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).

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