Recently I found myself wondering if it was possible to create a chat show which while containing the traditional elements of the format, could be done in a far shorter time, literary just a few minutes. As it turns out, it is possible. Hosted by myself and featuring Miles Jupp, David Reed from The Penny Dreadfuls and music from Allo Darlin’ here is the finished product. I hope you enjoy it and remember, why do something in 30 minutes that you can do in 3.
I knew the day was coming a couple of weeks ago when I read on the magazines web site that the next edition of The Word would be the last and so when I handed over my money at WH Smith’s this morning, it was with some sadness. The variety of large chocolate bars on offer for one pound a piece in the shop did nothing to cushion the blow and besides, I never have much of a sweet tooth that early in the morning.
As Mark Ellen details in his last editorial, the current economic climate, competition with free media and the erosion of traditional advertising have made it impossible to sustain the publication. To quote Captain Darling from the final episode of Blackadder Goes Fourth when he too finds out that he’ll be going over the top, – “Buggar”.
A couple of years ago I wrote a piece about why I thought Word was the best magazine around and nothing has changed my opinion since. The article can be found here and in fact led me to appearing on the highly regarded Word Podcast with Mark Ellen and David Hepworth. A most enjoyable hour it was too where amongst other things I argued the merits of Belle&Sebastian whom I had recently been working with, discussed various Scottish World Cup songs and even got in a mention of one of my favourite songwriters who has never got the attention he deserved, Bob Lind. The conversation we had that day in a room with no windows was the kind I could happily have any day of the week albeit with the hope that some of them might be in a room with a view. The podcast can be heard here. I also have Mark and David to thank for helping the promotion of my short film Timber! by way of including it in the Links We Like section of the weekly Word Newsletter and for giving me shelter at last years rain soaked Latitude Festival in the little Word Tent. I would later go back there for some free alcoholic punch which helped me no end in getting through the weekend in a windcheater not equipped to handle the conditions. Thank you gents, it made all the difference.
I always saw, along with many others in “The Word Massive” that the magazine was in tune with my musical and cultural tastes and this is again the case with the final edition. There is mention of one of my favourite albums, Nick Garrie‘s 1969 masterpiece The Nightmare of J.B. Stanislas, an article by Eamonn Forde on the art and science of the setlist and some great archive photos of my favourite band of them all, The Rolling Stones. I’ll enjoy those and more while perhaps even reading a little slower this time in the knowledge that this is indeed it. As Kurt Vonnegut would say, “so it goes… ” but as I would add, all too soon.
Whilst standing in Heaton Park, Manchester on Saturday waiting on The Stone Roses to take the stage I had already witnessed the usual goings on that go hand in hand with a huge open air music event. There were long queues for the toilets, overpriced food stalls, idiots throwing plastic bottles filled with piss and many punters drunk and stoned.
As the band came on and launched in to I Wanna Be Adored, everyone around us sang along while others shouted at those who thought it a good idea to get on peoples shoulders and obscure the view for the paying masses. The second song up was Mersey Paradise with somewhat fewer people knowing the lyrics and at some occasions, a sense of the melody. The big singalong was back though when Sally Cinnamon was aired but after that a strange thing began to happen, I started to ignore my surroundings and concentrate on the band themselves and the music they were playing. It was quite simply brilliant. There were of course a few things that the show could could have done without such as John Squire’s superfluous guitar jam at the end of Fools Gold or the addition of Something’s Burning to the live set which didn’t quite work in a field with 80,000 people in it.
Regardless, the musicianship was outstanding and Ian Brown’s vocals better than ever before. As a unit, they exceeded all expectations. This didn’t sound like a band reforming for money, it was a band with something to prove and right the wrongs of previous years. I’ve never been at a show with so many people dancing with a smile on their face, it was mass euphoria. If I was to pinpoint one song in particular for special praise there would be plenty to choose from but the rendition of Don’t Stop was spellbinding, especially as is the case on the album, it followed on from the crowd singalong of Waterfall. It’s also worth repeating, even though we all know it to be the case, that Reni is the greatest drummer of his generation and for me the best ever. There will never be another who can attain such groove on a kit as him, I’d pay just to watch him drum alone.
I got seriously in to music at the age of 13 because of The Stone Roses and although I saw them in 1995, it’s taken until now to see the original line up play together. It was genuinely worth the wait, somewhat magical.