Wednesday, January 24

A bar/cafe at Stansted Airport, themed around illustrious musicians (sadly, I kid you not). In reality this means a wall of Black and White 12 x 15 framed prints, and this, a wall of names, graphically arranged.


So we have the ungainly clashes of Muse/Fish and Chips, and Uriah Heep/Fresh, and Depeche Mode seem to have merged with the Rolling Stones… And don’t forget the legendary Ozzy Osb, and Ethro Tull. “I’ll have the Rod Stewart Inergarder, please…”

I’m really appreciative of Sky Arts, although they have a worrying tendency to hire people to make programmes about themselves, saying how great they are. They rock this approach with Melvyn Bragg’s hymn of praise to The South Bank Show now that it’s left ITV for Sky. Almost two hours of weirdly unsatisfying clips from thirty years of programme-making, linked by Melv standing coldly on various bits of the windswept South Bank and bigging up himself, before cutting to people like David Puttnam who also big him up. Strange.
I’ve just started another Sky Arts series, Rolling Stone: Stories from the Edge, a history of the magazine. I may be sensitized to this puffery as I’ve just Read 50 Years of Rolling Stone, a (somewhat) entertaining hagiography that I’m reviewing. The documentary comes laced with the same sense of baby-boomer self-congratulation as the book – I assume all this RS looking back activity was an attempt to drive up the price before Jann Wenner sold the company. Anyhow, the first episode reminds you of the brilliance of its writing in the Sixties, especially Hunter S Thompson on Nixon, interesting to read at this point in history:
“This may be the year when we finally come face to face with ourselves – that we are really just a nation of 220 million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns and no qualms about killing anybody else that tries to make us uncomfortable. Jesus, where will it end – how low do you have to stoop in this country to be President? It is Nixon himself who represents that dark, venal, incurably violent side of the American character. He speaks for the werewolf in us, the bully, the predatory shyster who turns into something unspeakable on the nights where the moon comes too close”

…as Buddy Holly calls his record company to ask for his songs back. A man never far from a tape recorder, he turned it on for the call. Found via Messy Nessy’s 13 Things I Found on the Internet Today.

Nando’s has opened a music studio at one of their main London restaurants, giving budding musicians the chance to lay down their own tracks while chowing down on chicken, reported the NME. The studio has been opened at Nando’s in Frith Street, Soho, and will give successful applicants the chance to record their own music with the help of an in-house studio engineer and pioneering equipment including a Neumann U87 microphone. “We’re really excited to open our first music space, both for our growing network of artists and also for our fans looking for a unique experience in the restaurant. Some of the best ideas have started over Peri-Peri (or so we’re told), so we’re looking forward to hearing what happens when we bring together chicken and tunes!”, a Nando’s spokesperson said.

What happens if you take the music away from Mick Jagger and David Bowie’s take on “Dancing in the Street” and cruelly imagine how the vocals may have sounded as they danced? This… 


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  1. Hi Martin, I think you trailed a review of a Josh Ritter gig at the end of last year. Did I miss that or did you never get round to it?

  2. I know, Kevin, I found it difficult to actually sit down and write about! I really loved it, and thought what a terrific performer he is, and what a great band, but wanted to do it justice. I’ll do it, I promise! On the other hand I felt no desire to write about the Clapton film which I saw last week. And anyway, Richard W wrote really well about it, so I didn’t think I could have added anything. Interestingly, I can’t find one review in the English press of Josh’s show…

    • It is remarkable how little attention Josh Ritter gets here, especially when his live performances are such joyous affairs. Maybe you could do something about that….
      I saw Richard W’s Clapton movie review – sounds dreadful. Also saw his review of that musical based on songs by D….no, you don’t want to go there again.

  3. Oh gosh, that Bowie Jagger thing is INCREDIBLE

  4. Martin,
    You are reviewing “50 Years of Rolling Stone”? Hope you can link us to your review. Look forward to it. I’ve just finished reading Joe Hagan’s “Sticky Fingers: The Life & Times of Jann Wenner and Rolling Stone” and found it quite fascinating and repulsive at the same time. Repulsive because I ended up knowing much more than I needed to about Wenner’s sex life and financial problems. Fascinating ’cause I think Hagan does deliver a convincing narrative of the counter-culture. How a movement that was born in a spirit of idealism and iconoclasm ended up characterised by narcissism and consumerism. It’s quite sad the way Wenner ensures that the ghosts of the Stones, Bob Dylan, and the Beatles – and the Beatles are reduced to Lennon plus his backing band – must preside over the culture until the end of time. There are many ways of writing about the 60s. Joan Didion wrote about them as a psychotic episode. I think Hagan does convey how self-regarding and business-brained the decade was, and how Wenner and co-conspirators created a leisure industry focused on themselves. I don’t feel exempt from this process. I was uncomfortably aware that Hagan’s book is “talkin’ bout my generation”.

    • Beautifully put, Mick. I’ve rarely read a book about the Sixties and post-, whether music or films or media or commerce that hasn’t left me feeling slightly depressed…

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