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Ooooh, the decline of Britain

They toured the UK in 1962 and returned in 1968. During this visit they were filmed for the BBC and had a two-week residency at the Batley Variety Club in West Yorkshire.

“They” is Louis Armstrong and his All Stars.

You’d not even manage to get Acker Bilk’s coffin to visit Batley these days…..

And this is rather sterling work, no?

The church played a fundamental part in family life. At the age of five, she joined the junior choir. She began to enter — and win — talent contests at a local masonic temple from the age of nine, having learnt songs from listening to records at a local “jukebox joint” where youngsters would congregate on Saturday afternoons. She saved all the money from her talent show prizes and put it towards the house that she was able to buy for her parents when she was 17.

It’s basic politics, innit?

US authorities have launched a legal effort to break up Ticketmaster after botched ticket sales for artists including Taylor Swift and Bruce Springsteen fuelled accusations of anti-competitive behaviour.

The US Justice Department has filed a lawsuit against Ticketmaster and its parent company Live Nation accusing the group of illegally inflating ticket prices at the expense of both artists and fans.

It’s possible, of course it’s possible. So is another explanation possible. Lots of people want to see the shows, more than there are shows to see. Supply isn’t matching demand.

The way to check this. What are the margins like at Tickemaster? What are they like at other ticketing agencies? What are they like for the venues and tha artists?

Who’s making out like a bandit? That’s the person earning from the monopoly…..Oh, Hello Ms Swift, how delightful to hear from you……

Imagine this, no, really

In the 1950s and 60s, his songs stunned and delighted listeners with their irreverence, wit and nihilism. Then he gave it all up to teach mathematics. Lehrer is still alive at 96 – so I went in search of answers

by Francis Beckett

He’s packaging the songs up into a musical and so on and on. Lots about Lehrer.

Except, well, manages to miss that he wrote for Sesame St too – some of their more famous songs too……

Dickie Betts

Dickey Betts, Allman Brothers Band co-founder and guitarist, dies aged 80
Rock & Roll Hall of Famer who wrote the band’s biggest hit, Ramblin’ Man, dies at home in Florida ‘surrounded by his whole family

Yep, it’s hackneyed now after so much play. But in their day they really were a cracking band:


There are more billionaires than ever before. The world has 2,781 people with fortunes exceeding $1bn (£800m), an increase of 141 on 2023, according to Forbes’ annual ranking of the world’s richest people – with Taylor Swift among those making the list.

The billionaires are also collectively worth more than ever, with combined assets estimated at $14.2tn – a $2tn increase on 2023 and more than the GDP of every country except the US and China.

Cool. So a 100% tax on anyone playing – or listening to – Ms Swift’s music is now justified, right? Because equalidee?


The founder of troubled music rights firm Hipgnosis has fallen short of music industry standards when advising the London-listed fund, an external report has found.

Short of music industry standa……that pack of thievery, rip off and gangland excess?


Bath Moles is closing because right now, in 2023, it simply isn’t possible to present original live music in a 220-capacity venue without losing money.

He’s right, and he’s also right that by ignoring what’s going on at the grassroots level the music industry is letting those roots rot. Without venues like Moles (and similar venues, such as Glasgow’s King Tuts and recently closed 13th Note) the British arena-fillers of recent years would never have become famous. No Moles no Radiohead, no Oasis, no Massive Attack, no Ed Sheeran, no Blur.

True, they all played the place. But that’s rather different from saying they’d not have existed if they’d not played that place. For a very large number of bands which have existed have not played that place. Like, say, Tears for Fears who played The Bell around the corner….

Bit of a whinge, this

And now, to make matters far worse, starting in 2024 Spotify will stop paying anything at all for roughly two-thirds of tracks on the platform. That is any track receiving fewer than 1,000 streams over the period of a year. Tracks falling under this arbitrary minimum will continue to accrue royalties – but those royalties will now be redirected upwards, often to bigger artists, rather than to their own rights holders.

OK, but 1,000 streams what are we talking about here?

What it won’t tell either artists or users in Spotify Wrapped is how much money was paid for all that streaming time. Short answer: not enough. If you want to do the maths, the maximum one can possibly earn in Spotify royalties is $0.003 a stream. It doesn’t add up to a living wage for most artists.

Three cents? Seems, umm, entirely reasonable to me actually. You?

Who wants a company – anyone in fact – to be chasing millions of under 3 cents amounts each reporting period? Note that Spotify doesn;t then keep that – it just pays it out to other people instead.

Err, yes?

Over half of employees, including white men, downplay parts of their identity to fit in better at work

Well now, Mick Jagger didn’t eat a mars bar with Marianne at work now, did he, on stage?

Lizzo? That Lizzo?

Lizzo has been sued by three former dancers who accused the Grammy winner of sexual harassment and allege the singer and her production company created a hostile work environment.

The civil lawsuit filed on Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court claims Lizzo pressured the dancers to engage with nude performers at a club in Amsterdam and shamed one of them for her weight gain before firing her.

Weight gain? Dear Lord…..

Oh, wonderful

To her credit, she never lost a sense of humour in her distress. When protesters hired a steamroller to crush piles of her albums outside her record company HQ in New York, she donned a wig and sunglasses and joined them, even giving an interview to a news crew in which she claimed to have come from Saratoga to add her patriotic voice to the protest.

Yes, that’s great. Sinead O’Connor.


Welsh rapper dropped from festival for singing in English
Bilingual artist says he refused to change his set for the cultural event, which celebrates the Welsh language

I thought the point of rap was that it wasn’t singing?

I remember this first time around

British ‘von Trapps’ release album as 15-cousin group
Bevan Family Consort are releasing ‘old family favourites’, half a century after their parents did the same thing

That original was actually a couple of years before I turned up in the area. But one of the lads was in our year (with Peter Briffa, if he’s reading, also Peter Morgan, who I know isn’t).

The original choir was formed around 50 years ago by Roger Bevan – grandfather of the current group – who lived with his family in a 15th century farmhouse near Wells in Somerset.

Well, yeeeees. He was head of music at Downside. So, for his sins, he had to try to teach me Music O Level. Which didn’t work out well. I can still remember him playing a third then a fifth for me on a piano. Then being horrified when I couldn’t immediately grasp the difference. “But, but, it’s obvious!”

Francis Bevan, one of the members, writes in the foreword to the album: “Music was so pivotal to the older generation’s lives that none of us cousins needed to be pushed to pursue it.

“Some have taken it more seriously and turned professional, but all of us share an innate ability and a love of making music together.”

Innate ability, that’s the thing. I was a techncailly proficient trumpet player. Got through Grade VI no problem, had a good timbre, could make it swing. But I never did grasp the basics of music. Couldn’t actually hear it, wasn’t, in fact, a musician. Possibly a technician who knew how to make a noise, but not a musician.

And that’s the thing about those with innate ability. They find it very difficult to understand those without it. But, but, it’s obvious.

Lovely man but teaching the theory of music to me wasn’t going to be his forte.

BTW, anyone else feel that cold breath on the back of the neck? Events of childhood now being half a century ago, things to be jubileed?


Youtube served me this:

OK, as always, Ms. Simone is excellent. But that tune, surely no, that’s not original. Some old gospel, right? Summat.

Ah, this:

From 45 seconds in. Ah, yes us oldies all do recognise that, don’t we?

Still think that melody and chord structure are likely to be older and more traditional but…..

I think I recall Barry at one point saying he’d had so many people asking that here was the man to play it. Which he did.

Err, no, really, just no

He said that AI can dilute the market, “making original creations harder to find and violating artists’ legal rights to compensation from their work”.

If someone’s listening to an AI thingie then they’re not listening to your work and you deserve no compensation. See how this works? Just the same as if I listen to Chris Rea (say) then Beyonce doesn’t get a cut.

(Actually, there could be some fun with this sort of thing. Train the AI on Beggar’s Banquet, say, then get it to play Sgt Pepper’s in that style. It’d rack up the views as well)

The rhythm section of Talking Heads

My dad was a general in the army and Tina’s dad was an admiral in the navy.

Very avant garde, even punk, eh? Not that they’re a bad rhythm section but it’s just not the formative background you quite expect. Bit like finding out Shane McGowan’s the son of an accountant/accounting clerk (he is, mate used to know the parents).

They’re musicians, not economists, but still……

The Cure also criticised Ticketmaster over its “dynamic pricing” policy, introduced in the UK in 2022 and used by artists such as Harry Styles and Coldplay, which inflates the price of remaining tickets for in-demand concerts. The Cure opted out of dynamic pricing, calling it “a greedy scam – and all artists have the choice not to participate … if no artists participated, it would cease to exist”.

So what actually should be done with something in short supply at a particular price?

It’s possible to increase supply. Play an extra gig. It’s possible to reduce demand – slag off a trannie and watch the audience shrink perhaps. Or, prices can change so as to match supply and demand. Or, obviously, it’s possible to have some sort of lottery – and electronic queues are a lottery – whereby some gain tickets at the official price and some do not. Which leads to the secondary market in tickets where tickets turn out to cost whatever the supply/demand balance says tickets are worth.

Those are the options. So, whatever one thinks of Ticketmaster, which option you gonna go for?

No, sorry, that you’re a musician, that these are fans, does not elevate you or them above these basic worries of economics.