Sunday, 29 April 2012
News, Views and Music Issue 142 (Intro)
Dear friends, sorry this is such a sombre newsletter but it’s been a rotten week, trying to manage a bad case of chronic fatigue and having to catch up with all things while I’ve been away. Goodness knows why but everything seems to have happened during the past fortnight and I’ve been swamped under like never before so, inevitably, I’ve crashed out quite badly. Hence this week’s top five – which probably won’t be mentioned again but had to be included here, just in case.
In happier news, Cameron’s position in the UK cabinet is looking ever more fragile, thanks to the latest scandal and sleaze (culture Secretary James Hunt’s links to the media), another dip in the UK’s economic growth (well, duh, we told everyone months ago that the growth was because of Xmas and was bound to fall again) and accusations that he isn’t working hard enough. Seeing Cameron squirm more than ever through another Parliament question time was a real sight for sore eyes (sore because I’ve had to fill that infernal medical form in six weeks early and with a shorter deadline than ever before) and it can’t be long before the Coalition are gone (#coalitiongonebyxmas). For those of you who don’t know, this site features links to all the verifiable news stories of those who have lost their lives either because of suicide or stress under the Caolition’s welfare reforms and it makes for very shocking reading indeed: http://calumslist.org/ More people need to know the truth and truth (as well as music) is what this site is all about, so please, pass the message on and remember them in time for the local elections next week (honestly, you’d think the Conservatives had got mixed up with the Monster Raving Loony Party, except their policies actually make a lot more sense).
What can possibly make things better given such a mess? Why The Beach Boys ‘Smile’ box set, that’s what...so without any more delay its on with the news and the reviews...
♫ Beatles News: The story of Apple Records has long deserved a film to itself – a proper one to go alongside the fly-on-the-wall zaniness of house hippy Richard De Lallio’s sterling ‘Longest Cocktail Party In The World’. Now it has one, thanks to a new DVD called ‘Strange Fruits’ and featuring potted biographies of what happened to Mary Hopkins, James Taylor et al, plus the greatest and most lasting Apple discovery Badfinger and the undeservedly forgotten Beatle friend Jackie Lomax. None of the Beatles are interviewed, of course, but a number of other people involved are. Worryingly, though, the DVD is set to come out on a label with the wonderful name ‘Sexy Intellectual’(!), which is hardly a name that goes hand in hand with the scholarly work such a topic deserves.
♫ Hollies News: To celebrate the new Hollies at the BBC set, Radio 2 are repeating their excellent (aside from the title) documentary ‘They Ain’t Heavy, They’re The Hollies’ from 2007. The programme, in two parts, will be broadcast in the 9pm slot on Wednesday, May 9th and the following Wednesday, May 16th.
♫ Paul Simon News: Regular fans of this column will know that I don’t really care much for ‘Graceland’, an album often heralded as the masterpiece of the 1980s but for me by far the weakest solo LP Paul Simon ever made. Still, the story of the making of the album is a good one and that’s what a new documentary DVD, ‘Under African Skies’, is studying. Intriguingly Paul Simon admits for the first time that maybe he was wrong to break the boycott against working with African musicians (put in place in protest at the apartheid in the region) when last I heard Paul was being heralded as a left-wing hero for doing precisely that. The documentary is also being released in selected cinemas in the UK (though no dates have been released as yet) and will be a ‘bonus’ feature in the forthcoming 25th anniversary Graceland set.
♫ 10cc News: Lawrence Creme has been steadily building up a ‘third career’ for himself as a producer the past 15 years or so, after stints as 10cc’s guitarist in the 70s and as a music video pioneer in the 80s. So it seems logical that he should be involved with an exciting new project labelled simply ‘The Producers’ along with three other leading lights of contemporary record producing (alongside Trevor Horn, who produced the Belle and Sebastian album ‘Dear Catastrophe Waitress’ which we reviewed three issues back). The quartet’s new album ‘Made In Basing Street’ is out now
♫ The Who News: here’s an example of how organised, cultured and sophisticated the UK Olympics team is this year. Apparently the organisers of the opening ceremony thought that The Who might like to get together – they secured cautious approval from Pete and Roger but two original members wasn’t enough. So they sent a messenger round to the last known address of Keith Moon to urge him to take part in the show. Unfortunately, Keith Moon died in 1978 and they hadn’t updated their records (or seen any news bulletins about the band in the past 34 years!) Honestly, this whole thing is hopeless – what do we want an Olympics for anyway, we’ve already had one in the living memory of most people (1956) and that was a disaster too due to unemployment, strikes, rationing and a dissolving Government in ruins (nothing ever changes does it?!)
ANNIVERSARIES: Birthdays from April 25th to May 1st: Klaus Voormann (Beatle friend, illustrator and bass player) turns 70 on April 29th and amazingly two CSN girlfriends have their birthdays on May 1st, Judy Collins (who turns 73 this year) and Rita Cootlidge (who turns 68). Anniversaries of events include: The official dissolution of Wings 18 months after their last recordings (April 25th 1981); the Rolling Stones release their first LP imaginatively titled ‘Rolling Stones’ (April 26th 1964); Ringo Starr and his twin Ognir Rrats starr in a rather odd TV special ‘Prince And The Pauper’ plugging the ‘Bad Boy’ album (April 26th 1978); It’s a good week for Ringo in fact – he marries second wife and former Bond girl Barbara Bach on April 27th 1981; Andrew Loog Oldham sees the ramshackle Rolling Stones perform for the first time at their ‘home’ club the Crawdaddy and signs a contract with them to be their manager the next day (April 28th 1963), Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of the Moon tops the American charts – for a total of one week, despite staying in the top 200 charts for a ridiculous 15 years (April 28th 1973), The Kinks, supported by The Yardbirds, headline their first UK tour (when they actually get it together enough to turn up – cancelled Kinks shows are legendary among fans, April 30th 1965) and finally, Roger Daltrey’s film ‘McVicar’ about the escaped and reformed convict premieres in London – the other members of The Who get a credit for ‘musical supervision’ (April 30th 1980).