In which we we marvel at the Beatles’ 12-song set 55 years ago (four of them covers), applaud a virtual gig in the Natural History Museum, ponder Alan Bennett and Ellen DeGeneres, wonder when musicians became “creative artists”, spot the fake band (Canadian rock acts v 1972’s ‘Giants of Tomorrow’), and remember Fame, Bugsy Malone and the great Alan Parker.
Novelist David Mitchell on Utopia Avenue, his fictional account of life in a band (Sunday Times No 1 best-seller!) – plus Bucks Fizz at the Malvern Winter Gardens, the lure of Marillion, the effect of Abba on tooth enamel, “the high register vocabulary” of Rush, the novelistic tangles of the White Album and Tales From Topographic Oceans, and Bowie’s piercing predictions about the internet in 1999 – plus “the Greatest Record Ever Made”.
In which we salute the magnificent Peter Green (and hear Owen Parker’s memories of recording with him in the ’90s), look back at the great Q headlines – CarelessTalk Costs Wives! The Hoarse Foreman of the Apocalypse! – flick through a Melody Maker from 1970, spot the fake deejay, applaud the recent Springsteen radio shows and find Bob Marley & the Wailers photographed in lift.
In which we remember Lady Di rollerskating in Kensington Palace with Duran Duran on her Walkman, invent fake rap stars and Mod Revival bands, applaud the world’s first DJ, light a candle for Judy Dyble, relive a Nick Lowe parlour game and watch a sensationally dreadful pop documentary.
Music writer, author and old pal from Word magazine, Graeme Thomson on his spledid new book, “Small Hours: the Long Night of John Martyn”, a tale involving immaculately delicate music, dark undercurrents, Glaswegian folk clubs, Nick Drake, Lee Perry, Joe Boyd, countless chaotic relationships, oceans of booze and a manager with two broken ribs.
In which we shudder to imagine life in a group with Brian Jones, David Crosby, Dennis Wilson etc, chew tobacco with Charlie Daniels, invent reggae acts, ponder the predicament of Kasabian and Lady Antebellum, remember Garry Shandling and Hitchcock’s Rear Window and tell the hoary old Richard Pryor story.
In which we ponder American pop showbiz v shambling British charm, bands v solos acts, Will Farrell’s Eurovision movie, Ed Sheeran’s bank balance, Beyoncé at Glastonbury, which rock star will live the longest and Disco v Grunge in the Stack Waddy game.
In which we ponder rock and roll stage names, the immortal gag that launched Billy Connolly, KT Tunstall versus the streaming system and best guests on chat shows – and the only British Prime Minister to ever host one.
In which we contemplate pop stars’ statues, 50th anniversary albums, excruciating things actors do in Lockdown, fictitious Monsters of Rock, the curious tale of Madonna’s Ray Of Light and the best/worst things about Oasis.
In which we spot the fake Country & Western song titles and ponder the man who launched the Undertones, Classics that leave us cold, eternally comforting sitcoms and the analogue childhood of Andy Partridge.