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(Last updated
Tue, Dec 31, 2002 12:46 pm)

THE DECEMBER HITLIST:
5x5:
5 ALBUMS, EPs, MIX CDS, COMPILATIONS and SONGS to get you through the end of the year
the iJamming! Book Review
WHY TERRORISM WORKS
by Alan Dershowitz
CABERNET FRANC
The 'Other' Cabernet Grape Takes Root In New York
Part 1: The Basics/Regions
Part 2: New York Wines
Part 3: Loire Wines
Part 4: Conclusions
The November Hitlist
30 Albums 10 Songs
HOW MUCH WILL IT HURT?:
Ten tips for the marathon virgin.Or...How to enjoy an exercise in maoschism.
FEATURED ALBUM:
TOM PETTY/HEARTBREAKERS
The Last DJ
FEATURED WINE:
Château d'Oupia Minervois 20001
Featured Mix CD:
Mixed Live: 2nd Sessions by Carl Cox
From the Jamming! Archives: The Jam
Interviewed in 1979
The iJamming! Interview: UNDERWORLD
"I got it in my head that I was going to die in a cheesy hotel room covered in cat's piss." NOW WITH LIVE PHOTOS
Coming and Going
Chapter 3: The Palace
The iJamming! Interview
RICHARD BUTLER Part 2
From the Jamming! Archives: Adam Ant
Interviewed in 1978

REMARKS REMADE :
Available Now!
The introduction to the new edition of my R.E.M. biography is here.

A Decade In Dance
BT & BANCO DE GAIA
10 Years (Apiece)
The October Hitlist
30 Albums 10 Songs
HALF MAN HALF BISCUIT
The whole Bloody 1990s cataloge
Last of The Summer Rosês:
Goats Do Roam, Vin Gris de Cigare and Rose of Virginia.
DID BIN LADEN WIN?
10 Reasons To Fear The Worst
From the Jamming! Archives:
PAUL WELLER
interviewed in 1978
"A number one single would be a bit scary."
LEVI'S STROKES EARS
New York's rock'n'roll rescuers play Lowlife - loudly
LUNA at SOUTHPAW
Local legends and international influence come home to party
THE AUGUST HITLIST:
28 Albums Rocking Our World
THE TWO ARE ALRIGHT:
The Who at Madison Square Garden
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
TIMOTHY WHITE
An obituary by Chris Charlesworth
The REZILLOS:
Back On The (Flying Saucer) Attack
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.
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.'"
GOLDEN SHOT
hostess 'Lee Patrick' recalls her time as Keith Moon's amour
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."
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
From the JAMMING! archives: PAUL WELLER ON POP
Featured wine region 2:
CÔTES DU RHÔNE VILLAGES
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
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."
The full iJamming! Contents
What's new in iJAMMING!?

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TUESDAY DECEMBER 24

IT'S GOING TO BE A BLUE, BLUE CHRISTMAS WITHOUT HIM....

So Joe Strummer is dead. For once I'm speechless. I never met the man, but I'm really going to miss him. I went to see Joe play in Brooklyn this April with my English neighbor Paul and thanks to his inclusion of almost every reggae song the Clash ever wrote or covered, I've been playing Clash music (particularly the reggae stuff) ever since. 'White Man In Hammersmith Palais' hardly came off the CD player these last few months. Let alone 'Complete COntrol,' one of the greatest songs ever written, or the first Clash album... I mean it's not even in dispute. Damn. Condolences. For all of us. And infinite respect. What a really crappy way to end the year.


MONDAY DECEMBER 23

FIVE TIMES FIVE: THE DECEMBER BIT-OF-A-HITLIST

New music recordings dry up as the holidays approach; most of what I've received in recent weeks has been retrospectives, soundtracks, seasonal compilations and the like. The benefit of this lull is the chance to catch up on prior releases that may have slipped through the cracks. So the end-of-the-year December Hitlist is a Mix-and-Match list. Five albums (all pretty obscure), five EPs, five Best-Ofs, five songs and five Mix CDs. It should go without saying that there's plenty good music in there and that you'd do well to follow the occasional recommendation - if only to surf off to an artist or label web site for trial listening.

This may well be the last post before Christmas, in which case, hope you have a good one. Normal service won't be resumed any time soon, becaus

e service at this site is not normal to begin with. Just keep watching this space. . .


SUNDAY DECEMBER 22

NEWS JUST IN

THE LIVING FAMOUSLY documentary on Keith Moon will broadcast on BBC2 on Wednesday January 22, 2003. Fingers crossed that it's better than that Channel 4 atrocity from a couple of years ago. I have a feeling it should be. . . Though the fact that it's being shown at 15:30 - mid afternoon - seems a little odd.

. . .I'm more or less on holiday this coming week. More or less meaning that I still intend to post when the urge takes me, and I have a couple of proper features I'm trying to get on the site before the end of the year, but I'm not officially 'working.' A lot of my friends have been able to send out their End-of-Year wraps, and Best of 2002s already. Not me. Not yet. Getting those together will likely be my New Year's Resolution.

One of the many fun things about this thing we call the Internet is the various interesting and/or interactive art that whizzes across it, especially at this time of year. A couple of particularly amusing Shockwave/Flash Christmas cards that came my way were, as follows:
(I'm Dreaming of) A White Trash Christmas (sit back and watch)
We Wish You A Merry Christmas (click on a reindeer to join in)


SATURDAY DECEMBER 21

ROXANNE, YOU DON'T HAVE TO PUT OUT THE RED WINE

First Cliff Richard, now Sting has gone into the wine biz. The former Police front man and well-known Tony Fletcher impersonator has bought a vineyard in Tuscany and will be bottling his own Chianti DOCG in the near future. But if you want to taste it, you'll have to find a way into Sting's inner circle: the 100% Sangiovese wine, under the estate name I Serrestori, will be distributed to friends only. As further proof that wine makers are merely frustrated pop stars, and that wine collecting is basically no different than record collecting, each bottle will be individually numbered and autographed. The question is: will Sting charge his friends for this collector's item?

MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE

"Wines are like people. Some are perfect but boring, some are precocious but fail to live up to their promise, and some may be flawed, but the way they may develop is endlessly fascinating." So says Michael Broadbent, the wine connoisseur, raconteur and author. If Sting's wine lives up to the characteristics of its producer, we can expect it to develop slowly, then open up into something massively commercial and easily accessible for a number of years, before closing down for a lengthy period during which it will seem extraordinarily pretentious and overblown; assuming it lasts the distance as per Sting himself, after twenty years or more it will become harmlessly endearing, with just the occasional flash of inspiration and brilliance.

SPIRITS IN THE MATERIAL WORLD

"Just like man, the vine does stupid things up to the age of 20, from 20 to 40 it gets wiser and after that it's a question of philosophy." Joel Taluau, vigneron, Saint-Nicolas de Bourgueil. I do like that quote. Thena gain, I will be 40 soon, so why wouldn't I. And Sting's well over 40, so presumably his wine will be of questionable philosophy.

While on the subject of wine, this is the time of year the drinkers turn to the experts for seasonal recommendations. Given that I'm no expert (I fake it), I'm not going to suggest what you should drink over Christmas dinner; instead, here's what I'm putting into a case to bring for my week out of town. I doubt it will all get drunk (he says dubiously), but there's enough variety here to ensure that whatever we end up eating, we'll have something suitable on hand. For a bubbly: the GRUET BRUT Methode Champenoise from NEW MEXICO. (Yes, New Mexico.) Among the whites: DOMAINE DE LA PÉPIÈRE MUSCADET de Sevre-et-Maine 2001, DOMAINE BERNARD MOREY BOURGOGNE 2001 (Chardonnay), EBERLE 2000 PASO ROBLES VIOGNIER Mill Road Vineyard. And the reds - and this is red wine season, for sure: DOMAINE CHEZE 1999 SAINT-JOSPEH Cuvée Ro-Rée (100% Syrah), DOMAINE LAFOUGE BURGUNDY 1999 Auxey-Duresses 1er Cru 'La Chapelle' (Pinot Noir), CHATEAU DE FRANCS BORDEAUX Cotes de Francs 1996, IL GRIGIO DE SAN FELICE CHIANTI CLASSICO RISERVA 1997 (100% Sangiovese), MACARI CABERNET FRANC North Fork, Long Island, 1998, LENZ MERLOT Vineyard Selections 1997, North Fork, Long Island, LA QUINTESSENCE du CHATEAU PESQUIE Côtes du Ventoux 1997 (Rhône blend), a Côtes du Rhône or two, and most likely, the SEGHESIO ZINFANDEL 1999. And to go with the plum pudding, the CAMPBELL'S RUTHERGLEN MUSCAT from Australia, and maybe a CLINE LATE HARVEST MOURVEDRE in place of Port. To quote Michael Broadbent again, "I bet I sound like an alcoholic. But I'm not. What I drink is appropriate for the occasion and never, never in excess." Well, maybe occasionally in excess, but like I say, it is the season. And I do need to be well prepared. And in case you think I'm as pretentious as my lookalike Gordon Sumner, I should stress that only one or two of these bottles costs even a touch more than twenty dollars. It's just like music: there's so much good honest stuff out there when you look for it.


FRIDAY DECEMBER 20

SCHADENFREUDE? NO JUST PLAIN OLD GLEE

"He's not a vestige of the past. He's a vestige of what we would like to be in the past."
Pastor W Franklyn Richardson, of Grace Baptist Church in Mount Vernon, NY, talking about Trent Lott. (Quoted in the NY Times December 18.)

Fortunately it at least looks like Lott's position as Senate Majority Leader is a thing of the past.


NEW YORK DAZE CONTINUED

Perception versus Reality: Crime in New York City is down yet again, to its lowest level since 1963. The figures are astonishing: murders are down yet another 12% from last year, to just a quarter their peak of a decade ago; crime 'overall' is down another 6%. In addition, the average response time to fires has been improved, and even the number of pedestrian deaths on city roads is down. New York City is now the safest of the 25 biggest cities across America. It's ranked an astonishing 197th out of 216 cities with over 100,000 inhabitants. Even Provo, Utah – a place I have never heard of before - has a higher crime rate. All this without Giuliani – whose round-the-clock security is still costing us taxpayers a million dollars a year, more than we pay for the current Mayor's police protection.

Why then, do New Yorkers feel that the city is, if not exactly less safe, then certainly suffering a quality-of-life decline?

"I don't know," said an obviously exasperated Mayor Bloomberg while announcing these impressive new figures on Tuesday. "None of the statistics seem to show that's true."

Indeed, none of the crime statistics do show that's true. But before we get too carried away celebrating our drop in crime, we should recognize that unemployment is up drastically, and so, most tellingly, is homelessness. I'm aware that both are national problems, but if New York is any kind of barometer for the country, then you've got to hope that the city tackles its rising homelessness crisis with as much devotion and concern as it did its crime crisis. Because there's no doubt about it: we are once again enduring the disturbing sight of physically unkempt, mentally unstable, and clearly unhappy people "living" in subway stations, on the trains, on street corners. Those of them who have the energy can be seen and heard begging, often aggressively, those who don't are most likely just slipping away. I know for a fact that there's a national increase in homelessness, but if Bloomberg doesn’t want reality to follow perception, he needs to find a way to address the crisis – especially in such an already cold winter, and without sweeping it under the carpet by simply driving them out of public view.

For that, of course, he needs money, and there comes the other part of public perception that the city's bad days are back again: New York is teetering on the financial brink. I wasn't here when the city went belly-up in the 1970s, but those who were seem to believe that an explosion in urban crime followed the collapse of city finances as surely as night follows day. So while I appreciate Bloomberg's readiness to talk tough and spare no one – not even the hallowed Fire Department – from unfortunately inevitable budget cuts, I worry that his constant hang dog expression and pessimistic predictions will have an unintended negative effect: a perception that we're not doing as well as we are.

Our transit strike was averted. In many ways a positive example was set for industrial relations: the Metropolitan Transit Authority recognized the workers' issues, the Transit Workers Union didn't walk off the job, both sides compromised, and the biggest public transit system in the world continues to operate (sometimes impressively, sometimes infuriatingly) around the clock. The concern is that other public sector workers will raise similarly legitimate grievances demands - and also threaten to walk off the job if they don't get them. The Fire Department, if you'll excuse the metaphor, is a smoldering powder keg right now, and somehow, I don't believe the city will back down from the next confrontation. Yet a strike by any public employees will absolutely see our perception of a sinking city turned into reality, and start us on a very slippery slope to chaos. So I'm keeping fingers crossed that common sense will prevail until we can turn city finances around.

After all, New York is a safer city than when I first moved here. It is, in many ways - and even despite 9/11 - a better place. We all have our quality-of-life issues – noise, pollution, smoke, drugs, drink, dancing, cellphones! – and they don't always correlate with those passing the laws, but people like myself have chosen to raise families here, in the heart of what was once the global emblem of urban decay, rather than emigrate to the suburbs. We've done so because we love our city despite (or because) of all its contradictions and chaos. And we want to be able to turn round in ten years and know we did the right thing.

What the....? Two of the revolutionary proposals to rebuild downtown New York.

A decade from now and we should at least have some notable changes in the skyline. The plans unveiled on Wednesday for rebuilding the 16 acres of downtown destroyed by terrorists on 9/11 were the precise opposite of those delivered to such disappointment last summer. The old designs were formulaic and archaic: the new designs are ambitious and futuristic, probably too much so for any of them to ever become a reality, but that's okay. I don't see that New York City needs the tallest building in the world – let's let our low crime rate, our thriving culture and our tolerant diversity be our calling card – but I love that some of the most creative architects in the world at least came forward with a vision. Even without the Twin Towers, the New York skyline remains like no other on the planet, and the new designs follow in the city's grand tradition of architectural aspiration. So I'll welcome a couple more beautiful additions to our splendid skyline – but I'll be paying far more attention to the blueprint for disaster memorials, green space, cultural creativity - and public safety.


Campbell's Bone Appetit joke went down well. This one he made up himself. (Does he get royalties?)
Q: What's the smartest animal?
A: A cow-culator!

THURSDAY DECEMBER 19

NEW YORK DAZE AND NIGHTS

It's a muted party season in New York this December: take the city's serious economic troubles, multiply it by the problems in the music business, and it's hardly a surprise that open bar celebrations with catered food and highly paid entertainment in lavishly decorated hired halls appear to be non existent this year. (There's another explanation: because Thanksgiving fell so late this year, and Christmas comes in the middle of a week that, against usual separation of church and state, most Americans are being invited to take off, the usual 'party season' shrank from four post-Thanksgiving weeks to three. It makes a difference.)

Still, who says you need a vast budget to have a good time? Last night, the Stunt Company PR firm threw a free admission, open-to-all bash at Piano's on Ludlow Street, with a couple of barely passable live bands downstairs, and some stellar DJ sets in the upstairs lounge. Long-standing local DJ Delmar (least I think it was him) mixed old-school rave anthems with The Rapture's 'House of Jealous Lovers'. Morgan Gheist, who produced the remix of that aforementioned Rapture track, then took the decks alongside his Metro Area partner Darshan Jesrani; as befits the reputation of their self-titled and highly lauded Metro Area debut album, the pair delivered a minimalist set of taut disco grooves over modern electro beats. That was followed by a tag-team set between San Fran's Scott Hardkiss and New York-via-London's DB, showcasing the 'Sorted' night that's DB's contribution to New York's ongoing revival atmosphere. A co-founder of rave mecca NASA, DB has always been a breaks head – he co-owns the Breakbeat Science store and has championed drum and bass these last few years – but last night he delved into what I thought were my own record crates with those classics 'Connected,' 'Loaded,' 'Wrote For Luck' and that epic Weatherall mix of My Bloody Valentine's 'Soon.' It was like Communion all over again.

Darshan Jesrani and Morgan Gheist of Metro Area play minimal techno-disco Scott Hardkiss and DB get Sorted. But Who's That Girl?

I'd planned on stopping by a few spots but I gave up that idea when I almost didn't get in to Piano's. VIP problems? Guest list? No, as already stated, this night was a free-for-all for all-who-knew. My problem was lack of ID. Under Giuliani's Quality-of-Life crackdown, under-age (i.e. under-21) drinking was heavily targeted, leaving bar owners so nervous at the prospect of 6-foot plus, bearded and bustly 20-year old probationary policeman who look twice their age busting their joints over one 'illegally' ordered beer that many resorted to a simple policy of No ID, No Admission – no matter how old you may actually be or how old you may look. (I shouldn't just blame NYC and Guiliani; at the Nigeria-Italy match at Boxton's Foxboro Stadium in Massachussets during the World Cup in 1994, a baby-faced minimal wage bar-staff refused to pour a pensionable Italian visitor a beer because he didn't have ID. But I digress. . .)

It was because of that sudden policy of necessary over-21 ID that I started carrying my Green Card in my wallet. And it's because I was tempting fate that of course I lost the wallet – not in a bar or a taxi, but at Shea Stadium, chasing my son round the bleachers 'cause he was bored watching The Mets. (To which half of New York will likely echo: who wouldn't be?) It's because I'm an idiot that I didn't do anything about my loss for the rest of that summer – which ended with the horrors of September 11. It's because the INS was then (understandably) ordered to actually think twice about applicants before it issued them visas that my application for a replacement card, usually a 90-day process, became such an interminable wait that the one-year stamp in my passport actually ran out a couple of weeks ago. And it's because I didn't want to be caught without a green card in an emergency that I decided to visit Federal Plaza yesterday to (hopefully) get my passport re-stamped.

Anyone who knows Federal Plaza shivers at the thought of it: thousands of would-be immigrants flood the building every day seeking out forms, information, passport stamps etc. etc., many of them with a bad grasp of the English language and equally bad attitudes. Having said that, during my four hour wait there yesterday, I was genuinely impressed by the INS's efficiency and friendliness. When my number was finally called, the INS officer entered my information in the computer and then informed me that in fact, my replacement card had been sent out already – but before I could panic that it had been lost in the mail, he told me the date: December 14. Sure enough, I got home to find it waiting on the doormat. I don't think you could find a more pertinent example of Sod's Law, but hey, I got through the best part of reading two books, two magazines and the whole of the NY Times while waiting, so no harm done.

Still, I was hardly going to repeat past mistakes and put the new card in my wallet, which made Sod's Law seem all the more in force when the doorman at Piano's flatly refused to let me in. Turned out the cops were working all across the Village last night – height of the party season and all that – and Piano's sister bar had already been busted by a cop. (A blond cop no less.) Eventually I get the owner – who I swear is younger than me – and he gives me the all-clear only when I answer, in the negative, his all-important legal get-out question "Are you a cop?" (Note to johns picking up hookers in the street: don't forget to ask this of your 'date'. If she says no, you can't be prosecuted, even if she is a cop. So I'm told…)

I mention all this because, for my European friends, the idea of it being illegal for 20-year olds to have a beer boggles the mind. These friends are going to be even more baffled and outraged when they come to town next year and find they can't smoke in all but a very few bars and the (non-existent) smoking rooms in clubs. If you've been following my site, you'll know I'm with the city here: this morning, yet again, my clothes went straight in the wash following my night out, thanks to second-hand smoke stinking them up. A lot of my friends smoke, which is one reason I'm glad that the law will take care of something that I can't do (outside of my own home) without pissing them off interminably: that is, to tell them to stop poisoning people around them. And a lot of my friends who do smoke – at least those who aren't completely addicted – seem to welcome the new rule. They're hoping it will help them give up. That, according to Mayor Bloomberg, is the intention.

But what's next, ask the critics who note the already heavily enforced drinking regulations and the impending anti-smoking laws: a ban on cell-phones in the same places as smoking? Funny you should mention that, it's precisely what the City Council just proposed. Bloomberg plans to veto it, insisting that it would be unenforceable. Quite how easy the city is going to find it to enforce the new anti-smoking rules we've yet to see.

Talking of downtown New York, our economic woes, and the various proposals that some say will help and others insist will hinder, nine new plans for the WTC site were unveiled yesterday. I gave the previous hopeless plans a mauling, so you can be sure I'm going to comment on these as well. But first I need to look at them. And that means getting off the site for a while. Stay well.



WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 18

If it’s not schaden freude the way we finally got it defined on this web site, then it's plain old glee. Watching the hand-wringing among Republicans over Trent Lott's apparent endorsement of segregation has brought an almost embarrassing degree of satisfaction for some of us outside the political arena - perhaps because the Democrats, having proven entirely unable to find a single issue on which they could succesfully brow beat the Republicans with, finally stepped back and watching the ruling party shoot itself in the foot. But that's the thing about bigots: leave them alone and they'll quickly become confident enough to express their bigotry in public. Lott says he plans on staying as Senator, but the bigger a fight he puts up, the greater the damage to his party - and to his country. Bush has already made it clear he doesn't intend to defend the incoming Senate Majority Leader. That's smart thinking.

Following along a similar line, I'm disappointed at Al Gore – but not for announcing that he won't be running for President again. My disappointment is that he couldn't reveal the same propensity for sly humor, common sense and quick-thinking while campaigning against George W Bush two years ago as he's shown on the talk show, book tour and comedy circuit this last few weeks. Where was that man when we needed him? Clearly feeling so much pressure that he dropped a 20-point lead over his Republican competitor and threw away what looked like a certain Democratic Presidency. Perhaps it was for the best. If he couldn't deal with the pressure of campaigning, imagine how he'd have dealt with September 11.

Which brings me to my two-page review of the Alan Dershowitz book Why Terrorism Works, posted this morning. Yes it's long, but that's because I feel that the subject matter is too important to be condensed into a few hundred words. Why Terrorism Works has been out in the USA since September and it will be published in the UK in January, which makes the review quite timely. Please try and find time to read it. I welcome comments on the subject, but I ask that you make them constructive. This site has witnessed its share of knee-jerk reactions in the past when it comes to the Middle East, and sadly all that does is reinforce stereotypes and decrease the chance for constructive dialogue. Here's hoping you're having a peaceful holiday season.


TUESDAY DECEMBER 17

A ROGER DALTREY QUOTE I WISH I'D HAD FOR DEAR BOY

Here's the Who singer explaining the genesis of Keith Moon's character-song 'Waspman', the b-side to 'Relay.':

"We hit some bad weather on a flight from Copenhagen back to London…..This fucking plane was like a rollercoaster ride, it almost flipped over.
"We'd got through this weather and it all sort of leveled out and everybody was puking and sitting in almost total silence. Now, meantime, Moon's disappeared. He was sat with this groupie bird who had this tiger-skin coat which he's taken, and her bra. So he disappears up the back of the plane to the bog. . .The captain's come out and he's standing there apologizing, saying it's the worst weather he'd ever been through.
"Then from the back suddenly there came this 'bzzzzzzz!' We looked round and it was Moon stood with the two bits of her bra over his eyes like big fly eyeballs and he's got her tiger-skin coat tied round his neck like a cape. And he shouted, 'Don't worry, folks – Waspman's here to save you!' and he did this thing up and down the plane buzzing away as Waspman, kissing all the women and just fuckinga round in general. By the end of it everybody was just rolling about laughing. He'd taken the edge off that hairy situation and cheered everyone up."
From the January issue of Uncut, 'Daltrey and Townshend on the Classic Singles.'

While on the subject of artists about whom I've written biographies, I see that R.E.M. have confirmed a European festival tour for next summer, including Glastonbury (if the event gets its license) to be followed, supposedly, by a Greatest Hits featuring a couple of new songs. I'm very glad they'll be back out touring (and don't forget the States, boys, even though you may think that the States has forgotten you) but mildly surprised that they've, um, succumbed to the standard Greatest Hits format rather than forging ahead with a new album.

And there's official word that come the spring Ian McCulloch is set to release his third solo album – a full decade after his commercially disappointing Mysterio. Unlike that period in the 90s when he was warring with the camp that continued to call itself Echo & The Bunnymen, Mac's newest solo release is apparently not to be taken as signal that the band has once again broken up; we're told he's just taking a creative hiatus. Allowing that the Bunnymen is basically just Mac and Will these days, one has to ask though, why the need to make a solo record when the last Bunnymen album, Flowers, did so much to put the group back on track? Either way, I'm looking forward to it.


MONDAY DECEMBER 16

HERE COMES THE WEEKEND…THERE SHE GOES…MANIC MONDAY

Okay. I know the weekend comes and goes quickly as a matter of course. I know it's the holiday season. But still, someone tell me where the last 72 hours went, please, because I'm sure I scheduled some down time in between festivities!

Friday night I had three invites. One was for a birthday party with a band playing, in midtown Manhattan. The second was a birthday party at a karaoke bar in the East Village. The third one was a friend's "back from a wedding in India and because I'm going to play the holiday host and show you all my pictures I'll order in Indian food to make it worth your while" party. That one was in Brooklyn. After driving through three hours of heavy rain on the Thruway Friday evening it was pretty obvious which one I was going to attend. So thanks Jill for excellent Indian food, good music (though I should have brought over the excellent Midival Punditz album to accompany the equally impressive d'Arenberg Marsanne-Viognier and the food), great photos, pleasant company, forthright conversation (Queefing anyone?) and thinking to pick me up an Uncut with The Who on the cover on your stop over at Heathrow Airport.

Saturday we attended Campbell's end of term art show at Pratt Institute; he's been attending a foundation course there, which is a superb introduction to the art world at large, and one of my top ten reasons to love Brooklyn. Saturday evening saw an end-of- year Bordeaux bash with my geek friends who all laughed at my mispronunciations of various famous estates. (And I'm always insisting there's no snobbery in this scene!) I'm still trying to figure out how, back in the early 80s, my new pal Greg got into Ozzy Osbourne and fine wine simultaneously, at the end of his New York teens otherwise spent following the Jam and the Clash. (I was just learning to distinguish a bhaji from a somosa in those days: wine was something you drank when the beer ran out!) But I'm not complaining, seeing as how he's always happy to share.

Greg and his girlfriend Michelle were off to see The Slackers at the Knitting Factory and I was down to see French Kicks/Natural History at Southpaw (having failed miserably to act upon The Rapture's Bowery Ballroom headline slot in time to get tickets). Unfortunately, you couldn't catch a cab Saturday night for love or money in Manhattan and by the time I walked in on the gig after a tedious subway ride it was over. Oh well. Isaac from the label Startime International seemed completely unphazed that I missed his bands, which indicates that the gig must have been a roaring success. I stayed around long enough to see the night switch from the indie music of Jon Setzen (who hosts the bi-weekly Painting and Kissing night at Southpaw, stop by tonight or December 30 to offer moral support) into the venue's Saturday night hip-hop party, which drew the most horrendous crowd it's ever been my misfortune to be trapped among in Park Slope. What was with all the 50-year olds? (I'm serious!) And when you're at a free admission hip-hop party in the most multi-racial city in the entire world and the audience is 99.5% white, you know something's wrong with the promotion. Mind you, Trent Lott would have loved it.

Sunday I might have caught up on the site but for our neighbors Andrew (he plays in Home) and Jeanne (she works at Lego, which is every bit as cool) hosting a holiday seasonal gathering through the afternoon. I managed to avoid the temptations of mulled wine, red wine, and eggnog but Campbell must have mistaken the latter for good old milk as he proceeded to hold the entire party hostage to an impromptu variety show. Sample joke: What do skeletons say before dining? Bone appetit!

Finally, Sunday night was spent trying to update our address book sufficiently to get holiday cards out before it's too late, sending e-mails around the planet checking on our friend's latest abodes and thereby gently hinting that they might wish to reciprocate in kind. Oh, and keeping apprised of the threatened mass transit strike, 'postponed' not so much at the eleventh hour, as at the eleventh hour and fifty-seventh minute. A big part of the TWU's complaint seems to be that they feel they're taken for granted during a difficult period when our other public employees (firemen and policemen in particular) are treated as heroes. Around the anniversary of September 11, I watched a documentary about MTA workers' contributions, how they helped evacuate people from the war zone without the loss of a single vehicle, let alone of anyone trapped inside one, and then how rapidly they rebuilt the buried 1/9 line, even as recovery work was going on around and above them; I therefore side with them on the very basic level that, all our daily bitching at the system aside, they're under-appreciated. They've earned far more respect by pushing their issues to the top of the headlines while keeping the system running, rather than by striking for the hell of it. Let's hope I'm saying the same thing tomorrow.

PREVIOUS MUSINGS:
DECEMBER 9-15: Tiswas, pledge drives, The View from Up North
DECEMBER 2-8 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Weekend Players and Snow Lit Piano Bars)
FOR NOVEMBER 25-29 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Joe Hurley, Thanksgiving, Sven
Väth, Richie Hawtin)
FOR NOVEMBER 16-24 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Longwave, The Pleased, Get Your War On, Powder, Radio 4, Supreme Beings Of Leisure, Ben Neill, Baldwin Brothers, Thievery Corporation)
FOR NOVEMBER 9-15 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes CMJ report including Datsuns, von Bondies and My Favorite, and political Eagles)
FOR NOVEMBER 2-8 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Halloween, the New York Marathon, and British Cuisine)
FOR OCTOBER 26-NOV 1 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes live reviews of The Streets, Mooney Suzuki, Sahara Hotnights, Flaming Sideburns, Stellastarr*; Jam Master Jay; Halloween)
FOR OCTOBER 19-25 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Underworld live, Atlantic Avenue antics, Girls and Boys night)
FOR OCTOBER 12-18 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Bali Bombing and stupid editorials, the Electro-Clash festival, VHS Or Beta, Ballboy, Mindless Self Indulgence, 2 Many DJs, Tom Petty, The Streets, pointless stop-the-war e-mails)
FOR OCTOBER 5-11 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Steve Earle and John Walker's Blues, Dreaming Of Britney, Girls Against Boys and Radio 4)
FOR SEPTEMBER 28-OCT 4 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes White Stripes live, Morel live, My Generation re-issue)
FOR SEPTEMBER 21-27 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes The Creation live, Village Voice, Wine not Whine and more)
FOR SEPTEMBER 14-20 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Firefighter Andre Fletcher, Untamed, Uncut, and more September 11 Musings)
FOR SEPTEMBER 7-13 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Sep 11 memorials, Did Bin Laden Win?, Scissor Sisters and Electro-clash)
FOR AUGUST 31-SEPTEMBER 6 MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes The Strokes live, The Rising, Saint Etienne, Team USA, a.i., Tahiti 80, Dot Allison)
FOR AUGUST 17-30 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes holiday musings, wine reviews, Luna at Southpaw, and more)
FOR AUGUST 10-16 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes lengthy Who live review)
FOR JULY 27-AUG 9 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)
FOR JULY 13-19 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Love Parade, Teany, RenewNYC, Femi Kuti, NRA, Londonisation of New York, 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
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