I ordered this over a month ago. It finally arrived yesterday. I’m as excited as a very excited person with something to be particularly excited about. That is all.
So I turned 51 a few days ago, and prompted by something I saw while browsing on Goodreads, I decided that this is the year I finally read Tolstoy’s War And Peace. Despite the fact that my ‘to read’ list has already reached virtually unmanageable proportions, I have decided to set them all to one side until I’m done. I already have my copy from Amazon (I’m a big fan of Kindle reading, but with something like this I really want a more tangible measure of progress than ‘x% completed’), and I’m about to jump in. I must confess I’m a little daunted though. I tried once when I was in my early 20s but gave up early on. I’m looking for some reassurance, AWers – any W&P fans here? Is it truly the greatest novel ever written, or have I merely invested in a 1350 page doorstop?
I happened to catch old Rodders recently on one of the late night talk shows promoting his new record. When it came to the song performance, I was surprised to see him utilising that old chestnut often seen in live performances in the ’80s and ’90s, the multi-racial backup trio with vaguely synchronised arm movements. Tbh I thought they had gone the way of Steinbergers, Ovations, pointless double drummer setups, Ray Cooper tinkling the tubular bell rack and other Things You Don’t See On Stage Anymore. Does anybody have any more examples ofTYDSOSA?
When I was growing up this was just about my favourite book, only surpassed by The Hobbit. I lost count of the number of times I got lost in the story of Ted and Toppy’s companies and their coming together to defeat Johnny Sharp and his loathsome accomplice The Wart. After I left home to go to college I lost my copy and never got round to buying another. 32 years later and I’m living in the US, where unsuprisingly The Otterbury Incident is not an easy book to come by. But I managed to find a hardback copy in good condition with the Ardizzone illustrations, and I got it today. Just holding it in my hands took me straight back to the bedroom I used to share with my brother, and looking at the bookshelf to see what I might want to read, and reaching for a familiar friend. I’m almost afraid to open the book and start reading, just in case it turns out that the 50 year old me won’t enjoy it as much as the 10 year old me did. But I will, and I still will.
From the forthcoming release by ELO – sorry, Jeff Lynne’s ELO, due in November. I like it…
What songs to these announcements preface, and for a bonus, from what album?
1) “Just in case!”
2) “Are there any paranoids in the audience tonight? Is there anyone who worries about things? Pathetic”
3) “Here’s one you may well know, you may not know it, and if you don’t know it I really don’t know where you’ve been! So you should know the tune!”
4) “Now then, let’s see if we can spot the over twenty fives in the audience. See if you remember this one”
5) “Lotta folks of all different nationalities and things, come up to me and say, “I dug my Grandmother, too…”
Yesshows. Put together by Chris Squire and released in the aftermath of the breakup of the “Drama” lineup and often overlooked in favour of “Yessongs”, I think it stands up as a fine live album. Squire’s song selection is, for a Yes live album, quite adventurous (no Roundabout/All Good People/Trooper etc etc), it has a blistering version of ‘Gates Of Delirium’ from the 1976 tour with Moraz, and the propulsive opener ‘Parallels’ rocks, if you will forgive the colloquial, like a bastard.
Another Saturday, another day at work…luckily I have my trusty (and recently repaired) iPod Classic to help the hours go by. Rather than rely on Shuffle tyranny on days like these, I like to go to Albums and select a random letter. Today was B, so I started the day off with Mose Allison’s jazz-blues classic “Back Country Suite”, followed by “The Band” by The Band (all of it, thank you very much Mark Ellen), some German prog courtesy of Neuschwanstein’s “Battlement”, and I’m currently listening to Santana’s “Borboletta”. Next? Can’t decide between Brian Auger’s “Better Land”, Alice Cooper’s “Billion Dollar Babies” or “Burnt Offering” by The Budos Band…
Well, I’ve been at it again (buying vinyl, that is). I just can’t seem to help myself, it’s an almost visceral pleasure. Taking off the shrinkwrap, examining the sleeve, reading the notes on the back (or in the middle if it’s that wonderful thing, a GATEFOLD SLEEVE!), removing the record from the inner sleeve (and look! there’s a poster inside as well!), putting it on the turntable and dropping the needle…. Well, I feel like i’m on a zone of no judgement right here, so I feel comfortable sharing…
Out Of The Blue was the first album my brother and I bought with our own money. Somehow he managed to end up with it, so 38 years later I have finally got round to replacing it. I can’t tell you the Proustian rush it inspired when I took off the shrinkwrapping and held it in my hands…
The Stones opened their US tour last night with a “secret” gig at the 1300-capacity Fonda Theater in LA, at which they played “Sticky Fingers” in its entirety. If you wanted proof that Keith has turned into the world’s laziest guitarist, look no further than the attached clip, in which he appears to be aimlessly strumming the neck of his guitar…
PS – how fortunate that a large number of celebrities were able to secure tickets at such short notice…
Dylan sings “The Night We Called It A Day” on Letterman’s penultimate show last night. I’m not entirely sure he knew where he was…
I’m looking forward to the scene where Ringo and Pete Best are on stage holding hands nervously as Brian Matthews announces portentously “And the winner…………..of the ‘Fabs Factor’ 1962…………………………..is………………………………………
“Pete, is there anything you’d like to say before we boot you off into obscurity?” “Well Brian, I’d just like to say it’s been an amazing journey….”
Letterman’s late night show is entering its last few weeks here in the US. Last night his musical guest was John Fogerty, who turns 70 later this month. He can still belt it out with the best of them, and nearly 50 years on you can still feel the righteous anger dripping from “Fortunate Son”
Steven Wilson’s “Hand. Cannot. Erase.” It is, I believe, a modern prog masterpiece – and Dave Gregory is on it! This is my favourite track at the moment – “Perfect Life”
I do like John Cusack, but honestly I have real problems seeing him as Brian Wilson here…
Tigger’s heretical post on Abbey Road sent me back to listen to the album last night. My favourite song on the album is “You Never Give Me Your Money”, and while it was playing a sudden thought struck me – has there ever been, for ANY band, a single line in a single song that so perfectly encapsulates their whole experience than “Oh! That magic feeling”? It’s just perfect – if I were a Beatles biographer I would use it for the title of my book.
Passed away today at the grand old age of 88. With his brother David he made the classic documentaries “Monterey Pop” and “Gimme Shelter”, which showed both sides of the Aquarian dream. Here’s Mick Jagger looking absolutely shit-his-trousers terrified at Altamont.
While we were away, ELO (or ‘Jeff Lynne’s ELO’) played at this year’s Grammy Awards show. For some reason the Grammys love their mashup collaborations so for Mr Blue Sky Jeff was joined by tiny guitar botherer Ed Sheeran. Note Sir Paul McCartney providing awkward comedy gold at 1:04, as well as gratuitous footage of Taylor Swift doing what Taylor Swift does at award shows, i.e. dancing conspicuously in the front row.