Word #12A

Issue 12A

March 2004

Cover star – Bob Dylan

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Word shuffle

1)      P96 – full page photo of Norah Jones to go alongside David Hepworth’s review of ‘Feels Like Home’.

2)      P63– another photograph. This time it’s Matt Groening pictured for a lengthy interview by Jane Bussman. He’s wearing a Hawaiian short-sleeved shirt and his hands are painted yellow.

3)      P26– a single page article on short-lived showbiz marriages. Rudolph Valentino’s marriage to Jean Acker was the shortest at 6 hours but the strangest tale was Michelle Philips and Dennis Hopper. “Married in 1971 on Hallowe’en. Hopper allegedly kept the Mamas And Papas’ singer handcuffed so she couldn’t run away. ‘Seven of those days were pretty good’, says Hopper. ‘The eighth day was the bad one’. Philips remembered them as ‘the happiest days of my life’.”

4)      P69 – another page from the Groening article. “What’s  your favourite background joke?” Groening replies: “I loved the sign gag on the First Church of Springfield where the Simpsons go to church. It says ‘NO SYNAGOGUE PARKING’.”

5)      P101– A page of adverts. There’s an ad for a Sparks concert at Ocean in Hackney which would have set you back £17.50, a compilation CD called ‘Death Disco’ and Ilya’s “stunning debut album” ‘They Died For Beauty’ .

Interesting – in the 2 page article ‘Have We Run Out Of Band Names?’ the writers decide which ones cut the mustard and which don’t. Gaye Bikers on Acid and Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy are declared to be trying too hard. Some numbers are good – The Big Three, Galaxie 500 and Ten Benson – and some are bad – Shed Seven, Eighth Wonder and Haircut 100. Some names are unforgivably dull – No Doubt “fearless, focussed, flat as a pancake” and Aqualung “makes you think of asthma and drowning. Great!” But some names just work – The Upsetters “first faint whiff of anarchy, never bettered”, Jefferson Airplane “Lewis Carroll kindergarten whimsy with attitude” and Elastica “brilliant, shame about the music.” My favourite category is ‘Some Acts Never Expect To Get Further Than The John Peel Show’ which includes bands like: Trotsky Icepick, Bogshed, DJ Comfy Slippers and Death By Milkfloat.

In the ‘Word Of Mouth’ section we learn that James Hetfield is a fan of ‘Fawlty Towers’, the actor Ian Hart considers Eminem to be a genius who’s “getting better all the time” and Stereolab’s  Laetitia Sadier recommends ‘The Year Of The Hare’ by Arto Paasilinna.

Longer article –a rare interview with Nigel Blackwell from Half Man Half Biscuit.

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Word #12

Issue 12

February 2004

Cover star – Elvis Presley

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Word shuffle

1)      P123 – 2nd page of 2 page review of Sting’s autobiography by Dorian Lynskey. “Sting’s writing is thoughtful but overworked. Professing a desire to ‘remake the drab prose of my life into some kind of transcendent poetry’, he employs an arsenal of rhetorical affectations which obscure rather than enhance. An early morning walk is a ‘peregrination’. Mr Wilson, Sting’s lecherous boss at the Inland Revenue is ‘tied to his work station like a sad Priapus in the temple of the senses’ and Sting, returning from a frustrating cruise ship engagement, is somehow Odysseus. You suspect he can’t even erect some shelves without comparing himself to Hercules”

2)      P49 – 6th page of a 7 page article on Christopher Guest and his films by Mark Ellen.

3)      P103– a page of adverts for various compilation CDs, the Mighty Wind soundtrack album (exec producer – T Bone Burnett) and Joan Baez’s ‘Dark Chords’ tour.

4)     P98– a page of album reviews for Count Basie, Ryan Adams, Eric B & Rakim, the Donnie Darko OST and Gary Jules. The latter two are combined and reviewed by Jude Rogers. The Word verdict? “Two very different albums – a chillingly beautiful soundtrack and a collection of middling folk workouts – sharing one extraordinary song.”

5)      P80– the title page for Danny Baker’s piece praising the Seventies with a small picture of him working at One Stop records accompanying the piece. As listeners to his radio shows know, he often likes to say he was a good-looking young chap – he isn’t lying.

Interesting – Mark E Smith on current music he’s listening to: “I’m touring with my band at the moment so I asked them to get a list together. Save me some work. All they managed was Kool Keith.”

Stuart Maconie declares that “If the Eighties had only produced The Smiths, it would be a decade worth treasuring.”

The much-missed Linda Smith is interviewed by Sian Pattenden. “I did a show recently in Chiddingly in East Sussex. In the hall there was a list of of Women’s Institute events that had been on there recently. One of them was a show called Fun With Serviettes, presented by Mrs Minnie Peerless. I really want to see this show now, but I can’t find any trace of it. I’ve tried the internet, and if anyone knows when her next gig is, that would really help me a lot. I believe she’s in the middle of a tour. I can’t say I’ve ever had fun with a serviette, so it’s something I could go for.” After reading this, I’ve been trying to do some detective work too; sadly, after all these years the trail remains cold. Anyone got any news on this?

Longer article –interview with the ‘Bend It Like Beckham’ star by Paul Zimmerman, carried out shortly before her first season in ‘ER’ was shown on UK screens.

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