It started like this, with a poster in the window of the local bakers: This cost me a whole pound We’ve got an orchestra? I thought, since when did Carlisle have an orchestra? I eyed the programme: Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto in A minor, plus twopieces by Beethoven – the Egmont Overture, and – most tantalisingly … Continue reading The Night They Murdered Beethoven
A man must have a shed to keep him sane. XTC, Fruit Nut Shortly before winter had definitively set in, my brother and I were summoned to my parents’ house under the direct instructions that we were to clean out the shed. The shed (actually one of two sheds) had gone from temporary to indefinite … Continue reading I Collect Therefore I Am: The Male Brain as Collecting Organ
Can you review a book you failed to finish? The tome that prompted this question in me being Ray Coleman’s biography of John Lennon, originally published in two volumes during 1984, but updated and expanded in the late 90s. It has sat, unmolested, on my groaning shelf of Beatles’ literature for a full 12 years … Continue reading REVIEW: “Lennon: The Definitive Biography” by Ray Coleman.
Who says a funk band can’t play rock? /and who says a rock band can’t play funk? Funkadelic, 1978 First, let me qualify that title. I take Funkadelic here to mean specifically what might be termed ‘Funkadelic Mk 1’; that is, the band put together in the late 60s by that wizard of funk George … Continue reading WHO SAYS A FUNK A BAND CAN’T PLAY ROCK? Funkadelic and Black Rock.
I must admit I was sceptical at first. The book, in fact, was pressed upon me by a friend and writing tutor. I was already a fan of Dyer, having read a book of his essays. I enjoyed his writing, which seemed to display an admirable breadth of subject matter, although I had my reservations … Continue reading REVIEW: “But Beautiful” by Geoff Dyer.
I wouldn’t have missed the St. Louis Blues sung out on that trumpet for anything. Something shone from that man, a rare thing, real joy. It is becoming exceedingly rare among artists of any kind. And I have an idea that those who can and do communicate it are always people who have had … Continue reading Genius at Work: Listening to Louis Armstrong
“One of the most unexpected results of my endeavours so far has been the discovery of the fact that people tend to lie when it comes to classical music. They lie a lot. And they don’t expect you to challenge them – nobody usually does. Probably no one ever has. It’s older people who are … Continue reading Beethoven is Nothing to be Scared of: The Pop fan’s Fear of Classical.