LEGACY, TRUTH, LIFE and TOP OF THE POPS

 

One of the first things I learned upon starting school in the year 1978. was there was an element in society – a percentage of every group of people – who did not share the same values as myself. People who, for a variety of reasons, just did not see what I saw and hear what I heard. It’s hard for me to put myself in their shoes, as we naturally become drawn to people more like ourselves., but as we are all different it’s part of life. As we grow into adults, the joyless often stay joyless, destructive stay destructive, and the creative, if they’re lucky, find outlets for their creativity. The creative often cause trouble for themselves in life, the joyless and destructive cause trouble for others.

In 21st Century Britain, the worrying trend seems to be ‘The Rise Of The Idiots’ (to paraphrase ‘Nathan Barley’, written by Chris Morris & Charlie Brooker ten years ago). Whilst any business – creative or otherwise – needs ‘bean counters’ to guide it, the extraordinary change in recent years is the creative mediums of television and radio have been slowly taken over by the more destructive less creative types. In order to inspire you need to be inspiring, and yet what used to inspire is being transformed into either background or distraction. Furthermore, there appears to be a very real media agenda to discredit the latter half of the twentieth century, playing on the lack of knowledge, context and common sense afflicting so many of those born after 1989. Tell them everything was terrible in the 1970s and that everything is “awesome” in the 2010’s – and the chances are they will accept what you dictate without question. “Put your faith in us, we make everything better” seems to be the message – those of us fortunate enough to be older than 25 know the reverse is true. The reality is ignorance and misinformation is the order of the day, a vile mainstream constantly indulging in peoples worst fears and prejudice. The majority of people these actually want to ‘believe the worst’ of people – and certainly want to dismiss what they don’t know or understand.

Even as a young child I had – via the medium of radio and television -already grown to love music. The visual aspect of music (aside from the wonderful pictures painted in the mind’s eye of course) came to me early, firstly via Yorkshire TV’s lunchtime “pop” show ANIMAL KWACKERS and then, shortly after. TOP OF THE POPS. By the time I was 4 years old, my weekly treat was to stay up to watch Top Of The Pops every thursday. I always looked forward to thursday evenings, and always enjoyed the mix of music presented on the show. My eclectic taste in music today is a legacy of the early impact TOTP and the singles chart had on me, as easy as it now to look back and sneer at some of the content of late 70s TOTP and radio playlists. I was very fortunate to have grown aware of music and the pop scene in an era of phenomenal progression and variety. The “new wave” of pop ushered in with punk lastly roughly until the point when I started Senior School (the Summer of 1985).

Good fortune and good timing. I can remember first hand so many TOTP performances over those years, even tracks I never heard again (step forward TOTP hater Roger Taylor and his solo flop ‘Future Management’ – I was on a snowy holiday in North Yorkshire the night of  Thursday April 23rd 1981 and had to watch The Pops on a black & white portable – and yet I can clearly recall the song even now). This is not just dewy-eyed nostalgia – I am talking about the days when most pop music had a genuine intelligence behind it.

In my humble opinion, TOTP went downhill a bit in the latter half of the eighties with the producers unsure how to counteract the MTV-led Videolution and update the show’s format, and the show itself locked into a limited 30 minute slot after Eastenders began in early 1985. It got good again in the 90s, only to fall apart once and for all (hand in hand with my beloved pop music) once the 21st Century kicked in.

Classed by some elitist snobs as forever tacky, Top Of The Pops was producing legendary moments long before I was born. Sadly, most of the pre-1976 shows were wiped, but the memories and influence remain. You will be hard-pressed to find a British pop star from the 76-86 era who’s life wasn’t changed by seeing ‘Starman’ by David Bowie & The Spiders From Mars on July 6th 1972 or Marc Bolan’s first brush with glitter when T.Rex presented ‘Hot Love’ to an eager audience in March 1971.

The sheer clamour for the rediscovery of Bowie & co performing The Jean Genie LIVE on Top Of The Pops in January 1973 when cameraman John Henshall gave the world access to his private surviving copy in 2011 and the amount of people who had been carrying fragments of this seismic performance in the back of their minds for almost 40 years was phenomenal – and more enthusiastic than the music industry can muster for any of it’s current product. That one discovery has probably done more for the reputation and profile of David Bowie in the run-up to his unexpected 2013 return than anything else. Similarly, discoveries of stupidly scarce footage of Top Of The Pops from the Summer of 1967 created a tidal wave of interest, particularly the original Syd Barrett incarnation of Pink Floyd performing See Emily Play. Now, THIS is a legacy to be proud of and, in the words of Danny Baker “meant so much to so many people”. Even now, despite almost every single one of the first 600 shows wiped, we still have footage of the likes of The Kinks, The Who, Jimi Hendrix and The Bee Gees on Top Of The Pops in the 60s. The UK – certainly during the years 1964-70 and then 1978-84 – was the international leader in the pop music boom, and Top Of The Pops is a historical weekly document of those times.

What Top Of The Pops was NEVER about – not until the preening faux-ironic likes of Fearne Cotton in it’s dying years anyway – was the presenters. Sure, many of the faces who presented the show added something to the mix – be it the current ‘elephant in the room’ the late Jimmy Savile (64-84), Alan ‘Fluff’ Freeman (64-69), Tony “gaff” Blackburn (69-78), Noel Edmonds (72-78), Peter ‘Woo! Hey!” Powell (77-88), the under-fire and terminally uncool DLT (73-84), Simon “Timecheck” Bates (79-88), Mike Smith (82-88), Janice Long (82-88), Steve Wright (80-89),Bruno Brookes (84-95), ‘Woo’ Gary Davies (82-91), Simon Mayo (86-96) or the wonderful combinations of David ‘Kid’ Jensen (76-84) and John Peel (81-88) – but they were only ever there to link the tunes and performances, a little advert for BBC Radio 1. To now see the legacy I have described above reduced to hushed-tones and apologetic asides on the national network that produced that show on a weekly basis and still produces end of year specials is an absolute disgrace. What we have is all sides playing to the ignorance and immorality of our present sick society, planting “opinions” in the heads of people who actually have no idea what they are talking about. The “celebration” of the BBC’s legacy at Television Centre last week was somewhat tarnished by a reluctance to raise the issue of Top Of The Pops – a show that was filmed at TVC for over 25 years. The impression I got was TOTP wasn’t to be mentioned – with only the outspoken Danny Baker and (to a lesser extent) former TOTP presenter Noel Edmonds breaking the silence.

The BBC is ALLOWING the legacy of Top Of The Pops – not just a ‘National Institution’ but an international brand – to be destroyed. That Sir Jimmy Savile presented the show for the first twenty years is fact – that he did what he, in death, is alleged to have done many years ago is not, despite what The Metropolitan Police or ITV defective Detectives say. People connected to the show know the allegations of dressing room wrongdoings are at best highly dubious, so what I cannot understand is why the BBC are joining in on this attack on themselves when they should, on behalf of both themselves and us the TV license payers, be defending the show millions watched and loved. The legacy of Top Of The Pops is something that should be celebrated – somehow this cheaply-made show in a clinical TVC studio transcended the sum of it’s parts and changed many lives for the better over the course of over 30 years. Instead, to add insult to the injury of wiping 12 years worth of shows, the repeats many of us waited 35 years for have been ruined by an agenda set by ITV, a disgraced Police Force, a dubious unqualified TV “expert” working for ITV and several of their own artless self-serving so-called “investigative producers” wishing to engage in a tug-of-war amongst themselves at the expense of the BBC Light Entertainment legacy.

The present situation paints a picture of one host of the TOTP team running amok in the TVC dressing rooms – when the truth is Jimmy Savile spent as little time on set as he possibly could. A team of producers, lighting & sound engineers, cameramen – not to mention FEMALE dancers, make-up artists and designers – not to mention an audience policy of NO UNDER 16’s. We’re expected either to overlook the overwhelming evidence or assume every member of the Top Of The Pops team was covering up grave wrongdoing? If you believe that, you probably believe in Santa Claus too.

We are living in Orwellian times. The current position is very few people feel able to defend either Top Of The Pops or the pre-Matthew Bannister Radio One for fear of being picked off. There is a current police operation in place that appears to be serving an agenda of silencing those were there at the time – witness the arrests of Max Clifford and Jim Davidson after they had the audacity to publicly question the agenda of said operation.

No working DJ dare speak up against this shameless witch hunt in case they are either targeted themselves (after the mainstream round on them) or find themselves out of work by their mainstream media employers, and there are only a couple with the courage to speak out who aren’t ‘in that line of work’ anymore. They simply have to remain silent.

In being swept back, via the BBC4 repeats, to the time in my life when Top Of The Pops was my introduction to my lifelong love of music and the charts, I find it reprehensible and disgusting that at the exact week we arrived at the point in the run were no more episodes were missing from the archive, a shoddy ITV documentary made an unqualified charlatan full of unprovable allegations against a dead man backed up by  a transparent witch-hunt by a famously corrupt police force and spineless present-day BBC management have resulted in 40% of those shows being banned. I can’t help but feel that not only is my intelligence being routinely insulted by these ridiculous claims but they are destroying a time I lived through and loved, a time were music progressed so quickly and effortlessly – like a time capsule of real life being blown to pieces by that group of artless loveless destructive kids who have pushed their way to the front of the queue as adults.

To add insult to injury, one final point. BBC4 are refusing to show Top Of The Pops presented by Dave Lee Travis due to his arrest by the ‘Savile Police’ for fear of being criticised by the vile scum of The Daily Mail and the Murdoch rags. Challenge TV – owned by Sky – have no such qualms about repeating the BBC-made ‘Jim Davidson’s Big Break’. Is that fair and just?

Advertisements

OPERATION YEWTREE: AN IDIOTS GUIDE

“The Savile Police”. What an absurd concept, what are they? Policemen in blonde wigs and tracksuits? Sadly not, they are though as absurd as their chosen handle in the press. Set up as a knee-jerk reaction to a shoddy piece of so-called investigative journalism on ITV in yet another example – as if we needed any – of the continuing clandestine relationship between The Metropolitan Police and the gutter press (aided and abetted by their neighbouring force Surrey Police with their equally sinister relationship with the media), as if to raise two fingers at The Leveson Enquiry and all its legal and moral ramifications.

What is Yewtree for? This is a good question – for other than leading a media witch hunt against several former celebrities for crimes not involving “children” it appears to have very little purpose, certainly no element of real benefit. It is, to all intents and purposes, a media-led police trawl in which individuals are picked out by fitting a criteria – they either have to be apparently dislikable individuals of a probably right wing persuasion and with BBC connections (DLT, Jim Davidson), already ‘disgraced’ and ergo fit for the media bonfire (Gary Glitter, Wilfred De’ath) or – in a new Nazi-esque twist – pesky individuals who spoke out against this witch hunt and needed silencing (Davidson, Max Clifford). The only arrests connected to Jimmy Savile is any way shape or form were Gary Glitter and Freddie Starr (for an alleged and highly improbable orgy in an imaginary dressing room in the wrong building for a show in which neither appeared on the same edition of) and the easy target that is JS’ former Radio One presenter, the elderly Ted Beston. After 5 tedious months of maximum media exposure of this calculated trawl nobody arrested by “The Savile Police” has been charged. I must also point out – in targeting unpopular and/or risible individuals (‘easy targets’) precedents can be easily established. Once they are established, it will not just the right wing comedians of yesteryear or self-styled Hairy Monsters getting nick-nicked for whatever.

This week it transpired that Dave Lee Travis – former Radio One dj and Top Of The Pops presenter – had been ‘re-arrested’, despite still not being charged with any offence 4 months after his initial high profile arrest – 20 or so officers, 7 police vehicles and 30-odd press already waiting. Coincidentally, CPS spokesman Nazir Afzal also chose this moment to announce to the disgraced Red Tops of impending “very high profile figures” will be arrested over the coming weeks as “a growing number of sex abuse cases are uncovered by police”. This chief crown prosecutor then added “There are people you will be interested in”.
At what point did criminal investigations become dependant upon an immoral media to rubber stamp and conspire with the Crown Prosecution Service and The Police? What sort of sick game is this?
Mr Afzam also added that “none are directly linked to Savile” and, very helpfully, “THIS IS A GROWING INDUSTRY. THERE ARE MORE ARRESTS SCHEDULED OVER THE NEXT FEW WEEKS. SOME ARE VERY HIGH PROFILE FIGURES”
“An Industry”. In all his brazen hyprocrisy, Afzal has confirmed what we thought. This is a wicked collusion between The Metropolitan Police and the media and the CPS, and they do not care who knows.
What sort of criminal investigation targets the elderly, and actually – as Mr Afzal has highlighted – is booking in arrests like job interviews and plotting the public downfall of these people in an operation that has yet to charge anyone? They will be arranging events to fall into place for maximum exposure, like their high profile arrest of DLT – who had already stated he wanted to be interviewed – on the morning one of his Top Of The Pops was due to be re-broadcast on BBC4, or arrested in an airport (Jim Davidson). Utterly contrived and utterly disgusting.
It should not surprise anyone, as the whole posthumous Jimmy Savile scandal, is – as discovered by Anna Raccoon – a conspiracy of epic proportions, were dissenting voices are arrested, vilified or – for those like Anna, the wrong sex and the wrong intellect to be made a monkey of – completely ignored despite being in possession of evidence that disputes and casts a cloud against dubious stories now, no matter how absurd, taken as gospel by a public overrun with false media reports. The scandal was based around lies broadcast on a shoddy ITV shockumentary, and the grew legs by the fact that allegations could be made by anyone – however fanciful – and never challenged. The sort of things dreams are made of if you’re a hand-wringing shifty former detective trying to make a name for himself on ITV, a disgraced “news”paper looking to increase crashing circulation and deflect your own much-publicised moral failings or simply a trash chat show looking for rubbish to talk about.
“The Savile Police” have created their Operation Yewtree as a witch hunt. Set up in the shadow of the dreadful ITV programme, it is divided into “three strands”: ‘Savile’, ‘Savile & others’ and just plain old ‘others’. Other what? Other TV personalities? Other old men? No, it would seem “other” means “literally anybody”. For any reason – anything can be rendered ‘sexual’ out of context, nothing can be proved and nothing can be disproved. It doesn’t have to involve anyone underage or have any timescale. Anything, anyone. To announce to a newspaper under investigation itself under another criminal operation (one that it actually producing real charges and real convictions for real crimes) that this “is an industry” and that you are booking in future arrests – presumably when the press are available – is beyond corrupt.
In making their high profile arrests and pontificating to a disgraced media about “more to come” is to trawl for complaints. Each arrested individual may as well be paraded through every high street in the country, carrying a banner with “make a complaint about me” on.
There is no purpose to this operation other than to create an illusion that the police are doing something about an illusion. They couldn’t investigate the many ridiculous claims against Jimmy Savile because, conveniently for all, he is dead. So they create a bogus operation to trawl for scapegoats and call it “an industry”. Is this justice, is this what society has been reduced to? Phony documentaries, phony reports and a witch hunt. Policemen and Crown Prosecutors making stupid comments to the press and, in the case of the NSPCC – never shy to push their own agenda – and the joke that is Yewtree Commander Peter Spindler, failing to see that making lunatic statements to the corrupt UK press is not protecting any children, past present or future. We are way beyond parody here.

Oh, almost forgot. In an attempt to justify the existence of “Operation Yewtree” the Met have been piggy-backing other sex abuse enquiries – the victims involved in those enquiries do not know why they are involved in Yewtree when their experience has nothing to do with Savile, nor with any of his associates, nor “others”. The involvement of Yewtree in this completely unrelated operations is slowing down their justice.
Which all begs the question – if we can’t trust the police to have a decent agenda, if the media conspiracy to stop the truth from getting out is all-encompassing and if telling the truth gets us arrested, what is the law for now, Persecution and promotion? It certainly isn’t “child protection” as healthy-minded children need to have healthy-minded adults in order to become healthy-minded adults themselves, and the society in which we find ourselves now is a slave to paranoia, suspicion and ignorance.

Vile corruption.

Popped?

Watching the second show in “Danny Baker’s Great Album Showdown” I found it confirming all I had found out in the past year – that the basic, simple genre of “Pop” has now been twisted and subverted beyond all recognition. I watched with pleasure as Danny – along with guests Boy George, Grace Dent & David Hepworth – reeled off anecdotes of their favourite “pop” albums, and realised I wasn’t in fact going mad and that the likes of Kate Bush, Joni Mitchell and Paul Simon were indeed “pop music”, the pop I knew and loved but has now been sub-genre’d and formulated into submission.

I am roughly the same age as Grace Dent, brought up by parents roughly the same age as David Hepworth – and I had immersed myself in the joys of pop music ever since I clapped eyes on “Animal Kwackers” at the age of two. I was watching Top Of The Pops as my weekly “treat” from the age of three, bought albums from the age of five and was writing and taping the Radio 1 Top Forty from the age of seven. I was just 10 when I first subscribed to Smash Hits in early ’84. I spent the late 80s buying Jimi Hendrix albums alongside Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye alongside Stock Aitken Waterman and Public Enemy. I knew exactly what the shows panel were talking about because it was exactly the same place I was coming from. Pop to me is, and always has been fascinating and delightful – a world in which the simple and the complex can co-exist happily and often following on from each other. I was fortunate enough to grow up in the second “Golden Age of Pop” (77-85) and to experience the 70s, 80s & 90s first hand. I could go backwards in time (70s, 60s, 50s) whilst lapping up new releases and new styles with great enthusiasm.  It isn’t like that now, though.

I have, for my sins, recently spent a year working almost exclusively with young people, aged approximately 18-23, in an environment were music was on constantly. What I learned early on in this work was the majority of young people now have specific requirements and expectations in the music they listen to, and that these clashed completely with my own – and those of most people over the age of, say, 30.

I will admit to having lost my pop compass somewhat in recent years in terms of following the pop charts. Whilst I have maintained my collection of the “Now That’s What I Call Music” series, most of the last 15 have had just the odd flick through – a far cry from the days of yore (Volumes 1 (1993) thru’ to Volume 63 roughly, were each volume would be purchased as close to release date as possible and played repeatedly). Massive exposure to both what they call “modern pop” in my workplace told me there was a reason for this – ‘fings ain’t what they used to be”! Somewhere around 2007, mainstream pop mutated into a generic triple-headed beast that doesn’t stray far from type. Parented by what we used to call “R’n’B” in the 90s, much of what is now seen as modern edgy pop is computer-generated tuneless drivel, driven by half-formed lyrics rendered meaningless by a lack of any context other than mindless chemical-fuelled hedonism. In a society constantly putting the past to trial under the pretext of “child protection”, what those of us who went through 1978 undamaged by some supposed mass “grooming” by errant DJ’s make of todays kids hands-in-the-air’ big hits – songs like Lonely Islands moronic  “I Just Had Sex”, Khia’s “My Neck, My Back” (‘Right now, Lick It Good, Lick this pussy just like you should – My Neck, My Back, lick my pussy and my crack”) and Ke$ha’s “Die Young” (‘Let’s make the most of the night like we’re gonna die young, We’re gonna die young’). The music made by, say, Calvin Harris presented as typical of todays pop may have been charming once – but once that forumla is applied – and demanded by the modern pop consumer to be – on every other track in the Singles Chart the  innovation, and the charm, soon wear thin. The lyrical content of many of these tracks manages to be both trite and offensive at the same time, but with no trace of the intelligence that blessed previous examples of “offensive pop” (from Serge Gainsbourg to the Sex Pistols to Frankie Goes To Hollywood) or the genuine threat much of the greatest rock/pop – The Stone in 1969, The Sex Pistols in 1977, Guns ‘n’ Roses in 1987 – still has in spite of the subsequent ageing and acceptably of those artists So pop stars still “mean it, man”. Alas, not. They are confused, empty sexless vessels just like the youngsters who consume their product over and over again.

As well as jittery semi-worded dance-pop, there appears to be two other ‘default settings’ in pop. Whilst the world of ‘X-Factor’ talent shows could have seen a return to Tin Pan Alley- style songsmithery what it has tended to depend on is either teams of professional songwriter delivering songs-by-number or oversang (and often mis-sung) cover versions rendering yesterdays crafted masterpieces into slush. Bands like One Direction use a pop formula that manages to be both bland and utilize elements of the “pop nouveau”. The ‘Pop Ballad” has been rendered impotent by sticking to a set formula – songs have to be in “uplifting” keys and set to a precise sickly formula. Perhaps the most shocking lesson I learned recently was not “ver kids” slavish devotion to Nikki Minaj & Rihanna but how the music we knew and loved as “pop” rendered “depressing”. This label was applied to hit tracks by artists as upbeat as Madness, David Bowie and Jane’s Addiction – it would seem that a song possesses either words, key changes or – God forbid – minor keys and real instruments together, it is classed as “depressing”. To someone who finds early Leonard Cohen an uplifting inspiration this seemed even more absurd than it obviously is. Perhaps this is symptomatic of two deeper issues I encountered with this age group now – particularly widespread emotional immaturity and the  substitution of real emotion and experience with a combination of social instruction and copycat consumption of recreational chemicals.

The realisation that there has been a new “Generation Gap” created during the past 15 years – something that hadn’t reared it’s said in 50 Years Of Rock’n’Roll – and that this gap also includes the Universal Language of Pop is something I find both sad and fascinating.

Danny Baker and co on the glorious BBC4 channel – the only real of “actual” music television   now – confirmed that I am not alone in thinking Pop Music is a multi-faceted beast and home to the intelligent, varied and progressive music as we all knew it was for those glorious 40 years of incredible advances. It would be a shame if it all ended in a genuine Arrested Development (‘scuse the pop reference!) but that seems to way things are heading.

I myself have embraced iTuned as a vehicle for music, if not the scatterbrained AD/HD ‘randomisation’, and have banished “Genres” from my carefully ordered database of over 5000 albums (77500 tracks) – they are completely unnecessary and the sheer amount of potential genre’s make a nonsense of the music itself.

Don’t worry though, I still own and use such lumbering beasts like records, cd’s, Hi-Fi separates and quality turntables for the ‘organic’ experience!

Nothing Has Been Proved – The Vilification Of Sir Jimmy Savile.

When Sir Jimmy Savile passed away two days before his 85th birthday in late October 2011, few begrudged the tributes and column inches afforded to the passing of this eccentric who had been at the forefront of the Entertainment Industry in the UK for 50 years. Jimmy Savile had “earned his stripes” by effectively overcoming a lowly start in life to pioneer the art of the “disc jockey” in an era of live “Dance Bands” in Ballrooms. Of course, JS was a self-publicisist par excellence (another word for this may be ‘bullshitter’) but there is no doubt that whether by good fortune or apparent ingenuity, he was at the forefront of both the “Pop Boom” in the UK (that began in earnest a few years into JS’ ballroom career) and in the burgeoning world of “Music Television” (then in it’s infancy). However, just 11 months after his death Sir Jimmy Savile was being labelled a “monster” and a “predatory paedophile” by the self-same mainstream media who had courted him throughout his 30-odd years “at the top”, and also through an eccentric and prolonged old age, a u-turn that was marked even by the infamously contradictory UK press. How could this be – surely the evidence for this about-turn had to be absolute and damning? Curiously not.

Rumours, of course, had dogged Sir Jimmy Savile throughout the last years of his life. After all, here was an old man who had never married, who’s timing and connections had placed him at the centre of industry that catered almost exclusively for the young. Always eccentric, he took the eccentricities to ridiculous levels in his crotchety old age but had dedicated his apparent solitary existence to raising millions for charity – a very real accomplishment that, regardless of the motives, actually created revenue and publicity for real hospitals, real schools and real hospices. Organisations that are, in fact, all suffering due the posthumous vilification of JS.
The point of this article is to examine what exactly this supposedly damning evidence is, why it has been consumed and accepted so avidly by the mainstream media and drip-fed to consumers who weren’t around and simply have no understanding and perspective on the 60s, 70s & 80s. We now live in what I’ll term a “post-pop” era; “youth tv” is an established format that currently dictates those shows are directed entirely at “post-pop” youths, where tattoos and skinny jeans rule, music goes “bleep” and “crash” and where the presenters of such television and radio are a reflection of their audience – metrosexual, anodyne, faux-ironic and inoffensively unaware of anything apart from the own “scene”. 50 years ago, things were different – in both the progressive American world of colour TV and in the stuffy black & white UK – entertainment shows were presented by authoritative established figures. When Top Of The Pops was born at the dawn of 1964, the presenters chosen were those who had established themselves in the burgeoning world of rock & roll radio and television. Pete Murray, David Jacobs, Alan Freeman and Jimmy Savile were all roughly the same age, were established and knowledgeable and their credentials were more or less equal. That they were all around 40 years old at the time has to be viewed in context – just because it would now equate to the likes of Jeremy Vine sat gurning on E4 instead of sticking to high-end quiz shows does not mean the people behind the likes of TOTP were establishing some kind of sinister “dirty old man” league to cherry pick “children” nor was this environment created to serve any such appetites – if they were we would have seen widespread accusations long before Savile finished his protracted old age. Slowly, the older DJ’s were replaced with younger DJ’s – though curiously even in their early 30’s the likes of Tony Blackburn, Ed Stewart and Dave Lee Travis all looked middle-aged!

Throughout the summer of 2012, rumours were abound that accusations had been made against the deceased DJ and that these were being “investigated” – not by the police, but by a couple of journalists and a “child abuse” expert and that – interestingly – these “findings” would be shown, not at a police station, but on a heavily-publicised prime-team ITV “documentary”. When this was aired on October 3rd I had at that no knowledge of the background of the show and it’s star turns (*I refer the inintiated to the following articles written by someone with much more knowledge in this area than me:
http://www.annaraccoon.com/annas-personal-stuff/past-lives-and-present-misgivings-part-four/
http://www.annaraccoon.com/annas-personal-stuff/past-lives-and-present-misgivings-part-five/
http://www.annaraccoon.com/annas-personal-stuff/past-lives-and-present-misgivings-part-six/
http://www.annaraccoon.com/annas-personal-stuff/past-lives-and-present-misgivings-part-seven/
http://www.annaraccoon.com/annas-personal-stuff/trial-by-posthumous-innuendo/ )

What I saw on Mark Williams-Thomas’ “Exposure” on Sir Jimmy Savile seemed to me to be basically a few “maybe I saw” uncorroborated allegation of possible misbehaviour of JS with teenage (post-puberty) girls (included one made by a convicted fraudster – more about him a bit later), unprovable conjecture based on out of context distorted footage and facts (the “holding Colleen Nolan on Top Of The Pops” being the most blatantly ridiculous, but we must not under-estimate her appetite for self-publicity or of double-standards) and allegations made by Karin Ward that Jimmy Savile had abused his celebrity status to infiltrate Duncroft School for Girls – again for DETAILED FACTS on this, I refer you to the Anna Raccoon articles above.
At that stage I did not feel the case against Jimmy Savile was either particularly convincing, either in the “evidence” put forward by Mark Williams-Thomas nor in the fact that we were being told to believe that this one man – a man who, lest we forget, had spent at least 15 years fading away in ill health and the previous 30 years constantly lampooned in all areas of the industry he was involved and who himself had lazily adopted the exaggerated persona bestowed upon him by various mainstream impressionists. Hardly the dominating “Godfather” who aggressively controlled both the BBC and the ferocious tabloid press. To be asked to believe that was the case was to suspend disbelief a bit too much for anyone with a degree of knowledge in the era we are speaking of – an era were ‘underage sex’ was neither secret nor really taboo (step forward a number of ‘rock legends’, all of which can be ‘googled’ easily and none of whom have had police investigations or media embargoes thrust upon them), nor that such (we were told) rampant abuse would have gone completely unreported. My own belief after seeing “Exposure” was, basically, that the whole thing was crap. When “investigations” have to resort to recounts by shifty fraudsters, “shocking” footage of Jimmy Savile hosting a show with the already disgraced Gary Glitter (Glitter was on umpteen shows, umpteen Top Of The Pops and was arguably the UK’s no.1 pop star in 1973 – hardly “shocking” unless you simply have no knowledge of the 70s & 80s whatsoever), dragging Esther “Bleeding Heart” Rantzen out to set herself up for a fall and second-hand clips of TOTP stolen from youtube. Add to this subsequent “shockers” such as one (grown) woman who allegedly had her bottom piched by JS on TOTP in 1976 and it subsequently “ruined her life” and broke up her marriage (which would implicate half the worlds male population and most women who have been on Hen NIghts of similar “abuse”) or the quotes from an autobiography published only 39 years ago. We also had the normally sensible Paul Gambaccini relating the rumours of JS’ alleged indiscretions and repeating the old rumour of JS as a necrophiliac as fact when it in was nothing of the sort – and again, something entirely without evidence. The motive in that particular instance was apparently revenge on his former colleages for mercilessly ribbing his homosexuality back then – but as I don’t know this for sure I will stop short of doing what he did and stating rumour as fact.

The fallout of this shoddy show shocked me more than any revelations ever could. I expected a degree of “news” – certainly from the gutter press who thrive on this stuff, but nevertheless let us not forget their own reverence and wholesale support of Jimmy Savile prior to this contrived piece of lowest-common-denominator television. The point at which I really smelt a rat was when the Director General of the BBC, George Entwistle, meekly announced that the BBC would launching an “independent enquiry” into the allegations against JS but also apologising for what were mere (and dubious) allegations. This told me that, no matter how flawed the accounts of this abuse were – that neither Clunk Click nor Jim’ll Fix It were recorded as Television Centre, that the accuser was born in 1958 yet was claiming to be – and widely reported as being – 14 in 1974, that is was very ‘convenient’ that the ‘incident’ she recounted involved an already-disgraced media demon (Glitter) as well as another (Freddie Starr) – and that whilst both men did appear on Clunk Click in 1974 they DID NOT appear on the same edition. Curiouser and curiouser. We also had Top Of The Pops implicated, though this was met with sheer bafflement by anyone with knowledge of Television Centre dressing rooms and TOTP age restrictions and studio policy – to suggest JS used that show to snare underage girls in the dressing rooms is also to implicate EVERYONE else being aware of this – from the producers to the make-up girls to Pan’s People to the other DJ’s and even the acts – is this being seriously suggested?

The floodgates had crashed open with aplomb. Given that Jimmy Savile had presented Top Of The Pops surrounded by young people for 20 years, had been ‘fixing it’ for kids for 20 years and had never hidden his appreciation for the female form there was no shortage there of ‘potential’ for claims of ‘that’ nature… factor in his involvement in charities for children and his work in hospitals, stories (good word that) of “abuse” came thick and fast – all unstantiated, all both unproven and unprovable and all ‘rewardable’ with compensation. Oops, I mentioned “compensation” – is that cold cynicism or mere realism? Hardly irrelevant though is it? When the world seems to have accepted each and every ‘allegation’ as fact despite the fact that it would take a ‘Through The Looking Glass’ suspension of disbelief to imagine one man committed hundreds of acts of abuse and not one was reported at the time. NOT ONE. Sure, Mr Williams-Thomas likes to hold a lot of sway on the fact that the Duncroft mob reported alleged 30-odd-year-old abuse allegation in 2007 and this wasn’t publicised – but it wasn’t deemed to have sufficient evidence or plausibility for the CPS to pursue – and their thirst for high-profile cases of abuse against celebrities cannot be disputed!
Within days, the mainstream media were promoting the dead JS as “paedophile”, the BBC themselves were quoting him as being “potentially the most infamous paedophile in history”. Their own hastily-made Panorama made as an answer to ITV’s “Exposure” was just as shoddy – no investigation into anything other than journalistic spats, repeating the same nonsense, trying to court favour by inviting the Duncroft Fantasist back to tell more stories. Had the world gone mad? Even now, almost three months later, I have yet to see one even half-credible case against Savile, NOT ONE. His own family have had to break rank and condemn – though in their shoes I think I would, this level of condemnation in such a savage society as this, I’d be fear of my life at the hands of baying mobs if I were them. A Sky News churnalist infiltrated collectors music forums on the trail of JS radio footage – and sneeringly referred to those suspicious of his motives as “Savile Protectors”. Mark WIlliams-Thomas himself seems to exist in a netherworld were people are either “abused” or “abusers”, and potentially either – a quick scan of his Twitter feed reveals he pretty much a walking talking Daily Mail, endlessly tweeting untold stories of abuse as well as feeding his obsession with JS, and completely ignoring any dissenting voices or opinions but feeding his adoring – and quite often illiterate – followers with tales of ‘grave concern’. My ‘grave concern’ when reading Williams-Thomas’ Twitter feed is that here is a dysfunctional man with an obsession with ‘abuse’ who is preying on the weak and abusing his position and influence to promote his own agenda – curiously this similar to how he is attempting to portray the late Jimmy Savile! His absolute reluctance to accept the reservations and criticisms of others is alarming to say the least – very unhealthy. Why on earth he is given the platforms he gets to promote his flawed agenda, not to mention the lack of challenges, is another sinister part of this whole circus.

The Metropolitan Police were quick to announce their investigation into “Savile and others” called Operation Yewtree. Savile and “other” what? Other DJ’s? Other TV presenters? Other Elderly Men? Other Men? No, the inference there is basically Savile & Other Sordid Perverts. Contrary to popular belief, “Operation Yewtree” is not (and never has been) an investigation into alleged offences by “Jimmy Savile”. What “The Savile Police” are doing in naming a dead man as a “predatory paedophile” and inviting complaints (the official name is trawling) from anyone who may have had an association with any of his friends or colleagues to come forward. Not a single one of these so-called ‘victims’ is even alleged to be a “Savile Victim”.
We saw them arrest Gary Glitter and Freddie Starr – though strangely not in the same week – for the imaginary Clunk Click orgy, Dave Lee Travis – another TOTP presenter & Radio 1 DJ – despite saying on record he wanted to clear his name with police – was arrested in a dawn raid which involved six police vehicles and an army of press who had obviously been tipped off – coincidentally on the same day BBC4 were due to repeat his Top Of The Pops of 20/10/1977. He has now joined Jimmy Savile in being banned (or “postponed” in BBC press-speak) from having his harmless Top Of The Pops shows repeated. His crime? Allegedly touching an adult woman’s breasts. In 1977. Coincidentally, she went to work for Sky News – funny that. Strangely enough, next up was one of Mark Williams-Thomas’ “star witnesses” – someone had apparantly recognised Wilfred De’ath on Exposure – and recognised him as the man who had abused her in 1965. Since then we have seen Max Clifford & Ted Beston dragged into the mellee, as well as officially ‘unnamed’ and much loved celebrity who Mark Williams-Thomas took it upon to name on his Twitter feed. Ted Beston was JS’s radio producer in the 70s – the Williams-Thomas angle is that Savile created “vehicles for abuse” with his radio and tv shows, so his mates at the Met will be keen to establish that for him. Saint Mark himself has been perpetuating the myth that Beston and Savile “Savile Travelled” the UK in search of ‘fresh meat’ – no wonder his mate from Sky News was seeking recording of these shows back in October! I imagine few people are sad about poor Max Clifford given his P.R. involvement in previous cases of highly suspect “historic abuse” but in my opinion his arrest makes this whole operation more sinister – he had been openly critical of the motives surrounding Operation Yewtree – his arrest also bring about his silence, and – significantly – an air of many others running scared. Savile’s former colleague, the whiter-than-white Tony Blackburn, has apparently dropped all 1970’s charts from his weekly Pick Of The Pops chart rundowns! Is the next arrest to be “The 1970s” as a decade, as suggested by Private Eye a few issues back? If all it takes is someone asserting that somewhere in the mists of time the had their body brushed against, then the question “who’s next?” can be answered “anyone”. I’ll make a bold statement here though – I’d say that anyone who’s legacy is making enough for the US-based multi-nationals will not be targeted, however well known their historic transgressions are. The UK media are, after all, ultimately controlled by their main advertisers (as are the “independent” television companies they hold shares in) and they will not wish to see their revenue chopped by having their cash cows disgraced – so whilst we may well see more dead UK celebrities having their reputations ripped to shreds, more elderly presenters and dj’s past their sell-by destroyed by media in old age and more two-bit entertainers sacrificed at the ITV altar they will be of “little worth” in terms of legacy.

There is a Hidden Agenda at work here. The “Exposed” programmes on JS were tawdry affairs – badly edited and unconvincing. The main evidence it presented falls at the first hurdle in terms of scrutiny – so why was it accepted so quickly and so ‘completely’? Why did the BBC make a basic admission of the inadmissable almost straight away, and why – despite the publishing on the subsequent “Pollard Report” – are they still maintaining the “no doubt Savile abused people” line when there has been no evidence of any such thing? I can see why Mark Williams-Thomas does what he does – he’s making a living by perpetuating peoples fears and thus has no duty – and seemingly no interest – in boosting his credibility to anyone savvy enough to see through his dubious stance. I can see, given their history, why the tabloids are enjoying the chance to both beat the BBC around the proverbial head and act out their fantasies of being able to make shocking statements about a dead man – but cannot see why the whole UK press refused to cover or promote Anna Raccoon’s articles that the Duncroft allegations – aka everything the first “Exposed” was based on – were false and why and how that was. I can’t see why there is so much hostility towards a relatively recent period in time – there has to be an agenda. The question is what that is – I haven’t worked it out. Is it anti-BBC? Is it anti-male? (see the recent entries at http://stevemoxon.blogspot.co.uk ) Is it the desperation of a press who feel their days are numbered? I’m not sure – but when fundamental questions are not asked, never mind answered I feel we are straying too far into the Orwellian Nightmare – but in using a figure as risible as Jimmy Savile, and a “cause” as unpeachable (and unprovable) as “child abuse” it is happening without enough protest.

Blinded By THE SUN – Tweet! Tweet!

GARY GLITTER IS ON TWITTER!!! 

Lock up your daughters!! Or, as if indeed it is actually Paul Francis Gadd ‘tweeting’* nobody needs locking away from the hapless reviled old aged pensioner, and certainly nobody need fear the man. To suggest they do is to swallow, hook line & sinker, everything the tabloid press have fed you about their favourite whipping boy.

(*As suspected, the Twitter account was not Glitter/Gadd but the work of some strange agent of morality – it was, apparantly a “social experiment” to find out how sex offenders could, shock horror, have access to the Worldwide Web after they have served their time. I call it ‘trolling’)

The tabloid press – particularly the Murdoch-owned press – have been overly successful in convincing an entire nation that a hammy pop star of yesteryear is in fact ‘Public Enemy No.1’. The question people should ask (well, do sheep ask questions?) is how on earth, in an informed and civilised society, does the very mention of an old pop star’s alias get people foaming at the mouth and issuing demented and often illiterate statements on internet forums as if he’s a mass child rapist (which he isn’t, by the way). To understand why, we have to go back in time.

Once upon a time in 1972 there was a singer/entertainer called Paul Gadd. Mr Gadd had been recording for over 10 years with little success under alias’s such as Paul Raven and Paul Monday. Noting the success in 1971 of the glitter-faced Marc Bolan with T.Rex, Gadd and his long-standing mentor Mike Leander (who was a very experienced producer, writer and arranger, having even worked with The Beatles on ‘Sgt Pepper’) jokingly suggested new guises – and came up with the name Gary Glitter. They came up with a stomping – and pretty unique sounding – track called Rock & Roll, and this slowly climbed the UK charts, becoming a massive hit that summer. Gadd, Leander & their group The Glitter Band followed Rock & Roll with a series of excellent follow-ups, but – as is typical in the pop game – by late 1974 his star was starting to dip and the singles became less impressive. By early 1976 Gary Glitter, having released a couple of ‘flop’ singles, announced he was ‘retiring’. However, by January 1977 he was on the comeback trail amidst a flurry of headlines about drink problems, weight gain, depression etc – and so began Gary Glitter’s close relationship with the tabloid press. Over the years he was kept in the news, announced multiple ‘comebacks’ and released various low-selling and little known singles. He had a slight renaissance in 1984 with two (decent actually) hits and by the late 80s had built up a cult following as a live act. In spite of little of note recording-wise, by the mid-90’s he was a big celebrity again, a ‘legend’, hosting Top Of The Pops every December – and all basically down to recording a handful of great glam rock singles some 20 years previous. What did Gary Glitter have at this point that his peers – Alvin Stardust, Barry Blue, Suzi Quatro, The Sweet – didn’t have to maintain this celebrity?

The answer, somewhat lost in time now, is Gary Glitter owed his celebrity status in the 90s almost entirely to the British Tabloids. Despite releasing little music of note, The Sun and it’s sister paper News Of The World  had kept him in the news since his first ‘comeback’ in 1977. It’s also prudent to note at this point that, personality-wise, Gary Glitter was always much the same. He was always egotistical, always a ‘little strange’, always had a fondness for young (teens & 20s) girls – and never sought to conceal any of these traits. His songs have always been somewhat salacious (‘Do You Wanna Touch Me (Oh Yeah)’, ‘Hard On Me’ (chorus of ‘Hard On… Hard On.. Me’), ‘What Your Mama Don’t See (Your Mama Don’t Know)” etc) and self-aggrandising, he was always a figure of (self) ridicule – he was an old ‘young’ pop star in his 30s with a tendency to put on weight, a strange kind of pin-up in the age of Bolan & Bowie. A lot of people he encountered back then disliked the prima donna. Why, then, did he secure so much support from the nations biggest-selling tabloids for so long? We can only speculate.

So, we’re in late 1997. Gary Glitter, 53 years of age and his ‘hit’ days now over 20 years ago, is a “legend”, a big star. He tours annually, hosts TV shows and has just – as a musical ‘legend’ – appeared in a cameo role in the Spice Girls “SpiceWorld” movie. He had a song-writing credit on Oasis’ multi-million selling album of the decade ‘(What’s The Story) Morning Glory’ and everything in his garden is rosy. Then he decides to take his computer in for a repair at PC World. They find photographs of child sexual abuse on his hard-drive, and whilst there is no evidence he was anyway involved in the photographs it has now become a criminal offence to be ‘in possession’ of such pictures, and Paul Francis Gadd is duly arrested and charged. This left the ‘Voice Of The Nation’ (The Sun/NOTW) with a problem, here was a man whom – in their eyes – they had ‘made’. And here he was exposed to the world as someone who, if not a paedophile (a much abused term, if you pardon the pun, that means someone sexually attracted to pre-pubescent children), had sought out, for some kind of gratification, pictures of child abuse most of us would find repugnant.

At this stage, Gary Glitter decides, understandably. to adopt a much lower profile as he waits for his case to go to trial. Kelvin McKenzie and co, who had made this Gary Glitter a lot of money over the past 20 years, now went on the attack of their once favourite son. Max ‘Cheque Book’ Clifford went trawling for some ‘rent-a-victims’ but all he could come up with was a girl who, many years previously, had allegedly had a relationship with Glitter when she was under the age of consent. He was charged with this too, but – having pleaded guilty to possession of the child abuse photo’s (I refuse to call it ‘pornography’, it is bringing the word into disrepute), he pleaded Not Guilty to the new charge and it was heard in court. Whilst the trial was ongoing it came to light that, surprise surprise, the News Of The World had entered into contract with this ‘victim’ that, if they secured a conviction, they would pay her a princely sum as reward. This irregularity got the court case thrown out, and the ‘victim’, Waxy Maxy and the News Of The World an embarrassing and very public reprimand from the trial Judge. Glitter was sentenced for possessing the distasteful images of child abuse, served a few months in prison, came out and gave a press conference apologising for his misdemeanours and then promptly, on the face of it, disappeared. What happened was, at this point, he was actually told in no uncertain terms that his old long-term backers at News Group were most put out by their embarrassing exposure in the previous years trial and they would, by hook or by crook, ‘get him’. Understandably (though in hindsight foolishly) Paul Gadd fled the UK to escape this. Never the wisest of men he headed for places where he thought he would be free of Murdochian influence and not ‘Public Enemy No.1’. He went to Cuba, but News Group associates caught up with him there and started to hound him. He went to Cambodia where he thought he’d be safe – they caught up with him there. From there on it was Vietnam, but he didn’t reckon on the tenacity of long-time News Group Freelancer Andrew Drummond and the deep pocket’s of Murdoch’s men bankrolling their revenge. However, the fool sought solace in countries where he wouldn’t be hung, drawn and quartered by the masses but where, as he found to his cost, crimes and convictions can be bought for a round of drinks. The justice system of Vietnam is extremely dubious, but it sealed the fate of Gary Glitter in securing a ‘real’ conviction of abuse and thus completing their mission. Here in the UK people see Gary Glitter as a monster, someone who rapes and molest young children – a convicted paedophile. He is seen in the same light as real monsters – the Ian Huntley’s and Roy Whiting – real child killing monsters. What good does this do when he isn’t? It serves to undermine the cause of child protection, not strengthen – to scaremonger needlessly. Why has this been done – to whitewash over the fact that, had it not been for the editors of Britain’s tabloid newspapers Gary Glitter’s arrest in 1997 would have been, at best,  a few column inches. And yet, in 2009 Channel 4 screened an (awful) faux documentary “The Execution Of Gary Glitter” – instead of the makers of that focussing their attention on real child killers/rapists, a man who had served his time for the crimes he was convicted of and subsequently freed was again humiliated further.

They – the tabloids – made this man they now revile a “legend”. They in turn made him a “monster”. In truth he is neither, he is an elderly entertainer with a (very) chequered past. Most people in the entertainment business knew of his fondness for ‘jailbait’ when he was a bonafide pop star, it’s simply that it wasn’t an issue in the 70s or 80s, the attitude of the now moralising press was “Nudge Nudge, Wink Wink cor look at this Page 3 Girl she’s 16 today!” If we apply todays moral code to the 60s and 70s most – if not all – rock legends and entertainers would be guilty of ‘child abuse’ vis-a-vis inappropriate behaviour with (slightly) underage girls, it was a ‘perk of the job’ from Simon Dee and Jimmy Savile to Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page, moist starstruck 15 years sat on Mr Entertainer’s lap to Mr Wild Rock Legend chalking up notches on their international bed posts. Was it right, was it wrong? Who’s to say? I know that the decision cannot be made for us though by an immoral tabloid steeped in corruption. To get to the stage when, on the strength of tabloid influence we see the BBC editing one old rock star out of history by re-editing documentaries and old editions Top Of The Pops is beyond ridiculous because there but for a malicious accusation go every other entertainer and musicians career and reputation. Why did the tabloids effectively sponsor his post-1976 career, what pact did he make with these people? Why him? Yes, he was a great showman with a time-honed stagecraft and musically he made a great impact in 1972/73 before his pantomime act took over the music quality – but he would have been nothing but a footnote in music history by the time of his arrest were it not for the agenda of the tabloid press for 20 years who awarded him more column inches and headlines than his talent befitted. If I sound like I am being overly critical of his subsequent musical efforts, I am not – for what he did inside 3 years is more than most dream of, and his subsequent success as a live performer speaks for itself.

All who choose to condemn Gary Glitter should ask themselves this: are they basing their condemnation on facts or on the agendas of people like Kelvin McKenzie, Paul McMullan, Rebecca Brooks and Rupert Murdoch. And did any of these tabloid hacks ever create a record as great as “Rock & Roll pts 1 & 2” or “Do You Wanna Touch Me”? Did they create one of the greatest ever Christmas singles? Have the critics and the hacks ever brought pleasure to people en masse as Glitter did with Mike Leander with those great singles, have they raised the roof with great live shows, did they influence the core of great UK pop stars from the punk & new wave era?

Those who choose, still, in the face of Leveson, in the face of the NOWT closure and in the face of the fact that, as a hunted man for 13 years, the best ‘abuse’ the Murdoch hacks could come up was a phony bought conviction in a country with no justice and very little morality, brand Gary Glitter as Public Enemy Number One are guilty not of ‘raising the profile of child protection’ but of reducing an important issue down to the level of a cartoon.

Anyone who thinks, in 2012, that Gary Glitter is a predatory threat to children – which would, incidentally, make them “wiser” than both UK Courts & Police – should simply not be allowed to be in charge of children themselves. Get real.

LYRICAL ASSASSINS #1: KEVIN ROWLAND

Words are important in music, but it takes a special talent to write simple sounding lyrics of an incredible depth within the confines of a archetypal pop song. Kevin Rowland managed to make a succession of incredible white soul nuggets with Dexy’s Midnight Runners in the early 80s, many of them Top Ten pop hit singles which contained remarkable – and on paper seemingly downright unwieldy – a remarkable skill. He was a lyrical genius, perhaps even more in that very few people realised at the time. The opening words to the two verses of the most overplayed 80s song:”Poor old Johnnie RaySounded sad upon the radio, he moved a million hearts in mono.

Our mothers cried and sang along and who’d blame them”

“These people round here wear beaten down eyes

Sunk in smoke dried faces they’re so resigned to what their fate is

But not us, (no never) no not us (no never)

We are far to young and clever”

Or Geno, a UK number one single in the Spring of 1980:

“On a night when flowers didn’t suit my shoes

After a week of flunking and bunking school

The lowest head in the crowd that night

Just practicing steps and keeping out of the fights

Academic inspiration, you gave me none ”

Or this nugget from the album Searching For The Young Soul Rebels:

“Lord have mercy on me

Keep me away from Leeds

I’ve been before; it’s not what I’m looking for”

There There My Dear, a Top Ten single from the long hot summer of 1980, sounds like a soul record – unorthodox soul, but soul nonetheless – but is supposed to be an open letter to a pretentious bourgeois (then) NME type

“Dear Robin

Hope you dont mind me writing, its just that there’s more than one thing I need to ask you. If you’re so anti-fashion, why not wear flares instead of dressing down all the same? Its just that looking like that I can express my dissatisfaction.

Dear Robin

Let me explain, though youd never see in a million years. Keep quoting Cabaret, Berlin, Burroughs, J.G. Ballard, Duchamp, Beauvoir, Kerouac, Kierkegaard, Michael Rennie. I dont believe you really like Frank Sinatra.

Dear Robin

You’re always so happy, how the hell do you get your inspiration? You’re like a dumb patriot. If you’re supposed to be so angry, why dont you fight and let me benefit from your right? Dont you know the only way to change things is to shoot men who arrange things,

Dear Robin

I would explain but you’d never see in a million years. Well, you’ve made your rules, but we don’t know that game, perhaps Id listen to your records but your logic’s far too lame and I’d only waste three valuable minutes of my life with your insincerity.

You see Robin, Im just searching for the young soul rebels, and I can’t find them anywhere. Where have you hidden them?

Maybe you should welcome the new soul vision”

That he made that diatribe into a snappy cognitive three-and-a-half-minute soul hit is incredible.

 

2011-TISTF Good Things #1 Laura Marling.

And so it came to pass that circumstances and a certain someone drew my attention back to the work of 21 year old Laura Marling on the week she released her superb third album “A Creature I Don’t Know” back in September. The attention was drawn primarily due to the intensely superb and undoubtedly Cohen-esque track “Night After Night” and, in particular, the live performance on youtube captured in New York. Eclectic though my taste in music is, as a big fan of Leonard Cohen (the acoustic years through to 1975 particularly) and also of 60s & 70s Joni Mitchell, to say that the vision of loveliness that is 21 year old Marling appealed to me is an understatement. Though her current third album is a certainly a step ahead of her previous two albums, her whole discography works as an entity in itself. Yes, both “A Creature I Don’t Know” and 2010’s “I Speak Because I Can” are a definite musical step ahead of the first, 2008’s “Alas I Cannot Swim” (which was also (very) slightly tainted by Laura’s thankfully brief dalliance with an estuary accent) this is indeed the artiste in which I can see myself having a lifelong admiration for, like very few others of this century. Like her two quoted influences Cohen & Mitchell, she exudes through her work both a deep lustful yearning and a semi-detatched literati prowess that places her right up there with those time-served icons and above that of the majority of her contemporaries. I was lucky enough to see Laura and her band perform in York Minster on October 21st, and it was an experience I will not forget. The atmosphere and acoustics of the grand Minster warmed the ethereal music like some kind of dream, and though – through sheer absorbing enjoyment – I felt initially her 90 minute set was brief (and was also disappointed she did not play the majestic Night After Night) it was all told an experience I will never forget. On a personal note, it was a shame (though perhaps fitting) that my partner in this particular crime did not accompany me due to the strange strained circumstances of that particular week & month, I know in years to come that in my head 2011 will definitely be soundtracked by Laura Marling.