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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