Is it my ears (I’m not in line for Spring Chicken Of The Year) or are my speakers sounding less punchy, less Ooh Yes! than when I bought them, quite a few years ago? I tend not to drive my amp or speakers very hard, because I live in a block of flats and I don’t want any unpleasant banging on the walls, and lately they just sound a bit flat and meh.
I’ll go first: Had a ticket for a gig last night and, due to a Windows update taking longer than I thought, I left the house a little later than optimal. Struggled through traffic to my destination and arrived pretty much dead on 8:00pm, only to realise I’d gone to the wrong venue and the gig was not in fact where I now was but six miles away, in the heart of London’s West End. Scurried back to the car and drove as far as Lancaster Gate tube station, parked nearby and got a tube to Tottenham Court Road, arriving at the gig dead on 9:00pm. I was just in time to catch the start of their second set as they had kicked off the first at 7:45. Considering I’d had the ticket for nearly a month, sitting in plain view on the shelf in my living room, I’ve no idea how I managed to make such a stupid blunder.
This comes pretty close to it. Catchy, danceable, clever lyrics without being smartarsed.
What did the late A.A. Gill think about Brexit?
“It was the woman on Question Time that really did it for me. She was so familiar. There is someone like her in every queue, every coffee shop, outside every school in every parish council in the country. Middle-aged, middle-class, middle-brow, over-made-up, with her National Health face and weatherproof English expression of hurt righteousness, she’s Britannia’s mother-in-law. The camera closed in on her and she shouted: “All I want is my country back. Give me my country back.”
It was a heartfelt cry of real distress and the rest of the audience erupted in sympathetic applause, but I thought: “Back from what? Back from where?”
Wanting the country back is the constant mantra of all the outies. Farage slurs it, Gove insinuates it. Of course I know what they mean. We all know what they mean. They mean back from Johnny Foreigner, back from the brink, back from the future, back-to-back, back to bosky hedges and dry stone walls and country lanes and church bells and warm beer and skittles and football rattles and cheery banter and clogs on cobbles. Back to vicars-and-tarts parties and Carry On fart jokes, back to » Continue Reading.
Fans and admirers of this renowned japester might be interested to hear what his lugholes appreciate. Others may not, of course. Available for the next 3 weeks or thereabouts.
I am a returned fan of Late Junction. I used to tune in regularly 2002-2003 and then stopped apart from a couple of forays in 2008. Maybe I had other things to listen to/do. Still the same mix of the weird, the downright peculiar and the wonderful. Feel free to disagree as vehemently as you like.
Sorry, expats, down-underers and furriners. This one’s probably just an annoyance to you. So many box sets. Some good, some so-so and some rather tragic. Dr. Who. 156 episodes available. Eccleston to Whittaker. Silent Witness S17-S21. Outnumbered S1-S5. McMafia. Collateral. Informer. Miranda S1-S3. Blackadder Goes Forth. Bodyguard. Killing Eve. A Very English Scandal. The ABC Murders. Gavin & Stacey S1-3. The Long Song. Our Girl S1-4. Fleabag. Death And Nightingales. Wanderlust. Mrs. Wilson. Clique S2. Bleak House. Still Game S7-8. Dynasties.
Watched any? Thumbs up or down?
This has made me sad. Probably the finest comic actress Britain ever produced. 93 is not bad going, mind you.
I decided to have a listen (on the Beeb’s new “Sounds” page) to BBC Radio 3’s “Jazz Now” programme from December 17th. As they played a few excerpts from this and spoke to TV historian Helen Wheatley at Warwick University, I realised I’d missed an important 2018 archival album and film. The album has been released on CD and as a set of FLAC files by the Storyville label. “Duke Ellington In Coventry 1966” is over an hour of delightful live Ellington music. The concert was originally broadcast on ITV’s midlands franchise of the day, ABC, in black and white. It was thought lost for the past 52 years but was unearthed in time to become part of the buildup for Coventry’s “City Of Culture” celebrations in 2021. The film is being screened today in the cathedral and will doubtless be released generally soon.
Bought the “January 2019” edition of Uncut, just to see what was (and wasn’t) in their End-Of-Year lists. (Ho-Hum) and for the crossword, of course. Coverdisc disappointment as per, but I noticed among the reviews this bit of limited-appeal product. A 21-CD box (with 300-page booklet) of this very non-mainstream outfit. On sale at the usual rampantly-capitalist outlets for a surprisingly non-ECM price point of around 80 of your pre-Brexit spondulicks.
Many Afterworders will shrug their shoulders and say “So what?” or something more pithy. Personally, I’m tempted to fork over some of my readies, while they still have any value, and make some shelf space/ear space for it.
The Horns, Watford. WD17 3RL
Stanley Dee comprise Cavan as frontman and principal vocalist with Amelia, Katy and Jen backing singers with their own featured spots. Alto and tenor saxes are played by Derek and Paul respectively, trumpet, flugelhorn, 12-string acoustic rhythm guitar and occasional vocals are from Steve, guitar from Darren, keyboards by Keith, bass by Mark and drums by Don. The gig was scheduled to start at 9:30pm and I arrived at about 8:45 as the band were completing their soundcheck, culminating in a repeated run-through of the chorus of “Midnight Cruiser”. The band and the pub’s sound man were satisfied so the band trooped off the pub’s slightly-crowded stage until start time. At 9:30 they were all back and ready to go. It must be said that “Can’t Buy A Thrill” works pretty well as a distinctly front-loaded vinyl album but is problematic as a live performance, played in sequence. “Do It Again”‘s all-percussion intro is not suited to a slightly-rowdy pub crowd but once the keyboards etc. come into play it’s all systems go. The surprise with this outfit’s rendition of the song is that female vocalist Amelia takes the lead, with » Continue Reading.
My friend Nic Wray has written this report for the British Tinnitus Association, which might be of interest. Quite a long read but full of information. Perhaps there’s other stuff of interest to you on their page.
Nic has been Communications Manager at the BTA since June 2010. She is responsible for the BTA’s communications online and in print as well as being one half of the PR team. In addition to writing a number of the BTA’s information leaflets, she also edits the BTA’s journal, Quiet and co-edits the Annual Tinnitus Research Review. She sees providing the tinnitus community with information as a key to helping people live well with tinnitus. A graduate of the University of Sheffield, she is an Accredited PR Practitioner.
Milton Court Concert Hall, Guildhall School Of Music & Drama, The Barbican London
The Guildhall Saxophone Ensemble conducted by ensemble director Christian Forshaw, with Angèle on piano and two percussionists. The 14 saxophonists of the ensemble comprised 3 soprano saxes, 3 alto saxes, 3 tenor saxes, 3 baritone saxes plus a bass saxophone and a sopranino saxophone, with one of the altos, one of the baritones and two of the sopranos doubling on clarinets for one piece. Interesting that out of the fourteen of them, eight were women. All three of the sopranos, one of the tenors, two of the baritones and two of the altos. The ensemble kicked off with a rendition of Philip Glass’s soundtrack music for the film “Mishima”, rearranged from the original string quartet by Forshaw. This was followed by 3 pieces by Moondog, “Dog Trot”, “New Amsterdam” and “Paris” with the addition of a huge bass drum, played by a young woman and a snare drum played by a young man. Angèle joined various members of the ensemble singing on “New Amsterdam” and singing and playing piano with the ensemble on “Paris”. There was then an interval during which the bass » Continue Reading.
The Broadway Theatre, Letchworth Herts UK.
Friday 5th to Sunday 7th October was the annual Herts Jazz Festival, the 8th one, held this year at the Broadway Theatre & Cinema in Letchworth town centre. Organised by Herts Jazz Club, led by the formiddable team of Clark and Sylvia Tracey. Mostly it was a great venue, seating-wise and sound, but with one major drawback, upon which I’ll comment later. I splashed out for a weekend ticket (£120) to cover all 13 performances.
Further comments below.
A high codger quota. Lots of elderly couples. Fairly well-heeled for the most part. A scattering of younger hip-creative types too. Even some teens, though all of them seemed to be with older adults. Lots of muso-talk among the punters. Quiet and well-behaved during performances. Plenty of walking sticks in evidence. a couple of wheelchair users.
It made me think..
Jazz is still mostly oldsters music. Or at least out in the sticks it still is.
Columbia Theater, Berlin January 30th Zeche Carl, Essen January 31st Botanique, Brussels February 1st Gaité Lyrique, Paris February 2nd Union Chapel, London February 4th Gorilla, Manchester February 5th Oran Mor, Glasgow February 6th St. Georges Church, Brighton February 7th
All the big stars of the northern hemisphere are back from their hols and filling up the enormodomes and their bank accounts. Lesser musical mortals are back from family jaunts to the Costa-packet and are eager to divest you of your spare spondulicks, pounds and pence, dollars and cents. My favourite Steely Dan tribute have a few pub gigs lined up, mostly free entry. Herts Jazz have their new season starting (after a Summer break) Tuesday nights at The Maltings Arts Theatre in St. Albans. Some good nights in prospect there, including Jim Mullen’s organ trio.
Looking at the upcoming schedules for local venues, I’m somewhat in a quandary. Some clashes ahead. On October 2nd it’s the second in a monthly series of open mic nights in Colindale, organised by an old mate. Also a latin jazz quintet featuring 3 local favourites are playing at Mill Hill Jazz Club. On October 7th Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames are on in Letchworth (Herts Jazz Festival) and vocalist Tina May is on in Colindale. My dance card looks pretty full for October and November.
What about youze lot?
A lot of good stuff on this little label. If you like the quieter electronica/acoustic neo-classical sort of listening material, although Soft Error are not that quiet at times, you might find something worth getting here. Moon Gangs, Angéle David-Guillou, Ben Chatwin, Matt Dunkley, Jim Copperthwaite, Soft Error, Ryan Teague, John Matthias.
Tickets were still available yesterday morning. I;m going and I’m really looking forward to it.
New album launch. The one track I’ve heard so far is very pleasing to my ears.
Six Degrees Of Cover Versions.
How does one get from Artist A to Artist Z in cover versions, covers to be all in the same direction, i.e. artist A covers Artist B who covers Artist C.. etc. Items of the kind Artist X covered artist Y who was also covered by Artist Z are not permitted.
First one, to start the ball rolling:
Angélique Kidjo > Hank Williams.
Pretty obvious stuff, really. Just because a photographer has given permission for one site to publish a pic. doesn’t mean everyone else can then copy it from that site and re-publish without permission.
Let’s be careful out there.
I remember watching some of this when it was originally aired. I was a 7-year-old nipper (what were my parents thinking?) and remember being pretty scared by some aspects of it.
Now it’s cited as a classic and a ground-breaker and so forth. I’m going to give it another go and see if it’s really that good. Available for 11 months. Those Afterworders who aren’t resident in the UK may need to resort to nefarious means to view it.
Wonder if we’ll also be getting “The Quatermass Experiment” and “Quatermass II”..
Some life-lessons from 2016. Some have been superseded by reality, but some are eternal truths. In my opinion. Especially Nos. 1, 2, 5, 17, 20, 35, 37, 39 probably, 40 almost certainly.
Further comment on #37: Our UK roads are already full of cars and getting fuller, yet everyone considers it a Rite Of Passage for their kids to get a car and learn to drive it. There is a little shortcut called Bunns Lane in North London between Mill Hill and Grahame Park, favoured by driving instructors, that I was obliged to drive when I was employed and driving a company van. One one journey a few years ago I counted 13 driving school cars in that single road. Guaranteed Total Gridlock in about 10 years, folks, possibly sooner. The common Sci-Fi trope of the driverless car you just call up to get you where you need to get to and then it goes away cannot come soon enough for me. I used to quite like driving. These days I fucking hate it.
Shure have announced that they are discontinuing all phono products, effective from this summer.
“In recent years, the ability to maintain our exacting standards in the Phonograph Cartridge product category has been challenged, resulting in cost and delivery impacts that are inconsistent with the Shure brand promise.” “In light of these conditions, and after thorough evaluation, we have made the difficult decision to discontinue production of Shure Phono products effective Summer 2018.”
If you’re a Shure cartridge user, I suppose now is the time to stock up while they’re still around.
This cropped up on a random play earlier. A big international hit in 1962, apparently. Quite a nice tune, but blimey those lyrics and the sickly singing style. Pass me the sick-bucket. The poor sad soft bugger will not be seeing his teen sweetheart for a whole summer of unalloyed misery. Woe is him.
“Yes, it’s going to be a long lonely summer, but darling I promise you this. I’ll send you all my love every day in a letter. And seal it with a kiss.”
In early-’60s suburban white America you could get away with such drippiness. In Doncaster or Huddersfield I feel expressing such utter wetness would have been seen as good reason to get yourself a kicking.
If you’re a reader of vintage science fiction, this might interest you. I certainly intend to dig in.
From the Archive.org site
Galaxy Science Fiction was an American digest-size science fiction magazine, published from 1950 to 1980. It was founded by an Italian company, World Editions, which was looking to break in to the American market. World Editions hired as editor H. L. Gold, who rapidly made Galaxy the leading science fiction (sf) magazine of its time, focusing on stories about social issues rather than technology. Gold published many notable stories during his tenure, including Ray Bradbury’s “The Fireman”, later expanded as Fahrenheit 451; Robert A. Heinlein’s The Puppet Masters; and Alfred Bester’s The Demolished Man. In 1952, the magazine was acquired by Robert Guinn, its printer. By the late 1950s, Frederik Pohl was helping Gold with most aspects of the magazine’s production. When Gold’s health worsened, Pohl took over as editor, starting officially at the end of 1961, though he had been doing the majority of the production work for some time.
Under Pohl Galaxy had continued success, regularly publishing fiction by major writers such as Cordwainer Smith, Jack Vance, Harlan Ellison, and Robert Silverberg. However, Pohl never » Continue Reading.
Daylight Music #273. They’ve hired a grand piano specially for these artists. Poppy Ackroyd and her new album have already been mentioned on this blog. Have a look/listen to the clip from a previous DM appearance to get an idea of what she does. Other artists on the bill are jazz keyboardist/pianist Charlie Stacey and artist/composer/producer Matt Emery. Clips of them are linked from the Daylight Music Facebook page. In the interludes between acts, Jim Bishop will be playing an assortment of tunes on the chapel’s magnificent pipe organ. From 12:00 until about 2:30pm. Tea, cake and quiche will be available and it’s Pay-What-You-Can on entry (recommended £5). If you’re awake with no other pressing business at that sort of time on a Saturday and in or near London, you might find it enjoyable.