Quite, quite, astonishing

The only uncomfortable bit of the night was its title: We Are Manchester. I looked around the Arena and saw almost exclusively white faces. You could blame it on the guitar bands, to whose charms the BAME community has largely remained immune. But high up on the bill was Bugzy Malone, a young black grime artist who raps about Manchester’s 0161 dial code, despite almost certainly never using a landline. Thirty-three per cent of the local population is not white. Where were they?

Music bill to appeal to largely white audience has largely white audience.

Amazing, eh?

And don’t you just love the incredibly racist assumption that darker people would all turn up because there’s a darker person on the bill?

Saves time

Where the streets have no statues: why do the Irish hate U2?

Another question in The Guardian we can answer.

To be fair, they’ve done some blindingly good music and definitely possess talent. But there’s an element of the ego has landed in there too.

Roaming some You Tube

And looking up lyrics of songs and so on, just a nice way to spend an hour:

Your beauty and kindness
Made tears clear my blindness
While I’m worth my room on this earth
I will be with you

Not a bad bit of a decent love song. In fact, that penultimate line I consider to be very good indeed. Will have to steal it at some point.

We can listen to Gary Glitter again folks

Eric Gill: can we separate the artist from the abuser?
Eric Gill was one of the great British artists of the 20th century – and a sexual abuser of his own daughters. A new exhibition at Ditchling asks: how far should an artist’s life affect our judgment of their work?

The answer seems to be aware of it and yet still admire and enjoy the art.

That’s good then, wanna be in my gang?

Entirely valid test this

So, to make things easier, I’ve invented the Sippican Cottage Musical Acid Test:

If you’re from Liverpool, and your composition is played Santuario-di-Madonna-di-San-Luca-skiffle style by five Bolognese men a half a century after you wrote it, you’re on to something with your approach to songwriting. That’s as far as I’ll go.

Akin to Bernard Levin’s idea of the historical filter.

We don’t know what it will be that survives our own cultural or artistic preoccupations and interests. But that historical filter does in fact work. We listen to more Mozart than Scalieri today and there’s nothing wrong with Scalieri’s stuff either, just Amadeus was rather better at it (or as it has been put, God simply poured his love for his creation through him).

Although we can take the odd bet on this. It’ll not be Madonna……

Well, yes

Not even the discovery that #sheeranalbumparty was a joke dreamt up by a Radio 1 DJ has spoilt my fun.

It’s a fairly obvious one given that Susan Boyle’s album was seriously promoted with the susanalbumparty tag

He’s got a point here

Another key moment for Rodgers was an argument he had with his jazz guitar teacher about the compositional merit of the Archies’ late-60s hit Sugar Sugar, which Rodgers ridiculed and resented having to play in a boogaloo covers band.

“Any song that sells and gets to the top 40 or top 10, any song is a great composition,” Rodgers recalled.

Sure, it’s manufactured schlock. And this is truly dreadful lip syncing.

It’s also artfully constructed and a rather good pop song.

Proper bubblegum music.

Slightly surprised me

Yes, I knew that George Michael was very talented. Perhaps not quite my style of music but he certainly could sing and he wrote very good pop songs (occasionally at least).

What I hadn’t know was that he was also a musician – well, obviously a singer is one of those. But on that 1990 album he’s credited as drums, percussion, guitars, bass, keyboards and horn arrangements as well. Covering that range of instruments is pretty good – especially the horn arrangements, that’s usually a very specialist task.

Would be fascinated to know which parts he played on, say, Freedom 90, if any. It sounds simple enough but it’s not actually a simple arrangement at all.

No, I’m not saying that it’s all great music rather than very good pop but still, there was more there than I had thought.

The funky drummer funks no more

It took only 20 seconds for Clyde Stubblefield to drum his way to immortality. They came near the end of James Brown’s “Funky Drummer,” recorded in a Cincinnati studio in late 1969. Brown counts him in — “1, 2, 3, 4. Hit it!” — and Mr. Stubblefield eases into a cool pattern, part bendy funk and part hard march. It’s calm, slick and precise, and atop it, Brown asks over and over, “Ain’t it funky?”

It was. That brief snippet of percussion excellence became the platonic ideal of a breakbeat, the foundation of hip-hop’s sampling era and a direct through line from the ferocious soul music of the civil rights era to the golden age of history-minded hip-hop of the 1980s and 1990s.

Though Mr. Stubblefield wasn’t enamored of the song — “I didn’t like the song. I still don’t really get off on it,” he told Paste magazine in 2014 — its mark became indelible. Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power,” LL Cool J’s “Mama Said Knock You Out,” Boogie Down Productions’s “South Bronx,” Sinead O’Connor’s “I Am Stretched on Your Grave,” George Michael’s “Freedom! ’90” and Kenny G’s “G-Bop”: Mr. Stubblefield’s “Funky Drummer” break appeared as a sample in all of those songs, and over a thousand more, beginning in the 1980s, right up through present day.

It’s not a sample here but it is copied as the basic beat of the piece:

I’m rather slow to many technical things

This Spotify is rather good, isn’t it?

Might well, next time I upgrade the computer and sound system, pay for the higher quality though some rather larger speakers.

So, I’m what, 5 years late to this party? That’s actually early for me in matters technical.

And they’ve got JJ Cale albums I’ve never even heard of!

And so farewell Mr. Parfitt

No one’s ever going to say that this was sophisticated music. But there’s probably been more boogieing on down over the years to this band than there has to almost any other.


The desire to boogie on down being on of the things we find in all and every human cultures. Well, OK, Southern Baptists oppose sex because they think dancing might break out.

Not perhaps one of the great artistes of our times but nowt wrong with being an exemplar journeyman, eh?