Word #51

Cover star – Rufus Wainwright

Word51 001

May 2007

Word shuffle

1) P12 – two page interview with Carla Bruni by Ian Reeves. “What the two women (Marianna Faithfull, her friend and English teacher) share is their own place in the tabloid history of The Rolling Stones. Bruni’s 1990’s affair with Mick Jagger (three decades or so after Faithfull’s) was the sort the red-tops like to describe as ‘on-off’ and is often cited as the last straw for his marriage to Jerry Hall. There are plenty of other names in the cuttings file too – including Eric Clapton, Kevin Costner, and, bizarrely, Donald Trump.”

2) P70 – Christopher Bray writes a two page feature on the 50th birthday of Sweet Smell Of Success. “Before Sweet Smell, Burt had been either the acrobatic athlete of colourful costumers, or the femme fatale’s fall-guy. After it, he was as often cast as a hard-nosed huckster as he was a hero. Had Mackendrick (Alexander Mackendrick, the British director) coaxed a new kind of performance from his star, or had he merely exposed Lancaster’s heartless, reamed-out vanity to the world? Norman Mailer, who wrote a biography of Gary Gilmore and so ought to know, once said that the only time he looked into the eyes of a born killer was when he met Burt Lancaster.”

3) P126 – The Home Service section in which Word writers enthuse about their current passions. Jude Rogers talks about her recent trip to the Pacific North West and says that “musical highlights from over the pond included Alela Diane’s fantastic The Pirate’s Gospel on every boho cafe radio, the Mountain Goats and Pony Up! in the Doug Fir Lounge in Portland – the latter a young female four piece who do a nice line in sassy, how-dare-you-dump-me-riot-grrrl numbers – and Peter Buck walking past us in Seatlle, wearing massive cans and an anorak.”

4) P103 – A page of adverts: the ‘Collector’s Edition’ of OMD’s Architecture & Morality, Loney, dear’s new album Loney, Noir (“Loney , dear should be 2007’s Jose Gonzalez” – Clash magazine) and 6 Bananarama albums are remastered and expanded and available at Borders.

5) P17 – a two page feature on Crowded House’s comeback gig on a boat, in front of 400 people. Neil Finn tells Jon Bennett: “In a way there were more more obstacles in my mind when Paul was around. Paul isn’t around now and we miss him desperately. We could have carried on when he left ten years ago if we’d applied ourselves but we could have gone mad. There’s a lot of psychosis in being in a band and it was right to do something else. There is a strength in the way Nick, Mark and I relate to each other and it can grow and develop and be organic. If I’m going to be in a band, what other band is there? Why would we name it differently?”

Interesting – David Hepworth believes that we’re living in a ‘Golden Age Of Music.’

“On a simple quantative basis, there is infinitely more music to be enjoyed. The new stuff pours forth and the old stuff doesn’t go away. The 17 year-olds I talked to knew who who Jimi Hendrix was. I’m not sure I knew very much about Django Rheinhardt. I was locked in the present because the past didn’t seem to have been invented. Now and in the future, an increasing proportion of the catalogue of record companies, the floor space of megastores and the digital catalogues of online retailers will be taken up by that which has been done in the past rather than that which has just appeared. In fact the whole idea of ‘back catalogue’ is a nonsense. And as Andrew Harrison pointed out recently, this has the effect of blurring the difference between new and old. Thanks to the iPod, everything from Loius Armstong’s Hot Fives to the new album by Clipse swims around in a permanent now.”

Andrew Collins reviews Arctic Monkeys’ difficult second album. “Now Turner has turned 21, the lyrics have matured along with his problem skin. He misses Sheffield (“Dorothy was right though”) and a mystery girl (“In my imagination, you’re lying on your side, with your hands between your thighs, ” he coos on 505 a thematic sequel to lovely B-side Despair In The Departure Lounge). And it seems that married women have been throwing themselves at him on tour. When on the Shakespeare’s Sister-indebted The Bad Thing, a suitor takes off her wedding ring, he’s “struggling to think of an immediate response”.

Daniel Miller of Mute Records is interviewed by Toby Manning. “Being a producer is a pain in the arse because I’m not very good at being the conciliator. Depeche go through these long cycles of splitting up and not splitting up. One of them will ring up and go. ‘I’m fucked off with X or Y’. A lot of it is about not wading in and letting time do the job to be honest. I’ve never said, ‘No, don’t split up’, I say. ‘Don’t decide now, see how the tour goes’. It usually works out.”

Rob Fitzpatrick reviews Basil Kirchin’s album on Trunk Records, Particles. “We Don’t Care is breezy jazz whipped and whizzed to buggery, Amundo takes one rumbling bassline and squashes it into extraordinary new shapes, The Dice Is Cast is like Bernard Herrmann with his head in a huge electronic bread bin.”

Longer article

Following an article about Pentangle in Word 50 , Colin Harper, the compiler of their box set, replies to their criticisms.Word51 002Word51 003