Cover star – Mick Jones
1) P79 – full page advert for the ‘Sell Out 2004 Reunion Tour’ DVD of The Pixies.
2) P54 – Andrew Collins writes about the proliferation of TV channels.
“In the spirit of the Industrial Revolution’s Ned Ludd, I held out until the year 2000 before going multi-channel. My parents surrended a year earlier, “for the golf”. I did it “for the films”, although I quickly fell for cable’s other illicit pleasures: Maritime Month on the History Channel (any excuse to re-sink the Bismarck one more time), breakfast re-runs of Jokers Wild on Granada Plus and Shop!, one of the early QVC copycats (on which the precise weight of a CD Walkman could be talked up as its unique selling proposition: “It’s not too heavy, but unlike some portable players, it doesn’t feel too light either).”
3) P83 – from a four page book review of Alan Bennett’s ‘Untold Stories’ by David Hepworth. “…along with various reflections upon Philip Larkin, the County Arcade in Leeds, Lindsay Anderson, Thora Hird, why lugubrious Northern comedians were better than their cheeky chappy southern cousins, and the difference between writing and being a writer, are more extracts from his hugely popular diaries. These deliver a reliable mix of perceptiveness and gossip.”
4) P94 – Jude Rogers reviews ‘The Weight Is A Gift’ by Nada Surf. “The best analogy for their sound is early to mid 90s college rock – lots of acoustic first verses kicking into crashing choruses, and melodies that put you in mind of Elliott Smith, Sugar, REM, Fountains Of Wayne and Weezer. There’s also enough resignation to give the cheery chords a little grounding.”
5) P144– reviews of DVDs such as: ‘The Essential Dennis Potter’ (“…Potter’s quirky, angry voice may seem an anachronism in these days of dumbed down television but many of these plays are surprisingly relevant. 1965’s Vote Vote Vote For Nigel Barton, for instance features a constituency agent whose cynical and manipulative ways clearly anticipate the spin doctor techniques which have brought New Labour into disrepute.”), ‘The John Cassavetes Collection’ (“…his films were unwaveringly personal, uncompromising propositions that find few equivalents in the Miramax-sponsored era of indie film-making.”) and ‘Vic Reeves’ Big Night Out’ (“Now that they stand canapé to canapé with the Ulrikas and Jordans of the Heat universe, it’s hard to recall just how jaw-droppingly outlandish and delicious Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer were back in 1991).”
Interesting – on the event of Lennon’s 65th birthday, David Hepworth re-evaluates his legacy. “Cool and credible are essentially post-Beatles concepts. In the ’60s nobody gave either of them a thought. Working out which of the Beatles was ‘cool’ or ‘best’ or ‘most real’ was pointless then and is even more so now. Brian Epstein knew it the moment that Pete Best left and Ringo joined the group: the four of them were the full ticket, a completed picture, the perfect circle.”
Martin McKee writes a letter about Goldfrapp. “What’s with the Alison Goldfrapp adulation? I know it’s all subjective and all that but I really don’t get it. Maybe I’m just the wrong age and a bit too old to find the art-school disco, ‘I’m a horse me schtick interesting and a bit too young to find a well to do Home Counties gel going ‘Ooh La La’ over ‘Son Of My Father’ by Chicory Tip particularly enticing.”
Jude Rogers interviews Sufjan Stevens about his American state-themed album series. “I guess I won’t finish it. But there’s a misconception that nothing happens in some places. Flannery O’Connor said that if you survive a childhood, you’ll have enough to write about for the rest of your life. I want to dig into everybody’s pasts from every bit of the country and get the stuff out like Kerouac, Faulkner, even Aaron Copeland. Nothing’s isolated or irrelevant. Really I just want to tell stories.”
The musician and record producer Ben Sandmel tells the story of when New Orleans was hit by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005. “I boarded up my doors and windows with plywood, already cut to size, that I’ve kept on hand for year. I slept fitfully, arose, and crammed my car with every irreplaceable photo, painting, recorded interview and multi-track master tape that would possibly fit. Thousands of LPs, 78s, and books had to stay put. I took one last long look and then I got the hell out of town.”
In the Word Of Mouth section we discover that Konnie Huq loves XTC (“Andy Partridge is misunderstood: he’s not some weirdo freak, but part of a great tradition of oddball English eccentrics”), John Culshaw is all over British Sea Power (“that album ‘Open Season’ was so refreshing. We’ve had such a lot of manufactured tripe, even from rock bands, but you get the idea that they really believe in what they’re doing, it’s do-or-die…”) and Joan Rivers doesn’t read stories (“I’m not a fiction person at all, I just think life is so weird, why not just read people’s lives. There’s a real piece of trash I’m having fun with: ‘The Truth About Hilary’ by Edward Klein; it’s got every kind of terrible dirt she’s ever done over the years. It got the worst kind of review in The New York Times so I knew it was for me“).
Mick Jones discusses his unusual childhood. “The lack of parental guidance, and of other siblings, meant that the prepubescent Mick was soon doing things, and going places, usually denied to ordinary kids. “I’ve got no brothers and sisters,” he says. “It made me invent my own world.” From the age of six he would wander around London on his own, going not to Saturday morning pictures but to proper movies, or to St Paul’s, taking sandwiches and travelling on a cheap London Transport Red Rover ticket. “It wasn’t dangerous like it is now,” he says. “You could do it then. I’d sit in the movie-house from the time it opened. It was two films in those days and I’d sit through them both twice and then go home. My folks would give me money and go out…that’s what I’d do all the time. It was discovery. It was amazing.”
Movie critic lingo translated into everyday English.