Tagged: Bob Stanley

you can never go back back BAACK!

In which I take a break from organising a quasi-historical not-very-academic (but very exciting) conference (at Birkbeck, 15-16 May) and reflect on the ways your personal backpages as a hack begin to intersect with the public record etc etc.

COVER034-35A few weeks back, Marcello asked if I had any thoughts on this TPL post (about, among other things, Johnny Hates Jazz and The Wire as it was in 1986/87). Well, I did and I didn’t: I did because this era of my mentor Richard Cook’s project is very much the making of me, and I absorbed an enormous amount of his sensibility and thought a lot how to advance it best (whether or not I did is for others to judge; sadly he’s no longer with us for his perspective). But I didn’t (at least tactically, for now) because I have for most of this year been organising a conference on UK music-writing in the 60s, 70s and early 80s, trying to focus on how things had evolved from roughly 1968 (and the discussion of rock in the underground press) through to maybe 1985, when (in my judgment) Live Aid hit the inkies hard sideways, and changed their political ecology for good (Geldof’s revenge, you could call it). The serious social potential of pop began to be more and more of a topic for the tabloids and the broadsheets: the inkies began more and more to fold in into their own niche, exploring less and less. In this they were reflecting changes in the world, to be sure — but they were also amplifying and accepting these changes. Continue reading

ketchup 2013

Three things I wrote recently (a catalogue essay and two reviews). Silence is an Irish film, about sound and memory (and between the lines a reflection on the work of John Cage). Michael and Cornelius Cardew, father and son, were a potter and a composer respectively: this (PDF: scroll to p.5) was for the catalogue to the Crafts Council’s Sound Matters exhibition. And this is the teaser for the piece I wrote about post-war electronic music in Eastern Europe, though you’ll have to buy issue 86 of Eye magazine to read the whole thing. All three pieces somewhat hover round the tradition of the graphic score (pictured: Boguslaw Schaeffer’s PR I VIII), which has been all over the place recently: if I were a better journalist, I’d have got in early on this little flurry of trendiness, and then maybe some of the discussion would have been better also haha.

I was also Bob Stanley‘s editorial consultant for Yeah Yeah Yeah, which I loved working on and heartily recommend, even if I seem to have failed to convince him that Def Leppard are tremendous.