Ever been slow to appreciate a ‘classic’ band? I always liked ‘Prove It’ but hadn’t really been swayed by anything else from Television until I bought ‘Marquee Moon’ on impulse this weekend in an effort to re-evaluate. And guess what? I was wrong. They were marvellous. Makes me wonder why I hadn’t spotted their sheer structural and musical genius in the first place. So yes, it made me wonder whether anyone else here had ‘discovered’ a ‘classic’ band or artist about thirty years or so after everyone else had?
Oh yes, friends sneer when I tell them how much I enjoy nothing (much) more than watching those directors’ commentaries on DVD and Blu-Ray. But sometimes you learn fascinating facts. Take yesterday for instance. I was listening to John Boorman talking about how he set up the famous duelling banjo’s scene in ‘Deliverance’ when he explained that the kid who ‘plays’ the banjo was chosen for his, ahem, *interesting* face rather than his musical abilities. In fact the lad couldn’t play at all and another boy (who could) was hidden behind him to do all the fretboard fingering. Has anyone else here learnt anything interesting from a commentary I wonder? Or is it just me?
One loudmouth. One musician. One grump. One lucky Ted.
One genius. One talented picker. Two drones.
One drunk with a megaphone. Three hundred Mancunians.
One great singer. One great guitarist. One great bassist. One so-so drummer.
I’ve never been interested in drugs. I dabbled a bit with dope when younger but I wasn’t keen and I was always too much of a control freak to try acid- the thought of being out of my head for eight hours whilst talking to dragons makes me shudder to this day. Lennon may have written some of his best tunes on it but I suspect that a mere mortal such as myself would just stand there with my tongue stuck to the fridge for half a day convinced that the milk is creating weird poetry. Perhaps, on my death bed, I might try heroin because that way I can get all the alleged benefits without the hassle of addiction. Anyway, my point is that whilst I am personally repelled by most forms of chemical stimulation (apart from booze), most of my favourite artists and bands have been unashamed consumers. It made me wonder if there were any good musicians, singers or bands who shunned drugs throughout their career? I know Zappa was famously ‘clean’. Any others?
Just thought that if you had 27 minutes to spare, some of you might enjoy this radio adaptation of my story which went out on BBC Radio Wales last weekend.
Heck, I know you’re not supposed to plug stuff on here but seeing as there is a tenuous connection with The Word (in that The Hep himself kindly offered a sentence for the front cover) I thought I could just about get away with bringing your attention to my forthcoming short story collection. It’s out in January but it is available for pre-order now. Thanks for your time!
In the good old days it was easy to know who was famous and successful in pop music. We had the charts and TOTP. But things have changed. I read the other day of a Welsh band called Pretty Vicious who are signed to a major label and whose fourth single had apparently attracted 400,000 views on You Tube. They were justifiably proud of this but there was no sign of their single on any chart-indie or ‘download’ or other. It made me wonder what the criteria for success were these days. Is it still sales-based? If not, how do ‘record companies’ get their investments back and how do the bands themselves make any (serious) money?
My daughter’s band ESTRONS are apparently taking Texas by storm!
Young bands still want to be famous. They still dream of Beatle-like world domination and cultural power. But how do they do it now that TOTP is gone? Now that there’s no NME to speak of and when no one pays any attention to the charts? Radio One still trots out the Introducing thing but what happens once you’ve been ‘introduced’?
Is there a new way to measure fame these days?
Someone alerted me to this. I have to say I’d never heard it before but I’m assured that, as a huge Elvis fan, Bowie probably would have…
I made it to page three hundred of ‘Unfaithful Music…’ but then I got bored. Dec obviously finds his subject fascinating but I came to the inescapable conclusion that the best writer in The Attractions was Bruce Thomas. His recent book ‘Rough Notes’ was self-published and was never accorded the same level of publicity as Elvis’s overblown tome but it’s a hoot from start to finish and hugely readable. He wrote it all himself too…
…there seem to be more bands and artists than ever before.
But none of them really ‘matter’ any more.
That Noel Gallagher. Wig or what?
As someone who spends a lot of time in record shops (and who therefore tends to avoid them on RSD) I often hear people extolling the virtues of ‘knowledgeable’ staff at stores. Now, I usually go into a record shop for two reasons- I either know exactly what I want or I haven’t a clue and am quite prepared to browse. The last thing I need is ‘advice’ from someone behind the counter whose musical tastes might be completely different to mind and who might only be interested in showing me how ‘knowledgeable’ they are.
Also, if ever I do have to ask something of them (a release date or something, or a minor discography query) the first thing they do is search the internet. I can do that at home. And if they haven’t got the title I’m looking for they kindly offer to order it for me But, again, I can do that from the comfort of my sofa. I don’t expect a record shop to have everything I want and part of the joy is being disappointed. The offer to ‘order it in’ is kind and well-intentioned but it’s not what I go to record shops » Continue Reading.
Here’s some of mine-
1. Charles Dance once bought me a pint. 2. I queued for a cab alongside Martin Freeman in Heathrow. (And also in Miami!). 3. I stood next to Elvis Costello at an urinal. 4. I queued behind all of U2 for coffee backstage at Glastonbury. 5. I guarded Alex ‘Hurricane’ Higgins’s snooker cues at Crewe station while he played Space Invaders. I didn’t recognize him at the time (although I did think he looked a bit familiar). 6. I drove Barbara Windsor around Cardiff in a Cadillac. 7. Had a pint with Mark E. Smith. 8. Played pool with The La’s. (And lost). 9. Andy Partridge took me to his favourite restaurant in Swindon. And forgot his wallet…but he did sign my entire XTC collection, gave me his plectrum and was a total gent. (And I claimed it all back on expenses anyway). 10. I was locked in a garage to write gags for Rob Brydon. (Not by him though). None of them were used.
While we were away my wife’s documentary about Sammy Davis Jr was shown on BBC 4. I just thought I’d share it with you if you hadn’t already seen it.
Since the near-apocalyptic hack it appears that we’ve all become nicer. No rows as yet I notice. Is that because we’re smaller? Anyone fancy a row? About anything??
I once saw the Manic Street Preachers downstairs in Chapter Arts Centre downstairs bar playing in front of about 20 people. (They were rubbish actually and I left after four songs- with my immaculate A&R sensibilities I confidently predicted they’d never get anywhere). Have you ever seen anyone before they were famous in a really small venue?
I am now as ignorant of contemporary pop culture as the stereotypical High Court judges of yore. Until this morning I’d never heard the song ‘Blurred Lines’ even though it is, according to the BBC, ‘the biggest selling single ever’. Can anyone from the Massive reassure me that they too have similar gaping blind spots?
Estrons. It means ‘Aliens’ in Welsh.
Spooky therefore that the song is called ‘Aliens’ in English.
Or have I just got lazier? Was it always like this or has music and the way it’s consumed these days affected things? It’s no big deal compared to all the serious shit happening in the world of course but I thought I’d just check because I’ve just skimmed over the Green Man festival line-up and realized I’ve only heard of one band on the bill (The Fall).
Nobody appears to have mentioned them yet on this new site. They’re doing a farewell tour at the end of the year you know.