Cover star – various 2006 types
1) P77– the actor Ashley Jensen is interviewed about her last 12 months. “It was funny, everyone was like, ‘Ooh! It’s her first job (‘Extras’)! She’s come from nowhere!’ I’ve been a jobbing actress since about 1990. I’ve done lots of little bits of BBC telly, this police series, ‘City Central’, two series of ‘Roughnecks’, ‘Twenty Thousand Acres Of Sky’. Because I’m Scottish, I’m a bit ‘Ooh, this is just one job, I’m not sure if I’ll get another job, if I get another episode of ‘Casualty’ that’d be quite nice’, and when you do, it is nice but our heads don’t blow up or anything.”
2) P91 – part of a double-spread by readers and writers on the best live experiences of 2006.Paul Du Noyer chooses Deaf School at The Picket, Liverpool (“Uproarious reunion of the Great Lost 70’s Band plus special guest Suggs”), David Quantick enjoyed New Order at Wembley (“45 minutes of Joy Division, 45 minutes of New Order and an epic encore, all hammered out at deafening volume in the world’s biggest sauna – stadium music so good that U2 should be crying into their solid gold wallets”) and Andrew Moorhouse selects Thad Cockerill and Caitlin Cary in Newcastle (“Couldn’t have seen Gram and Emmylou but I guess this was pretty close”).
3) P115 – a page of adverts for Josh Ritter’s ‘Girl In The War’, Keith James tour of ‘The songs of Nick Drake’ and for the “Album Of The Winter”, ‘Sologne’ by Loney Dear (“Eccentric wall-of-pop sound – The Sun” and “Sort of really fantastic – Billboard”).
4) P15 – second page of David Hepworth’s ‘Facetime’ piece with Neil Finn.
DH: “Interesting that the branch of the entertainment industry which should be the most ephemeral (playing live) actually tuns out to have the greatest longevity.
NF: I think most people have to figure some stuff in their mid-life. Having been very famous when they were young, they have a bit of sorting out to do. It’s not very pretty for a while but, if they can get through that unscathed, the talent is still there, I think. Live music is really popular still, far more trustworthy and reliable than any other form of communication to me. If people turn up to see you live than you’re totally worthy, it’s not just nostalgia. Live music is bigger than it’s ever been. Record sales are the ephemeral thing now.”
5) P85 – Word’s writers round up some of their favourite albums of the year. Andrew Collins chooses Plan B’s ‘Who Needs Actions When You Got Words’ (“Plan B was too intense to break the charts”), Paul Du Noyer selects ‘Back To Basics’ by Christina Aguilera (“one CD of brutally produced American pop and one CD of whimsical retro-sexual pastiche. I only like the latter”), Steve Yates goes with ‘Silent Shout’ by The Knife (“If you buy just one Swedish brother-sister electro goth duo…”) and Joe Muggs picks Burial’s eponymous debut (“All the elegance, delicacy and melancholy of Massive Attack, Leftfield or Aphex Twin, but with 21st-century pirate radio crackle”).
Interesting – Peter Robinson writes about MySpace and its effect on the music business. “It’s also worth noting that there is no proved correlation between the volume of an act’s MySpace friends and any resulting chart success. Take singer Imogen Heap who, at the time of writing, has just shy of a quarter of a million MySpace friends, but who couldn’t get her single into the Top 40 earlier this year. And there are another internet phenomena, like those which spring from YouTube. OK Go’s infamous ‘treadmill video’ was a huge word of mouth hit for example. The single got to no. 36.”
Andrew Collins defends Emo. “Save us from a generation who say, ‘I like a bit of everything really’. Eclecticism, of both taste and trouser, comes with age. Let’s live a little first. Worry a few cinema commissionaires.”
Dorian Lynskey reviews Flavour Flav’s eponymous album. “It is disheartening to see the hypeman of a band once as life-changingly great as Public Enemy hosting a VH1 relaity show in which he vets potential suitors while sporting a viking helmet. But you can’t really blame Flav. While Chuck D has matured into hip hop’s sombre elder statesman, there can’t be many employment opportunities for a 47-year-old which require wearing a big clock and shouting ‘Yeah boyee!'”
From the Word of Mouth section we learn that Belinda Carlisle admires David Icke. (“People knock him, but I think his stuff on the New World Order and Big Brother is great, though he loses people with the reptilian shape-shifters stuff.”) and that in the ’70s, Christopher Lee was invited by Bowie to record a song with him (“we tried and tried but we could not find a song that was suitable”).
Rob Fitzpatrick takes stock of YouTube, the relatively new internet video site.