Wednesday, October 31, 2007

In the hot New Jersey night

See below for a map of Bruce Springsteen's New Jersey. You can see all of the sights in his songs.... If you can't see it properly, then click here.

In related news I'll be going over to Proud Galleries this weekend to see this new photo exhibition on the Boss. Rock n Roll photo exhibitions are often the best - there's some great rock and roll photography out there and I'm hoping that this Springsteen one can match the Dylan exhibition I saw at Proud a few years ago.

In other news, I've written a review of Lucero's last album and interviewed soon to be indie mega-stars, It Hugs Back.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A good car to drive after a war

A piece of bad news came today. My gig for Wilco at Brixton Academy was cancelled. Due to "band illness", no other news yet, hopefully someone from the band will so the right thing and release a statement with news of rescheduled shows next year or something.

Below is a video of 'Radio Cure' from their amazing I Am Trying to Break Your Heart DVD. Get it, watch it, it's great.

Second piece of news, is that Bob Dylan is doing an advert for a gas-guzzling Cadillac SUV. Lots has been said/debated about Dylan doing adverts before - it seems that he is still the only artist whose music cannot be used in adverts. I don't really have a problem with that - just a problem that he chose to sponsor a car which so harms the environment. I guess he doesn't give a toss though. Going back to Wilco they recently used one of their new songs in a VW advert in the US of A. You can see clips of the Dylan/Cadillac advert and Wilco advert below. Dylan on film still always manages to crack me up.

Talkin' World War III Blues

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

In broken French

Danny Kelly, football broadcaster and radio presenter, writes on Southampton FC legend, Matt Le Tissier. I've spoken about him before. But here's a little youtube reminder of how great he was, first. I like the way he writes about Matt and it is a loving tribute for one of the greats of the game who is likely to be forgotten because he played for a "small" team.

“Rock and roll”, boogie bigwig Bob Seger once sagely observed, “tends to forget”. So, it seems, do football fans. I am really struggling to understand the reaction to this week’s announcement that Matt le Tissier, of the Channel Islands, Southampton and England, has retired.

I am mystified in two ways. First, by the actual paucity of column inches devoted to the man with the lop-sided face. All right, he took his leave on the same weekend that the Queen Mother did but I’m still astonished so few words has been written about Le Tiss.

Second, what little ink has been spilt over his departure has been tinged with the bitterest bile. The line of argument seems to be “good riddance to a fat waster who chucked away what modicum of talent he had”.

This, I have to say, is incredibly spiteful. And wrong.

So I come not to bury Matt but to praise him. In an age when footballers seem almost universally to walk on feet of clay, and where our own experiences, and letdowns, make it almost impossible to have a footballing hero, Matthew le Tissier is almost beyond reproach. I don’t know how he could have arranged things so that his departure could have been more spectacular or more widely noted. All I know is that he was a one-off, a truly remarkable footballer and that we shall honestly not see his like again.

I suppose that I’m so shaken by his going because he really does represent the passing of an age. Of several actually. Like some strange hybrid dinosaur, Le Tissier represented a number of marvellous strains of the Genus Footballerus, and his tearful farewell at St Mary’s last weekend means the DNA may well have been lost forever. With his final bow, we may have seen the last of such once-revered species as The Lazy Footballer, The Maverick Footballer, The Fat Footballer and The One Club Man.

Let’s deal with the fat/lazy thing first. The Guernseyman is 6-foot-1 and for most of his career weighed in at 13 stone. Hardly likely to win him Slimmer Of The Year but no heavier than, say, recent Footballer Of The Year David Ginola. Whatever his waistband, there’s no point denying that Le Tissier was not the most athletic fellow ever to grace the greensward, but that was of little comfort to the defences that he regularly tortured before age and infirmity caught up with him. Somehow, from inside that shambling frame he found the right physical stuff to do his wonderful job.

In all, this supposed tub of lard has turned out 541 times for Southampton (starting 463 matches) and managed to drag his lazy arse into position to score against supposedly superior athletes on a mere handful of occasions. A mere 210 occasions to be precise! And what goals!

In the years running up to the emergence of David Beckham, nobody scored a greater number of spectacular efforts. Equally, all of Le Tissier’s goals seemed to be fantastic. The fellow seemingly never managed a tap-in or a bobbler; they were all twinkling dribbles, howitzer blasts or geometric chips. They used to say that you were either a great goal scorer (Lineker, quantity over quality) or a scorer of great goals (Gascoigne in his prime, or Bobby Charlton); Le Tissier was both. He was also, for the record, statistically the best penalty taker in the top division in the Nineties.

Even more damaging to his reputation than the fat thing has been the accusation that he is a maverick, that he cannot fit a team pattern. On the surface, this argument would appear to hold much water. A succession of England managers were too frightened of Le Tissier’s supposed lack of team play to put him in the national side. But the players who he played with week-in, week-out knew better. They realised that if they were prepared to run the extra yard for their genius colleague, to graft that bit harder to gain him a yard of space, a speck of time, he would reward them with the most precious coins in football’s currency, a pile of magical, win-bonus bringin’, relegation-avoidin’ goals and assists.

And Le Tissier was completely aware of his shortcomings. Barry Horne sweated and grafted and ran and toiled for Matt for several seasons in Southampton’s midfield. The Welshman recently told me that after every game, when people would be clamouring to congratulate and lionise Le Tissier, the winger would take time out to personally thank his team-mates for their efforts on his behalf.“To be thanked by a pure footballing genius”, Horne said, “was the best thing that ever happened to me.”

There are those too who criticise Le Tiss for not leaving Southampton and trying his luck at a bigger club. Again, Horne has been enlightening. In the early Nineties, Le Tissier had indeed agreed to join one of the capital’s giants. At the last minute he went to that club’s manager and asked to be released from his obligation, saying he couldn’t bear to leave either Southampton the football club or Southampton the city. Of course he can be accused, in the modern parlance, of “lacking ambition”, but, ultimately, he followed his heart (exactly as he did when playing the game) and which of us can say that that is ever a bad thing?In sticking by the team he loved, he probably sacrificed a wheelbarrow full of cash. To some that might make him a fool. To me, and millions of other football fans, it assures his status as a hero.

It is ironic that the player who most closely matched Le Tissier for pure skill should have been the Saint’s nemesis. Glenn Hoddle never forgave the Southampton man for his admittedly lacklustre performance (of which he was by no means alone!) against Italy when England lost the World Cup qualifier at Wembley in February 1997. Hoddle dropped him from the squad and waited a year before giving the wing wizard an ultimatum at the back end of the following season: Show me what you can do and you’ll go to the World Cup. The supposedly lackadaisical Le Tissier scored seven goals in Saints’ last nine fixtures and, in a B international against Russia that the press rightly regarded as a trial for the Southampton man, he scored a hat-trick. And hit the woodwork twice. Yet Hoddle didn’t even include Le Tissier in the provision squad for France 98.

Things were never the same after that. Except, that is, for one glorious day last May. They were playing the last ever match at The Dell, the ramshackle ground that Southampton had occupied for a lifetime.T he greatest player ever to regularly grace that pitch (with apologies to Ron Davies. Mike Channon, Terry Paine, Kevin Keegan and Alan Shearer) was on the bench. Southampton and Arsenal were sharing four goals when Le Tiss finally meandered out onto the sun-washed grass.

Of course he scored the last ever goal at the ground. Of course it was a last minute winner. And of course it was an absolute stunner. Further, it was proof that the gods of football are still taking a very active interest in what goes on and that they have a special place in their hearts for the stroller from Guernsey. It remains one of my favourite ever goals, and Matthew le Tissier is one of my favourite footballers.

I love the way he played. I loved the fact that he owned a nightclub. I love the fact he shagged busty actress Emily Symons out of Home And Away/Emmerdale. I have even forgiven him for not joining Spurs.

His passing from the game should not be a matter for carping and pettiness.Instead there should be bunting in the street, a nationwide ringing of bells and a recognition that this was, as Saints fans have always averred, a God.

© Danny Kelly 2002

Bob Dylan's New Orleans Rag

Monday, October 15, 2007

But it's like I'm stuck inside a painting

Ladies and Gentleman...Bob Dylan the artist. It is going on display in Germany. Expect it to go for a fortune even if he isn't the best artist in the world (see also: Ronnie Wood's art). I like it though, it could have been a great cover to Blood on the Tracks (not that the cover isn't great already).

Don't Fall Apart on Me Tonight

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Flashing for the refugees on the unarmed road of flight

Many people have been blogging about this new TV series (well, new in the UK) called Flight of the Conchords. It's an HBO comedy that is set in New York where two aspiring rock and roll stars (who also happen to be from New Zealand) are trying to get somewhere with their music. It's very Curb Your Enthusiasm, although the difference comes with the songs which are parodies (obviously). They break into song in the episodes. And these songs are truly funny. They take the piss out of artists, genres and themselves in such a brilliant manner.

Here are a couple of the best, youtube even has full episodes which you can watch (until HBO taken 'em down):

"I can't believe, that i'm sharing a kebab with the most beautiful girl I have ever seen with a kebab"

"I rap about reality like me and my grandma drinking a cup of tea"

In other me news. The gig night went very well, thank you. Some great bands on stage. I've also written a review of Manu Chao's new record, La Radionlina.

Chimes of Freedom.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Princess on the steeple and all the pretty people

This is kind of my bootleg series. Something I wrote but which hasn't be published. But I'm doing it here. It's my review of the Concert for Diana which I wrote in real time in the Summer. I think it's quite funny to be honest.... Let me know what you think, perhaps this takes you back. Christ that concert was shit.

Quite possibly the worst idea for a concert ever - the Princess Diana concert has been organised to...well I don't really know why. It all seems like an attempt to keep the memory of Diana alive and we all know how much the English people love this kind of thing, allows us to wallow in some kind of national moment of melancholy, happiness and respect. Happy Birthday to Lady Di who would have been 46 this year.

Although this will be published after the event, I am writing this in real time. I know that many regular readers will be interested in how this event went, but were probably busy mowing the lawn. No fear, Rockbeatstone is on hand to give you the complete low-down. Please read on as I go through all of the acts and comment on the sycophantic and disgusting TV coverage. This is very much a real-time blog affair, I'll be writing my comments down as they come into my mind.

The interviewer woman in the stadium to a couple who are all dressed up in Union Jack costumes. "Who do you want to see?""Elton John. But otherwise I'm most excited about seeing William and Harry"

Jamie Theakston has just described Supertramp as "sophisticated". He's going through all the music Diana loved, apparently ‘Lady in Red' was her favourite song. "As a child Diana also loved to dance and in 1976 won her school dancing competition", whittles Jamie, trying to justify the idea behind the concert. Like who gives a flying fuck?

Now Andrew Marr, ex-senior political correspondent with the BBC and former editor of the Independent is being interviewed for some reason. Has the entire BBC gone mad? He's most looking forward to seeing Status Quo and Lily Allen. "Lilly is a big favourite of mine". Hmmmm...

"The eyes of the world are on Wembley Stadium", says Theakston. Hang on a minute Jamie, I think you're overstating how much people in Africa, Asia and South America give a shit. I'm sure the people of the refugee camps in Darfur are tuned in though. A kind of real life tragedy that Diana may have highlighted had she been alive.

4pm - Elton, James Morrison and Lily Allen
Elton's on the stage. 1st act and he's doing ‘Song for You'. First reaction to Wembley Stadium - loads of empty seats. Maybe it's not only the rest of the world who doesn't give a flying toss. He's now introducing the event and has brought on HRH Prince William and Prince Harry. They're now introducing the concert. "This evening is all about what my mother loved in life". Polite applause from the crowd. Harry gets vaguely political by saying hello to his squaddie mates in Iraq. "We want you to have an awesome time," says Willy. Somehow the ‘awesome' sounds completely forced as if he never uses the word in real life.

Duran Duran are now on the stage. ‘Sunrise' (I think that's what it's called). Surprisingly rocking. Maybe I've already watched too much of this event, time for a cigarette I think. ‘Wild Boyz' sees them shout dementedly on the stage. TV cameras show Harry and Willy in the royal box. Harry's girlfriend Chelsey (whose dad allegedly has business interests in Zimbabwe) is dressed up like a footballers wife. ‘Her Name is Rio' dedicated to the memory of this country's favourite Princess, Margaret, sorry Diana. Got confused for a minute. An over-weight 50 year old man is dancing with his hag of a wife in the front row. There's a lovely synthesiser solo in the middle and then some saxophone. How very Thatcherite.

James Morrisson is now on stage. This requires no further comment. He sings like a girl though. Cue photos of probably deeply dissatisfied 30 year-old somethings who can't remember all the words but still feel the need to sing along. And yes, there they are.

Sienna Miller and Dennis Hopper are now presenting the next act. Dennis looks like a midget. He seems to have come a long way since his days as the LSD fuelled actor in Easy Rider. He's wearing an olive tie with a sky blue suit jacket. They are presenting Lily Allen. Andrew Marr is probably sporting a massive bonk-on right now. Prince Willy is clapping out of tune - he obviously didn't inherit Diana's musical and dancing talents. Lily is wearing a short dress and high-heels. Very different from when she was snapped at Glastonbury dressed as a mushroom in the early hours of the morn with Alex Turner from the Arctic Monkeys on a drink and drugs inspired binge a few days ago.

Luton Indoor Bowling Club is now the next charity featured in the mini-videos which are played between acts . Fergie from Black Eyed Peas is now on stage doing her thing. I think it would be funny if the cameras showed Beatrice and whatever the other is called, because Fergie is their mum. Not the one on stage, the ginger one who makes loads of dosh in the USA. The crowd seem completely bemused as to what is happening. Which is understandable as most of them are 40 or 50 something white women.

5pm - The Feeling, NERD and Nelly Furtado
I'm already thinking that this is a bad idea. But now I've started, I need to finish.
"Please show the necessary awe" says the voice over. What the fuck? Oh no, it's OK, it's for Keefer Sutherland, so I can agree with that. He looks a bit pissed - Rock n Roll, Keefer. He's introducing The Feeling, who he's seen twice apparently. I can't stand the Feeling. Absolute rubbish. Indie music for people who don't like music. Time to make a cup of tea methinks.
NERD is now on stage. Farrell's now asking Wembley and Great Britain to stand up for peace. Some crazy-beats are now starting, lots of hip-hop ramblings. This is most ridiculous. Would Diana approve? I can't think that Prince Charles would, so she most probably would. Still the wrong act for this kind of crowd, I think. "She's seeexy", sings Farrell. Is he talking about Diana? "Her ass is a spaceship that I'd like to ride", continues NERD. I still like to think he's singing about Diana.

Bill Clinton is giving his thoughts on Diana's work on HIV and land mine charities. Fair enough.
Simon Cowell and some people are on stage. People are booing him. Maybe the crowd isn't as stupid as I thought. Nelly Furtado is doing her thing. She looks pretty hot in a pink dress it has to be said. However, probably best enjoyed with the sound on the TV turned off. Princes Harry and Willy are both strutting their stuff in the royal box. Seems like the Magners has been flowing freely up-there. They can't dance at all.

There's now some ballet being done on stage. Apparently the ENO doing Diana's favourite ballet, Swan Lake. I'm officially bored now. I've just checked the TV guide and this goes on until 10.30 in the evening. I think this was a mistake - I suppose I only have myself to blame seeing as I should have checked before hand.

6pm - Status Quo, Supertramp (nearly) and Joss Stone
Will Young is wearing a bright pink t-shirt and bopping along to Abba while Ferne Cotton interviews him. He loved Diana's style. "And style goes with character", says Will Young. So there you have it. The bright-pink t-shirt wearing X-factor winner has spoken.
After a long break, Status Quo have joined the stage. ‘Rockin' all over the world'. Predictable. They now look like old men as opposed to the middle aged men who started Live Aid all those years ago. Still, probably the best thing so far, which says a lot about the quality of the music on stage.

They've ran out of charities, so they are showing a video of Diana and her kids at Thorpe Park. We're now descending into home video territory.

Dennis Hopper is back to introduce Joss Stone. She's warbling and warbling, closing her eyes and sounding like a poppy-Janis Joplin. All the while, I'm getting ever closer to breaking point. She's spending lots of her time looking at the band and not out into the crowd. Polite applause for Joss from the crowd who also seem a little tired of this now.

Now we have Supertramp. Rather Roger Hodgson from Supertramp. Sophisticated it certainly is. ‘Dreamer'. Now this is a good song. Shame about the solo synth interpretation of it. Couldn't he get his band mates together for this? It would have been the greatest thing of the night. By Far. But he didn't and we're stuck with nearly but not quite Supertramp. A medley of songs from Hodgson, his singing is out of range and to be frank, absolutely pitiful. He's now on guitar and speaking and speaking and speaking and won't stop. It's worse than a Bono rant. ‘Give a Little Bit' is accompanied by the whole stadium singing and clapping. At least he's got the punters out of their seats. Still some glaring red empty sections though.

Orson is on next. They look like they do too many drugs. Beforehand, Ferne Cotton told us how great the day is. I'm getting bored of the BBC telling us what a great day it is every three minutes. As if we're not sure, but the fact that Ferne Cotton and Jamie Theakston keep telling us its great will convince us that it is. Orson are predictably forgettable.

7pm - Tom Jones, Bryan Ferry and Tony Blair
Pre-recorded interview with Fergie. Apparently her set wanted to encapsulate the "inner and outer beauty" of Diana. Funny all I saw was a crock of shite. 500 million people are supposed to be watching this. Poor us. They're now interviewing Sienna Miller. She's hot.

Tom Jones is now on stage. He's old. Plastic surgery still looking good though. He's now playing a song by the Arctic Monkeys of all people. ‘I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor' is destroyed. I wonder if Alex Turner is one of the 500 million people watching? I hope for his sanity's sake he isn't. You have to hear him sing, "From 1984". Truly ridiculous (I've used that word a lot haven't I?). Joss Stone is out for another one, she's duetting with Tom Jones. She's dressed like she was at the Brits. Still no damn shoes. Stupid god damn hippy.

Will Young is out on stage dressed in a white suit and so are his dancers. They are doing some silly dance. Is it just me or does the crowd sound completely subdued. There was hardly any applause after TJ & JS? Still I guess it will be forgotten as the BBC ram the "electric atmosphere" myth down our throats. Natasha Bedingfield is now out on the stage, the voice over tells me that her song, ‘Unwritten' was the most played song on US radio last year. She must be absolutely minted. I'm not sure I've heard this song at all.

Boris Becker & John McEnroe are over from Wimbledon. Boris Becker still sounds like a German porn-star. They're introducing Bryan Ferry. He's playing one of his songs. Thank god he's not butchering Dylan as he has done on his recent Dylan covers album. Oh no! I spoke too soon. ‘Make You Feel My Love' is next. STOP IT NOW, BRYAN. Thankfully he redeems himself slightly with ‘Stick Together'. Brilliant song and very up-tempo. Nice one Bryan, but stick to your own songs please. Nobody Sings Dylan like Dylan after all.

Tony cunting Blair is now speaking about Diana. Go away and leave us alone, you're no longer Prime Minister. Go away. God, that has made me even more rageous.

My levels of rage are not going to be lowered by the next band. A medley of Andrew Lloyd Webber musical songs. I'm off for a moment, this is getting all a bit too much for me. Might put my dinner on to be honest. Webber is being interviewed and still looks like a pug-faced midget. Still he's better than Tony Blair. But only ever-so-slightly. Over on BBC 2 they have the Hampton Court Flower Show, so the BBC is really hitting the Daily Mail target audience this evening.

8pm - Rod Stewart, Kanye West
P. Diddy is being interviewed by Ferne. He's saying how much Diana meant to him and that it's an honour to play for her. David Beckham is now being interviewed. Apparently he's close friends with Diddy. Beckham is so dull, I'm so glad he no longer is England Captain so we don't have to hear him whittle on for hours. He's also saying something about the Spice Girls reuniting, but I've entered some kind of momentary coma.

Rod Stewart is being introduced by Keefer Sutherland who is going on about his mate Ray who he met in a pub in Wembley down the street. Keefer's obviously got more sense than to stay in the stadium to witness this bullshit. ‘Maggie Mae' is as brilliant as one would expect. Stewart's best song. The whole royal box is swaying for this one. A crowd favourite and probably the best reception for an artist yet. ‘We are Sailing' becomes one of those lighters in the air moments, although smoking is now prohibited in England, so there's very little of that.

Theakston describes today as an all you can eat buffet of music, dance and entertainment. What you mean one of those cheap Chinese buffets that leave you bloated and give you food poisoning?

Kanye West is now running all over the stage with some truly bizarre sunglasses. Some large white monstrosity of a pair. ‘Golddigger'. Another song for Diana? Lots of shouting, can't really make out what he's saying. Maybe I'm getting too old for this hip-hop. I don't think I'll ever really get it. Oh well, my loss. The shots of the crowd are absolutely hilarious. Loads of ageing, over-weight women trying to strut their stuff, not realising that 500 million people are laughing at their "moves".

9pm - P Diddy, Take That, my mind switching off
P. Diddy brings the rap section of this concert to a close. Dressed all in white he' wearing sunglasses despite the fact that the sun has long started to go down. Lots of shouting by Diddy. "Makes some noise for Princess Diana, yo'all...We miss you... we love you... Years ago Princess Diana went to a better place, today we celebrate her rebirth" This is the speech by Diddy. But what the hell has happened? Will Diana return and be reborn live on stage tonight? Now that would be a great feat and certainly a great show closer.

Christ he's at it again..."Princess Diana was our Princess, Diana we miss You, Come on yo'all, make some noise". It's just all a little bit too American for this British crowd. "I love you, we miss you, Prince William, Prince Harry we love you". It's never ending. He is now getting everyone to wave to the heavens to say hello to Diana. For fucks sake. This is absolutely terrible. Probably the worst thing at an event like this since Mariah Carey had all those kids on stage at Live8.

David Beckham is now on stage and he is truly honoured to be here. Apparently. Funny how no one goes on stage to say that this is all a little bit shit. He's now banging on about Take That who he's introducing. I'm not even going to watch this bit.

Ricky Gervais is now on-stage and he's doing the Diana death song from the Office. Elton John is spending ages and he had to fill in with some stuff. Good job Ricky Gervais is naturally funny. He ended up doing the David Brent dance and Bowie's ‘Pug-Nosed Face' song from Extras.

10pm - Elton John
There's no other way this concert could have ended really. The fact that he sang at the funeral gives him automatic dibs on the final place. Elton is now on stage doing his thing. ‘Saturday Night', ‘Tiny Dancer' and some other ones - I'm not really a fan, so I don't know. He does really looks like he's enjoyed the high life throughout his years though - what a fat neck.

Speech by Willy and Harry. Mothers charities, yada yada yada. Just get on with ‘Candle in the Wind' and we can all go home and be done with this. Oh no! Some more videos. Nelson Mandela is banging on about Diana (really, who is the real hero here?) Crap, some home video footage about her life. What a load of tosh.

No ‘Candle in the Wind'. I guess that's for the best seeing as it would descend into morbid tears. Wembley is lit up and it is all over. Time to go home Wembley and for me to switch off.

I'm sorry Rockbeatstone readers, but this is probably the last time that I'll try and do something like this again. I thought I could take six hours of mediocre music which would be on rotation on BBC Radio Two but I just couldn't. I think I'm now going to put on a Neil Young DVD, try and get my grip back on reality. What this concert does prove is what awful taste in music the majority of the UK population have. It really drained my physically and mentally. The Princess Diana concert is symbolic of all that's wrong with the UK royal family. Bloated, with ageing stars and very few highlights and on the BBC. Thank God we don't need to organise another one for a while yet.

Like a Rolling Stone

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