by Christian Ward The internet has killed the gatekeepers. 20 years ago, if you managed to scrape enough money together to put out a 7 inch (and your music was good enough) single, you were pretty much guaranteed a review in the NME and a spin on John Peel’s show – a direct line to your target market, basically. Now, even if you’ve conjured up the best song since ‘God Only Knows’, you put it up on Spotify and iTunes and watch it get lost in the noise of a million other tracks liberated by the democratizing nature of the web.
by Terence Dackombe The actual phrase I Googled was just picked randomly. “Handling radio interviews” were the three little words, but it could have been any similar set of words; the point being that with 71 million results James McCartney could quite easily have sought out some free advice before deciding to promote his new record and tour by appearing to be the curmudgeonliest crosspatch in British history.
If you didn’t hear James McCartney’s (son of Paul – last time I’ll mention that) interview with a bemused Richard Bacon on BBC 5Live, then if you think you can handle it, an audio and visual replay is available at the foot of this column. It’s eleven minutes long and you may find yourself crawling the walls before then, so feel free to just check out the first couple of minutes; it doesn’t get any better.
Throughout this season I have felt an ever warmer regard and fondness for the former Manchester United right back, who has transformed himself, effortlessly, from a rather dour and (apparently) humourless defender who never particularly shined as an interviewee, into a lively, articulate, open-hearted and immensely likeable co-commentator on Sky Sports.
That he has completed this transition over a summer is remarkable.
by Terence Dackombe “Oh… well… it’s… the group is now going to appear, so let’s have some audience…” says the man from the Sunderland Locarno as a rather downbeat introduction to the best live album ever recorded.
In the first signs of post-war, post 1950s relief from dourness, and liberation for young people (in the late 1960s, no less), there was only one route way for aspiring musicians to form a short cut from the grind of praying to be discovered whilst playing at the bottom of the bill at Batley Variety Club.
Move to London.
How the four members of the group ‘Free’ found each other in the same room above The Nag’s Head in Battersea is enlightening; that they did so at such remarkably young ages is a reflection of the times.
by Carolyn Drake Here’s the thing: I don’t often watch documentaries about people with disabilities. Until now, I’ve never really thought about why. It may be because I’m afraid of being hypocritical.
My daughter has Prader-Willi Syndrome, but first and foremost she’s my daughter. It’s part of her and it’s the way she is. As a family we learned to accept it and live our lives. I would hate for her to be judged or laughed at because of PWS.
So when there’s a TV programme featuring a disabled person, I get a little defensive. Are they going to be treated with respect by the programme-makers? Are they going to be a figure of fun, an oddity, someone ‘other’ served up to fascinate or titillate?
by Magnus Shaw HM Government and Tesco must have thought they’d found the Holy Grail. In an era of high unemployment and a conspicuous absence of career opportunities, the idea that the jobless could somehow be coerced into working for the ubiquitous supermarket for nothing (excepting benefits) must have caused so much hand rubbing, it’s a wonder there wasn’t a large fire.
Of course, once the giant grocer (and plenty others) realised the shocking damage slave labour would inflict on their brand, they retreated quicker than a worm from a hungry blackbird. But I can’t help thinking the whole escapade was symptomatic of a much larger trend. The closer I look, the more I notice the concept of paying for stuff being treated with contempt.