Word #45

Cover star – The Killers

Issue 45

November 2006

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Word shuffle

1) P36– JudeRogers briefly chronicles some of the showbiz marriages that have lasted. Includes Martin Sheen & Janet Templeton (still married after 56 years), Paul Newman & Joanne Woodward (married for 50 years until Paul’s death) and Michael Caine &Shakira Baksh (still together after 44 years – despite their relationship beginning after he spotted her in a Maxwell House instant coffee advert).

2) P78– the final page of a 5 page article on Beck by Roy Wilkinson. “One part of Beck’s personal collage that seems more than a little odd is his involvement with Scientology, the sort of unutterable silliness that seems incapable of spreading further than California. It’s difficult to equate Beck with something so naff. Tom Cruise? Jumping about on Oprah’s sofa? Berating Brooke Shield’s for taking anti-depressants? There is a man who snugly fits in Scientology’s public profile. Jazz keyboard virtuoso Chick Corea has toured the world playing a musical work based on the Hubbard novel ‘To The Stars’. That also somehow makes sense. Even John Travolta and Juliette Lewis. But Beck? A US webzine even suggested that masses of Scientology references (including a big drawing of head-loony L Ron Hubbard’s head) lurk in the artwork of the ‘Guero’ album. Has Beck heard this theory? “No, I haven’t heard that one.”

3) P30 – full page advert by HMV for John Mayer’s new CD ‘Continuum’.

4) P22 – Hazel Davis writes about Dave Stewart’s latest project, the album ‘Make Believe’, the ‘lost’ 1974 masterpiece by the entirely invented Platinum Weird. “I make lots and lots of music that nobody ever hears,” Stewart told me from L.A., but we have all these mediums now, TV, the internet, podcasting and so on, that I thought I would rather do something like this that I could get personally involved in. Britain is obsessed with the latest thing.”

5) P16 –Mark Ellen writes about about the directorial debut of Mick Rossi (formerly of Slaughter & The Dogs). The budget for ‘Played’ was less than a million dollars but the cast includes Val Kilmer, Joanne Whalley, Gabriel Byrne and Patsy Kensit. “Budgets were stretched and corners were cut. When Rossi, playing ‘a low-life villain’, needed to be let out of Pentonville prison, he merely vaulted the barrier and got the shot before guards could stop him.”

Interesting – Lloyd Cole is asked by Sylvia Patteron how he compares with Morrissey. “Well, I’m just trying to write in keeping with what I am, a middle-aged person. I don’t think Morrissey will ever want to do that, he just wants to be a big boy. That’s fine, but it says nothing to me about my life. I know Morrissey a little bit and I think he built this persona, this creature in his late teens, because he didn’t like what he was, which became Morrissey of The Smiths and what was there before, I don’t know if there’s anything left.”


Different Word-reading couples evaluate each others’ music collections. Juliet dislikes most of Jonathan’s favourites. “He’s got this weird thing for this guy from Leeds called Braintax. Have you heard him? Terrible. Raps about the same stuff all the time – Shepherd’s Bush, drugs, guns. Monotone rubbish with a load of ambulance and car sirens samples. He’s into crap like The Darkness too.”

Jonathan on Juliet – “When we’re in the car she plays things like AC/DC and Motorhead, so she’s transformed from this right-on hippy thing to a head-banging monster every time we’re driving. She still likes the goddawful Wham! and their ilk, the cheesier end of ’80’s pop, and she’s carried this taste for terrible pop-dance music into the ’90s with things like 2 Unlimited and The Shamen which is really irritating.”

Billy Bragg met his wife for the first time when he was the best man at her wedding.

Edward Lawrenson reviews ‘Borat’. “Baron Cohen shows particular flair as a physical comedian, none more so than when he and Bagatov wrestle naked through the corridors of their fancy hotel, ending up in a conference of suited, sober business men where they are prised apart by security guards. Playing like the misbegotten offspring of ‘Jackass’ and a ’70s porn movie, it’s a brilliantly daft bit of knockabout.”

Ralph Steadman talks about his old partner in crime Hunter S Thompson.”He used to drive at night with his lights out because the police wouldn’t see him. And he didn’t want the police to see him because he used to drink and drive – by which I mean, mix drinks and drink them while driving. ‘Ralph’, he’d say, ‘take the wheel’.  And I had to lean over while he mixed a cocktail.”

Longer article

Caitlin Moran and David Hepworth go head to head over Madonna.



Word #16



Issue 16

June 2004

Cover star – Rock music in the movies

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Word shuffle

1)      P24 – full page advert for Tim Burton’s film ‘Big Fish’. DVDs were still novel enough that the extra features (like the hotly-anticipated ‘Tim Burton Interactive Quiz’) are given prominence in the advert. The film is available “on DVD and video’ “.

2)      P23– 2nd page of a double spread of imaginary album covers by various illustrators and designers. It’s difficult to describe these and the published link to the website they’re from is now dead. Sorry.

3)      P113 – first page of a 2 page review of ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’. Clark Collis writes that ” ‘Adaptation’ accurately portrayed the writer and his torturous creative process (trust me, I once had the mixed pleasure of interviewing Kaufman: aside from the girth and the profuse sweating, Nic Cage got him pretty much dead-on).” Clark calls this movie his “best writing to date and certainly his most romantic.”

4)      P125 –a whole page review of Mike Figgis’s documentary ‘Red, White & Blues’. Robert Sandall writes that Figgis’s film really works because of “…his easy familiarity with the subject. He played in Bryan Ferry’s pre-Roxy band The Gas Board. Consequently, he knows where to go looking for top stories: Chris Farlowe discovering that what looked like a group of black GI’s cheering him on in a North London club in 1964 were actually Otis Redding and his band; Eric Clapton describing the interracial mayhem at a Flamingo club all nighter in the West End, where he and Mayall’s band had driven from Manchester to play their second show of the night at 4am; Jeff Beck recalling the unforgiving, erratically wired plank that was his first electric guitar aged 10.”

5)      P135 – The regular ‘MyPod’ (“Word’s NEW digital music section”) offers us advice on earbuds for your newly purchased iPods. “Upgrade from the iPod’s thug-magnet white earbuds with these superior sound delivery systems”. Andrew Harrison’s favourites are the Etymotic ER6 noise isolators (approx £120). “You could sit through an earthquake in blissful ignorance in these.” I’m not sure how that works – surely you would still feel the earth move?


Interesting – Kathryn Williams is a big fan of ‘Black Books and particularly fond of Bill Bailey. “I sat next to him on ‘Never Mind The Buzzcocks” a while back and I kept touching his knee. He was so lovely and sweet. I think I’ve got a bit of a crush on him.”

In Andrew Harrison’s piece on The Smiths we learn about Mike Joyce’s dreams. “In one, the band is reunited and back onstage. Everyone is in their right positions. Mike sees his friend Johnny turn to him, smiling, and say “Ok, let’s go!”, but Mike doesn’t know what to do anymore. In another, he’s in a theatre watching Johnny’s new band – but in the dream it’s an awful new age ambient outfit with people banging pots and pans, and Johnn’s not playing guitar at all. Afterwards, backstage, Mike tries to get hold of Johnny to tell him the new band’s just arty nonsense and why don’t we get The Smiths back together instead? But then a guitar tech gets in the way, and Mike sees Johnny gradually slip away from him down the corridor.”

In a huge piece on the use of music in movies, Christopher Bray writes about the use of ‘Voodoo Chile’ in ‘Withnail & I’ . “Then, as Jimi lunges into his first power-chord, we cut to a shot outside the car – as it swerves along the motorway, a drunken non-driver at its wheel. Eventually, Withnail is brought to a halt by the cops – cops whose peremptory raps on Withnail’s wind-screen are timed to exactly accompany the sublime plucks and tugs that herald the end of the first movement of  the song.”

In the same article Jane Birkin says she used to enjoy watching her husband, John Barry, compose. “Serge Gainsbourg (Jane’s second husband) was madly jealous of his orchestrations which were absolutely divine. He learnt to score by mathematics when he was doing National Service in Cyprus.”

Longer article – Hilarious piece by Caitlin Moran about growing up with her wanna-be pop star father in Wolverhampton


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Word #3

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Issue 3

May 2003

Cover star – Blur

Word shuffle

1)      p66 – 3rd page of 5 page interview with Lucinda Williams by Mark Ellen. She wakes up to ‘Pink Moon’ by Nick Drake each morning.

2)      p118 – full page review of Roseanne Cash’s ‘Rules of Travel’ album by Mark Cooper.

3)      p12 – part essay on how the lexicon of wars and weaponry have entered the English language (“In the current war, actual fighting is being described as ‘pockets of resistance and friendly-fire has become ‘blue-on-blue’ incidents – drawn from British military planning where ‘our’ side is always coloured blue on maps”) and part report of The Thrills recording a version of ‘Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me’. (“…it’s all lilting guitar, suspense and crashing drum rolls. It sounds great. The trouble is, when singer Conor Deasy comes into the studio, he can’t sing it”).

4)      p80 – final page of 5 page interview with Antony Beevor by Andrew Harrison. “A distinguished psychiatrist told me that Stalin could be categorised as a paranoid schizophrenic, but Hitler, apart from at the end when he was obviously demented, suffered from nothing more than a severe personality disorder.”

5)      P128 – full page of tour adverts for Ian McCulloch, Keith Emerson, B-52’s, The Pretenders and Vic Chestnutt.

Interesting – in ‘Powder Corrupts’, Caitlin Moran recounts the seduction technique which got her fired from the ‘Modern Review’. Whilst high on coke she dances for William Leith. “I know I dropped to my knees at one point because ‘Mysterious Ways’ features the line “On your knees, boy”, and I remember wanting to convey the powerful sensuality of the line as literally as possible. Unfortunately, I also remember scrambling to my feet shouting “That lyric is in the next verse! I didn’t need to be down yet! GOOD!” to Leith, who was trying to drive his chair backwards off the dancefloor in sheer terror.”

We also learn that Johnny Vegas is a big fan of Bukowski. “…he never apologised for being a drunk. But he didn’t deal well with women. He obviously met a lot of mad ones. If you drink in the right pubs you do.”

Longer article – John Naughton writes about the recent rekindling of interest in World War Two.

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