Celebrations for the Diamond Jubilee of HMQ start this weekend in Britain, and the duo behind Cassetteboy have delivered a fine piece of juvenile piss-takery at the expense of Her Majesty the Queen, the Royal Family, the British Prime Minister(s), the BBC and its presenter Andrew Marr.
Puerile, silly, and full of cheap innuendo, Cassetteboy have excelled themselves. However, not everyone is happy, as allegedly the BBC has had this little gem removed form You Tube. As Cassetteboy explains:
‘If you’re interested, here’s what happened: Our video was removed by youtube after a copyright claim by the BBC. We then deleted the vid…’
Now you know, so, catch it while you can.
We say more power to Cassetteboy. And less to the killjoys.
It must have been brilliant to have been in Supergrass. No, not for the teeth ‘n’ smiles of their classic single “Alright”, but rather for the sheer bloody quality of their music between 1993 and 2010, as heard in performance, and over 26 singles and 6 superb studio albums. There was an energy and infectious joy about guitarist and lead singer, Gaz Coombes (who looked like he might be Jack Black’s handsome, younger brother); Mick Quinn, bass and vocals; and Danny Goffey, drums and vocals; and Rob Coombes, keyboards.
Like everyone else, I first heard Supergrass through John Peel, who played their opener “Caught by the Fuzz” with zealous dedication. He went on to list it at number 5 in his Festive Fifty for 1994. The song told the semi-autobiographical tale of Gaz being nicked for possession of marijuana, when he was 15. It happened when he driving home one night, and was pulled over by the police:
“I stuck the hash down my pants,but I had it in a little metal tin. I was standing on the pavement, and the tin just went all the way down my trousers and landed on the pavement with a ting. The copper went, ‘What’s that, son?’”
It was perfectly pitched, capturing teenage angst and its bravado brilliantly, and was “exactly what being a teenager sounds like.”
With a musical introduction like that, I knew Supergrass would never disappoint - and they never did. Well, until they split up, that is. (Though I still await the release of their Krautrock inspired 7th album…)
In 1999, Supergrass played a short gig on Spanish television’s Radio 3, introducing material from their third album, as well as previous hits.
In April 1970, as rumors spread of Paul McCartney quitting The Beatles, news reporters hurried to Apple HQ, hoping to make their assumptions fit the story when interviewing Beatles’ Press Officer, Derek Taylor, and the band’s recently appointed manager, Allen Klein. This rare little news clip, seemingly missing a linking voice-over, captures the moment the rumors of a Beatles split were confirmed.
Bishopbriggs was where the trams from Glasgow ended. It was also where Dirk Bogarde spent his early teenage years, from 1934-37, living with a well-to-do uncle and aunt, while commuting to-and-from Allan Glen School in the city.
Glasgow shaped Bogarde, and though he hated his time there, he latter admitted, in his first volume of autobiography, A Postilion Struck by Lightning:
‘The three years in Scotland were, without doubt, the most important years of my early life. I could not, I know now, have done without them. My parents, intent on giving me a solid, tough scholastic education to prepare me for my Adult Life, had no possible conception that the education I would receive there would far outweigh anything a simple school could have provided.’
What Glasgow gave the young Bogarde, after his childhood idyll of Sussex, was “a crack on the backside which shot [him] into reality so fast [he] was almost unable to catch [his] breath for the pain and disillusions which were to follow.”
At Allan Glen’s School, Bogarde soon found himself “dumped in a lavatory pan by mindless classmates” because he spoke with “the accent of a Sassenach”. It was part of the cruelty that taught the young Bogarde to build a “carapace” against his peers. In his isolation he developed his skills as an artist and writer, and dreamt of escape.
Glasgow also offered Bogarde his first sexual experience with an older man - the dressed in beige Mr. Dodd, who he met whilst skipping classes at the Paramount Picture Palace - “the meeting place of all the Evil in Glasgow”.
Mr. Dodd seduced the young schoolboy with an ice lolly and a hand on the knee, during a performance of Boris Karloff’s The Mummy. Though Bogarde had seen the film 3 times before, he was keen to replicate Karloff’s performance, and so willingly returned to Mr Dodd’s apartment, where he was tightly trussed-up in bandages, all except his pubescent genitals, which thrust through the swaddling rags “as pink and vulnerable as a sugar mouse.” Mr. Dodd flipped Bogarde onto a bed, and tossed him off. Bogarde felt something terrible was going to happen, and offered up 3 or 4 “Hail Mary’s” in the hope of being rescued. Of course, he knew God’s help wouldn’t arrive, as he knew what would happen as Mr Dodd fiddled about.
When he left Glasgow, Bogarde was changed. He had developed the drive that would bring him success, and formed a personality that would keep the world twice-removed from the creative and sensitive young man he was at heart.
The following interview with this charming man was never broadcast on TV. Recorded in London for the release of the film Permission to Kill (aka The Executioner) in 1975, Bogarde discussed the movie, and his career with interviewer, Mark Caldwell.
Bill Moyers continues to make astonishing television with his truly great new PBS series, Moyers and Company. It’s unmissable, the most intelligent hour of programming on American TV today, bar none.
In the latest episode, Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello—a man I have a lot of admiration for—joined Bill Moyers for a particularly moving and inspiring conversation. From the show’s website
Songs of social protest—music and the quest for justice—have long been intertwined, and the troubadours of troubling times—Guthrie, Seeger, Baez, Dylan, and Springsteen among them—have become famous for their dedication to both. Now we can add a name to the ranks of those who lift their voices for social and economic justice: Tom Morello.
Morello is the Harvard-educated guitarist who dabbled in politics, then chose rock music to make a difference. He played guitar for the popular band he co-founded—Rage Against the Machine—and then for Audioslave. Rolling Stone chose his album “World Wide Rebel Songs” as one of the best of 2011, and named him one of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time.
As likely to be spotted at a grass-roots rally as he would at a concert hall, Morello was in Madison, Wisconsin last year, braving bitter winter weather to sing on the steps on the state capitol in support of public service workers. Morello defended their collective bargaining rights against Republican Governor Scott Walker.
He was in New York City at the May Day demonstrations, an honorary commander of a battalion of musicians they called the “Occupy Guitarmy.” That same night, Harry Belafonte presented Morello with the Officers’ Award from the Sidney Hillman Foundation, honoring his “advocacy for and support of working people across the world.”
Tom Morello shares his music, his message, and mission with Bill Moyers, who’s all ears.
I had already seen the famous footage of a drunk, clumsy and obnoxious Norman Mailer feuding with Gore Vidal on The Dick Cavett Show (see below), registering it as a glimpse of a great character at their worst, but have just been enjoying Mailer’s own account, both of the occurrence itself, and the preceding controversy, in the essay “Of a Small and Modest Malignancy” (which can be found in his Pieces and Pontifications).
Shortly before their appearance on the show, Vidal had written a piece attacking Mailer for misogyny and equating him with Henry Miller and Charles Manson (the three male attendees of my ideal dinner party scenario, as it happens), referring throughout to these three personalities with the moniker “M3.” Mailer had already retaliated with the following tacitly spiteful letter:
It has come to my attention that Gore Vidal has been speaking in your pages of my hatred if women. Let me present the following items.
Number of times married: Mailer 5 Vidal 0
Number of children: Mailer 7 Vidal 0
Number of daughters: Mailer 5 Vidal 0
Of course, Mailer arguably omits the most significant scoreline: “Women stabbed: Mailer 1 Vidal 0.”
Regardless, after including this letter in his essay, Mailer goes on to detail the following tête à tête with Vidal in the Dick Cavett dressing room shortly before filming began.
At this moment, alone in the Green Room, he [Mailer himself, who tended to write such accounts in the third person] felt a tender and caressing hand on the back of his neck. It was Vidal. Vidal had never touched him before, but now had the tender smile of a man who would claim, “It doesn’t matter, old sport, what we say about each other – it’s just pleasant to see an old friend.” Mailer answered with an open-handed tap across the cheek. It was not a slap, neither was it a punch, just a stiff tap. To his amazement, Vidal slapped him back. Norman smiled. He leaned forward and looked pleasantly at Gore. He put his hand to the back of Gore’s neck. Then he butted him hard on the head.
Stormin’ Norman goes on to watch Vidal manage his solo interview with Cavett with begrudging admiration – the only sign Vidal betrays of having been very recently head-butted being his hand occasionally drifting up to the point of contact. As such, Mailer (who had been drinking cocktails earlier that evening, somewhat unsurprisingly), enters the fray feeling he still had a point to prove. Which hardly ends up working in his favor.
Vidal’s pained and slightly nervous expression, meanwhile, makes especial sense when you keep in mind the swift and unexpected head-butt he’d only quite recently received…
Robin Gibb passed away today (May 20) after a long brave struggle with cancer. While we all suspected it was only a matter of time, his death still hits hard. The fact that Gibb managed to keep death at bay as long as he did is testimony to the man’s inner strength and courage. It almost looked like he might beat the disease. After all, he had done it once before. But it was not to be.
Spirits Having Flown is a NBC TV special (named after the Bee Gees 1979 album) that was filmed during the height of their Saturday Night Fever fame. The show includes interviews with David Frost, the group at work in the studio and live performances, including guest appearances by Willie Nelson and Glen Campbell.
Spirits Having Flown is lightweight but energetic fun. It’s also been hard to find, having never been released on VHS or DVD. By no means a great document (it was produced by Robert Stigwood), it still provides enough moments of Bee Gee goodness, both on and off the stage, to please fans and admirers of the Bee Gees’ music - classic pop songs that transcend trends and will endure.