Word #50

Cover star – Joni Mitchell

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April 2007

Word shuffle

1) P129 – half page adverts for the soundtrack of Hot Fuzz (with “exclusive track from The Fratellis”) and A Tale of Two Cities by Mr. Husdon & The Library. They have a myspace page should you wish to know more.

2) P86– the 1st page of a 2 page Cat Power interview by Jude Rogers. “Two days before the Brit Awards, Best International Female Nominee Cat Power is in a bed in a Park Lane hotel, chain-smoking fags, squished up on pillows, sniffing wax dug from her ear with one hand and forgaing around in her knickers with the other. Later she’ll fart – waving a lighter around to hide the smell – and pee in front of me quite happily. All this while looking elegantly dishevelled, bambi eyes peering through her fringe, like she’s an arty ad in The Face.”

3) P95 – from Robin Eggar’s 5 page interview with Joni Mitchell. Robin asks why she hates critics so much.

“They hold you in your decade. You are supposed to stay neatly in your decade and then die. From my sixth album on they were dismissive while I knew I was still growing. It was an extraordinary rejection of good work. I know enough to know when I’m doing good work but fools were reviewing it. I’d see the crap they’d elevate. I don’t care for fame and fortune but the rejection of my later work was too extreme.”

4) P120 – from the album reviews section. The most column inches on this page are given to Saltbreakers by Laura Veirs. Robert Sandall writes that “Veirs is still recognisable as the daughter of a geologist mother and a marine biologist father whose idea of the perfect holiday was to go camping in the wildest parts of the wild. To listen to her 6th album is to be imaginatively transported into the world of a wide eyed, serious-minded child for whom the minute observation of dawn sunlight, starry skies, giant waves, black butterflies, and a vast array of other eco-phenomena, acts as a prism through which all of her emotions are expressed.”

5) P24 – Andrew Collins compares the past to the present and wonders if we’ve made progress. Among other things chat shows, record shops and the charts were better then. Pubs, salad and comedy are better now.

Interesting – The 20 best and worst pop fashion items as decreed by The Word. 3 of the worst are: David Bowie’s Union Jack tailcoat and goatee, circa ‘Earthling’ (“looks like some kind of right-wing Doctor Who”), The Style Council’s ‘Brideshead Revisited’ period (“is there a less convincing Wodehousian aesthete than Merton Mick?”) and Mark Knopfler’s headband (“as bad as wearing a ponytail at the front – actually worse”). 3 of the best are: Devo’s flowerpot hats (“splendidly mad and the perfect millinery for a band that was three quarters cartoon anyway”), the codpiece worn by Larry Blackmon of Cameo (“crimson genital crash helmet still gives all who saw it the heebie-jeebies”) and Johnny Rotten’s bondage trousers (“these garish and impractical ‘perv-trews’ – as Smash Hits was wont to put it – put the wind right up grans, coppers, teachers and other DOOMED OLDIES. Will clothes ever terrify like this again?”)

Lauren Laverne writes about doing the 6 – 7 am slot on XFM. “At six in the morning I’m often exclusively broadcasting to people driving home from having affairs, the depressed, people who’ve cried themselves awake over store-card debts, milkmen and criminals. That’s my demographic . I genuinely love them and I care about them deeply.” Danny Baker helms the 4-5 pm slot on BBC Radio London. “I only play records that will cheer people up. There is absolutely no rhyme or reason as to what works. Whether it’s Joyce Grenfell or bleeding Kashmir by Led Zeppelin.”

Grenfell gets another mention in the DVD review pages (for Joyce Grenfell, The BBC Collection DVD) reviewed by Hazel Davis. “Grenfell had the ability to highlight mundane details pre-Alan Bennett and string them out to their awkward and embarrassing conclusions.She honed idiosyncrasies with a style both gentle and genteel.”

Andrew Collins loves The Wire. “The real test of your Wire-appreciation is whether or not you’re prepared to stand up and say it’s better than The Sopranos. I am. The Sopranos is operatic, playfully metatextual and Freudian; it invites analysis – and gets it. The Wire is plain-speaking, unmanicured and, due to its pace, a far subtler proposition.”

Longer article

Rob Fitzpatrick catches up with the recently reunited Pentangle.

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