Word #37

Issue 37

March 2006

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Cover star – KT Tunstall

Word shuffle

1) P23 – A full page advert for ‘First Impressions Of Earth’ by The Strokes.

2) P92 – The final page of a 9 page article on Nick Drake by Trevor Dann, an extract from his book ‘Darker Than The Deepest Sea’.

“The initial release of ‘Bryter Later’ was barely noticed. There were no reviews in the music papers and, in spite of the urgings of Island’s record plugger Gareth Redfearn, Nick was adamant that he either wouldn’t or couldn’t promote the record with gigs, radio sessions or even press interviews. Still smoking what his friend and collaborator Robert Kirkby describes as ‘unbelievable amounts of cannabis’, he was beginning to exhibit the first signs of psychosis. In those innocent times, the heads and freaks of bohemian London may have had a vague inkling that smoking joints and getting high could lead to temporary apathy, but they weren’t bothered about longer-term effects. Dope was cool – unlike drink which made people violent. Smoking was creative. It was mind-expanding. It was harmless. Not until many years later did scientists begin to establish a link between cannabis and schizophrenia.”

3) P115 – Album reviews of Juelz Santana’s ‘What The Game’s Been Missing!’ (“he has a line in mawkishness that would make even  Tupac blush, introducing the album via a conversation with his five year old nephew…”) and ‘Songs From A Dazzling Drift’ by Yo Zushi (“i,,ediately likeable and with the unerring ability to bring a smile to the lips of any music fan, the album leads the listener on an uptempo tour of Yo’s well-stcked record collection from the Neil Young inspired ‘Mary Magdalen’s Barbershop Blues’ to ‘Pin Brooch Cabaret’ with its languid nods to Leonard Cohen’s perfectly constructed lyricism”).

4) P20– From an article on cinematic firsts. We learn that the first feature in 3-D was ‘Bwana Devil’ (1952) – “Though Oboler (the director) had shot his exotic advenure with the new sterescopic photographic technology, his story-telling was so flat nobody gave one D, let alone three.” The first feature-length Sci-Fi movie was ‘The Lost World‘ (1925) -“The picture was the first to edit together live action and stop-start animation. While filming one of the stop-motion scenes, the cameraman spotted a pair of pliers in the picture. So as to not draw attention to them by having them suddenly disappear, he moved them a little at a time until they were out of the shot.”

5) P51 – John Simm and Katie Melua are featured in the ‘Word Of Mouth’ section.Katie is looking forward to the next album by Polly Scattergood (“a quirky British singer with really interesting lyrics”) while John’s musical choices are ‘Chaos And Creation In The Backyard’ by Macca and ‘A Bigger Bang’ by the Stones (“deeply uncool the pair of them, but that’s one of the joys of getting older, I don’t give a fuck!”) Bookwise, John says that Bukowski’s ‘Ham On Rye’ is “the greatest book ever written.” Katie has been reading ‘The Mandarins’ by Simone de Beauvoir (“…all about a journalist returning to normality after the war. It’s quite fascinating in terms of the philosophy.”)

Interesting – David Hepworth looks at Stereogum (American website) and their list of candidates for Miss Indie 2005. “As Stereogum’s list proves, what appeals to Indie Boy is a number of minute variations on a bouquet of fantasy girlfriends: young women who appear soulful, considerate, well-mannered, fragrant, properly educated, wine-drinking, well-read, moderate, flirtatious, interested in music, pretty and – except when called for – clean. Much as it appealed to their fathers.”

David Sinclair writes about MySpace, at the time “the world’s number three ranked internet service in terms of page views and user time online (ahead of Google and lagging behind only Yahoo and MSN). Big enough to ensure that no band or artist, however well-established can sensibly afford to ignore it for much longer. And it’s free.”

The DVD of ‘The Ipcress File’ is reviewed by Jude Rogers. “Like many modern thrillers, it’s as much about sound and visual trickery as it is about twitching moustaches and cloak and dagger espionage. Caine spends the bulk of the action shot from strange angles, through the glass panes of phone boxes, and in shadows, which, as Caine himself describes in a fantastic interview on the extras disc, makes the viewer feel like they’re spying too.”

The writer Joss Whedon (‘Toy Story’, ‘Speed’, ‘Buffy The Vampire Slayer’) is interviewed by Neil Stephenson about the slipping of his Hollywood halo.

“How could this man, who talks of ‘giving audiences what they want need rather than what they want’, get another chance from the TV networks? There’s one final ray of hope. Thanks to DVD players and Tivo, people are starting to watch their television in new ways, filtering out the dross, and rewatching their favourite shows. Deeper television can survive now there’s an audience able to watch it more than once.”

Andrew Marr recommends that you keep reading ‘War And Peace’. “I’ve probably read it 14 times. It’s the greatest novel. It’s got everything in it. It’s got good people, bad people and everything in between. It’s war, peace, love, sex, knobhead intellectuals screwing things up, megalomaniacs…Every time you read it you’re older and so the book changes.”

Longer article

The current state of the British folk scene by Colin Irwin and Jude Rogers.

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