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Cult Sights & Sounds, Bristol, Spain & South America

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Sounds

Every Album I Own: T is for Turtles, “The Battle of the Bands”  

Everybody knows the Turtles. You just don’t know that you do. If the Monkees were a demented, pre-X Factor imitation of the Beatles that was consumed by its own contradictions and produced not only great pop music but a great counter-cultural film in Head, the Turtles were an even more demented, Militant-style entryist imitation of the Beach Boys, with insane, falsetto vocals, wilfully crass lyrics and some nifty, tongue-in-cheek pop chops e.g. Elenore and You Showed Me. Continue reading “Every Album I Own: T is for Turtles, “The Battle of the Bands”  “

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68½ – MOVIES, MANSON & ME (REDUX)

It’s fifty years since May ’68! What better way to celebrate than with a new, improved (i.e. shorter) version of my first book, 68½ – MOVIES, MANSON & ME? First published in 2016, the feedback I subsequently received, from both readers, was that, while they loved the sex, the drugs, the rock & roll, and even the movie trivia, they could have happily done without the “treatments” i.e.  the summaries of every script I had ever written. In so doing, or saying, they join a long and honourable list of film producers who never bothered to read my scripts either. Continue reading “68½ – MOVIES, MANSON & ME (REDUX)”

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Every Album I Own: S is for Spirit

Was there ever a band as under-rated as Spirit, a drummer as tonsorially challenged as Ed Cassidy, or a guitarist as subtle and restrained as Randy California? Was that even his real name? Let’s hope not. Continue reading “Every Album I Own: S is for Spirit”

Archaeology Corner: James William Guercio & Electra Glide in Blue

No, it’s not a name anyone is immediately familiar with, unless your interest in the band Chicago extends to the man who produced their early albums (James William Guercio ) or you are such a rabidly fanatical Beach Boys fan that you know the name of their manager in the mid-1970s (James William Guercio ) or you’re even more of a Zappa/Mothers freak and have read the list of “material contributors” to their ground-breaking first (double) album, Freak Out , which, among such luminaries as Stravinsky, Stockhausen, Salvador Dali and Sonny Boy Williamson, lists one Jim Guercio. Continue reading “Archaeology Corner: James William Guercio & Electra Glide in Blue”

Every Album I Own: R is for The Residents

Since I don’t own any albums by bands beginning with Q (no, not even Queen) it’s on to R, and the Residents. I well remember the first time I heard the Residents. It was the early 1980s. I had escaped secondary school at sixteen for the superficially freer atmosphere of Filton “Tech”, a College of Further Education on the outskirts of Bristol. Half the students were apprentice mechanics* and the other half were pretentious twats like me, studying art and drama and film, and attempting to emulate their elders by throwing dinner parties to impress their new friends. At least I was. Continue reading “Every Album I Own: R is for The Residents”

Every Album I Own: P is for Pere Ubu

Geoff Nicholson’s book The Lost Art of Walking covers all aspects of perambulation, including the many musical references to using our feet. Among others,  Nicholson name-checks Johnny Cash (I Walk The Line) Patsy Cline (Walkin’ After Midnight) Nancy & Lee (Boots) Aerosmith (Walk This Way) and even Yoko Ono (Walking on Thin Ice) all of which I love, yet he makes no mention of Pere Ubu, who dedicated an entire album to The Art of Walking. Continue reading “Every Album I Own: P is for Pere Ubu”

Every Album I Own: N is for NEU!

We have a tradition in my house where, every January 1st, I play the three “classic” NEU! albums (Neu!, Neu! 2 and Neu! ’75) one after the other. Okay, so we didn’t have that tradition until 3 days ago but I think I’ll be doing it again next year, so Happy NEU Year everyone! Continue reading “Every Album I Own: N is for NEU!”

In Extremadura, out now!

My second book is a radical deconstruction of the Brit Abroad genre (see, for example, A Year In Provence,  Driving Over Lemons)  (on second thoughts, don’t!)  Spanish/South American travelogue, potted history and treatise on the nature of mortality rolled into one, it includes predictable digressions on cinema (Orson Welles, Luis Bunuel)  literature (Javier Cercas, Tintin) peregrination,  wild swimming in Scotland, celebrity speed freaks and the death of David Bowie.  Continue reading “In Extremadura, out now!”

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Every Album I Own: M is for Magic Muscle

I only possess one Magic Muscle album (Laughs and Thrills) and it’s not even very good – a scrappy compilation of early live tracks cobbled together from different gigs – but then again, Magic Muscle were essentially a live band, and, more than that, a way of life. Continue reading “Every Album I Own: M is for Magic Muscle”

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