The world just lost a big star, though not enough people have heard of him. Alex Chilton was from Memphis, Tennessee and scored a US number 1 with The Box Tops in the 60s. He then formed Big Star who were a huge inspiration for bands including REM, Teenage Fanclub and The Replacements (check out their tribute song in the second video). He went on to have an eclectic solo career. I’m a personal fan of his solo album (‘lo-fi classic’ or ‘druggy mess’ depending on your tastes) ‘Like Flies on Sherbert’ where he demonstrates his developed but still rooted in rock and roll influences of his Memphis youth by covering a load of obscure songs.
He also wrote beautiful songs like this which I urge you to seek out. The man had soul.
I was terribly sad to hear today that Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse took his own life this weekend. His music has probably meant more to me over the years than that of any other; I first heard Hammering The Cramps on a free compilation CD as a 13 year old in 1996 and bought the first Sparklehorse album soon after. I had a burgeoning love for music but at the time the media was swamped by Britpop- I had ‘discovered’ REM but this was really the first album that not only introduced me to a world of alternative and alt-country music, but changed my life forever. It had its own internal world, sad and beautiful, which has helped me through sadnesses of my own. I was lucky enough to meet the man himself twice, in 1999 in Edinburgh and 2002 in Manchester- after a show he would tend to wander out after a show, shy and completely humble but happy to talk to his fans. He made no secret of his struggle with depression and addictions which he expressed through his lyrics. He almost died from an overdose in 1996, and was in a wheelchair when he wrote Good Morning Spider;
Every hair on your head is counted
you are worth hundreds of sparrows
the tree you planted has become fecund
with kamikaze hummingbirds
I’m so sorry
my spirit’s rarely in my body
it wanders through the dry country
looking for a good place to rest.
Heart goes out to his family. A great actor and activist against human rights violations, particularly in Burma. His parents have my total respect by trying to make sure that people in his situation don’t do what he did. Their press conference is beyond the clicky more, because quite frankly I can only really watch it once. If anyone is feeling like life’s a shitter (which it often is) make sure you exhaust all your options. One of which is the Samaritans… and if you don’t want them there are a thousand more. I suppose it’s all about talking… everyone needs to talk.
BBC announced today their plans to close BBC 6 Music (home of Adam& Joe, Jarvis Cocker, Guy Garvey’s Finest Hour, Mark Riley to name a few) in 2011. Apparently the digital station “competes head on for a commercially valuable audience” which might otherwise be listening to Radio 1(Chris Moyles, Fearne Cotton, Vernon Kay) or 2 (Steve Wright’s Sunday Love Songs, Alan Titschmarsh with Melodies for You, Going Out with Alan Carr). No, no, no. No. Given the selections above, everyone who can will switch to XFM and the rest of us would prefer to record nails scraping on a blackboard/Jimmy Carr’s laugh/Janet Street Porter singing the birdy song. Or maybe just a nice podcast, or CD for those of us that can remember such things.
6 Music entire annual budget is a relatively paltry £9 million. Check out the rather beautiful work of art that is the BBC-o-gram to get a sense of how this compares with the budgets of BBC 1/ BBC 3, or (sorry to get all Daily Mail on your ass) the salaries of Jonathan Ross, Graham Norton, or Anne Robinson. Or see how much they’ve been spending on shiny buildings.
Happily, the latest reports indicate the beeb may be prepared to reverse their decision, in the face of the tsunami of discontent they’ve seemingly created. There will now be a 12 week public consulation. Ideas for ways to make your voice heard by the Big British Castle can be found here. Just imagine little Lauren Laverne’s eyes welling up, and give what you can. Here’s an awesomely catchy song from the playlist to get you in fighting spirit (especially you Black Squadron);
Can’t let Sergeant Howie aka The Equalizer (who’s seen that-looks awesome) pass away without mention on the moon. My favourite “joke” (more of a Richard Whiteley-esque aside) at age 7 was ‘Why does Edward Woodward have so many ‘d’s in his name’? (Otherwise he would be Ewar Woowar, duh). Thus the great actor gained a special place in my heart before I had any idea who we was, what he looked like or what he did for a living. But who knew he had such a lovely singing voice?
I read about this documentary called ‘The Cove’ then I waited (roughly) 30 minutes until I read it again. It may be one of the most bizzare things I’ve ever read twice in 30 minutes. I have not seen the film, but i really need to. I think you need to see it as well. That way I didn’t just make it up and I’m not crazy…
A lagoon off The Japanese town of Taiji is used as a dolphin meat-market
The film is about the guy who trained the original dolphin that played Flipper. He leads a team bent on exposing the hidden dolphin trade which is a world wide thing which involves us in the ‘West’ getting the dolphins that are good at jumping through hoops and look pretty, while the rest get mashed up into paste.
Here is the new video for ‘King Rat’ by the very awesome Modest Mouse. Apparently it was conceived and directed by the late Heath Ledger to raise awareness- and money- in preventing illegal whale hunting (see here for more info). What a nice man he was. RIP.
Someone died. And apparently the world put down their weapons and all wars stopped yesterday, politicians and judges sat in silence. Just media vultures circle, picking over a broken corpse. The heretofore sensible Newsnight had no choice but to do a 50 minute special on the late ‘King of Pop’.
Meanwhilst Neil Young was taking to the stage at Glastonbury. He didn’t mention Michael Jackson, he didn’t mention Michael Jackson, all the news is chanting. So just an oddly appropriate coincidence that he started the set with Hey Hey My My (Fade into the black)
And once you’re gone,
you can’t come back
When you’re out of the blue
and into the black.
The king is gone
but he’s not forgotten
And his favourite finale- Beatles’ ‘A Day in the Life’ cover seemed more intuitive and enrapturing than ever.
(EDIT: the particular video for this has been taken down for now, so instead, here’s what it may have looked like, except with the added bonus that the captain of cheese himself Macca makes an appearance in what looks like some kind of safari outfit…)
I’ve been very suspicious about Obama. I’ve read his books (which, by-the-by have no pictures in them), and he just sounds a little too good to be true. But I can’t let D-Day go without a mention, because Hell happened on earth and real humans had to deal with it. Respect. Obama gave one of his (suspiciously) trademark stirring speeches in which he looks like the first president ever to actually give a shit.
No amount of thanks can be generated to those who fought, so I will leave it underwhelming; Thanks dudes.
I have been obsessing recently about the beautiful voice of Israel Kamakawiwo’ole . The voice of an angel. He sang the version of ‘Over the Rainbow’ that you may have heard on the telly-box. Well he died a while ago, because he was huge. He played a tiny guitar as well, adding further awesomeness to injury… look at the greatness we lost;
If you were tasked to come up with someone’s name which seems eponyomus with Middle England, Delia Derbyshire would be hard to beat. But I have just been reading up on the lady in question and it seems that, quite oppositely, she travelled from a distant future sun to channel creepy spacy intergalactic sounds right through our pre-digital teleboxes. Most famously, the old Dr Who theme tune. One day we will have the technology to decode these alien songs, but until then you should read a bit more about her earth-days in places such as here and here, and watch the things you can do with a lampshade…
Then recreate the sounds of your own nightmares- especially those involving Scottish hamsters with the BBC Radiophonatron . My mum hates it.