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text 2015-04-09 16:29
Musically Bookish Decoration

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review 2014-08-08 13:54
"A Moment Worth Waiting For" by Kevin Pearce
A Moment Worth Waiting For - Kevin Pearce

I first came across Kevin Pearce through his 1993 book "Something Beginning with O". I have no idea why I bought it but I was hooked from page one, and still have my original copy which seems to go for around £50 on eBay these days. I next stumbled across Kevin's work through his Your Heart Out website which contains a series of essays that explore all manner of interesting and eclectic music. These essays are also highly recommended.

If Bob Stanley's splendid "Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Story of Modern Pop" was the ultimate guide to the British pop charts, then "A Moment Worth Waiting For" does a similar job, but in a parallel universe and is a bit more time specific. Whilst "A Moment Worth Waiting For" contains references to the pop charts and the mainstream, Kevin Pearce's focus is more about what was happening at the margins and in particular what was happening in the early 1980s. Kevin's genius, and to me it is genius, is to find myriad connections between his multifarious musical passions and, as with all good music writers, to inspire the reader to (re)visit the songs and artists he discusses.

OK, cards on the table. It helps enormously that we both share a huge enthusiasm for Vic Godard. Vic, as you probably know, has been constantly questing since emerging with other early punks, pursuing his own distinct musical agenda, primarily, it seems to me, to please himself and the enlightened few who embrace his maverick sensibilities.

Kevin Pearce shares Vic's questing spirit. At the start of A Moment Worth Waiting For, he makes it explicit that he cannot be constrained by genre...

How can anyone stick to one thing: funk, punk, jazz, reggae, hip hop, techno, folk, classical, whatever? 

Quite so. There's always a new world, unexplored territory, or a selection of rabbit holes to disappear down. What's wonderful about Kevin Pearce is he will point out new pathways. I scribbled down all the references (musical, cinematic, literary - though mainly musical) that piqued my interest. Another reader would doubtless come up with a very different list.

How Kevin manages to establish and remember the numerous intersecting connections he highlights throughout A Moment Worth Waiting For is a mystery to me, however I am very grateful for his diligence and passion which informs every page of this wonderful book.

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text 2014-02-12 18:25
CBS Beatles Special

This post is not about books!


No, it's about music. Specifically, it's about the 50th anniversary Beatles special that was aired on Sunday night, and which is being reaired tonight starting at 8:30.


If you didn't catch it the first time around, it's worth watching.



2014 is the 50th anniversary of the Beatles appearance on the Ed Sullivan, and in honor of that event, CBS put together an amazing special event for Beatles fans, music fans, or, honestly, really anyone.


I was born in 1966. I am not a child of the sixties in any meaningful sense, and the Beatles were pretty much over by the time I reached the age to get really interested in music. My childhood soundtrack includes Shawn Cassidy, the Bay City Rollers, KISS, and, later, AC/DC, Billy Idol, The Cure, REM, Nirvana and U2. 


Nonetheless, this was just pure fun to watch. Amazing musicians, from Adam Lavigne to Dave Grohl were invited to perform some of the best known, and some of the least known, songs from the Beatles songbook. Overall, they did a remarkable job, with some of the performances reaching the level of amazing. Alicia Keys and John Legend's side-by-side piano duet of "Let it Be" was absolutely gorgeous, and Dave Grohl's cover of "Hey, Bulldog" were my favorites. Other people would have different opinions.


CBS tracked down many of the people who worked on the Ed Sullivan show on the historic night of the Beatles performance, and many of the girls who were screaming in the audience. The anecdotes were sweet, funny, and nostalgic. It was a wonderful tribute to a lost moment in time.


But, of course, it was Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney who completely stole the show. You know how sometimes you watch an aging performer, and you feel sort of bad for him/her. It's sort of embarrassing in a really sympathetic way, because they aren't what they were in their prime, and everyone knows it, and we're indulging them by listening.


Well, that isn't at all how this was. Ringo Starr is amazing. He is vibrant, and energetic, and was obviously having more fun than anyone should ever have (not really, of course, and I suppose he could have been faking, but if he was, he is the best fun faker I've ever seen). He looks about fifty, and he's a quarter century older. He has more energy than most twenty-five year olds muster up on a regular basis. His time on stage was unequivocally delightful. 


And Paul - he is older now, to be sure, but he is still winsome, still appealing, still a musician to his soul. I had the privilege of seeing him in concert 20-some-odd years ago, in Des Moines, Iowa, well after the Beatles years, and he put on one of the best concerts I've ever seen. He performed "Hey Jude" for the special, and it is still one of the best songs ever written, performed by one of the most amazing performers who has ever lived.


Anyway, if you are into music, even a little bit, catch this tonight. It is totally worth watching.

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video 2013-12-21 19:09

I really liked how music played a key role in REAL. Especially the song "Iris" by the Goo Goo Dolls. It's one of my favorite songs of all time, and it's a song that I've felt a connection with ever since I first heard it. So I can really relate to Remy and how he feels about this song.

Source: youtu.be/NdYWuo9OFAw
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review 2013-06-30 00:00
Chopin: The Man and His Music (Dover Books on Music) - James Huneker The first part is a biography, which is interesting, but a bit short. The second part is about all the compositions of Chopin. This part can hardly be read if one is not familiar already, in great detail, with all these compositions. Although I have listened quite often to the music by Chopin, and even play some of it, I could not follow the very detailed analysis. I wonder who can, except professional pianists.
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