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FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 17

FESTIVE MEMORIES

NOTES FROM THE V FESTIVAL,
WESTON PARK, STAFFORDSHIRE, AUGUST 20-23


The tent we rode in on: Jamie and Jenny celebrate living in style...

The view from the pitch: Brits soak up a hint of the Sun...


1) IT'S VIRGIN'S WORLD

We just pay for it. My first day in England, I went to The Virgin Megastore on Oxford Street and bought a pay-as-you-go Virgin Mobile Phone. Two days later I took a Virgin Train to the V(irgin) Festival where, though I didn't get to use the Virgin Condom that came with my Virgin phone, I did find myself drinking Virgin Cola at one point. Back in London, I stayed at a house just down the road from a Virgin Fitness Centre; my host's e-mail and broadband were both provided through Virgin.net.

I don't like patronizing big corporations. And I don't desire to make Richard Branson wealthier than he already is. But I've no great aversion to Virgin. When I was a kid traipsing copies of Jamming! round the stores, Virgin was the only chain that gave managers the autonomy to buy fanzines as they saw fit; later, working in the London music business, I found Virgin's Record, Publishing and Merchandising divisions more forthright in their dealings than the traditional major companies. My mild endorsement of the empire is also based on the general public perception that Virgin takes on traditionally difficult industries – airlines or mobile phones, say – and quickly shows the competition how to keep the public happy and make money.

Some of our camping partners: The 'Street Performers.' The Gorillas said they received more sexual advances than at any other Festival.

But even Richard Branson can't get the rightly maligned British trains to run on time. I'd heard so many horror stories about Virgin Trains I thought it must be modern myth, but true to form, the spanking brand new express I boarded at Euston not only departed some 20 minutes late, overcrowded to the point of dehydration and failing air-conditioning, but ran into problems shortly outside London. We were told we'd be changing to a new train at Bletchley, which provoked everyone to rush from their seats and further clog the already dangerously overcrowded corridors, only for the train to inexplicably start up again after 15 minutes closed-door wiat at Bletchley and carry on to Milton Keynes. There was no announcement explaining any of this until we reached Milton Keynes, at which we all had to drag our cases and backpacks up and down bridges and platforms and wait another 30 minutes for a fully functioning old-fashioned train to chug in from London and finally take us on to our destination(s). What should have been a 100-minute journey became a 200-minute journey of serious frustration and inconvenience.

To which I realize I sound like 'Angry of Tunbridge Wells.' Most other passengers seemed to accept the delays and breakdowns with the same resignation as did Russians the empty shelves of the Communist era: no point complaining, it won't change anything. So to give Virgin some credit where it may just be due, they not only brought round free drinks on our replacement train, but stamped our tickets so we could attach them, authorized, to complaint forms freely distributed at Stafford. Someone in uniform, I'm sure, uttered the word 'refund.' I sent my form in and got a reply within a week, promising further investigation. As a particularly duplicitous British oil corporation might say, it's a start.

Oh, there's another reason not to try boycotting the Virgin empire in the UK. As per Microsoft and computers, or Rupert Murdoch and the media, it's impossible.


2) POPTASTIC

Every song's a winner, baby. Following my six hour journey from Brighton to Stafford, including broken trains and police searches, I barely had time to drop my suitcase before we headed off to the JJB Arena and the annual introductory 'Friday night at V' bout with the Poptastic DJs. Whether the campers knew about the party or just gravitated to the sound of loud music, the tent was soon filled to capacity with a ferociously young crowd singing along to the hits in full-on football terrace style. Poptastic itself is a weekly gay indie dance night up in Manchester; for this event, DJs Simon, Jeff and Helen, by their own admission, keep it simple, playing a major anthem from just about every one of the groups performing over the next 48 hours, along with some of the international indie hits that make our world such a small place: America's Rapture, Canada's Hot Hot Heat, Britain's The Streets, Australia's Jet, Sweden's The Hives and so on. All topped by a memorable mass singalong of Pulp's 'Common People.' Sure, it was all a little school disco, but when you're lucky enough to be on the stage watching a young crowd of otherwise 9-5'ers enjoy such a festive start to their festival weekend, there's no room for snobbery. Besides, school discos were NEVER this much fun.

Poptastic DJs Jeff and Helen give it loads.

The crowd inside the JJB Arena give loads back.


3) STAYING OUT FOR THE SUMMER

Some groups are just meant to be seen in the sunshine. Like Snow Patrol. And Athlete. The two bands, who are good friends with each other, played on different days, each coming on around the 3pm mark, serving to warm up the crowd and leave them with a toasty glow. Snow Patrol used glockenspiels and synths as well as guitars and drums, and while one of their ballads failed to project, the hit single 'Run' provided the first true singalong of Saturday. Athlete, whose debut album Vehicles and Animals has steadily grown on me over the last few months, seemed even better suited to such an occasion, the easily mastered choruses of songs like 'El Salvador' ensuring a mass outbreak of lazy Sunday afternoon good vibes. Most reassuringly, Athlete's two new songs – especially 'Modern Mafia' – suggested that, in a nation of one-album wonders, their second set, due early next year, should see them promoted to Britain's Premier League. And if Athlete didn't have a hit the size of 'Run' to fall back on, they did have 'Westside,' the singalong chorus of which - "Everywhere you look it seems everybody wants to be part of the rock scene" – aptly summed up the festival mood.

Fountains Of Wayne in acoustic mode. Note the Vox AC30s - they're making a comeback.

In an ideal world, Fountains of Wayne would also have been able to share their gloriously sunny pop music from the main stage, but the New Yorkers don't yet have the stature of the local heroes. Still they attracted a respectable – and noticeably young - crowd over at the NME stage, who not only greeted 'Stacy's Mom' with predictable rapture, but seemed familiar with the many other beautiful numbers from last year's masterpiece Welcome Interstate Managers, 'Mexican Wine,' 'Hey Julie, and 'No Better Place' among them. (Even 'Sink To The Bottom,' from the group's eponymous 1997 debut, was met by cheers of recognition.) Adam Schlessinger blinded the crowd with his white clothes and blond hair and Kerry-Edwards sticker on the guitar; with fellow songwriter Chris Collingwood, it was hard to tell whether the Flying V guitar, spandex trousers, flowing locks and habit of playing guitar solos from the drum riser were a deliberate or inadvertent parody of The Darkness. Hopefully, the former: you don’t get to make such warm and intelligent music without being warm and intelligent people. As with Athlete and Snow Patrol, those qualities radiated from the stage, confirming that cerebral power pop is a truly international art form.


4) STAFFORDSHIRE POLICE

Yours Truly enjoying a cup of cheap red wine at the Poptastic party an hour after being held up by the police: do I really look like a drug dealer?

They ain't so smart. I knew I'd be the only person lugging a suitcase into the V Festival. I was perfectly aware that my newly-shorn scalp (the result of hair loss) and my thin build (from Marathon running and other sports activities), could be misconstrued as the result of Bez-like enthusiasm for E's and Whiz. But given how I stood out from all the younger back-packers like a pork chop at a bar mitzvah, was it really likely I would bring drugs into the festival?

The policeman conducting 'random' searches just inside the entrance seemed to think so - and pulled me aside for closer inspection. I chuckled inwardly at his blatantly short-minded stereotyping as he repeatedly asked me if I was "absolutely certain" I had no "illegal drugs" and even offered me "one final chance" to tell the truth. When he realized I wasn't shitting my pants at being caught red-handed, he seemed truly disappointed – more so when he finally searched my case. (I had everything from a tent to food already waiting on site and brought in little more than some clothes I wasn't too bothered about ruining.) He sent me on my way with the almost apologetic assurance that he was just trying to "keep the festival drug-free." And going the wrong way around it.


5) THE PIXIES ON ECSTACY

See what I mean? Bloody fantastic, by the way. (The Pixies, too.) Didn't even talk throughout the entire 75-minute show, just grinned inanely. (The Pixies' Kim Deal, that is.) And stood around for five minutes afterwards, soaking up the occasion. (Deal, Frank Black, Joey Santiago and .) Highly recommended. (All of it.)


It's for their own protection. Really. Security makes one of the camp grounds look a little like a prison ground. But it worked. Really.


6) SCISSOR SISTERS vs THE STROKES

Who's the bigger bunch of New Yorkers? The Strokes may have headlined the main stage, but they may also have blown it: there was no shortage of audience anger at Julian's drunken antics. (Having seen them the previous week on home turf, I skipped this particular Strokes show.) Scissor Sisters, booked back before they became superstars, were half way down the bill on the NME stage, but they surely played to one of the biggest crowds of the weekend – and certainly the most varied. Their audience included proud dykes, plenty pre-adolescents, and more teenage Top Shop/FCUK girls on more boyfriends' shoulders than any other band of the weekend. Considering the group grew out of a predominantly gay, retro electroclash Brooklyn scene, (the only other time I've seen them was at Larry Tee's Luxx night Berliniamsburg), their universal UK appeal seems all the more impressive.

There are clear-cut reasons for Scissor Sisters' phenomenal popularity, with covers of Pink Floyd and similarities to Elton John being prominent among them. But there's also plenty originality on hand. In Jake Shears, they have one of the most flamboyant and confident front men on the planet, and unlike The Strokes' Casablancas, he has no desire to fuck it all up. (Though he's perfectly willing to let it all hang out.) Ana Mantronic plays his enthusiastic foil and ensures a B-52's sense of co-ed madness. Babydaddy writes songs that have managed to skip right over the New York club scene and into the housewives' hearts – while at least a couple of them, especially 'Tits On The Radio,' have simultaneously ensured continued underground credibility. And they have a work ethic that puts many a rock band to shame: not only was their performance more energetic than most other bands at V, but this was just one of many recent occasions when they followed their live show with a late night DJ Set. I still don't gravitate to their album out of choice, but at least now I fully understand their appeal.


7) CAMP CAMERADERIE

Our cozy camping compound.

Making new friends. I hadn't camped at a rock festival since Reading, 1989, at which it rained endlessly, the festival turned into a mud bath, a van full of piss-heads from Derby pitched tent right next to us on the second night - and even invaded our own tent to get a look at my girlfriends in their midnight mess - and I ended up taking a train back to South London on the Saturday to watch Palace play and have a shower. Would V prove equally squalid? No. For one, the skies stayed dry for the crucial 48 hours between Friday and Sunday evenings. For another, the tent I was sharing was already erected by the time I made it through the police search: I even had my own room. (Cheers, Jamie.) For a third, we were in an enclosed working area (nominally for the street performers), with personal portaloos and a portacabin complete with electricity. And for a fourth, we had access to the backstage showers which ensured we didn't stink – too much. Lastly, but absolutely not least, our little crowd at V – primarily people from Sheffield, Liverpool and Manchester, some of whom were working and several of whom were just hanging – provided the epitome of camaraderie. There were several of us hovering round the 40 year mark in our half dozen tents, including some other parents, which meant we knew how to pace ourselves – but believe me, none of us had forgotten how to enjoy ourselves. Lovely to meet you all, hope to be back next year.


8) AUDIO BULLYS vs. FREESTYLERS

Who's the better bunch of Brits? The JJB Arena was generally too hot, humid, dark and mildly oppressive for me. But I made a point of checking out, on different afternoons, Audio Bullys and Freestylers, who between them confirmed that British dance music is thriving – and that the better live show does not always come from the bigger act. Audio Bullys proved yet more one-dimensional on stage than on their inconsistent (though highly acclaimed) debut album: there was only so long I could watch front man Simon Franks pull the same pose and Thomas Dinsdale work his decks without screaming for some variety. 'Real Life' and 'We Don't Care' are great songs – and the sample they used that referenced "some dirty, fucked up shit to listen to when you're in the groove" rocked hard - but their hype won't last unless they can switch into a different gear.

Audio Bullys pull stock pose.

Freestylers can't stop moving.

Freestylers, on the other hand, were so animated they almost lifted the Big Top off the ground. Primary MC Aston Harvey resolutely refused to stay still for more than a second, working up every corner of the crowd as Matt Cantor and Andrew Galea provided the rhythm and various guest MCs popped on from left and right to ensure the temperature stayed close to boiling. I saw Freestylers several years ago in New York, at the height of the Big Beat craze, and they didn't connect. Here, however, it was like they were everyone's best friends. And when they brought on "Julie" to MC their dance hit 'Get A Life' from this year's explicitly entitled album Raw As Fuck, I realized why: with her chubby frame, uncomplimentary mini-skirt and rough'n'ready voice this could have been any Julie from any English high street up on stage. She was the audience, and they were her. Even the blokes felt the affinity. Some things only make sense on home turf.


9) APARTHEID UK

Is this how South Africa once looked? It's appropriate that the music media should be buzzing with Two Tone retrospectives. Because memories of when British crowds were black and white were distant at V. What happened to Britain's multiculturalism? What happened to the rave scene that brought a generation of different race kids up together? Sure, V was a mainstream festival, but it was hardly monochromatic. A two-day event with such acts as N.E.R.D., Kelis, Groove Armada, Massive Attack, Pink, Faithless, Freestylers, Dido, Basement Jaxx, should have been able to attract at least a few British kids of dark skin tone. I saw a healthy smattering of Asian youth around the place – especially girls, which is all the better given the cultural traditions they've had to roll back over the years – but I could count the black-skinned youth on one hand. Does it matter? Sure it does. It's not healthy for racial groups to live side by side like this in a small, densely populated country, and yet without interaction. And I always thought Britain was ahead of the world in this regard. It wasn't even that different during my time in London or Brighton – not when I was actually in the pubs or the clubs. Now I understand the recent UK headline that 70% of young white Brits confess to not having a single black friend. And in the meantime, the BNP continues to gain council seats. The country's going backwards.


10) THE CHARLATANS

Tim Burgess in an unusually subdued moment.

By far the greatest team? Being a Charlatans fans is like supporting any but the top British football clubs, something you pick up early in life and which you never let go. You follow them through good seasons and disappointing ones, and even when their form is down, your loyalty never wanes and you still go see them every opportunity you get. The Charlatans' current form – or at least their commercial standing, third on the bill to Muse and Dido – is down on other festival years such as when I saw them second only to Oasis at Knebworth, headline V at Chelmsford, or top the bill at Manchester Move. Yet, given that they have just parted ways with Universal after the disappointing sales of Up At The Lake (the first Charlatans album to go unreleased in the States), this was still a positive reflection of their pulling power. As bassist Martin Blunt reflected before the show, "We've got to be the biggest unsigned band on the bill!"

The Stafford show was not their greatest: Tim Burgess ad-libbed his vocals a little more freely than had he skipped the pre-gig vodka. But the set-list reflected the group's unquestionable greatness, including 'Weirdo,' 'One To Another,' 'Love Is The Key,' 'North Country Boy,' 'The Only One I Know,' and the two strongest songs from Up At The Lake – the dancefloor crunching 'Feel The Pressure' and the old-fashioned pop song 'Try Again Today' – before concluding with a spectacularly drawn out version of the first album's classic finale 'Sprouston Green.'

I'm not the only one who has that football fan's loyalty to the Charlatans. Every time they play – be it a small New York club or a big British festival – there's a solid crowd of die-hards who fill the front of stage area and welcome them with evangelical fervor. And why not? The Charlatans display greater loyalty to their fans than any number of over-paid footballers: they don't throw tantrums, they don't blame their fellow players or management when things fail to go as planned, and if they have a poor season, it only seems to spur them back to top form the following year. Halfway through the show, one 40-something Madchester type broke from his exuberant dancing to exclaim, to no one and everyone in particular, "Best band in the world!" Spoken with the conviction of a truly loyal supporter.

Loyal supporters: The view from the stage while The Charlatns play.


12) BONE HEAD BOOTH AND OTHER MANCUNIANS...

How much for that CD in the window? The exact moment The Charlatans came off the main stage, Tim Booth, former James singer, took to the Music Choice Stage. In their heyday, James were far bigger than The Charlatans, with the American hits and blockbusting albums to prove it, and so the Music Choice Stage - a tent otherwise occupied by new and unknown bands – was soon filled to overflowing. I listened from outside for a couple of songs; what I heard was one of my all-time favorite voices singing of familiar subject matter (a 'Monkey God' here, a reference to a 'Butterfly Dream' there), to rapturous applause which confirmed that, while solo artists rarely maintain the popularity of the bands they once fronted, James – or, rather, Booth – is still greatly loved.

I was all set to buy Booth's solo opus Bone as my own contribution to his continued career satisfaction – until I saw it priced at £16. That's $29! (CDs in the States routinely sell for half that price.) It's a piece of silver plastic, for Christ's sake, and it costs almost nothing to manufacture. If recording costs exceed likely income, blame the artist, or the A&R man, but don't pass it on to the consumer. And people wonder why the labels are in crisis and kids feel free to download?

At least Booth, like The Charlatans, is still operating in the heart of the contemporary music scene. It was the same weekend as V that a re-reformed, but never truly reformed Happy Mondays (if you understand my meanings) played on Clapham Common. But, to be honest, did anyone really care?


13) THE KILLERS

Acting like they mean it. Like Scissor Sisters, this American band was booked for V before it broke out (inter)nationally; The Killers' appearance way down the Sunday bill on the NME stage completely belied their popularity. But like Scissor Sisters, they seemed little bothered, enjoying their fairy tale moment, as a young American band brought up on British indie music, playing a British festival in first year of touring, watching a crowd of several thousand sing along to their every word.

The test for such bands, enjoying fame at first serious attempt, is how they project, and The Killers came up a little short; they're obviously more familiar with the clubs than the great outdoors. It doesn't help that front man Brandon Flowers also plays the keyboards, which prevents him moving round to his full potential. Still, the hour was theirs, from the global hit 'Somebody Told Me' through 'Smile Like You Mean It' to 'Mr. Brightside.' That week's NME had a cover story on The Killers in which they were taken to task for daring to engage in the lyrical irony of 'Indie Rock & Roll,' which might explain why Brandon introduced it with the words, "A lot of people hate this song and we can't understand why." But there were no obvious haters among their many followers – though I personally find the song musically dull, and should note that it was not actually included on the American album. On another note, some have described The Killers as Duran Duran redux; I don't see it, though I know that the Brummy Blitz kids were more influential in the States than Brits could ever hope to understand. No, for now, the Killers are merely the latest band to enjoy 15 minutes on the global post-punk new-wave retro merry go round. Here's hoping they find the depth to last longer.


14) PINK PLONK

Corporate logos to the right of her, Stars and Stripes and a Confederate Flag in front of her: Pink enjoys her "first Summer" of European Festivals.

Infatuation over. A year or so ago, I developed a bit of a crush on her. That Face photospread certainly helped. And her classically drugged up rave chick background made me feel like I knew her. So now I was keen to see Pink perform in the flesh. But the corporate rock machine got to her first, sucking out that feisty independence, and replacing it with the homogenous good-natured arrogance of a hundred arena rockers. She may have been correct that her band "kicked ass," and swearing like a trooper may have felt like rebellion, but at a festival largely claimed by the free-thinking spirit of Scissor Sisters, the Strokes, The Pixies and The Killers, her approach was oddly out of place. So, for that matter, were the handful of Stars & Stripes in the crowd front of stage. (I didn't know you could get away with that flag in Europe any more - though every time I travel home, I'm reminded that the truly strident anti-Americanism is confined to the London inner circle.) A final note to the person who went one further and waved the Confederate Flag: you do know what it stands for, I hope?


15) THOSE WE MISSED

It's always this way. You look at a Festival line-up, you promise yourself you're going to see dozens of acts, and when the event comes around, you realize it's physically impossible to take in even half the music you'd like to. Saturday night in Stafford, The Strokes, Massive Attack and Primal Scream all headlined different stages – at the same time. (A group of us, completely flummoxed by this conundrum, went to hear DJ Lottie in the dance tent instead. That's just the mood we were in.) Similarly, come Sunday night, the choice was Basement Jaxx, Muse, The Bees, OR Kings Of Leon; due to distance between outdoor stages, and indoor tents quickly filling to capacity, it was impossible to see any combination other than parts of the latter two.

And then there was the matter of overkill. Yes, Neil Hannon (The Divine Comedy) puts on a good show, and I do love Elbow, and South, and Badly Drawn Boy, but I've seen them all before and priorities have to be made. And yes, I'd heard a lot about Hope Of The States, and I'm quite frustrated that I couldn't catch The Zutons, but it was equally important to eat, meet and even, at times, to sleep. (Or at least, to chill.) So to those I missed – add Phoenix, Embrace, Keane, Jamelia, Human League, Amy Winehouse, Dead 60s, Goldie Lookin' Chain, Kasabian, The Delays, The Human League Mull Historical Society, and N*E*R*D to the list of those I've never seen before – here's to next year.


16) BASEMENT JAXX

And the music keeps on playing all night long... The two previous times I'd seen the Jaxx, both in New York, rank among my top concerts ever. But their festival-closing appearance in the JJB Arena blew past experiences out the water. Reasons? The environment, certainly. Though I'd seen Felix and Simon deliver stellar shows both in the great outdoors (Central Park) and in a major concert hall (Roseland), there was something about the hot, humid, dark, muggy and muddy and surroundings of the Big Top that always threatened to make for an extra special show. Then there was the crowd. New Yorkers have never been wimps when it comes to dance music, but they can't match the contagious excitement of several thousand boozed-up and still-not-partied-out Brits eagerly anticipating their home country heroes. This crowd produced one of the loudest roars I've ever heard when the Jaxx took the stage to launch straight into the re-released single 'Good Luck,' and they continued pumping the air, dancing their feet off, and filling out the tent for the next ninety minutes. (To see a Quick-Time Movie of the crowd in motion - no audio - click here.)

Basement Jaxx doing 'Kish Kash.' No Siouxsie Sioux, but no compromise either.

The third factor was, of course, the Basement Jaxx themselves, who responded to the crowd and the heat by delivering a show of even greater fervor than normal. With every song, it seemed, some other singer took the stage in yet another outlandish costume, and the constant rotation of lungs and legs ensured that the crowd, too, never got to relax. All the singles from the last two albums were aired (and if 'Where's Your Head At' was the obvious crowd pleaser, the light bondage routine of 'Kish Kash' came a close second), but perhaps the most reassuring aspect of the whole exhilarating performance were the new instrumentals. One incorporated the four-to-the-floor bass line from The White Stripes' 'Seven Nation Army' to delirious dance floor effect. Another reshaped the chorus from John and Yoko's 'Give Peace A Chance' (best as I could tell, they re-arranged the melody as a haunting monotone) and turned it into a unifying techno stomper. The third was all loud guitars set to big fat beats and accompanied by iconic imagery from a half century of album and single covers. These instrumentals best served to explain the duo's appeal: though The Jaxx are considered part of a dance music scene, they gleefully sample, borrow, rework, imitate or completely reshape every genre that has ever existed. They know that when it comes down to the basics, it's all just music. Thankfully, they were my last live experience of the Festival. There is no way they could have been topped.


17) THE FLUSH FINALE

We've got to get out of this place: Jamie and Tony have loaded the car: now how do they get themselves into it? (Note: Jeans and Skate shoes did not make it onto the train.)

Not for the easily disgusted. Monday morning, our tents were dismantled, our cars were loaded, and our toilets were now stinking. But nature called, and after braving the indoor portaloo one last time, and despite the fact that nobody else was left on site to use it, I did what I always train my kid to do after a number two: I flushed. At which I felt my feet get wet. I looked down to see that the toilet – a solid waste toilet – had sprung a leak. My jeans and boots were being washed out with the contents of a four-day old bog! What a shitty end to a festival.

We went to a greasy caf while waiting for my train in Stafford. But even amidst the aroma of bacon and egg, coffee and cigarettes, the stench cut through. Fortunately, I was wearing the jeans and shoes I'd been willing to sacrifice should V have turned into a mudbath. And so, back at the car, I surreptitiously changed into cleaner clothes and left my soiled remains in Stafford. You can't – and shouldn't – take all your memories home with you.

2004 MUSINGS
SEP 12-16: Johnny Ramone, Village Voice vs. New York Press, Love Parades
SEP 11: Absolute Affirmation: A New York Hitlist.
SEP 3-10: The Futureheads live, The Good News, Step Off, No Sleep Till Brooklyn
AUG 23-SEP 2: No postings: On summer holiday.
AUG 16-22: 33 Notes on 45 Bands: Little Steven's International Underground Garage Festival
AUG 9-15: Step On, The Summer Hitlist
AUG 2-8: Crystal Palace are shirt, Crazy Legs are back, The British are Rapping, Losers Lounge, Step On
JULY 26-AUG 1: Farewell to Orbital, the Nike RunHitWonder, Pere Ubu in the Park, Devo, Dave Wakeling, Berger & Wyse
JULY 19-25: Live reviews: Mission Of Burma/Electric Six/The Fever/Van Hunt/Brazilian Girls/Apollo Heights/L Maestro; Crime Watch, Book Watch, TV Watch, Booze Watch
JULY 12-18: Jeff Mills' Exhibitionist DVD review, Midweek W(h)ines, Los Pleneros de la 21/Kékélé live, The Homosexuals,
JULY 5-11: Nick Hornby's Songbook
JUNE 28-JULY 4: The Streets/Dizzee Rascal/I Am X/Funkstorung live, Wine, Football and festivals,
JUNE 21-27: Lollapalooza, Morrissey, Deadwood, London Calling, Stone Roses, Euro 2004,
JUNE 14-20: Fast Food and Cheap Oil, Party Prospects, More Clash, Radio Indie Pop
JUNE 7-13: MP3s vs AIFF, Step on, June Hitlist, The Clash,
MAY 31-JUNE 6: Benzos/The Hong Kong/Home Video live, Tribute Bands, Lester Bangs, Glad All Over
MAY 24-30: The Clash, Fear Of A Black Planet, Marvin Gaye, Sandy Bull, Richard Pryor, Stoop Sale LPs, Michael Moore, Nat Hentoff
MAY 17-23: 5th Ave Street Fair, James, Surefire/The Go Station live, Crystal Palace
MAY 10-16: Radio 4 live, John Entwistle, Jeff Mills, Wine notes, Joy Division covers
APR 26-MAY 9: Twenty Twos, Morningwood, French Kicks, Ambulance Ltd all live, More Than Nets, Mod, Turning 40
APR 19-25: 5 Boroughs Rock, The Number 3 Bus, Orbital split, MC5 reform
APR 6-19: British Press Cuttings, More Than Nets, Art Rockers and Brit Packers
MAR 29-APRIL 5: The Rapture/BRMC/Stellastarr* live, The Chinese Beatles, Freddie Adu
MAR 22-28: Singapore Sling live, Kerry on a Snowboard, Pricks on Clits, Eddie Izzard, Who's Two
MAR 15-21: TV On The Radio live, Tracking Terror, Bloomberg's Education Bloc, The Homosexuals,
MAR 8-14: The Undertones live, Winemakers Week, Madrid Bombings, Just In Jest
MAR 1-7: Rhone-gazing, Pop Culture Quiz answers, Who's Hindsight, March Hitlist
FEB 16-29: Lad Lit, American Primaries, New York novels, Candi Staton, the Pop Culture Quiz, World Musics In Context
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 ARE LISTED HERE
2002 MUSINGS ARE LISTED HERE:


iJamming! Site Copyright Tony Fletcher 2004




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THE JUNE HITLIST:
12 featured albums, 15 more in rotation, three 12" singles and a handful of books.

FEATURED OREGON WHITE WINES:
Foris Vineyards Gewürztraminer and Witness Tree Pinot Blanc.

THE APRIL HITLIST:
MUSIC, BOOKS, FILMS, TV, BEER, WINE AND FOOD-JUICE

FEATURED WINE:
Aziano Chianti Classico 2001 .

THE UNDERTONES
Live in New York

THE MARCH HITLIST:
REISSUES REVISITED

STELLASTARR*
Live at Tiswas
Live at Bowery Ballroom
Live at Mercury Lounge
Live on the Hudson River
With Joe Strummer
Stellastarr* album review

SUICIDE GIRLS just wanna have fun

FEATURED WINE:
DOMAINE ROGER PERRIN
CHÂTEAUNEUF DU PAPE 2001
Rhône, France,

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
"Hedonism will have you gripped from start to finish, guaranteed." International DJ


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

HEDONISM is available mail order in the USA from Barnes&Noble.com. It's available mail order in the UK from amazon.co.uk or musicroom.com.

American residents can also receive signed copies direct from iJamming! for just $20 including shipping and handling. Click on the PayPal button below. Please allow 7-10 days for delivery.