Word #57

Issue 57

October 2008


Cover star – Bruce Springsteen

Word shuffle

1) P95 – “Grumpuccino to go!” Paul Du Noyer reviews the new album by Joni Mitchell (“More an eco-worrier than an eco-warrior”). ‘Shine’, was released on the Hear Music label owned by Starbucks. “Nearly all of the album is a complaint about something or another. War, pollution and men in general are strongly disapproved of. The musical settings are lightly jazzy; the tunes are simply arranged while twisty enough to avoid blandness.”

2) P137– is the Home Service section in which various Word writers enthuse about the books, films and music that are currently floating their boats. Jude Rogers has been enjoying reissues by Diana Dors (‘Swingin’ Dors’) and Virna Lindt’s ‘Play/Record’, Andrew Harrison has been listening to podcasts from The Onion Radio News and Mark Ellen is “mid-way through Peter Ackroyd’s brilliant ‘Thames: Sacred River’, covering everything from the pageantry or river carnivals to the murk of ‘Our Mutual Friend’.”

3). P13 – a full page picture of Julie Christie in ‘Far From The Madding Crowd’ which accompanies the story that she’ll be reading ‘Madam Bovary’ for an audiobook.

4). P47 – pictures from Milan where the concert celebrating 40 years of ‘Sergeant Pepper’ has recently taken place The line up includes Robyn Hitchcock, the Residents, Jarvis Cocker, Badly Drawn Boy, Marianne Faithfull, Baby Lemonade and Russell Mael.

5). P120 – Jim White reviews Cate Blanchett’s latest outing in a ruff, ‘Elizabeth: The Golden Age’. “Blanchett gives a wonderfully toned, moving portrayal of a woman who has sacrificed her own sexuality in service of her duty, but such subtlety is in danger of being compromised at every turn by the fastness and looseness with which Kapur (director) plays with history.”


The actor Paul Kaye declares that “Pete Doherty is the nearest thing we’ve ever had to Jim Morrison”.

A tribute to Cherry Red’s ‘Pillows & Prayers’ LP by Andrew Collins is spread over two pages. “The album, named after a Victorian children’s book Mike Alway (A&R man for the label) had found in a junk shop, was ready to ship in time for Christmas Day. With its soon-to-be iconic cover photo (another Alway find – scissored from an encyclopaedia his grandparents had given him), the record entered the Independent Chart at number one and refused to budge for 19 weeks, capturing the mood of Oxfam junkies and sensitive young socialists up and down the land.”

Ronnie Gurr, a press officer at Virgin Records in the ’80s says about Richard Branson, “…it was ironic to consider that Richard, despite never having any money to get his round in on the label’s Friday night socials in the Earl of Lonsdale pub, was in the market for a Boeing or three.”

David Quantick finds the appropriate term for Razorlight covering Sting’s ‘An Englishman In New York’ in his review of a Radio One compilation album – “a double-shit whammy”.

Sarah Montague of the Today programme on Radio Four is currently reading ‘The Alistair Campbell Diaries’. “I am reading it for work, but it’s actually a riot. He writes really well and it’s really very funny.”

Andrew Harrison writes about the film ‘Air Guitar Nation’. “It’s a brilliantly funny, entertaining and – dare I say it – even moving story, a kind of male ‘Flashdance’ where a series of losers and nearly-weres discover fulfilment and even a kind of fame.” He meets “Bjorn Turoque, aka Dan Crane, who’s appearing at the Islington Academy for the UK Air Guitar Championships. He’s become something of a face for worldwide air guitar. ‘To be a great air guitarist you need to play something like the right notes but you need a persona, you need to be a rock star,’ he explains.”

Longer article

Stephen Armstrong writes about ‘Spooks’.

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