Word #15

Issue 15

May 2004

Cover star – Franz Ferdinand

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Word shuffle

1)      P77 – full page photo of Franz Ferdinand to go with the accompanying interview.  Proper shirts and trousers and precise haircuts abound.

2)      P49 – 2 half page adverts for acts on the Rough Trade label. The first is plugging the ‘For Lovers’ single by Wolfman featuring Peter Doherty. There was an ‘enhanced CD’ release featuring the video – and if you don’t know what enhanced CDs were, ask your grandparents. The second ad is for The Delays’ debut album.

3)      P92 – the various albums reviewed include 6 Michael Nyman soundtracks ( Jude Rogers believes they work better without the films where “they get clogged up with too much imagery”), ‘The Final Cut’ (David Quantick calls it “the Pink Floyd album for people who don’t like Pink Floyd“) and ‘The Blue Jukebox ‘ by Chris Rea (described by Paul Du Noyer as mellow and jazzy but lacking any tension).

4)      P81 – another page from the Franz Ferdinand piece by Miranda Sawyer.

“We have a chat about song-writing. The LP moves from first into second person with ease: when Alex and Nick come up with songs, they write about people they know and situations that have actually happened. So, the album characters aren’t Kinks/Blur broad-brush stereotypes, but real people: Jacqueline, Ivor, Gregor in ‘Jacqueline’; Michael in ‘Michael’. ‘Do these people know who they are? Well, yes, because we use their proper names’, says Alex.”

The Ivor in ‘Jacqueline’ is Ivor Cutler – given his complete disregard of pop and rock music, I’ll wager Ivor was ignorant of his appearance.

5)      P99 – the ‘Personal Shopper’ with John Hegley. He recommends Nic Jones’ album ‘The Noah’s Ark Trap’, the ‘Bad Poetry Quarterly’ fanzine (“plenty of poor crossings-out with passionately poor photocopying”), the work of Raymond Chandler and Josef Skvrecky’s book ‘The Bass Saxophone’.

“The Nazis banned jazz and prescribed the use of traditional instruments – not the saxophone – with double basses always bowed. There’s a scene in a café in an occupied village where the locals are jazzing it up, with a lookout on the door. On the approach of the Nazis, the alarm is sounded, the saxophones go under the seats and out come the accordions and waltzes.”

Interesting – Rob Fitzpatrick declares his compulsion to use eBay for buying “really rubbish records” such as ‘Arthur’s Theme’ by Christopher Cross and Foreigner’s ‘I Wanna Know What Love Is’. “What the hell am I doing spending money on chart singles I felt stupid for liking in 1985?” Sheryl Garrat’s worst eBay experience was when she sold “an early issue of iD magazine to a man in Brazil who seemed to see our £40 exchange as the start of a relationship. A blizzard of emails followed, with pictures attached. He seemed to have lost his clothes. It wasn’t big or clever.”

There’s a 4 page article giving thumb-nail details of various musical genres. Here are a few samples.

  • Alt. Country – Country-ish sound made by pasty-faced guitar bands who pose for photographs in trailer parks.”
  • “Soft rock – Music for eight-track cartridges.”
  • “Underground – Useful prefix for any music that doesn’t sell an awful lot.”

Jimmy Carr reveals that he’s a big fan of Lloyd Cole – “partly because I look like him.”

There’s a new regular feature called ‘myPod’ to explain all about this new digital music revolution. Questions answered by Doctor Digital include “How do I transfer the music from my iPod to my PC or Mac?” and “I’ve got an old PC without a FireWire plug. I really want an iPod. Can I get a FireWire card to put in it, or do I need a whole new computer?”

Longer article – David Hepworth’s observation that teenagers are no longer the distinct group they once were.

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Word #14

Issue 14

April 2004

Cover star – iPods

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Word shuffle

1)      P18 – Rob Fitzpatrick meets No Doubt and unearths various bits of trivia. e.g “They think that the Midlands are cooler than California – Ska was huge in southern California in the early to mid 80’s. “People still talked about 1979 when The Specials played at The Whiskey like it was the second coming”, says Tony (Kanal – the bassist).”

2)      P20– Andrew Collins writes about some of the worst ever movies. He includes ‘The Avengers’ which I remember enjoying at the time and ‘Carry On Columbus’ which was an attempt to revive the Carry On brand using ‘alternative’ comedians. Collins notes that it “was like dressing a corpse in a clown costume and saying ‘It’s what he would have wanted.”

3)      P101– page of album reviews. ‘Carbon Glacier by Lauren Veirs is reviewed by Jude Rogers and Dorain Lynskey reviews ‘Winning Days’ by The Vines. Roger’s summary is that “there’s much here suggesting calibre and sophistication, and a talent that looks set to unfurl.” Lynskey notes that “…frontman Craig Nicholls…has toned down his horrendous stage school caricature of an anguished rock icon”.

4)      P47 – a Word guide to the correct pronunciation of exotically named celebs or bands tagline – “avoid awards night faux -pas”. “Tea Leoni: Tay-Uh Leoni, !!!: CHIK CHIK CHIK, Ryan Phillippe: Ryan Fil-uh-pee and Thandie Newton: Tan-dy Newton”

5)      P52– final page of a very enjoyable 6 page article by Peter Paphides on Andy Partridge. “Partridge’s predicament (the difficulties that arose when Todd Rundgren produced ‘Skylarking’) elicits little sympathy when relayed to The Lilac Time’s Stephen Duffy, whose ‘And Love For All’ album was produced by the XTC frontman. ‘When we started working together,  the Todd experience was still fresh in Andy’s mind. He would go on about what a controlling egomaniac Todd was, and then proceeded to do with us what Todd had done to him. He used his genius to push us into things we couldn’t do, just so he could prove that he could do them better. It was a little detrimental to the group’s self-esteem.”

Interesting – Stuart Maconie recounts the wonderful tale of his 4 days on the road with Napalm Death, undertaken for an NME article. “All bands have on-tour catchphrases. The astute journalist will quietly, speedily assimilate them and and use them when appropriate. Napalm Death had one catchphrase – ‘I’m seriously weakened’ – and the drummer used it in every sentence, with the bullish confidence of the truly unfunny. He clearly thought this was up there with Shaw and Wilde and each time he said it he would gurn and nudge, as if to point up his wit. Before we had got to Newport Pagnell services, I wanted to kill him. I thought of little else. My hands twitched.”

Anastacia (tagline – straight from golden era Smash His – ‘the large lunged pop vamp’) declares her love for Coldplay. “The music’s really exciting and I think he’s an amazing, eloquent lyricist.”

The article featured on the cover in which 110 songs are recommended is an interesting read that throws up some inspired choices. Alex Kapranos chooses ‘Achoo’ by Sparks. Danny Baker chooses ‘Page 43’ by Crosby & Nash saying that it’s “not only the most sumptuous and peculiar track of its time, as the years go on, it reveals itself to be shot through with Great Truth, perhaps The Only Truth”. Robert Sandall gets an honourable mention for choosing ‘Detachable Penis’ by King Missile.

And it’s nice to see a whole page of the album review section given over to ‘Next’, a collection of covers of Jacques Brel songs. Toby Manning writes that “Brel is almost a Gallic Lou Reed, his innate romanticism allied to a dark cynicism, his mischevious wit balanced by morbidity, together with an earthiness that all combined is almost the definition of art rock.”

Longer article –There were several contenders for scanning in this issue. The Andy Partridge article came close but I ended up choosing Paul Du Noyer’s early interview with Amy Winehouse. She’s talking to an experienced music journalist after releasing only one album yet she has so much confidence and attitude. You  can also see her frailties at this early stage and wish that things had turned out differently.

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