Word #18

Issue 18

August 2004

Cover star – Prince

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Word shuffle

1)      P27 – full page advert for the Philips Micro Jukebox. The ad boasts that it’s credit card size, can play 350(!) MP3s and weighs only 95 grams. As I write this, someone is trying to sell one on eBay, starting price £50 – which may be rather optimistic.

2)      P85 – part of an eleven page piece by David Hepworth about the effect of good looks on popstars’ careers. “There is no better example of the halo cast by one outstanding-looking member than Paul Simonon’s beneficial effect on the rest of The Clash.”

3)      P17 – from the ‘Word of Mouth’ feature. We learn about the reading, listening and viewing habits of Tim Booth, Sasha and Judy Collins. Tim likes ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer and ‘His Dark Materials’ (“the Vatican said the books were satanic – that’s a recommendation in itself!”), Judy likes Sinatra, Fitzgerald and Dylan (“I first met him in New York City in 1961 when he was shagging around with a dumb-looking hat and a lot of old clothes trying to sound like Woody Guthrie”) and Sasha is a fan of Wilco’s ‘Yankee Hotel Foxtrot’, Dylan, The Band, Pink Floyd and ‘100 Years Of Solitude’ by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (“a totally different world, halfway between reality and fantasy. I just love the strangeness of that little town..is it Chile? You’re never sure are you?”).

4)      P108 –Dorian Lynskey reviews ‘Lost In Translation’ and begins the piece: “Like her father, Sofia Coppola travelled to Asia to bring a treasured project to life. Unlike him, she didn’t go nuts, but you wonder if she absorbed something of his experience making ‘Apocalypse Now’. Both films employ, in very different ways, the meandering unreality of a dream, and both are about the strange ways Americans behave in strange lands.” He adds that the soundtrack “…dominated by My Bloody Valentine man Kevin Shields’ first recordings for 12 years, has an appropriately blurry quality which suggests that ‘Lost In Translation’ might be the first great shoegazing movie.”

5)      P101 – some album reviews. Shystie’s ‘Diamond In The Dust’ (“…here a feisty 21 year old from Hackney takes on the more male domain of rap – and more than fights her weight”), Sonic Youth’s ‘Nurse’ (“…while their Big Apple compadres The Beastie Boys might have gone all holistic on our asses, Kim, Thurston, Lee, Steve and their collaborator Jim O’Rourke are in this No Wave thing for the long haul”) and TMBG’s ‘The Spine’ (“Like XTC, if you get it, you’ll adore what they do. If you don’t, their approach can be baffling, bordering on the repellent, like watching someone unicycle while juggling with cats.”).

Interesting – Stuart Murdoch of Belle & Sebastian was a rocker in his youth “I had a denim jacket with an AC/DC patch sewn on…”.

Andrew Collins travels to the Quality Hotel, Bournemouth to meet up with the Tony Hancock Appreciation Society. “While I doubt the “rosette of melon accompanied by marinated forest fruits glazed with a ginger syrup” would have appealed to Hancock (“I don’t know whether to eat it or wear it on my lapel!”), the setting certainly would. The Quality used to be the Durlston Court Hotel, where – according to the official THAS-donated plaque outside – Hancock spent “many happy years” as a child. It is the kind of hotel where the receptionist doubles up as the barman, but the ideal old-school, slightly worn venue for what is a kind of ‘Dr. Who’ convention crossed with a Darby & Joan Club outing.”

Shaznay Lewis, formerly of All Saints declines to fully spill the beans on the final days of the group. “The real final straw? I don’t want to go into the famous coat incident [Shaznay and Natalie reputedly fell into an argument over who would wear a jacket at a Capital Radio event] but after the way I was spoken to, I couldn’t put up with it any longer.”

Prince had recently become a Jehovah’s Witness. “He began his remarks at the Hall Of Fame induction by offering “all praise and thanks to the most high Jehovah” and his additional declaration there that”too much freedom can lead to the soul’s decay” should be read as his acceptance of the strict tenets of that faith.”

We learn that in 2002, Mike Batt was in a legal dispute with John Cage’s publishers after he’d included his track ‘A Minute’s Silence’ on an album called ‘Classical Grafttiti’ and credited it to Batt/Cage. “Debate ensues over who owns copyright on silence. Mike attempts to “prove” his silence is radically different by staging performances of both works at Baden Powell House in Central London. The dispute was reportedly resolved via an out-of-court “six figure sum” donation by Mike to the John Cage Trust in a gesture of respect.”

Longer article – Pete Paphides writes about 10 lesser-known luminaries of the folk rock world.

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