Monday, March 25, 2013

After everything, now this.

Rumour and speculation have been building on social media over the weekend that the BBC or, more prosaically, long-standing musical adept Stephen Foster will not be curating a stage at this year’s Ipswich Music Day (Music in the Park to us local veterans of the pub rock wars). If true, this is a sad reflection of the current climes in a number of ways. Firstly – personally - I feel for Foz, who was instrumental (hah!) in getting the festival rolling in the first place and has subsequently made the day a high point not only of his live music year but certainly for the many who get a good spot in front of the stage early on and camp out for the day safe in the knowledge that this bastion of the public service broadcaster will provide a balanced days’ entertainment, even if on occasion some of the individual courses aren’t to one’s taste.
The live broadcast (I’ve been on one or two, and the temptation toward profanity is almost unbearable) used to fill a big chunk of the Sunday radio schedule and then bits of the rest of it were filleted to provide more music to be put out at a latter date. Blues, soul, rock, reggae, cover bands and, importantly, home-grown original material all went to make up the mix. For every fifteen minute version of Sweet Home Chicago there were a clutch of singer-songwriters trying out their stuff on a big stage for the first time (even if slotted conveniently in at the start of the day where they wouldn’t frighten the picnickers)  

With the increasing hiving off of local content across all aspects of the BBC I suppose it was inevitable that sooner or later someone would pick up on the cost and inconvenience of using publicly subscribed funds to support a day involving musicians expressing themselves at the BBC’s expense (although lord knows none of that expense ever made it our way). I think that’s a little sad, unfortunate and wrong. As a public service broadcaster I believe that the BBC should not only educate, entertain and inform, but reflect their constituency, and having (literally) a platform to once a year throw a party to which we’re all invited is the right and proper thing to do.
I hope that these stories turn out to be without foundation, as it would be a bitter pill to swallow to see the broadcast media represented on the day by sub-karaoke commercial interests whose presenters’ main raison d’etre in attending seems to be having someone to shout at. Farewell, Soul Kitchen, we hardly knew you…   

(pic - Matt White and The Emulsions. Matt White pictured)    
Addenda, 24/5/13 - the line up for the BBC Stage has just been announced. As ever, it finishes with Soul Kitchen...  

Monday, March 18, 2013

Note to Self...

When you put a capo on the neck of your guitar at the first fret it alters the relative inversions of all of the chords in the song, not just the first two. Having to start the same number four times because you keep remembering that just after you’ve hit the next successive chord after the one you got right the last time will endear you to neither audience nor long-suffering vocalist, although the former will probably find the expression offered toward you by the latter during this process very amusing indeed.  

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

I mean, when you've loved and lost the way Frank has, then you, uh, you know what life's about.

In a move that has shocked, shocked and stunned the close-knit world of East Angliacana it has been revealed that benevolent dictator, de facto Doge of the organisation and otherwise styled Glorious Leader James Partridge will not be appearing with popular beat combo Songs from The Blue House at this weekend’s Helstock Festival at The Sun Inn, Dedham as a result of not handing in a presentation, as requested by the coaching staff, detailing his contribution to the group’s performance.
"We pride ourselves on attitude," said manager Ron Decline, who took over after their appearance at Fiddly Richard’s garden party in the summer. "We have given the musicians a huge amount of latitude to get culture and attitude right. We believe those behaviours are not consistent with what we want to do with this group, how we want to take this band to be the best in the Posh North Essex / Suffolk borders area.
"I believe that unfortunately he has not met my requirements so he is not available for selection for this performance.'
"I asked the band at the end of the gig [followed by an enjoyable barbecue and buffet supper] to give me an individual presentation, I wanted three points from each of them technically, mentally and team, as to how we were going to get back over the next couple of shows.
"This has been the toughest decision I have ever had to make” added co-manager Bobbi Flekman. “It's a tough, tough decision, but the ramifications for that within the group's structure and the message that it sends to all involved in Songs from The Blue House is that we are serious about where we want to take this group", adding “Money talks, and bullshit walks”.
Upon hearing the announcement guitar player and occasional vocalist Shane Kirk commented “Can you play a bass line like James used to on "Ophelia"? Can you double that? You might recall the line's in fifths”, to which Banjo player Tony Winn replied “I've got two hands here”.

Michael Vaughan, the former England captain who has turned into a regular Folk/Rock/Country/Blues/Americana baiter on Twitter, summed up the general incredulity when he tweeted: "What is going on with Songs from The Blue House? Didn't realise you had to do an essay to get selection these days!" The former Australia batsman Mark Waugh said he had ''never heard anything so stupid in all my life''.


Friday, March 01, 2013

Picturehouse Publishing Quarterly Report.

Alright - who's been at the credit card when they should have gone to bed on time? Come on, I've got all day.