Friday, October 6th pt. 1

Recovering from a late night/early morning of sweating inside Rich Mix with the glorious Souljazz Orchestra [a big thank you to Ginie], this week’s Five Things comes in two parts…

THE SOUND OF ONE HAND CLAPPING?
This is eerie and totally fascinating, an empty Camp Nou as Barcelona play Las Palmas with no crowd, following the Catalan Independence referendum. It’s the sounds you’re never really privy to during matches; the players talking to each other – “Luis, do me a favour!” – as Suarez tries to claim a penalty, or without the soundtrack that usually accompanies the action – the weird lack of drama as Messi insouciantly rounds the goalkeeper to score, for instance, or Suarez ripping his shirt after he misses… to a deafening silence.

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This description, from Sid Lowe’s excellent report for The Guardian, captures the strangeness of it all: “At 4.13pm, Barcelona’s anthem blared out. The referee came out of the tunnel and picked up the ball from that absurd plinth, hurriedly throwing down the one he had in his hand, and the players followed. Echoing round, the anthem opens with the line: “The whole stadium cheers; we’re the blue and claret people.” When it closed, a “brave cry”, the place fell silent and the whistle went, heard by all. There was no one in stands, where the mes que un club slogan sat exposed. The directors’ box lay empty. The board watched it from somewhere inside. So did the players’ families, a lift-load of kids leaving together at the end.

Every shout was audible. A free-kick was greeted with “oh, so you give this one?”, there was something about a “mother’s shell”, and the standard call of any park anywhere: get out, push up, man on, quick, that’s it, near post, no foul, good. There’s something odd about actually hearing someone shout: “Leo! Leo! Here, Leo!” at Messi. Something odd about it all. Something sad too, a kind of what’s the point when it’s like this? But it was fascinating too. You could close your eyes and more or less follow the game, imagining the kind of pass delivered by the noise, the ball struck or stroked. Phwump or tac.

From way, way up, you could hear Messi get hit, and the satisfying sound of his free-kicks being saved: leather then latex on the ball. From way down there they could hear the radio commentators shouting when Busquets scored. And when Messi got the second and third there was gentle applause from a ballboy behind the goal. Suddenly, somehow, in an empty stadium there was also someone running on the pitch, swiftly removed by stewards. He appeared to be wearing an independence shirt and carrying a piece of paper. With barely seconds to go Luis Suárez put a shot wide. His scream rolled round the seats and he tore at his shirt, ripping it wide open and walking off.”

CAN I GET TWO COPIES OF GENE SIMMONDS VAULT, PLEASE?
A great post at everyrecordtellsastory about the upsurge of vinyl subscription services (Jack White’s Vault, Turntable Kitchen, Experience Vinyl et al) also features this: “Slightly beneath White’s Gold Standard Vault is Kiss frontman Gene Simmons, fresh from trying to secure rights to the devil-horns hand sign…” Simmons will hand deliver his Vault to each punter who pays the $2000 dollar price tag. If you stump up $50,000 (sic) he will come and hang out at your house for a couple of hours. From the FAQs:

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I love the fact that they felt they had to add “including windows…”

THREE PHOTOS…
Running out of headline inspiration, as you can see. In the fabulous tome that I wrote about last week, 75 Years of Capitol Records, I noticed that Paul and Linda were photographed at home in West Sussex by David Montgomery in 1976, and pinned up in the background was Edward Kasper’s wraparound sleeve for The Band’s Moondog Matinee. As Nick DeRiso wrote at Something Else!: “I stare at the album’s original fold-out poster, a saloon setting from Edward Kasper that combines Helm’s old stomping grounds of Helena, Ark., with Robbie Robertson’s Cabbagetown, and I can’t take my eyes off [Richard] Manuel. He’s apart, the only one lost in thought. Robertson is working the jukebox, Hudson and Helm are sharing a drink, Danko is reading a music magazine. But Richard is alone, thinking — staring off into the middle distance. It’s like he can see something, already, that I still haven’t come to grips with more than four decades later: Richard Manuel is already gone.”

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I hung it when setting up the workroom. It nestles in good company beneath Dylan by Antonin Kratochvil and Daniel Kramer, Neil Young by Henry Diltz, Woody Guthrie by Arthur Dubinsky, Leonard Cohen by Antonio Olmos, Ray Charles by Jim Marshall and David Bowie by the incomparable Antonin again. And the latest addition on the right – get your very own Jimi Hendrix English Heritage plaque. As a plate. Genius!

If you’re receiving the email out, please click on the Date Headline of the page for the full Five Things experience. It will bring you to the site (which allows you to see the Music Player) and all the links will open in another tab or window in your browser.

 

 

Wednesday, September 27th

ONE BARNEY’S BRILLIANT BOOK
Finding myself with a couple of hours to kill, I endeavor to make sense of Selfridges’ Music Matters season. “The transformative power of music. Amplified”, apparently. It seems to consist of windows dressed with cymbals, a pop-up vinyl store by Rye Wax, a few gigs and exclusive music-inspired collections by your fave fashion-forward designers. It all left me a little cold until I found the Taschen shop within the Books department. And there I saw 75 Years of Capitol Records. I remember Barney (Hoskyns) telling me that he’d been commissioned to write this a couple of years ago but I hadn’t seen it before. It’s beautifully designed and printed, and the storytelling (in the three sections I read before my arms gave out) is great. The Kingston Trio spread is stunning. The only downside is the price (£99.99 online, £135 in store), but you can’t have everything (as per usual, click on pictures to enlarge).

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TWO VOCODER LISTING ON EBAY
This may be the finest eBay listing ever. “I change the pitch from High to Low, so everybody can enjoy the show…” The fact that it’s perched on a tumble dryer is very “Internet of Things”.

THREE THE SWISS. WHO KNEW?
From Mashable: “On paper, Karlheinz Weinberger lived a mostly boring existence. He worked as a warehouse manager at the Siemens factory in Oerlikon, Switzerland from 1955 until his retirement in 1986, and lived in the same apartment for almost his whole life. But when he was off the clock, he set out with his camera to photograph the unusual. (He literally had “Photographer of the Unusual” printed on his business card.) In 1958, he fell in with the Halbstarken, one of Switzerland’s first underground youth cultures. These young men and women idolized the brooding sexuality of American rebels like Elvis Presley and James Dean, sported flamboyant hairstyles, and wore jeans and jackets adorned with studs, patches, and enormous belt buckles.” [The Cliff Richards one seems an anomaly here – Ed]

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FOUR THE END-OF-LIFE INDUSTRY JUST KEEPS ON GROWING…
…with a new wrinkle aimed at the baby-boomers. Your loved one’s ashes pressed into a record. Painful puns abound – the company is called And Vinyly – but at least we can feel safe in the knowledge that gran is forever in our record collection.

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FIVE IN JAZZ NEWS
It was a week of contrasts and timelines – a first album (Unnatural Events) launch by pianist/composer Tom Millar at the PizzaExpress in Dean Street and the 80th birthday celebration of composer and arranger Mike Gibbs. I went to Tom’s as we’d help kick-start his album (he’s the son of friends) but also because I really like his playing. I feel unqualified to actually write about jazz, so here’s a link to a well-balanced review by Kevin LeGrande at jazzwise.

I went to Mike Gibbs’ because George Foster had told me to. I’m so glad I did – it was a wonderful sound that his 14-piece band conjured up in the tiny 100-seat Vortex, with an audience made up of jazz lovers and musicians who’d played with Gibbs. His charts are restless and physical, and the assembled orchestra did them proud, with a supple rhythm section, a seriously great guitarist in Mike Walker and an amazing group of horn players (one of whom doubled on accordion, rather beautifully). I had invited Marcel along as he grew up listening to Mike Gibbs, and we discovered that Marcel’s dad and Mike Maran (who was seated behind us at a table with John Walters of eye magazine fame) were both in the rather sparse audience at Ronnie Scotts’ in 1972 when Gibbs’ Just Ahead was recorded. Oh, and Richard Williams introduced me to the mighty Evan Parker – it was that kind of night (see John Fordham’s Guardian review here).

If you’re receiving the emailout, please click on the Date Headline of the page for the full 5 Things experience. It will bring you to the site (which allows you to see the Music Player) and all the links will open in another tab or window in your browser.

 

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