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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 APRIL 1

LOATHSOME!

The NY Press unveiled its 50 Most Loathsome New Yorkers issue this week. Topping the list was Mayor Bloomberg, who seems something of an easy target. (Last year it was former Mayor Giuliani.) My own choice for most odious man in our New York lives would be Bruce Ratner, who embodies everything there is to hate about real estate developers. Ratner scraped into the top 50 last year; he's absent this time round though Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz rightly makes the list in his place:

"Markowitz finds time to advocate for the downtrodden, such as Ikea, Home Depot and developer Bruce Ratner in their noble quest to cannibalize mom-and-pop neighborhoods."

And it's not just Brooklyn that's suffering this suburbanization. At #5 on the Most Loathsome List is Steven Roth, CEO of Vornado Realty Trust. Why should you care? Let me quote the full caption.

'Under the captaincy of Roth, multi-billion-dollar real estate developer Vornado Realty Trust was the first in the city to propose a Wal-Mart superstore for one of its Queens sites. To Roth we would like to answer with the simple facts of what the coming of Wal-Mart likely means for the communities that would be "developed." After a decade of predations in Iowa, Wal-Mart led the closure or bankruptcy of 555 grocery stores, 298 hardware stores, 293 building supply stores, 161 variety stores, 158 women's apparel stores, 153 shoe stores, 116 drugstores and 111 men's and boys' apparel stores. Wal-Mart sales clerks nationwide averaged $8.23 an hour in 2001. That's $13,861 a year—$800 below the federal poverty line for a family of three. Wal-Mart employees in Georgia were six times more likely to rely on state-provided health care for their children than were employees of any other large company. In California, Wal-Mart workers are so heavily dependent on public assistance programs that their employment at Wal-Mart costs state taxpayers $86 million annually. An investigation by the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce found, "Wal-Mart's rock bottom wages and benefits cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars a year in basic housing, medical, childcare, and energy needs that the retailer fails to properly cover for its employees." So thanks, Mr. Roth. Thanks a fucking lot.'

It's not all political and financial targets though. Among the pop culture figures to be skewered by the Press are DJ, scenester and blogger Ultragrrrl (#20), and DJ, scenester and producer Larry 'Electroclash' Tee, all the way up at #3. It's unlikely that either will take this anything but vindication of their uniquity.


DAFT!

Over at the Village Voice, they waited a month or more to review hometown heroes LCD Soundsystem's eponymous debut album until the new Daft Punk album Human came along and they could tie them in together. (And if you need to know why, you clearly aren't aware of LCD's 'Daft Punk Is Playing At My House.') Reviewer Michaelangelo Matos is seriously down on Daft Punk: he writes of their track 'The Brainwasher' that "it appears to be a third-rate parody of circa-92 Eurorave, only with better filters and not as much propulsion." Then he notes that "the rest (of the album) is less funny." Ouch. I haven't heard Human but based on what I thought of Discovery, I'm in no rush.


HUMAN!

DJ McCutcheon wisely eschewed Daft Punk while playing French music at 12" Bar on Essex Street on Tuesday night. Least I think he did: I got pretty drunk, to be honest, which is what happens when you meet good friends at a bar that serves good wine, the owner is pleased to meet you and starts comping you drinks and then the DJ decides to join you for a chat during a quiet spell and insists on comping you more drinks. (Hey, I'm only human - and not the Daft Punk ironic kind.) As well as playing this monthly French party, McCutcheon DJs the 12" Bar's Manchester night So Much To Thank You For on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month. McCutcheon's neither French nor Mancunian, but he clearly loves his music: he stayed at the turntables playing a properly sequenced mix of French pop (retro and new) most of the time I was there – despite the relative absence of drinking customers – and returned to the booth late in the night the very second he saw a group of people walk into the place. (At which I made a stealthy getaway before the night could descend into further bottles of Californian Cabernet.)

McCutcheon's actually a man of many talents, having written two novels and a bunch of short stories which, though they've yet to see print the old-fashioned way, he's posted excerpts form at the site paxacidus.com. You can read 'Tour,' about a former grunge rock star embarking on a comeback acoustic jaunt, here, and Super Cool, "a novel of drinking and screwing," here. McCutcheon also finds time to host his own blog, NYCScribbles. I see from his latest entry he made the mistake of trying to play tennis on Wednesday. I shook the cobwebs by forcing myself out on a run. (It worked.)


OVERLOAD!

If you want to check out 12" Bar for yourself – it's comfortably small, not designed for dancing, but very friendly and affable, and just around the corner from Mercury Lounge, on the block of Essex Street right below Houston - McCutcheon will be there next Tuesday night "spinning sluttish rock'n'roll and sultry disco." And my friend Madina will be playing her own mix of indie rock and dub reggae on Wednesday: a suitable place to head to after Radio 4's show at the Bowery Ballroom, which is the only gig from a stellar run of headliners at downtown's finest performance space for which there's still tickets. Those who are quicker about these things than me may be heading out to headlining appearances by Graham Coxon (tonight, 1st April), LCD Soundsystem (Saturday 2nd April), Bloc Party (April 7/8), The Kills (April 11), and The Bravery/Ash (April 17/18). Also worth attending, at other downtown venues: Phoenix/Dogs Die In Hot Cars/Long View/Joy Zipper sharing the bill at Irving Plaza (Tues April 5), The Fiery Furnaces at Webster Hall on Sat April 9 and The Undertones, who are playing Knitting Factory on April 16 (I saw them there last year), and Southpaw the following night, Sunday April 17.



THURSDAY MARCH 31

WHERE DID THE WEEK GO?

Excuse the lack of posts the last couple of days - I've been away from my desk and the laptop and otherwise engaged and haven't felt the need to shout out loud about anything in the meantime. Hopefully I'll be able to resume normal service tomorrow.

(And I hadn't intended to scare anyone with the Rockin' & Shockin' news about Noel being in hospital. It seemed much more a case of attentive and precautionary medical care than anything else - but it drag on and wear both mum and baby out somewhat.... many thanks to those who asked after us all.)


TUESDAY MARCH 29

ROCKIN' & SHOCKIN'

ROCKIN'

  • Three-month old Noel's face lighting up on coming back home after a 5-night hospital stay;
  • the new season of Deadwood – plot twists so deceitful and dialogue so deadly that we hardly notice Ian McShane's Al Swearengen is too ill to curse throughout episode 4;
  • attentive health care that determines to find the root cause of an infection, not simply to send your baby home the moment his fever has died down;
  • good friends;
  • Keegan Ale's Hurricane Kitty – now there's a decent pint;
  • healthy hospital food – who knew it was possible?;
  • layering the icing on chocolate cup cakes for the 4th grade bake sale while singing along to 'Stacey's Mom' by Fountains of Wayne (with the requisite 4th grader, I should note!);
  • getting a return on your health insurance;
  • the food from Vegetarian Palate – if there's a better vegan mango chicken in the world, I'm unlikely to taste it!;
  • The Last Waltz – recently acquired on DVD, worth watching not for the rather poor filler and Martin Scorsese's lackluster interview technique but for the phenomenal performances and Robbie Robertson's zen-like calm throughout;
  • Posie – not a word of parental/marital complaint about spending five nights in hospital while breast-feeding a sick Noel (apart from going ballistic on the noisy neighbors – and rightly so);
  • another 8" of snow upstate and one more unexpectedly perfect Saturday's skiing and riding, Campbell now taking on Hunter's double black runs and zipping through its half pipe like he was born to it;
  • citizens in the Middle East demanding democracy/autonomy and peace over theocracy/totalitarianism and terrorism;
  • listening to the DJ blare U2's 'Beautiful Day' out on the deck of Hunter Mountain with a Saranac Pale Ale in hand as the sun sets over the peak at the end of a crystal-clear (and yes, beautiful) spring day;
  • the cinema at the Windham Theater set up with bench seats and tables so you can bring in pizza and put your feet up while watching Robots;
  • the movie Robots – for as long as it was on screen;
  • Candyman in Catskill – beautiful chocolates made in the front of the store, and at affordable prices (unlike certain new 5th Avenue, Park Slope establishments we could mention);
  • my Palace Guard childhood idol Peter Taylor's Hull City at the top of Division Three, I mean League One;
  • finding a case of recently-acquired Le Couroulu Vacqueryas from the stellar 1998 vintage in a Catskill wine store – at the giveaway price of $11 a bottle;
  • passing my written driving test without studying for it (I didn't realize I'd be sitting it when I applied for my license!);
  • becoming an early bird after being a night owl all these years;
  • The Very Best of The Human League – you're right, they have had a lot of great songs;
  • finally forgiving myself years of self-inflicted career-related deprivation and buying myself an iPod – and having my patience rewarded, snagging a close-out, open box 40GB iPod Photo for a price that a year ago would only have got me a 20GB no-photo iPod;
  • the iJamming! Pub;
  • Southpaw being so close I can come home between bands;
  • finally fixing the input on the VCR after six months of failure (and no taped shows);
  • starting a new book.

    Beautiful conditions in the morning + beautiful beer in the afternoon = Beautiful Day


    SHOCKIN'

    • Seeing your baby on an IV drip (especially when it's in the hand he likes to suck);
    • Campbell's concentration – sadly misplaced like almost everything else he owns;
    • no Public Holidays for Easter in the States;
    • inconsiderately noisy room-mates in hospital, something we went through when Noel was born, too – and can't they grasp that the constant noise from late-night television, loud phone calls and noisy visitors are not exactly conducive to bringing up a healthy and happy baby?;
    • the media circus over Terri Schiavo that could be re-directed to saving millions of lives except it doesn't bring ratings;
    • Posie having to spend Christmas morning AND Easter morning in the hospital;
    • the cost of health insurance;
    • watching the British Labour Government pander to the equivalent of American tax deductions in advance of the upcoming election – paid maternity/paternity leave increased to nine months and 28 days annual leave guaranteed for everyone (bet you it works);
    • how rapidly I forgot the movie Robots the moment I came out of the cinema;
    • people who don't respect the mourning process - especially when they're the ones who should be in mourning
    • Crystal Palace slipping into the relegation zone while I wasn't looking – is a Hull-Palace game on the cards for next year?;
    • no Palace games all Easter Weekend - what's the point of having Bank Holidays?;
    • becoming an early bird after being a night owl all these years;
    • Ian Brown's behavior – football thuggery belongs on the terraces of yesteryear, not the concert stage in San Francisco;
    • taking 17 years to apply for an American driving license;
    • not fixing the VCR in time to record VH1's jazzed-up Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony show, which managed to make a rather tame U2 performance look like the greatest show on earth ;
    • the amount of time I spend on iJamming!;
    • the prospect of finishing a new book.

    Got your own Rockin' & Shockin' list? Post it here...


    MONDAY MARCH 28

    QUOTE FOR THE DAY

    "Past decades come into vogue at regular intervals, at the point at which people who experienced those decades as children and adolescents attain positions of power in the world. In their years of struggle they primarily looked to the future; having both achieved their goals and failed to realize their fondest wishes, they have the rue and the leisure, the complacency and dissatisfaction to look backwards, and the means to broadcast an idealized version of the remembered past…"

    from the Preface to Low Life by Luc Sante, 1991


    EASTER MONDAY WATCH

    Far be it from me to recommend you watch Tabloid TV, but if you can't help yourself, I should be one of the talking heads on the Sky One TV show 50 Terrible Predictions this Easter Monday, March 28. Primarily, I'll be defending Morrissey's insistence back in early 1984 that The Smiths would never make a video. Presumably, this means Sky will be showing my interview with Morrissey for The Tube, live at The Hacienda some 21 years ago. I promise not to make excuses if you promise not to laugh! If you've got a long weekend, enjoy it.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

    2005 MUSINGS:

    Mar 21-27: The Go! Team live, Ian Brown dead, Pont Neuf wine, Hall Of Fame rules, Cocotte restaurant, Marilyn Monroe/Jean-Michel Basquiat exhibitions
    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
    :


    iJamming! Site Copyright Tony Fletcher 2005