Wednesday, 1 August 2012

News, Views and Music Issue 155 (Intro)




August 10th: Dear all, it was this time during the last Olympics that I’d just finished writing about the ‘core’ 101 reviews for this site and had some rare time off to watch the Beijing Olympics, long before the News, Views and Music newsletters existed. Personally I’ve always found the summer Olympics really boring compared to the winter ones and so it was that year, but I still tuned in to see some of the excellent events I don’t get to see very often (badminton, hockey). This year Olympic madness is everywhere simply because its down the road and every time I see some smug look on David Cameron’s face or The Queen pouting in her Royal box I feel sick. The opening ceremony, while confusing, wasn’t the snoozefest I expected it to be (well, the alphabeticised team entries did get boring round about ‘B’) and the caulfrons lit at the end were genuinely impressive. What worried me was: Cameron’s smug face even though the Olympics were brought to London on Labour’s watch, the criticism of Paul McCartney ending the ceremony (where a subdued performance really wasn’t his fault - a dodgy monitor ended up echoing his performance round the hall after every word, just like on ‘Live Aid’ although Macca the trooper carried on; after all the only thing Britain has managed to give to the world since the last London olympics in 1948 is music) and the fact that we were praising the NHS and our wonderful cyclists at the same time when, in the real outside the stadium, the NHS is being destroyed and innocent cyclists are being kettled for mistakenly using Olympic lanes. Remember all the fuss four years ago about China’s human rights record and whether athletes were going to stay away in droves in protest? They should have waited four years for the Coalition to ban all types of protest and force one group of taxi driver protestors to risk his life diving from the Jubilee Bridge to get his point on the news. However many medals we come away with, however much we rescue our damaged world reputation by putting on a vaguely cohesive games, we should not get smug because we still have so much more to learn, our leaders especially. By the way the Olympic coverage is the perfect timing for the Government’s friends in the BBC to put on two specials about how awful and unfair the medical benefit system is, on Monday at 8.30 and 9pm. Be sure to tune in if you can, even if there is trampolining on the other side, because this the real state of Britain in 2012 that’s being kept from the world. I Just wonder how many more mistakes like showing the wrong flag for North Korea will happen by the time the games are over.. In happier news, if you’re a reader of our blogspot site (www.alansalbumarchives.blogspot.co.uk) you may have noticed that we’ve added a whacking great list of links to all our reviews and top fives. In theory this means that you will be able to look for a particular article if you’re in a hurry and to ease things we’ve had a go at listing the albums by artist in chronological order. Unfortunately our hit rate on this site has tailed off remarkably (we’d hit a peak of 135 views last Monday, mainly because of a mention on the excellent Kinks site KindaKinksNet) – typical really because our first site (at www.alansalbumarchives.moonfruit.com) is getting more hits than ever (an average of 60 this past week!) Alas I’ll have to give it a breather because working on this and coping with the job centre has worn my cfs-attacked body out to a frazzle – but I’ll be able to do the same with the first site some time soon. We now stand at a high of 20598 on Moonfruit and 1345 on Blogspot, which isn’t bad for just over 7 weeks online! Oh and finally, most of Britain was surprised to learn that we’d kept our economic AAA rating this week. We weren’t surprised, though, were we AAA readers?! Perhaps they’ll get us to do the Coalition’s finances for them (we can’t do a worse mess than George Osbourne...) ♫ Beatles News: Dhani Harrison, son of George, has just released his second album under the pseudonym ‘The New 02’, with album ‘Thefearofmissingout’ (all one word) hot on the heels of well received debut ‘You Are Here’. The album got a right old drubbing in Mojo this month, but the references to psychedelia soft rock in the article have still whetted my appetite. More news if and when... Oh, yeah, and Paul McCartney played ‘Hey Jude’ at an Olympics ceremony best remembered for the bizarre juxtaposition of James Bond and the Queen (I always thought Dabiel Craig was the most wooden faced actor around – I was wrong) and the kettling of innocent bikers outside the stadium by police that night. What an absolute mess. At least Macca didn’t sing ‘Ob la di, Ob La Da’ at this one... ♫ Jefferson Airplane News: In one of those eerie coincidences that seems to keep happening with this site, Radio 4 are broadcasting a new dramatisation of John Wyndham’s ‘The Chrysalids’ in their Afternoon play spot the next couple of Wednesdays at 3pm. We mentioned this book last issue because Paul Kantner based the title track of the album ‘Crown Of Creation’ on one of the chapters – now you can hear for yourselves how similar the two are! ♫ Rolling Stones News: A low quality bootleg of Mick, Keith and Ronnie meeting up with their idol Muddy Waters in 1981 has been doing the rounds on bootleg for years. However now all fans have the chance to see it as its now out officially on DVD under the title ‘Live At The Checkerboard Lounge, Chicago’. Mick predictably takes over and Keith predictably stands at the back whilst taking all the camera time, but most interesting for long term fans is the chance to see ‘sixth stone’ Ian Stewart in his element, boogie woogie-ing away on a piano like he’d been a member of Muddy’s band his life long through (filmed four years before his death, during a period when the Stones rarely toured, its one of the last chances to see him at all). Muddy, of course, famously gave the band their name (see below!) so its fitting to see two legends come together, even if it isn’t a release you’ll play that many times. A soundtrack CD is available too, although that must have an even more limited shelf life you’d have thought. ANNIVERSARIES: Birthday cakes with lots of candles are in order for the following AAA stars born between August 1st and 7th: Jerry Garcia (guitarist with the Grateful Dead) who would have turned the big 70 on August 1st. Anniversaries of events include: The Beach Boys spend their first week of many on the British charts with ‘Surfin’ USA’ (August 1st 1963) and finally, George Harrison’s first concert for Bangladesh (also starring Ringo and Badfinger) takes place at Madison Square Garden (August 1st 1971); The Beatles headline their first gig at Liverpool’s Cavern Club (August 2nd 1961); The Who rescue the film premises Shepperton Studios from demolition, buying the venue for use in their ‘Kids Are Alright’ documentary and ‘Quadrophenia’ film (they still own it too; August 2nd 1977); Just two years, one day and 293 appearances after their first headlining gig, the Beatles play their last show at The Cavern Club (August 3rd 1963); Beatles record are banned in South Africa following John Lennon’s statements about the band being ‘bigger than Jesus’ (August 3rd 1966) – a day later six South American states follow suit; Wings are officially formed on August 3rd 1971, with Dennys Laine and Seiwell as well as Paul and Linda McCartney; The Small Faces release perhaps their most famous single ‘Itchycoo Park’ (August 4th 1967); Pink Floyd stage The Wall for the first time at London’s Earl’s Court (due to costs they only ever stage the show four times – August 4th 1980); Two 1960s milestones are released on August 5th: The Beatles’ ‘Revolver’ in 1966 and Pink Floyd’s debut ‘Piper At The Gates Of Dawn’ in 1967; The Small Faces release their debut single, the wonderfully ungrammatical ‘What’cha Gonna Do ‘Bout It?’ (August 6th 1965); Pink Floyd’s film version of ‘The Wall’ premieres in America (August 6th 1982); Time Magazine becomes the first magazine to review the Beatles’ ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ released the previous month and – you’ve guessed it, they absolutely hate it, with a headline ‘avoid at all costs’! (August 7th 1964).

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