Wednesday, 15 August 2012

News, Views and Music Issue 157 (Intro)




My dear AAA brethren, my apologies if this issue isn’t quite up to scratch. You see, Mondays are my sacred writing days and always have been since starting this project. They could drop the atom bomb at midnight Sunday and you’d still find me sitting in my chair come Monday Afternoon struggling to condense all of my thoughts onto the page. It makes me feel as if I’ve actually got something done with my week, even if I have a chronic fatigue relapse and can’t write again till the following Monday and I do everything in my power to make sure I’m well enough to hit my laptop and write on that day. Only this week the jobcentre, who have no reason to see my anyway, have insisted on seeing me on a Monday – preventing me from doing my ‘proper’ work in other words in order to make me nod, go ‘hmm’ every so often and then remind them for the umpteempth time that as I’ve been found ‘fit for work’ I don’t actually have to do anything they tell me (I still have to turn up, though, or else apparently. Yeah because threats are great for people recovering from illness). So, to cut a long story semi-short, I’ve had to write two reviews this week – and boy am I feeling it now. Never mind, though, because it looks like I have a whole new bunch of AAA followers out there to talk to. I think I’ve mentioned before in these pages (certainly the links page of our www.alansalbumarchives.moonfruit.com site) how great the ‘Kinda Kinks’ site at www.kindakinks.net is, full of every snippet and factual nugget about what the various members of the band are up to (its proved invaluable when our AAA groups are having a slow news week). I sent the link for our review of ‘Kinda Kinks’ off to the site last week and I’ve never seen such a hive of activity! We actually peaked at 350 views in 48 hours, a record for us, and it looks as if readers have been hanging around to view our other reviews (including several Kinks ones, naturally). A big welcome to you all! Please keep visiting us whenever you can – I can already feel another Kinks review coming on! Finally, whether you’re a new reader or an old faithful one whose followed us from the start (way back in 2008, how young we all were!), if you have enjoyed my writing then please please please will you nominate me for inclusion for a new book that’s coming out? ‘Best Music Writing’ has been published every year for 12 years and has always featured the best of the ‘official’ music magazines and websites out there. A new switch to independent publishers means they can now include submissions from fan sites like mine. You can nominate up to five articles by any music writer you enjoy reading (it doesn’t have t be me, though obviously I’d be thrilled to be included) and can do so here: http://www.feedbackpress.org/best-music-writing-ballot/ We desperately need the publicity that being featured in a ‘proper’ tome would give us, so please if we’ve done anything to help you navigate your way through your record collection then please help us out now! Thankyou! Now on with the news... ♫ Beatles/Beady Eye/The Kinks/Pink Floyd/The Who News: The London Olympics closing ceremony was a good mixture of the talent and incompetence we’ve seen throughout the rest of the Olympics. If the opening ceremony was a frustratingly missed opportunity (full of confusing hard-to-follow bits about the industrial revolution that seemed to hop around the centuries like a natterjack toad and some awful shtick about the Queen parachuting in with James Bond – with her ma the only actress around wooden enough to compete with Daniel Craig – thunderbirds puppets would have been more entertaining!), the ending promised much for the closing ceremony (a huge cauldron on fire, the sensible concept of skipping the celebs to give some promising teenagers a chance to light the flame and Paul McCartney to finish!) Which it half delivered on. Officially the closing ceremony was meant to represent ‘every era’ – something which must have disappointed every 50s, 70s and oos fan as hardly anyone from those eras turned up (Bowie on a screen, Kate Bush on a radio and two members of Queen hardly compensated). But us 60s (and even us 90s) kids were well catered for, centring around the great old battle between the Kinks and The Who for supremacy as London’s best (sadly the Stones were a no-show – I’m surprised we had no one covering ‘I Can’t Get No Satisfaction’ anywhere, but perhaps that’s just the message I wanted to sum up the olympics!) Ray Davies arrived by taxi and looked a little frail but considering he had just a guitar and (at the end) a booming choir for accompaniment his ‘Waterloo Sunset’ was goosepimplingly intimate. Rumours of a Pink Floyd reunion were, sadly, unfounded but we did get to see drummer Nick Mason performing ‘Wish You Were Here’ as part of a supergroup featuring various members of Genesis and the Stranglers plus new kid Ed Sheeran. It was a great performance, actually, though I got a bit lost what the tightrope walking was all about (non-Floyd fans must have been even more confused as to why the dummy at the end of the tightrope caught fire – its the front cover for Floyd album ‘Wish You Were Here’, folks, although I’d still rather have had a flying pig. The Beatles had already been covered by Macca’s fine (if acoustically flawed) performance of ‘Hey Jude’ in the opening ceremony, but there was a neat on-screen tribute to John Lennon, accompanied by a signing choir from Liverpool performing ‘Imagine’ which was far more moving than the song usually is (Lennon would surely have hated it though!) Hopes were high for an Oasis reunion after a ‘Beady Eye’ drum kit was spotted in the arena but alas Noel Gallagher was a no-show and we got a rather subdued Liam and co instead. That said I think most of the crowd probably missed the significance: after ‘resting’ the song during the last couple of Oasis tours and the band going their own ways this meant that last weeks’ performance of ‘Wonderwall’ was the first in a decade. Best of all, though, were the ‘Orrible ‘Oo, who followed up a pretty decent cover of ‘Pinball Wizard’ by the Kaiser Chiefs with a storming closing set that had more passion and energy within 10 minutes than the past rather dragging three hours. Great performances of ‘Baba O’Riley’ ‘Listening To You’ and an emphatic ‘ My Generation’ almost made up for having to sit through an interminable 10 minute set from the Spice Girls who performed on top of five taxis (presumably so when the crowd started throwing things they could make a quick getaway. Joke of the night: ‘I know why the Spice Girls were on late. Posh got mistaken for a javelin and locked away in a cupboard by accident’! ‘Wannabe’ is a song that really hasn’t gotten better with age and the crowd looked sick to be honest, as the commentators tried to explain how ‘girl power’ among teenagers was all the rage in the 1990s and still powerful and significant, despite the fact the song was written by a 50 year old male for money. At least the girls (or should that be OAPS?) didn’t kung-fu kick anyone this time around! So then, pretty mixed, with some highlights but nothing as great as the highlight of the whole Olympics: Boris Johnson getting stuck on a zip-wire a week into the games for a full quarter of an hour! ♫ Monkees News: Shock announcement this week is that the band are reuniting for a series of shows in the States. This is a shock a) because sadly Davy Jones died in February and all previous reunions were at least partly at his suggestion and b) because this means Mike Nesmith will be back in the band for the first time since 1997. The news was announced on Mike’s ever entertaining facebook page where, in typical Nesmith style, he announced ‘Amazing News!...I’ve made a gazpacho!...Oh and Micky and Peter and I are going to be doing 12 concerts here in the States!’ News reports say that the band will be playing their own instruments on stage, just as they did in 1967 on tour, and that Davy will be represented by multimedia of him singing and playing with the band in true Monkees style, backed by the others playing live. The other exciting news is that much of the set will be derived from our classic AAA Monkees album ‘Headquarters’, an album never played much on tour (see review no 10). The tour is due to start in November. Hopefully the tour will extend to other cities and countries but that’s all the news we have right now. ANNIVERSARIES: The only birthday boy this week (August 15th-21st) is Carl Wayne (vocalist with The Hollies from 1999 to his death in 2003) who would have been 68 on August 18th. Anniversaries of events include: The Beatles play their record-breaking show at New York’s Shea Stadium, with 56,000 screaming fans –an attendance record that won’t be beaten until CSNY in 1974 (August 15th 1965); the first day of Woodstock, an anniversary we covered in detail a year ago in these very pages (August 15th 1969); George Harrison publishes the closest we’ve yet had to a Beatle autobiography, the frustratingly short and originally expensive ‘I Me Mine’ (August 15th 1980); Paul Simon plays to his biggest crowd for his ‘Concert In Central Park’ (August 15th 1991); The Beatles’ still mysterious sacking of their most popular member Pete Best and replacing him with...Ringo (think about that for a minute) who plays his first gig with the band two days later (August 16th 1962); The Beatles’ first performance in Hamburg at the Indra Club (August 17th 1960); The second of two records featuring Jagger, Richards, Lennon and McCartney from the summer of love is released – the Stones’ best single (as far as my tastes are concerned) ‘We Love You’ (August 18th 1967 – the other record is the Beatles’ ‘All You Need Is Love’); Mick Jagger accidentally hurts his hand in a pistol fight staged for the seemingly cursed movie ‘Ned Kelly’ (August 18th 1969); The Moody Blues begin their highest grossing UK tour, some nine years after their original split (August 18th 1981); The Beatles begin their first American tour, playing to much bigger crowds than they are used to in England (August 19th 1964); American radio station KNOW ban all Beatles tracks from the air after hearing that the ‘Sgt Peppers’ LP may contain drugs references – thankfully most of the other stations simply ban that LP (August 19th 1967); The Rolling Stones release one of their most famous songs ‘Satisfaction’ (August 20th 1965); Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham creates Immediate Records with The Small Faces, lured from Decca, one of their first signings (August 20th 1965) and finally, The Rolling Stones and 10cc co-headline a prestigious gig at London’s Knebworth (August 21st 1976).

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