Saturday 31 December 2011

David Bowie performing the Jean Genie on BBC Top of the Pops, 1973...

David Bowie performing the Jean Genie on BBC Top of the Pop's Recorded 3rd January and aired 4th January 1973.

The Kylie hit you can't get out of your head...

The song Can't Get You Out Of My Head by Kylie Minogue has been named the most-played tune of the last decade.

The track - a UK number one in 2001 - received the most airplay and live covers in the Noughties, according to PRS for Music, which collects royalties on behalf of songwriters and composers.

Britney Spears' 2004 single Toxic placed second, ahead of Robbie Williams' Angels in third.

Jamelia's Superstar was fourth, ahead of Liberty X's Just A Little in fifth.

In total, the top five songs were played more than 875 million times during the Noughties.

Can't Get You Out Of My Head was written by performer-turned-songwriter Cathy Dennis, and was turned down by S Club 7 and Sophie Ellis-Bextor before Kylie used it.

Toxic was also Dennis's brainchild, while Angels was written by Guy Chambers.

All of the songs which made the top three won an Ivor Novello Award for Most Popular Song for the year they were released.

Guy Fletcher, the chairman of PRS for Music, said: "These are all classic songs of the Noughties and Can't Get You Out Of My Head is one of Kylie's all-time greatest hits.

"The writing talent behind this top five includes legends such as Cathy Dennis and Guy Chambers, and underpins the importance of good songwriting in producing a hit."

Most played songs of the Noughties:

1. Kylie Minogue - Can't Get You Out Of My Head (2001)

2. Britney Spears - Toxic (2004)

3. Robbie Williams - Angels (1997)

4. Jamelia - Superstar (2003)

5. Liberty X - Just A Little (2002)


The Archers: 30/12/2011


There's a wedding worry for Caroline. Meanwhile Ruth and David call a family conference.

At Brookfield, heavy rain has threatened to cause slurry pollution from the damaged lagoon. They all want to know what the options are for the future. They’re unlikely to get a direct supermarket contract, and a milk round is not an option.

It’s Pip who says they could drop the dairy to concentrate on sheep and beef. Ruth and Josh don’t want that option but Pip knows a farm where there were benefits to compensate for the loss of the milk cheque. David and Ruth are proud of Pip and Josh’s thoughtfulness.

Joe eventually delivers the cake safely to Grey Gables. He nearly causes an accident on the ladder in his desire to check the repaired chandelier with his own eyes. Caroline assures him the day will be perfect.

Ian and Caroline admire Clarrie’s cake. Ian is looking forward to catering the wedding breakfast. It will be a change. Caroline slips on a wet floor and lands on one tier of the cake. Ian says he’ll make a new top tier of sponge and thinks he can distract Will and Nic when they cut it. Whether they want to save a layer as a christening cake is a question to save until later. It’s going to be a long night for Ian.


Episode written by Mary Cutler

NYE in Leicester...

Clyde Street
Tel: 0116 251 0080

New Year's Eve Party
£8adv £10door
feat. The Moonlights Band

Dipping into six decades of rock and pop and with lashings of good humour thrown in, we are delighted to have 2011's most glamorous hedonists including David Wyatt, Carl 'Fanny' Dawson, Simon Gilroy and guests, to help us rock 'n' roll the New Year in, in style.


The Donkey
203 Welford Road
Bar: 0116 270 5042‎

£20adv / £20door
The Mighty Ska-Boom return after their re union gig earlier this year at Fringe Thursday at The Donkey. These are the original band that started the Ska explosion in Leicester that later produced El Pussycat Ska and Kingsize from their departed members once they had split up in 1992! Nick Murphys original Ska toons now sound like International standards. This will be another full on New Years Eve at The Donkey. Its the only place to be!! Ticket only event so get them as soon as possible before they sell out - because they will!


Or perhaps catch a movie at THE PHOENIX...
Phoenix Square
Midland Street

Box Office: 0116 2422800

With a staggering central performance from Michelle Yeoh, it is hard not to see this film being nominated for a slew of awards. Based on the life of Burmese democratic activist Aung San Suu Kyi, the film covers her early years at Oxford, her return to Burma and the years she was placed under house-arrest. With sterling support from the always reliable David Thewlis as Suu’s husband Michael Aris, this is a stirring and powerful film about courage and the seemingly endless fight for human rights.
13:00 15:30 18:00 20:30

Helena Bonham Carter becomes CBE...

Actress Helena Bonham Carter and veteran comedian Ronnie Corbett are among the stars of stage and screen to be recognised in the New Year Honours.

They both become CBEs. Bonham Carter said she was thrilled "though not sure that I deserve it".

TV mogul Peter Bazalgette, Royal Opera House music director Antonio Pappano and poet Geoffrey Hill become knights. Author Penelope Lively is made a dame.

Clive James, Lorraine Kelly and Stuart Hall are also honoured.

Bonham Carter, 45, who won a best supporting actress Bafta and an Oscar nomination this year for playing Queen Elizabeth in The King's Speech, said: "I always thought my father deserved a medal for facing 25 years of chronic disability with quiet daily heroism, so I am delighted to accept such a wonderful honour in his memory."

She added: "I am wondering does it mean I get to command?

"Because, at the moment, it's my four-year-old daughter who does the commanding in our household.

"Must inform her of the change in situation."

Poet Dannie Abse, Royal Court Theatre chairman Anthony Burton and Scottish National Portrait Gallery director James Holloway are also among those who are appointed CBEs.

Writer and broadcaster Clive James is also becomes a CBE, for services to literature and the media.

Music producer Steve Lillywhite, meanwhile, who has worked with acts including U2, Morrissey and Peter Gabriel, is made a CBE for services to music.

Football reporter Stuart Hall, 82, who joined the BBC in 1959 and who also presented It's a Knockout between 1972 and 1982 is appointed OBE alongside Sky News special correspondent Alex Crawford.

Presenter Lorraine Kelly, a patron of the Association for International Cancer Research, becomes an OBE for services to charity and the armed forces.

Marcus Davey - artistic director at London's The Roundhouse - novelist Maggie Gee, and Frieze Art Fair founders Amanda Sharp and Matthew Slotover are also among those receiving OBEs.

Actor David Harewood, whose roles include Nelson Mandela in BBC drama Mrs Mandela, becomes an OBE, as does illustrator Alex Brychta, best known for his work with author Roderick Hunt on The Magic Key series of educational books.


Russell Brand files for divorce from Katy Perry...

Russell Brand has announced he has filed for divorce from US singer Katy Perry after 14 months of marriage.

The couple met in 2008 and married in October 2010 at a resort inside a tiger reserve in India.

The comedian filed divorce papers in the Los Angeles Superior Court, citing irreconcilable differences.

In a statement the 36-year-old said: "Sadly, Katy and I are ending our marriage. I'll always adore her and I know we'll remain friends."

The announcement comes after speculation in the press about the state of their relationship.

The couple spent Christmas apart, Brand was pictured in Cornwall while Perry was seen spending it with friends in Hawaii - neither was wearing a wedding ring.

Brand made his US breakthrough presenting the MTV awards in 2008, causing outrage when he branded then-President George W Bush "a retarded cowboy fella" who "wouldn't be trusted with scissors" in England.

Despite the controversy, he was asked back in 2009 and went on to score acting roles in Hollywood comedies like Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

This year Brand played the animated heir to the Easter Bunny's throne in the family film "Hop" and took on the title role in "Arthur", a reimagining of the 1981 Dudley Moore classic.

Perry's run of No. 1 singles earned her the distinction of becoming MTV's first artist of the year earlier this month.

When she hosted the US comedy show "Saturday Night Live" on December 10 she gave no indication the couple was in trouble.


Friday 30 December 2011

Adele track most played song on UK version of Spotify...

Adele track Rolling In The Deep has beaten the likes of Grenade by Bruno Mars and S&M from Rihanna to become Spotify UK's most played single of 2011.

The singer also had another song, Make You Feel My Love from debut album 19, in the top 10.

Rihanna was the most successful artist with three tracks in the rundown including What's My Name? (eight) and Only Girl In The World (nine).

Katy Perry also made it onto the list.

Her track Firework was at number 10 on the music streaming service rundown.

Jessie J's Price Tag and Do It Like A Dude were at fourth and fifth place.

LMFAO's Party Rock Anthem rounded out the top 10 in sixth position.

Foster The People's Pumped Up Kicks was top in America while in Spain On The Floor from Jennifer Lopez was the most played single.

Adele also topped the Spotify list in France and the Netherlands.

The Spotify top 10 in the UK was as follows:

1. Adele - Rolling In The Deep

2. Bruno Mars - Grenade

3. Rihanna - S&M

4. Jessie J and B.o.B. - Price Tag

5. Jessie J - Do It Like A Dude (Explicit version)

6. LMFAO - Party Rock Anthem

7. Adele - Make You Feel My Love

8. Rihanna and Drake - What's My Name?

9. Rihanna - Only Girl In The World

10. Katy Perry - Firework


Review: Ike Moriz - Play Me

Ike Moriz - Play Me (Mosquito Records London)
Recorded in London in April 2005, Ike Moriz’ second album release on his own Mosquito Records London imprint continued the work he’d done on “Mirrors and Shade”. Though many of his recent recordings have found Moriz immersed in the songs and easy style of the 1950s and ‘60s, his early recordings were very much rooted in the English alternative pop style, pioneered by David Bowie, and enthusiastically sustained by later groups like Suede. As with all Moriz’ releases from this period, the songs were written and produced by the artist.

He’s a skilled pop songwriter, and has indicated in subsequent interviews that because of the rise in popularity of the download, his approach to writing albums was to treat every track as a standalone single. It’s a system that obviously works, as the listener is enveloped in a collection of infectious melodies, sing-a-long choruses and enough hooks to fill a fisherman’s tackle box. It’s no surprise that radio picked up on these songs and they were much played throughout Europe and Moriz’ South African homeland. Some six years after their original release, they retain much of their freshness. Many fans of grown-up pop will find a great deal to enjoy, whether it’s the all-out sunshine buzz of the title track or the wistful lament of “The Sad Songs”.
Rob F.

Ike Moriz: Play Me

US singer Kaye Stevens dies aged 79...

Kaye Stevens, the US singer and actress known for her appearances with the Rat Pack and on Johnny Carson's chat show, has died in Florida.

The 79-year-old, who had breast cancer, died on Wednesday at a hospital north of Orlando, a close friend said.

Born Catherine Stevens in Pittsburgh in 1933, she started out as a drummer and singer before going on to act in movies and television shows.

In 1963 she was nominated for a Golden Globe for her film role in The Interns.

Stevens performed with Frank Sinatra and other members of the Rat Pack, including Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr.

She also sang solo in Las Vegas and New York and performed for US soldiers during the Vietnam war.

In the 1970s she was a regular panellist on TV game shows and had a recurring role on the soap opera Days of Our Lives.

She later started her own ministry and helped to build a church in the Florida city of Margate, where a park was named in her honour.


Happy new year from Biphonic Records...

Happy new year from Biphonic Records. A quick newsflash...


Seafieldroad's first live show of 2012 will be at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, on Thursday 19 January. It's a free gig, part of this series of shows:

And here are two new Seafieldroad songs for the new year - available now as a 'pay what you want' download.


Hamish from Swimmer One has done a remix of the Luxury Car song I Play The Guitar, from their new album When I Was Good. You can download it for free here:


For the past year Swimmer One have been working on an ambitious project with the theatre director Cora Bissett and the playwright David Greig, featuring lots of musicians and writers from across Scotland. It'll come to fruition in summer 2012, and we're all very excited about it. We can't say any more just now, but mark the second week of July in your diary. There'll be an announcement soon.

That's all for now. Hope you had a good Christmas.

The Archers: 29/12/2011


Neil loses his patience and Will shows some last-minute nerves.

Neil wonders if Tracy is moving out now that Christmas is over. But Susan enjoyed having the children and is in no hurry. Nic has practised her wedding hair and make-up. Jake and Mia are to walk her down the aisle and George is the ring bearer. Meanwhile, Will’s getting nervous.

At Ambridge View, Brad and Chelsea are chasing piglets all over the garden,having let them out. Neil firmly takes control to restore order. An hour later, he is still angry at Tracy’s lack of respect for his livelihood. Susan deters him from telling Tracy she has to go. She’ll talk to her father.

Will checks all the wedding details with Roy – again.He panics when he hears that a chandelier needs to be mended. Roy tells him everyone wants the wedding to be perfect, so all will be well. He still checks the details himself but acknowledges he is being a bit of a pain as he wants everything perfect for Nic.Nic reassures Will that all she needs is for him to be there, then it will be perfect.


Episode written by Mary Cutler

Ghost Rider writer loses legal bid...

The rights to Marvel Comics hero Ghost Rider - played by Nicholas Cage in two films - belong to the firm and not the writer who conceived him in the 1970s, a New York judge has ruled.

Gary Friedrich launched a legal bid to cash in on film rights in 2007.

The judge ruled that, as he had cashed cheques from Marvel, he had no case.

Cage starred as stunt motorcyclist Johnny Blaze in 2007 film Ghost Rider. He also stars in 3D sequel Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, out in February.

Mr Friedrich's lawyer, Charles Kramer, did not comment on the ruling but said his client would appeal against it.

Manhattan federal court judge Katherine Forrest agreed that Ghost Rider - a motorcycle-driving superhero with a skeletal head that is sometimes on fire - was conceived by Mr Friedrich.

The character's first appearance for Marvel Comics was in 1972.

When the first Ghost Rider film came out in 2007, Mr Friedrich sued Marvel claiming it had infringed his rights because he owned the character.

He sought compensation for its use in films, toys, video games and other merchandise.

"If Friedrich... had any rights to the character or the work at the time he endorsed the cheques... he relinquished those rights to Marvel," the judge said.

She said that, as creating comic books also involved so many different processes, Ghost Rider was undoubtedly owned by Marvel.

He had also signed an agreement with Marvel in 1978 relinquishing rights in exchange for more future freelance work, she said.

In an earlier court hearing, Mr Friedrich said he thought he had given Marvel the rights to use Ghost Rider in comic books but that he retained all other rights.

But such an understanding had never been put down in writing, he said when questioned by Marvel lawyers.


Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy at London’s Hackney Empire on the 25th of January 2012...

Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy will be returning to the UK for a headline show at London’s Hackney Empire on the 25th of January 2012. Featuring band members (Bonnie - guitar/vocals, Emmett Kelly - guitar/vocals, Angel Olsen – vocals, Ben Boye - piano/harmonium) who also played on the new ‘Wolfroy Goes To Town’ album, this promises be a hell of a night! Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy will also be playing shows in Gent and Utrecht on this run. Shows are as follows:

Monday 23rd January - UTRECHT, NL - TIVOLI

Tuesday 24th January - GENT, BE - VOORUIT

Wednesday 25th January - LONDON, UK - HACKNEY EMPIRE

Support on all 3 shows is "Susanna"

Thursday 29 December 2011

Paul Roland: ‘Masque reissue’ newsletter December 2011

Welcome back my friends,

It has been a long time since my last missive and for that I can only apologise and offer the excuse that I was unavoidably detained by Death himself. Yes, the old devil and I had a tussle for possession of my soul earlier this year but I trounced him good and proper and he slunk away empty handed. I am still mystified as to how I contracted black snake swamp fever in dear old blighty (or was it an over indulgence in absinthe?), but something of that ilk laid me low for most of the summer and as my loved ones knelt at my bedside or sacrificed innocent animals on the altar at Roland Towers the family physician, Dr Hemlock, bled me with his greedy leeches and Granny Roland brewed her own potions of frogs livers and cat urine. One if not all of these approaches evidently proved successful and I am now back in the land of the living and already engrossed in a new musical creation for unveiling in the Spring. So thank you to all of you who wrote wishing me well.

I must confess I have missed our communications of late, but my diabolical familiars have been hard at work keeping the Facebook page up to date with tidbits of news so please make them feel wanted by contributing your views and questions etc to

And now more good news. After much delay the ‘Masque’ re-issue is finally here!

And it’s a significant improvement to the original release in every way with many subtle additions, a couple of previously unreleased bonus tracks and a tastefully designed 12 page booklet with all the lyrics and explanatory notes from yours truly describing all the retouches that I made to 11 of the 14 tracks. I had always thought the New Rose booklet to have been scrappy and am pleased that I can now present the album with a decent booklet the way it should have been first time around.

The running order has also been changed to include ‘The Ratcatcher’s Daughter’ and ‘The Sea Captain’ (two of the stronger songs which I overlooked first time around relegating them to a bonus EP). These have now replaced ‘Matty Groves’ and ‘Grantchester Fields’ which are to be found among the bonus tracks. These include radio session versions of ‘Alice’s House’ and ‘Solitude’ (yes, the Black Sabbath song!) recorded with flutist Valerie Franco with whom I was touring around this time (1990). I have loved Sabbath since a mere youth, treasuring the fact that I met Ozzy face to face after a Wembley Arena show in ‘82 and that I interviewed Tony Iommi the following year and found him to be an extremely amenable fellow. I had toyed with the idea of recording a baroque version of ‘Paranoid’ for the ‘Strychnine’ project, but that might have been too similar to ‘Gary Gilmore’s Eyes’ so I recorded the cover of ‘Solitude’ instead with Valerie who added a haunting flute and wordless vocal. And though unpolished, methinks it fits well as a bonus track on ‘Masque’.

Those of you who owned the original French release on New Rose and the Greek LP will also be pleased to hear that the glitches which once blighted ‘I Dreamt I Stood Upon The Scaffold’ and ‘The Sporting Life’ have been digitally exorcised, so consign your old copy to the family crypt and treat yourself (and maybe a friend or two) to a shiny new copy!

For those of you who are already overflowing with festive spirit the PRAS are making a pre-Xmas offer of extra copies at half price so if you want to introduce a friend(s) to my music (and what a nice idea that is at this time of the year) the first copy will be 10 GBP (12 euros) but each additional copy will be just 5GBP (6 euros) Postage, as always, is FREE.

Payments to be made via paypal to

A spooky coincidence if ever there was one was the request I received recently from American writer Lia Habel for permission to quote some lines from ‘The Ratcatcher’s Daughter’ in her forthcoming Steampunk novel.

(Her first novel can be found here together with links to other like-minded authors Well worth checking out.

Now Steampunk is not something I had cultivated an interest in as a genre because I had always inhabited that world of my own volition and never imagined that it would evolve into a movement. But now that it has and is introducing a generation to the marvels of H.G.Wells and other Victorian masters of Science Fiction, I would like to think that some newcomers may be tempted to check out ‘Wyndham Hill’ and ‘The Great Edwardian Air-Raid’. But it also aroused my interest to the point where I am now thinking of writing a companion piece to ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’.

Some interviewers have asked me if I am disappointed that I didn’t achieve more commercial mainstream success, but if I had then I wouldn’t be able to indulge my rather idiosyncratic obsessions, would I. And that is what keeps me all fired up. So now I’m off to put a new wax cylinder in the old phonograph and wind up the automatons.

Until next time, enjoy the seasonal festivities,


P.S. For those who have asked for more information on my forthcoming Marc Bolan biography here is a useful link:

James Rizzi, US pop artist, dies aged 61...

US pop artist James Rizzi, best known for his bright, cartoon-like drawings and 3D constructions, has died aged 61.

Alexander Lieventhal, from Art 28 GmbH & Co in Stuttgart, Germany - which exhibits and sells Rizzi's work - said the artist passed away peacefully at his New York studio on Monday.

"With his art, what you see is what you get," Mr Lieventhal said.

Some of Rizzi's creations include images for German postage stamps and a tourist guide published this year.

"Any child can look at it and understand what he's trying to convey, a celebration of life," Mr Lieventhal added.

A prolific designer - in 1980 he designed the cover for the first album of new wave band, the Tom Tom Club - a side project of Talking Heads' Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz.

He also animated two music videos for the band.

Moving between the worlds of architecture and graphics, Rizzi also designed the Happy Rizzi House - an office building in Germany, the front page of a newspaper in Hamburg and three versions of the New Beetle for Volkswagen in 1999.

In 1996, he became the first official artist for the Summer Olympics in Atlanta and - a year later - the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland.

In 1998, he was selected to produce official posters for the Fifa World Cup in France.

The artist studied art at the University of Florida, where he developed the three-dimensional technique that helped establish him as a street artist in New York.

Rizzi was due to hand in three separate course work projects for classes in painting, printmaking and sculpture. But, short on time, he combined all three techniques by reprinting his own etchings and building them up in 3D using wire to add depth.


Peter Frampton sues Universal over digital royalties...

Peter Frampton has sued the Universal Music Group for unpaid digital royalties, according to US reports.

Nashville newspaper The Tennessean said the star has filed legal papers at a Los Angeles federal court, accusing the record company of "breach of contract".

He argues that he should receive a higher royalty rate for digital downloads than for physical copies.

A lawyer for Universal Music Group could not be reached for comment.

In the past, record labels have argued that online sales should be treated the same as physical album sales.

But artists say that, because online music does not incur packaging and shipping costs that are usually paid for by the record company, they should be entitled to larger royalty percentages.

Frampton is seeking damages and has hired music lawyer Richard Busch, who has represented Eminem and The Knack's Bruce Gary in similar court cases.

"The issues in these cases go beyond simply breach of contract," Mr Busch told the Tennessean.

"The plaintiffs allege the wrongdoing here is a part of deliberate effort to deprive the parties of their royalties."

Mr Frampton, first signed with A&M Records, a division of Universal Music Group, in 1971.

He went on to record rock classics such as Show Me the Way and Baby, I Love Your Way.

His 1976 album Frampton Comes Alive! is still one of the best-selling live albums in the US.

The newspaper said the star signed a new contract in 1998, which stated that any "licensed" music would give the singer a 50% royalty.

But the lawsuit has claimed the company paid less than the agreed percentage and it "systematically and knowingly" breached its contract with Mr Frampton.


Woody Guthrie folk music archive to go on display...

Folk singer Woody Guthrie's writings, recordings and artwork are to go on display in the US after they were bought by a charitable foundation.

The George Kaiser Family Foundation said it planned to open a four-building arts hub in Oklahoma next year to house the collection.

The archive includes a handwritten copy of the late singer's anthem, This Land is Your Land.

Guthrie died of Huntington's disease, a neurodegenerative condition, in 1967.

The archive had been housed previously in the home of the songwriter's daughter.

It features original musical recordings, handwritten songbooks and almost 3,000 song lyrics as well as more than 700 pieces of artwork, letters and postcards.

Guthrie's annotated record collection and personal papers detailing his World War II military service and musical career are also included.

The foundation said it would open the Woody Guthrie Centre in Tulsa, by the end of 2012 to mark the centennial of the singer's birth.

It added the centre would feature public displays from the Guthrie archives "so the story of this extraordinary Oklahoman can be told for generations to come".

Many songwriters including Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and Billy Bragg have cited Guthrie as an influence on their work.


Review: Dheepa Chari

Dheepa Chari - Some New Fashion (Independent)
I must admit I’m always excited to find a talented new jazz vocalist. Dheepa Chari grew up in Dallas, studied vocal performance at Southern Methodist University and then moved to New York where she directed an acapella group at Columbia University. Her debut EP, "On 4th Street", released in late 2010, garnered serious attention in the jazz world, as will, I’m sure, her new collection “Some New Fashion”. Its 11 tracks sound utterly contemporary and her small but gifted band make the most of the diverse range of songs, with brave and intuitive arrangements that project a variety of styles, from blues to swing.

She launches here debut long-player with the Duke Ellington penned “Rocks in My Bed”, with erstwhile support from keyboard maestro Marc Gaston, and a smattering of New Orleans trumpet. It’s an incredibly strong opening tune, which she follows just as notably with Luiz Bonfa’s bossa nova standard “Black Orpheus”, from the 1959 Brazilian movie of the same name. The song selection shows a genuine desire to explore different forms of songwriting and the application of Chari’s distinct method upon seemingly unrelated styles, from Paul McCartney’s wonderful “Here, There, and Everywhere” to Lane and Harburg’s “Old Devil Moon”. It works so well for a number of reasons, but most of all, the band always plays to Chari’s strengths, leaving her tremendous amounts of space to perform, but without sacrificing their own virtuosity.
Rob F.

Dheepa Chari: Some New Fashion

The Archers: 28/12/2011


Jazzer has a surprise for Lynda but will her show be all right on the night?

Tom tells Brenda he can’t understand how Pat has reassured Helen that Rich isn’t a threat. While they prepare for Christmas Round the World, Brenda senses that Tom is protective of Helen and Henry because they are all threatened by Rich. He acknowledges that he is worried Rich will turn up in the future and demand a stake in the farm. Brenda reassures him that all the effort he has put into the farm since John died won’t be ignored by Pat and Tony.

At the Village Hall, Jazzer and Jim keep Lynda in the dark about their pieces until the last moment, which exasperates her. Jim’s worried until the final minute because his projection equipment is late arriving. Meanwhile Elona’s family’s Albanian contribution is warmly received.

All are delighted when Jimreads a translation of his Latin extract. It’s from Virgil’s Georgics,about the farmer’s winter rest,and the Latin itself is projected onto a screen.

Lynda’s still nervous about Jazzer’s contribution but his song from across the ocean – Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas – surprises and delights her. She’s touched when Robert points out that the evening’s lovely surprises are all thanks to her.

Listen here:

Episode written by Mary Cutler

Silence of the Lambs added to US film archive...

Oscar-winning 1991 thriller The Silence of the Lambs is to be preserved by the US Library of Congress as part of its National Film Registry.

The film - in which Sir Anthony Hopkins made his first appearance as serial killer Hannibal Lecter - was one of 25 new additions announced.

Others include Forrest Gump starring Tom Hanks, classic Disney animation Bambi and Charlie Chaplin's The Kid.

The titles were chosen from 2,228 films nominated by the public.

Every new addition must be considered "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant in order to be added to the registry.

Other additions include the 1979 Sally Field film Norma Rae, Robert Rodriguez's 1992 debut feature El Mariachi and the 1953 version of War of the Worlds.

They are joined by such lesser-known titles as A Computer Animated Hand - a one-minute film made in 1972 that is one of the earliest examples of 3D computer animation.

The oldest entries are silent films dating from 1912. One documents the pre-World War I child labour reform movement, while the other is a farce starring comic actor John Bunny.

Gump, which won Hanks his second Oscar for best actor in 1995, is the most recent of the new additions.

"These films are selected because of their enduring significance to American culture," said James H Billington, who has been the US Congress librarian since 1987.

"Our film heritage must be protected because these cinematic treasures document our history and culture and reflect our hopes and dreams."


'Tarzan's chimpanzee' Cheetah dies aged 80 in Florida...

A chimpanzee who apparently starred in Tarzan films in the 1930s has died at the age of 80, according to the sanctuary where he lived.

The Suncoast Primate Sanctuary in Palm Harbor said he died on Saturday of kidney failure.

He had acted alongside Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O'Sullivan in Tarzan films from 1932-34, it claimed.

The animal loved fingerpainting and watching football, and was "soothed by Christian music".

Sanctuary spokeswoman Debbie Cobb told the Tampa Tribune that Cheetah came to live at Palm Harbor from Johnny Weissmuller's estate in about 1960.

Chimpanzees in zoos typically live 35 to 45 years, she said.

It is not clear what lay behind Cheetah's longevity, or what evidence there is for it.

A sanctuary volunteer told the paper that fingerpainting was not Cheetah's only talent.

"When he didn't like somebody or something that was going on, he would pick up some poop and throw it at them," Ron Priest said. "He could get you at 30 feet [9m] with bars in between."

The Florida "Cheetah" is not the only chimpanzee who has been described as Tarzan's companion.

A chimp known as "Cheeta" who lives in California was for a long time claimed to be the chimp in the films, but, following research for a biography, that claim has been withdrawn.

It is possible that several different animals were used while filming the Tarzan movies.


Helen Frankenthaler, US abstract expressionist, dies...

US abstract expressionist painter Helen Frankenthaler has died aged 83 after a long illness, her nephew has said.

Clifford Ross told the Associated Press that his aunt passed away on Tuesday at her home in Darien, in the US state of Connecticut.

She burst on to the art scene in 1952 with Mountains and Sea, a large-scale canvas.

The postwar colourist, whose career spanned six decades, was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 2002.

Born in 1928 to a wealthy Manhattan family, her father was a New York State Supreme Court judge and her mother a German immigrant.


Frankenthaler was a leading light of the "soak-stain" technique that involves applying thinned oil paint to unprimed canvas, creating a watercolour effect.

Her style is credited with having helped American art make the transition from Abstract Expressionism to Color Field painting.

Frankenthaler, who was inspired by Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning, in turn influenced such artists as Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland.

Pollock's influence was evident in Frankenthaler's preference for large-scale canvases and painting on the floor rather than on easel.

She created her breakthrough work Mountains and Sea - a glowing landscape evocation measuring 7ft by 10ft - when she was just 23, following a trip to Nova Scotia.

Frankenthaler turned to acrylic paints in the 1960s to explore open, flat fields of colour, a style on display in her 1973 work Nature Abhors A Vacuum.

She also worked with ceramics, sculpture, woodcuts, tapestry and printmaking.

In 1958, she wed fellow artist Robert Motherwell, a marriage that would last for 13 years.

She is survived by her second husband, Stephen DuBrul.


Vinyl set to make radio comeback for one day only...

Vinyl is to make a comeback on the radio, but for only one day.

BBC Radio 6 Music has announced it will be playing only vinyl on New Year's Day.

Most BBC stations phased out vinyl in favour of CDs in the 1990s and the majority now use digital versions of songs.

Presenters Jarvis Cocker and Guy Garvey will be among those dusting off their turntables and Don Letts will be bringing his own seven-inch singles.

But 6 Music bosses have turned the clock back with an "All Vinyl" day to round off a month-long celebration of vinyl.

Station editor Paul Rodgers said: "In a world dominated by digital music, vinyl is a format still close to the hearts of many music lovers and increased sales demonstrate its enduring appeal."

A spokeswoman for the station said: "Listeners can expect rare gems, insights and a few crackles and pops when digital goes analogue for one day only."

Singer-songwriter Richard Hawley will host a show talking to prominent acts such as Arctic Monkeys and Radiohead about the joys and the pitfalls of vinyl.

Dance DJ and producer Andrew Weatherall and singer Cerys Matthews will be joining the vinylfest in their shows.


Saturday 24 December 2011

Review: Travers Brothers Band

Travers Brothers Band - TBB (Independent)
The Travers Brothers Band is a young North Carolina quartet, featuring siblings Kyle (guitar and vocals) and Eric (drums and vocals) Travers. The remaining members are Ian McIsaac (drums and percussion) and Josh Clark (bass and vocals).

With a sound rooted firmly in the late ’60 and early ‘70s, guitarist Kyle regularly steps up to the plate to provide the sort of solos that link directly back to musicians such as Jimi Hendrix and Duane Allman. There’s no denying the simple thrill of a well-executed six-string solo, however unfashionable, especially when placed within the right setting, and this they do repeatedly. The band are consummate musicians, jam-band aficionados with a deep understanding of their preferred genre. Put simply, they rock, and in doing so, their enthusiasm, gusto and talents carry the day.

“TBB” is their debut studio album, and there are plentiful highlights. Opening with “Bad Thing Comin'”, it begins with a wonderfully fluid bass line, which sticks around to deftly spar with the lengthy guitar solo that ends the track. “Time for a Change” doesn’t shirk its soloing responsibilities but indicates they’re just as adept at songwriting, and “TCE” touches on metal themes of doom and apocalypse, but with a certain lightness of touch. The six-minute “Shanty Town Shuffle” may imply a reggae rhythm, but instead it unwinds and expands like a long-lost Stevie Ray Vaughan number.
Rob F.

Travers Brothers Band: TBB

George Michael says illness was 'touch and go'...

Singer George Michael has admitted that his recent bout of pneumonia was "touch and go for a while" and was "the worst month of my life".

The 48-year-old star, who has returned to London following a month-long stay in a Vienna hospital, said he was "very weak" but added he feels "amazing".

In a press conference outside his home, an emotional Michael said he still has "plenty to live for".

He was forced to shelve the remaining 14 dates of his tour after falling ill.

Michael acknowledged the gravity of his illness, explaining that the General Hospital (AKH) in Vienna was "the best place in the world I could have been".

"They spent three weeks keeping me alive, basically... I'm incredibly fortunate to be here.

"Somebody here still thinks I've got some work to do," added the star.

The musician apologised to his fans for not contacting them, saying "I was really not in a state to".

He added that the "plan is to play to every person who had a ticket" for his shelved gigs.

Michael also said he wanted to play another show for the Austrian medical staff who "saved my life".

Michael was advised by doctors to take a "full and complete rest" after contracting a severe form of pneumonia last month.

He had performed 45 dates in his concert schedule before being forced to cancel the performance in Vienna.

The shelved dates have yet to be rescheduled.

In October, the musician pulled out of a gig at London's Royal Albert Hall, suffering with a viral infection.

After he was admitted to hospital in Vienna, Michael's publicists said that he was "responding to treatment and slowly improving".

They added in a statement: "George Michael is ill with pneumonia and any other speculation regarding his illness is unfounded and untrue."


US scrap metal artist John Chamberlain dies aged 84...

US artist John Chamberlain, celebrated for turning scrap metal into sculpture, died in New York on Wednesday at the age of 84, his widow has announced.

The Indiana native began working with junked car metal in the late 1950s and had work exhibited all over the world.

Paper bags, aluminium foil and foam rubber were among the other materials he worked with to create his pieces.

A retrospective of his work will be on display at New York's Guggenheim Museum from February next year.

Born in Rochester, Indiana in 1927, John Angus Chamberlain was the son of a saloonkeeper.

He won a place at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago but left after 18 months. He went on to find a home at Black Mountain College in rural North Carolina.

According to the New York Times, Chamberlain "almost single-handedly gave automotive metal a place in the history of sculpture".

"I think of my art materials not as junk but as garbage," the paper quoted him as once saying. "It goes from being the waste material of one being to the life-source of another."

Chamberlain was married four times, he leaves two sons and two daughters.


Friday 23 December 2011

Review: Jeff Stuart & The Hearts

Jeff Stuart & The Hearts – Equal Parts Reason And Moonlight (Independent)
Recently named one of the albums of the year by the CKUA Radio Network, Jeff Stuart & The Hearts’ sophomore release “Equal Parts Reason And Moonlight” is a terrific mix of frugal neo-roots charm, fragile indie rock and memorable songs. It’s not an everyday sound by any means, and drawing comparison with other artists isn’t easy, though there are influences at play. Stuart’s words are haunting and laden with wintry imagery, which is reflected in both the arrangements and the album’s artwork. It’s a near perfect record for the season and provides suitable accompaniment to long dark evenings, drinking hearty red wines and putting the world to right. Log fire optional.

The sextet initially made waves with their 2009 “Black Dogs Blue Giants” debut, which earned rave reviews in their local Canadian press. I can only assume “Equal Parts Reason And Moonlight” will follow suit, and I’ve no doubt that this time around glowing reports will be forthcoming from much further afield. The many attributes of this fine record are simply impossible to resist or ignore. The album opens with the six minute “Apple Tree”, its steady, unhurried rhythm provides the album’s heartbeat. “Pale White Lie” distills their spectral qualities into a sublime two minutes and “Swallowed By the Morning Sky” maybe a shade more upbeat and urgent, but it’s no less atmospheric.
Rob F.

Jeff Stuart & The Hearts: Equal Parts Reason and Moonlight

Thursday 22 December 2011

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy set for stage return...

Original cast members of the TV and radio versions of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy are reuniting for a new stage production.

The show will star Simon Jones, who played lead character Arthur Dent in the TV and radio versions of Douglas Adams's sci-fi comedy.

It will be staged as a radio recording, which will be made available for download after the tour.

The show's first performance will be at Glasgow's Theatre Royal on 8 June.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Radio Show - Live! will play at a host of other venues throughout June and July, ending at the Edinburgh Playhouse on 21 July.

The production has been adapted and written by its director Dirk Maggs, who was behind Hitchhiker's 2003 revival on radio.

Susan Sheridan, who played Trillian in the original 1978 radio adaptation, will also appear in the show, alongside Geoffrey McGivern who will reprise his role as Ford Prefect.

A number of guest stars are due to provide the voice for the guidebook which steers Dent around the universe.

Their names will be announced closer to its opening date, the show's producers said.

Adams's creation began life on radio in 1978, with the initial novel of a "trilogy in five parts" published one year later.

Adams died in 2001. A sixth novel, written by Eoin Colfer, was published in 2009.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which was made into a BBC TV series in 1981, made a return to radio in 2003.

A year later, a big-screen version was made starring Martin Freeman as Arthur Dent and Stephen Fry as the voice of the guide.

A number of other stage productions have been created, the most recent being produced by Wales' Theatr Clywd in 1980.



Newlywed chanteuse Sinead O'Connor has announced a UK tour in support of her new album 'How About I Be Me And You Be You', which will be released via One Little Indian on 21 Feb.

Here are the dates:

9 Mar: Brighton, St George's Church
10 Mar: London, Queen Elizabeth Hall
12 Mar: Bristol, St George's Hall
14 Mar: Glasgow, Oran Mor
15 Mar: Manchester, Manchester Cathedral



Having already sold out a four night residency at London's The Social, due to kick off next month, on the strength of her debut EP 'Lost And Found', London-based singer-songwriter Lianne La Havas is now poised to release a second suite in the new year.

Featuring production work from Two Inch Punch and Aqualung's Matt Hales, the five-track EP is due out via Warner Music on 13 Feb. Lianne's debut album is then slated for a springtime release. Meanwhile, here she is doing her best to ignore Willy Mason's ghost in 'No Room For Doubt', as taken from 'Lost And Found':



Austrian soloist Anja Plaschg, aka Soap&Skin, has announced a sequel to her pure and poignant debut long player, 'Lovetune For Vacuum', in new album 'Narrow'. The album's release via [PIAS] on 19 Mar will precede a rare live appearance by the singer-songwriter at London's Scala on 11 Apr.

You can watch the video for 'Boast Turns Toward The Port', a track taken from the new LP, here:



Since The Darkness' Christmas hit 'Don't Let The Bells End' is ringing in our ears this festive season, now seems as apt a time as any to hear about their in-progress new album. Doesn't it?

Having reunited with the group's original line-up earlier this year, frontman Justin Hawkins tells Billboard: "[We've got] nine of the required songs done, all finished, all sounding shining and good. We've got about two weeks of recording in January, and bits of it are already going off to be mixed even as we speak, so it's kind of nearly finished now".

His brother Dan adds: "Rather than a big-name producer we decided to do it ourselves, as per the first record. We just wanted to develop the songs and make sure they were really spot-on and basically take a minimal approach across the board - apart from when we needed to go really over the top".

Justin also hinted that he'd like to release the as yet untitled LP on his birthday, which is 17 Mar.



U2's 2011 tour was the year's highest grossing, according to Billboard Boxscore. The band performed 44 shows, all of which sold out, bringing in $293,281,487 (£187,085,502) in revenue. In the course of all that, they performed to 2.8 million people.

Here's the top ten live music performers for 2011:

1. U2
2. Bon Jovi
3. Take That
4. Roger Waters
5. Taylor Swift
6. Kenny Chesney
7. Usher
8. Lady Gaga
9. André Rieu
10. Sade

See who earned what here:



Organisers of the Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame seem optimistic that all seven members of Guns N Roses' most classic line-up will attend next year's Hall Of Fame ceremony, when the band are due to be inducted. Unduly optimistic though, since the band don't seem especially keen.

Hall Of Fame CEO Joel Peresman says: "Who will be invited, obviously, is the original five, and Dizzy and Matt. All have RSVP'd that they will show. Everyone's said they're coming". By 'everyone' then, he means originals Axl Rose, Slash, Izzy Stradlin, Duff McKagan and Steven Adler, plus keyboardist Dizzy Reed and drummer Matt Sorum who first joined GNR in 1990.

But Slash has already tweeted to the contrary, writing: "For the record, I didn't RSVP, or in any way commit to attending the RRHF".

Meanwhile Axl Rose has been keen to play down any reunion talk of any kind, telling the LA Times: "There is no plan yet. There really is no plan. We're still busy with this line-up. We're gonna be busy - we're gonna be busy all next year. We'll be putting out new stuff as soon as we can figure out what our deal is with labels, blah blah blah".

He may be all 'blah blah blah' now, but Axl wasn't feeling quite so stoic at a Guns N Roses gig this past weekend, when he ordered a fan to leave the show for reasons unknown. At some point during a performance in Vancouver, Rose took a dislike to a man in the crowd, shouting: "Out, motherfucker! Out! Get the fuck out! Yeah, you! See ya, you dumbass motherfucker". The man was then removed.

Before resuming the set, he told the audience: "That's the first person I've had thrown out for 100 shows... like the good old days". So, that's a bit of nostalgia on Axl's part then, perhaps he could yet be talked into catching up with his former bandmates next April. Though we don't recommend anyone, Peresman included, hold their breath.


Beethoven music shaped by gradual deafness, say experts...

Composer Ludwig van Beethoven's gradual deafness may have influenced his compositions, experts have announced.

As his hearing got worse, he favoured lower and middle-range notes in his music, scientists have said in the British Medical Journal.

An analysis of Beethoven's music has found that once he became totally deaf, he began to use high notes again.

Researchers say the findings explain Beethoven's music, which has always been divided into three periods.

The stages of his career mark the early, middle, and late periods of his musical compositions.

Researchers from the University of Amsterdam, have found his early quartets (opus 18, 1798-1800) used a variety of high notes.

Beethoven, who suffered from a severe form of tinnitus, first mentioned his hearing problems in 1801 in a letter to Franz Wegeler and Karl Amenda.

He wrote: "In the theatre I have to get very close to the orchestra to understand the performers, and that from a distance I do not hear the high notes of the instruments and the singers' voices."

By 1810, when he composed the opus 74 and 95 quartets, the amount of high notes he used dropped significantly, tending towards lower frequency notes.

But the higher registers increased again in 1825, when he wrote the late string quartets opus 127 to 135 and it was thought he had become completely deaf.

The report's author Edoardo Saccenti said: "These results suggest that, as deafness progressed, Beethoven tended to use middle and low frequency notes, which he could hear better when music was performed, seemingly seeking for an auditory feedback loop.

"When he came to rely completely on his inner ear he was no longer compelled to produce music he could actually hear when performed and slowly returned to his inner musical world and earlier composing experiences."

However, the researchers have admitted the findings are not conclusive as they used a limited number of Beethoven's compositions.

A fuller picture would require a "complete and exhaustive statistical and spectral analyses of the composer's complete catalogue".


BBC radio cuts 'may threaten advice messages' in crises...

Cuts to BBC local radio may jeopardise emergency broadcasts during the event of a civil crisis, the Local Government Association has warned.

The LGA said proposals to share more programming and stop some medium wave services would threaten advice messages during emergencies like flooding.

It said the BBC was underestimating the "risks to people's safety" as communities relied on it in a crisis.

The BBC said local radio would continue to have a key role in an emergency.

The corporation wants to axe medium wave output in areas where alternative FM services are available.

The LGA, which represents more than 350 local authorities in Wales and England, said the FM frequency often broadcast "cracking static" rather than clear sound.

Its culture board chairman Chris White said: "Local radio plays a key role in how councils manage an emergency and the BBC regularly sits on resilience planning panels along with police and fire authorities.

"Time and time again these arrangements have proven invaluable to local communities, from updates about school closures, heavy snowfall, road accidents and flooding, to bulletins about more unforeseen emergencies such as train crashes or dangerous criminals on the loose.

"People rely on councils for the latest information in many circumstances, and in turn we rely on local radio."

He said the LGA was concerned that the BBC was "underestimating the serious implications and risks to people's safety".

BBC consultation

Mr White added: "Its proposed contingencies barely sound adequate on paper and in the reality of an emergency could well be found wanting.

"Residents may end up with confused broadcasts from inexperienced journalists reporting on places they know nothing about, while others with no medium wave service could be left entirely in the dark. Both are unacceptable."

A BBC spokeswoman said: "BBC local radio will continue to be local in times of crisis or emergency, that will not change.

"The proposal is to end medium wave transmissions, except for stations where listeners depend on medium wave as an alternative to FM.

"We will consider carefully submissions from those areas that can show they would be disadvantaged by the withdrawal of medium wave.

"The BBC Trust is consulting on these proposals and no decision has as yet been made."


Wednesday 21 December 2011

Damnably Records News...

Hi everyone!

Damnably had a really wonderful year in 2011 and thank you all for helping us achieve so much.
Janice, Simon and I wish you all a great Christmas and happy 2012.
We have News of 2 new releases coming in 2012 on Damnably and a new gig from one of our favourite bands.

Damnably Record News

Geoff Farina of Karate/Secret Stars/The Glorytellers is to release his first solo album in twelve years on Damnably on Feb 27th 2012.
'Wishes of the Dead' is ten tracks of effortlessly complex guitar picking that follows on perfectly from 'The Boarders Door' (2010) that saw Chris Brokaw and Geoff Farina tag-team new songs.
The Single 'Hammer and Spade' features bonus live recordings of an old Secret Stars song 'Not About a Birthday'
and 'St. Anne's Reel' which is a traditional fiddle tune Geoff picked up on his travels.
Press sheets and artwork attached and promos being sent out this week.

Japanese legends Shonen Knife are busy writing and recording a new album right now in Osaka, Japan-their 18th to date and plan to tour the UK/Europe late spring/early summer next in 2012. More News to follow and
their video for the 'Sweet Christmas' single is @

Damnably Gig NEWS
Versus (merge)
The Lexington
March 9th
7.30pm doors
Tickets on sale Thursday Dec 22nd 10am
£10 tickets

Versus are a cult North American indie rock band formed in 1990 in New York City playing their first UK show since 1996!
The band released their sixth album 'on the ones and threes' on Merge records in 2011 to critical acclaim and are in the UK at the behest of JEFF MANGUM (NEUTRAL MILK HOTEL) for ATP.

Richard and Fontaine were to remain the two core members throughout the band's history.
The band was noted for their marriage of indie pop songwriting and vocal harmonies to the "loud-soft" dynamics of grunge and alternative rock.
They were also noted for their proficient and disciplined musicianship and for their credo of "meat, sports and rock", neither of which had much currency in the early 1990s American indie scene.
They named themselves after the Mission of Burma album Vs.
Versus has counted at least one, usually two and sometimes three of the Filipino-American Baluyut brothers as members throughout its existence,
and was perhaps the most prominent example of a wave of American indie bands emerging in the early 1990s which featured Asian American members.
Merge Records was Versus' most recent record label, although they have maintained a long involvement with TeenBeat Records, and released two CDs through Caroline Records in the mid 1990s.
The band makes an appearance in the 1994 cult roadmovie Half-cocked.

"In some ways, Versus were the quintessential indie rock band. Versus' growth throughout the decade, from mawkish noise-popists beholden to their underground-approved influences (on 1993's The Stars Are Insane) to mature, reliable, genre-bounding songwriters (on 2000's Hurrah) mirrors the growth, for better or worse, of the genre as a whole. The group's two Caroline Records releases-- 1996's Secret Swingers, and 1998's Two Cents Plus Tax-- sound as close as most any other records to a definitive indie rock sound"
Pitchfork 6.3-'one the ones and threes'

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