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(Last updated
Tue, Nov 11, 2003)12:34 PM
THE JULY HITLIST
30 Albums, 5 Songs, 5 books and a handful of movies
FEATURED ALBUM:
'Out Like A Lamb'
by the Doleful Lions
FEATURED WINE:
Muscat de Beaumes de Venise from Paul Jaboulet-Ainé
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
TONY FLETCHER WILL BE GUEST DJ AT 'TRANSMISSION' ON MONDAY JULY 29th, TRANSMISSION IS AT PLANT BAR, E. 217 E 3rd St (BETWEEN AVENUES B & C) IN MANHATTAN. ADMISSION IS FREE. TONY WILL BE DJ'ING FROM 9PM TO 1AM ALONGSIDE TRANSMISSION HOST DAN SELZER. PLANT (212) 375-9066 is 21 and over.
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 JULY 26:


WHO SAYS THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS A FREE LUNCH?

Every summer, the Brooklyn Academy of Music sponsors free lunchtime concerts in the heart of downtown Brooklyn. The shows inevitably feature old-timers, many of them past their sell-by date. Three long hot summers ago (when it was still 100 degrees at dusk) I saw Percy Sledge play in Fort Greene Park and while it was a pleasant enough event, there was a sad overtone to it: Percy's voice was shot and his band should have been.

So it was with some trepidation I cycled over to Metrotech Center to see Wilson Pickett perform yesterday (Thursday) lunchtime. Wilson has recorded some of my favourite music in the entire world, but I've never seen him in concert before - and I didn't want my first experience to be the witnessing of a former sex symbol and soul icon on his last legs. My nervous enthusiasm was hardly helped by Robert Christgau reminding readers in the Village Voice that "this is not (Pickett's) peak, this is a decade past the Commitments," citing the superb Irish movie that celebrated Pickett's reputation, but which failed to spark any substantial career comeback.

I'm pleased to report then that while this may not be his commercial peak - the hits, and there were many of them, dried up thirty years ago - Wilson Pickett is hardly in an artistic trough. I showed up at Metrotech to find a thousand-strong crowd flowing over the small square (older fans and disabled had claimed priority seating up front), the band finishing their two-song warm-up and an eternally suave Wilson strolling on stage in blue seersucker suit and sharp shades, launching into 'In The Midnight Hour' with a voice more highly charged than most soul singers half his age.

Wilson Pickett: Still 'A Man and a Half.' "More highly charged than most soul singers half his age."

My delight at Wilson's continued singing prowess was quickly bolstered by the realization that his band were no slouches either: the three piece horn section (including his trumpeter MC), standard guitar-bass drums trio, and requisite female backing vocalists all played with sufficient enthusiasm and musical chops to render the classic soul set with a well-honed Blues Brothers feel.

Most rewarding, however, was Wilson's persona. Bawdy, raunchy, only one step removed from filthy, he had the audience in stitches with his constant sexual innuendos. He told his white backing singer to show the audience her "fine ass," brought his youngest daughter on stage and threatened to "kick her butt" if she stepped out of line at college, frequently danced like he was in the sack, and descended into the audience at one point to sing, "Lift up your dress, show me your mess." (There was a subsequent rhyme about "the bird's nest" too.) The audience, mostly middle-aged black folk who would have grown up on Wilson, Otis, Aretha, Percy, Solomon and co., loved every salacious moment, and when invited on stage to dance or sing (as they frequently were), gave as much raw energy as they received.

The good humor and sexual energy brought on many a "Lord have mercy" and at least one use of the pick-up line, "If God made anything finer than you, he kept it for himself." In fact, though Wilson's no preacher, there was something of a revival feeling about the show. Pickett seemed genuinely surprised when he recognised an audience member as an old school friend from Alabama, bringing her on stage to dance and sing. At other times, he pointed out his first bass player (Lance Finnie from the Falcons, I believe), his former driver of 45 years, and members of the Chi Lites. His early assurance that "this feels like coming home" may have been nulled by promise of a "great time tonight" (it had just gone noon!), and there were many moments when the concert descended into supper club karaoke/cabaret, with Wilson taking frequent breaks as songs were extended to six-minute jams. But old timers need to conserve what energy they have left, and it would be churlish to criticize such good-natured tactics at a free lunchtime concert in front of so many adoring fans on such a lovely summer's day.

Wilson Pickett does the...Pony? Boogalo? Watusi? Mashed Potato? Alligator? Whatever, he's performing 'Land Of 1000 Dances' and acting out one of them.

The raunchy comic interludes and extended solos kept the set-list short. For all that I thrilled upon hearing 'I Found A Love,' 'Mustang Sally,' and 'Funky Broadway', I could have also done with 'A Man And A Half' or '634-5789.' Instead, Pickett closed out all too soon with his rendition of 'Hey Jude,' a big hit for him in 1969, and if it lacked for the vocal range of his recording, it wasn't by much. Many in the audience returned to work as he left the stage, but for myself and fellow music fanatic Jack Rabid, having been stuck far back in the crowd (you can't push through a seated audience of fifty year olds the way you can a club gig!), this was an opportunity to get up front in the hopes of an encore. Sure enough, Wilson returned to lead the band and remaining audience through a spirited version of his landmark hit, 'Land of 1000 Dances.' I couldn't help but think back to old mod revival days, when encores at the Marquee would almost inevitably conclude with some shite-poor rendition of this song; I don't know where half those bands are now, but here was the originator two decades on, still looking good, sounding strong and having fun.

Wilson Pickett has a history of being difficult, even self-destructive, but the singer I saw was a professional entertainer, in every positive sense of those words. At age 61, he's a little older than the Daltreys, Jaggers, Plants and McCartney's of this world, yet his voice - always the rawest and raunchiest in soul - has held up admirably in comparison. (It's certainly held up better than Percy Sledge's!) Given the staying power of his recorded hits - 'In the Midnight Hour' sounds as good today 'My Generation' - it seems somewhat criminal that the greatest of the living soul legends should be playing such a lowly circuit, while the classic rock generation continues to fill arenas, but in the great outdoors this summer lunchtime, Wilson Pickett's career loss was our personal gain.

DRUGS KILL...STILL

So Wilson Pickett is still going strong at 61. John Entwistle only made it to 57. Part explanation for the Who bass player's 'premature' demise came with the official coroner's report yesterday, at which it was announced that substantial amounts of cocaine were in his body at the time of death. The cocaine served to further block his arteries and exacerbate his heart condition, while falling short of a fatal overdose. His death has therefore been officially recorded as an 'accident.'

When I wrote a brief obituary about John on this site on June 28, I stated "I'm relieved to hear there was no alcohol or drugs involved in his death." You can construe my 'relief' that day any way you want. As we now find out, there was both cocaine in his body and supposedly a stripper in the room. You can't imagine a more cliched demise, and yet that's surely the way he would have wanted it. The Who pretty much invented the rock'n'roll lifestyle to begin with, and John Entwistle proudly extolled it to the very end. He got an additional quarter-century out of it than did Keith Moon, and his bass playing barely suffered throughout. Other than that he died on the very eve of a lucrative American tour, I'm not sure how many regrets he would have.

On the other hand, the cocaine announcement should serve as a wake-up call for those fans who blindly believe that their idols' underwear is always lily-white; even now, there are those who insist that the coke must have been forced on him by the stripper. But that's their problem. Knowing that there were drugs involved after all doesn't change my feelings whatsoever. I'll miss Entwistle. Seeing Pickett is such fine form at an older age yesterday, I would like to have seen more of The Ox in years to come too.


THURSDAY JULY 25:

THE HITLIST IS UP

Finally, my July Hitlist is up in the Music Section. (And it's not yet August!) Thirty albums, five songs, five books and three movies, all recommended but for one of the movies that I found the need to rail against. Check 'em out and follow some of the more obscure artists/labels' links if you have time. You never know what new delights you might find.

THE DIARY IS DOWN
I've learned a valuable lesson about archiving the Daily Musings as they disappear into previous weeks. Due to a technical error (the buck stops here), the Archive for July 6-12 has entirely disappeared. All my hard-written words on Layo & Bushwacka!, the Love Parade, the Who without JAE, the RAVE act, all those lovely pictures. . .all discarded like, well, yesterday's newspapers. It's true that pre-Internet days, virtually nothing any of us wrote - especially for daily papers - was even preserved into the Weekend. So it's not the end of the world. We live and learn. And I still have my initial copy and photos tucked away should I ever need them.


WEDNESDAY JULY 24:

TOLERATING INTOLERANCE?

If I have any purpose in quoting op-ed pieces and linking to other media reports on this site, it's to 'connect the dots' - for as my six-year old knows all too well from his drawing books, it's only by 'connecting the dots' that we come to see the complete picture. In pursuit of such clarity, I invite you to read about the 'honor' murder of a young Kurdish woman in Sweden by her strict Muslim father, who labeled her a 'whore' for choosing her own partner in life and for embracing the Western values of individual freedom of her new home country. (Sadly, her democratic home country did not afford her protection against the male members of her fundamentalist family, despite the very public and very real advance threats that they would kill her.) Next, I invite you to read Bruce Bawer's incredibly articulate, well-reasoned and bending-over-backwards-to-be moderate overview of Islamic Fundamentalism in Europe and the failure, both on the part of immigrants and the countries that supposedly 'welcome' them but only with second-class status, to make any attempt at integration into western society. I strongly suggest printing this piece out and keeping it; I think in years to come, it will be considered prescient. Finally, and so that the picture has some light in it as well as darkness, I invite you to read this review of multi-culturalism in the British arts. I draw several conclusions myself from these three pieces, not many of them positive, but if you're visiting this site, I trust you have enough sense to draw your own conclusions - and hopefully to recognise that failing to discuss the truth is as bad as refusing to recognise it in the first place.



TUESDAY JULY 23:
BOOK BAG
No editorialising today. No time. If I don't get the July Hitlist up soon it will be August already. So a quick primer for some summer reading. . .There are only three groups I've written books about: Echo & The Bunnymen, R.E.M. and the Who (in the form of Keith Moon). All three acts have new books in the process of hitting the shelves. Anyway Anyhow Anywhere, the definitive compendium on The Who, written by Andy Neill and Matt Kent, was published June 28, ironically and sadly the day John Entwistle (though, apparently, not The Who themselves) died. A review will be on the July Hitlist. Today marks publication of Turquoise Days, the first book exclusively about Echo & The Bunnymen since Never Stop was published back in 1987. I've yet to see a copy, but I gather that author Chris Adams assembled it as an oral history along the lines of Please Kill Me. It's been published by former downtown Manhattan, now downtown Brooklyn indie press Soft Skull. Last, and I do hope not least, my own completely overhauled biography of R.E.M., Remarks Remade, should hit the shelves imminently through Omnibus Press. The covers to all three are shown below. Follow the links to buy or order online.



Online polls are suspect by nature - nothing to stop you stuffing the cyber-ballot box. But NY1, the 24-hour Time Warner news station in New York that is one of only three reasons I pay for cable TV in the first place, is running its own online poll about the six proposed designs for the World Trade Center space, and getting some very different reactions from the NYPost Poll. For one thing, they've got at least twice as many respondents, which makes it more representative than the Post. For another, they're not editorialising. (The Post has been pushing for replacement Twin Towers all along.) So it's interesting to see that the most popular of the six plans among NY1 viewers is neither my own half-hearted choice, Memorial Plaza, or the Post's chosen Memorial Promenade, which also scored best among attendees at the Town Hall Meeting last Saturday. It's Plan #4, for the Memorial Garden (see below). It's attracted 17% of the vote so far, over three times more than any of the other plans. And you think that seems like a low percentage for a leader, you're absolutely right. NY1 included a 'none of the above' option, which has scored a serious and conclusive 63%. Like I said before, back to the drawing board please. . .

The Memorial Garden: Three times more popular among NY1 viewers than any other design for rebuilding downtown: and four times less popular than none of them.


MONDAY JULY 22:

NEW YORKERS WANT THEIR TWIN TOWERS
As usual, my finger is not on the pulse of America. At Saturday's Town Hall Meeting to discuss the rebuilding of downtown Manhattan, the most popular of the six plans so far put forward was not the Memorial Plaza, as I find least offensive (see design far below), but the Memorial Promenade. The Times reports that 41% of the 4,000 who attended the gathering on Saturday considered the Promenade plan either 'good' or 'excellent;' a New York Post Online Poll, shows that over 50% favour the Promenade over any of the other five designs. This despite the fact that it would partially build over the 'footprints' of the Twin Towers, which seems sacrilegious to me and which, indeed, most people claim to oppose.

The Memorial Promenade, rated most popular among six generally unpopular plans for rebuilding on the World Trade Center's 16 acres. Note its use of sky-scraping twin masts.


Why this contradiction in terms? Simple, when one looks at the 3D plan, shown above. For prominent among the Memorial Plaza's new office space are replacement twin towers, and while they're only 63 stories high, their elongated 'masts' would top out some 1500 feet above sea level. Conclusion: that stubborn (and admirable) determination to erect TWIN towers on the site trumps instinctive (and to me, more admirable) insistence that the original towers' "footprints" are left open.

(To put this apparent public support for the Promenade in perspective, it's worth noting that at Saturday's gathering, every one of the six designs received more 'poor' votes than it did any positive ones, and that the NY Post has been, in its usual bullish manner, campaigning all along for replacement Twin Towers, as high if not higher than the originals.)

To see the six dsigns for yourself and read about them in detail, visit the RenewNYC web site, which is hopefullly recovering from the beating it took after receiving some 40,000,000 hits in its first three hours last week. The New York Post Poll shows 3D and skyline views of all six plans; the New York Times has an excellent multimedia presentation of all six plans, though you have to find it first. Go to today's story about possible delays in the rebuilding (due to public dissatisfaction with the plans) and follow the Multimedia links at right.

The Town Hall meeting took place the same day that a Con Ed transformer blew up in my old East Village/Stuyvesant Town neighbourhood, causing deja vu terrorism jitters that were thankfully unfounded. Returning from my ten-mile run shortly after the explosion, I saw such plumes of smoke across the horizon I thought my own Brooklyn street was in the middle of it, and the sight and sound of fire trucks rushing into Manhattan brought shivers that were equal parts admiration for their bravery and fear for their safety. But New York once again proved itself in the face of confusion. Considering that the fire blew out all traffic lights south of 14th Street, it was somewhat amazing that we were able to drive right across Chambers Street (just above the old World Trade Center) and up the West Side Highway on our way out of the city for a wedding, with not a single junction blocked beyond reason. I often compare this city to an anthill: all laws of nature and physics suggest that it's so densely populated as to be entirely unmanageable, and yet somehow it continues to function - even when basic requirements like electricity and traffic lights don't.

While we talk of redesigns in the style of their predecessors, as we were, here's the front cover for Remarks Remade, to be published in August by Omnibus Press in the UK. As you may be able to recognise if you own the original edition published back in 1989, this is a deliberate redesign of what we believed to be the best of the three front covers the book has so far been published with. (See other covers in my introduction to the book, here.) The layout, size and of course, the text (which has double in length) are all radically different.

FATBOY SLIM denies that any deaths can be directly attributed to his Big Beach Boutique party last Saturday. Hopefully, he's right. . .The British rediscovery of rock continues in force; as The Vines album tumbles from number 3 to 19, it's replaced by Scottish punksters Idlewild's new album The Remote Part. You can check the charts here.

...It's absolutely no compensation for the lost lives, but at least a free press can investigate why it keeps happening. The New York Times reports on how 'Flaws In U.S. Air War Left Hundreds of Civilians Dead.'



SATURDAY JULY 20: SHAGGED OUT

I've expended all available energy on the longest run of my life (only 10 miles, but it's several steps in the right direction: that of this November's New York Marathon, which I'll be running for the first time), and I'm off to a wedding, oh lucky me. So in the absence of any long-winded opinionating, here's a few fun links to keep you busy 'till Monday:
CHASING THE SOMMELIER DREAM: A Professional journo tries to become a professinal wino.
GANG OF POUR: I write about wines to drink while listening to new albums (and vice versa). The self-titled Gang Of Pour drink red wines while watching their beloved Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Play-Offs. But not just any red wines: they exclusively drink red Rhônes. Men and women after my own heart and I've trusted their judgement on several occasions so far. Mind you, I still think that ice hockey is the ruination of a good fight.
URB Magazine: The biggest, and still most resolutely independent, magazine to come out of the American rave culture. Oh, scratch the independent bit: to get into their web site, you have to negotiate an excruciating Nike ad.
SKINT: Go straight to the disco section, You'll crease yourself.
DUB SELECTOR: Courtsey of Adrian Sherwood and Fat Possum Records. Fun for all the family.


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!,
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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