site. Finally, I’ve also been able to seriously renovate the ‘Alan’s Songs’ section which has never worked properly till now. It’s still far from perfect and I’m in the middle of re-writing my song synopses and lyrics for you as I writew this – but you can now hear all 32 of my compositions alongside reading the articles (of course, I’d love to bring you full versions of the songs and albums up for discussion on this site – but as I don’t own the copyright, of course, I can’t at the present time so you’ll have to put up with my songs!) The only black cloud on the horizon is the Government messing things up again. I’ve just heard the sad story of a fellow fibromyalgia sufferer who committed suicide when their incapacity application was refused and I myself am being harassed something dreadful over the money I’m making from this site right in the middle of filling in the biggest form ever seen (it cost me £2.70 to print and another £2.70 to photocopy! Do they think I’m made of money? Presumably not since they cut my income in half ‘presuming’ that I‘m not going to pass their incapacity benefit rules!) I had to laugh though: because Britain isn’t officially a part of the latest G20 summit confernce on the EU (stop picking on Greece – its not their fault the international bankers wiped them out and we’ll be next) so the news had to report ‘gathered together here are some of the world’s most important leaders – plus David Cameron’. Says it all! Oh and another headlined ‘Cameron alarmed at UK’ (because of immigration figures). How about ‘UK alarmed at Cameron’?! (much closer to the truth!)
♫ Beatles News: I’ve finally seen the second half of the George Harrison ‘Living In The Material World’ documentary and I’m pleased to say this ‘solo’ half was much better than the ‘Beatles’ bit. The last half hour, taking in George’s battle against cancer, the intruder who broke into their Friar Park House in 1999 and George’s death in 2001 was superb and very, very moving: we’ve never heard widow Olivia or son Dhani talk at this length, ever, and I learnt more in George in that last part in one go than at any time since his death. Alas there’s not really that much home footage in this section, barring the odd holiday footage, and sadly George’s always under-rated solo career seems to take a back seat in the documentary past the release of ‘All Things Must Pass’ (the ‘George Harrison’ album, for on e, is deeply under-rated). There’s some nice interviews with George that are either unseen or very rare, however, plus revealing and relevent interviews with all sorts of people including Paul McCartney, Michael Palin and Jackie Stewart, although unusually it’s Ringo – recounting the last time he saw George alive – whose the most moving (he was being his usual stroppy himself in the first half of the film). The film even ends with ‘Long Long Long’, my favourite of George’s many wonderful songs and all the more poignnat here for its talk about life, death band rebirth (even though they sadly cut it before the coda and leave us with a rather awkward silencve for the final minute’s worth of credits). A success, although I still wish the first half had been better edited and that the ‘break’ between the two halves had been better managed (having another 10 minutes worth of the Beatles break-up at the start of part two is a pain – perhaps they should have started with ‘All Things Must Pass’?!)
♫ CSN News: David Crosby is the latest figure to ‘do the Wall Street Shuffle’ to quote another band, visiting the protesters there this month (how typical – Americans are actually allowed to protest outside the rtight buildings whilst in Britain we have to make do with St Paul’s and even then are likely to be moved on). Alas, Crosby didn’t get a chance to perform but he did chat to lots in the crowd apparently, looking very dapper in a bobble hat! Crosby-Nash bassist Kevin McCormack was with him on his walk.
♫ Monkees News: The West End will be home to an extravaganza entitled ‘Monkee Business’ sometime next year, with a plot loosely based on various Monkees TV epsiodes and all of the band’s greatest hits. Alas, the musical isn’t a re-telling of The Monkees story (which would make quite a good little story if told in a ‘Jersey Boys’ Four Seasons kind of a way) and won’t feature any input from our fab four but will at least make a change from the godawful lows of Mama Mia and We Will Rock You (what’s the only thing worse than sitting through three hours of Queen? Sitting through three hours of poor Queen cover versions!) Thank goodness last year’s proposed Spice Girls musical seems to have gone all quiet!
♫ Simon and Garfunkel News: Few albums get full documnetaries dedicated to them, but Simon and Garfunkel’s ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ now has three! Alan Yentob’s largely excellent series of ‘Imagine’ programmes continues on Tuesday, November 8th on BBC One at 10.35pm with an hour full of S+G in 1970 rehearsing, recording and no doubt arguing, plus some newer interviews. The programme is likely to be simialr to the one included in the ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ set earlier this year, which rather begs the question: why did no one celebrate the 40th anniversary of this album last year – and why are two seperate companies celebrating it’s 41st this year?!
♫ The Who News: Pete Townshend’s inaugural speech at what is planned to be a whole sderies of lecvtures in John Peel’s name was characteristically confusing, over the top, hackneyed, flamboyant, funny, piercing, to the point, flippant, emotional and revealing as you’d expect. Pete decided to dedicate most of his speech – broadcast on BBC6 and the BBC red button last week – to the current musical climate and how the new bands of today are forced to usde the internet, rather than radio, to make themselves heard. Pete’s been criticised by Itunes and Apple for calling them ‘vampires’, sucking the blood of new musicians by giving them low pay and short screening time for fans to get to know their songs – but the full speech shows Townshend being surprisngly respectful of the way the industry now works and the good things companies like Apple have done. Pete rightly adds that there is no one around to play the eclectic music that John Peel used to play, even though Peel’s programmes were less respected and had less followers anyway before he died thanks to the internet boom and his point about his ‘masterpieces’ Tommy and Quadrophenia only taking off to radio stations open enough to play double albums back to back on radio stations was a good one: new artists simply don’t have any second chances to make an impression anymore and have to make their impact within 30 seconds. Pete seemed to get a bit lost in his notes and made a few jokes that the selected audience didn’t seem to get but, no matter, for the most part this first speech was a success – and its a shame that Pete had to be cut off in his prime during the question-and-answer session because of the programme’s slightly delayed start. Let’s hope we get some similarly eloquent speakers in the future!
ANNIVERSARIES: A big virtual reality birthday cake is on its way to AAA members born between November 15th and 21st: Gene Clark (Mr Tambourine Man with the Byrds 1965-66) would have been an amazing 70 on November 17th and Rod Clements (bassist with Lindisfarne 1970-72 and 1978-2002) who turns 64 on the same day (November 17th). Anniversaries of events include: The Rolling Stones make their US TV debut, singing ‘Get Off My Cloud’ on the ‘Hullabaloo’ show (November 15th 1965); Janis Joplin is arrested for using ‘vulgar’ language onstage during a gig in Tampa, Florida – the charges are later dropped; Dire Straits’ ‘Brothers In Arms’ breaks the then-record sales for Great Britain – three million sales – just two years after release (November 15th 1987); Small Face Ronnie Lane releases his first and most successful solo single ‘How Come?’ (November 16th 1973); The Beatles receive their first ‘silver’ disc – for high sales of only their second single ‘Please Please Me’ (November 18th 1963); Danny Whitten, guitarist with the first line-up of Crazy Horse, overdoses on drugs bought with the travel money band leader Neil Young has given him to fly back home, inspiring Neil’s ‘doom trilogy’ (November 18th 1972); The Rolling Stones enjoy their first UK #1 with ‘Little Red Rooster’ (November 19th 1964); Ray Davies interrupts a Kinks American tour for the second time to re-record a single line in one of the band’s singles to prevent it being banned from the airwaves (the ‘foggin’ line in ‘Apeman’, following a ban on the brand-name ‘coca-cola’ in ‘Lola’; November 19th 1970) and finally, Scott Haldin, a 19-year-old Who fan learning to play the drums, gets the shock of his life when Keith Moon collapses at a gig full of animal tranquilisers and the band sheepishly ask for any drummers in the audience to fill in for him – only Scott responds (November 20th 1973).