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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Which bands will be in the V&A in 2026?

The V&A have announced their Pink Floyd exhibition.

There are just four British acts who could justify this kind of treatment: The Beatles, Rolling Stones, David Bowie and Pink Floyd.

Queen and Elton John would probably attract the public but places like the V&A are first and foremost snobs and they'd be too snooty to have them.

So that's just four, all of whom made their names in the first twenty years after Elvis.

And they've all kept on adding fans with each successive generation so that they're all more popular now than when they were doing their most popular stuff.

Who's making music nowadays that you'll be able to say the same about?

Who's come along since 1975 who might get the V&A treatment in 2026?

Thursday, August 11, 2016

All TV Should Be Like Carpool Karaoke

One of the reasons Carpool Karaoke has taken the world by storm is it finally solves the problem which has been apparent to the people in front of the camera for years but never seemed to get through to the people behind the camera - what makes performers nervous is not the thought of the millions of people at home; it's the thought of the half-dozen camera operators and production personnel who are standing just a few feet away.

Carpool Karaoke is shot the same way that Top Gear is, in cars kitted out with invisible cameras and microphones, with all the production staff relegated to vehicles either preceding or following. Corden's completely in charge and all the star's fluffers, minders and supernumaries are too far away to get in the way.

I once did a couple of things like this for a cable channel. I drove around Manchester interviewing Tony Wilson and drove around London interviewing Bryan Ferry. I can't tell you how liberating this was compared to the standard TV interview experience.

In fact, all telly should be done like this.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

I've read the Ring Cycle of political biographies. Do I get a badge?


Robert Caro started writing 'The Years Of Lyndon Johnson" in the early 80s. His plan was to be able to cover the President's whole life and times in three volumes. Then he decided that wasn't enough. He's now published four volumes and is working on a fifth. I first tried reading it in the early 90s and gave up. In fact I even took one volume to the charity shop in one of my periodic attempts to thin out my books.

Earlier this year, encouraged by having read a few other presidential biographies, I bought the volumes I didn't have and on holiday I just finished reading the fourth, "The Passage Of Power". The third volume, "Master of The Senate", was so heavy that I bought a book stand to hold it as I read it. And guess what? It's an extraordinary piece of work. I can't wait for volume five, but I'm clearly going to have to.

I'm not going to recommend you should read it because I wouldn't want anyone to make that kind of commitment on my recommendation. I was discussing this with a friend while on holiday. My spirit increasingly rebels when people say "you must read this" or "you have to watch that." You should read or listen to or watch whatever gives you most pleasure. However, if you are in the market for 3,000 plus pages about the life and times of a man who was not all that pleasant but achieved a lot more than most of his better-known peers, here it is.