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(Last updated
Fri, Aug 30, 2002)714åˇ
AREA 2:
A wash-out
24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE
The Movie
The Party
THE HOOTENANNY REVUE REVIEW:
Cedell Davis, Tuatara, and The Minus 5 atthe Knitting Factory
WILSON PICKETT:
Still 'A Man And A Half'
THE JULY HITLIST
30 Albums, 5 Songs, 5 books and a handful of movies
FEATURED ALBUM:
The 'Me Without You' Soundtrack
FEATURED WINE:
Rose of Virginia from Charles Melton, Barossa Valley, Australia,
TIMOTHY WHITE
An obituary by Chris Charlesworth
The REZILLOS:
Back On The (Flying Saucer) Attck
The iJAMMING! interview
RICHARD BUTLER
Featured Mix CD
Grandmaster Flash Essential Mix Classic Edition
THE JUNE HITLIST
30 Albums, 10 Songs, 5 books and a handful of movies.
MAY MUSINGS
Eight Days in A Week's Music:
Ed Harcourt, Vines, Candy Butchers, Timo Maas, Ashley Casselle & Adam Freeland, Aerial Love Feed, and enough little club nights to shake several sticks at.
LONDON MUSING
Tony's (lengthy) trip down nostalgia lane from his visit home at the end of April. Stop-offs include Death Disco, old Jamming! Magazines, life-long friendships, road trips to Brighton, Damilola Taylor and political frustration, Morrissey-Marr, Zeitgeist, Oasis, Dexys, Primal Scream, the current British music scene and more.
YOU DON'T KNOW JACK
Jack magazine comes out of the starting gate with the banner headline "best new men's mag in years."
REMARKS REMADE
Why I re-wrote the book: The introduction to the new edition of my R.E.M. biography, due out this summer through Omnibus.
EARLY APRIL MUSINGS
Chemical Brothers, Neil Young, Van Morrison, Paul Westerberg, Skywalking, Joe Strummer, Radio 4, and Aquatulle.
KIDS IN AMERICA
A weekend with John Mayer, Sugarcult - and Elvis
IT'S MY PARTY AND I'LL LIE IF I WANT TO
Michael Greene's Grammy Speech: An Invitation to Download?
Plus: 10 things they forgot to tell you at the Grammys.
THE VILLAGE VOICE PAZZ & JOP POLL
What the Hell Is Going On Here?
From the Jamming! Archives:
PAUL WELLER
interviewed in 1978
"A number one single would be a bit scary."
The iJamming! interview:
CARL COX
"'Acid Trax' by Phuture came out and I was just 'Okay, forget all hip hop and all old school rare groove right here, this is it.'"
The Best Of 2001
Tony Fletcher's Top Albums, Concerts, Singles and Books - and comments on the Village Voice Poll
MUSING on The Manhattan 'Edge':
Will the Island Ever Again Be A 'Cultural Ground Zero?'
GOLDEN SHOT
hostess 'Lee Patrick' recalls her time as Keith Moon's amour
ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN: "Flowers is Echo & The Bunnymen's finest hour since Ocean Rain."
HEDONISM:
An intrigue of early 90s New York nightlife.
NEW CHAPTER now online
From the Jamming! Archives:
U2 interviewed in 1984.
"It's not U2 that's creating this great art. . .There's something that works through us to create in this way."
iJamming! Wino/Muso:
JOHN ACQUAVIVA
"New world wines are just too techno for me."
Featured wine region 3:
SOUTHERN RHÔNE WHITES
Featured wine region 4:
SOUTHERN RHÔNE ROSÉS
iJamming! interview:
Jesse Hartman, aka LAPTOP
"Every New York band knows the meaning of failure"
MIX Albums:
Who, what and why you should bother
The iJAMMING! interview: DAVID SYLVIAN
"I don't think people realize that life can become so exciting and interesting that it can draw you away for long periods of time from creating music - & why not?"
From the Keith Moon archives:
the JEFF BECK interview .
The iJAMMING! chat:
MARK PERRY

"If I was asked why Sniffin' Glue was so important, it was the way we conducted ourselves, the style of it, just the attitude. It had attitude in abundance didn't it?"
Forgotten Classics:
THE CHILLS: Brave Words
THE iJAMMING! Book Review:
SNIFFIN' GLUE: The Essential Punk Accessory
From the JAMMING! archives: PAUL WELLER ON POP
Featured wine region 2:
CÔTES DU RHÔNE VILLAGES
From the JAMMING! archives: ALTERNATIVE TV
interviewed in 1978
TRAVIS.
Fran Healy explains why "you cannot own a song." (And why Liam Gallagher "is going to turn into a really great songwriter.")
Featured Artist Web Site:
LLOYD COLE
From the JAMMING! archives: The Story That Spawned Creation
Featured vine:
VIOGNIER:
Finally, a worthy rival to Chardonnay.
The iJAMMING! interview:
BOY GEORGE.
"Once you've had your go, what-ever it may be, they want you to piss off, and they can't bear it if you come back, they can't bear it."
Featured wine region 1:
CÔTES DU RHÔNE
The full iJamming! Contents
What's new in iJAMMING!?

Click on the header buttons above, follow the menu at left, or scroll all the way down to find your way round the site....The front page is now being used for (near) daily postings....


FRIDAY AUGUST 16:

NEW REVIEWS
My review of the wonderfully entertaining and varied Me Without You soundtrack is now up in the Music Section. I recommend it with Charles' Melton's Rose of Virginia for as long as the hot weather lasts.

SITTING AT THE FEET OF GIANTS
I'm not a bad writer, I know that much. But sometimes I see other people getting their message across with such a precise use of language and acute awareness of the facts that I am, simply, in awe. Current case in point is Camille Paglia, who was asked (by a reader at Andrew Sullivan's site) to justify her pre 9-11 stance regarding the USA and the Middle East. She doesn't justify it . She instead resets it according to what she - like all of us - knows now, and her response makes essential reading. I would offer a sample quote but almost every single sentence is impeccable and indispensable. I instead ask you all to spend some time digesting what she has to say - especially those who visit this site from Europe and have swallowed whole, and without question, their media's/leaders' frightening anti-Semitism. Camille's an intellectual for sure, but she writes in an accessible language and with great common sense. And she doesn't follow anyone's party line. I just hope there are people on the other side of the great divide writing with similar humanity.


THURSDAY AUGUST 15:

QUOTE OF THE DAY "
Tom Clancy, from the July 29 Newsweek: "I don't recommend writing as a form of employment, because it's such miserable work. That's how you tell a rookie: if they actually think the writing's fun. I guess it is for the first one or two, but after that it just becomes miserable work, like digging in the dirt with a shovel. But it's something you have to do. You can't not do it." I agree, all round. Then again, I'm sure that being the best-paid author in the world makes the dirt-digging a little less painful.

VIP? NOT ME
So I'm sitting here today wondering how I've managed to miss concerts this week by Bruce Springsteen, Oasis (twice), The Strokes with the White Stripes (ditto), and an intimate DJ gig by Sasha. Why? Because getting free tickets for concerts is extremely different from getting free tickets for all and any concerts, and when these various shows were announced, I didn't know whether I'd be on holiday in the middle of August and so refrained from joining the online/telephone pandemonium to get tickets when they went on sale. (Turns out I was on holiday last week instead.)

The Boss I've seen many a time before and hope to do so again, especially given how relevant he remains. I was so disappointed by Oasis last time round at Radio City Music Hall (Standing On The Shoulders of Travis, I think the tour was called) that I was happy to give it a miss this time. I've heard good reports, but I also have these really fond memories of seeing Oasis twice at Wetlands (200 people) and once at Knebworth (150,000) and part of me is tempted to leave it there, along with a fantastic memory of a brilliant Roseland show inbetween. I would like to have seen the Strokes/White Stripes show - especially last night's one at the tiny Irving Plaza - just to feel the vibe of America's two biggest breaking bands on the same bill. (A word in defence of The Strokes, who I've not been as blown away by musically as the Brits: the other Saturday, I was at Luna Lounge, hoping to see Stellastarr*, and at least four, if not all five, of the Strokes, were propping up the bar having come out to see the same band themselves. I admire any group that, having just discovered fame and fortune on a truly massive and enviable scale, stays true to its musical and social roots, and which enjoys hanging together even when not on tour.)

Oh, and Sasha I was most certainly invited to, but couldn't make it because I had to come straight home from seeing Beck perform an acoustic show at the Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall and write a review for Newsday. (I'll link when it's up.) It was a brilliant performance, and in I've been in a mode of 'rediscovery' for the last 24 hours: in fact I've been playing his 1998 album Mutations (from which Beck performed some seven songs in concert) all day. His upcoming release, Sea Change, actually makes Mutations sound positively upbeat: it's potentially a commercial disappointment, but based on last night's experience, I'm sure it will be both a critical success and just one more stop on what is already a frighteningly precocious career. I even downloaded a couple of Beck MP3s from LimeWire and was marvelling at his cover of 'A Day In The Life' - like, he's a good guitarist but I didn't know he was that good- until I realised someone had mislabeled a Jeff Beck MP3 instead! Oh well, Beck (Hansen)'s lo-fi, spoken cover of 'Firestarter', which I also picked up online, is more what you'd expect. You can hear most of his new album on his own site, by the way, where he's streaming a new track every week.


WEDNESDAY AUGUST 14:

THE TWO ARE ALRIGHT

As regular ijamming! readers know, I maintain the belief that The Who should have called it a day under their working name after bass player and founding member John Entwistle died in June (if not when Keith Moon died in 1978); I've also expressed horror that they opted to proceed with their summer tour despite the fact that John died on the very eve of the opening show. I have subsequently heard various reasons as to why Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey decided to go ahead with the tour, a couple of which I chose to extrapolate on here given that my information was provided by those in the know. Those suppositions have since been disputed by other insiders.

"It no longer feels like the Who, but in some ways - and this is painful to admit - it's a better band."

The Who 2002: Pino Palladino, Roger Daltrey, Simon Townshend, Pete Townshend, Zak Starkey, John 'Rabbit' Bundrick

All pictures by Dave Van Staveren, who hosts quadrophenia.net and Rabbit's web site.


Obviously, I can't pretend to be certain whether Pete and Roger chose to keep going because they couldn't afford not to (lack of sufficient tour insurance, including the distinct possibility that John didn't pass medicals and remained uninsured), because they felt it would be emotionally and musically cathartic (better than returning home to mourn in solitude), or because they believed that John's decision to abuse his body to a premature death (as indicated by the coroner's report of cocaine in his body) should not dictate that they also call it quits. Perhaps they haven't really figured out the real reason (or its merits) themselves.

But the fact that they chose to keep touring nonetheless put me, personally, as both a long-term Who fan (and biographer) and yet a critic of that decision, in a difficult position. Did I accept a ticket for the last of four nights at Madison Square Garden, and set myself up as a hypocrite? Or did I boycott the band, stay home and stew, and miss out on what would undoubtedly be a night of great music all the same?

I decided to attend and, sure enough, I enjoyed myself. On a purely visceral level it would be hard not to. The way Pete Townshend's been playing guitar these past few years, I could watch and listen to him all day and night without getting bored; and as long as he's singing Pete's songs, I'm similarly enthralled by Roger Daltrey. In addition, I believe Zak Starkey to be one of the most thrilling drummers around and the only man on the planet who's proven capable of filling Keith Moon's hallowed shoes. And then there's the issue of those songs: since returning to the stage as a four/five piece in '99, the Who's performances of their unrivaled material has sounded more vital than at any time since Keith was alive.

The Two, as opposed to The Who.
Yet this was a very different band to that which I saw in 1999 and 2000. It no longer feels like the Who (to which extent my forebodings were confirmed), but in some ways - and this is painful to admit - it's a better band.

The manifest differences start with the line-up distribution: the five-piece that worked surprisingly consistently since 1999 featured three original members (a solid 60% of the line-up), while the six-piece touring now includes only two founding musicians (a mere 33% of the line-up). As such, a far greater focus is placed on a far smaller percentage of the onstage musicians, namely Pete and Roger; in these circumstances, the nickname being given the current band - The Two as opposed to The Who - seems more affectionately appropriate than cruelly cynical.

No longer subject to John Entwistle's intensely loud and bottom-heavy bass playing, the remaining Two have placed his rapidly-hired successor Pino Palladino way down in the mix. This lower volume level appears to have inspired Pete Townshend to abandon his famously choppy and abrupt rhythmic style of guitar playing towards a far more melodic, and, for sake of variety, inherently more interesting form of lead. In turn, perhaps because he no longer needs to shout to be heard, Roger sounds vocally stronger and more confident than he has in years. And while the decision to bring Pete's brother Simon on tour was made before John's death, the younger Townshend's role is now more pronounced: he completes a vocal harmony missing from the Who for decades, and his occasional acoustic guitar playing fleshes out the sound without ever over-embellishing it. All these factors provide a cleaner palette for 'Rabbit' Bundrick's keyboard playing, which no longer sounds as busy or as forced as it had a couple of years back, while Starkey has already proven himself up to the responsibility of handling the rhythm at the back. Performing on a compact stage, the group tries to replicate the club experience in an arena, and to a large degree it succeeds.

The set has undergone a few useful changes too. (The rumor that they were going to introduce a couple of new, unrecorded songs until The Ox keeled over will have to remain exactly that.) Gone forever are Entwistle's 'My Wife' and 'Boris The Spider.' And I'm certainly happy to see the back of 'Magic Bus,' which was long due for retirement. But also permanently absent are some of the songs that made the 1999 back-to-basics shows so much fun: 'Getting In Tune,' 'Going Mobile' and 'Let's See Action' from the Lifehouse project; 'I'm A Boy' and 'Tattoo' from the 'blue period' of the mid-sixties. In fact, it constantly baffles and upsets me that what I consider the Who's most productively under-rated year, 1967 (that of 'Pictures Of Lily,' 'I Can See For Miles' and The Who Sell Out) remains entirely unrepresented.

The middle of the show now has a trio of Quadrophenia songs - a welcome 'Sea And Sand' and 'Love Reign O'er Me' bracketing '5.15' - and the encore revives a Tommy sequence for the first time in years, with the evergreen 'Pinball Wizard' followed by 'Amazing Journey,' a phenomenal Starkey-starred rendition of 'Sparks' and the 'See Me Feel Me/Listening To You' finale, the final notes of which trail away in the only disappointing conclusion of the night. 'Relay,' curiously absent from the recently released Ultimate Who double CD collection, is something of an obscurity to many casual American fans, and 'Another Tricky Day' is an interesting and effective album choice from 1981's Face Dances.

But the rest of the set is pure hits. The show kicks off, as always, with a trio from '65 and '66 - 'I Can't Explain,' 'Substitute' and 'Anyway Anyhow Anywhere' - and the same era's 'My Generation' and 'The Kids Are Alright' show up later as expected. There's the familiar four songs from Who's Next ('Bargain,' 'Behind Blue Eyes,' 'Baba O'Riley' and 'Won't Get Fooled Again'); 'Who Are You' remains the last of the Keith Moon singles, and 'You Better You Bet' and 'Eminence Front' the last two to survive him. . . Overall, a few popular surprises in a set of mostly solid staples. You can understand why the fee-paying public receives them with such rapture.

And make no bones about it, the Who's relationship with its remaining American audience has rarely appeared stronger: the standing ovation after the perpetually mesmerizing 'Baba O'Riley' was on a par with any response I've witnessed at a 'classic rock' show. Some of this surely reflected the (Entwistle-included) group's astoundingly energetic performance at the Concert For New York City, at the same MSG venue, last November in the wake of the September 11 attacks. The Who that night revealed to a television audience what the long-terms fans already knew - both how much energy they could give on stage, and how much love they had for the American public. Townshend ensured to say something to that latter effect every night at MSG; on Sunday, it was to tell the audience of that CFNYC concert that "You gave us more than we gave you." He ended the evening on an even more personal note by stating "You've made a very difficult time for us much better." Now I put those two statements together, I'm glad that The Ox's last American show with the band was at such an important event, for the group's reputation, for the audience's deserved entertainment, and for the whole city that really does seem like the Who's second home.

Those occasional moments of reflection aside, however, the mood Sunday night was so celebratory that I couldn't decide whether this upbeat atmosphere was in defiance of John's death, or actually in ignorance of it. For it was hard not to look around at the mostly middle-aged and drunken audience and conclude that they were more intent on enjoying what they heard than considering what (or who) was absent, and that these are people who will blithely keep attending Who concerts and blindly keep singing along for as long as one founding member survives to justify the experience. Proof of such classic rock non-critical idol worship was apparent when opening act Robert Plant played for an encore the Led Zeppelin stalwart 'Whole Lotta Love' - and despite the fact that Plant's backing band could in no way replicate the musicianship, power or cohesion of Led Zep's Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones and John Bonham at their heyday, the crowd lapped it up as if experiencing the real thing. If it was not quite a Las Vegas imitation of originality, it was certainly a mirage - and yet the audience seemed unable to tell the difference.

Then again, at least Plant performs under his own name and continues to record new material. (I've said this many a time, but Led Zeppelin had the decency to call it a day when their drummer died prematurely.) Townshend and Daltrey appear to have the attitude that as the songwriter/guitarist and the singer, they have sufficient excuse to keep working as The Who, and unlike those who believe that with this 'show-must-go-on' tour they're simply paying off the bills and further boosting the retirement fund before hanging up their Who hats, I actually think that, given the genuinely positive response to this tour, they'll continue to work together under the band name once the shows are completed. It's in Townshend's nature to deliberately defy the critics and confound expectations, in which case continuing with The Who in his old age, despite disparaging the act through much of his thirties and forties, would seem the perfectly contrarian option. Daltrey (like Entwistle before him) has never made any excuse of his desire to keep the band working and recording in the first place, and without the Ox to cause any conflict between him and Pete, he may yet get his way. Watching the group onstage, it was hard not to believe that behind the sadness of John's recent departure lay genuine excitement at the present and even an eager anticipation of the future.

"Pino Palladino frequently looked naked at stage front, what with the eyes of the audience fully upon him and not even a vocal microphone to obscure him. "
For all the improvements, I missed John Entwistle, Thunderfingers, both in curmudgeonly looks and voluminous sound. I missed hearing the collective entity play at such a deafening, even threatening level.While Pino Palladino faithfully replicated Entwistle's complex lines, he will never be more than a glorified session musician in the Who. In fact, Palladino looked naked stage front, what with the eyes of the audience fully upon him and not even a vocal microphone to obscure him. I was grateful that he was excused John's extended solo on '5.15' and then disappointed that he was forced to emulate the famed bass part on 'My Generation'. The audience roared their approval as if doing so exorcised the ghost of Entwistle, but given how stodgy this anthem has sounded for years, and how utterly inexcusable it has become lyrically, they should retire it instead. Its constant inclusion over the years as a safe bet audience hit represents all that's worst about the Who's creative complacency.

All said and done though, I was thoroughly entertained. The cynic in me always gets the boot once Townshend starts playing. (I think the same applies to himself). But I didn't feel the same buzz of anticipation attending the Garden as I used to for Who shows, nor the same sense of entirely enthralled excitement when they were on stage. Part of that is due to over-familiarity; the revived Who has been playing almost continually since 1999, with only subtle changes in a well-worn set list. And part of it is down to John's absence, my own mixed feelings about attending and my qualms about the group's persistence under the name The Who. So while I loved what I heard and adored what I saw, while I witnessed thrilling renditions of some of rock's greatest songs played by two of the most exciting performers to have survived rock's first generation, ultimately I could take it or leave it for exactly what it is - a nostalgia trip. A superb one at that. But it's definitely not The Who. Not as we knew it, nor as we should come to know it.



LISTENING TO YOU

In the interest of full disclosure, I should note that I didn't pay for my ticket for the Who. I have almost always paid for my Who tickets in the past, most notably when I went to Chicago for the two House of Blues shows in 1999 that marked the Who's comeback as a five-piece and at their smallest venue in some 30+ years; the size of club and the sense of musical adventure and rediscovery filled a large gap in my Who experience, and every arena show since then I have viewed as something of a bonus.

I make the above point because I was massively misconstrued, over on the Forum, when writing about the Area 2 'concert' here on the site just before going away. I wrote too much (as always) and too quickly (similarly), and maybe my message got lost in the rush: rather than suggesting that I enjoyed the show any more than any one else because of having a VIP Pass, I was ridiculing the fact that said pass was entirely and completely useless, with no validity or exclusivity of any sort whatsoever. Allowing that I also spent 30 minutes outside the arena with guest list 'confusion', my day was entirely farcical and would have been futile too, but for David Bowie's endearing performance.

To make it clear, though, without doubt one of the undeniable bonuses of writing about music is access to free product, both in recorded form and concert form. And every now and then, us writers allow that access, especially to concerts, to cloud our judgement - usually in favor of the performing artist, for whom we may have much better, more expensive seats than the vast majority of paying customers, on top of which we may possibly have had access to some pre- or post-party with free drinks designed to enhance our positive memory of the occasion. For my part, I usually spend much of every concert watching the audience to see how (even if) they're enjoying it; I listen to what people are saying between songs; and at venues like Irving Plaza and Bowery Ballroom, I eschew the crowded 'VIP' area to get on the dance floor and experience the gig like I figure it was intended. I hate the liggers who treat VIP access as opportunity to preen and loudly gossip rather than watch the show at hand, and have been around far too long (and take the car far too often) to be impressed or swayed by the occasional free drink. Like any other supposed 'critic' (a word I truly hate), I'm occasionally confronted by the internal conflict of writing something negative about somebody I like personally; I reserve the right to occasionally avoid all comment rather than ruin a friendship - especially on this labor-of-love web site..

I do still pay for shows, whether the few grand to go see the Who in Chicago in '99, the scalped tickets (for the wrong night!) for The Who at MSG two years ago, the twenty dollars for Joe Strummer at St. Ann's Warehouse earlier this year, or the seven bucks for the opening night of the venue Southpaw, here in Brooklyn, a couple of months back. And I still buy albums - much of the time it's less stressful to do so than alert a publicist to my interest. Because, and I need to make this very clear, the negative side of the music journalist's outwardly enviable freebie lifestyle is just how much incredibly bad music we are subjected to. This emanates from major labels, with their factory-line acts of all kinds (from pop to R&B to nu-metal) all the way down to the hopeful amateurs who write me personal e-mails, beg to send me their CD, then want a detailed personal critique within a week as if that's how I'm going to earn a living.

Similarly, over the years, I've often stood at some half-empty and emotionally cold club wondering why I let a publicist talk me into seeing their dreadful new signing when I could be at home catching up on reading over a good glass of wine. (I still buy 80% of my books, by the way, and 100% of my wine.) And while there's a certain pleasure in having a large CD collection, there's a frustration in having one that's so enormous, filled with so much music that I don't desperately love but which has just enough commercial and credible success to merit keeping, that I frequently can't find the record I'm looking for in a hurry - to the point I've occasionally had to go out and buy something when I know I already have it! Offloading new releases at a 'second-hand' store is time-consuming and financially unrewarding. A succession of 'stoop sales' over a two-year period freed me of around 1500 CD albums but still left me with over 1000 abjectly unwanted pieces of plastic that people wouldn't buy even for a dime - and such music is constantly taking up space in my home, my office, my basement, my life. (That pile eventually went to the Salvation Army.) You don't know how many times I've wanted to call up a record label and beg them to take back their CDs stamped 'for promotional purposes only' (on condition they'll pay post and packing). You don't know how much I envy friends with manageable record collections and how I admire their refusal to accept the free music I try and 'transfer' to them.

In other words, the supply of free music is a two-way street, and any intelligent writer and passionate fan of music will try to ensure they share the 'average' concert-goer's experience on their way to better understanding a live act. Looking at the instance of the Who show above, you could argue that my free ticket relieved me of potential disappointment, especially given that prices were $150 or more; I could offer the counter argument that concert-goers, especially for classic rock shows with expensive tickets, will do anything to get their money's worth - which includes getting blind drunk beforehand and singing their way through every song to the exclusion of actually listening for potential faults. In the case of the Area 2 show, where I also got in free, I was trying to make the point that I was capable of having as disastrous an experience as the next concert-goer - and how much it helped bring me down to earth after the fun and games of the 24-Hour Party People party the night before. I'm sorry I was misconstrued.

MONDAY AUGUST 12: BACK ON THE ATTACK

Freshly returned from a week upstate, camping out en famille, at one point completely removed from all phone contact and e-mail - and with it all news - for a solid four days. It's reassuring to come back and see the web site still much as I left it, traffic remaining solid despite the lack of new postings this past week, and some interesting observations over at the Forum. I promise to reply to those soon, and there's lots more I want to write about here - not least The Two, I mean The Who show, I attended at Madison Square Garden the Sunday night before going away.

It's not quite so reassuring to return to the city just in time for the heatwave to kick back in: why did our week away up in the woods coincide with the only dip in the temperature the whole of this last month? Nor to listen to (Public) radio this morning, and hear that all three lead news stories are directly attributable to September 11, almost a full year on from that earth-shattering day. (Story 1: Iraq flatly refuses to let in weapons inspectors, further sowing seeds for war. Story 2: U.S. Airways files for bankruptcy, failing to have recovered from the financial disasters and passenger drop-off since September 11. Story 3: The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco is placed under a top level security alert.)

Still, there's some good news out there too, especially locally: 1) Talk of a major new transport hub linking the PATH trains to the New York subway in the rebuilt downtown suggests that the dubious plans previously proposed - and criticized on this site as elsewhere - will probably be completely rehauled. 2) Two-thirds of New Yorkers support a ban on smoking in all public bars (as well as those areas of restaurants that still allow smoking) such as is being seriously considered by Mayor Bloomberg. I'm totally with this one, thrilled that the formerly suffering minority of anti-Smokers has finally shifted into the majority. I look forward to the day I don't have to shower after coming back from some rock show or dance club because I stink of other people's poisonous tobacco smoke. Or not waking up in the morning coughing and sporting a headache from that same second hand smoke. I speak as an ex-heavy smoker who lost a pipe-smoking father to a very early death of cancer, so I'm not uneducated on this subject. And while I respect everyone's right to choose their own path to an early grave, face up to it - there are better (and these days less expensive) highs out there. Like wine, of course, of which I drank way too much over barbecued, tent-side meals last week - and reports on some of which I plan to post as soon as I get time to write.

Traffic on this site truly took off once I started daily musings about the World Cup, so I should continue with a good thing. The English football season started in my absence (it has a habit of doing that!) and my pessimism about Crystal Palace under Trevor Francis, and with star striker Clinton Morrison having followed mercenary former manager Steve Bruce onto Birmingham City, has been allayed by a nice away win at Preston. The only news better than that, and I'm really sorry but as a Palace fan I take my pleasures where I can get them, is seeing that Millwall lost their opening game 6-0 - at home to Rotherham of all teams, and in front of a mere 7000 fans at that. There's a whole fascinating boycott of Crystal Palace's Selhurst Park ground-sharers Wimbledon taking place (in opposition to a move out of London) that I've failed to follow through the summer, but I can certainly see its effects: a mere 2500 people for Wimbledon's opening 'home' game, a number that apparently included stewards, press and some 1800 away fans. I wish the Wimbledon fans good luck in regaining some control over their football team - even if it means following a local amateur one instead.

Elsewhere in the division, where clubs have a greater affinity with their community, I'm amazed at some of the attendances: over 25,000 at Leicester, Derby, and Sheffield Wednesday. This feels more like the old second division (i.e. current first division) of my 1970s childhood when solid five-figure attendances were the norm, and Palace routinely played to 35,000 or more. Whether these impressive figures are a knock-on boost from the World Cup summer, an opening weekend peak, or just the effect of some particularly well-supported teams having been relegated from the Premiership, it's reassuring for those of us who don't support one of the 'big' teams to know that loyalty to locale remains the driving force in this greatest of sports - at least among the fans.


FOR JULY 27-AUG10 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Area 2, 24 Hour Party People Party, Hootenanny Tour, 2 Many DJs and more.
FOR JULY 20-26 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Wilson Pickett, John Entwistle, rebuilding downtown NYC)
JULY 13-19
DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Love Parade, Teany, RenewNYC, Femi Kuti, NRA, Londonisation of New York, F Britishification of Global Rock)
FOR JULY 6-12 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Mike Meyers as Keith Moon, the RAVE Act, John Entwistle, Michael Jackson, Southpaw, Moby Online, Layo & Bushwacka!,
(accidentally deleted)
FOR JUNE 29-JULY 5 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes World Cup Final, John Entwistle's legacy, The Who's decision to carry on, the meaning of July 4)
FOR JUNE 22-28 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes World Cup diary, Dr. John, Doves, Mermaid Parade, John Entwistle's death, Timothy White's death, Clinic Firewater and Radio 4 live, The Who's decision to carry on)
FOR JUNE 15-21 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes World Cup diary, Liars live, GiantFingers, the Big Takeover)
FOR JUNE 8 -14 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes World Cup diary, StellaStarr*, Jose Padilla, Dee Dee Ramone, suicide bombings)
FOR JUNE 1-7 DAILY MUSINGS, CLICK HERE (includes World Cup diary, Southpaw, Six Foot Under, Andrew Sullivan)
FOR LATE MAY DAILY MUSINGS, CLICK HERE
FOR MAY'S EIGHT DAYS IN A WEEK'S MUSINGS, CLICK HERE
FOR LATE APRIL LONDON MUSINGS, CLICK HERE
FOR EARLY APRIL MUSINGS, CLICK HERE
What is iJAMMING!?

Back in the heady punk rock heyday of 1977, I started a fanzine at school, following the famous encouragement of (what I had thought was) Sniffin' Glue founder Mark Perry that "it was easy, it was cheap, go and do it." Truth is, it wasn't always easy and the printing bills certainly weren't cheap, but I did it anyway. And I had fun. For many years. Until eventually the business realities of running a monthly magazine got in the way of the creative energies, it stopped being fun, the bean counters took over and so finally, almost a decade after it was launched, the magazine - Jamming! - folded.
Continue reading the Mission Statement
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iJamming! Site Copyright Tony Fletcher 2002