Friday, 10th July

VISUAL OF THE WEEK: IN RBP’S STOCKROOM
Working from the offices of Rock’s Backpages has many pluses – Mark’s espresso machine, bizarre early 80s New York  playlists (Lydia Lunch, brilliant), a fine view of West London – but none outweigh the magazine archive. Everywhere you turn, another gem: a Jim Marshall shot from the Beatles’ last gig at Candlestick Park, Tiger Beat’s Official Monkees Spectacular!, cassette tapes of interviews with Johnny Otis. This shot captures a terrible illustration of Bob, and the days when Roland Kirk was bigger news than the Beatles coming to lunch with the Melody Maker.

RBPROBERT FRANK’S THE AMERICANS
From a terrific New York Times piece by Nicholas Dawidoff, on photographer Robert Frank

“Over the years, The Americans would follow the trajectory of experimental American classics like Moby-Dick and Citizen Kane – works that grew slowly in stature until it was as if they had always been there. To Bruce Springsteen, who keeps copies of The Americans around his home for songwriting motivation, ‘the photographs are still shocking. It created an entire American identity, that single book. To me, it’s Dylan’s Highway 61, the visual equivalent of that record. It’s an 83-picture book that has 27,000 pictures in it. That’s why Highway 61 is powerful. It’s nine songs with 12,000 songs in them. We’re all in the business of catching things. Sometimes we catch something. He just caught all of it.”

CHARLIE “SATCHMO” WATTS
The Rolling Stones – Exhibitionism has been three years in the planning. Jagger said the exhibition would include some “really silly things … and really I mean silly”. Not all band members were able to contribute as much as others: “I’ve got more Louis Armstrong stuff than I have Rolling Stones,” said drummer Charlie Watts.

MITCH! NOOOOOOO!
If you complain bitterly about how you are portrayed in a sensitive, even-handed and rounded documentary, then don’t give interviews where you say things like this: There’s also talk of a full-scale biopic and Mitch already knows who he would like to star. “Lady Gaga has been mooted as Amy,” he told Heat recently. “But I’d definitely have George Clooney play me…”

RONNIE SCOTTS’ INSTRUMENT AMNESTY
A brilliant idea. Give away unplayed instruments. See and hear the results down the line. From Ronnie’s website: “Your instrument will be given a tracking number enabling us to inform you of its ultimate destination. Once the amnesty is over, we will prepare the instruments for delivery and send them to Sistema England in the UK and Music Fund based in Brussels. Sistema England, founded by Julian Lloyd Webber, seeks to transform the lives of children, young people and their communities through the power of music making. It is part of an international movement inspired by El Sistema, the Venezuelan programme that benefits children and young people through the creation of grass roots orchestras. Overseas, the collected instruments will be given a second life through Music Fund who distributes to projects in international conflict zones from their base in Brussels. Music Fund is a humanitarian project that supports musicians and music schools in conflict areas and developing countries operating in Africa, the Middle East and Central America.” So there goes my black semi-Fender Strat.

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