Cover star – The Edge
1) P116 – final page of a 14 page Edge extravaganza by Mark Ellen. Bono gives his summary of the man. “Beneath the stillness, the Zen-like mastery of arpeggios and perfectly chosen crystal notes, there is a rage, an explosive side, as I’ve learnt on more than a few occasions. Never pick a fight with a man who earns his living through perfect hand-to-eye co-ordination.”
2) P42 – Second of two pages on singers and bands who’ve re-recorded their old songs. “In considering the historical precedents for ‘Simplified’, Mick Hucknall is keen to steer away from the notion of the ‘Unplugged’ album, another tried and tested route to reclaiming an old repertoire, most famously exemplified by Clapton in 1992 who had a huge hit with ‘Layla’. “I felt it was a great idea, but Clapton’s actual album as an entity was a bit sleepy,” he says. “I appreciate that he did well with it, but I just needed to have more variation.” Hucknall prefers to focus on the comparison with Sinatra, who re-recorded many of the songs he originally released on Capitol when he started his own label, Reprise.”
3) P16 – a page about Hard-Fi and their relationship with their heartland,Staines, by Roy Wilkinson. “No, Staines isn’t the Bronx”, says Richard (Archer – the singer). “But there is something odd about Staines. We think it’s because the aircraft dump all their fuel over us when they come in to Heathrow.”
4) P25 – a full page advert for the W800i Walkman Phone by Sony Ericsson. The blurb says you can “carry up to 125 of your favourite tracks on your mobile”. It also boasts having a “2.0 Megapixel camera with auto focus so you can take breathtaking shots and store them alongside your prized music collection.”
5) P38 – the first of a 2 page spread on recent movie remakes by Christopher Bray. “Andrew Douglas’s new version of ‘The Amityville Horror’ (2005) for instance, lacks the courage of the original’s constrictions. Not content to be a horror movie, it wants to be a horror movie about Dubya’s America. This time around the ghost turns out to be a right-wing religious nut. Which is fine, except that nobody save a few historians will understand it the year after next.”
Interesting – Noddy Holder tells Mark Ellen about his early days in the music industry, on the German port circuit in the Sixties. “Booked by “a right gangster” in Kiel, he had the mixed fortune of being shepherded around town by Paul Raven, the singer with Boston International (actually Paul Gadd and, later, Gary Glitter). Raven’s advice included the valuable forewarning that “people occasionally came into the club with guns and started shooting each other”, and that it was possible to subsist on just one meal a day, the local delicacy of Bauernfruhstuck – farmer’s breakfast – a gigantic omelette piled with fried onions, peas and potatoes “which was all we could afford”.
Craig Brown of Private Eye magazine advises that one should remain in pyjamas when working from home “until you’ve finished the days’s work. It’s the best way to make yourself a prisoner in oyur own home, which is absolutely necessary. Otherwise you find yourself thinking ‘Maybe I’ll go to the shops for a pint of milk, or the Post Office, of for a walk to clear the mind…’ If you’ve got your pyjamas on, you’re trapped and you work much better. I’d suggest buying women’s pyjamas because they don’t have that gaping open fly area which springs open when you answer the door to the postman.”
Alex Kapranos from Franz Ferdinand recommends ‘In The Aeroplane Over The Sea’ by Neutral Milk Hotel (“emotionally intense, open, the lyrics sway between metaphor and reality so easily you don’t know what’s going on…”) and George Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass” (“easily the best of the Beatle’s solo work. This sweet, melancholic optimism, the Phil Spector production – these huge crashing waves that feel so big it’s like the momentum of a crowd – the slides in the strings, the lyrics so simple but very powerful”).
Andrew Harrison reviews ‘The Apple Box’ by XTC and praises the quality of Partridge and Moulding’s sleevenotes .“Like Elvis Costello’s annotations of his own re-releases, they’re funny and fluent, rare examples of musicians bringing experience and unselfconcious candour to bear on their own work.”
The best and worst record covers are discussed. ‘Bare’ by Annie Lennox makes the second category. “Just unbelievable. She looks like Sir Keith Joseph, shaved and rolled in flour.” Bob Dylan’s ‘Self Portrait’ is described as looking “…like Shaun Ryder in a hall of mirrors.” In the best category are ‘American Recordings’ by Johnny Cash (“…an awe-inspiring biblical dimension appropriate, since he was effectively back from the dead”) and ‘Aladdin Sane’ (“Beautiful and unsettling, in one stroke it stroke it created Bowie’s persona and set the parameters of glam rock”).
Andrew Harrison writes about the recently revived Doctor Who series.