Cover star – Eric Clapton
1) P18 – first page of Andy Pemberton’s 2 page interview with Beck. “It’s probably a very pretentious thing to say but each album is like a different genre – just as you’d approach film. One of them is a completely derailed Western with robots and bad haircuts, and one is a Fellini-esque satire of P.Diddy and ‘Sea Change’ is stripped away, no artifice, no punchlines, it doesn’t hide – it is what it is. It really represents the kind of music I started out wanting to do and then I got sidetracked. ‘Loser’ was a total fluke, a total anomaly in my music thinking at the time I did it.”
2) P127 – second of 2 pages on superhero comics by Andrew Harrison. “Anyone who endured the yammering misery of ‘The Laegue of Extraordinary Gentlemen’ movie will need a lot of persuading that its comic source is worth investigating. Believe me, both collected volumes are, very much so. Alan Moore, Britain’s greatest writer, originated the idea of a team comprising the greatest figures of Victorian fiction – Mr. Hyde, Alan Quatermain, the Invisible Man etc. It’s not his fault the studio mangled it. Moore tells these stories with a cracked, Kiplingesque tone appropriate to bracing tales for boys of the Empire.”
3) P114 – a page of DVD reviews. There are reviews of ‘The Motorcycle Diaries’, ‘Glastonbury Anthems 1994-2004’ and John Innes writes about ‘The Commitments’. “As we learn from one of the added features, (Alan) Parker had his eye on Ireland’s Mr. Grumpy, Van Morrison, for the role of fading soulster Joey the Lips. While it would have been a treat to hear Van’s delivery of ‘The Lord’s told me that the Irish brothers wouldn’t be shooting the arses of one another if they had soul’, apparently Van made some rude comments about the script, suggested it needed some more of his own songs, and exited stage left.”
4) P40 – Dennis Katz conducts a short interview with Bill Murray.
“How come someone as sought-after as Bill Murray doesn’t have an agent?”
“I can’t have people calling me at home apart from relatives and friends. Work people, it got crazy. An agent will tell their secretary ‘Call Bill’ and they’ll call you thirty times in one day whether you feel like answering or not. Getting an agent is how you get into the business, but for me, I don’t need one any more. People just call me.”
5) P9 – Richard Ingrams and Tori Amos are asked for their recommendations in the ‘Word Of Mouth’ section. Mr Ingrams likes the Toy Story films, ‘Monsters Inc’ and Kitty Kelly’s book about the Bush dynasty ‘The Family’. We learn that Ms Amos is a fan of Stevie Wonder’s ‘Innervisions’, the book ‘The Shamanic Way Of The Bee’ by Simon Buxton and the films ’50 First Dates’ or ‘Sleepless In Seattle’. “My husband falls asleep in front of them on purpose.”
David Hepworth writes about the increasingly bizarre world of music awards.
“When Joss Stone collected her award for Best Urban Act at this year’s Brits a number of thoughts occurred to me.
1. Surely she should be Best Suburban Act.
2. Of all the adjectives in the degraded lexicon of popular music, isn’t urban the most pretentious, misleading, border-line-racist and ultimately redundant?
3. Do any of the clowns strewing these words around have the remotest clue what they mean by them?”
The worst casting decisions ever feature includes Tom Hanks as Sherman McCoy in ‘Bonfire Of The Vanities’ (“made less sense than casting Princess Diana as Idi Amin”), John Wayne as Genghis Khan in ‘The Conqueror’ and Sting as Feyd-Rautha in ‘Dune’ (“StillS of Sting in his plastic underpants should be sent to every band with the caption ‘Thinking of making a movie? THINK AGAIN!”)
Meanwhile the best decisions section features John Malkovich as Cyrus in ‘Con Air’ (“what it would be like if Michael Stipe was a mass murderer in charge of a gang of other murderers”), Ben Kinglsey as Don Logan in ‘Sexy Beast’ and Judi Dench as M in various Bond movies (“Who would really run British intelligence – a desiccated old Etonian or someone who looks like she could terrify the Bash Street Kids into submission?”)
“Blackberry thumb” is described as ‘this month’s injury’.
Bassist from Ugly Rumours, Mark Ellen, is reunited with the singer, Tony Blair. “You know if you’re meant to do it, the breaks fall for you – so with politics it all clicked into place for me somehow. Whereas with music you had to have a particular set of attitudes that I didn’t quite have and it never happened for me even though I was desperately keen to carry on. I’ve always wondered: could I have actually ever done it? I suppose everyone thinks that about something in their lives…and almost certainly the answer is ‘no’! (Laughs.) God, it was a long time ago, wasn’t it?”
Some of the underrated books recommended by various writers.