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WHAT'S NEW IN iJAMMING!...

THE MARCH HITLIST:
15 ALBUMS

NOTES FROM A POSH NIGHT OUT:
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Dinner

FEATURED WINE:
Bremerton 'Selkirk' Shiraz, Langhorne Creek, Australia

THE IJAMMING! INTERVIEW:
TIM BOOTH

FEATURED WINE REGION:
BANDOL

THE FEBRUARY HITLIST:
Chemical Brothers, Lemon Jelly, Slits, Erasure, T.H. White, M83, Tim Booth and more

FEATURED WINE:
JEAN LALLEMENT CHAMPAGNE BRUT NV

THE JANUARY HITLIST:
They Almost Got Away: The Best Of The Rest of 2004:

The IJAMMING! Interview:
Matt Friedberger of The Fiery Furnaces on Pete Townshend

MINUTES OF A 'MIRACLE':
The Birth of our baby Noel

2004: THE YEAR IN REVIEW
1) The Best Album & Singles
2) Most Disappointing Albums
3) Best Wines of 2004

THE GREAT COMMUNICATOR:
TED LEO in concert

FEATURED WINE:
ALBA VINEYARDS
Chambourcin 2002
New Jersey, USA

THE DECEMBER HITLIST:
Album reviews of Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, John Cale, Nick Cave, The Scumfrog, Freq Nasty, DFA, Grip Weeds, High Dials

THE IJAMMING! INTERVIEW:
Wayne Kramer on Pete Townshend

OLD EUROPE, NEW WINES
Modern treats from Italy, Austria and France

JOHN PEEL: A Tribute

THE OCTOBER HITLIST:
Fiery Furnaces, Green Day, Bowling For Soup, Paul Weller, The Go! Team, Fatboy Slim, R.E.M., Kevin Tihista, Brian Wilson

FESTIVE MEMORIES:
A report from THE V FESTIVAL, Stafford, England, Aug 21-23

ABSOLUTE AFFIRMATION:
A NEW YORK HITLIST
(10 new Albums)

From the Jamming! Archives
THE HOMOSEXUALS, 1979

DVD REVIEW:
JEFF MILLS - EXHIBITIONIST

BOOK REVIEW:
SONGBOOK by NICK HORNBY

HIGHWAY TO UNHEALTHY:
Why Fast Food depends on Cheap Oil

THE CLASH: THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO THEIR MUSIC
by TONY FLETCHER
PUBLISHED MARCH 1 2005
A CHRONOLOGICAL SONG-BY-SONG ACCOMPANIMENT TO THE ENTIRE CLASH CATALOGUE. WITH ADDITIONAL SECTIONS ON COMPILATIONS, FILMS, DVDs AND SOLO CAREERS. Available online through amazon.com, amazon.co.uk and at all good bookstores.

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.

DEAR BOY The British edition of the Keith Moon biography is available in paperback at book stores, amazon.com and amazon co.uk. More info here.

REMARKS REMADE The first ever R.E.M. biography fully updated with ten new chapters covering Reveal and beyond. Available at UK bookstores, amazon.co.uk and musicroom. Available at select stores in the States and through BN.com.

MOON The American edition of the Keith Moon biography is available in paperback at book stores, amazon.com, bn.com and amazon co.uk. More info here

iJAMMING! is a music and lifestyle web site hosted by
author, journalist and dee jay Tony Fletcher.
Click on the buttons above to access the different areas of the site.
For the latest additions, see What's New
To find a specific item, use the search engine
Tony's current musings follow below.
Previous musings are archived here.

FRIDAY MARCH 25

WEEKEND WINE TIME

PONT NEUF
VIN DE PAYS DU GARD 'Agriculture Biologique' 2003
FRANCE, $10

The 'Agriculture Biologique' stamp means the wine is organic. But so is a lot of French country wine.

Labeling a rural French wine "organic" can be a little deceiving. Many, many rural French wines are organic, or damn near as. It's simply a way of life. We're talking about French farmers who have successfully tended their land without use of pesticides and chemicals for generations and are not about to start using such products now. That inherent resistance to change (which can also be seen as French bloody-mindedness) means they're not going to go groveling for the 'Agriculture Biologique' certificate either, viewing it as another set of authoritarian standards and rules on top of the already strict Appellation Controlée regulations. (Study this form from the French Agricultural Department's web site and you'll see their point.)

As it is, some of the best known producers in France - like the esteemed Châteauneuf du Pape estate Château Beaucastel, - are known for being completely organic. (They just don't advertise the fact on their bottles.) Michel Chapoutier, a negociant who bottles wine up and down the Rhône and beyond, even encourages his growers to go beyond organic and into biodynamic farming. Quite a few American importers – Louis/Dressner and Neal Rosenthal prominent among them – only work with producers who use near certifiably organic methods; picking up a bottle with those names on the back is as good a confirmation of vineyard integrity as any government-approved certificate.

But while I didn't buy this Pont Neuf purely because of the Agriculture Biologique assurance, I can't say it harmed. Too many wines from the vast Vins de Pays territories in France are being mass-produced for the international market – and while, given that the front label to this wine comes in French, English and German, the Pont Neuf is clearly no exception, it's reassuring to see that it at least proclaims some artisanal integrity. I also thought it was time to try something from the 2003 heatwave. Oh, and the manager at the wine store in Saugerties gave me a heavy sales pitch, assuring me it was his every customer's favorite wine. Mind, he also said that it would be a blend of Cabernet, Merlot and the like - though wines from the Vins de Pays du Gard are considered "country Côtes du Rhônes," which means they're made up of the usual mix of Carignan, Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah, Counoise and more. It certainly didn't taste like a Bordeaux blend.

Mind, first time I tasted this I could barely drink it. I'd run many many miles in the morning, so many that I hadn't expected to be pulling the cork on anything, but now the evening had rolled around, a good meal was on the table, and I assumed a glass of wine wouldn't hurt me. I was wrong: it did. Made me feel immediately unpleasant. I made comments about stewed raisins while the wife looked on patiently and noted that it went very well with her dinner. Let's face it; sometimes – especially if you're an avid sportsman – your body's just not in the mood for alcohol.

24 hours later it was a different story. My system was back to normal and a mere whiff of the open bottle transported me to southern France, with those sunny, spicy, herbal aromas that waft through the air during the hot summer (as long as you're not on the highway to the Mediterranean, in which case all you'll be breathing is petrol fumes). The wine itself is an easy-going crowd-pleasing food-friendly delight, warm and friendly and spicy and cheeky, the vinous equivalent of good dinner company. It's well-balanced too, showing little indication that the grapes were raised during the hottest year in a century. (After a recent experience with a 2003 rosé from the Côtes de Provence, this is no small achievement.) There was nothing so pronounced about the wine that I felt duty bound to make special notes. Equally, it was far from anonymous. It was, put simply, good wine the way the French have always made it.

But was it at a good price? Well, five years ago, when I got into this game, I could buy a known Côtes du Rhône for considerably less. That was before the dollar collapsed, and $10 is just about your entry level price now for anything decent from Europe. I still get the feeling I'm being charged an extra tariff for that Agriculture Biologique certificate, but it's more than a good enough wine to merit its price tag – and its "organic" nature, marketing ploy or not, surely contributes to that quality.


THURSDAY MARCH 24

BRIGHTON ROCKS BROOKLYN: A DOZEN REASONS TO LOVE THE GO! TEAM AT SOUTHPAW (Tues Mar 22)

1) THE TRANSATLANTIC UNDERGROUND IS ALIVE AND WELL
The Go! Team has yet to release a record in the USA. But everybody at Southpaw Tuesday night seemed to know their every song. I love that good music can still travel overseas by word of mouth, rather than through record company hype – and that people will still go out of their way to find albums that aren't readily available in their local Megastores. (I was so enthused by the song 'Bottle Rocket' when I heard it on an Uncut sampler CD that I ordered the album Thunder, Lightning, Strike mail order from a UK store. I can't remember when I last did that.)

2) THEY BRING FROM BRIGHTON THE SOUND OF OLD NEW YORK
In that greatest of British traditions, The Go! Team have taken a very American sound – in their case, the hip-hop/electro/downtown New York punk sound of the very, very early 1980s – and sold it back to the Yanks as something new. Which it may possibly be: as with the album, the live show is a "frantic, fucked-up, footloose and fancy-free amalgam of hip-hop, rock and soul," but in a typically English indie kitchen sink kind of way.

The Go! Team mash it up in Brooklyn


3) THEY'RE ONE OF THE FEW BANDS WHO CAN PLAY BOTH SOUTH BY SOUTH WEST AND WINTER MUSIC CONFERENCE.
There's these two big annual music biz shindigs in America, and they're very close to each other on the calendar. That never used to be a problem, as groups with guitars sold their wares in Austin at South By South West, while acts with samples, turntables and MCs preached to the dance disciples at Miami's Winter Music Conference. But in the last couple of years such boundaries have (fortunately) been getting so blurred that some acts now play both events. The Go! Team are one of them, arriving fresh from buzz shows at SXSW with just enough time for their three sell-out gigs in New York before bouncing down to WMC. Among the select other acts to play both fests are LCD Soundsystem and Radio 4. That's some good crossover company to be keeping.

4) THEY'RE A CO-ED BAND.
…Though being Brits, they would probably just say they're "mixed." Either way, there's three women and three men in The Go! Team - and you don't for a moment imagine it was designed that way as much as that it's a typically fortunate accident.

5) THERE'S TWO DRUMMERS
…At least some of the time, making for one racket of a rhythm. Chi never gets off her kit; Silke frequently comes forward to play keyboards. The Go! Team aren't the type to be labeled – even within the band.

6) THERE'S THREE GUITARISTS
Jamie Bell is the tall bass player with McEnroe-like sweatband over curly hair, wearing a constant grin of satisfaction. Sam Dook plays a proper banjo on 'Everyone's A V.I.P. To Someone' as well as rough-and-ready rhythm guitar. Band leader Ian P doubles up on guitar and harmonica. You almost expect one of them to break out a washboard: there's something that skiffle-like about the show.

7) THERE'S ONLY ONE NINJA
And she's a show stealer. Successfully pirouetting the very thin tightrope that separates the cheerleader from the pain in the arse (ass?), Ninja has the whole room in the palm of her hand in about the time it takes to say "that accent ain't Brooklyn, it's Brighton." Ninja's been told that New York crowds are notoriously aloof – which might be why she insists all the guys say "woof" (and the girls do holler). But the reason she gets everyone's hands waving in the air is not so much that she demands it of us, as that she evidently cares about it. She's no part-time hired hand as with so many dance acts, and she's certainly no cynic; she's got a vivacious personality (and a fair old set of lungs) and she wants to have a good time, baby, so let's go. Another reason she's so endearing: Ninja pulls the kind of wacky dance moves that fall between stylish and stoopid. It's hard for the crowd not to believe she's an amateur just like them, and so they quickly join in. Soon, the whole room is bucking and jiving like you rarely see at a white person's rock gig.

Ninja: The Girls' Best Friend....


8) YOU WOULDN'T WANT TO HEAR THIS BACK ON TAPE
Both the strength and the weakness of Thunder, Lightning, Strike is its production, which brings new meaning to the term lo-fi. The same can be said of the live show. Though horn samples blaring over the top ensure that the band at least stays in time, they're gleefully rough round the edges, as a six-piece band on a small stage should be. They're probably not ready for a live broadcast – but they're currently one of the best live bands you could hope to see.

9) THEY PLAYED ALMOST EVERY SONG OFF THE ALBUM
Surprise surprise. There's only eleven songs on Thunder, Lightning, Strike and they add up to all of 35 minutes. Short of airing an unreleased album, brevity was always destined to be their calling card. All the more reason for Ninja to entertain us along the way – such as getting the whole room to imitate "a fat black woman" singing "I've got the power" prior to the unrelated penultimate 'The Power Is On.'

The constant flow that is the go! team

10) THEY UNEARTHED A NEW SONG FOR THE ENCORE
"So new it doesn't have a title yet," as Ninja put it. However, ending the show with a chorus, "Are you ready for more?" seems like something of a tease. Perhaps they should play it earlier in the set when they can deliver on the crowd's positive response?

11) THEY KNEW HOW TO BEHAVE
There was at least one request to adjust the monitor volume. But it was delivered so swiftly and politely I'm sure nobody really noticed. And when a drunken female fan jumped on stage at the end, a roadie gently eased her back into the audience before she could cause any harm. British bands don't have to act all high and mighty and make like football thugs, do they?

12) SOUTHPAW'S SO CLOSE TO HOME I WENT BACK BETWEEN BANDS TO RECHARGE MY (CAMERA) BATTERIES
Seriously. And we know that was never an option back at The Marquee. What's not to love about the night?


WEDNESDAY MARCH 23

WON'T GET FOOLEDS GOLD AGAIN

New Yorkers, consider yourselves fortunate: we only saw a bad concert. In San Francisco the other night, former air rage jailbird Ian Brown not only repeated his tedious interruption of his own songs to complain about monitor volumes that should have been set at soundcheck, but he and his band beat up a drunken fan on stage as well as a security guard who dared intervene. Thanks to Michael Cohen for bringing this to our attention over in the ijamming! Pub. Photos of the violence – and a detailed review from a former fan - are available at bagelradio.com. Here's just one to ruin your day.

Ian Brown and the boys in his band sort out a drunken fan who dared jump on stage in San Francisco. Do the words 'cowards' and 'bullies' come to mind?

Perhaps this is a good place to repeat that while I was greatly impressed by both Ian Brown's new solo album Solarized AND Tim Booth's debut solo album Bone, of the two former Manchester band front men I came down in firm favor of Booth's Bone for its lyrical depth and musical breadth. Though I've yet to meet him personally in the flesh, Tim Booth proved a genuinely lovely person on the phone, and if you haven't had a chance to read the three-page transcript of our conversation, try and make time for it over the coming days. Tim is one of the good people in this world. As for Ian Brown, prison clearly failed to provide a decent anger management course. Which doesn't mean he doesn't belong back behind bars. What a waste of talent.


BROOKLYN BEAT CONTINUED: COCOTTE COCKS IT UP
(but the food's good regardless)

I don't do this too often: eat out, that is. (Reminder: that's how I afford to drink the good wine!) But after our wonderful experience at the Red Hook restaurant Bouillabaisse 126 (written about here), the three generations of Fletchers managed another meal in the 'hood before my Ma Ruth returned to Dear Old Blighty at the weekend. This time we decided to stay on Brooklyn's restaurant row, my local 5th Avenue, though our options were quickly limited by the presence of a) a baby and a nine-year old, b) a vegetarian, and c) a budget. We finally decided on Cocotte, at the corner of 4th Street, primarily because it serves up the fishy French bistro cuisine which both my wife and mother love so much (witness Bouillabaisse 126); also, we'd been there on my mother's last visit, wherein the good food had outshone some sloppy service.

Well, the service is still sloppy, that's for sure. We were quickly delivered into the hands of a charming young male waiter who was desperately eager to please. It just so happens he was Italian, working a French menu with a rather poor understanding of the English language – especially as spoken by someone hailing from England. My mother's initial request for 'moules' (a house specialty) very nearly went in his notebook as 'bouillabaisse' (admittedly, another house specialty, albeit one with considerably more syllables and markedly different consonants). And, unfortunately, her request for the duck crepes was perceived as a request for the duck main course: crispy slow-rendered duck served with roasted brussels sprouts and a cranberry/star anise sauce.

Being English (well Scottish, but the point remains), my mother dug into the meal without comment until Posie took a hard look at the plate and asked what happened to the crepes. (Pancakes are difficult to hide, even under a dead duck.) A polite admonishment to our linguistically-challenged waiter, who had inevitably reminded us of Fawlty Towers' Manuel with his linguistic problems and near obsequiousness, necessitated his elevating the problem to the manager, and of course we now eagerly anticipated a full-blown John Cleese moment. That might be why my mother quickly re-assured the manager "Don’t worry, I didn't eat any of it!" as if this would allow him to serve it to someone else a la Basil Fawlty. But as we reassure Ruth on every visit, in New York the customer is king. Or Queen. You ask for something, you expect to get it. Her plate was swiftly removed; the crepes dish duly appeared a few minutes later.

Sadly, this was not our only serving problem. Following the crepe farce, the ladies pondered, deliberated and finally decided to share the house dessert speciality: a ginger pumpkin praline dessert. It didn't arrive, leaving them with spoons and forks at the ready while I devoured a sorbet and Campbell inhaled his ice cream. The restaurant was now full, and our waiter appeared to have disappeared, and Posie felt forced to do what no customer should ever feel forced to do: get up and find out why the hell the dessert was taking so long. She came back with the news that they had apparently run out of it. This had not prevented the table next to us from ordering the same dessert after us and receiving it before us, but we resisted the temptation to point this out, or steal it from their table, and instead asked for the check. This being a Tuesday night, we got one of the main courses for free (on Mondays kids eat for free, while Wednesdays is BYO night - hey, they're trying), but this didn't stop our bill going well above $100, considerably more than we'd paid for a far better experience at Bouillabaisse 126. My mother generously picked up the tab, and being the subservient culinary consumers that we are (after all, I'm English too), we duly doubled the tax as tip. Hopefully our English-speaking Italian waiter will use the pocket money to take a lesson in French pronunciation.

A(nother) rural French restaurant in the heart of the inner city. The word Cocotte variously means "hen" or "chicken," "darling," "casserole dish," or "prostitute" - which explains the mural.

Service then, is hardly Cocotte's calling card. But what of the food? My mother pronounced herself eminently satisfied with both the moules and the duck crepes – though she readily confessed that Bouillabaisse did the appetizer that much better. Posie was less enamored with her pan-seared trout, which she reviewed as being 'dry' and 'blah.' (I bet she could cut this whole piece down to 100 words, too!) Campbell made do with a copious plate of perfectly crisp thin freedom fries (we feed him properly at home, honest!) and a bucket of ketchup. And me? Being vegetarian often works in my favor in French restaurants: I keep my expectations low and am often pleasantly surprised. I loved my beets-and-goat cheese salad (though I have to say, the wife does it better) and was quite taken with my single-option main course, leeks in cheese with some decent vegetables on the side. My sorbet dessert necessitated use of a magnifying glass to spot the accompanying cookie, but it was delicately satisfying all the same.

As it only took about 15 seconds for me to order my dishes (another advantage of my diet), I had plenty of time to focus on the real menu – the wine list. It's predominantly French (or at least 'French' grapes), as you would hope, and there were all the obvious matches for the food, including moderately priced bottles of decent Sancerre, white Burgundy and red Gigondas. Our set-up demanded going by the glass, which is inherently more interesting and revealing. The house Muscadet whet our palates and was the ideal accompaniment for my mother's moules. A glass of Côtes de Provence rosé 2003 was more like a translucent ruby red, indication of that summer's record heat wave, and so powerful it almost knocked me under the table; a sip of the 1998 Bordeaux chosen to match my mum's duck only confirmed my lack of enthusiasm for generic Bordeaux. All these wines were priced around the $6-$7 mark for a very generous pour, and when I saw the Jurancon dessert white wine was priced at just $4, I decided to splurge. When it arrived, it was not in the anticipated miniscule dessert glass, but in a standard white wine glass, filled to the brim. It would be nice to think that this was a deliberate act of generosity, but I don't think so. More likely, it was another example of poor staff training. At least this error worked in our favor. As long as you attend Cocotte with this kind of open-minded attitude, you won't be disappointed.


TUESDAY MARCH 22

BROOKLYN BEAT

1) TOO MUCH TOO YOUNG?

Saturday morning I attended two exhibitions at the Brooklyn Musuem Of Art.

I Wanna Be Loved By You: Photographs of Marilyn Monroe is on until April 3, and anyone who has even a passing interest in this American icon should make a point of stopping in. We know Marilyn from the movies, we know her from the tabloids, we know her from the biographies of her rags-to-riches and ultimately self-destructive life, and through all of this we know her place in the filament of popular culture. But if we want to study Marilyn Monroe – or just stand back and admire her – we're best doing so through the eye of the camera. Marilyn was one of those rare individuals who could project herself through that eye to the invisible public on the other side; it's a cliché, but a valid one, to say that she made love to the camera lens. And her still photographs reveal much more beauty, talent and character than the moving images of her acting career. They're also more honest: for all that Marilyn manipulated many of her photo sessions, she frequently allowed photographers to capture her at her less contrived moments too. Were the exhibition to have been arranged chronologically, it could be treated as a visual biography of a momentous life.

The Artist as Model: A Pin-Up Portrait of the 23-year old Norma-Jean, recently turned Marilyn Monroe, from 1949. Photographer unknown.

The Model as Artist: Marilyn Monroe as famously captured by Gene Kornman, 1953

Among the 200 photographs on display (along with news reels, old magazines, press cuttings, film clips and, at weekends, free presentations of classic Marilyn movies) are many of the famous poses that have subsequently been practiced by several generations of platinum and plastic blondes alike. The highlight, apart perhaps from the portrait Red Marilyn by Tom Kelly that was the centerfold for the first issue of Playboy magazine, is the series of fifty-nine images shot by Bert Stern in 1962, titled “The Last Sitting.” Marilyn died, aged 36, just a few weeks later, and though conventional wisdom has it that her latter years were a mess, The Last Sitting proves otherwise. Here Marilyn is seen famously posing with nothing but an transparent chiffon sheet for cover – and if you've seen these images in a book before, you can imagine how powerful they are on three-foot square full-color prints by the photographer himself, presented at head height under perfect museum lights. The audience in attendance on Saturday, which crossed all generations, many colors and creeds, and absolutely both sexes (the most populous demographic was the young female), would seem to share my belief that Marilyn was a thing of beauty such as rarely walks this earth, and that this exhibition does that beauty justice where other mediums have not always succeeded.


Afterwards, I headed upstairs to the newly-opened Basquiat exhibition. Jean-Michel Basquiat, Brooklyn born and raised, lived one of the most fascinating and tragic lives of the late 20th Century. While dallying in music and poetry in the post-punk firmament of very early 1980s New York City, he created a street buzz with his graffiti credited to the pseudonym Samo. As soon as he went public under his own name, aged just 20, he became the darling of the downtown art world, his works selling as quickly as he could produce them - which means that, in the year 1982, when he turned out some 200 pieces of art, he became very rich indeed. His success encroached upon the very thorny issues of race and exploitation within popular culture, subjects Basquiat readily addressed in his art – but which in turn only seemed to increase their value to the rich white collectors who snapped them up. Sadly, as with some rock musicians who've experienced similarly staggering success at such a young age, Basquiat spent too much of his disposable income on drugs. He died from a heroin overdose at the age of 27.

In Italian, by Jean-Michel Basquiat, 1983.

The exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum of Art is enormous, filling two floors with over 100 original works, some of them occupying entire walls. Personally, while I admire Basquiat's early energy and his subsequent political suss, I've never experienced a personal connection to his work. He doesn't communicate to me through his paintings and his words the way, for example, that Marilyn manages to communicate to me through the camera. I'd be interested to hear from iJamming! readers who love Basquiat's work and would like to explain its appeal. That might include the young man who was seen walking around in a home-made tee-shirt featuring a Basquiat design and with a perfect tattoo replica of Basquiat graffiti running down one arm!


This was my first time at the BMA since the expensive redesign of its front entrance – a rather incongruous contemporary façade that looks like it's been glued on to the otherwise colonial structure. That criticism aside, the Museum remains exemplary. The atmosphere is cool, calm, and collected, inherently appealing to all cultures and ages. As always, the depth of its contents are staggering: the BMA houses one of the largest collections from ancient Egypt to be found anywhere in the world, a staggeringly diverse assortment of Islamic art, amazing American folk art, a surprising number of works by the "great" painters like Monet, and a permanent collection of 50 Rodin sculptures.

But it's also long made a case for incorporating popular art and involving the local community; this has included a famous battle with former Mayor Giuliani over the Sensation exhibition, and the no less raucous but less controversial success of its first Saturday parties. In years gone by, I've had the pleasure of literally stumbling upon a free live concert by Luna in the auditorium, and involved my kid in the Interactive arts programs at weekends. As you would expect from a museum that keeps its finger on the button of popular culture, there's an informative, interactive Basquiat web site, especially designed to educate and inspire a young audience. After all, you never know where the next art sensation may be lurking.


2) TOO MUCH TOO SOON?

Two quotes from two different Brooklyn papers about two different building proposals demonstrate a common thread about the damage these developments will cause.

1) Christopher Ketchum in the New York Press about IKEA moving into Red Hook.

What's at stake is not merely the collective memory that lives in the old brick of the city, but the kind of economic order that New Yorkers wish to build. The easy thing to do is topple the old buildings and fill up the seventy-story length of dry dock with the detritus of the brick and brownfield poisons—Ikea's plan—and pave it over and then permanently mark with white paint the outlines of where the dock once sat, like a chalking at a murder scene.

Then, bring in suburbia. Make sure most of the "risk" in this venture is covered by government hand-outs and tax breaks. Make sure, too, that you've secured the hidden subsidies to drivers who will swarm into the neighborhood, the tens of millions of dollars in congestion and pollution and accident costs borne by society. Sitting in Lillie's Bar I think: It's the railroad scam all over again. The railroads snatched land through eminent domain; IKEA gets land in a sweetheart deal. The railroads opened up the west. Ikea will open up Red Hook to more, and bigger, big-box development. Après Ikea, le deluge.

2) Francis Morrone in the very good new freebie The Brooklynite about Bruce Ratner's porposed plan for Atlantic Yards (as widely criticised at this site over many previous musings).

Disinvestment is bad. So is over-investment. And it seems that in some parts of Brooklyn we may be going from one to the other.

Brooklyn neighbourhoods have succeeded because they retain a scale and a style from an age when city development reached a stage of optimal habitability. Such neighbourhoods are exceedingly hard to find in urban America today. These Brooklyn neighbourhoods are not only a New York treasure but a NATIONAL treasure of preserved, human-scale palces. Developing their interstices with mega-projects like the Atlantic Yards proposal would destroy the scale of neighbourhoods that would, as a result, be edged and hemmed by phalanxes of outsize buildings. Only the crudest short-term cost accounting could justify playing so fast and loose with these treasures of comely urban form.

IKEA in Red Hook is a done deal. Bruce Ratner's Atlantic Yards are not. Visit developdontdestroy.org for more information about the latter proposal and wh it should be opposed.


MONDAY MARCH 21

HALL MONITORS: WHO MAKES THE GRADE?

More on the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame. (My review of the Induction Dinner is here.) Quite a few iJamming! readers were offended that U2 should have been inducted into this hallowed chamber. I answered some of those criticisms from my own perspective in the Pub over the weekend. I was also able to get hold of the Nominees list for the last four years, and it makes interesting reading. While U2 and The Pretenders, like The Clash, Talking Heads, The Ramones and The Police, were inducted on first attempt (which comes 25 years after one's first recordings), The Sex Pistols have been nominated for the last four years in a row, and Patti Smith for five, without crossing the threshold into the Hall itself. (Again, kudos to U2's Larry Mullen Jr. for confirming that U2 "jumped the queue" on these two acts; he also gave a shout-out to Tom Verlaine and Television as a primary punk influence.)

Who makes the decision on who makes the cut?
Well, the Souvenir Program lists the approximately 75 people who make up the Nominating Committee. About half of them are elderly rock journalists (Dave Marsh, Jon Savage, Nelson George, Peter Guralnick, Charlie Gillett etc.); the remainder is mostly industry titans (Doug Morris, Roger Ames, Sylvia Rhône, Jimmy Iovine, Rob Dickins, Bob Krasnow, Phil Spector (still!), Seymour Stein etc.) with just a smattering of performers (including Steven van Zandt and Robbie Robertson). These75 people choose the Nominees, and their list is then sent out to approximately 1000 rock'n'roll "historians" who are asked to list their eight choices for Induction in order of preference.

What this means is that it is NOT, as you might have pre-supposed, the elite group of Industry Insiders who are afraid or unwilling to allow the Sex Pistols (and Patti Smith) into the Hall of Fame. It's the wider voting body that repeatedly passes up on the most important band and one of the very most influential female performers of the last 30 years. Interesting. And, should we care enough (I mean, I'm listening to RJD2 as I type), surely it's time this injustice was redressed. Next year, perhaps the music media at large should engage in an orchestrated campaign on behalf of these icons?

Hall of Fame Nominees (* = Inducted)

2005 Nominees
Grandmaster Flash & Furious Five
Buddy Guy*
Wanda Jackson
J. Geils Band
Lynyrd Skynyrd
Randy Newman
The O’Jays*
Gram Parsons
Pretenders*
Sex Pistols
Percy Sledge*
Patti Smith
The Stooges
Conway Twitty
U2*

2004
ZZ Top*
Traffic*
Stooges
Patti Smith
Sex Pistols
Bob Seger*
Prince*
Gram Parsons
John Mellencamp
Lynyrd Skynyrd
George Harrison*
The 5 Royales
The Dells*
Jackson Browne*
Black Sabbath


2003
Abba
AC/DC*
Black Sabbath
Chic
Clash*
Elvis Costello & Attractions*
The Dells
Kraftwerk
Lynyrd Skynyrd
MC5
Police*
Righteous Brothers*
Sex Pistols
Patti Smith
Steve Winwood

2002
Talking Heads*
Patti Smith
Sex Pistols
Ramones*
Gene Pitney
Tom Petty & Heartbreakers*
Gram Parsons
Lynyrd Skynyrd
Brenda Lee*
Isaac Hayes*
The 5 Royales
The Dells
The Chantels
Jackson Browne
Black Sabbath
AC/DC

I'd like to add another point on U2: I was listening again to the superb new Doves album Some Cities in the car over the weekend and, though Doves fans may not want to admit it, U2's imprint is all over that band, from guitar lines to drum rhythms to song structures. Those who believe U2 have not been influential need to get out a bit more.

2005 MUSINGS:

Mar 14-20: The March Hitlist, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Dinner report,
Mar 7-13
: Bouillabaisse 126 restaurant review; Going Up In The World; Dandy Mama; Tim Booth
Feb 21-Mar 6: Live reviews: Ian Brown, Schizo Fun Addict, Soft Explosions, The Stands. Wine review: Langhorne Creek Selkirk Shiraz.
Feb 14-20: Ten Words Of Wisdom, Weblinks, Stone Roses demos, Lyceum revisited, Bandol wine review
Feb 7-13: Fanzines, Village Voice Pazz & Jop Poll, Chord & Tabs, The Plug Awards, Tear Down The Discos, Jean Lallement Champagne review
Jan 31-Feb 6: Erasure/Tim Booth/M83/T.H. White album reviews. WebFriends Day. The Jam vs. The Smiths vs. The USA, Iraq elections
Jan 24-30: Chemical Brothers/Lemon Jelly/Slits album reviews. Ted Leo/Benzos live reviews. Gang of Four/Specials/Happy Mondays/Farm/Bureau reunions. Tempranillo wine reviews.
Jan 17-23: The January Hitlist: Those That Almost Got Away, Revolutions, Remixes, Remisses, Justin Timberlake, Fiery Furnaces, Jimmy Edgar live
Jan 10-16: Tsunami observations/relief efforts/fund-raisers, Best Wines of 2004, British vs. American charts, Alba Chambourcin wine review
Jan 3-9: The Best Of 2004 - Albums and Singles; Biggest Disappointments of 2004; Minutes of A Miracle: Our Son Noel; New York Club Nights

2004 MUSINGS ARE LISTED HERE
2003 MUSINGS ARE LISTED HERE
2002 MUSINGS ARE LISTED HERE
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iJamming! Site Copyright Tony Fletcher 2005