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In this year’s BBC 6 John Peel lecture, Brian Eno’s chosen topic was ‘The Ecology of Culture’, although his fascinating talk could equally have been entitled ‘The Economy of Culture’.

In it he attempted to set himself the task of answering two questions:
1. Is Art a luxury?
2. What are the conditions in which the Arts can flourish? View full article »

LIKE A ROLLING STONE – BOB DYLAN AT THE CROSSROADS by Greil Marcus (Faber & Faber, 2006)

Greil Marcus is a man of many words. His verbosity is not to everyone’s taste. Many readers have, with just cause, accused him of being deliberately obtuse and willfully pretentious.

At the same time, his scholarly writings on music and cultural history are well worth the effort since they are frequently illuminating and consistently insightful.

Bob Dylan, the man and his music, is a subject he comes back to time and time again; taking fresh aims at a moving target he knows will never be fully defined.

It is the very elusiveness of Dylan that makes him so intriguing.

In this book, Marcus tells the story of ‘Like A Rolling Stone’, charting the song’s origins and impact. He rightly identifies this as being more than just another rock song but, rather, a unique work of art more akin to an event. It may not have changed the world but it certainly set a new benchmark for what could be achieved in popular music. View full article »


revJust reviewed Mercury Rev’s marvelous new album The Light In You for Whisperin’ & Hollerin’. You can read it here. 

The album is out on Bella Union Records on October 2nd.

I am really looking forward to seeing the band on their one and only date in Italy at the Bronson Club in Ravenna in November.

Here is the video to the single. Are You Ready? is the question. Yes is the answer.

corbynmaniaA friend of mine recently dismissed Jeremy Corbyn as being not just as a man in his 60s but also as a man of the 60s.

The implication being that he speaks for an era that has passed and therefore advocates policies that are out of date.

If this were remotely true, I doubt he would have engaged and inspired so many in his remarkable path towards becoming leader of the Labour Party (From “Jez-he-can” to “Jez-he-did!”).

It is significant that he has been able to win over not only voters of his own generation (he was born in 1949) but has also managed to mobilize otherwise disillusioned youths who have not previously had a Socialist option to vote for (born under Thatcher – raised under Blair). View full article »

HAMLET directed by Laurence Olivier (1948)
HAMLET directed by Franco Zefferelli (1990)


How about this as a summary of Shakespeare’s most famous play turned movie?:

“This is the tragedy of a man who could not make up his mind.”.

If that seems too reductive, how about this:

“A guy comes home from school to discover that his father’s dead. To top it all off his mother is horsing around with his uncle. Add to that, the ghost of the old man comes back to tell him that it was his uncle who knocked him off so he could run off with the Queen. The guy goes off his nut”.

The first is Laurence Olivier’s voiceover before the main action begins.

The second is from an interview with Mel Gibson included in the extras on the DVD of Zefferelli’s film.

Frankly, neither really cuts the mustard but both are obviously aiming to pitch the story in an accessible fashion. View full article »


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