Category: music


m & m

Morrissey and Marr – pre severed alliance

In a recent interview with Krishman Guru-Murthy, Johnny Marr publicly distances himself from Morrissey’s more outspoken statements that have been widely interpreted as endorsements of racism and far right bigotry.

Wisely in my view, Marr has resisted the temptation to go any further by joining in the rising tide of venom towards his ex-Smiths partner.

To understand what he’s opting out of, you only have to read the scurrilous one star review of Morrissey’s latest covers album ‘California Sun’ in The Guardian. This makes it plain that there are now many who are no longer able the separate the man from the music.

The mood of zero tolerance was also evident when a lone complaint by a commuter in Liverpool led to posters for ‘California Sun’ being removed from the entire rail network.

I would be the first to concede that Morrissey has brought much of this unprecedented backlash upon himself. Publicly lending his support to ‘For Britain’ was for many the last straw. Prior to this, his comments against Halal meat and China’s abysmal record on animal rights could at least be defended on the grounds that they reflected his radical veganism. Now he seems to have bitten off more than he can chew.

Morrissey has a history of exaggerating for effect and knows that moderation doesn’t generate the required level of publicity. This is a man who likens animal slaughter to murder and once sang about a dream of Margaret Thatcher being guillotined.

Like all narcissistic populists, Morrissey works on the basis that there’s no such thing as bad publicity. But these days, different rule books seem to apply to the worlds of politics and entertainment. The likes of Trump, Farage and Johnson revel in the controversies they provoke and gain support from a public who distrust those who take the moral high ground. Continue reading

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Rolling Thunder Revue – A Bob Dylan Story directed by Martin Scorsese (Netflix, 2019)

mv5bzjnlodjmy2qtywi3ms00nmy3ltg0nmitmjayotbiowmyngfixkeyxkfqcgdeqxvynjg2njqwmdq40._v1_The opening shot of this documentary is of a magician in a silent movie manipulating film to create a disappearing act. This illusionist sets the scene for a movie in which not all is as it seems.

It is as though Martin Scorsese has been corrupted by the example set by the incumbent and repugnant POTUS. Scorsese bamboozles viewers with post truths to the point that you are never quite sure of the line between fact and fiction. Beat poet Allen Ginsberg called Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder revue “a con-man carny medicine show of old” and Scorsese is more than happy to play the part of the snake oil salesman. Continue reading

UNKNOWN PLEASURES by Peter Hook (Simon & Schuster, 2012)

joyPop-pickers of a certain age and diehard hipsters out there surely won’t have missed that the title of yesterday’s post on Ricky Gervais’ ‘Afterlife’ featured a quote from the Joy Division song ‘Heart And Soul’.

This track, from their second and final album ‘Closer’, includes the tortured lines: “Existence, well what does it matter? I exist on the best terms I can. The past is now part of my future. The present is well out of hand”.

Anyone pausing to reflect on such lyrics would probably conclude that the author was either a) deeply troubled or (b) that he had been reading a little too much outsider fiction. Both of these were true of the band’s tortured lead singer Ian Curtis who hung himself on 18th May, 1980. Continue reading

goodreads 2018.jpgSince 2014, I have set and maintained a relatively modest reading target on ‘Goodreads‘ of 50 titles a year. I find this website invaluable at the end of year when it comes to reviewing the books I’ve read.

Being gifted, and being thoroughly absorbed by, Kazuo Ishiguro’s ‘The Buried Giant’ led me to a reappraisal of the Nobel Prize Winner. Up until then, I’d read only ‘Remains Of The Day’ and hadn’t been particularly drawn to his other novels. The slow, deliberate pace and absence of colloquial language put me off but now this actually drew me in. Perhaps it’s an age thing. Ishiguro skillfully takes the reader deep into the mind and, above all, the memories of his characters. The only novel of his I haven’t read is ‘The Unconsoled’. Aside from the uncharacteristically messy ‘When We Were Orphans’, I rated all of his works very highly.

Getting fixated on this male author sabotaged my resolve to read more female writers this year. By the end of the year only 20 of the 50 were by women. Of these, my two favorite novels, one old and one new, were Sarah Waters’ quietly subversive ‘Fingersmith’ and Gail Honeyman’s funny/sad study of loneliness : ‘Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine’. Continue reading

Best music of 2018

laura-gibson-tenderness-song

Laura Gibson released my favorite album & song in 2018

In 2018 I reviewed 219 records for the Whisperin’ & Hollerin’ webzine. Of these, the following is a list of my ten favorite new albums and the top 5  reissues. You can read my reviews to all these on the W&H website to find out why.

TOP TEN BEST ALBUMS 2018
1. LAURA GIBSON – Goners
2. SARAH LOUISE – Deeper Woods
3. GWENNO – Le Kov
4. MARISSA NADLER – For My Crimes
5. JOAN AS POLICE WOMAN – Damned Devotion
6. MODERN STUDIES – Welcome Strangers
7. ETHAN GOLD – Live Undead Bedroom Closet Covers
8. THE BEVIS FROND – We’re Your Friends, Man
9. JIM JAMES – Uniform Distortion
10. IRON & WINE – Weed Garden EP

BEST REISSUES 2018
1. BUFFY SAINTE- MARIE – Medicine Songs
2. CALEXICO – The Black Light (20th Anniversary Edition)
3. BERT JANSCH – A Man I’d Rather Be
4. VARIOUS ARTISTS: PARADISE – THE SOUND OF IVOR RAYMONDE
5. DAVE EVANS – The Words In Between

SONG OF THE YEAR:
LAURA GIBSON – Domestication

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