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Friday December 5th:

STEP ON
End of Year Bash

Resident DJ Tony Fletcher will be joined by DJ DB, founder of NASA, SORTED, and DEEP. DB and Tony will be tag-teaming Chicago house, early rave hits and Madchester classics from about midnight.

The Royale, 506 Fifth Avenue, Park Slope, Brooklyn, between 12th/13th Street. 9pm. (718 840 0089.).

And introducing DJ Posie. (Yes, we've put the wife out to work. She's got great taste in tunes.) (Read about previous Step Ons here & here.)

SATURDAY DECEMBER 6

BURNING THE CANDLE AT BOTH ENDS

There are two ways for New Yorkers to get into the New York Marathon: 1) Enter the lottery. 2) Become a member of the New York Road Runners Club and run nine of its races during the calendar year preceding the Marathon.

After getting in on the Lottery in June last year (2002) and subsequently over-training in the limited time I had available, I decided to do the nine races this year (2003) for guaranteed entry next year (2004). (After getting denied in this year's lottery in June but then belatedly accepted in September, just eight weeks before the actual event, I became even more determined to qualify properly next year, sparing myself the uncertainty and the short training times.)

Of course, being me, and having been out of town so many weekends this year, the Marathon was only my sixth race of the year, leaving me with three more runs to complete before 2003 finishes. Two of them are/were casual four-milers - a relative walk in the park. The only other run I could commit to just happened to be a grueling 15k (9.3 miles) - and Sod's Law dictated that it take place today, Saturday morning, just a few hours after our once-a-month Friday night Step On party in Brooklyn.

He's wearing shorts in a sub-zero snow storm and he's got a leery Friday night look about him. Is he a Brit?

Iced water for the runners. Real ice water.

Jingle Bells. (This one is not a Brit, of that I'm sure.)

There was nothing I could do about that, other than commit to an alcohol-free Friday night and promise to run a gentle pace. There was also nothing I could do about the weather, which decided to deliver us a pre-winter one-two blizzard punch over the weekend. We're troopers out here in Brooklyn and had no intention of scrapping Step On because of a mere snowstorm. (Anyway, young-ish New Yorkers love putting on their winter wear and heading out in the snow for a snifter and a shuffle.) And the New York Road Runner's Club are more than mere troopers: as hosts of the City's Marathon, a barometer of endurance, they simply don't recognize the word 'postpone.' Their races take place regardless of the weather.

Fortunately, they do have some sense. With snow falling heavily for 24 hours prior to the run, they reduced it from 15k to 10k and turned it into a 'fun run', which meant no time clocks, no chips on our shoes and, it occurred to me at some point while I was running through a horizontal snow storm this morning, no actual need to take part once you'd 'proven' participation by picking up your running bib. In fact, had I been anywhere near the Upper East Side the last few days and stopped in the Club to get it early then I could, in theory, have slept in this morning and still 'claimed' my eighth qualifying run.

But I don't like to wimp out. I made it round the park. I mean, if 4-year olds can be out sledding and pensioners out skiing, why shouldn't I run six-plus miles in sub-freezing snow on three hours sleep? No reason at all, which is why I did it and which is why, ludicrously tired as I am, I'm hopelessly rambling right now. I need an editor! I'll sign off and leave you with some photographic souvenirs.

Green light means Go (once round Central Park)...Though these girls found an easier way to get around: Daddy!


Step On was superb fun - again - last night. As promised, DB came down for an hour or two to tag team; after swapping a few classic house and indie 12"s we headed into an unanticipated Bootleg Battle. DB came armed with a mix of Madonna's 'Ray Of Light' that works perfectly over the Sex Pistols' 'Pretty Vacant'; a curiously alluring mix of Kylie Minogue's 'Can't Get You Out Of My Head ' over New Order's 'Blue Monday'; and one of the Beastie Boys' 'Body Moving' over The Farm's 'Groovy Train'; to top all that, he had an absolutely floor-shakingly brilliant new unauthorised club remix of the Rolling Stones' 'Sympathy For The Devil,' to which I responded with Norman Cook's officially unavailable (or is that unofficially available?) mash-up of 'Satisfaction' with 'The Rockefeller Skank.' DB also brought along a proper Madchester blast from the past - World Of Twist's cover of 'Like A Rainbow' - to which my obvious retort was the Soup Dragons' 'I'm Free.' It's interesting that The Stones, who have barely made an official approach to the dance floor since 'Miss You,' should prove to be so influential and popular with DJs to this day.

My wife Posie brought the crowd (well, the boozers) straight on to their feet when she opened her set with Primal Scream's 'Don't Fight It, Feel It.' Later, she reminded us all of One Dove's temporary brilliance with a lengthy mix of 'Breakdown.' Good taste, that girl. The next Step On will

be Friday January 2, perfectly timed for people to resume partying after two days recovering from New Year's Eve. The Road Runner's Club, incidentally, hosts an annual Midnight 'Fun Run' in Central Park to see in the New Year. It's safe to say I'll be giving that one a miss!

My Marathon running partner from last year, James, took the shot at left, with my camera. (Can you tell he's a professional?) Safe to say james had more sense than to run this morning...Meanwhile, Posie and DB ignore the ameteur photographer.


FRIDAY DECEMBER 5

JONATHAN LETHEM: FROM FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE TO CULT OF PERSONALITY

Ask the older generation who they consider Brooklyn's literary superstar and they'll name Norman Mailer. Ask the middle aged and they'll surely cite Paul Auster. But ask my generation and they'll almost undoubtedly come up with Jonathan Lethem, who rose to fame with his tender, witty, 1999 novel Motherless Brooklyn, and is being enjoying near superstar status with his new book, The Fortess of Solitude.

Lethem grew up in Boerum Hill, a narrow strip of elegant town houses that begins just over Fourth Avenue from me, forming a residential bridge between Park Slope and Cobble Hill. Except back when he was a kid, it was a nameless, run-down area known only for being bracketed by Atlantic Avenue, a couple of housing projects and the Gowanus Canal, and the town houses were far from elegant. It was a primarily black, working class neighborhood struggling to survive, as were all Brooklyn neighborhoods in the 1970s. What, then, was Lethem doing there? His parents, sixties idealists that they were moved the family there as a purely personal display of urban integration – with the inevitable result that when Lethem attended school, then as one of only three white children in the building, he was relentlessly bullied and endlessly relieved of his lunch money.

Jonathan Lethem reading at Halcyon. Nice jacket.

This thorny subject of race relations from the perspective of a minority white kid forms the basis of The Fortress of Solitude, as close to an autobiography as one can get while still filing it under fiction. In Fortress, Lethem reinvents himself as Dylan (think Bob), and gives his closest black friend the name Mingus (think Charles). But much of Dylan's life otherwise replicates Lethem's, from elementary school (PS38), to home block, Dean Street between Bond and Nevins. It's hard to equate the pristine million-dollar housing stock block as it currently stands with the street of Lethem's youth.

In other words, in the years since Lethem came of age, gentrification came, saw and invented Boerum Hill. And though there could be no better evidence than taking a walk down Dean Street itself, the change is perhaps even more apparent on Smith Street, the western border of Boerum Hill. Only seven years ago, Smith Street was almost nothing but five and dimes and bodegas; now it's one of the hippest streets in Brooklyn, laden with pricey restaurants and hip bars. It was entirely appropriate then that Lethem should come to Halcyon (one of the first modern ventures on the block, where I've myself read from my novel Hedonism) and read last night as part of the venue's Wordsmiths series. Make no mistake, this was the author's equivalent of Paul Weller playing a cappuccino café in Woking, or Sting a wine bar in his native Newcastle, and Halcyon was duly mobbed beyond all logical capacity. Sadly, as befits Lethem's perspective on gentrification, I counted maybe two non-white faces out of 150 people there - which is not, as I will come to later, an accurate breakdown of the neighborhood's racial make-up.

I expected Lethem to read about growing up in Boerum Hill, but authors are a contrarian lot, and Lethem instead chose to speak from a section set in Dylan's teen years (circa 1980), and based around a night at CBGBs and the East Village. It was a wryly written account of relatively streetwise boys like Dylan and his Brooklyn pals attempting to lure relatively wealthy, temporarily slumming 16-year old girls into the sack with copious amounts of punk rock and LSD. Except the night goes horribly wrong. Unlike an excitable fan in the front row who gave away the book's ending with a rambling post-reading non-question, I won't ruin the surprise for you.

Lethem appears to have achieved something with The Fortress of Solitude at which I hopelessly failed when writing my first (unpublished) non non-fiction book: telling his own life experience in a purely fictional manner. There was no disputing the authenticity of his narrative, but one didn't get the feeling that Lethem was talking about himself as he narrated Dylan's urban adventures. The fact that he wrote in the third person surely helped that distanced perspective.

And while The Fortress of Solitude has been hailed as an important novel about gentrification and race relations, judging by the two sections I've now heard Lethem read (the other was on NPR and was almost exclusively about the 1976 Wild Cherry hit 'Play That Funky Music), the author clearly intends it to be a trip down pop culture memory lane too. Particularly entertaining from last night's read was Dylan's sidekick, Linus, applying a Paul-John-George-Ringo overlay on everyone from their teenage friends' punk band to the cast of Gilligan's Island. It served to remind that the Beatles succeeded, as I believe Lethem put it in the book, not just because of the music, but because of some "essential grouping manner." In my own books, I've credited the success of both the Who and R.E.M. on similarly symbiotic line-ups, which is one reason each group struggled so desperately when they lost their drummer.

But I digress, as all authors do. I asked a question of Lethem afterwards about his upbringing. On NPR recently, he'd explained that not only could he not fight back at school because he was so hopelessly outnumbered and so comparatively weak, but that he'd been raised a Quaker to boot, which means he wasn't allowed to fight back either. He changed his explanation a little last night, stating that at times, when he told her of his latest roughing up, his mother insisted he did fight back. That's before she lost her own battle with cancer. (Hence the Motherless theme that runs through his Brooklyn-based books.)

Lethem didn't gravitate toward the answer that I believe forms a central premise of his autobiographical novel – that for all the degradation at school, it was never seriously doubted that Lethem, as the white kid from a middle class background, would go on to academic excellence; nor that his black friends (for some of them were his friends) would struggle once they were forced out of the confines of their childhood neighborhood and into the greater world at large. The Fortress of Solitude then, is not just about Dylan; it’s also about the parallel journey of Mingus, and of the paths that are laid before all of us in life based on our color and our upbringing.

Obviously Boerum Hill has changed enormously since Lethem was a child but, as the author frequently states in his new role as a Brooklyn historian, that's the nature of neighborhoods. Un-named Boerum Hill was once the province of the native American Mohawks who helped build many of New York City's sky-scrapers; it was also a heavily Hispanic 'hood in its time. Nowadays, it's something of a happy advertisement for multicultural Brooklyn. Our Campbell attends an elementary school further down Dean Street than PS38, though still within the Boerum Hill borders, and a wider mix of races, creeds, colors and family backgrounds would be hard to imagine. Unlike Lethem in his own childhood, our son has not yet encountered racism, as either victim or proponent. There, at least, is something we should hope will never change.


SMOKE THIS!

Among the most outspoken opponents of New York's smoking ban in public places have been my fellow Brits, many of whom have grown up with a bond between socialising, drinking and smoking. (I understand: for almost ten years, I could not enjoy a pint without a cigarette to accompany it.) But the British have a long-standing tendency to follow American trends and even improve upon them, which is why it's major news today – and yet no surprise to me - that the Lancet, the premier British medical journal, has recommended nothing short of "a total UK ban on cigarettes in order to tackle the impacts of tobacco-related illness and mortality." By coincidence or design, the Lancet unveiled its editorial on the 70th Anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition; given that America's experiment with outlawing alcohol was a historic failure, most observers will immediately conclude that a ban on tobacco would be similarly disastrous.

Personally, I lean towards a libertarian philosophy: I believe that anything which doesn't harm someone else against their will should be legal in private. That means, when you reread that sentence, that I can claim to be a libertarian and oppose public smoking on two counts. I actually have little doubt that Britain will follow the example of New York and California and a few other States and countries and gradually outlaw smoking from all public places. Don't be surprised or indignant: when I grew up in England, I could smoke on the bus, the tube, in the cinema and rarely asked for permission at anyone's house. I couldn't do any of that now. Times change, as Jonathan Lethem knows. And the less easy we make it for people to feed their cigarette addiction in public, the less they will consume the drug.

More importantly (given that some tobacco addicts are a lost cause, to the extent they won't even admit to their addiction), the less we view public smoking as acceptable social behavior, the less we'll be encouraging our own children to take up the habit. It wouldn't work to completely outlaw the drug for all the reasons that Prohibition didn't work, and of course kids will experiment with all manner of drugs regardless of what we do as their parents. (Lethem's reading last night reminded me of my own adventures in that regard.) The Lancet is being idealistic, not realistic. But that's okay: their editorial has created an immediate and surely intended avalanche of publicity. On the BBC World Service this morning, broadcast on WNYC, the female host, interviewing a female editor from the Lancet, was not just violently outspoken in her opposition to the Lancet's position; she seemed incredulous that the Journal could even make such a suggestion. Brian Lehrer picked up the same issue for part on his own WNYC show, interviewing a Professor from Nottingham University and taking calls on the subject. Maybe it's because New York has already outlawed public smoking, or perhaps it's just because Lehrer is less shrill than his BBC counterparts, but by moderating a range of views in a civilized manner, I came away knowing much more on the subject - and with a clearer head.


FACT-CHECK THIS!

Anyone who's been reading iJamming! long enough knows that I'm tired of the left-vs.-right polemics, where each side claims total moral rectitude and accuses the other of perpetual deceit. It's not that simple, as this sentence from Michael Signorille's current New York Press column (about politicians making Thanksgiving Day visits to Baghdad), evidences.

"Unlike Bush, Bill Clinton visited the victims of just about every disaster imaginable, from hurricanes to forest fires."

Here's a quick refresher, from another site: "Thirty seven days after Bill Clinton was inaugurated as President, on Feb. 26, 1993, a blast blew a crater five stories deep under Tower One of the World Trade Center in downtown Manhattan. The 1,500-pound fertilizer-based bomb displaced some 6,800 tons of material, killed six people, injured more than 1,000, forced the evacuation of 50,000 and produced $600 million in property damage. It was, at the time, the largest crime scene in New York Police Department history and the most significant act of international terrorism ever committed on U.S. soil."

So here's our history question for the day before conventional wisdom becomes accepted fact. Did President Clinton visit the WTC site? (I'm talking about back in 1993, when he was President, not in 2001, when he wasn't.) Yes or no? Or did the 1993 terrorist attack not qualify as a disaster? Signorille is both an experienced columnist and a smart man; I'd like to believe he could think a bit more before he parrots clichés.


THURSDAY DECEMBER 4

TRIPPED-OUT BRITS

Just posted: a second all-British December HitList. This one features nine albums by Tripped-Out Brits, including British Sea Power, Elbow, The Contrast, Slipstream, Spiritualized, Starsailor, The Thrills, Teenage Fan Club and Electric Music AKA. And unlike the Dance Hitlist, they're all good. It's all part of a mass clearing house review process. Still to come, hopefully this side of the hols: Different Strokes for Different Folk, Global Techtronica and Solo Superstars.

When you follow the link, you'll notice a couple of new boxes on the contents bar that runs down the left. I'll write more about this next week, though it's somewhat self-explanatory. In which case, don't wait for me to explain further.... Enjoy. And feel free to comment. The Pub is getting good and noisy. There's a bit too much beer, footie, Chinese takeaways Moonie, but what else did I expect?


SOUND BITES

I WROTE LAST week with some glee about the New York City DCA's long overdue announcement that it would abolish the Cabaret Laws, those which regulated public dancing. In their place, the Department Of Consumer Affairs would introduce a simple Nightlife License instead, which would concentrate on the real Quality Of Life issues – noise, cleanliness, safety etc. If it seemed too good to be true, then it probably was, according to a piece in this week's Village Voice by the paper's resident young club-hopper, Tricia Romano. She notes legitimate fears that the DCA is simply unburdening itself of its unpopular role in dancing, and handing all nightlife issues over to the Department of Buildings, which regulates the Zoning Laws. (These Laws were established back when whole swathes of lower Manhattan were dominated solely by industry, and they helped to keep nightclubs away from residential areas. Now that just about the whole of Manhattan is at least partially residential, the Laws seem equally outdated.) My instinct remains that the City is trying to do the right thing here, but it's also essential that qualified legal observers – like Norman Seigel of the New York Civil Liberties Union, who has fought long and hard against use of the Cabaret Laws – express their fears now. As Siegel says in the piece of changing the laws, "You do it once and do it right, because you might not get another shot at it for five or 10 years."


I wrote yesterday of the UK album charts that "there's no British rock band within sight of the Top 30." The Beatles, at number 23, certainly qualify as a British rock band – albeit one some 33 years defunct. I'd been trying to note that there was no band remotely new and alternative and British in the Top 30; the sentence I wrote failed to qualify all three. Nice catch, Chris.


I want to plug this week's Step On for local readers who may have skimmed over the familiar graphic above. JD has moved on - I really appreciate his support over the first five months – and in his place, my missus Posie is bringing out her own select set of 12"s. She's always been a mega fan of Orbital, Underworld and the Chemical Brothers, so you can expect her to deliver serious dance grooves if I get overly obsessed with the Madchester indie rock vibe.

And as an extra special guest, we've got DB taking to the decks around midnight. DB co-founded New York's premier rave party, NASA, back in 1991 I think it was. The night was immortalized in the movie Kids, and for a couple of years, it formed a brilliant Manhattan pairing with my own Communion. DB spends much of his time these days running Breakbeat Science but now that his popular rave revival night Sorted has run its course, the Park Slope native has promised to bring down some of those same house/techno classics that have passed into lore. If things go to plan, we'll tag team – that is, alternate records, 2 Many DJ's style. This is a night you shouldn't miss. And it's completely bloody free.


WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 3

THE BRIT BEAT

Show me someone who agrees with everything Julie Burchill has written over the years and I'll show you Julie Burchill looking back from the mirror. (Or maybe not: I doubt even Burchill stands by her entire 25-year output.) On the following issue, however, I stand by her. More than that, I applaud her. Announcing her latest Premiership Newspaper Transfer, from The Guardian to The Times (she must be close to having the complete set by now) she offers a more serious reason for making the move to Murdoch land than merely "the massive wad they've waved at me." It's what she labels the Guardian's "quite striking bias against the state of Israel," which she immediately, and accurately, notes is, "for all its faults…the only country in that barren region that you or I, or any feminist, atheist, homosexual or trade unionist, could bear to live under."

I urge everyone of any of those persuasions – or indeed any other persuasion – to read her Guardian resignation essay from start to finish. You still don't need to agree with everything she says – she's the Queen of deliberately antagonistic flippantry - but I'd like to hope that readers here will absorb the central comments. (I'm glad she quoted The Independent's Johann Hari, who has the difficult task of trying to balance out the odious Robert Fisk at that newspaper. Sadly, the Independent has started charging for online access to Hari's columns, which is why I no longer quote him at length.) I wrote about what Burchill calls Judeophobia after my trip back to England in the spring of 2002; it worries me enormously that it appears only to be getting worse. I am, at least, glad that the Guardian refuses to censor its writers and allowed her this parting shot. I only hope they now absorb some of what she's stated. My thanks to the Pub regular who brought this to my attention.


Checking out the now famed British corner of our local Key Food supermarket yesterday, I couldn't help picking up a box of Ready Brek on a nostalgia trip. The box design for what is, essentially, just oatmeal by a fancier name, has changed since I was a kid, presenting an EU-friendly homogenous image of the modern mother and son: are they alllowed no defining characteristics whatsoever? But I found a more disconcerting sign of the times on the back of the box, with instructions to "cook" the cereal in a microwave. Only lower down did it offer an "alternative method" – like boiling the water or milk instead. Does every family in the UK now have a microwave? Does every one enjoy using it all the time? Does no one have time to put the kettle on anymore? Even an electric one? Even a one-cup hot-shot?

You may be able to tell by this minor observation in the bigger scheme of things that I don't own a microwave. I find there to be something wholly unnatural about the concept; I'm always waiting for the penny to drop, for some report to come out and tell us we've been ingesting radiation all these years. Obviously I'm in the minority and I don't expect anyone to lose sleep over it. Still, this microwave mentality imprinted on my childhood cereal was a pertinent reminder of how our times have sped up. Oh... and this morning's serving reminded me that Ready Brek never filled me up as a kid anyway! I should probably have added some Lyons Treacle from Key Food: that would have upped the calories!

(A quick note of appreciation that parent company Weetabix offers a Vegetarian-Vegan-Kosher check list for all its cereals on its web site. The Brits are way ahead of the Yanks on this issue.)


A quick observation of the UK album charts inspires a quick retreat. Unless you count Busted – and I'm not sure many readers here would do– there's no British rock band within sight of the Top 30. And unless you count The Darkness, there's none in sight of the Top 50. Admittedly it's December, time for Greatest Hits, Christmas compilations and TV-advertised theme albums, but all the same, it makes for a disconcerting snapshot. Of particular note, The Strokes' Room On Fire is about to drop off the Top 75 after just six weeks. What's the British expression for "sophomore slump"?


TUESDAY DECEMBER 2

A WONDERBRA OF A WINE

In most years, Beaujolais Nouveau is refreshingly fruity, but flat on substance and short on depth. In 2003, however, thanks mainly to the hot, hot, hot summer, the newly-released wines are up-front, voluptuous, ripe, disarmingly big-breasted come-ons. I've reviewed the Paul Durdilly Les Grandes Coasses Beaujolais Nouveau 2003 here. And as we enter the office party season, when such immediate impressions are most likely to make a lasting impact, we should plump for suitably enticing, sensual party music. Try Plump DJs' equally sensual tease of an album, Eargasm, reviewed as part of the December Dance Hitlist.


MONDAY DECEMBER 1ST

MONDAY MOURNING

Wasn't the best of long weekends. We seemed to spend most of it inside a bathroom, growing ever more frustrated as our attempts at home improvement turned into an abject lesson in over-ambition. (The moral: Never take on a job unless you absolutely, absolutely have to do so. And definitely don't take it on if you hope to make Thanksgiving Dinner over at the In-Laws!) Somewhere in the middle of this Do-It-Yourself Disaster I received news that a good family friend had passed away. The plot has become all too familiar: someone who may otherwise have presumed they were about to enjoy their glorious "sunset years" contracts cancer, endures a painful operation and/or chemotherapy, battles the recuperation period bravely hoping to send the cancer off into remission, only for it to return with twice the brutality – and ultimate fatality. Unlike bathroom repairs, there's no lesson to this and I have no words of wisdom to offer; I certainly don't have the cure for cancer. The only moral is one we always observe here at iJamming! – make the most of what time you've got at hand. You never know when it may be taken from you.


On that note, then, it was at least a thrill to see the New York Times give over the whole of page 4 this Saturday to Sir Ranulph Fiennes, that last of the British exploring madmen who ran those seven marathons on six continents in seven days last month, and whom I had the pleasure of talking with as we walked in to the New York Marathon entrance at Staten Island four weeks ago. Turns out I had a couple of things wrong about Ran – as he must surely now be known. His marathon of Marathons had been planned before he had a heart attack and by-pass surgery. And while I understood Fiennes' willingness to finish that last marathon alongside his less famous and far slower partner, Dr. Michael Stroud (to do anything else would simply not have been cricket, would it, dear boy?), I hadn't realized that Fiennes had done so not by simply running slower, as might have seemed the obvious choice, but by running his own pace and frequently doubling back to Stroud. (So how many miles DID he run that last Marathon? 30? 35? And how CAN you run them day after day at a 4:30 pace? I'm only just getting my legs back now from the NY marathon, a full month later, and I thought I was relatively young and fit!) Killer excerpt:

"His doctors agreed to let him embark on his marathon trip, as long as he wore a heart monitor that would alert him if his heart rate went over 130.

Did it? 'I don't know,' he said. 'I forgot to take the monitor along.'."

Left centre, Sir Ranulph Fiennes - RAN to his friends - with Dr. Michael Stroud, right centre, on their way in to the New York marathon.


The Saturday Times also had a nice profile on another much-admired man, Kinky Friedman, who parlayed his musical career into that of a detective fiction writer, branched out into a salsa franchise, invested his profits in an Animal Rescue center and is now planning on running for Governor of Texas as an Independent. Who couldn't vote for a man who says the following:

Never married and amorously linked over the years to a number of beauties, including a former Miss Texas, Mr. Friedman said, "I have no skeletons in my closet; the bones are all bleaching down at the beach."

Kinky Friedman: "The question is whether my candidacy is a joke, or the current crop of politicians is the joke."


Finally, us weekend Times devotees frequently battle to devour the Sunday Op-Eds by both Thomas Friedman and Maureen Dowd, who represent two very different views of American liberalism. The inevitable indigestion hasn't been helped of late by the impression that Friedman is drowning, not waving, as his admirable ideals and instincts sink into a sea of ongoing terrorism and hatred and obstruction and prejudice. So it was a relief to note that they both wrote with common sense yesterday; it would also have been a pleasure but for the fact that each column was concerned and consumed by a negative issue.

Here's Friedman, "a Liberal on every issue other than this war" on the Left's blinkered opposition to the Bush-Blair alliance, as witnessed in London. "There is something morally obtuse about holding an anti-war rally on a day when your own people have been murdered – and not even mentioning it or those who perpetrated it."

And here's Dowd, surely a Liberal on every issue including this war, on the proposed 9/11 memorials for the World Trade Center site: "The ugliness of Al Qaeda's vicious blow to America is obscured by these prettified designs, which look oddly like spas or fancy malls or aroma-therapy centers…. Mass murder dulled by architectural Musak… The memorial cannot be sunshine-and-light therapy to make current generations feel they have moved beyond grief and shock. It must be witness and guide to future generations so they can understand the darkness of what scarred this earth."

2003 MUSINGS:
NOV 17-30: Lost In Music, Lost In Translation, Neil Boland, Political Polls, Press Clips, Australian Whines
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
Tue, Feb 3, 2004 5:06 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 2
TRIPPED OUT BRITS: Nine albums of vaguely psychedelic bliss

FEATURED ALBUM:
Eargasm by Plump DJs

FEATURED WINE:
Paul Durdilly Les Grandes Coasses Beaujolais Nouveau 2003

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

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