iJAMMING! is a music and lifestyle web site hosted by
author, journalist and dee jay Tony Fletcher.
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You are in the right place for Tony's daily musings.

TO BE PUBLISHED IN THE UK BY OMNIBUS PRESS, JULY 14 2003

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT HEDONISM AND TO READ EXCERPTS, CLICK HERE

Tony Fletcher's next DJ appearances:

Thursday July 3rd: STEP ON, The Royale, 506 Fifth Avenue, ParkSlope, Brooklyn, between 12th/13th Street. With Jon Davies. Free admission (over 21). A night of Madchester, Indie Pop, Punk-Funk and 60's Soul

FRIDAY JUNE 27

JERK IT OUT...

Someone should do an investigation into the current crop of Scandinavian rock'n'roll bands and find out whether they all went to the same school. Tuesday night at Southpaw, Sweden's Caesars put on a show nearly identical to that of The Hives, Flaming Sideburns and Divisions of Laura Lee (and by all accounts (International) Noise Conspiracy, Hellacopters and The Soundtrack of Our Lives share the same tendencies). If you're familiar with these bands you'll know what I'm talking about: mod clothing, blues riffs, garage vibes, singalong choruses, and unbridled energy - usually channeled through a lead guitarist whose job it is to bounce up and down, bump into his fellow members, drop to his knees, extol crowd participation, and jump into the audience without the slightest provocation, and all without missing a note.

With Caesars, this role falls to guitarist Jocke Ahlund -and an entertaining fellow he certainly is - but what really separate Caesars from their fellow 60s garage-rock bands is Bjorn Yittling on Farfisa organ, an instrument with an almost erotic appeal for people like myself, providing a throwback to the mid-sixties 'Pebbles punk' period in the process. Caesars are also distinguished by their exuberant melodies: the quintet were wise to open with the same two numbers as kick-start their excellent compilation album 39 Minutes of Bliss (In An Otherwise Meaningless World) - 'Sort It Out' and 'Kick You Out' - and wise enough to save my own favorite song, the most Carpets-like 'Jerk It Out', until the very end. The fact that these three best songs share almost exactly the same title should not be held against them.

Caesars Sort It Out at Southpaw: Jocke Ahlund, Nino Keller, Bjorn Yitling, Cesar Vidal & David LIndquist.

Nor should we desperately care that half the material on 39 Minutes has been knocking around for half a decade. Both 'Kick You Out' and 'Sort It Out' were featured on the group's 1998 debut Swedish album Youth Is Wasted On The Young, a title that proved quite prophetic given how the songs have only achieved international recognition in the wake of their fellow Swedes' success. The newer material I heard at Southpaw was not so immediately appealing, but given how much I've played 39 Minutes in recent months I shouldn't have expected it to be. The only number to let me down was the ballad 'Fun and Games' on which, without loud band backing to provide cover, Cesar Vidal's voice was revealed as lacking in depth – though the Farfisa solo made up for it. All in all, Caesars (who go by the name Caesars Palace in their homeland) were a blast, just the kind of band you're grateful took the time to pass through your neighborgood.

Caesars at Southpaw...

Realistics at Southpaw


Opening band The Heroes had their moments, most notably with the many variations of the 'Can't Explain' riff that announced their mini-mod anthems. Originality then, was not their forte, but it hardly seems a pre-requisite for rock bands in general at the moment, so let's see how they sound when they hit us with a record.

The Realistics took that step two years ago, with Real People Are Overrated on the Tiswas label. It's not a bad album, but I've never thought of it as great either, which is one reason it's taken me so long to get around to seeing them. I left the show equally non-plussed. Onstage they're a tight, focused, intelligent 60s-rooted band, with an amiable front man (Kid Fantastic), a bassist who fulfils the maniacal role we've come to expect from the Swedes (Mikey Two Saints), and a keyboard player to flesh out the sound (Willy Everlern). Yet neither in isolation nor congregation do these elements propel the Realistics into top flight territory. That said, and while in their New York hometown The Realistics have yet to cause too big a buzz, they're constantly touring Japan and Europe, so they must be on to something. I'm just not precisely sure what it is.


THURSDAY JUNE 26th

TEN YEARS AFTER

As I said on Monday, it's the season for nuptials, so I'm going to take a moment out today to get all personal and congratulate Posie and myself on our tenth wedding anniversary. That's right, ten years ago today (though of course it was on a Saturday back then) we got married out in New Hope, Pennsylvania, on a day that just may have been as hot as today. (I've always maintained that one reason New York is such an extreme city is because it endures such extreme weather - and if the difference between the Biblical rain of last weekend and today's heat index of 110 don't prove my point, I don't know what will.)

Anyway, on June 26 1993 our friend Hub Moore played the (self-composed) wedding songs, Joe Hurley's Rogues March played the reception (I joined in on The Who's 'Can't Explain,' The Jam's 'I Need You' and The Proclaimers' 'I Met You') and at nightime, we came back into Manhattan for a party in the Michael Todd Room at the Palladium, at which several DJ friends, including DB, kindly put in an hour or two each. My sole recollection of that latter occasion is running around the room at full tilt as if, for some reason, I hadn't already expended enough energy that day! (Like my friend Nick set at his wedding party last Friday night, "I'm high - and I'm not on drugs!") I was in the thick of my club-promoting days back then, and Posie worked in that trade too (though that's not how we met), so we did the invite up as a club pass; I've reprinted it here for the sheer self-serving fun of it. The fact that my novel set in that period and that scene, Hedonism, comes out in just three weeks now seems all-too-perfectly timed.

LEFT: The Way We Were. ABOVE: It was like the 60s - If you remember it, you weren't there.

We're still in touch with many of the people who attended the daytime wedding and reception, and then the nightime party; we've fallen out of touch with many others; and sadly, a few, including Posie's dear father, have since passed on. If you were there that day, hopefully you have as fond a memory of the occasion as we do; if you weren't, excuse me the indulgence. Posie, I love you. Still.


TUESDAY JUNE 24th

LIFE IS A CABARET...

Looking at the IJAMMING! web stats , I noticed hundreds of recent hits for the Daily Musings of exactly a year ago: June 15-21 2002. I finally figured out why: lots of people googling for "David Beckham…Japan…hair". Was it really only a year ago that we naively thought England could win the World Cup? I guess so. And now Beckham's off to Madrid (via Tokyo somehow) in a departure that sadly demonstrates the worst of modern (or at least modern British) football. I'm sure there's nothing I can add that hasn't been spouted by the hundreds of journalists paid to pontificate about the world's 'national sport', so I'll leave it. I did see one of them note that Beckham would have to play at his current rate of £5 million a year for some 54 years before he caught up with JK Rowling's earnings - so far - from the Harry Potter books, so I may not be in the wrong business after all.

Above: The photo that launched a hundred Googles. Right: Protesting the Cabaret Laws this time last year.

Looking further at last June's musings – the first month that I started putting up daily postings on ijamming! – I see that it was also exactly a year ago that our family attended the Coney Island Mermaid Parade in a heatwave. We went equipped with some banners protesting the Cabaret Licenses (as had been requested), which makes it a useful coincidence that the Department Of Consumer Affairs is actually holding hearings today into the validity and viability of these ludicrously outdated laws. In case you don't know, they were enacted back in 1926 to legislate the numerous illicit jazz house parties in Harlem that attracted some of the major performers of the day, making it illegal for more than three people to gather and dance without a license; after laying dormant for half a century, Guiliani dusted them off and used them to bludgeon city nightlife through the 1990s.

After 9/11, there were those of us who thought that maybe the city would have more important issues to worry about than whether four or more people were dancing in the back of a bar to a DJ or jukebox; in the early days of the Bloomberg Administration, there was therefore considerable optimism that the new Mayor might not impose the laws so stringently. That optimism has subsequently been dashed by a number of high-profile fines and shutterings, but somebody at City Hall must be paying attention to the relentless outcry from bar owners and punters alike who consider the freedom to dance no less sacred than freedom of speech. Clubs need to be regulated on the issues that matter – most obviously, crowd safety and fire prevention. But laws already exist on those fronts. And I don't argue that large clubs shouldn't have to be registered in some form to put on paid entertainment. But neighborhood bars – especially now that so many of them have turntables and nightly DJs – shouldn't be shuttered just because a few people want to shake a leg here and there. Here's hoping the hearings elicit some good news.

Good segue as always. Thursday July 3rd, I'm returning to Brooklyn bar The Royale, with my old DJing partner Jon Davies, for a night of musical mayhem that someone (Sheffield Jamie?) decided to name Step On. Yeah, you can expect plenty baggy Madchester, lots of good old "indie pop", and if I've got anything to do with it, a hefty amount of funk and punk, '60s soul and rock'n'roll, and some of the new records that work on the dance floor too. It's a one-off, it's free, it's a Bank Holiday the next day, and it's the first time in a while that I've agreed to put my name to an event and play for most of the night. So if you're local, I hope to see you.


MONDAY JUNE 23rd

WEEKEND WEDDINGS

After spending the last two working weeks in virtual isolation on a writing project, I rejoined the social whirl in style this weekend with two weddings and a birthday. The birthday was that of my mother in law, who remains in an exuberant shape that totally belies her octogenerian status. She was joined by six of her eight children (and some of their spouses) for a very pleasant bayside meal on the Jersey shore Sunday night.

As for having two wedding parties in a weekend, well it is of course the season for nuptials, and so it didn't come as too much of a surprise. And of course I sympathize with anyone who planned a June wedding in New York based on the understandable assumption that they would have warm, sunny weather – and instead found themselves enduring the wettest June in exactly 100 years. (10 inches of rain already – and there's still another week to go.) But not even the Biblical downpours we suffered this weekend could dampen the marital celebrations (and indeed, why should they?), and I want to take a moment to congratulate the two couples who got hitched, not least because they represent the book ends of this web site's topics:

I've known Nick and Karen Cain since the early days of the New York rave scene. (Nick is a partner in the EarthWarmth collective, relentlessly busy putting on parties and releasing records.) It made sense then, that at their Friday night post-reception shindig at Bar Four in Park Slope, they hired DJs to play a set firmly rooted in the 1991-92 rave/techno/happy hardcore scene: lots of Prodigy, 808 State, Lords Of Acid, MNO and various other releases on the Antler-Subway label you've probably forgotten about. Revisionists have always insisted that this music was essentially, toytown crap and that anyone who kept these records in their collection over the years was a slip mat short of a working Technics. But you know what? Simplistic though much of it may be, it all sounded superb on Friday night. And it was fun to see so many people in suits (and Karen in her wedding dress!) dancing to Belgian techno rather than the usual wedding standards.

Good luck Nick and Karen...

...Michelle and Gregory...

...Homer and Marge????


I haven't known Gregory and Michelle dal Piaz for so long. Greg's one of my recently acquired wine buddies, a friendship cemented by his memories of seeing the Clash and the Jam at the Palladium in New York as a 13-year old and by his bride's complete and total devotion to ska music. Greg was kind enough to invite several of his fellow oenophiles along to the reception, which ensured, of course, that the standard of wine (at least at our table) was a notch above the usual wedding fare. Much of it was Italian and Spanish, as befits his and Michelle's family roots: My lips are still smacking at the memory of the 1971 Barbaresco from Alfredo Prunotto, that rare combination of evident maturity (brick edges, dusty finish) with still-vibrant fruit. A 1977 Monsanto Chianti Classico Riserva had aged almost as well, while a superb Prada Enea Gran Riserva 1991 from Muga in Rioja demonstrated that Spanish wines continue to be among the best bargains out there.

I offered up a 1984 Maury (sweet Grenache) from France as a dessert wine, though by that point in the proceedings it was more than most of us needed; I also brought a 1997 meritage from Macari on Long Island called Bergen Road. Macari was my favorite of the many North Fork wineries we visited when we made a long overdue trek to the region in November '01; interestingly, the Bergen Road, their top of the line wine, was the most popular of the lot among those from neighboring tables who stopped by to sample our wares. The reason was relatively obvious: it's got a come-hither nose, it's well made, and it's full of juicy up front fruit. A reminder that most wine drinkers are looking for something uncomplicated but exuberant that they can enjoy at any given moment – and there's certainly nothing wrong with that.

2003 MUSINGS:
JUNE 9-23: Hell W10, The Clash, Big Audio Dynamite, Nada Surf live, Field Day debacle
JUNE 2-8: Six Feet Under - Over, Field Day, Siren Fest, Crouching Tigher Hidden Cigarette
MAY 19-JUNE 1: Ian McCulloch live, New York's financial woes, Six Feet Under, Hedonism, Tommy Guerrero.
MAY 5-18: Live reviews of The Rapture, De La Soul, Carlsonics, Laptop, The Libertines, Echoboy, The Greenhornes; observations on Chris Coco/The Blue Room, The Apple Music Store, Alan Freed, Phil Spector, The Matrix Reloaded, Rare Earth, Tinnitus and Royale!
APRIL 28-MAY 4: Flaming Lips, Madonna, Bill Maher, The Dixie Chicks, the war
APRIL 21-27: Rotary Connection, War(n) Out, Cocaine Talk
APRIL 14-20: Belated London Musings on Death Disco and CPFC.
APRIL 7-13: London Musings: Madness, Inspiral Carpets, the Affair, the Palace, the Jam
MARCH 31-APRIL 6: Music be the spice of life, London Calling: Ten Observations from the Old Country
MARCH 24-30: Six Foot Under, Peaches/Elefant live, MP Frees and Busted Boy Bands
MARCH 17-23: Röyksopp live, Transmission, Worn-Out War Talk
MARCH 10-16: Live reviews: Stratford 4, Flaming Sideburns, Joe Jackson Band, Linkin Park. Why I Oppose The War (For Now).
MARCH 3-9: The Pursuit of Happiness, Weekend Players, U.S. Bombs, Al Farooq, A New Pessimism, Brooklyn Half Marathon
FEBRUARY 24-MARCH2: Orange Park, Ali G-Saddam Hussein-Dan Rather-Bill Maher-Jon Stewart TV reviews, Stellastarr*, James Murphy, The Station nightclub fire, the Grammys
FEBRUARY 17-23: Village Voice Poll, Singles Club, Smoke and Fire
FEBRUARY 3-16: Snug, The Face, Pink, Supergrass live, Keith Moon, Phil Spector, Gore Vidal
JANUARY 27-FEBRUARY 2: Communist Chic, Spiritland, Daddy You're A Hero, Keith Moon, State of the Union, CPFC and more on Iraq
JANUARY 20-26: Divisions of Laura Lee, Burning Brides, Words On War, Child Abuse of a Different Kind, Losing My Edge
JANUARY 13-19: Pete Townshend, Pee Wee Herman, South Park and more Pete Townshend
JANUARY 6-12: Interpol in concert, Tony Fletcher's Top 10 Albums and Singles of 2002, More on Joe Strummer and The Clash, Fever Pitch and Bend It Like Beckham.
DECEMBER 31 2002 -JAN 5 2003: A tribute to Joe Strummer, Radio 4 live on New Year's Eve
2002 MUSINGS:
DECEMBER 25-30: NO POSTINGS: ON VACATION
DECEMBER 16-24: Metro Area, Breakbeat Science, Sting makes Wine, New York Downtown redesigns, Keith Moon anecdotes, Campbell's jokes.
DECEMBER 9-15:
Tiswas, pledge drives, The View from Up North
DECEMBER 2-8 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Weekend Players and Snow Lit Piano Bars)
FOR NOVEMBER 25-29 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Joe Hurley, Thanksgiving, Sven
Väth, Richie Hawtin)
FOR NOVEMBER 16-24 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Longwave, The Pleased, Get Your War On, Powder, Radio 4, Supreme Beings Of Leisure, Ben Neill, Baldwin Brothers, Thievery Corporation)
FOR NOVEMBER 9-15 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes CMJ report including Datsuns, von Bondies and My Favorite, and political Eagles)
FOR NOVEMBER 2-8 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Halloween, the New York Marathon, and British Cuisine)
FOR OCTOBER 26-NOV 1 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes live reviews of The Streets, Mooney Suzuki, Sahara Hotnights, Flaming Sideburns, Stellastarr*; Jam Master Jay; Halloween)
FOR OCTOBER 19-25 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Underworld live, Atlantic Avenue antics, Girls and Boys night)
FOR OCTOBER 12-18 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Bali Bombing and stupid editorials, the Electro-Clash festival, VHS Or Beta, Ballboy, Mindless Self Indulgence, 2 Many DJs, Tom Petty, The Streets, pointless stop-the-war e-mails)
FOR OCTOBER 5-11 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Steve Earle and John Walker's Blues, Dreaming Of Britney, Girls Against Boys and Radio 4)
FOR SEPTEMBER 28-OCT 4 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes White Stripes live, Morel live, My Generation re-issue)
FOR SEPTEMBER 21-27 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes The Creation live, Village Voice, Wine not Whine and more)
FOR SEPTEMBER 14-20 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Firefighter Andre Fletcher, Untamed, Uncut, and more September 11 Musings)
FOR SEPTEMBER 7-13 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Sep 11 memorials, Did Bin Laden Win?, Scissor Sisters and Electro-clash)
FOR AUGUST 31-SEPTEMBER 6 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes The Strokes live, The Rising, Saint Etienne, Team USA, a.i., Tahiti 80, Dot Allison)
FOR AUGUST 17-30 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes holiday musings, wine reviews, Luna at Southpaw, and more)
FOR AUGUST 10-16 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes lengthy Who live review)
FOR JULY 27-AUG 9 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Area 2, 24 Hour Party People Party, Hootenanny Tour, 2 Many DJs and more.
FOR JULY 20-26 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Wilson Pickett, John Entwistle, rebuilding downtown NYC)
FOR JULY 13-19 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Love Parade, Teany, RenewNYC, Femi Kuti, NRA, Londonisation of New York, Britishification of Global Rock)
FOR JULY 6-12 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Mike Meyers as Keith Moon, the RAVE Act, John Entwistle, Michael Jackson, Southpaw, Moby Online, Layo & Bushwacka!,
(accidentally deleted)
FOR JUNE 29-JULY 5 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes World Cup Final, John Entwistle's legacy, The Who's decision to carry on, the meaning of July 4)
FOR JUNE 22-28 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes World Cup diary, Dr. John, Doves, Mermaid Parade, John Entwistle's death, Timothy White's death, Clinic Firewater and Radio 4 live, The Who's decision to carry on)
FOR JUNE 15-21 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes World Cup diary, Liars live, GiantFingers, the Big Takeover)
FOR JUNE 8 -14 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes World Cup diary, StellaStarr*, Jose Padilla, Dee Dee Ramone, suicide bombings)
FOR JUNE 1-7 DAILY MUSINGS, CLICK HERE (includes World Cup diary, Southpaw, Six Foot Under, Andrew Sullivan)
FOR LATE MAY DAILY MUSINGS, CLICK HERE
FOR MAY'S EIGHT DAYS IN A WEEK'S MUSINGS, CLICK HERE
FOR LATE APRIL LONDON MUSINGS, CLICK HERE
FOR EARLY APRIL MUSINGS, CLICK HERE


iJamming! Site Copyright Tony Fletcher 2003




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This page last updated
Fri, Jul 4, 2003 1:20 pm)


THE JUNE HITLIST:
15 NEW ALBUMS
10 OLD ALBUMS
5 MOVIES

THE MAY HITLIST:
20 NEW ALBUMS,
1 ONLINE ESSENTIAL,
3 NEW MAGAZINES

FEATURED MIX CD:
2 CD's & MP3's

FEATURED ALBUM:
THE OLD KIT BAG by RICHARD THOMPSON

FEATURED WINE:
CHAPEL DOWN HORIZON, England

INSPIRAL CARPETS
live at the Brixton Academy

The iJamming! Interview:
2 MANY DJs
"We bypassed the record company and the industry - we just did this thing and it went off."

From the Jamming! Archives:
KILLING JOKE
interviewed in 1981

WHY I OPPOSE THE WAR
as of March 11

THE MARCH HITLIST:
5 SUPERB COMPILATIONS
20 ALBUMS, 5 EPs

THE FEBRUARY HITLIST:
25 ALBUMS

2002: THE YEAR IN REVIEW
Ten Major Memories and a number of lists

INTERPOL in concert

JOE STRUMMER: A TRIBUTE

THE DECEMBER HITLIST:
5 ALBUMS, EPs, MIX CDS, COMPILATIONS and SONGS

the iJamming! Book Review
WHY TERRORISM WORKS
by Alan Dershowitz

CABERNET FRANC
The 'Other' Cabernet Grape Takes Root In New York
Part 1: The Basics/Regions
Part 2: New York Wines
Part 3: Loire Wines
Part 4: Conclusions

THE NOVEMBER HITLIST
30 Albums 10 Songs

HOW MUCH WILL IT HURT?:
Tips for the marathon virgin.

From the Jamming! Archives:
THE JAM
Interviewed in 1979

The iJamming! Interview: UNDERWORLD
NOW WITH LIVE PHOTOS

Coming and Going
Chapter 3: THE PALACE

The iJamming! Interview
RICHARD BUTLER Part 2

From the Jamming! Archives:
ADAM ANT
Interviewed in 1978

REMARKS REMADE:
Available Now!
The introduction to the new edition of my R.E.M. biography is here.

A Decade In Dance
BT & BANCO DE GAIA
10 Years (Apiece)

2 MANY TASTINGS:
The iJamming! Wine Round Up October 2002, including:
Sauvignon Blanc
Chardonnay
Pinot Noir
Rhône Rangers
Southern France
Zinfandel

HALF MAN HALF BISCUIT
The whole 1990s catalogue

From the Jamming! Archives:
PAUL WELLER
interviewed in 1978

The iJamming! interview:
CARL COX

GOLDEN SHOT hostess 'Lee Patrick' recalls her time as Keith Moon's amour

HEDONISM:
An intrigue of early 90s New York nightlife.
NEW CHAPTER now online

From the Jamming! Archives:
U2 interviewed in 1984.

iJamming! Wino/Muso:
JOHN ACQUAVIVA

The iJAMMING! interview:
DAVID SYLVIAN

From the Keith Moon archives:
the JEFF BECK interview .

The iJAMMING! chat:
MARK PERRY

TRAVIS.
Fran Healy explains why "you cannot own a song."

From the JAMMING! archives: The Story That Spawned Creation

The iJAMMING! interview:
BOY GEORGE.

The full iJamming! Contents