Word #8

Issue 8

October 2003

Cover star – Fran Healy

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Word shuffle

1)      p44 – full page round-up of forthcoming releases by Paul Du Noyer. This month’s roll call includes The Webb Brothers, Living Colour, The Handsome Family and Finley Quaye.

2)     p27– a full page interview with singer/songwriter Erin McKeown by Toby Manning. “Aged 25, she’s made 3 albums, the latest and best of which, (‘Grand’) achieves a co-mingling of folk, punk, jazz and Broadway that’s as charming as it is unique.”

3)      p145 – the letters page. Mr. Simon Vassallo-Harding from Surrey writes: “I am really enjoing Word magazine…particularly the ‘Like A Virgin’ feature. Having ignored The Smiths and Stone Roses the first time round, I feel a lot less stupid now. Having said that, I did ride the first UK wave of Spin Doctors fandom, so maybe I am an arsehole after all.”

4)      p136 – a page of book reviews – ‘Millennium People’ by J.G Ballard (reviewed by Charles Shaar Murray) and Paul Du Noyer writes about a couple of Modesty Blaise novels. “To read the occasional Blaise book is a treat we owe ourselves. And it’s always delicious to read of that long-vanished central London where characters simply drive to where they’re going and pull up outside the door.”

5)     p55 – full page advert for The Cooper Temple Clause’s album ‘Kick Up The Fire And Let The Flames Break Loose’. The Guardian is quoted as saying that it was “The first great album of the new prog revolution”. The band split on 24 April 2007.

Interesting – Billy Bragg says “Music should be something more than ‘I’m great, you’re shit. Do you like my socks?’ Which a lot of pop music seems to be about.”

Sharleen Spiteri recalls being spooked by Bob Dylan: “…we were doing a festival with him and I’m lying in this portakabin and there was a forest at the back and it’d been raining and it was warm and steaming and I was lying there gazing out the window, then there’s this person standing in the window with this hooded jacket and I’m going ‘piss off’ and, oh my god, it’s Bob Dylan! And he ran away.”

On the advert for a string of dates by Curtis Stigers, I note that the Minneapolis Star Tribune describe him as “This generation’s Tony Bennett”.

Longer article – Armando Ianucci meets Mark Ellen to discuss his life in TV comedy. He reveals there won’t be any more Alan Partridge.

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Word #7

Issue 7

September 2003

Cover star – Dido

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1)      p121 – full page, largely positive review of Black Rebel Motortcycle Club’s ‘Take Them On, On Their Own’ by Toby Manning. “Anglophilia is an odd affair. Particularly when emanating from Americans. They can’t possibly envy our dentistry, our climate or what we laughably pass off as a sandwich, so US Anglophilia tends to be all about Britain’s supposed sophistication. Perhaps Big Brother’s Jade, Girls Aloud and Chris Moyles haven’t made the Atlantic crossing.”

2)      p45– part of a 4 page report from Serbia’s Echo Festival by Matthew Collin. “Radio B92 was the voice of alternative Belgrade during the Milosevic years, and was shut down four times by the regime for telling the truth about the political situation while playing a fierce brew of indie rock, rap and techno. It has become so well-known that even Kim Gordon applauded its courage at the end of Sonic Youth’s set at Echo”.

3)      p90 –part of a 6 page feature on So Solid Crew. “For his 19th birthday, Megaman bought Swiss a car. A black soft-top Audi TT, the So Solid car of choice. But he had to sell it. ‘A little bit of money problems. I’m gonna get a new one soon. Another TT, I think.”

4)      p139 – short review of photography book “The Eye Of War”

5)      p145 – the letters page, ‘InBox’. A letter called ‘The Demographic Scam’ accuses Word of bigging up Steely Dan in the last issue to appeal to a certain demographic.  The magazine reply: “We may be right and we may be wrong about Steely Dan but it’s not because of demographics. This issue has not been precisely tailored to the needs of a garage-loving, blues-singing submarine enthusiast with an interest in quality American TV drama, technological advances in home entertainment and Gabby Logan.”

Interesting – This was the only copy I ever dropped in the bath.

A review of The Coral’s ‘Magic and Medicine’ entitled “Captain Pugwash meets Captain Beefheart”.

There’s a 2 page piece entitle “The Future of Music?” about Super Audio CD and DVD-Audio. A decade on, I’d say possibly not.

Jude Rogers writes her 1st review for the magazine for a book about London’s lost rivers called ‘The Groundwater Diaries’. “In essence, it’s crackers. But brilliantly crackers. A mass of daft streams of consciousness – with pun firmly intended. Half-crazed flights of fancy that could only emanate from an abuse of cheap lager, and from the eternally, endearingly, insane streets of London.”

A review of a Spike Milligan biography by Mat Coward claims “The two abiding passions of his life were self-pity and self-worship.” Which, as I read his autobiography, makes me wonder if Morrissey is the Spike Milligan of pop music.

Longer article – David Hepworth on how the beautiful people took over everything.

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Word #6

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Issue 6

August 2003

Cover star – Paul Weller

Word shuffle

1)      p128 – page of adverts for various companies. Film Vault ask “Time now to sell your video collection?” They boast that they will PROFESSIONALLY VALUE (their capitals) your collection. I picture a middle-aged man looking through a box; “Okay…let’s have a look, ‘You’ve Got Mail’ – 2p, ‘Matrix’ – 2p, ‘The best of Top Gear’ – 1p, ‘The Fast Show, Series 1’ – 1p. I’ve valued your collection. It’s worth 8p.”.

2)      p56– full page picture of Gillian Welch to accompany a Toby Manning 3 page interview. She looks like an American Olivia Coleman.

3)      p24 –part of the Foreword section and mostly taken up with a Mark Ellen piece on the Woody Guthrie  archive. He speaks to daughter, Nora; “She once found a tin under their bed with a pile of coins and a note (from Woody) inside it saying ‘Dear Robber, if you need this money more than I do, you’re welcome to it.”

4)      p77 – an article called ‘It Was 20 Years Ago Today’ – looking at forthcoming anniversaries and how they may be celebrated e.g “2005 – 10 years since ‘Toy Story’. More outtakes featured on £100 four disc 10th anniversary collector’s set. ‘An essential purchase’, says Total Film.” This may have now happened.

5)      p118 – features reviews of ‘Phantom Power’ by Super Furry Animals and Kings of Leon’s ‘Youth & Young Manhood’. The Furries get a generally positive review from Toby Manning declaring that “the band have approached something akin to consistency”. Likewise, the debut effort from the Southern rockers “…it’s clear that Kings of Leon’s credentials are impeccable. Crucially, so are their songs.”

Interesting – Word used to review video games.   The PS2/XBox/Gamecube and PC game ‘Mace Griffin’ is reviewed in this issue – “Glorified cowboys in space is fine when it’s this much of a buzz. Henry Rollins reads the script. You’ll wish he’d written it too.”

In ‘The Secret History of Entertainment’ we learn that the Foo Fighter’s rider states that “(they) shall not be required to share the dressing room with any other performer, except Supergrass, Oasis or maybe Led Zeppelin.”

We also discover the origin of the famous scene in ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ when Harrison Ford shoots the guy with the scimitar. “The temperature in Morocco at the time was 130 degrees and Ford had been suffering from dysentery. The actor persuaded Spielberg to resolve the fight more quickly.”

Longer article – James Naughtie of Radio 4’s ‘Today’ programme is interviewed by Mark Ellen.

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