iJAMMING! is a music and lifestyle web site hosted by
author, journalist and dee jay Tony Fletcher.
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For the newest additions, see index at left.
For the iJamming! mission statement click here.
Tony's daily musings are posted on this page.

Tony Fletcher will be reading from his novel Hedonism on Tuesday March 9 at Barnes and Noble, Greenwich Village, 396 Avenue of the Americas at Eighth Street, Manhattan, 7.30pm. Admission free.

Directions and information here.

For more information on Hedonism and to read excerpts, click here.


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


Mail Order available through Barnes&Noble.com, amazon.co.uk and Musicroom.com

Next DJ appearance:

Friday March 6: STEP ON, The Royale, 506 Fifth Avenue, Park Slope, Brooklyn, between 12th/13th Street. (718 840 0089.) With Posie. 9pm-3am. Free admission.

From 10-11pm, Tony will play an hour of 'Shoegazing' classics by Ride, My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, Chapterhouse, Catherine Wheel and others. Come relive the days when guitar players couldn't look you in the eyes for staring at their laces.

FRIDAY FEBRUARY 27

THE FRIDAY AFTERNOON FAMILY BOOK CLUB

I received a serious shock on the New York subway yesterday when, flicking through the Village Voice on my way home from an editorial meeting, I was suddenly and most unexpectedly visited by the ghost of my dead dad: Robert Christgau taking a whole page to write about the book World Musics In Context that Peter Fletcher barely finished working on before he died from cancer several years ago. The 700-page book was published without anybody noticing in 2001; the $170 price tag may have had something to do with it. As my close friends know, I had an extremely difficult relationship with my father (to put it mildly), which is one reason I had no idea the book was coming out in paperback at a more consumer-friendly $45 and therefore might be getting reviewed in my home-town weekly. Hence the sense of a ghostly visit.

Bob's all over the book, which he nonetheless describes as Fletcher's Folly. That made me laugh, but not as much as his assertion that the project was "an act of madness." Sounds like Christgau has a pretty good take on the old man.


(I realise as I edit this that I'm about to narrow my own world (music) of books down to New York, but so what...)

While I'm in the process of plugging books, let me get one in for Vanished, the new crime novel by my good friend and neighbor Chris Niles. Vanished has only been published in the UK thus far; Americans, New Yorkers in particular, should pick up her Hell's Kitchen, as furiously fun a thriller as you could ask for.

In fact, given that the other day I gave extra publicity to a couple of New York novels that clearly don't need my help, let's keep plugging the underground. Like I tried doing with with Hedonism, Norman Rockwell Coady has tied music in to his futuristic New York novel The Decline and Fall of Y'All via a soundtrack from his band Motorsoft. Buy the album, get the first installment of the book for free. Mind, you can get that same installment of the book for free just by downloading the pdf at Coady's web site. A considerably easier process that when I bought my first e-book last year. (I note that Barnes & Noble no longer sells e-books. Quel domage.)

Staying on subject, thanks to the endless stream of interviews at SuicideGirls.com (it's not just pictures of punk-goth girls in various states of undress, you know), I was turned on to Amanda Stern, whose New York (City and Upstate) novel The Long Haul has just been published. I can't tell you anything about the book, but I can tell you her web site is well worth a visit: Amanda invites readers to send in pictures of themselves as Ugly Teens, has published some hilarious letters from foreign friends in appalling English, and has also taken the somewhat novel ('scuse the pun) step of printing various rejection letters she received for The Long Haul. In the UK, publishers reject books with a quick "No thanks"; in the States, it's considered both polite and politic to offer a proper critique of the work. This can be genuinely helpful, it can also be frustrating. Amanda's published letters show why.

And finally, I had the pleasure last night of hooking up with a couple of iJamming! regulars and insistent New Jersey residents for an evening of good wine and food. We got talking about Bands Reunited and the one group we'd like to have seen VH1 really try and get back together: The Smiths. That notion just happens to be the subject of How Soon Is Never, the debut novel by Marc Spitz (the Spin writer, not the swimmer) whose New York-based protagonist tries to reunite The Smiths and in the process get together with the woman he loves. There was a woman I once loved who set about trying to get Morrissey to give up his celibacy. But that's an entirely different story...


I'm off for the weekend and I fully expect some more responses to the Quiz I posted last Friday. If not, looks like I'll have to post my mum's answers (sent via e-mail) at the Pub (where you can do likewise) and then post her a signed copy of one of my books as the prize. Which, considering where we came in today, I suppose would be quite appropriate.



The one greatest album ever? Quite possibly - and newly remastered with the inevitable bonus cuts and sleeve notes.


(If I sound particularly energised today, it's because I've been listening, while writing, to the re-issued Ocean Rain. Actually, when not singing along to Candi Staton, I've spent all week listening to re-issued Echo and The Bunnymen. Doesn't bother me that some among the dwindling Bunnymen hardcore hate me 'cos I dared to diss Mac's last New York show: Ocean Rain never fails to lift the spirits. In the process, it made me think of my own first book and my father's critique. But believe it or not, some things I do keep to myself...)


THURSDAY FEBRUARY 26

THE POLITICS OF DANCING PRIMARIES AND THE TWO-PARTY SYSTEM

(The following connects, in its own way, to the Pop Politics Quiz I posted last week. We got a few more responses, including a pretty conclusive reply from my own mother(!) which I'll post for her in the Pub in a couple of days. (She got too many answers right for me to post it right now!) I still want to see some more people take it on, even if your answers are merely humorous or tongue-in-cheek. The Quiz will stay up over the weekend, to give you time to get your Encylopaedia Brittanicas out...)


I've often felt that the American system of democracy is so perfectly designed that it's inherently imperfect. What do I mean? Well, from the 'perfectly designed' perspective, there aren't many countries that allow voters to elect their lower house representative (a Congressman) and their upper house representative (a Senator) and their ultimate leader (the President). And there certainly aren't many countries where voters even get to choose who will represent their party at the ultimate level, as is currently the case among Democrats with the Presidential Primaries. To put this in perspective, for those four aforementioned votes, the British electorate gets just one – for the lower house representative (the Member of Parliament). The party leader and upper house (Of Lords) representatives are chosen from within; there is no separate vote for the Prime Minister.

So why is it 'inherently imperfect'? Well, any system that can only muster a 50% turn out for its once-every-four-years, all-important Presidential Elections clearly has major faults. The low turn out is partly a result of complacency and laziness, an excuse the people of, say, Iraq, Haiti and North Korea would love to be burdened with. Similarly, people living under totalitarian regimes would love to complain about election fatigue, a genuine issue in the States where, apart from the Presidential Elections every four years and Senate-Congress Election every two years in-between, there are also elections for everyone from State Governor to City Mayor to City Council Member all the way down to School Board Representatives, with turn-out diminishing the closer the vote gets to home. Proof perhaps, that democracy is a wonderful thing, but that too much of it dulls one's enthusiasm for the process.

But the low turn out for Presidential Elections is not merely about apathy. It's also the result of genuine voter frustration with a two-party system which is financed by big business, and which routinely rewards big business. A significant number of Americans don't vote not because they can't be bothered but because they genuinely don't see enough of a difference between the Republicans and Democrats to believe their vote will make a difference to their own lives.

This is why it's so important Americans get a greater choice of political parties at the ballot box. It's also why the Primary Season is so relevant, because in theory it allows those who get involved to choose a more progressive candidate. And it's why, over the past ten days, these two processes have collided, with Howard Dean dropping out of the Democratic Primaries and Ralph Nader announcing he will run for President as an Independent.



What happened, and why are the two events connected? Well, the Primary system is yet another inherently imperfect design. As we stand in 2004, it allows registered Democrats across the country (and in some States, registered independents and even Republicans) to vote for the man or woman they believe will make the best Democratic Party Presidential candidate. In reality, the competing Democratic Candidates (this year's field began with nine) spend so much money and energy campaigning around those first few States to hold Primaries or Caucuses that most run out of money and/or momentum, and are forced to withdraw from the field, long before the majority of States have even cast their vote.

A couple of months ago, Democrats in New York, California and around thirty other States were eagerly discussing the candidacies of Wesley Clark, Howard Dean and to a lesser extent, Joe Lieberman and Richard Gephardt. But by the time these populous States get to vote in Primaries next week and beyond they will, effectively, be choosing between Senators John Kerry and John Edwards, the two most centrist candidates of the entire original group.

If you consider the glass of democracy half full, you may have no complaint that Gephardt, Lieberman, Clark and Dean (and Carol Mosley-Braun) have all dropped out. After all, if they couldn't convince voters in New Hampshire, Wisconsin or Michigan (among other States) to vote for them in substantial numbers, why should they expect New York or California voters to be any different? Why should they even have the right to go the distance?

But if you consider the glass half empty, you may see the system acting the way it always has – the 'radical' candidates are immediately marginalized, and 'electability' is repeatedly cited as being more important than credibility, ensuring the 'outsiders' are eliminated before most of the country even gets a say in the matter. The only victor is the status quo.


It was frustration with this status quo that saw so many young Democrats rush to Howard Dean's candidacy in the first place. Which is why, now that Dean has been forced to retire from the race after a number of poor showings, Ralph Nader has suddenly announced he will run for President - as an Independent. Nader, who ran as Green Party candidate in the year 2000, claims he now represents that aforementioned frustration, and that rather than leaving those people to either abstain or reluctantly support the status quo, he is offering them an opportunity to cast a valid vote outside the Democratic Party entirely.

If I claim the need for more than a two-party system in the States (as I do), then I can't argue with Nader's right to run. But Nader isn't helping build a three (or more) party system this time round. Unlike when he ran for the Greens, he's not standing on any party platform. He doesn't represent any delineated way of thinking. He's running purely as a protest, as a spoiler, as a way for frustrated Dean supporters – especially those who won't ever get the chance to vote for him in the Primaries - to vent their anger at the system. That may be democracy, but it's not politic.


In 1992, Ross Perot ran as a candidate for his newly created Reform Party and, in polling a staggering 19%, took enough Republican votes away from then President George H. W. Bush to see Bill Clinton elected to office. Fewer Republicans broke ranks in 1996, and though Perot still polled 8%, it did not appear to drastically affect Clinton's re-election. Instead, come 2000, and Ralph Nader, who had been on the Green Party ballot in 1996 but didn't actually campaign (more on that later), actively took to the election trail, courting the votes of Democrats dissatisfied with Al Gore's status. We all know what then happened: George W. Bush was duly made President on a minority of the popular vote and under highly controversial circumstances.

Nader offers no excuses, no apologies. He rightly notes that Gore managed to throw away an apparently unstoppable lead during the campaign. But mainstream Democrats point out, with equal veracity, that had Nader NOT run, Gore would be President, simple as that. Just look at Florida where, leaving aside the issue of disenfranchised voters and hanging chads, Nader still polled 97,488 votes in a State that Bush 'officially' won by just 537 votes.


Such is the inherent imperfection of trying to introduce a Third or Fourth Party into a Two Party System. At every election, the stakes seem too high for voters to take the risk. Certainly, in 2004, Democrats appear unwilling to make the mistake of four years ago. The real reason Howard Dean didn't make it this far is because the vast majority of Democrats who've had opportunity to cast their Primary vote have indicated they prefer a Candidate they believe can defeat George W. Bush than one who, in his own words, represents the 'Democratic Wing' of the party.

As for Nader, who's made many positive contributions to American consumer society, I've always held that if he truly wanted to help establish a third party, he would have campaigned properly in 1996, when Clinton was sailing into re-election, and Perot's Reform Party was still siphoning off millions of votes from the right. Had Nader done so, we might now be looking at a country with four major parties, not two. Nader's decision to wait until 2000, and then to enter again, so late in the process, in 2004, suggests he's more concerned with the protest vote than with offering truly viable alternatives. The system that allows him to stand still looks wonderful in theory. It still needs a drastic overhaul. And it's still going to be at least four years before we see any real alternative.


Astute mathematicians or anyone who's been closely following the Democratic Primaries will note that if there were nine original candidates, and if five have withdrawn, and if voters are effectively left choosing between Kerry and Edwards, that leaves two unaccounted for. Indeed. Dennis Kucinich and Al Sharpton are still in the race, but have been successfully marginalized as 'radicals' and 'outsiders' to the extent that the New York Times, of all bastions of left-leaning media, has openly called on them to withdraw, as if their continued campaigning is somehow undemocratic.

I can't defend Al Sharpton, who's less my idea of a trust-worthy politician than is George W. Bush, but I do have time for Kucinich, who has run a steady, low-cost, grass-roots campaign and who represents the left-wing Democrats far more purely than Dean or Nader could ever hope. Matt Taibbi at the New York Press certainly thinks so, and interviews and promotes Kucinich in his column this week. Over the page is a complementary, amusing piece on another writer's attempt to track down the Kucinich campaign here in New York. And on the same page is a piece about the Deaniacs in New York watching their idol crash out in Wisconsin (Dean withdrew the following day) and refusing to accept the inevitable. Just to confuse matters, Dean's name remains on the ballot in many States: registered Democrats can still vote for him, even though he's no longer campaigning for President, as this piece makes clear. Such is the way of American politics – a seemingly perfect system that's so inherently imperfect


WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 25

LAD LIT AND OTHER PASSING TRENDS

A quick observation on the question of whether news drives pop culture or pop culture drives news. In this week's New York Times Book Review, Brooklyn-based Stephen Metcalf takes two new examples of New York "lad lit" to task in one of the most scathingly acerbic put-downs I've ever seen. Of the novel Gotham Tragic, he says that author Kurt Wenzell "thinks in stereotypes, and writes in a style somewhere between Cliffs Notes and journalese." He calls the book "tediously overplotted" and concludes that "For all its big-city swagger, ''Gotham Tragic'' feels of a piece with the ESPN Zone restaurant and ''Cats'': a pit stop for the out-of-towner."

Of Kyle Smith's debut novel Love Monkey, he is even less forgiving: he describes it as "eerily empty, like a city after the plague" and emphatiscally declares that "there just aren't enough tone controls on Smith's console for this to be parody. Appearing dismally oafish yourself while portraying a dismal oaf isn't comical; it is what's known in lit crit circles as the mimetic fallacy."

If both books are indeed so bad (You can get a feel for both novels yourself by reading the opening chapters via a link at Metcalf's review), how then, did they come to be published? Metcalf explains why, as his segue between the two reviews:

"In 1995, Nick Hornby published his first novel, ''High Fidelity,'' and it is part of that book's genius to have made, ever since, a certain type of callow young aspirant think the bar for literary success has been lowered, when in fact it hasn't descended so much as a notch."

Noting then how Love Monkey is indebted to Hornby as "An English-style cad novel, written by an American and about an American, and updated to suit the age of Coldplay," he goes on to observe how, in "its vaguely diaryish form and unapologetic lack of substance, it will no doubt also be heralded as the male ''Bridget Jones.''"

Helen Fielding: It's all her fault...

...No, it's all his: Nick Hornby


Funny he should mention that. On the front page of the same Sunday paper's Styles section is a feature entitled, "'Oh To Write A 'Bridget Jones' for Men,'" all about writers like, yes, Kyle Smith and his book Love Monkey. (And Scott Mebus and his novel Booty Nomad. And Australian Nick Earls and his Two To Go. And Brit Jim Keeble and his novel My Fat Brother which was re-titled in obesity-oversensitive America as Men and Other Mammals.) A coincidence? Hardly. But anyway, the gist of this second feature in the same Sunday paper is that, ever since Nick Hornby became a best-seller in America, and particularly since the Chick Lit genre took off with Bridget Jones's Diary and The Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing, publishers have been striving to find their own cross between Hornby and Bridget author Helen Fielding – without success.

So we come back to the obvious question(s). If a) these books are no good, and b) the genre is being driven by the industry, not the public, and c) the public is not responding by buying the bloody things, then d) why is so much copy being wasted on them?

Good point and time to move on... I've had a few more responses to the quiz. But I expect yet more of them. I mean it.


TUESDAY FEBRUARY 24

ON STRIKE!

Come on, you miserable bunch. I can not BELIEVE that no one out there apart from Kevin B. has the time on their hands to try the UK-USA political-geography quiz I posted Friday (when I obviously had too MUCH time on my hands). Sure, some of it's tongue-in-cheek and there are a few trick questions, but all the same, can none of you at least have the courage to guess at the answers? It's all in the name of international understanding, United Nations and all that.... I've posted the questions again over at the Pub where you can post your answer. If you haven't registered to join the Pub, it's very easy: just click here, fill in the form and respond to the confirmation e-mail. Reminder: a free copy of my Moon bio or Hedonism novel (your choice) signed by the author (should you desire) to the most accurate or creative answer. Get cracking if you expect me to keep posting!


MONDAY FEBRUARY 23

SOUL, SINGLES, AND SEX IN FRENCH CITIES

I usually like to save up my album recommendations for a monthly Hitlist, but this one I have to share immediately: the new Candi Staton compilation, which collates the Southern Soul singer's recordings for the Fame label in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, between 1969 and 1973. Most of us only know Candi for her mid-seventies mega-hit 'Young Hearts Run Free' and even later disco-fied recordings, but it seems like any ignorance of her earlier, untamed soul-belting period may not be entirely our own fault. According to the current issue of Mojo and its 67 Lost Albums You Must Own feature, the Fame recordings have been unavailable on CD until now. (The album is available through Honest Jon's Records in the UK, and in the States through Astralwerks.)

Candi Staton: The Muscle Shoals years, finally on CD.

I was so riveted by the 26-song Candi Staton while driving downstate last night that I let the whole thing play through a second time, by which point I was singing and gesticulating along as if the songs had been a part of me for ever, enabling the routinely difficult journey to pass in no time. There are too many great cuts to reference right now, though I have to pause and praise the double-tracked vocal of 'Heart On A String', which I've owned on 7" for 20+ years, clearly oblivious to its rarity, if not its brilliance. Perhaps the only jarring cut is Candi's rendition of 'Stand By Your Man,' only because the song is so closely associated with the country singer Tammy Wynette - and yet, 'Young Hearts Run Free' aside, this was Staton's biggest American Top 40 hit. Far more deserving of long-term recognition is her "I've been there" delivery of 'In The Ghetto,' which trounces all over Elvis Presley's more famous version. (The King perhaps recognized as much; he sent Staton a letter of praise upon hearing it.) Much like when I received a Rotary Connection compilation a few years ago and discovered where Minnie Ripperton had been all my life, the Candi Staton album has served to make me an instant if belated convert to an oft-overlooked soul star.

Finally, a free magazine CD that's really worth the money. Raw Soul, with this month's Mojo.

Though it doesn't feature anything by Candi Staton, the aforementioned Mojo (March issue) includes a free CD entitled Raw Soul that's worth the price of the magazine and then some. A number of Atlantic Records superstars like Solomon Burke, Ray Charles, Otis Redding and Wilson Pickett are included, but those artists you can hear almost anywhere. What makes the compilation special is the contributions from the Ace/Kent Records catalogue, people like Bobby Angelle, Bettye Swann, Betty Bibbs and the occasional Chuck Jackson duet partner Maxine Brown – the real Northern Soul legends familiar to aficionados but known to the masses only through compilations like these magazine freebies. If your appetite is whetted, and so it should be, consider wading into the Kent catalogue, the finest sorting office for old soul singles in the business.


Baise Moi: Not for the easily offended.

On an entirely different note, we watched the movie Baise*Moi over the weekend. Less belated than my discovery of Candi Staton's 40-year old peak soul period, this was nonetheless emphatically NOT news: the film was released in France in 2000, and sparsely, internationally, in 2001, entitled either Fuck Me or Rape Me depending on the translator's interpretation of the French title and willingness to cause offence. Baise*Moi is not, in any way shape or form, a mainstream movie: imagine a cross between Natural Born Killers and hardcore porn and you'll only be coming close to its sex-is-violence feast of blood and (often erect) naked flesh. There is a plot, and there is even some sense of social commentary hidden behind it, but like the hardest of Nine Inch Nails, it's left to the consumer to find it and explain it.

Personally, I thought it was brilliant. But I came away a little confused. The movie I thought I was renting, I've found out this morning through a quick few cross-references on the imdb site, was Sex Is Comedy, director Catherine Breillat's recent follow-up to Romance, which itself pushed the sexual envelope about as far as it had previously been stretched even by French standards. Just as North Americans know that Alaska's not part of Canada, and Brits know that Scotland is not part of England, it's possible that French movie-goers know that Breillat is NOT the same person as Baise*Moi director Coralie; the rest of us are hopefully forgiven being confused by the number of French female directors willing to blur the lines between art and porn. Sex Is Comedy, so I understand, is filmed as a fake documentary-verite about a real porn shoot, intended for laughs, which might explain why it got so many bad reviews. Baise*Moi on the other hand, based on a novel by Virginie Despentes, simply takes a couple of real porn stars, puts guns in their hands, gives them a chance to act out more than the usual sexual fantasies, and leaves the viewer to decide on the movie's morality or lack thereof. God knows what the original book was like (readers at amazon.com seem disappointed), but it sounds like it would put Hedonism back on the lower shelves. (New York readers take note: Tuesday March 9, 7.30pm, I'll be reading from Hedonism at Barnes & Noble's Greenwich Village store, Sixth Avenue and Eight Street. Love to see you there.)


As one of those Monday morning coincidences I love so much, I note that Baise*Moi director Coralie's previous credits include an acting role in American Girl In Paris - which just happened to be the episodic title of last night's Sex In The City finale. I won't spoil the grand ending of the long-running, otherwise New York-based modern classic, for those overseas viewers who need time for their TV schedules to catch up. I will merely observe that, for all the HBO show's titillation and frequent Kim Cattrall full frontals, I doubt if any viewers would confuse Sarah Jessica Parker's role as an American Girl In Paris with that of Coralie's.


FRIDAY FEBRUARY 20

POP QUIZ: THEM BRITS


No, not the music industry ceremony that gave Best Of 2003 awards to Daniel Bedingfield, Dido, Justin Timberlake, Busted and Beyonce (a combination which I'm sure will look lame in only a few years). Rather, the people. For the winter break/holiday half-term, our family played host to one of my best friends from the UK, along with his wife and charming nine year old daughter. As always with visitors, the experience was as entertaining for a chance to witness their initial impressions of New York City and (up)State as it was for the opportunity to just hang and have fun. Judging by these and other visiting Brits I've observed of late, the four things my home country's citizens seem to be most immediately astonished by in the U.S.A. are…

1) The predominance of over-sized S.U.V.s, a subject we talked about at this site just recently.
2) The large size of everything else, come to that. (Breakfast at the diner, trucks on the highway, obese people etc.)
3) The outright friendliness of Americans – especially towards the British

…Or should I be saying their friendliness towards the English? Because my friend's other most frequent observation was of...

4) A continual American failure to understand the difference between Britain and England. His exasperation reached a limit with the person who, noting my (English) friend's Scottish hat, said, "Scotland's part of England, isn't it?"

It's easy to laugh at this ignorance, especially, of course if you're British. Or English. Or Scottish. Or some combination thereof. Which is one reason it's so inherently confusing for people from other Continents. When we got talking about this over drinks one night, I was able to throw a few questions back that seemed equally difficult to answer - especially after a few drinks. So, for Friday fun and beyond, I've typed them up and added several more to make up the first pop culture quiz - for all iJamming! readers, regardless of nationality.


BRITS

1) Which countries comprise Great Britain?
2) Which countries comprise the United Kingdom?
3) Which countries comprise the British Isles?
4) Who is the Queen of England?
5) Why is the Prince of Wales?
6) Which of the following countries does not have its own Parliamentary Assembly: England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales?
7) Which of those same countries does not have a professional football league?
8) Why are England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales represented individually in international football, cricket and rugby tournaments, but represented collectively in the Olympics?
9) What are the Home Countries? Why don't they play each other any more?
10) What are the Home Counties? And why?



THE YANKS

11) Is the American President really the President of America?
12) Alaska's part of Canada, isn't it?
13) Canada's part of North America, isn't it?
14) What State is New England in?
15) What States are in New England?
16) What's a New England Patriot and why does John Kerry claim to be one?
17) In which modern democracy did the phrase 'No taxation without representation' become a battle cry?
18) In which modern democracy do the residents of that nation's capital city still claim to be suffering 'taxation without representation'?
19) Who was the last President of the USA to get 50% of votes cast?
20) Who was the last British Prime Minister to get 50% of votes cast?


POP IDLERS

21) Who is the King of Pop, and is the title hereditary?
22) Why were Duran Duran given an Outstanding Contribution to Music at the Brits? And a Lifetime Achievement Award by Q Magazine Awards? Did you vote for them?


I'll post the questions again over at the Pub, and I invite you to think about the answers. Here's what I hope is an incentive to take it semi-seriously: The most accurate - or at least the most creative - response will win a signed copy of either Hedonism or Dear Boy. Get cracking.


THURSDAY FEBRUARY 19

NORMAL SERVICE WILL BE RESUMED SOON...

I forgot - or rather ran out of time - to announce that I was going away for a few days. Now back in the real world and expect to be posting afresh as of tomorrow.

2004 MUSINGS
FEB 9-15: Grammy gripes, Spacemen 3, Replacements, Touching The Void, Moon myths, Voice Jazz & Pop Poll
FEB 2-FEB 8: Suicide Girls in the flesh, Johnny Rotten's a Celebrity...So's Jodie Marsh
JAN 26-FEB 1: Starsailor/Stellastarr*/Ambulance live, Tiswas, Wine Watch, Politics Watch
JAN 19-25: Brooklyn Nets? LCD Soundsystem, Iowa Primary, The Melody, TV On The Radio
JAN 12-18: The Unicorns live, New York w(h)ines, Sex In The City, Curb Your Enthusiasm, S.U.V. Safety, Bands Reunited
JAN 5-11: Tony's Top 10s of 2003, Howard Dean and his credits, Mick Middles and Mark E. Smith, Mick Jones and Don Letts,

2003 MUSINGS:
DEC 22-JAN 4: Blind Boys of Alabama live, Joe Strummer, Year-End Lists, Finding Nemo, The Return of The King
DEC 15-21: Placebo live, Park Slope, Angels In America, Saddam's capture
DEC 8-14: The Rapture live, Guardian readers change lightbulbs, Keep iJamming! Thriving
DEC 1-7: Cabaret Laws, Ready Brek, Kinky Friedman, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Jonathan Lethem, Julie Burchill, Blizzard running
NOV 17-30: Lost In Music, Lost In Translation, Neil Boland, Political Polls, Press Clips, Australian Whines, Faith Brothers
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 ARE LISTED HERE:


iJamming! Site Copyright Tony Fletcher 2004




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SUICIDE GIRLS just wanna have fun

FEATURED WINE:
Kunde Estate Sauvignon Blanc Magnolia Lane Sonoma Valley 2002

THE FEBRUARY HITLIST:
Ten That Got Away

NEW YORK W(H)INES Part 2

THE BEST OF 2003
Tony's Top Tens

FEATURED WINE REGION:
CÔTES DU RHÔNE-VILLAGES
updated and re-designed

The DECEMBER HITLIST
Bruce, Bowie, Iggy, Joe and Jodie...

From the Jamming! Archives
TONY PARSONS on BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, 1984

THE IJAMMING! HITLIST:
Global Techtronica

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 biggest night out that you'll ever have in." Jockey Slut
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