Saturday, 24 March 2012

News, Views and Music Issue 138 (Intro)

March 24th:

Another week, another load of mistakes by the Coalition and yet more reasons to be miserable and/or angry so we’ve decided to keep up our run of form and add another newsletter early to the site. We’re away at the beginning of April by the way but do not despair because our next April Fool’s day edition is ready to go – and should keep you busy reading until about Christmas, we reckon. Hmm what else made me cross this week in what seems to have become my slot for moaning about things? Oh yes, I’ve never liked glorified music fan Laurene Laverne much anyway, but her appearance on Room 101 brought it home to me when she consigned music snobs into history. Quite apart from the fact that I momentarily disappeared and had to fight my way out of a room filled with Katie Price, parties and celebrity ring-tones (all worthy causes), her argument was faulty: we really do have ‘snobs’ for every other thing you can think of (food critics, fitness fanatics, millionaire politicians who only care about themselves) so why not music? I can certainly hear the difference between, say, The Spice Girls and The Beatles, and its stupid to think that such a divide doesn’t exist. After all, why would any sensible person not be horrified at the way boy and girl bands who don’t write and are auto-tuned into singing in the studio regularly make number one when not many of your average people have even heard of greats like Bert Jansch, Buffalo Springfield or Belle and Sebastian? Celebrities that know nothing about music appearing on music shows to talk about people who aren’t musicians (and just appear on their album covers) isn’t helping! (for the record, because I know you’re dying to hear it, here’s my Room 101 list: Chronic Fatigue and people’s reactions to it, the people at the BBC who wiped TOTP and Dr Who episodes instead of keeping them in a drawer to sell to me, those annoying pins that come in shirts and still seem to sticking in you three weeks later, hair gel (its the most repellent sensation ever!), the Daily Mail (for inspiring people to get angry about all the wrong causes), the Lord Of The Rings films (it’s just a travelogue for New Zealand! For nine hours!), Braveheart (it’s all wrong, every single line!), Mamma Mia (the worst use of songs ever outside a Spice Girls compilation), all discos nightclubs and bars (what on earth is the appeal?!), alcohol (ditto), the BNP (we’re all immigrants from one generation or another, fatheads!), weather reports (they’re never accurate and if you want to see what the weather is doing stick your head out the window – and why the hell is this ‘fiction’ included at the end of ‘factual’ news reports?!), all of Shakespeare’s plays (Marlowe’s a better writer from the same period all round), exams (why test what you know in a particular hour when you should have been learning it for two years?!), dancing in all forms (why dance to music when you can listen to it?!), modern art installations that think they’re being clever when they took five minutes to make, soap, operas, soap operas, Michael Caine (yuk!), Mary Portas and Jamie Oliver (other than interfere needlessly in people’s lives what do they actually do?!)fashion (a waste of money, time and cotton), The Coalition, The Royal Family and The Spice Girls (all for obvious reasons). Oh and Lauren Laverne. Which means not only am I the world’s grumpiest twenty-something but also that they’d have to dedicate a whole series to me if I ever appeared on Room 101 proper!)

In other news we seem to have had a sudden spike during the week when we went up by around 120 hits on Thursday for no apparent reason that we can see (we’re back to our average of 40 hits a day again now). This represents the largest single figure we’ve ever had on this site for a 24 hour period, hmm just thought you ought to know (hey this might be a Mastermind question one day, guys!) Talking of records, we’ve gone back to our statistics for this week’s top ten, with another similar list for you next week. Keep sending in your comments about what you prefer – we’ve tried to give you a mix of the funny and the serious in this slot and they both seem to be roughly as popular as each other from what you’ve told us to date. In the meantime, it’s on with the news...

The Beach Boys News: A surprise release for you first of all, with the news that Beach Boy Al Jardine is about to release his first proper solo album next week Postcard From California. We dont know much about the album yet, which has been kept very quiet, but we can tell you that its more of a solo project than the Beach Boys, Friends and Family live releases that have been doing the rounds since Jardine left the Mike Love-helmed Beach Boys in the 1990s. So far its the only news we have about the Beach Boys in their 50th anniversary year, although there is still a tour and possibly a new album planned later in the year featuring all the surviving members (Al, Mike, Brian Wilson, Bruce Johnston and even David Marks, who was fired from the band by Murray Dad Wilson in 1963!)

The Who News: Look out for yet another repeat of BBC6s Pete Townshend documentary Before I Get Old, now split from two hour programmes into four half-hour ones. The doc, which finds Pete on characteristically revealing form, runs from the early hours of Tuesday to Thursday next week at half past midnight and should be around for a week or so on I-player.

ANNIVERSARIES: More musical mayhem this week as AAA musicians turn a year older, this week those born between March 13th and 20th: Phil Lesh bassist with The Grateful Dead 1965-95) turns 72 on March 15th; Mike Love (singer with The Beach Boys 1961-present) turns 71 on the same day and Paul Kantner (guitarist with Jefferson Airplane 1965-circa 73 and Jefferson Starship 1974-83) turns 68 on March 17th. Anniversaries of events include: Stephen Stills’ biggest solo hit ‘Love The One You’re With’ reaches its peak of no 3 in the UK charts (March 13th 1971); A feat never likely to be surpassed – despite the millions of classy groups around in 1964, The Beatles still account for a record 60% of record sales in America for the week starting March 14th 1964; The Rolling Stones bid a temporary farewell to Britain with a gig at London’s Roundhouse Theatre before becoming French tax exiles for the next two years (March 14th 1971); Otis Redding comes to Britain as part of a ‘Stax Package’ (March 17th 1967); Ringo Starr films his bizarre T Rex concert film ‘Born To Boogie’ (March 18th 1972); The Beatles release the only single not to be recorded in part at least at Abbey Road Studios ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ (March 20th 1964), Janis Joplin scores her only #1 posthumously with a cover of Kris Kristofferson’s ‘Me And Bobby McGee’ (March 20th 1971) and finally, John and Yoko become johnandyoko after tying the knot in Gibraltar on  March 20th 1969, hot on the heels of paulandlinda.

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