Sunday, 18 March 2018

Why the hell are we still having to make the case against communism? It STINKS!

A reader of this blog has emailed me a link to their new 15-minute YouTube video, "Communism Has Never Been Tried?". It's a clear-headed, un-ranty, entirely fact-based refutation of the oft-repeated claim that communism can't be judged on its track record because it has never been properly implemented. Given the amount of misery and death the supposedly ersatz version has caused, one shudders to imagine what horrors the real, actual, full-fat version might entail. The thing that really pisses me off about communism (apart from the death and misery aspects of it) is that we're still discussing it in anything other than a historical context. As we don't...

Saturday, 17 March 2018

The first British Invasion - Golden Age Hollywood was also absolutely awash with British actors

Leslie Howard and some American actor in The Petrified Forest
You don't have to have watched many recent American television dramas to realise that there's been a bit of a British Invasion by actors over the past 10 to 15 years. This isn't Brits playing Brits, which has been going on forever - especially if a smart villain in required. It's Brits playing Americans, complete with what are presumably convincing American accents. I'm not sure when the whole TV Brit/Yank thing started, but I do remember the English actress Marianne Jean-Baptiste as an FBI agent in the long-running Without a Trace (which starred the Australian actor, Anthony LaPaglia - again, as an American) from 2002 onwards, but I suspect that House accelerated the trend in 2004, with Hugh Laurie playing a brilliant but semi-deranged drug-addicted hospital diagnostician. Nowadays, watching a new series (usually on Netflix) usually involves playing a game called "Spot the Brits". The reasons...

Friday, 16 March 2018

I agree - Britain's gender inequality is a disgrace! (h/t: SDG, Telegraph)

I've just watched the BBC News Channel for ten minutes while I ate (an admittedly late) lunch. I was still reflecting on the BBC's admirable ability to report on the Iraqi teenager who planted the Parson's Green bomb last year being found guilty without once mentioning the fact that the little shit was a Muslim, when the daily "gender inequality" story put in an appearance. I was shocked - as I'm sure you will be - to learn that Goldman Sachs pays its male employees more, on average,  than its female employees. I wondered whether the BBC might be planning a similar piece either celebrating or bemoaning the truly extraordinary number of women currently in leadership roles in political parties in particular, and the public sector in general:

Monday, 12 March 2018

More rocking gems from David Stephens's "RocknRoll" e-book - including the Everlys, Jerry Lee, Joey Dee and Dale Hawkins

Having devoted my  last two posts to pre-British Invasion singles by black American acts released on the London American label here in the UK,  as an equal opportunities blogger I'm taking affirmative action to give the white folk a fair crack of the whip. Not all of the following records were released on London, but I either heard them for the first time or became reacquainted with them through one or other of David Stephens' two wildly entertaining e-books - RocknRoll and London Rocks. I'll start with Frank DeRosa and the D-Men's tough-as-old-boots, Duane Eddyesque 1958 instrumental, "Big Guitar":
I'd better come clean and admit...

12 great records by black R&B and Doowop vocal groups and duos - take a bow, The Rays, The Dynamics, Don & Dewey and The Chips

"Daddy Cool" was the B-side of The Rays' 1957 hit, "Silhouettes":
The Cadillacs had a hit with one of the great rock'n'roll breakthrough records, "Speedo", in 1955 - here's their very Coasters-like "Peek-A-Boo"...

12 great records by black singers culled from David Stephens' wonderful e-book, "London Rocks"

I'd heard Ray Charles's "Tell the Truth" - from his In Person album (1960), but I'd forgotten how cool, sassy and just altogether groovy it was. I have to thank...

Friday, 9 March 2018

RIP New Musical Express (print edition) - and how it got me my first job in TV News

50 years ago, Thursday evenings were the most exciting time of the week for me. That was when my father would return from work (Air Attaché at the Norwegian Embassy in Belgrave Square) clutching the latest, hot-off-the-press issues of three weekly music papers - New Musical Express, Record Mirror and Disc, which were available a day earlier in Central London than in Wimbledon. All three would have been read from cover to cover by the time I switched the light out that night, and I'd already be looking forward to next Thursday's batch. I may have been struggling with Latin and Maths at school (and would continue to do so) but when it came to pop music, I was pretty damn near omniscient. I was reminded of those halcyon days last week while reading Shake It Up Baby!: Notes From A Pop Music Reporter 1961-1972, the entertaining memoirs of the music journalist, Norman Jopling. He worked for Record Mirror, which was probably my favourite music paper (my least favourite was...