Word #10

Issue 10

December 2003

Cover star – Paul McCartney

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Word shuffle

1)      P113 – less than glowing full page review of Ryan Adams ‘Rock N Roll’ by Mark Cooper. “Sure, Ryan’s sheer musical facility is as breathtaking as ever but there’s an emotional numbness at the heart of this exercise.”

2)      P58– the final page of a 5 page interview with stone circle botherer Julian Cope. He bills himself as a modern-day shaman and recounts how he’s had shamanistic revelations at the ancient site of Avebury. “At first the blinding flashes were completely dis-orientating. ‘It’s like being anally raped through your third eye,’ he declares, helpfully. ‘It’s a very physical thing.’ Though at first it was debilitating, he now realises that it’s a state he attempts to achieve constantly.”

I don’t imagine Rizzle Kicks’ career path will follow the same trajectory.

3)      P51– final page of a 3 page interview with Andy Parfitt, controller of Radio One. “The universally accepted age-breaks – 16-24, 25-34 – were invented by the Sixties by an advertising agency who wanted to flog soap powder. They are crude divisions and you now have 18 year-olds behaving like 29 year-olds – haven’t bought a CD for 6 months, last film was ‘Die Hard’ – and 29 year-olds behaving like behaving like 18 year-olds – real media magpies, collecting all sorts of music, X-Box at home.”

4)      P117 – a full page review of Suede’s ‘Singles’ compilation by Lynsey Hanley. Lynsey admits that she is a far from neutral reviewer. “I can sincerely state that Suede changed my life: if it hadn’t been for hearing ‘The Drowners’ on Mark Goodier’s ‘Evening Sessions’ on an April evening in 1992, I would never have moved to London and lived the unstintingly glamorous life of a rock writer. Funnily enough, I would probably be doing the sort of thing that most of Suede’s songs seem to about: doing a dull job, living in a council house and going on about my Dad all the time.”

5)      P83 – first page of a 2 page feature on modern jargon. Examples include: “Boiling the ocean – business term to indicate dissipating effort by taking on too big a task”, “Angry fruit cocktail – a bad, flashy website design that uses too many colours” and “Airdog – miniature pooches carried by well-heeled urban matrons, so named because their paws never seem to touch the ground.”

Interesting – Music writer and REM fan David Cavanagh has fallen out of love with the band and thinks it’s time they called it a day. “If there’s no more to create, or if there’s nowhere to go but back, REM must stop. They have already ceased to be unique and are in danger of looking foolish. Let them be different to those bands that go on too long and become an embarrassment.”

Ex SAS chap and professional silhouette, Andy McNab, declares his love for the influence of Bollywood on music “…that Panjabi MC track (‘Mundian To Bach Ke’) was excellent and the album’s stunning.”

I was delighted to learn, in an interview with The Stereophonics’ Kelly Jones, that Stuart Cable (their former drummer) has a mother called Mabel.

There’s also the second part of a special on digital music in which they answer the question ‘How long does it take to download a song?’ The answer? “…around 20 minutes on a 56k modem. The same file would take something like 2 minutes with a broadband/DSL connection.” Imagine that kids – 20 minutes for a 4 minute song – AND you wouldn’t be able to use the phone while you were doing it.

Longer article – Steve Hobbs interviews The League of Gentlemen.

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Word #9

Issue 9

November 2003

Cover star – David Bowie

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Word shuffle

1)      p75 – one page of a brilliant 4 page piece by John Innes on some of the best and worst DVD commentaries. ‘Carry On Up The Khyber’ sounds hilariously shoddy: “One of the problems that studios face in producing commentaries for older films is that many of the cast and crew are dead. For the Carry Ons, series producer Peter Rogers has been shipped in, providing a largely soporific commentary punctuated by terse refusals to discuss any of the subjects that the viewer might be interested in. How much money the cast were paid, which actors he enjoyed working with and whether the series has a future, are all given short shrift with a barked, “I’m not going to talk about that!”

2)     p76– a full page advert for the Japanese POW film “To End All Wars” starring Robert Carlyle, Kiefer Sutherland and Ciaran McMenamin. An advertising quote from ‘DVD Monthly’ declares: “A mature piece of film-making – 8/10”. A more underwhelming recommendation would be hard to find.

3)      p37 – a page from the long-running ‘Word of Mouth’ section (tagline “People we like and the things they like”). Blu Cantrell thought “Mariah Carey’s ‘Glitter’ was a real good concept. Everyone said that the acting was bad? I, uh, can’t comment on that.” NME editor Conor McNicholas tells us that “every WORD reader needs to get the album ‘Get Born’ by Jet… it’s without doubt pure, unadulterated rock’n’roll”. Meanwhile, Jack Bruce is a fan of ‘Maus: A Survivor’s Tale’ by Art Spiegelman. “Brilliant way of bringing the story of a family in the holocaust to life that even your kids can read. In fact my kids had to read it or else they got no tea.”

4)      p116 – a page of album reviews – ‘Want One’ by Rufus Wainwright is given a positive appraisal by John Innes: “Each track has a different emotional vibe, and echoes of other strains of music filter through in an inspired, rather than copycat sense.” Elsewhere, David Hepworth writes about ZZ Top’s ‘Mescalero’: “Like a traditional but unspectacular barbecue joint they have been open for business at this same spot for thirty years now and time and chance dictate that every so often we will be in the area and peckish for the very dish that they are serving.”

5)     p33 –full page ad for a Led Zeppelin live DVD. I’m not sure what the significance of a rock formation blowing a smoke ring in the desert is but that’s what’s being used to sell the product.

Interesting – Word pick 8 things due for a revival including Gilbert O’Sullivan, the music of Donovan, folk raves and Reginald Perrin. There’s a case to be made that with the various boutique festivals currently sprouting in all corners of the globe, folk raves are back. The general populace are currently untroubled by the others.

Simon Waldman writes about his viral sensation, the scans of Hitler’s crib from the November 1938 edition of ‘Homes & Gardens’ magazine. The original article, written by Ignatius Phayre, declared that “It is twelve years since Herr Hitler fixed on the site of his one and only home…the only home where Hitler can laugh and take his ease.”

A 3 page article about MP3s which already feels like it should be in a museum featuring questions like “What is digital music?”, “What is an iPod?” and “What does ‘streaming’ mean?” Ten years later it’s hard to imagine that we ever needed to ask those questions.

And who’d have thunk Seal would be into Philip K. Dick’s ‘The Man In A High Castle’? “He’s very much of the psychedelic tradition but he’s so good at constructing characters that he’s actually much more plausible than most sci-fi authors.”

Longer article – Paul Du Noyer meets up with David Bowie in Poughkeepsie and looks back over his career. It’s a fascinating piece with some wonderful phrases such as (referring to a 1969 gig supporting Humble Pie) “The Liverpool Empire was a gruff mob of dandruffed trogs in RAF surplus greatcoats…” Enjoy.

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