by Shane Kirk Once upon a time, when I toiled behind the counters of an ‘award-winning’ chain of record shops, one of my tasks was to check label catalogues to ensure we had the right selection of top-selling platters (and a few staff favourites). I used to love doing checklists. It meant I could spend an awful lot of time reading sleeve notes, memorising catalogue numbers – Kiss’s Love Gun was PRICE 69, as it happens – and at one point I could rattle off the entire Black Sabbath discography in order, including the NEMS stuff, and give you the Judie Tzuke back catalogue in ILPS number order. Not a great party trick I admit, and possibly the reason I spent a great deal of the early eighties as a single man.
by Terence Dackombe We cannot be certain whether it was bravado, or a sense of having nothing to lose, when Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, responded “Publish and be damned!” to his blackmailer.
Since December 1824, those four words have taken on a life of their own and have been corrupted to mean that any halfwit with access to a blog with three followers can write the first thing that comes into his, or her, head and create their own Waterloo by calling it ‘citizen journalism’.
Such has been the impact of the instantaneous nature of social media that the mainstream communicators have, with only a slightly increased sense of care, piled in to the ‘stack ‘em high, sell ‘em cheap’ concept of news reporting.
by Magnus Shaw Storm Thorgerson, who has died aged 69, was responsible for the design of so many classic album sleeves, it’s almost unfair. His company was ‘Hipgnosis’ and rather than dominate the age of iconic record artwork (the late 1960s to the late 1970s), his team invented it.
He founded his studio with Aubrey (Po) Powell, in 1970 having come to a realisation so obvious it had been largely overlooked: that 12 inches of double sided cardboard make a perfect canvas.
by David Radford One listen to Adam Duritz belting out ‘Mr Jones’ – from ‘August and Everything After’ – and I was hooked. Consequently I’ve gobbled up everything Counting Crows have produced. Well, almost. I must admit to avoiding the live album, because I had an awful feeling I would be disappointed.
In my experience, live albums can be a nightmare – especially for an accomplished studio band. They seldom capture the essence of a band’s greatness, and often fail to demonstrate what a band are actually like in concert. There are exceptions, of course. The Who’s ‘Live at Leeds’ and Jethro Tull’s ‘Bursting Out’ are genuinely superb records. Nevertheless, I approached ‘Echoes of The Outlaw Roadshow’ with caution. Mr Duritz was going to have to pull something special out of the hat to join that exalted company.
They were intended to warn Joe Public that during a war, seemingly innocent information dropped into a conversation in a public place could prove to be vital knowledge to the enemy spies who might be lurking about in the libraries and grocery shops of suburban Britain.
In 2013 we find ourselves, not under the scrutiny of Nazi operatives or espionage agents, but still vulnerable to the loose talk that now costs jobs and the future prospects of those who let words run away from them on social networks, particularly Twitter
by Magnus Shaw When Calvin Cordozar Broadus – or Snoop Dogg / Doggy Dogg / Lion – was refused entry to the UK after a fracas at Heathrow in 2006, The Sun had a field day. Calling him ‘sick’ and worse, the red-top worked itself into a preposterous and arguably racist lather, delighting in the decision to send him back to the US and bar him from further visits.
In the grand tradition of tabloid hypocrisy, the paper is now delighted to interview him and feature his exploits on their showbiz pages after the ban was dismissed by a court in 2010.
But – morally duplicitous as this is – it pales in comparison with the attitude The Guardian took to Snoop in last week’s Weekend magazine.
by Terence Dackombe If you give a full answer you will almost certainly only need to do so once. The dogs (or Eddie Mair) may be set on you but you have lost the vulnerability of that first time. Everything has been said before and any new wounds are mere scratches that heal in days.
In the immediate aftermath of Eddie Mair’s rather direct questioning of Boris Johnson on BBC Television’s ‘Andrew Marr Show’, Twitter was afire with assertions that Mair had slaughtered the Mayor. Boris was in BIG trouble and surely it was only a matter of time before Mair gained promotion (to where? Newsnight? Director General? Announcing the lottery numbers?) – but the problem for Eddie Mair was that his tenacious questioning tumbled into unsupported aggression, and the public generally come down on the side of the underdog.
by Magnus Shaw Tiffany You may not have enjoyed her cover of Tommy James’ ‘I Think We’re Alone Now’, but in 1987 Tiffany’s single consumed the globe. Thanks to a strategy of doing live PAs in US shopping malls, she was soon a worldwide girl-next-door, certified superstar. Follow-up success was hard to come by, however, and after an almighty bust-up with her management, Tiffany called it a day.
Then, in 2002, she took an unusual approach to the come-back trail by appearing naked, on the cover of Playboy. Next came an abortive shot at a country music career, before a return to pop with her ‘The Colour Of Science’ LP. Well reviewed, it failed to shift units and now Tiff tours with fellow traveller Debbie Gibson, doing their old material and 80s covers.
by Rhona Martin I assumed ‘Dogging Tales’ (Channel 4 Thursday 4th April 2013) would be another piece of ‘exploi-tainment’ – gratuitous, repellent and aloof. Then again, it did seem too good a subject to miss, so I put a reminder on my digital box as well as setting it to record. Aware I’d bought into the promise of cheap titillation disguised as journalism, I also knew watching it was now inevitable.
A good thing, as it turned out, as this was one of the weirdest, funniest, darkest and most confused hours of TV in recent years.