Wednesday 27 June 2012

News, Views and Music Issue 150 (Intro)

June 30th:

Dear all, here we are again with a trip (is there any other verb that will do as well?!) through some bizarre and surreal AAA-related films, focussing on the criminally under-rated ‘Wonderwall’ – no not an Oasis film but the work where Noel Gallagher got the name, a much maligned (unfairly I think) film that’s the most 1960s thing you can see aside from The Monterey Pop and Woodstock Films and The Banana Splits (and all the better for that – as one of my fellow twitterers said the other day, who said music ever came with a best before date?!)

Back in the modern world, Clegg finally did the decent thing and refused to back a Conservative motion on investigating Jeremy Hunt’s links with the Murdoch newspaper empire – which of course they won anyway. But let’s pause on that for a moment: this isn’t a motion to lock him up, this is a motion to have an investigation to find out the truth; do the Conservatives really not want an investigation into a matter where he could still be proved completely innocent – and not be up to something? I’m saying no more (till next issue anyway), but blimey the Coalition is looking fragile now (remember my hashtag #CoalitionoutbyXmas Twitter followers!)

STOP PRESS: Well, dear readers, I did manage to get most of my ‘Wonderwall’ review written before I went away so I am publishing as normal (well, as normal as you get for a newsletter that focuses on obscure Beatles-related films from 1968!) Next issue might be a bit delayed though as I still feel blooming awful (travelling really isn’t good for chronic fatigue syndrome), plus my beloved computer gave me heart failure the day before going away and – though temporally fixed – may well play up again. Seeing as I have no other ideas for next week’s column I’ve gone back to an old idea with a fourth AAA special edition all about the AAA books there are to read and it might well take me longer to write than your average edition. If so then please bear with us and we’ll be newsing, viewsing and musiccing again before you know it!

STOP PRESS 2: So the multi-millionaire, money-made-by-his-dad prime minister David Cameron has decided to ‘step up’ his attack on people on benefits and has the audacity to claim that Jimmy Carr’s tax scheme is ‘immoral’?! This from someone who leaves his own children unattended in pubs, spends most of the time he should be working on holiday or having time off and who hasn’t done a days non-politically active work in his life?! And had the Coalition Government made tax evasion illegal as well as immoral he might have had a leg to stand on – as it is its Cameron’s fault (again) that tax evasion exists at all! Remember folks, that’s #CoalitionGoneByXmas!

STOP PRESS 3: As if the Coalition’s latest absurd muck-spreading anger-creating plans aren’t enough I’ve just heard that the Spice Girls are reforming! Why? Who cares?! Please tell me they aren’t going to come back into fashion again – I only just about kept my sanity when people started talking about Michael Jackson as a saint as opposed to a mentally unstable child molester. It really does look like 2012 is the end of the world as we know it after all (and frankly if the Spice Girls are going to be everywhere again the end of the world can’t come soon enough...)


Beatles News: The official Paul McCartney site (at has just uploaded a new Rude Studios page (named for Pauls home studio in Scotland)  where fans get to remix four McCartney favourites however they choose. So far Maybe Im Amazed Monkberry Moon Delight Let Me Roll It and Band On The Run are on the site, with an ominous three empty tape boxes where the next uploads might be. Each song has been divded into keyboards, guitars, bass/drums and vocals and can be faded up or down at will, along with buttons for adding echo and flanging (the old Beatles terms for adding artificial effects!) You can even save and post your own mixes for other fans to hear! If that sounds like fun and it is then head to the page now!

In other news, were sad to report that longterm Beatles friend and film actor Victor Spinetti passed away on June 18th this year at the age of 82. You might not know Spinetti by name but youll certainly know his work if youre a Beatle nut a big friend of director Dick Lester, Spinetti played TV producer Richard in A Hard Days Night (the one who has a nervous breakdown when Ringo disappears!), the mad scientist in Help! and the army sergeant in Magical Mystery Tour who barks orders at private McCartney, thus making Spinetti the only person other than the Beatles themselves to appear in more than two of their films. The reason? George Harrison is meant to have said that Spinetti had a lucky karma after being in the first film, adding that my mum fancies you and wont watch any of our films without you in it, while Paul McCartney once described Spinetti as the man who makes clouds disappear, the fab four revelling in the informal, fun-loving atmosphere this serious actor created. Spinetti did other things besides appearing in the Beatles work of course (he found most fame as a Mexican bandit eating Jaffa Cakes in a series of adverts for the McVities brand), but its for those three performances that Beatles fans the world over will mourn him.

Rolling Stones News: to celebrate the bands 50th anniversary, BBC6 are dedicating a whole lot of listening next week to the fab five. First off, the much-repeated Rolling Stones Story doc from the 1970s is repeated again from Saturday, June 30th until Thursday, July 5th in the documentary slot at 4am each morning. Thats followed on Sunday, July 1st at 12pm midday for a repeat of the First Time interview with Charlie Watts (first broadcast last year) (and again on Sunday, July 8th 2am). Next up, theres a new interview compilation, The Stones by The Stones, at 4pm the same day, with Paul Sexton stringing together lots of classic and some unheard clips from the BBC archives. Theres also a repeat of Jaggers Jukebox, broadcast on Radio 2 the Xmas before last, with the Stones singer doing a kind of Desert Island Discs during an extended two hour interview thats both informative and frustrating in equal measure (Micks become good at being guarded in interviews over the years) now split into four half parts between Tuesday, July 3rd and Friday, July 6th at midnight. Theres also a rare gig from the 1971 tour of the UK at Leeds University (a kind of Stones version of Live at Leeds) repeated at 2am on Saturday, July 7th, which will be great to hear again. The so-so Nicky Hopkins documentary Diamonds and Tiaras about the session musician extraordinaire who played on so many Stones is also on Saturday, July 6th at 4am. Finally, Marianne Faithful is on a programme called A Month Of Sundays - whatever that might mean at 4pm on Sunday, July 8th and is sure to mention her ex Mick a few times! The details of programmes from Monday onwards havent been finalised yet so there may well be to tell you about in due course. More news if and when!

Paul Simon News: If youre wondering why I havent reviewed the new Graceland set yet its because a) that album gets enough kudos already (despite being one of Simons patchier sets)and b) I reckoned that the new documentary would end up on BBC4 soon enough and it has! The DVD documentary Paul Simons Graceland has been topped and tailed to fit with the Imagine series and is being shown as new on BBC1 at 10.35pm on Tuesday, July 3rd. This follows the repeat of the Bridge Over Troubled Water documentary last year, released on the 4th anniversary set, that actually had nothing whatsoever to do with the Imagine series! Expect a review sometime soon.

The Who News: BBC6 are also repeating their great guitarists series, including their profile of Pete Townshend on Friday, June 29th at 4am. No other AAA musicians featured in the series alas, but the Clapton doc in particular is well worth hearing too.

Even more fascinating is a night on BBC4 this Friday, June 29th dedicated to The Who. Along with the usual repeats (the film of Quadrophenia and the 2002 Electric Proms gig) theres a whole new documentary about  Quadrophenia (AAA classic album no 60!) and the recent reissue of it. The documentary follows Pete Townshend on his mission to find the best sounding mixes of the album and rare snippets and clips of The Who on tour and so should be a real treat! Expect a review sometime soon!

ANNIVERSARIES: Birthdays, birthdays, birthdays – they’re everywhere this week, especially for the following AAA members born between June 27th and July 3rd: Bruce Johnston (keyboardist and bassist with The Beach Boys 1965-71 and 1979-present) who turns 68 on June 27th and Adrian Wright (synthesiser with The Human League 1981-86) who turns 56 on June 30th. Anniversaries of events include: The Denver Pop Festival – a largely forgotten precursor to Woodstock – takes place on June 27th 1969 featuring CSNY; The Fillmore East – home to the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane among others – closes its doors on June 27th 1971; four rather special #1s on June 28th in various years – CSN’s 1st eponymous record is #1 in America in 1969, Wings are at #1 with their ‘Venus and Mars’ record in 1976, 10cc are at #1 in the singles chart in 1975 with ‘I’m Not In Love’ and Paul McCartney is #1 with ‘Coming Up’ in 1980; the first ever Lennon/McCartney song to enter the US charts peaks at #77: Del Shannon’s cover of ‘From Me To You’ (June 29th 1963); Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are in Brixton Prison on drug possession charges and are facing three months and a year respectively (June 29th 1967); The first Hyde Park concert takes place starring Pink Floyd and Jethro Tull (June 29th 1968); The Beatles record ‘She Loves You’ (July 1st 1963); three years later on that date The Beatles play a memorable set in Tokyo’s Budokan – now re-created for the middle of the ‘Beatles Rock Band’ game (July 1st 1966), John and Yoko’s first joint project – an art exhibition – takes place in London (July 1st 1968), original Stones guitarist Brian Jones drowns in his swimming pool at the age of 28 (July 3rd 1969) and finally Brian Wilson sits in at a Beach Boys gig for the first time since his breakdown led to him quitting touring in 1964 (July 3rd 1976).

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