Saturday 4 February 2012

Cello Song

Iv'e drifted in and out of Nick Drakes music for years now - never being a huge fan, but certainly appreciating his gift and enjoying his music at times when my hand just hovers near one of his CD's - the mood has to be just right.

Billy Bragg got it so right when he described him as follows: “The great thing about Nick Drake is that you have to meet him halfway. You have to lean in to hear what he is saying.”

I'm glad I don't live in London, but at times wish I could be transported to some of the 'events' that take my fancy - the Strange Face Project exhibition at Idea Generation Gallery is one such event. A series of photographs by Michael Burdett.

Michael was working as a postboy at Island Records in the 1970's when he came across a boxed tape in the skip and was allowed to keep it. On the box was written "Nick Drake Cello Song - With Love X" - what he had found was a version that had not been released or heard before.
Many years passed and recently Michael set off with a CD player and headphones in hand, for nearly two years he travelled the length and breadth of Britain with the aim of offering random individuals an exclusive opportunity to hear the recording. City workers, farmers, scientists, hairdressers, musicians, tattooists – he asked them all. Randomly stopping them in the street, at their places of work and in their homes, whether they knew of Drake’s material or not. He then photographed them listening to the song.

He even photographed a man listening to the song fishing for Grayling on the Itchen in Hampshire - how perfect is that! There is an interview with Michael on the BBC 6Music site.  

Thursday 2 February 2012

Three Cheers For Shindig!

My reading pile is getting huge, I can't stop adding to it! One read that always goes straight to the top of the pile is the wonderful Shindig! magazine. It appeals to me on so many levels from the glorious thud as it hits the floor when postie shoves it through my letterbox to articles on bands I adore such as Kippington Lodge, Soft Machine and The Pretty Things to name just a few. Coupled with genuine knowledgeable writing by a friendly team of enthusiasts you almost feel part of the gang when reading it. Imagine my delight to hear the news that from the next issue it's coming out six times a year - Yahoo!

The latest gigantic issue is a Mott The Hoople special with some super writing by Kris Needs. It also has features on The Alan Bown Set, The Critters and The Twilights - the splendid thing about Shindig! is you keep going back to it and find nuggets you missed on your first read! It's the only mag I keep - I never recycle it!

There is a small feature that me old mucker Overend Watts (Mott bassist) did for a fanzine I put together back in the 1990's called Wig Out - it's about his love for the West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band and how they had such an influence on his pre-Mott bands and still do for that matter - I won't spoil it for you, check out the article here.

One amusing story that relates to the above article when it first appeared (1997) - some months after Overends Wig Out piece his phone rang....."Hi, this is Michael Lloyd here from the WCPAEB, just leaving a message for Overend" gets picked up by Overend "Is that really you? Is it really you? It can't really be you" it turns out it really was Michael Lloyd who called to say how much he and the other band members loved the article. A long chat ensued and some myths are put to bed about the group and some new gems unearthed! Great story. Imagine the excitement!

The good news is that in addition to being a subscriber magazine Shindig! is back in the shops - the next issue (on sale 16th February) will be on special promotion in WH Smiths so it should be pretty easy to find. Enjoy!