Word #43

Issue 43

September 2006

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Cover star – various stars of the 80’s

Word shuffle

1) P123– the DVD of ‘Lost’ (Series 2, Part 1) is reviewed by Dorian Lynskey. ” The show demands that you embrace its absurdity; it leaves no room for dabblers or nitpickers. Personally, I love its pulpy energy. The story of the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 began as a disaster B-movie and turned into the longest episode of ‘The Twilight Zone’ ever made (in one of several illuminating extras, creator JJ Abrams admits that Rod Serling’s freak-of-the-week classic is his favourite show), but there’s much more lurking beneath its trashy surface: the outlandish, paranoid mind games of ‘The Prisoner’ and the bizarro soap operatics of ‘Twin Peaks’ for starters.”

2) P17– the second of a 2 page article by Hazel Davis detailing addresses listed in pop songs. “King George Street by Squeeze: Difford and Tilbrook’s gloomy narrative chronicles domestic abuse and poverty in SE10. A heart-rending tale from pop’s social commentators, yet the street remains uncommemorated and the wife-beaters still stalk the place with impunity. Allegedly.” She also mentions the prostitutes on Chatham High Street (as mentioned by Billy Childish, Bleecker Street (Simon and Garfunkel) and Killermont Street (Aztec Camera).

3) P73 – final page of Toby Manning’s 4 page piece on Syd Barrett. “After ‘Barrett’ (his 2nd solo album), what (Peter Jenner (his co-manager) calls ‘the fog’ became thicker. “Always stuff would emerge from the fog and then disappear back in. In the earlier sessions it was more like a song. Later it was a snatch of riff or lyric. You couldn’t really communicate. We’d just try and encourage him. It’s really hard to accept that someone who’d been so creative and so full of creative energy couldn’t get it back out. Unbelievably frustrating and upsetting.”

4) P62 – third page of Lynsey Hanley’s 4 page piece on Belle And Sebastian from their gig at the Hollywood Bowl. “There’s as much of a glint as a twinkle in (Stuart) Murdoch’s eye as he talks: Belle And Sebastian is more than simply a band, it’s the life he lives. It’s the one he dreamed of when he was ill, which is why it matters so much. Sheer will is what brought the band into existence, and is what keeps the whole endeavour going. Therein lies the secret of the elevation of B&S from indie figureheads to a band that can command the attention of 20, 000 excitable Californians: to Murdoch, this was always their destiny.”

5) P97 – a page of adverts for gigs. The Feeling play 19 dates, Aberfeldy do 15 whilst Ryan Adams & The Cardinals offer the punters a mere 6. There’s also an advert for Chilton Fest 2006, asking for “bands/helpers’punters to come and enjoy what is likely to build into one of the more special events in the UK Summer Music calendar.” A cursory google search reveals that in early 2017, Chilton Fest is pining for the fjords.

Interesting – In the ‘Word Of Mouth section, Russell Brand reveals his musical tastes: “I like a bit of drama, a bit of mystery and portent which leads me naturally to Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds. I’ve been listening to ‘No More Shall We Part’ a lot recently. I really do enjoy him enormously, but it’s The Smiths and Morrissey that really rule my musical life. I love what Morrissey is doing now in very much the same way as I loved what he was doing 20 years ago. My cousins were really big fans of The Smiths and they introduced me to what is now a daily pleasure.The music and the lyrics have invaded my life and my philosophy and inform everything I do.”

By contrast, the cricketer Kevin Pietersen is less florid in his approach. “Last year when we were playing in the Ashes, my big album was ‘Hot Fuss’ by The Killers, I listened to to them a lot. What do I like about them? What do you mean mate? I like their music, I’m not a big analyser mate.”

Tony Hadley reminisces about the heady days of New Romanticism. “My granddad, a lovely man and always very smart in a suit, I met him once outside Waterloo station and he refused to sit in the same carriage as me. I was wearing ballet slippers, white socks, wrap-around Iranian Cossack-type trousers, tight at the ankles and baggy with a flap like Aladdin up the front and a silk shirt with Greek imprints, make-up and a headband. And this was only going to see my Mum and Dad in Pontins.”

Paul Du Noyer speaks to Daniel Johnston on the release of the documentary ‘The Devil and Daniel Johnston’

PDN: It’s amazing that so much of your life has been recorded. On the DVD it’s like you’ve used a video camera or a tape recorder almost every day since childhood. Why is that?

DJ: Well, I think I was trying in my mind to be famous, so I wouldn’t have to work at the pottery.

PDN: The pottery?

DJ: They have lots of potteries back in West Virginia, you know, for pots and dishes and stuff. I worked in a place for cups and saucers. It was a great luxury to have the radio on all day long, but I had to get out of there. It took me a long time to make money on my art, but now my art sells on my website for a pretty good price. I have a lot of extra money to spend and I feel like I’m rich. I just go and buy albums and DVDs all the time.”

Longer article

Bob Lefsetz is interviewed by Mark Ellen about the future of the music industry.

 

Word #35

Issue 35

January 2006

 

 

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Cover star – Bob Dylan

Word shuffle

1)      P36 – Joe Muggs writes about Lady Sovereign and calls her “the Daily Mail‘s nightmare: the voice of the multicultural underclass answering back; not only bolshy but articulate, funny and optimistic”.

2)      P79 – part of a six page spread about the absolute worst of everything. On this page, Geri Halliwell is named the worst pop star ever (“Geri’s legacy is the biggest pop lie ever told, the one that says ‘anyone can be a pop star”), the worst film is ‘Sammy And Rosie Get Laid’ (“Hanif Kureshi’s hamfisted harrangue at all things Thatcher looked merely risible in its day. Two decades on it looks like a dictionary definition of everything that went wrong with post-’60s British cinema”), ‘Captain Corelli’s Mandolin’ is the worst book (“I only managed to finish it because I was paid. The author recently boasted “I think my books have a built-in mechanism for eliminating readers with poor concentration. I only want determined readers”. Well, I only want want good writing and there was precious little of it here.”) and Madonna’s ‘Sex’ book is declared the worst pop star side project.

3)      P17 – second page of  Sylvia Patterson’s ‘Facetime’ with Chris Langham. She asks him if he’s glad that he took the scenic route to fame. “Well, I drank too much and took a lot of drugs and then didn’t die and found out it was OK to get through life without having to do that. I mean, it’s a high class problem to have and irksome though it’s been to live a life which seems to be extremely compromised from the point of view of being successful, that is my gift. My gift is that I’m not a fuck-up”

4)      P101 – part of a three page article by Stuart Maconie rounding up the year (2005) in music. “Spiky post-punk continued to be the template for UK guitar rock, be it in the shape of Franz Ferdinand, Maximo Park, Editors, Bloc Party, Futureheads or any one of a rat of bands weaned on their older brother’s copy of ‘Unknown Pleasures’. Ever inventive, Oasis picked a new ’60s British pop group to pilfer, The Kinks this time, for ‘The Importance Of Being Idle’, the year’s most enervating hit.”

5)      P55 – the musician Terry Edwards has a letter published about the piece on John Peel in the previous issue. “Frankly, if I had to trade never being played on his show again for him being alive and well I wouldn’t think twice.”

Interesting – Mark E Smith is interviewed by Roy Wilkinson. “I don’t like lyric sheets. There should be an element of mystery. People should be wondering what you’re singing. It should be surprising when you work out what it’s actually saying. I grew up with an Irish family in Salford. I went a bit nuts when I was eight or nine, and me mam and dad were pretty poor, so I ended up staying with this family who were helping me mam and dad out. They were always singing Elvis or Dubliners songs. They never knew the lyrics – they just used to make ’em up. I remember them singing ‘All The Young Dudes’ – “I’m going to Woolworths, I’m gonna shag some cow to death…’ That’s the stuff [laughs]”.

Christopher Bray rounds up the books of 2005 and gives “…the real prize for paper usage in the past year to…Sudoku”. He goes on – “The weird thing is, although everyone you see on the train these days is filling in their missing numbers, they are all doing so in newspapers and not books – so who’s buying these collections? The Sudoku Conundrum – sounds like the new Robert Ludlum thriller.”

Various writers attempt to dispel myths about Bob Dylan. Danny Kelly takes on the received wisdom that Bob was ‘Only Any Good In The ’60s & ’70s’.

“Dylan is Dylan. Or, to be rather less mythological about it, Bob Dylan is Bob Dylan. He never conformed to the laws that govern normal pop stars, normal artists or even normal human beings. Thus he has never quite been where we’ve thought he’s been, or where we’ve expected him to be. Equally, he’s often been somewhere, artistically, that no one else can apparently see. When he was appointed Spokesman For A generation, he thought he was actually a jobbing folkie. When he was viewed as the speed freak demon king of rock and roll, he thought he was a smart arse French poet. And, for a couple of decades now, when he could reasonably be expected to be declining gently into his his physical and artistic dotage, he has in fact kept up a working schedule that younger men would have found debilitating and that many others – refusing to swallow Dylan’s get-out line about being “just a song and dance man” – have found utterly baffling. The result of all this is that it’s hopeless to try and divide Dylan’s stuff up. It has to be taken for what it is, warts and all.”

Andy Gill argues against the saw that ‘Dylan Was A Protest Singer Who Sold Out’.

“If his detractors cared to investigate, it was obvious that Dylan had never abandoned protest at all. Indeed, at exactly the point when folk purist were accusing him of treachery, he wrote and recorded a series of songs – most notably ‘Gates Of Eden’, ‘It’s Alright Ma, I’m, Only Bleeding’ and ‘Desolation Row’ – that were effectively protest songs of a higher order. What Dylan was really being attacked for, in effect, was his refusal to stick to simplistic naturalism.”

Longer article

Paul Du Noyer reviews ‘Ariel’ by Kate Bush.

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Word #9

Issue 9

November 2003

Cover star – David Bowie

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Word shuffle

1)      p75 – one page of a brilliant 4 page piece by John Innes on some of the best and worst DVD commentaries. ‘Carry On Up The Khyber’ sounds hilariously shoddy: “One of the problems that studios face in producing commentaries for older films is that many of the cast and crew are dead. For the Carry Ons, series producer Peter Rogers has been shipped in, providing a largely soporific commentary punctuated by terse refusals to discuss any of the subjects that the viewer might be interested in. How much money the cast were paid, which actors he enjoyed working with and whether the series has a future, are all given short shrift with a barked, “I’m not going to talk about that!”

2)     p76– a full page advert for the Japanese POW film “To End All Wars” starring Robert Carlyle, Kiefer Sutherland and Ciaran McMenamin. An advertising quote from ‘DVD Monthly’ declares: “A mature piece of film-making – 8/10”. A more underwhelming recommendation would be hard to find.

3)      p37 – a page from the long-running ‘Word of Mouth’ section (tagline “People we like and the things they like”). Blu Cantrell thought “Mariah Carey’s ‘Glitter’ was a real good concept. Everyone said that the acting was bad? I, uh, can’t comment on that.” NME editor Conor McNicholas tells us that “every WORD reader needs to get the album ‘Get Born’ by Jet… it’s without doubt pure, unadulterated rock’n’roll”. Meanwhile, Jack Bruce is a fan of ‘Maus: A Survivor’s Tale’ by Art Spiegelman. “Brilliant way of bringing the story of a family in the holocaust to life that even your kids can read. In fact my kids had to read it or else they got no tea.”

4)      p116 – a page of album reviews – ‘Want One’ by Rufus Wainwright is given a positive appraisal by John Innes: “Each track has a different emotional vibe, and echoes of other strains of music filter through in an inspired, rather than copycat sense.” Elsewhere, David Hepworth writes about ZZ Top’s ‘Mescalero’: “Like a traditional but unspectacular barbecue joint they have been open for business at this same spot for thirty years now and time and chance dictate that every so often we will be in the area and peckish for the very dish that they are serving.”

5)     p33 –full page ad for a Led Zeppelin live DVD. I’m not sure what the significance of a rock formation blowing a smoke ring in the desert is but that’s what’s being used to sell the product.

Interesting – Word pick 8 things due for a revival including Gilbert O’Sullivan, the music of Donovan, folk raves and Reginald Perrin. There’s a case to be made that with the various boutique festivals currently sprouting in all corners of the globe, folk raves are back. The general populace are currently untroubled by the others.

Simon Waldman writes about his viral sensation, the scans of Hitler’s crib from the November 1938 edition of ‘Homes & Gardens’ magazine. The original article, written by Ignatius Phayre, declared that “It is twelve years since Herr Hitler fixed on the site of his one and only home…the only home where Hitler can laugh and take his ease.”

A 3 page article about MP3s which already feels like it should be in a museum featuring questions like “What is digital music?”, “What is an iPod?” and “What does ‘streaming’ mean?” Ten years later it’s hard to imagine that we ever needed to ask those questions.

And who’d have thunk Seal would be into Philip K. Dick’s ‘The Man In A High Castle’? “He’s very much of the psychedelic tradition but he’s so good at constructing characters that he’s actually much more plausible than most sci-fi authors.”

Longer article – Paul Du Noyer meets up with David Bowie in Poughkeepsie and looks back over his career. It’s a fascinating piece with some wonderful phrases such as (referring to a 1969 gig supporting Humble Pie) “The Liverpool Empire was a gruff mob of dandruffed trogs in RAF surplus greatcoats…” Enjoy.

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Word #8

Issue 8

October 2003

Cover star – Fran Healy

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Word shuffle

1)      p44 – full page round-up of forthcoming releases by Paul Du Noyer. This month’s roll call includes The Webb Brothers, Living Colour, The Handsome Family and Finley Quaye.

2)     p27– a full page interview with singer/songwriter Erin McKeown by Toby Manning. “Aged 25, she’s made 3 albums, the latest and best of which, (‘Grand’) achieves a co-mingling of folk, punk, jazz and Broadway that’s as charming as it is unique.”

3)      p145 – the letters page. Mr. Simon Vassallo-Harding from Surrey writes: “I am really enjoing Word magazine…particularly the ‘Like A Virgin’ feature. Having ignored The Smiths and Stone Roses the first time round, I feel a lot less stupid now. Having said that, I did ride the first UK wave of Spin Doctors fandom, so maybe I am an arsehole after all.”

4)      p136 – a page of book reviews – ‘Millennium People’ by J.G Ballard (reviewed by Charles Shaar Murray) and Paul Du Noyer writes about a couple of Modesty Blaise novels. “To read the occasional Blaise book is a treat we owe ourselves. And it’s always delicious to read of that long-vanished central London where characters simply drive to where they’re going and pull up outside the door.”

5)     p55 – full page advert for The Cooper Temple Clause’s album ‘Kick Up The Fire And Let The Flames Break Loose’. The Guardian is quoted as saying that it was “The first great album of the new prog revolution”. The band split on 24 April 2007.

Interesting – Billy Bragg says “Music should be something more than ‘I’m great, you’re shit. Do you like my socks?’ Which a lot of pop music seems to be about.”

Sharleen Spiteri recalls being spooked by Bob Dylan: “…we were doing a festival with him and I’m lying in this portakabin and there was a forest at the back and it’d been raining and it was warm and steaming and I was lying there gazing out the window, then there’s this person standing in the window with this hooded jacket and I’m going ‘piss off’ and, oh my god, it’s Bob Dylan! And he ran away.”

On the advert for a string of dates by Curtis Stigers, I note that the Minneapolis Star Tribune describe him as “This generation’s Tony Bennett”.

Longer article – Armando Ianucci meets Mark Ellen to discuss his life in TV comedy. He reveals there won’t be any more Alan Partridge.

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Word #1

Word - issue 1I remember first hearing about Word magazine via the Rocking Vicar newsletter that arrived in my inbox each week. Initially, I didn’t know that it was anything to do with Mark Ellen or David Hepworth. These two were partly responsible for my head being full of pop-nonsense through my addiction to Smash Hits from ’81-’85 and then The Whistle Test.

When I saw my the 1st copy (who could resist Mr Cave’s welcoming smile?) in the old Virgin store in Manchester I was instantly intrigued. A group of people had actually put together a magazine about the kind of things I was interested in and done it with some intelligence and passion. In the 1st issue there’s a lengthy review of Herbert Asbury’s Gangs of New York book, a behind the scenes look at life on the 80’s revival Here & Now tour and an article analysing Julie Christie’s enduring appeal. You never got that kind of breadth in Q or Mojo.

My aim in this on-going series is to give a short account of each issue of Word, starting with the first and working steadily through them, highlighting anything particularly note-worthy, funny or unusual as I go. The Word Shuffle is generated by a random number from http://www.random.org/ and briefly describing whatever is on that page. As there’s no on-line record of any of the older issues, it seems like a nice way of preserving some of the content and flavour of this wonderful publication. I’ll try to update every few weeks at least and aim to be done by the end of 2015.

Issue 1

March 2003

Cover star – Nick Cave

Word Shuffle

1) p36 round up of information about new releases by Paul Du Noyer. Stephen Malkmus, Turin Brakes and Mel C all get a mention.

2) p125 – an HMV full page advert for Ed Harcourt’s ‘From Every Sphere’ CD.

3) p20 – an article by Paul Sexton about the new ways of calculating the Top 40 singles chart and a short piece singing the praises of Dr. Zoidberg from Futurama.

4) p74 – The final page of Andy Gill’s impassioned defence of Eminem “So what if Eminem doesn’t seem a particularly nice bloke? Neither was Bob Dylan when he was revolutionising rock’s language in 1965”.

5) p116 – the first page of a 3 page review of Missy Elliott’s, Trina’s and Tweet’s new CDs by Paul Du Noyer. “Trina, indeed, is a cold-eyed proposition. Male suitors are advised to begin by offering Maurice Lacroix watches at the very least. They ought also to be fit, for she is high-maintenance, both financially and physically.”

Interesting – Aimee Mann – “My guitar player just gave me a Palm Pilot which makes me feel more technical and smart”

Longer article – John Peel interview by Mark Ellen.

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