Word #21

Issue 21

November 2004

Cover star – Freddie Mercury / Live Aid

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Word shuffle

1)      P137–a full page review of ‘Little Britain’ and ‘Black Books’ DVDs by Dorian Lynskey. He enjoys both but says that while series 3 of ‘Black Books’ was good, he doesn’t see that a fourth series is necessary. Neither series “…does anything to change the shape of television comedy, but by pouring new wine into such old, and oft-abused, bottles, they’re enough to wash the taste of ‘My Family’ out of your mouth for good.”

2)      P149 – the second page of a 2 page review of Bryan Burrough’s ‘Public Enemies: The True Story of America’s Greatest Crime Wave’ by Mat Coward. The book tells the story of how the American public was manipulated into believing there was a crime wave in order for J. Edgar Hoover to foist a national police force on the nation. Coward enjoys the slapstick elements of the book. “There were at least 20 hostages in and on the Dillinger gang’s getaway car as it fled – at 15 mph – an Iowa bank job. One woman asked to be let out because ‘This is where I live’. The car stopped and off she hopped.”

3)      P59 – final page of a 3 page interview with The Zutons by Johnny Sharp. Dave McCabe recalls that during the recording of their ‘Who Killed The Zutons’ album “…I had this mad breakdown. My heart started racing. I rang people up crying. Then, for 2 days I thought I was gay. It sounds ridiculous but I really did! I didn’t know what it was that was doing my head in, but Ian Broudie, our producer, said “You’ve waited for years to be in a good band and make an album and now it’s happening for real. And it’s all coming down on your head. ”

4)      P109 – a full page cartoon of Elvis Costello, Tom Waits and Nick Cave sat in a notional Greenwich Village bar to accompany David Hepworth’s reviews of ‘The Delivery Man’, ‘Real Gone’ and Abbatoir Blues/The Lyre Of Orpheus’.

5)      P95 –page 14 of a 21 piece spread about Live Aid – the day itself and its cultural significance. Steve Blacknell recalls his famous trans-Atlantic flight with Phil Collins. “I just got this message from Wembley, ‘begin your piece’ and I turned the switch and then – because both Phil Collins and I were huge Tony Hancock fans – I blurted out a line from ‘The Radio Ham’, “it is ah raining not here also”. Phil was all set to follow up with “send a tray of bread pudding to Kuala Lumpur” but by then I think we’d lost the link to the ground and all people heard was this howling feedback and static accompanying some stock footage on Concorde which they’d got from the library.”

Interesting – Boris Johnson declares his love of The Clash in the ‘Word Of Mouth’ section. “I am one of the few people who can get to the end of ‘Sandinista’. I loved The Clash, they meant a great deal to me as a youngster, and more recently I used to talk to Joe Strummer every now and then – he read ‘The Telegraph’ and in fact sent a few poems to ‘The Spectator’. He was an absolute hero of mine and a very nice man.”

Julie Burchill has never been to a psychiatrist.

In the ‘Doctor Digital’ section, a reader asks if will they get any computer viruses by downloading songs from KaZaa or Poison. The answer is no.

Before Phil Collins leaves the Live Aid concert at Wembley to board the plane to Philadelphia, Andy Kershaw sends him off with “Will you shove off? And have you got your barley sugars?”

Bill Bailey describes some of his favourite rock music biographies: “David Lee Roth’s book (‘Crazy From The Heat’) is knee deep in debauchery whereas Gary Numan (‘Praying To The Aliens’) moans about the cost of cladding and puts pictures of his nan and granddad in.”

Longer Article 

Jim White looks at the rise of documentary movies.

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