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Friday, March 25, 2016

I went to see Batman v Superman. Here's my one-sentence review

I know nothing about comics but I've seen enough action films to know that two and a half hours in which you have not been made to feel: a few moments of genuine curiosity about what's going to happen; that familiar tightening in the pit of the stomach when the hero is about to encounter a danger we can see but he can't; the satisfying feeling when a puzzle planted early in the film is solved; the welcome expulsion of nervous laughter when the jeopardy turns out to be harmless and the growl of assent in the back of the throat when the baddie gets his just desserts, then it either means that the film maker has stumbled on a new way of doing things or he simply doesn't realise just how much he has failed to do.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Would any radio station in Britain allow me to play these ten records?

Music Selection (These can be of any genre as long as they mean something to you).
1. High Wide And Handsome by Loudon Wainwright III
2. Slow Train by Flanders and Swann 
3. If I Fell by The Beatles
4. Family Affair by Sly and the Family Stone
5. Vine Street by Harry Nilsson
6. Trenchtown Rock by Bob Marley (must be from Bob Marley live at the Lyceum)
7. You Never Can Tell by Chuck Berry
8. My Foolish Heart by Bill Evans
9. Will You Love Me Tomorrow by Carole King (from Tapestry)
10. Hills Of The North Rejoice by the Huddersfield Choral Society
The above questionnaire I completed for Martin Kelner's "One On One" feature on BBC Radio Leeds asked me to come up with ten records. Those are the ones I named. 

I was due to do Martin's show in a couple of weeks. Then BBC Radio Leeds decided they could do without him. They asked me if I still wanted to go ahead. I said no. These down-the-line interviews are OK if you've got some rapport with the person you're talking to. They're difficult if you don't.

In his explanation of how he came to leave his job Martin mentioned that an affinity with popular music is dangerous in local radio. I know what he meant.  BBC Local Radio managers are easily frightened by any selection that isn't thuddingly obvious. 

So now Martin's got no programme, which is very bad for him, and I'm left to put one question - is there any radio station in Britain that is not yet so heavily formatted or ham-strung by the need to be seen as hip and edgy that it would a actually allow those records to go out on its airwaves?  I know Desert Island Discs, but apart from that where?

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Another thing about George Martin that's often, er, overlooked


He was a tall man in an era where it was quite unusual. Furthermore he worked in a business where it was even more unusual. It went with the accent he'd taught himself during the war and the upper middle class manners. His height helped him pull rank without seeming to.

Think about all the great groups of the sixties. Beatles, Stones, the Who and obviously the Small Faces. Most would be considered almost diminutive by modern standards.

Go to a standing gig nowadays and you'll have trouble seeing the stage though the forest of young men and women in their twenties. Compared to the beat generation they're like giant redwoods.