Thursday 31 May 2012

Artist Of The Day: Billy Childish

Billy Childish

A cult figure in America, Europe and Japan, Billy Childish is by far the most prolific painter, poet, and song-writer of his generation. In a twenty year period he has published over 40 collections of his poetry, recorded over 100 full-length independent LP’s and produced over 2000 paintings.

Born in 1959 in Chatham, Kent. Billy Childish left Secondary education at 16 an undiagnosed dyslexic. Refused an interview at the local art school he entered the Naval Dockyard at Chatham as an apprentice stonemason. During the following six months (the artist’s only prolonged period of employment), he produced some six hundred drawings in ‘the tea huts of hell. On the basis of this work he was accepted into St Martin’s School of Art to study painting. However, his acceptance was short-lived and before completing the course he was expelled for his outspokenness and unorthodox working methods. With no qualifications and no job prospects Childish then spent some 12 years ‘painting on the dole’, developing his own highly personal writing style and producing his art independently.

Digital music outstrip physical formats for first time...

UK digital music revenue has overtaken sales of physical formats such as CDs for the first time.

According to figures compiled by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) digital accounted for 55.5% of the £155.8m spent on music in the UK in the first three months of this year.

The impressive growth in digital boosted the record industry's overall market value by 2.7% to £155.8m and helped to offset a decline in sales of CDs.

The BPI's figures show income from digital sales has risen by nearly a quarter year-on-year to £86.5m.

However, revenue from physical formats, such as CDs and vinyl dropped by 15% and now represents just £69.3m.

The BPI's digital music revenues are based on downloads, subscriptions and ad-supported music services.

They show digital album downloads have risen significantly during the first three months of the year, by a shade under 23%, overtaking revenues from downloads of single tracks for the second successive quarter.

Brighter prospects

BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor said the results represented a "significant milestone in the evolution of the music business".

"UK record labels have embraced digital to their core, supporting innovation and licensing more new online and mobile services than any other country."

"As a result, the industry's prospects for growth look brighter than for several years."

But he also said cautioned against becoming complacent.

"We will need to see the trend repeated for several quarters to say we have turned the corner - demand for physical CDs remains strong in the UK."

Music Week publisher Paul Williams warned against writing off the CD just yet.

"People get used to a certain way. In the past the shift has been physical to physical but now it's different; it's physical to virtual."

"Generally, the older audience prefers to buy the physical format. That doesn't mean everyone, there are some who will download."

Mr Williams agreed that the growth of the downloaded album is significant. But it is "not fast enough to make up the shortfall in the albums market".

"The CD still makes up the majority of album sales in the UK and that's going to remain the case for some time."

Last year the UK music industry as a whole was worth £795m, down 3.4% on the previous year. It was worth £1.2bn in 2003.

Source: BBC

Things To Do In Leicester: 3/06/2012 (Jubilee)...

The Spark's BIG Jubilee Lunch
New Walk Museum & Art Gallery, Leicester
Run by: New Walk Museum & Art Gallery

Join us for a fun filled afternoon with The Spark's BIG Jubilee Lunch.

Interactive entertainment with street performers, visually stunning antics, things to make and do and a big band to keep everyone in the party spirit. Bring you picnic, your big hat for the parade and get involved with the BIG Lunch!

New Walk Museum & Art Gallery
53 New Walk, Leicester, LE1 7EA

About the location
On the historic New Walk, Leicester's original museum has collections spanning the natural and cultural world. A family friendly day-out, displays include Dinosaurs, Egyptians, Geology, The Den, Wild Space and World Arts.

The art galleries showcase Modern and Old Masters, contemporary art and craft exhibitions and permanent galleries of Picasso Ceramics: The Attenborough Collection and German Expressionist art, one of the most notable collections outside of Germany.

The museum offers a varied events programme, Costa coffee shop with free Wi-Fi access and gift shop including a range of exhibition merchandise and contemporary craft and design. The venue is also available for private hire and licensed for civil marriage and naming ceremonies.

Telephone 0116 225 4900

The Archers: 30/05/2012


Kenton dreams of getting away from it all and Adam is causing concerns.

Peggy is baking for the Jubilee cake. There's enough mixture to make some cakes for The Laurels too, which Elona offers to take over. Lilian learns that Matt is still paying Darrell in cash. Later, Lilian calls Elona to tell her that she's sorted it. Darrell's wages will be on a proper footing by the end of the week.

Kenton helps Jolene decorate The Bull. He's had another photo from Meriel, and asks Jolene if she thinks a trip to New Zealand might be possible at some point.

Adam is sitting in the garden looking through an old diary that catalogues his travels. He reminisces about his formative years. In a discussion with Lilian, he reveals he sometimes wonders if he should have stayed in Kenya. He felt as though he was making a difference there, but in Ambridge he feels as though he is an insignificant cog that inadvertently keeps the Borchester Land machine running.

Later on, as Lilian and Ian have a drink at The Bull, they discuss Adam's behaviour. Lilian tells Ian that Adam is brooding. He just needs taking out of himself.

Episode written by Nawal Gadalla.

Wednesday 30 May 2012

A message from Sid Griffin about Gene Clark gig this very Saturday night‏

Hello to each of you,

Ok, Gene Clark isn't playing a gig this Saturday night June 2 but I am and it is my first electric guitar with drums gig in over three years.

This Saturday night about 9:30 I will take the small stage at The Betsey Trotwood pub in Clerkenwell, central London, to perform eight Gene Clark songs backed by the fabulous Dreaming Spires. Gene Clark should need no introduction to those of you on this mailing list. The Dreaming Spires are, along with the See See, the best of the new, young, hip psychedelic bands coming out of Britain today.

It starts 8pm with other groovy acts appearing and is only a fiver. It is a lot better than praising the Royal Family for being rich and famous and not much else. I sincerely hope many of you will attend.

The Coal Porters are currently mixing the new album, Find The One, with Ed Stasium manning the desk. It will be out in Sept and there will be a full tour then. Hence our having a relatively quiet summer save for a few festivals and several private parties.

BBC World Service might have me on their Doc Watson piece and if they do I will let each of you know straight away. Doc will be missed. You might say he was the Gene Clark of the acoustic guitar.

I hope this finds each of you safe and warm and smiling.

Best always,

Sid Griffin.

Sid Griffin and The Coal Porters are playing The Musician, Leicester, on Sept. 26th.

Jubilee concert: Adam Ant 'royalist musician stigma' gone...

Former punk and 80s star Adam Ant says he supports musicians involved in the Queen's Jubilee concert and is glad the stigma of being a royalist has gone.

The 57-year-old singer - real name Stuart Goddard - said he was heavily criticised for appearing at the Royal Variety Performance in 1981.

He added: "I got an awful lot of stick for doing it. It's a complete 360.

"I think the Queen's quite hip. I think she quite likes rock 'n' roll secretly, so I think that's quite a good thing."

'Not anti-royal'

Goddard told BBC South East: "I think punk rock was the last great effort, musically or socially, of something coming from the streets that really did make an impact and change everything - largely centred on the Sex Pistols.

"I didn't think it was an anti-royalty thing at all. I'm pretty much the opposite to that. I've always been a monarchist, given the choice of a queen or a king or a president I know which I'd go for."

Goddard, who was famous for dressing as pirates and highwaymen and wearing a white stripe across his face, sold millions of records in the early 1980s.

He said he was pleased the Jubilee celebrations had been embraced by artists such as Gary Barlow.

"It's a complete 360. When I got offered the Royal Variety Show I did it straight away because I'd grown up watching the Beatles and the Stones and everyone doing it and I looked at it as a great honour.

"I got an awful lot of stick for doing it at the time so there seems to be a 360 on that.

"We've got a young Royal Family, William and Harry and Kate who are young enough to be into rock n roll, into pop, or whatever, so it doesn't seem stilted. So I don't think there's a stigma anymore around it."

Goddard also appeared alongside a then unknown Toyah Wilcox in Derek Jarman's 1978 punk film Jubilee - but said it had been "surreal" rather than an anti-royal statement.

'Surreal journey'

The apocalyptic fantasy focuses on the activities of a wild girl gang in 1977.

He added: "I think Jubilee was really a piece of film, a surreal kind of journey that just happened to land slap bang into the middle of the Queen's Silver Jubilee.

"I wasn't doing it to make a statement about the Royal Family or anything like that. I left that to people like The Clash, certain bands that love to be political, which I'm not."

A concert organised by Gary Barlow will feature Sir Elton John, Sir Paul McCartney, Dame Shirley Bassey, Robbie Williams, Jessie J and JLS.

The concert - broadcast live on BBC One and BBC Radio 2 - will be attended by 10,000 people chosen by random ballot.

Source: BBC

Doc Watson, folk and bluegrass guitarist, dies aged 89...

Grammy award-winning folk and bluegrass guitarist Arthel "Doc" Watson has died in North Carolina aged 89.

The American musician died following abdominal surgery, and had been in a critical condition for several days, his manager said.

Watson, who was blinded as a child, was known for his lightning-fast style of flatpicking which influenced guitarists around the world.

He won eight Grammy Awards including a lifetime achievement prize in 2004.

Watson died at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, where he was admitted recently after falling at his home.

"Doc was a legendary performer who blended his traditional Appalachian musical roots with bluegrass, country, gospel and blues to create a unique style and an expansive repertoire," his management company, Folklore Productions, said.

"He was a powerful singer and a tremendously influential picker who virtually invented the art of playing mountain fiddle tunes on the flattop guitar."

Blinded by an eye infection before his first birthday, he learned to play the banjo at the age of five before picking up a guitar in his early teens.

He got his musical start in 1953 playing lead guitar in a country-and-western swing band and became a full-time professional musician in the 1960s.

Watson's mastery of flatpicking helped make the guitar a lead instrument in the 1950s and 1960s, when it was often considered a backup for the mandolin, fiddle or banjo.

For much of his career he toured and recorded with his son, Merle Watson, who died in a tractor accident in 1985. He set up an annual fundraising musical event, Merlefest, in his memory.

The musician played at events across the US from folk festivals to the prestigious Carnegie Hall in New York and recorded some 60 albums, with his most popular songs including Tom Dooley, Shady Grove and Rising Sun Blues.

Country and bluegrass singer Ricky Skaggs paid tribute to Watson saying: "An old ancient warrior has gone home."

"He knew he wouldn't last forever, he did his best to carry the old mountain sounds to this generation," he added.

Neil Portnow, the president of the Recording Academy, praised Watson for his "masterful skills as a musician and his beautiful, emotion-filled voice".

"Watson's immense talent and spirit will be deeply missed, and our sincerest sympathies go out to his family, friends and all who were inspired by his music."

Source: BBC

Crystal Palace Garden Party cancelled‏...


2 Day Festival in the Crystal Palace Park Bowl
Saturday 23 June and Sunday 24 June 2012

CANCELLED due to Health & Safety concerns

It is with great disappointment to announce that the Crystal Palace Garden Party will not now be able to go ahead

When it was realised that a 1.5 ton scissor lift truck must come on to the stage to erect the sails and rigging some cursory tests were made to the structure. There was some obvious weather wear to the stage and the temporary boards that were put down some time ago ... However, on closer examination it seemed there might be a more serious problem. A surveyor was called and rotten joists checked etc it was discovered the delapidation was much worse than was at first thought. It couldn’t be guaranteed to be fixed in the time available so it was felt the safest thing to do all round was to cancel the event and hopefully try again next year.

Sadly this means that the event scheduled to feature the likes of Rick Wakeman, Hawkwind, Barclay James Harvest, Focus, The Strawbs and Curved Air on Saturday 23 June and The London Gala Symphony Orchestra on Sunday 24 June will now not take place.

Full refunds are of course available to all those who have brought tickets and the organisers, who are currently looking at alternatives for a future event, would like to express their solidarity with those who were looking forward to the event.

Visit the website for more information:  

Things To Do In Leicester: 2/06/2012 (Music)...

U.K. SUBS + First Wave + Guests.
Sat, 2nd June
Lock42. 2-4 Frog Island, Leicester, LE3 5AG.

The U.K. Subs are an English punk rock band, among the earliest in the first wave of British punk. Formed in 1976, the mainstay of the band has been vocalist Charlie Harper, originally a singer in Britain`s R&B scene. They were also one of the first street punk bands.

Career: The U.K. Subs were part of the original punk movement in England that formed in 1976, with the initial name of the Subversives. The band`s founder, Charlie Harper selected guitarist Nicky Garratt, bassist Paul Slack, and various drummers (eventually Pete Davis became fairly stable) under the initial name "U.K. Subversives".

The London based band`s early line-up changed frequently. Their style combined the energy of punk and the rock and roll edge of the then thriving pub rock scene. The band had some hit singles such as "Stranglehold", "Warhead", "Teenage", and "Tomorrow`s Girls", with several of their songs managing to enter the UK’s Top Forty.

The band played several John Peel sessions in 1977 and 1978 for BBC Radio 1, and then signed a recording contract with GEM Records. Under GEM, the U.K. Subs recorded an album in 1979 called Another Kind of Blues. The group also played a few opening gigs for The Police, as well as recording a set at The Roxy (a punk club), which was issued in 1980 as Live Kicks. Their biggest selling album came with 1980s Crash Course.

Sir Terry Pratchett wins Wodehouse comic fiction award...

British author Sir Terry Pratchett is to have a pig named in his honour after winning the 13th Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction.

He won for his 50th book Snuff, which has become one of the fastest-selling hardback novels since records began.

It is the first time the 64-year-old has been chosen by judges, having missed out on three previous occasions.

The award is given annually to the book considered by the panel to best capture the comic spirit of PG Wodehouse.

Hay festival director Peter Florence, one of the judges, described Sir Terry as a "consistently funny [and] inventive [writer] with an acute, satirical view of the world".

The author now joins such previous winners as Paul Torday, Marina Lewycka and Ian McEwan, last year's recipient.

The Discworld creator will be honoured at the Hay Festival on 6 June, where he will also speak about his life and work.

As part of his prize, a Gloucestershire Old Spot pig will be named after his novel.

Source: BBC

Elvis Presley crypt to be sold in memorabilia auction...

The private mausoleum crypt in Memphis, Tennessee in which Elvis Presley was first buried is to be sold at auction.

The lot includes the crypt itself, the right to open and close the vault for a burial, a memorial inscription and the use of a small chapel for a service.

Bids are expected to start at $100,000 (£63,781).

Other items in the sale, to be held on 23 and 24 June in Hollywood, include clothing worn by the guitarist Keith Richards and the late Amy Winehouse.

Following Presley's funeral at his Graceland home in August 1977, his body was temporarily entombed in a crypt at Forest Hill Cemetery.

Around 80,000 people lined the processional route that Presley's coffin took from Graceland to Forest Hill.

Within two months, both his body and that of his mother Gladys were moved to a permanent site in the meditation garden on the Graceland grounds.

According to the Julien's Auctions website, Presley's original crypt "has remained empty... as a visiting place for those coming to remember The King".

The Sports Legends and Music Icons sale will be held at Julien's auction house in Beverly Hills on 23 and 24 June.

Other lots include a robe Winehouse used in her Rehab video and a ripped T-shirt worn by Richards while playing for the Rolling Stones.

Source: BBC

Jackson Pollock art returned to Iran museum...

A $250 million (£159m) painting by US artist Jackson Pollock has been returned to the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art in Iran after being held in a row over unpaid debts.

Mural on Indian Red Ground was seized by the country's customs service on 11 May after being on loan to Japan.

The service said it confiscated the work over money owed by the Ministry of Culture, which runs the museum.

The ministry said the painting had been returned "after negotiations".

The artwork was on its way back to Iran from the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo, where it was displayed in an exhibition celebrating the centenary of the artist's birth.

The Islamic Republic of Iran Customs Administration seized it at the Imam Khomeini International Airport due to the culture ministry's reported delay in repaying its debts.

Mural on Indian Red Ground is considered one of the prize pieces in the Tehran museum, which also features works by Gauguin, Picasso and Sir Henry Moore.

Most of the collection was built up by Iran's former queen Farah Pahlavi, who deployed a team of experts to tour Western auctions and buy prestige paintings and sculptures to boost her country's cultural profile.

Source: BBC