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What's new in iJamming!...
(Last updated
Tue, Aug 20, 2002)15´22&Mac240;
Still 'A Man And A Half'
30 Albums, 5 Songs, 5 books and a handful of movies
'Out Like A Lamb'
by the Doleful Lions
Muscat de Beaumes de Venise from Paul Jaboulet-Ainé
An obituary by Chris Charlesworth
Back On The (Flying Saucer) Attck
The iJAMMING! interview
Featured Mix CD
Grandmaster Flash Essential Mix Classic Edition
30 Albums, 10 Songs, 5 books and a handful of movies.
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.
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.
Jack magazine comes out of the starting gate with the banner headline "best new men's mag in years."
Why I re-wrote the book: The introduction to the new edition of my R.E.M. biography, due out this summer through Omnibus.
Chemical Brothers, Neil Young, Van Morrison, Paul Westerberg, Skywalking, Joe Strummer, Radio 4, and Aquatulle.
A weekend with John Mayer, Sugarcult - and Elvis
Michael Greene's Grammy Speech: An Invitation to Download?
Plus: 10 things they forgot to tell you at the Grammys.
What the Hell Is Going On Here?
From the Jamming! Archives:
interviewed in 1978
"A number one single would be a bit scary."
The iJamming! interview:
"'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?'
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."
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:
"New world wines are just too techno for me."
Featured wine region 3:
Featured wine region 4:
iJamming! interview:
Jesse Hartman, aka LAPTOP
"Every New York band knows the meaning of failure"
MIX Albums:
Who, what and why you should bother
"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:

"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:
From the JAMMING! archives: ALTERNATIVE TV
interviewed in 1978
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:
From the JAMMING! archives: The Story That Spawned Creation
Featured vine:
Finally, a worthy rival to Chardonnay.
The iJAMMING! interview:
"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:
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....


Those of you alarmed at how long my daily postings have become of late will no doubt be relieved to see today's diary cut to a few words. I'm off to spend the next week in a tent somewhere in the Catskills, and the wife and kid are trying to drag me out the door and into the car as I type! I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to just kicking back at a lakeside with some books, some music and a bottle of wine or two. This past week truly feels like one of the longest - and most enjoyable - in years. On top of everything else you may have read about, yesterday (Sunday) I ran my first ever half-marathon in oppressive humidity and heat, and finished in an extremely satisfying 1 hr 55 mins, with enough reserves that my last mile was my fastest.

Somehow, I made it through to the end of the day to see The Who - or the Two as I would prefer to call them - at Madison Square Garden. I took copious notes and have lots of comments I wish to make about how this was a far more different sounding band than I had expected it to be. Fortunately I see people are using the Forum these days and whoever Patrick may be, he's summarised in a few sentences what I would take several paragraphs to write. (Though I will post a proper review on my return.) I also had the good fortune last night to run into a real old friend (take those adjectives as you will) Ian McNabb - respect! - and do believe I kept my word and ended up at Shout! almost 24 hours after I got up for that excruciating but exhilerating race. You'll therefore understand and presumably forgive me for not posting any more today. I do have a new wine review up - for the very summery Charles Melton Rose of Virginia - and strongly recommend the brilliantly varied Me Without You soundtrack as an accompaniment: I just haven't got to write a review of it yet.

In closing down for a week, I want to thank everyone who stops my this site and sends me encouraging e-mails. I am truly having almost as much fun doing this as when I edited the printed version of Jamming! back in my teens - and as I've said before, without the worry of printing costs. Since starting the daily postings back during the World Cup traffic to the site has more than doubled, and I feel like we've got a small community going. Look after it while I'm gone!


So you visit this web site, you read about my past and my present, and you think I lead a relatively interesting life. Hey, you may be right. But every now and then, as on Friday, I experience exactly the same concert disaster as any one else out there on the planet.

I'd been looking forward to the Area 2 concert at Jones Beach as probably my only outdoor festival of the summer. The bill was neither looking as varied or, conversely, as mainstream as last year's successful Area 1 (when Nelly Furtado and Outkast shared space with tour founder and headliner Moby), but I admire Ash, I love the Avalanches, I think Busta Rhymes is one of the few unique rappers out there, and getting David Bowie on the bill was a major Moby coup. All this and a dance tent too: in a sparse American festival scene, devoid of a Brit-like Glastonbury or Reading, Area 2 was clearly a must-attend, even at a conventional venue.

Unfortunately, between sleeping in late after Thursday's night DJ gig, posting my account of it on the web site, getting in a four mile run in continued preparation for Sunday's half marathon (at the gym due to an outdoor heat and pollution advisory), and the fact that we couldn't really dump our kid on someone for the whole day, it was 5.30 pm before we finally set off in the car for Jones Beach. This, of course, was just in time to join the mass of cars escaping to all parts of Long Island for the weekend, many playing vehicular Russian Roulette in an attempt to get two spots ahead, the consequences of such impatience apparent with at least one nasty fender-bender on the Eastern Parkway.

Still, we made it to the ocean-fronted venue before 7 pm, grateful that the isolated Tommy Hilfiger at Jones Beach Theater (to give it its fully sponsored name) at least allows for free parking. We'd dressed according to the previous week of constant high-nineties day time temperatures and the fact that we were fully planning to work up an end-of-evening sweat to Carl Cox in the dance tent; I'm in my shortest shorts and thinnest shirt, Posie's likewise in some strapless shirt. Given that there's now only an hour of sun left in the sky, I leave my Crystal Palace baseball cap in the car, and we wander casually over to the guest list line. It's still hot as hell, and we can hear Busta Rhymes echo across the sky; we're feeling good.

Now maybe once a year, I find my self up against the embarrassing and frustrating, "I'm sorry, but your name's not on the list" routine. That's a perfectly healthy batting average, and I have no complaints about the occasional cock-up such as happened here at Jones Beach - especially because the security was professional, the kind who don't turn just dismiss you but instead summon the relevant tour manager if you ask them nicely. However, our half hour wait in the wilderness did make us feel rather small and inconsequential (a suitable comedown from my glory of the previous evening!), lead us to missing the last of Busta Rhymes' set and perhaps more disconcertingly, enable us to notice the sun not only disappear behind a cloud, but said cloud proceed to envelop the entire sky. As the wind picked up serious pace, guest lists started blowing in the wind, and bikini-clad suburban rave girls were noticed to worry aloud that they may yet have dressed more appropriately than they'd intended.

As such, once we finally got our tickets after much confusion and - hey, two VIP passes with them - I suggested we go back to the car for my cap, but the wife was impatient to see Bowie and refused the fifteen minute round-trip walk on the assurance that the impending storm would likely "blow over." She grew up round these parts so she would know, and anyway, our luck appeared to be picking up with the wind; I blagged my digital camera inside on the merits that I had VIP passes. With fifteen minutes until David Bowie's set, we decided to put these passes to use. This proved an interesting and fruitless endeavor: they didn't grant us entry to the real VIP tent (the one for corporate guests), and the usual Press Room was closed. They carried no cachet in the dance tent either, though the sight of John Digweed kicking off his set on the heels of Tiesto and thousands of suburbanite ravers kicking up their heels on the dancefloor looked promising for a return visit later.

The view from the nosebleed section as storm clouds gather over Jones Beach and David Bowie's stage.
Back out on the concourse, we could hear David Bowie singing 'Life On Mars' and decided to claim our seats. Last year my press tickets were center stage, eighth row; given that we were artist guests this year I figured we would do just as well. I hadn't stopped to think that we were guests of a DJ artist playing the dance tent as opposed to a main stage artist; not only did we find that our token seats were high up in the nosebleed section of the top tier, but that they did not physically exist: there was a stair well jutting out exactly where our seat numbers should have been! (A nice ploy on the promoters' part to distribute an artist's free tickets without actually distributing seats.)

I'm not used to watching anyone from such a lofty position, so we duly decided to put our VIP passes back to work for a better view. No such luck: they didn't get us access to the VIP seating we could see lying mostly unclaimed. Still, unlike last year's Area 1 show, this concert was far from sold out, and a little bluffing got us into a lower tier and an empty seat in time for Bowie's third song, the first of many from his new album Heathen. Rather embarrassingly, given how much I admire Bowie and that I still have the copy of the 'Starman' single I bought with my brother in 1972; this was the first time I'd properly seen him in concert (though his performance at Live Aid stays firmly in the memory). I can only put my omission down to being one of those who's always preferred his 'early stuff'. In fact, I was on a big Bowie downer in recent years when he seemed to be chasing, rather than leading, the trends, recording industrial rock to drum and bass in an increasingly desperate attempt to remain hip. (And does anyone care to remember Tin Machine?) But in the last couple of years, Bowie seems to have come to a more confident understanding of his illustrious role in popular music, dropped the bandwagon jumping, and returned to playing some older hits in concert as well as rightly promoting the new material.

As much as anything he seems happy. Here at Jones Beach, he was in a frighteningly cheerful mood, looking as youthful as ever (though of course distance can mask many a wrinkle), while ragging relentlessly about his age and artistic duration. (Sample introduction: "This one I recorded back in the 1930s, following my boom years in the 20s. . .") With a band that included Earl Slick on guitar and Gail Ann Dorsey on bass, he was hardly lacking for exalted onstage company either, and while the audience numbers initially seemed insultingly sparse for such an icon, the amphitheater filled rapidly as word spread to the dance tent that one of the all time greats was on stage.

There was only problem. Remember what I said about that massive cloud and the wind? As day turned to dusk, and the stage lights came on one by one, God decided to match Bowie's light show with one of his own and lightning forks started crackling across the sky with an awesome but frightening frequency. The rain duly began falling in droves and thousands evacuated their seats for the limited cover at the back of the floor seats. Bowie was suddenly playing to a rapidly thinning and increasingly wet audience.

Minutes later: Black sky, White Noise. Bowie on the big screen and somewhere on the stage, too.
I had two contrasting reactions to this storm, which reflect my current dual nationality:
1) I'm British. A summer festival in the UK is not a summer festival without a rain storm and a mud slide. I've watched entire football games in downpours, I stood on the terraces at Charlton for five hours of solid rain awaiting the Who in 1976, endured all-day torrents while camping at Reading '89. . . Or as Bowie cheerfully put it, sticking his mouth out and staring at the skies in a friendly challenge to the powers up high, "I drink your rain!"
2) This is America. Storms are different here. A month ago we went to nearby Fire Island on a similarly hot and humid Friday night and made it to our friend's rental house thirty seconds before a mini-tornado took the roof off the building next door and carried it halfway across the island! Tonight we are also on the ocean. Combine the rain, the wind and the lightning bolts with a spark of electricity on stage and we might just see David Bowie catch fire tonight. Literally.

Still, we figured we'd stick it out as long as Bowie did. And for his part, Bowie displayed an admirable resilience in the face of adversity, keeping both band and audience in highest possible spirits. Any song from the new album Heathen was introduced with the warning, "This is the part of the show where I announce I'm going to play a song from my new album and you all. . ." followed by the feigning of boredom. In fact, many of the audience seemed perfectly familiar with the new material (more so than I) and appreciated what appeared to be a re-arranged lyric in the song '5.15 The Angels Have Gone': "This falling rain brings me down..."

It was interesting watching Bowie play to such a young audience. 'Life On Mars' and 'Ashes To Ashes' (the latter a UK number one) met a muted response, while the infinitely inferior 'China Girl' was received ecstatically - but then so was 'I'm Afraid Of Americans,' which rocked furiously and which had pretty much passed me by on Earthling. Posie and I disagreed about the response to 'Changes': I thought the audience seemed unfamiliar with it; she insisted they were singing along. In the driving wind and rain, the fact that anyone was even paying attention was testimony to Bowie's star power.

One hour in and with the storm worsening by the minute Bowie was officially told to get off for safety reasons. He insisted on staying for a rousing rendition of 'Heroes' to which a good several thousand sang along and the man above put on a splendid light show. Bowie then departed with the optimistic hope that he'd be back to finish the set. There was no such luck, but his positivity was infectious. Either he's on mega doses of prozac, or there's something to be said for being a gazillionaire married to one of the most beautiful women in the world, owning a back catalogue to die for and with the critical respect to match. Today I felt like they used to say about Sinatra: that this was Bowie's world, and we were just living in it.

As soon as we see Bowie's gear being stripped, Posie and I rush to dry off in the dance tent. Unfortunately, the dance tent has been closed for safety reasons. Again, the Englishman in me rises up to exclaim: It's only rain, for Christ's sake, and a little rain never hurt anyone. Then the American in me flashes back to the storm of a month ago on nearby Fire Island, the roof flying across the island, the real danger of the lightning rods such as are all around us - and also to the rain soaked tent at the South Street Seaport a few months ago when I felt exceedingly uneasy dancing around underwater cables. And that was for Carl Cox too, who must be feeling jinxed when it comes to New York weather and playing in a tent. It's beginning to feel like a long time since I heard him play a proper indoor club set.

With no dance tent to take refuge in and the rain still pelting down, the crowd leaves in droves, this despite strategically placed security announcing through bullhorns that "Moby WILL be performing." Were Moby NOT to perform, I'm sure there would have been all kinds of insurance issues and refunds to deal with, besides which the promoters must have much greater experience at keeping the main stage going during these not atypical New York summer storms than dealing with dance tents. Foolhardy souls that we are, we opt to stick it out. We also decide to make one more valiant attempt to acquire some value from our VIP passes. We are once again unsuccessful, concluding that they are entirely, 100%, officially and utterly worthless. It's quite funny really, as well as humbling, and it means that in our decision to stick around, we are just as insane as anyone else who's decided to do the same.

Minutes before show timeand the rain-soaked audience appears to have abandoned Moby.
Five minutes before Moby comes on, I take a rather disturbing picture of a deserted amphitheater. But when he does take the stage, the punters abandon the cover they've sought in the concourse areas and quickly fill most of the seats. Moby does his best to make them feel it's all been worthwhile. For my part, I have a distinct sense of deja vu, because apart from the reversed weather conditions and a few new songs this is precisely the same Moby show, at exactly the same venue, as I saw almost 365 days ago on the Area 1 tour. I'm not used to such repeat performances (except when I see the Who), and during the 'James Bond Theme' - which I never found inspiring as a techno track to begin with (partly because it was a rip-off of a similar techno 12" that was heavily played in the clubs in the early 90s) - I actually sit down in rain-soaked boredom.

So let's back up and try and stay positive (if not entirely dry). I appreciate that Moby puts on a full show these days, though dressing everyone in pure white - from string trio to DJ, gospel singer, bass player, drummer and whoever else - seems rather over the top, especially as his own appearance in scruffy jeans and t-shirt consciously clashes with that wedding band image. But it's a full show, of that there's no doubt, Moby tearing it up from congas to keyboards to thrash guitar as strobes and intellibeams erupt from all around. He displays total confidence as a solo front man for an adoring crowd of thousands. I've always loved his four-chord hymnal melodies, I think he writes great songs when he cares to (though they make up perhaps only a quarter of his material) and I have fond memories of the whole happy hardcore techno period when Moby came of age in the New York clubs.

Minutes later, Moby the Guitar God makes the big screen. The crowd are back in their seats too.
In fact, I readily confess that my ability to impartially judge Moby's performance and/or popularity is seriously clouded by early nineties clubland association, which means I can not possibly take his running up and down side-stage ramps and across PA-fronting walkways, a la Mick Jagger, seriously. But as far as I can offer a genuine musical critique, it's my belief that house and techno belong in a club environment - either the dance tent where Carl Cox should have been spinning, or the nightclubs at which Moby got his breaks. Yes, the likes of Orbital, Chemical Brothers and Underworld have pulled it off in big outdoor environments, but they've done so by eschewing the seated venues and by recognising that dance music emanates from sequencers, samplers and synthesizers rather than attempting to replicate it with a full band and string section.

Moby would likely insist that he's far more than a house or techno artist, and in the case of songs like 'Southside,' 'We Are All Made Of Stars' and 'Extreme Ways,' he would be right. Sadly, during the thirty minutes I stick out the bad weather and sense of deja vu, I only hear the last of these, and the happy hardcore stuff from his early years ('Move,' even the enduring 'Go') just doesn't sound right in the rain. I find myself musically and culturally disorientated.

I admit, again, to an inability to be impartial. But it's hard to deny that today has been almost a total wash-out: what with missing the earlier acts, the guest-list aggro, the laughable inconsequence of our VIP passes, the closing of the dance tent before Carl Cox's set, the frightening lightning and the torrential rain, we've only the memory of David Bowie's relentless cheerfulness to send us home happy. Besides, I know I'm not the only one to find Moby's all-embracing 'everything-is-right' stadium-techno-hymnal-rock confusing. As we make our way across the car park to the relative sanctity of a stormy 40-mile drive home, we hear Moby singing 'South Side.' A thirty-something woman also cutting out early turns to her male partner and asks, "Why is Moby playing a No Doubt song?" The question seems to sum up the lack of musical identity at heart of Moby's iconic status.

An addendum to the above. The news radio station 1010 Wins reported on Saturday morning that between 5-7,000 lightning bolts (try counting them) hit the ground during a three-hour period Friday night - killing one man in Little Italy who was foolish enough to go on to his roof top to watch God's light show as well as a teenage Boy Scout at a camp site in New Jersey. In such circumstances, I'm surprised that Area 2 continued to the extent it did and have no complaints that they closed the dance tent to be safe. But we're going camping next week upstate and I just hope that between this wash-out and the mini-tornado we witnessed on Fire Island, that I've had my serious soakings and exposure to lightning for one summer. And next year, I won't pin too many expectations on one event.


So you visit this web site, you read about my past and my present, and you think I lead a relatively interesting life. Hey, you may be right. But truth is, I'm 38 years old and I have never been to a movie premiere. I've interviewed all kinds of famous people, rubbed shoulders with even more famous ones at any number of supposedly elite events (rubbing shoulders being a euphemism for the fact they're usually pushing me out of their way!) and done all kinds of crazy shit I'm not going to confess to in writing...but I've never walked down the red carpet with the velvet ropes either side of me and the paparazzi bulbs going off.

Based on last night's experience attending the New York premiere for 24 Hour Party People, I can now announce that I wasn't missing anything, and nor have you been. Here's how it goes. . . If you're like me, you show up late, which means you miss most of the pre-show buzz. You line up out on the street to pick up your ticket from a guest list; if you're like me, your wife could be listed under any of the initials P,R,S or F, and after fifteen minutes, they give up trying to find her ticket and hand you someone else's to get rid of you. So, tickets in hand, you now walk down the red carpet and notice that nobody is noticing you. All the public star-watchers have gone home (presumably, in this case, disappointed by the lack of recognizable American stars). The paparazzi is limited to a half-dozen pool photographers on the inside of the glass doors, who are currently snapping furiously at Steve Coogan, who plays the movie's central character Tony Wilson, and what I assume to be Shirley Henderson, who plays Tony Wilson's first wife; this process, while mildly exciting, is holding up your own admittance. (Coogan is dressed down like any Friday night pub goer; Henderson, on the other hand, is dressed like she's attending a movie premiere. They make a great contrast.) When you finally follow in their wake, and despite having your own leading lady on your arm, the flash bulbs stay conspicuously unlit.

Once through the double doors, you're treated to a genuine cinematic rarity: free popcorn and water! But then again if, like me, you showed up real late to begin with, you can not now find a pair of seats next to each other in either of the two cinemas that are simultaneously showing the movie, except in the very front row or the very back row. You opt for the latter. You edge past a nursing mum, sit down with the missus, endure a speech by the movie company president, laugh at the fact the lights go down on him halfway through his acknowledgements and, after watching the intro to the movie (which, if you're like me, you've missed at both the screenings you've attended 'cos you're always late for everything!), you get up and leave 'cos you're Djing the after-premiere party. In other words, the whole experience was a glorious - and enjoyable - anti-climax.

The glories of attending the 24 Hour Party People Premiere: paparazzi (or pool photographers) keep you waiting behind the front doors while snapping furiously. And here's what they're snapping: about the only female actress in one of the most laddish movies ever made, Shirley Henderson. (Steve Coogan is walking away in a scruffy white shirt behind her.) Talking of scruffy. . .Moby in the DJ booth at the Roxy. (The tattoo is proof.) A crap photo I know, but the camera battery died after this one and only shot; I was too busy getting records together to recharge it in advance.

At least in my decision to walk out during the opening credits I was in good company, just one step behind Tony Wilson and his (third) wife Yvette. I've clearly got some catching up to do on the marital front. In the meantime, I caught up in literal terms to remind Tony of the time I interviewed him at the Hacienda, back when The Tube did an outside broadcast there, with all the technical disasters you would anticipate from a chaotic 'youth' TV show based in Newcastle broadcasting entirely live from a chaotic club in Manchester. My interview with Mr Wilson, alongside New Order's Peter Hook, was bad that evening (my fault); my interview with Morrissey was even worse (not entirely my fault), probably the nadir of my short-lived TV career. Musical entertainment on the Hacienda stage that early 1984 evening included A Certain Ratio, and a young American girl making her British debut whose name was Madonna. None of us at the show thought very highly of her at the time and I didn't even introduce myself while she was getting changed behind one of those make-shift partitions in the same dressing room as me. Naturally, I've never met her since! Tony Wilson has, but just the once. Indeed, he launched into the memory by prefacing, "this is my only Madonna story so I will bore you with it," sounding, oddly enough, exactly like Steve Coogan acting Tony Wilson on the big screen. In a nutshell, when Wilson met Madonna recently, and asked, as cheerfully as I just did the Factory honcho, whether she remembered that Tube performance, she denied all recollections of her introduction to her now home country public. Such are the fortunes of the famous.

One reason I didn't get any more pictures of Moby, any of Carl Cox, or of the party itself: my friend Sophia Pavlatos went to town taking pictures of me in the DJ booth in the obviously accurate belief that I would have the arrogance to publish them. I actually look like I'm working in this one. Thanks, Sophia, I like this one.
Self-deprecation over with. The rest of the night was perfect. As you'll know if you've been stopping by here this last week, I was taking my gig at the post-premiere party over at the cavernous Roxy on 18th Street extremely seriously - to the point of almost breaking my back bringing ten boxes of vinyl up from the basement to rifle through the back catalogue. But the research paid dividends. Over the course of the first hour, while everyone was making the most of the two open bars at either end of an intimidatingly larger dance floor, I embarked on a short history lesson that seemed appropriate to the movie: 'Helden,' 'The Passenger', 'Anarchy In The UK,' 'Boredom,' 'White Man In Hammersmith Palais,' 'To Hell With Poverty'; a trio of Joy Division cuts, 'Digital,' 'Transmission' and 'Love Will Tear Us Apart'; 'Shack Up' by A Certain Ratio and 'You're No Good' by ESG (both post-punk funk cuts having been released on Factory); 'Noise Annoys' by the Buzzcocks, 'Do It Clean' by Echo & The Bunnymen and 'What Difference Does It Make?' by The Smiths.

Following a drunken speech by the same United Artists president who had been so cruelly cut short at the premiere, it was into a furious 50 minutes of tightly mixed (if I say so myself) and increasingly uptempo Madchester/indie rock/acid house/techno, running from the Happy Mondays' 'Step On' alongside the Soup Dragons' 'I'm Free,' into the inspirational Andy Weatherall remix of 'Soon' by My Bloody Valentine, the hard-to-find but equally incredible Renegade Soundwave mix of Inspiral Carpets 'This is How It Feels,' 'Fools Gold' both in original 12" form and with some strange remix that showed up on the back of a re-released 'Elephant Stone', The Farm's 'Groovy Train' and the Charlatans' 'The Only One I Know'; out of the indie rock and onto 'Don't Fight It Feel It' by Primal Scream, 'Lionrock' by Lionrock (the little known debut by ace DJ, northern soul fan and Sherlock Holmes obsessive Justin Robertson), the 'Renegade Soundwave' megamix used as backing track to the sparse but effective 'Killer' by Adamski, 'Voodoo Ray' by A Guy Called Gerald into 'Energy Flash' by Joey Beltram juxtaposed with 'Chime Crime' by Orbital, after which there was just time for 'My Mercury Mouth' by the Chemical Brothers and the recent Version Excursion remix of 'The Phantom' by probably the most under-rated and yet influential producers of the late 80s/early 90s, Renegade Soundwave once again.

I would have played Moby's 'Go' next as another post-house classic (the song is in the 24 Hour Party People movie though not on the soundtrack), but the man himself, making the most of a day off from the Area 2 Tour, showed up alongside me to play a guest DJ spot. When I explained to Moby that I'd been playing entirely old tunes, he confessed he himself hadn't bought a record for five years. It showed, in all the right ways for the occasion: he upped the tempo a distinct notch from my own comfortable mid-120s with an hour of classic happy hardcore techno. I'm sure I heard his own 'Feel So Real' in there somewhere, along with 'I Need Your Loving' and other piano-driven, sped-up vocal nostalgia trips (and there was definitely an Underworld classic in there somewhere), but after two hours hard work on my own end, I was ready for a break and a chance to catch up with people at the bar. The 24 Hour Party People movie may be all about Manchester, but the party itself was all about New York: it seemed like one of those events where everybody I've ever had any (good) dealings with in my fourteen years here was out to join the fun, and all of them seemed to have enjoyed my musical trip along memory lane as much as I had.

Not your big brother's CD player. . . Yours truly trying to get to grips with the hi-tech and ultimately frustrating Pioneer CD-impersonating-vinyl decks.
(An aside: the DJ booth at The Roxy, as well as being armed with three turntables, carries a pair of those new Pioneer CD mixer decks that you can switch to vinyl mode and, in theory, hold, scratch, pitch-up/down and fast-forward/reverse just as you can your favourite piece of vinyl. In reality, while the bells and whistles are a distinct improvement on any other piece of CD hardware yet to have been placed in a DJ deck, they are still a poor (no, make that expensive) substitute for the real thing. Try as I might - and I spent an hour before doors opened practicing - I simply could not get the same degree of sensitivity out of speeding up or holding steady the CD as I could a piece of vinyl. In comparison, the night I tried out FinalScratch, while in a DJ booth with action all around me, I was able to line up and beat match a track off a computer hard drive immediately, without problems. FinalScratch is a better solution that the CD decks for certain, but it's no cheaper - so for now, vinyl still rules.

The great Carl Cox spun the last hour, drawing on his own collection of rave/post rave cuts; the one that stood out, partly 'cos I'd been listening to it myself the previous night, was that Hammond organ classic 'Plastic Dreams' by Jay Dee on R&S. Being Carl, he had it pitched to at least +8 to a frenetic tempo. Though never one to deliberately walk out on a Carl Cox set, I grabbed some friends and my record bags and spun the last 45 minutes up in the sky bar, everything from Northside to James, Delta 5 to Girls At Our Best!, Soho to Saint Etienne, with The Farm, Charlatans, the Smiths, the Stone Roses and Happy Mondays getting a second bite of the cherry. It didn't escape my notice that New Order, the longest-serving Manchester stars, the real bread winners for Factory Records, the one successful crossover in the 1980s between Manchester dance and New York dance, producers of the bestselling 12" of all time and a mainstay on all kinds of modern dance floors, were conspicuous by their absence on the sound system here all night long. It certainly wasn't deliberate on my part. I had 'Ceremony' lined up but the UA President chief's speech cut that out; I had 'Blue Monday' lined up but didn't get to it before Moby came on. I could have played other NO cuts but they didn't feel right for any one specific moment. It was an odd omission but no doubt they're being played on some other dance floor somewhere in the world right now and the royalties will keep flowing in. (And at least the Hacienda is no longer open to swallow those royalties right on up.)

The night ended at a relatively early 2 am, and I played chauffeur to a number of (somewhat worse for wear) Park Slope-based friends. Now here I am again, bright and breezy at lunchtime, looking forward to today's Area 2 show, and dreading the fact that I signed up to run a half-marathon on Sunday morning and yet the temperature has been peaking in the mid-nineties every day this week. Insane? You bet. A proper 24 Hour Party Person, and up every morning to get the experience down in writing.


From the Motown Revues of the sixties to the Stiff tours of the punk era, and the traveling festivals of the 90s and '00s - such as Lollapalooza, Warped, and the Area 2 Festival which I'll be attending at Jones Beach this Friday - the package tour is one of the most cherished traditions in pop music. For the punters, it usually means the chance to get more than your money's worth from a rotating roster of acts; for the traveling musicians, it promotes camaraderie and, hopefully, lessons the ego. Back in late 1992, I took part as DJ in a traveling tour of our club Communion, in which the members of Meat Beat Manifesto, Orbital and Ultramarine all shared the same road crew and the same transport. Everybody loaded into the venue together, everybody loaded out together; it made for some serious sleep deprivation given that it was a minimum six-hour show, but it was an experience like no other.

Some of the many Tuatara members on stage at the Knitting Factory Tuesday July 30th.

In that vein, the 1st Annual Fast Horse Hootenanny 2002 rolled into New York City earlier this week, featuring the Wayward Shamans, Tuatara, Minus 5, and Cedell Davis. Of the fourteen musicians helping deliver a minimum four-hour performance, some are familiar from their membership of R.E.M., I.e. Peter Buck, Scott McCaughey, and Barrett Martin. But it would be a mistake to mistake that first name, the founding R.E.M. Guitarist, as the fulcrum of this package. Rather, it would be accurate to say that after moving to Seattle for family reasons, Peter Buck found kindred spirits in the likes of McCaughey, Martin and Posies front man Ken Stringfellow, all of whom prefer a working gig to a night in front of the television, any day. Constant guests in each other's side projects, they've brought this kind of package out on the road before; this summer's jaunt was named and intended to help kick off former Screaming Trees' drummer Martin's new label Fast Horse, on which he's releasing albums by just about everyone on the tour.

Scott McCaughey of The Minus 5 pays tribute to horn-playing John Entwistle on 'Over The Sea'
Attendance was sparse at the Knitting Factory, a disappointment considering the variety and quality of music but understandable given the recession, the relative marginality of the performing acts, and the time of year - at which outdoor festivals are far more attractive than sweaty Manhattan clubs in a heatwave. As such, knowing that we were in for a long night, I missed the 'Afro-Cuban' Wayward Shamans entirely, and showed up early in the Minus 5 set, just as Scott McCaughey was dedicating 'Over The Sea' to "John Alec Entwistle," presumably because of the horn solo he attempted towards song's conclusion (as well as John's passing). The Minus 5 is essentially McCaughey's act: though his former main band the Young Fresh Fellows still exists to some extent, it's with this group of assorted talents that he releases most of his songs and plays most of his gigs. With Peter Buck hiding in the shadows on bass, Barret Martin holding fort on drums, and John Ramberg accompanying on second guitar, Scott led the group through an increasingly raucous set that featured John Wesley Harding on 'The Girl I Never Met' and half the touring musicians for 'The Night Chicago Died' and 'The Town That Lost Its Groove Supply.' They may not be a band you feel you have to buy tickets for, but theirs is a show you'd rarely walk away from: good time rock'n'roll-punk played by pros in the clubs for the sheer thrill of it.

Tuatara, on the other hand, could be part of the current college generation's penchant for jam bands if they so chose to present themselves that way. With up to ten members on stage, including two horns, three percussion, keys, drums, glockenspiel, guitars, and bass, they perform eastern-tinged, film-noir free form jazz jams that are remarkable for their tight delivery and danceability. Tuatara are separated from the ghost of prog rock by a refusal to change keys or time signatures for the sheer sake of it; and they're better than many a jam band because they don't go off the deep end with solos and improvisations. In fact, after a dedication to Fela Kuti in what may have been a Kuti cover, I realized the similarities to the great Nigerian band, especially the way the bearded Martin at the back reminds of when Ginger Baker played drums for Fela. Still, it was notable that those people most digging them were part of the crowd that follows everyone from Disco Biscuits to Dave Matthews Band, and if Tuatara wants to do more than be a part-time outfit for its otherwise full-time musicians, they should spend more time seeking out that crowd than playing in sweaty clubs; then again, if they want to follow from The Minus 5 every night, this is their domain. Tuatara's new album, Cinemathique, is out on Fast Horse after a failed previous liaison with Sony; closing track 'In The Passing Lane,' from that new album, was a highlight.

74-year old slide guitarist Cedell Davis, backed by Joe Cripps on drums, and John Ramberg on guitar. Peter Buck's bass just visible on left. Cedell was crippled by polio as a child; he learned to play guitar left-handed and use his right hand for slide.
It was almost one in the morning by the time Cedell Davis was lifted onto the stage in his wheelchair for an incredibly raw display of knife-wielding slide guitar and fractured blues, backed by Buck, Ramberg, and ace percussionist Joe Cripps. The crowd had thinned out by now; those that hung around were treated to a cult treasure, the likes of which are fast disappearing in America. Cedell was struck by polio as a child - hence his right hand being limited to the slide position - and if it seems a travesty that he has only been recording professionally in the last decade, then at least that's credit for people like critic Robert Palmer, the people at Fat Possum Records, and Buck, McCaughey and Martin, for keeping the flame alive while Davis himself is. The new album, Lightning Struck The Pine, is out now Fast Horse. I was sad to have to leave before the end. Those that stayed behind appeared mesmerized.

The Fast Horse Hootenanny was not a runaway box office success (the Philly gig was canceled and they were switched to the beer garden at the Who show instead!), but it's nonetheless a musical tour de force. The people playing these shows they can not stay away from a good gig. Hopefully, sparse attendance this time round won't stop them attempting a similar revue in the future; knowing their work rate and sensing their enthusiasm, it's hard to believe that something as humdrum as sheer numbers, or lack there of, will ever stop them treading the boards.


Wreckless Eric, the Undertones, the Clash, Bob Marley, the Buzzcocks, the Rezillos, Silicon Teens, Drinking Electricity, Devo, Jimmy McGriff, A Guy Called Gerald, Adamski, The Beloved, Hardfloor, Orbital, Moby, Bis, James, Inspiral Carpets, Happy Mondays, 808 State, Chemical Brothers, the Rapture. . . Those were some of the artists I played last night as guest DJ for the Transmission event at Plant Bar on the Lower East Side. Host Dan Selzer further eclectified matters by playing everyone from Inner City to the Au Pairs, Section 25 to New Order, Marc Riley to the Homosexuals. The opening DJ even had a Strange Fruit 12" of the Girls At Our Best! Peel session, featuring all their singles as a 'Stars on 45' medley, something I hadn't heard, probably, since that Peel session was actually broadcast two decades ago. (Girls At Our Best! were featured back in Jamming! 10.) It was something of a culture clash, and I didn't play half as much of the Madchester music as I had planned to try out for Thursday's 24-Hour Party People Party, but on a sultry summer Manhattan Monday night, a mere 90 degrees at 9pm, it was a lot less stressful to just go with the flow. . .

. . .Talking of obscure British music, as I believe we were, my Palace mate Kyrie e-mailed to say he picked up the 'Teddy'/'Release' by a certain band called Apocalypse at Beano's in Croydon for £6 on a trip home last week. Kyrie, you was robbed! (And I still need to clean up the Apocalypse music I took off 1/4" while back in the UK, and figure how to make it more widely available. . .)

. . .On a slightly less obscure musical note, Sheffield Jamie, who I met in Brooklyn during the World Cup and who has been forced to return home to sort out his visa, decided to entrust me with his Half Man Half Biscuit CD collection upon his departure. Do you have any idea how many albums these Tranmere fans have put out over the years? A clue: it's more than several. Having great fun listening to them though. How can you not enjoy a band with album titles like Trouble Over Bridgewater and Voyage To The Bottom Of The Road?. . .Since returning to the UK, Jamie has sent me cuttings from the British newspapers, including an Observer Review cover story entitled New York, New Hedonists, about how "the middle classes can't get enough of erotic parties" in post 9-11 Manhattan. 'I think I've been frequenting the wrong clubs,' he writes. Speak for yourself Jamie. . .

. . .And while we're on the subject of British males and sex in the city, I was linked by the Andrew Sullivan site to this story called The Tragic Ineptitude of the English Male, in which Canadian Leah McLaren describes her hapless attempts at dating while living in London. "In North America, the typical situation is this," she writes in one particularly incisive paragraph, "you meet a guy at a party and exchange numbers. A few days later he calls you up and asks if you would like to have dinner with him. In England things are different. You meet a guy a party and exchange numbers. A few days later you get a text message that reads something like ‘Out 4 drinks 2nite in W11 — wnt 2 join?’"

It's not only hilarious, it's true. When I was back in England at the end of April, I found out the hard way that my mobile phone was no longer there to talk with people on. It was there purely for text messaging. I felt tragically old and out of touch, but I got the hang of it. Just about. Anyway, as it happened, a couple of long term friends were introduced to each other at my birthday night out in Brighton and hit it off instantly. (One was male, one was female, each was freshly single, just so you get the picture.) They remained in constant contact throughout my second week in England - but exclusively by text. A few weeks later, I called in from the States for a progress report. The relationship was going just fine, they each reported to me, and they'd found out they had the hots for each - by texting each other daily. Of course, they'd yet to go out on an old-fashioned date. . .(I'm itching now to know if they ever did!)

Just before signing off for the day, a reminder that the July Hitlist is up there if you're looking to see what's turning us on round these parts, there's a featured review of the Doleful Lions album Out Like A Lamb (though I'm not sure I don't prefer's mis-spell, Out Like A Lamp, that several wine reviews have recently been posted, and that if you didn't get to read my rave of 61-year old Wilson Pickett socking it in the open air last Thursday lunchtime, you can find words and pictures in last week's archived diary.



It's a song, it's a movie, it's an ethos. Right now, those 4-5 words are dominating my every waking hour - and too many of those when I should be sleeping.

I've raved about the movie 24 Hour Party People once already on this web site. I returned for a second advance screening last Thursday evening, and came away just as enthralled at its depiction of the whole Manchester-Madchester post-punk music scene as I had first time out. Bio pics in general are hard to carry off at the box office, especially when the central characters are still alive and kicking; and rock and dance music is notoriously difficult to translate to the screen at the best of times. But by focusing 24 Hour Party People on the life of Tony Wilson, founder of Factory Records and the Hacienda nightclub, long-standing Granada TV presenter, champion of all things Mancunian and a loveably if often annoyingly intellectual self-confessed 'twat', director Michael Winterbottom gets around many of these potential problems. Wilson has always been as outspoken as he is thick-skinned; played to perfection in the movie by Steve Coogan, he allows himself to become the viewer's fall guy while remaining perpetually committed to the music of his home city. His frequent asides to the camera - whether it be fatuously protesting that "this movie is not about me" or reminding us that the decision has already been made to choose "myth over truth" - deflect much of the potential criticism and allow us to enjoy the cast of crazed characters who populate(d) the Manchester music scene.

You'll note the bracketed past tense there: in the course of the movie, we see Joy Division singer Ian Curtis hang himself for no plausible reason, and producer Martin Hannett abuse himself to an early grave. New Order manager and Factory partner Rob Gretton, superbly played in the film by Paddy Considine, also died a couple of years ago, and though the likes of the Happy Mondays' Shaun Ryder and Bez are supposedly still with us, it's fair to say that their talent is currently missing in action.

But that's the rock'n'roll lifestyle for you. Casualties are inevitable, and those that make it through with their body intact often pay a hefty price in other ways: we watch Wilson goes through two marriages, the near-bankruptcy and selling on of Factory, an apparent cocaine addiction, and the eventual closing of the pioneering Hacienda club.

As much as the movie is about Wilson, Factory, Joy Division/New Order and the Happy Mondays, it's the Hacienda - a brick building of all things - that steals the show. Rebuilt for the movie almost impeccably to the club's original design, the warehouse venue seems to come alive as actual flesh and blood once the Madchester part of the movie kicks off, and it's hard not to get all emotional upon hearing 'Voodoo Ray' by A Guy Called Gerald come booming out of the rebuilt club speakers and then back out of the cinema's sound system. Admittedly, 24 Hour Party People all but ignores other Mancunian mainstays from The Smiths to the Stone Roses; Oasis, the biggest British rock band ever to come out of the city, are not even acknowledged. But we can forgive these exclusions given that the movie follows a particular team of people following their own particular agenda, and we come away understanding Wilson, Ryder, Curtis, Gretton, Hannett - and the Hac - better than any number of books or magazine stories could ever educate us. For getting so much right - and for capturing that so often intangible 'vibe' - '24 Hour Party People' can sit proudly alongside the likes of 'That'll Be The Day', 'Stardust' and 'Quadrophenia' as the definitive visual document of its period.

My reason for returning for a second screening was partly because I'm going to be spinning at the New York post-premiere party this Thursday, August 1, at the Roxy alongside Carl Cox (before you e-mail me, it's a private do) and I wanted to get further into the musical possiblities. Nothing gets my Djing juices going more than the possibility of mixing up different sounds from different scenes, an ethic that seems to be back in style after years of musical segregation. The current leaders of what are becoming known as "mash ups" are Belgian brothers Steven and David Dewaele from the band Soulwax, who were, appropriately enough for this thread of thought, spinning Thursday night at Apt, in Manhattan's Meatpacking District. On their acclaimed '2 Many Djs' album, Soulwax merge some 45 different tracks into what seems like impossible combinations: The Basement Jaxx over ELP, Destiny's Child alongside 10cc, or Dolly Parton teamed up with Royksopp. But it works, both as a phenomenal party album and an amazing journey through a thirty-year history of recorded sound. Not surprisingly, given the trials and tribulations of clearing the various samples (detailed on the duo's web site), the album has had a restricted international release, but globalization ensures that you should be able get this Play It Again Sam records release from any self-respecting record store.

Left: 2 Many DJs at work.
Above: 2 Many Dancers at play

At Apt, an uncomfortably hot dance floor at the best of times, Soulwax/2 Many Djs quickly fired it to near combustion point by spinning their own private acetates of their bootleg mixes. But while those who have the album knew, for example, that the mix of Felix Da Housecat's 'SilverScreen Shower Scene' over Bobby Orlando's 'The O Melody' had been pre-cut in the studio, the brothers also came armed with a whole number of other new mixes that provoked constant roars of approval. We heard 'Rocks' by Primal Scream, 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' by Nirvana and 'Hate To Say I Told You So' by the Hives, all mixed on top of or alongside other more rhythmic tracks; we also heard Inner City's 'Good Life' and the Rapture's 'House Of Jealous Lovers.' It was breathtaking stuff, further confirmation that in the right sets of hands, just about any music can be made to work on the dance floor - and that the most unlikely pairings can make the most of loveable of bedfellows.

Saturday night I got to experiment a little myself with this form of all-out musical merging at a rooftop birthday party for Shari Aronin of DJ agents Hands On Deck. In the space of an hour, I found time to play the only ever Smiths remix (the New York 12" of 'This Charming Man'), 'Killer' by Adamski, 'Sit Down' by James and A Certain Ratio's 'Shack-Up' as recently covered by Bis alongside a couple of different mixes of Orbital's 'Chime,' David Holmes' '69 Police' and Primal Scream's 'Don't Fight It, Feel It.' From there, in pursuit of constant good music, I made it to Joe's Pub in Manhattan for the second of a three-night run by Cousteau, the much-vaunted British act that reminds me of The Tindersticks albeit with more conventionally structured songwriting. Fronted by the heavily tattooed but velvet-larynxed Liam McKahey, Cousteau have a heap of impressively and intensely memorable songs, of which 'Salome', 'She Bruise Easy' and 'Have You Seen Her?' are but three. Sadly, songwriter and keyboard player Davey Ray Moor failed to get a work permit for the States; apparently his Beirut birth-place raised too many flags at the post-9/11 INS to grant him immediate entry. The level of audience enthusiasm nonetheless suggested that Cousteau are already something of a phenomenon here in the States and that in a world where Chris Isaak has hit singles and Nick Cave can maintain a career going on 25 years, it would be a fool who'd suggest that Cousteau aren't on a serious upward curve of popularity and staying power.

Remaining on the 'it's all good if it's all good' tip, I also found time at the end of the weekend to get to Brooklyn's own Southpaw for the headlining show by John Wesley Harding, with R.E.M.'s nearly full-time man Scott McCaughey in support. Scott's such a workaholic that he booked himself this gig on a day off from the traveling Minus 5/ Tuatara/Wayward Shamans/Cedell Davis Hootenanny tour that I plan to see at the Knitting Factory tomorrow. (And which, in a bizarre venue change, had played the previous day at the beer garden of the Who/Robert Plant concert in Philadelphia, which I'm sure Scott's current touring partner Peter Buck must have found particularly entertaining.) Drawing on help from former Smithereens drummer Dennis Diken and Wes Harding himself, Scott clearly enjoyed delivering songs like 'The Town That Lost Its Groove Supply' and the old Young Fresh Fellows staple 'Hillbilly Drummer Girl.'

John Wesley Harding was also in fine form, playing to a local crowd that was overly-reverential to the point of funereal. Harding has been going through record company problems recently (like everyone else): his new album The Man With No Shadow has just been put back nine months because the label Hollywood has been closed down by Disney; in the interim he's recorded another album Swings and Roundabouts that will now come out before its predecessor. That made for lots of new songs, including one particularly impressive number, 'I Should Have Stopped,' that he claimed only to have finished the week before, about passing (but not talking to) a former school crush on the street and all the memories it provoked. Another new song, 'It Stays,' was even good enough to be worth its three-minute introduction. Southpaw, I'm pleased to report, is finally getting its groove on, and with future bookings including Joan Osborne, Luna and Rasputina, it should only get better. I'm still waiting to see a rock band come in and tear the roof off the yet to be proven sound system, but for the better singer songwriters, this is a homely venue to treasure.

Tonight I spin the Transmission night at Plant, a bit more warming up for the 24 Hour Party People party; I don't think I'll get any John Wesley Harding or Cousteau in there, but as Soulwax have proven, all mixes are possible. As they should be. For if it's all good, it's all good. Later.

FOR JULY 20-26 DAILY MUSINGS CLICK HERE (includes Wilson Pickett, John Entwistle, rebuilding downtown NYC)
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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.
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