Friday, June 26, 2009

Alls Swells That Ends Swells

MJ (see below) will be remembered in part for knocking the unfortunate Farrah Fawcett off the front pages (which makes Farrah the Mother Teresa to Jacko's Lady Di). Steven Wells' death on Tuesday, meanwhile, barely rated a paragraph in most newspapers. However, his will be the loss I'll feel most keenly. Wells, who wrote for the NME in its (read: my) glory days, alongside the likes of Dele Fadele, Stuart Maconie, David Quantick and Barabara Ellen, was the sort of critic who, like Julie Burchill, often said things you disagreed with. But you had to admire the way he said them.

At almost exactly the time that Wells passed away, the NME's most recent editor, Conor McNicholas decided to jump ship and edit Top Gear magazine. Which tells you alot about the state of the music industry in general and the NME in particular. But there was a time that the NME cared about music and Wells, whether writing under his own name or in the guise of alter-ego Susan Williams, epitomised this (despite James Brown's assertions to the contrary). Read some of his greatest moments (though sadly not his Shed Seven interview) at the bottom of this tribute. RIP Swells.

Blog standard

If you've a penchant for left-field and, in many cases, ultra-obscure post-punk, with an occasional foray into early hip-hop (and if you don't, why not?) then head over to a fantastic blog Everything Starts With an A, where the likes of Sudden Sway, Frank Chickens, Chakk, 400 Blows, Sophie and Peter Johnston, Set The Tone and Vice Versa await your perusal.

Taking The Michael

There's not a whole lot more to be said about Michael Jackson's death at this juncture, given that there are acres of newsprint and billions of bytes all devoted to the subject. But it always struck me that whatever there was of the real Michael Jackson died about 25 years ago. I'm not just talking simplistically about corporeal concerns, though, of course, his physical persona began to metamorphose into the freakish waxwork that he became at roughly that time (and how many tributes featured his more recent pale, ghastly visage as an accompaniment to their obituaries, as opposed to the cherubic twenty-something of Off The Wall and Thriller? Answer: not many).

To remind us that before the hubris and the madness, there was once a talented, discerning and (no pun intended) thrilling individual at work, here's Rock With You from 1979, written by Cleethorpes' own Rod Temperton.

Download Rock With You by Michael Jackson (mp3) (deleted Aug 2009)