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THURSDAY NOVEMBER 27

THANKS FOR THE MUSIC

One of the downsides of getting free CDs is the amount of time spent wasted listening to annoyingly average music. It gets depressing, enduring new release after new release with limited merits – enough, say, to warrant a repeated play or two and a reading of the press release, but obviously not enough that any of us will be desperately interested in years to come.

So every now and then we need to hit the 'rewind' button and remind ourselves why we're in this game. I felt that way on Tuesday, probably a result of posting the December Dance Hitlist, with too much mediocrity and not enough brilliance. I ran over to one corner of my room and picked out the following half-dozens albums to spin at random on my six-CD changer. It's been tempting just to leave them in there for the rest of the month...

SINEAD O'CONNOR – I DO NOT WANT WHAT I HAVEN'T GOT (Ensign) (The Greatest LP Ever Made? It's certainly a contender.)
HOWLIN' WOLF – HIS BEST (Chess) (Self-explanatory, I would hope.)
10,000 MANIACS – HOPE CHEST (The Fredonia Recordings 1982-83) (The only one of this crop to sound dated, though understandably so: it's a collection of their early, independent recordings before they fully caught their stride)
TOM PETTY/HEARTBREAKERS – THE LAST DJ (One of my albums of 2002)
THE ORB – U.F. OFF (Island) (A double CD; only CD1 made it onto the deck. There's easily a classic single CD between the pair.)
NEIL YOUNG – HAWKS AND DOVES (Reprise) (Digitally remastered and newly re-issued 1980 album, forms a lovely pairing with the Petty album.)


THANKS FOR EVERYTHING

While talking of hitting the rewind button, I'm going to cop out of writing anything new about Thanksgiving again this year. Again I'm going to merely point you toward the Thanksgiving Toast Essay I wrote two years ago, when the events of 9/11 were still so fresh in our minds. Things have changed since then, of course, but the gist of my thoughts remain the same.


WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 26

THANKSGIVING WINES

One of my favorite Thanksgiving rituals is watching the wine press recommend a few native American bottles to accompany the annual celebration of native American hospitality. (The truth behind Thanksgiving is, of course, just a tad more complex than that, as we all know.) This year I'll get it on the act too: let me recommend a few American-produced wines previously reviewed here for any American-based iJamming! readers in a last minute panic at hitting the local wine store.

You have to take into account the fact that I don't eat meat, which means that while I acknowledge that Riesling and Chardonnay will go well with ham and turkey, I'm more likely to gravitate towards the Cab Franc for the various vegetables dishes, or, if I'm feeling frisky and the food is a little spicy, Zinfandel-based red. (There is, as I've said several times before here, no wine more American than Zinfandel.) Cabernet Sauvignon is a reliable combination for big meat dishes; I find it somewhat more problematic for my own palate which is one reason I haven’t written about it so much on this site. Syrah and my beloved Rhône Ranger blends don't seem quite so appropiate for Thanksgiving; nor does Sauvignon Blanc, despite the fact it's generally an excellent food wine and grows very well in California. Pinot Noir is, however, perfect for ham and turkey as well as many vegetable dishes; the reason I haven't reviewed more of these wines is that it's so hard to find good American Pinot Noirs at a decent price. I've been trying some of the Oregon Pinot Noirs which I wrote about briefly here; I'll post a review when I find one I can truly endorse for both quality and value. A couple of these wines might look obscure, but take a print-out to your local wine store and they can probably find something suitably similar. Happy Thanksgiving.

SPARKLING WINE
GRUET BRUT, METHODE CHAMPENOISE, NV, New Mexico

WHITE
HERMANN WIEMER Johannisberg Riesling Dry, Finger Lakes, New York 2001/02.
BARBOURSVILLE Monticello Viognier Reserve 1999, Virginia.
CARTLIDGE & BROWNE California Chardonnay 2000/1, USA

RED
CLINE Califonia Zinfandel 2001
SEGHESIO Zinfandel, Sonoma County, California 2001
TERNHAVEN CELLARS, Claret d'Alvah, Long Island, New York
MILLBROOK New York State Cabernet Franc, 2000-2001, New York,
RIDGE Coast Range, Sonoma County, California 2000-2001

DESSERT WINES
WHITE: WAGNER 1999 Late Harvest Vignoles, Finger Lakes, New York
RED: CLINE Big Break Vineyard Late Harvest Mourvedre Contra Costa County, California


THANKSGIVING WHINE!

I'm not much of a rugby fan. However, my love for both English and Australian wines leads me to post this picture, above, sent this morning by one of my New York-based footie-playing expat teammates. Thanksgiving whine of a different kind, I do believe.


TUESDAY NOVEMBER 25

THE DECEMBER HITLIST Part 1

Been working my way through lots of new music of late. Going to try and catch up on reviewing much of it before the year is out. The first part of the December HitList is now up, entitled British Dance Music: Down But Not Out. It features reviews of albums/EPs by Audio Bullys, Basement Jaxx, Bent, Deadly Avenger, Dub Pistols, Hybrid, LFO, Plump DJs and The Streets.


MONDAY NOVEMBER 24

LOST IN MOVIES

One of the sweetest moments in the movie: Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson at the end of their long night out. Lovers or just friends? They can't decide.... (Photo cribbed from Andy S's excellent blog.)

I had the pleasure of seeing Lost In Translation this weekend. Sofia Coppola's portrait of two Americans meeting in a Tokyo hotel - a fading male movie star shooting a whisky commercial (Bill Murray) and an uncertainly married young woman tagging along with her hip photographer husband (Scarlett Johansson) - works on several levels. Most obviously, it's an entertaining cross-generational love story. Within that, its a clever study of the human psyche, and the evergreen issues of maturity versus beauty, and innocence versus experience. But it's also an enormously enjoyable comment on Japanese pop culture, something Coppola presumably knows plenty about: the references to rock'n'roll, fashion, television and photography were too close to her own inner circle of jet-setting hipsters not to suggest that there was some self-deprecation going on here.

For his part, Murray is a phenomenally subtle comic actor, (as I finally grasped this last summer, watching Ghostbusters in Central Park), who spends the first half of the movie quite literally Lost In Translation, futilely practicing irony and sarcasm on the unaccomodating Japanese. When he hooks up with Johansson's character Charlotte, he finally finds a foil that can deliver as good as she gets, and their chemistry proves addictive. A scene near the closing – where Murray delivers Johansson a poignant message about marriage and children – indicates that Coppola has been listening closely to the older men in her life. Indeed, there are those who wonder if the film is not partly about Sofia's own relationship with her father, the great Francis Ford Coppola. The soundtrack, which has been heralded for bringing My Bloody Valentine's Kevin Shields back onto CD (the album was reviewed here at iJamming! last month) gives no hint of various karaoke scenes, nor the inclusion of 'The Teaches of Peaches'; the finale, however, with the Jesus and Mary Chain's 'Just Like Honey' blaring at full volume, is that rarely perfect marriage of great music in a great movie. Seriously recommended for all adults.


LOST IN JUNK FOOD

In years gone by, homesick Brits in New York had to go to Myers of Keswick or Tea and Sympathy, both in Little London (i.e., the West Village) to pick up items like Marmite, Bird's Custard, Jaffa Cakes, treacle and spotted dick. (That being of course, assuming any of us wanted to.) In recent times, us Brooklynites have needed go no further than the local supermarket, Key Food on 5th Avenue, as the Times reported to the city at large yesterday under the amusing headline Hey, Mate, Get Your Mitts Off My Shepherd's Pie Mix. I seriously challenge the notion that "the neighborhood isn't known for its Brits," considering that the same Avenue houses a Chip Shop, a Curry Shop, an English pub and a monthly Madchester party. Truth be told, I can hardly move in my neighborhood for British accents – especially among people my age – and I know I've read somewhere that we're the second biggest immigrant group in Park Slope. Anyway, while I generally stay loyal to the Park Slope Food Co-Op, which itself sells everything from fresh English Stilton to organically-brewed Samuel Smith's lager, it's vaguely reassuring to know I can pop round the corner for that tin of Heinz Baked Beans – and a stodgy oven-ready Christmas Pudding, should I ever feel the need to re-experience the kind of food that gave the UK such a terrible culinary reputation to begin with!


LOST AND FOUND: THE MAJOR INDIE LABEL? (or is is the indie major label?)

Big news this morning in the music industry. Rather than merging with EMI, as was rumored last week, Time Warner has decided to sell its music division directly to Edgar Bronfman Jr. Those who follow industry acquisitions and mergers may just recall that, as head of the Seagram's liquor business, Bronfman previously bought Universal Music as part of MCA, topped it up with the purchase of Polygram - making Universal by far the biggest of the major music labels - and then committed hari-kari by swapping the lot for stock in French multi-media conglomerate Vivendi, which tanked when the dot-com boom went bust. One can only assume that Bronfman regrets letting go of Universal when it was doing so well; by acquiring Warner Music, he gets a second chance to prove himself. More importantly – far more interestingly – by acquiring the label through private investment, Warner Music will become, in theory at least, an "independent" label, no longer answerable to the type of shareholders who place short-term dividends over long-term careers. (Nor to the self-censorship that comes with the role of being a major media conglomerate.) Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Warners was both the biggest and the most highly respected of the major music companies, which is one reason it acquired so many credible, not just commercial, acts. (Apart from Madonna and Prince, Neil Young and Lou Reed, there was a post-punk/new wave period where just about anything that mattered seemed to be released through the Warners stable, from R.E.M. to Echo & The Bunnymen, Depeche Mode to New Order, The Pretenders to the Cure, The Replacements to The B-52's.) Watching the company subsequently lose ground and lose face over the last decade, a story detailed in Stan Cornyn's entertaining book Exploding, has been a disappointment for anyone who ever entertained the notion of a business that put music first. (In fairness, the worst appears to be in the past, making Warners a more attractive acquistion.) Will that once again prove the case? It's way too early to tell. But it's fascinating to contemplate.


FRIDAY NOVEMBER 21

QUOTE FOR THE WEEKEND

"This is without a doubt the most open, most hospitable English-speaking country in the world. Looking at it from overseas, America is an atoll. But there's a reef around it that's your popular media. If you're in England, you don't get the nice bits; you get that there's been 20 people dropped, shot in a restaurant. Nothing comes in or out of that country without passing over that prickly reef."

DBC Pierre, whose debut novel Vernon God Little won the 2003 Man Booker Prize for Fiction, as quoted in the New York Times, Sunday November 16. Vernon God Little was described by Chair of the Man Booker Judges, Professor John Carey, as "A coruscating black comedy reflecting our alarm but also our fascination with modern America."

PUB QUIZ

Are any of the registered users over at the new iJamming! Public House struggling to log on? A couple of prospective contributors told me they had problems registering with their pre-assigned pass words, and they may not be alone: I can tell that a few people have registered twice. Then again, a half dozen people are contributing regularly, and the system has certainly worked fine when I've tested it out anonymously. The password protection ensures that everyone uses a legitimate e-mail address, to deter spam and uninvited flaming; I'd like to stick with it. But if you HAVE had a problem, send an email to thisaddress and let us know what it was. We'll try and iron out any kinks in the system so you can come in and join the party.


THURSDAY NOVEMBER 20

LEGALEASEMENT...

"What could a five-company industry do to convince skeptical regulators that it should be a three-company industry? Perhaps arrange things to make it look like it's in terrible trouble; that new technology is destroying its business model; that it's in fact so desperate that it would sue its own customers for enormous sums. Sound familiar?" Douglas Wolk writes about merger mania in the music industry in this week's Village Voice. A reliable commentator on industry shifts and trends, Wolk also highlights the case of a small-time archivist, Chuck Warner, who has been – illegally - assembling and distributing CR-Rs of rare old 7" singles by punk, post-punk and mod bands. He has just settled a court case brought under the 1976 Copyright Act by a member of little known power pop band John Are, who was most unhappy at Warner's distribution tactics. (The band member in question is now a lawyer, no surprise.) Wolk points out that the Copyright Act was written at a time when bootleggers "owned pressing plants," and that applying the Act – with its punitive fines for each case of copyright infringement - to home computer uses who share or rip music files on a small scale seems, at the very least, outdated.


FREEDOM TO DANCE?

Of course, an even more archaic piece of legislation – and one we've been railing against since setting up the iJamming! site - is the New York City Cabaret Law. Established in 1926, during Prohibition, to close speakeasies and Harlem jazz clubs, and then mothballed though never repealed, it was resurrected by Mayor Giuliani as a tool with which to bludgeon nightlife. By turning the inherently human act of dancing into a crime in any bar or club without a (prohibitively expensive and very difficult to acquire) Cabaret License, Giuliani set New York's reputation as a global nightlife capital back by decades. He also made it a much less pleasant city to live in.

Now, after almost two years with a new Mayor, following protests, discussions, tentative offers and subsequent backtracking, the Department of Consumer Affairs has announced a proposal to completely abolish the Cabaret Law - and replace it with a Nightlife License. Preliminary details are available in pdf form through the DCA's office, with the full proposal to be made available on November 28. The main points of the Nightlife License, as announced today, require bars and clubs to meet the real Quality of Life issues - noise, safety, cleanliness - after which, it would appear, they can then let aptrons dance to their hearts' content. Indeed, as the DCA Commissioner Gretchen Dykstra puts it, "This proposal promotes a lively nightlife without requiring a license to dance." I applaud Mayor Bloomberg's office for trying to turn back one of the most draconian pieces of ancient legislation ever used against a modern, free city's inhabitants.


FREEDOM TO GRIEVE?

Staying with major New York City announcements, yesterday saw the unveiling of the eight finalists for the World Trade Center Memorial, shortlisted from over 5,000 applications. As the rebuilding of Ground Zero becomes ever more contentious, with Daniel Lieberskind's original award-winning designs seemingly being compromised at every turn, so the Memorial at the heart of the rebuilding effort takes on a greater importance. Anyone with reasonably reliable Internet access can see video presentations of each proposal here.
(Today, terrorists have attacked my home country, Britain, through its representatives in Turkey. I keep typing out words I hope will resonate; I keep failing. I guess I can only say that the terrorists care nothing for human life. The Memorial will hopefully demonstrate that the rest of us do.)


Former jamming! cover stars: first album freely available as MP3s.

FREEDOM OF FAITH, BROTHERS

Back to the subject of file-sharing, one musician who clearly doesn't mind his old music being made available for free is Billy Franks, formerly of Faith Brothers: he's just uploaded, in zipped MP3 form, the entire debut Faith Brothers album, Eventide, on his web site, complete with its preceding singles and sleeve notes. It's only available for another six days, after which he'll be replacing it with the second and final Faith Brothers album OR a collection of live tracks and b-sides. (I favor the latter, if you're reading, Billy.) Many iJamming! readers will have no concept or memory of Faith Brothers.Those who do will understand my personal interest in seeing this music made available in digital format.


WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 19

BEHIND THE WHEEL?

Keith and Neil backstage at John and Yoko's War Is Over concert, the London Lyceum, Dec 15 1969, just two weeks before the tragedy.

Those who know their Keith Moon history will be familiar with the tragic story of Neil Boland, Keith's chauffeur in 1969-1970, who died under the wheels of Keith's Bentley after an incident outside a nightclub in Hatfield in January 1970. According to eye witness accounts and a subsequent court case, Boland stepped out of the vehicle to fend off an unruly gang, and either slipped under or was pushed and kicked under the car - at the same moment that Keith attempted to drive away from the fight, unwittingly running Boland over in the process.

A few months ago, Boland's daughter, Michelle, made contact with me, stating that her own, recent enquiries into the sad matter of her father's death suggested that it was not in fact Keith behind the wheel. She has now launched a web site both in memory of her father and in the hope of establishing the truth behind his death. The site is here.

I don't have much to add. I interviewed two of three other people in the car at the time of Boland's death: Legs Larry Smith and Kim Moon, then Keith's wife. (Smith's girlfriend at the time, Jean Battye, was also in the car.) I also interviewed another musician, Jack McCulloch, who had been in a car just behind Keith's Bentley. I read every single newspaper report I could find on the incident, from The Times down to the local paper which covered the subsequent court cases in detail. And I tried my best to track down members of the gang of apparent 'skinheads' who were named and prosecuted for their part in the affray; the only family I could find still living in the area told me that the man in question had died years earlier.

Michelle has clearly fared better in this last regard and congratulations to her for that. (One of the consequences about writing a big biography like Dear Boy is that, after the book comes out, sells well and is widely discussed, all manner of far-flung acquaintances suddenly make themselves known. Finding them while actually researching the book, years ahead of its publication, is an entirely different process.)

While no one was ever formally charged with responsibility for Boland's death, Keith certainly blamed himself for the senseless tragedy, as my book went on to discuss. The guilt stayed with him until he died. I do hope Michelle's search, even if it brings her no further answers, at least affords her some comfort. It's the very least she deserves.


TUESDAY NOVEMBER 18

POLLS:

The big news in Britain this week is, of course, President Bush's State Visit and the lockdown of London as protestors take to the streets. No surprise then, that a prominent UK newspaper should commission a poll about Anglo-American relations. The ICM poll was published today, and the four key findings are as follows:

1) Of the President's State Visit, more British people "welcome his visit" (43%) than "prefer he did not come" (36%).

2) An overwhelming majority consider America "a force for good in the world" (62%) compared to a small minority who consider it "a force for evil" (15%).

3) A slight majority consider "the military attack on Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein…justified" (47%) over those who consider it "unjustified" (41%).

4) A vast majority, "thinking about the military forces in Iraq now," believe that said forces (nationality not specified) should "stay until Iraq is more stable" (67%) rather than that they "should pull out now" (25%).

So which newspaper commissioned this poll, which suggest a far more prevalent pro-American mood across Britain than you might assume from listening to certain national broadcasters? The Daily Mail? The Daily Telegraph? The Murdoch-owned Times? No, the left-wing Guardian which, to its credit, always puts the truth ahead of its own opinions. The Poll's findings – you can download the figures as a pdf from the paper's own web site - might be worth keeping in the back of our minds during what's likely to be, to put it mildly, a difficult week for London bus drivers.


POLITICS:

Staying with newspapers willing to print more than one point of view, the New York Times' Week In Review section this Sunday focused particularly heavily on Iraq. (The paper's web site is here; unfortunately, I can't find links to the actual editorials.) Four pieces took different stances:

1) The paper's veteran foreign correspondent John Burns returned to Iraq - from where he had previously been one of the few Baghdad-based journalists brave enough to challenge Saddam Hussein's censorship - for a cautious assessment of the national mood six months after the dictator's downfall. This paragraph reveals just part of the inevitable confusion. "At the Palestine Hotel, where I was taunted in the last weeks of Mr. Hussein's terror by officials of his information ministry as "the most dangerous man in Iraq" because of my articles about the regime's brutality, some of the same Iraqis, who now work as interpreters for Western news bureaus, caution me against staying in the 16th-floor room I used to inhabit. It is, they say, potentially vulnerable to the rockets and truck bombs of Mr. Hussein's die-hards."

2) The paper's influential editorial, especially lengthy this week, carries the headline Iraq Goes Sour. I disagree with the early assertion that "Most Americans were eager to see Saddam Hussein deposed because they believed he was somehow connected to Sept. 11," but I won't get into that right now. After criticizing much of the Administration's actions, especially its lack of post-war planning, the editorial concludes, bluntly, that "Iraqis are growing weary of American occupation….that is the precise reason that the job should be turned over to the United Nations."

3) On the opposite, Op-Ed page, there are two guest editorials on the same situation. Firstly, an assessment from Dilip Hiro, author of books on Iraq and Islam, contradicts the Times' own conclusion. "Some have suggested that the United Nations take over peacekeeping duties, but that is unacceptable to the Iraqis. Most of them associate the United Nations with 12 years of economic sanctions that hurt them financially far more than Saddam Hussein." (Hiro recommends troops from the Arab League.)

John Botti: an honest account from the front.

4) Max Boot, a senior fellow at the Council for Foreign Relations and author of The Savage Wars of Peace, takes a harder line, suggesting aggressive methods by which the Americans can win the guerilla war in Iraq. He does so by applying lessons from Vietnam, while making absolutely clear that Iraq is NOT Vietnam. "In Vietnam we faced more than 1 million enemy combatants backed to the hilt by North Vietnam and its super-power patrons, China and Russia. Iin Iraq we confront a few thousand Baathists and jihadis with, at most, limited support from Iran and Syria."

If none of these experts' assessments do anything for you, you might just try to read the first person account by John Botti, a New York City resident and American soldier just returned from four months in Iraq. His soul-searching, questioning overview indicates that he chose the wrong profession: the man is a born writer.


POP

Without Six Feet Under, The Sopranos or Sex In The City to keep us glued to HBO's 9pm slot, we've been enjoying some time away from the television on Sunday nights. But this weekend the wife and I decided to see what else was going on during that 'prime time' slot and good-naturedly fought over the remote: she was grooving on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, while I was more interested to catch up with mainstream pop via the American Music Awards. Because of the channel-hopping I rarely got to hear any introductions at the AMA, and I was vaguely embarrassed by how few presenters, nominees and performers I actually recognized. (This is, by the way, a follow on from my admission last week that I no longer study the pop charts.) In particular, the Outkast double solo performance kept me guessing for a few moments, until the wife informed me that this was the song from the video where "the same guy plays every role."

These coincidences happen. Yesterday (Monday) morning, I flicked over to MTV from NY1 during a commercial break while stretching out my post-Marathon pains and caught the video in question: 'Hey Ya.' (And yes, I know I'm late to some of these mainstream sensations, but you don't come to iJamming! for the musical mainstream as much an outsider's reaction to it, do you?)

Two thoughts struck me while watching the clip: 1) Based on the simple premise of a 1960s TV show, with exaggerated sexual response from the audience and Andre 3000 playing all seven band members, it's as good a video as I've seen in years. 2) The current market for pop videos reflects pop music in general: either you get a million dollar budget, which usually means you've already sold a million albums, or you're out of the running. Our own preferred pop-rock-dance acts probably had a bigger chance of breaking through when video standards were less overtly Hollywood, but then the playing field has leveled out in the process; many of these middle and lower ranking artists, excluded from the MTV mainstream, have gone back to selling records based on the quality of the music. Is that not better for us all in the long run?

Britney: Auditioning for a job at Show World on the American Music Awards

Still, this much did most certainly strike me about 'Hey Ya', watching it in two formats within twelve hours, and it may contradict the above. The live performance on the American Music Awards was entertaining but not captivating; the video made me want to rush out and buy the album. (At the very least, it sent me to the MTV web site to watch the clip on my computer.) Conclusion: never underestimate the power of the promo video.

I missed Britney's performance on the AMA, but I came across this still yesterday. Struck me that Britney may yet be dirty enough to play Monkey in the Hollywood version of Hedonism. Then again, I was unfortunate enough to catch her on David Letterman's couch last night. Her lack of anything approaching intellect or charisma is nothing short of astounding. No wonder her acting career has stalled.



MONDAY NOVEMBER 17

PRESS CLIPPED

Didn't have enough time to post properly last week, but did get to catch up on some music magazine reading over the weekend. Of the freebies snatched from the CMJ Newstand last month, I was particularly impressed with Harp, which offered a warmly written cover story on the circumstances surrounding Joe Strummer's posthumous album Streetcore, several elegant tributes on the great man from other musicians, interesting pieces on The Byrds, Rufus Wainwright and Josh Rouse, and columns by ageing veterans Dave Marsh and Jim DeRogatis, all within the format of a muso's tech magazine I've otherwise ignored. Choice quote, from Joe Ely on Joe Strummer:
"He was the most vibrant guy I ever met in my life. Makes you realize you just have to make the best of it while you're on this earth cause you never know when your time's coming. He did that for sure."

Resonance also has more to offer than your usual American glossy fanzine. Nick Hornby, White Emcees, Kid Koala, Jem Cohen, and Goldfrapp all under the same roof: my kind of eclecticism. Choice quote from Nick Hornby: "I’d like anyone who earns a lot of money to think about what is a reasonable percentage to give away; it seems incredible, and saintly beyond sanity, but there are large numbers of people – thousands – who should really be thinking 90% minimum."

From amongst the British music mags I'm always buying at the airport and rarely getting time to digest, I finally got inside the November Word. (A quick question to British readers. Word launched at the same time as X-Ray and Bang! Even with a rock'n'roll revival in full swing, it seemed unlikely the market could support three new titles at once, and the latter two seem to have dropped below the radar. Are they still publishing? Let us know in the Pub.) I enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about such varied characters as Nigella Lawson, Robert Carlyle, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Paul Heaton very much in their own words. As so much in music journalism these days is politically correct to the point of being blinkered, it was also reassuring to see a sober assessment of Billy Bragg's trajectory in a review of his career retrospective, opposite a full-page review of the brilliant new Fountains of Wayne album. From his perspective in England, reviewer David Hepworth failed to recognize the Fountains' records obsession with the group's native New Jersey, but that make the thumbs-up all the sweeter. After all, any album of songs has to be recognized for their individual qualities as much as for their collective themes. Welcome Interstate Managers (read my review here) works on both levels. Choice quote comes from Nigella Lawson, who went up in my estimation after this interview:
"I like dance music, music that some ecstatic quality. It should be a kind of drug."

Maybe Nigella should be reading Mixmag, which on its November front cover, enthuses, Superdrug 2C-I: Is This The Next E? A better question would be What Year Are We In? given that the cover stars are Basement Jaxx, there's a free CD compiled by Moby, and alongside the 2C-I hype is a hardly earth-shattering or novel expose on 'Coke Cash & Rich Chicks: Posh Clubbing Uncovered.' But it's the subjects of the New Music Special that's most disconcertingly suggestive of a time warp. Alongside career retrospectives by Underworld, Human League and Chemical Brothers, it features includes such decade-plus stalwarts as Sasha, Kylie, Ferry Corsten and Dave Clarke. Oh, and Adam Freeland, whose quote is less choice than chump:
"When I saw those two planes slam into the twin towers I had to stop myself from saying, 'You fucking had it coming…'"

Finally, following my reference to the NY Times' critical mauling of Martin Amis' new novel Yellow Dog, iJamming! Pub regular Kevin B. linked me to a piece in New York magazine's online New York Metro in which authors Joyce Carol Oates, Christopher Hitchens and Amanda Foreman are asked their opinions about such opinionating. The first quotes are the choicest.

Q: When was the last time you read such a negative review?
Joyce Carol Oates: The last time would probably have been a review of a book of my own by the same reviewer.
A: Christpher Hitchens: As to reviews similarly scathing, I like to think I have just published one.

2003 MUSINGS:
NOV 10-16: Ben E. King live, Hedonism readings, A***nal, Charts on Fire
NOV 3-9: Brother Bear, Oneida, P. Diddy, Steve Kember, Guy Fawkes, Iraq, the Marathon
OCT 27-NOV 2: CMJ Music Marathon report, NYC Running Marathon preview, Prey For Rock'n'Roll, Yellow Dog, Gen Wesley Clark, Halloween
OCT 20-26: Television Personalities, defending New York rockers, Bill Drummond Is Read
OCT 6-19: LCD Soundsystem live, Renewable Brooklyn review, Blind Acceptance is a sign...
SEP29-OCT 5: New York w(h)ines parts 1 and 2, Bruce Springsteen at Shea Stadium.
SEP 22-28: Atlantic Antic, Pacifists for War: General Wesley Clark and the Democratic Debate, Danny Tenaglia, Running Wild, Steppenwolf
SEP 15-21: Radio 4/DJ Vadim live, Manhattan Mondaze, Circle of Light, Renewable Brooklyn
SEP 8-14: Central Park Film Festival, Roger (Daltrey) and me, September 11 Revisited, The Raveonettes/Stellastarr* live, Recording Idiots of America,
SEP1-7: Film Festivities, Party Monster, Keith Moon RIP
AUG 25-31: Punk Planet, Carlsonics, Copyright Protection, Cline Zinfandel, BRMC
AUG 18-24: Black Out Blame Game, John Shuttleworth, British Music mags, Greg Palast, The Thrills live.
AUG 11-17: The New York blackout, Restaurant reviews, The Media as Watchdog, What I Bought On My Holidays
AUG 4-10: Step On again, Shaun W. Ryder, Jack magazine, the BBC, the Weather, Detroit Cobras, football and Rock'n'Roll
JULY 28-AUG 3: De La Guarda, The Rapture, Radio 4, Stellastarr*, Jodie Marsh, A Tale of Two Lions, Hedonism launch photos,
JULY 14-27: Manchester Move Memories, Hedonism is Here, Holiday postcard
JULY 7-13: Chuck Jackson live, Step On, Beverley Beat, British Way of Life
JUNE30-JULY6: David Beckham, Geoffrey Armes, Happy Mondays, Step On at Royale
JUNE 23-29: Ceasars/The Realistics live, weddings and anniversaries, Cabaret laws.
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 Feet 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, Mar 19, 2004 1:10 pm)


The biggest night out that you'll ever have in." Jockey Slut
"Hedonism will have you gripped from start to finish, guaranteed." International DJ


Tony Fletcher's debut novel HEDONISM is out now in the UK. For more information and to read excerpts, click here.


Mail Order available through amazon.co.uk and Musicroom.com


WHAT'S NEW IN iJAMMING!...

THE DECEMBER HITLIST Part 1
BRITISH DANCE MUSIC:
Down But Not Out

THE OTHER NEW YORK MARATHON: 10 Live Reviews from the CMJ Music Marathon, October 2003

THE OCTOBER HITLIST:
Albums from UK, USA, Canada, Australia, Iceland, Denmark, New York and New Jersey.

NEW YORK W(H)INES:
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

DANCING IN THE DARK:
Bruce Springsteen at Shea Stadium

FEATURED ALBUMS:
'Echoes' by The Rapture, 'Stellastarr*' by Stellastarr*.

FEATURED WINE:
CLINE CALIFORNIA ZINFANDEL 2001

THE AUGUST HITLIST
What I bought on my Holidays (CDs, 12"s, books and magazines from the UK)

HEDONISM
What, Where, How and Why...

MANCHESTER MOVE MEMORIES:
A report from a proper Field Day Festival (includes R.E.M., The Charlatans, Inspiral Carpets, and Badly Drawn Boy)

THE JULY HITLIST:
10 NEW NEW YORK ALBUMS

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

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

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