Liverpool is on the cusp of something special. I firmly believe that the cogs are clicking into place and the connections are being made as we enter a new cycle in this unique city’s cultural quest.
The complete Random Influences is now available to stream via Mixcloud. This is a series of 2 x 12 hour long podcasts I put together in 2010 to mark my 50th birthday, comprising of a full 24 hours worth of music, all 7” singles from my formative years, with only records released before I started out as a DJ in December 1975 featured. As the title suggests this is a random, rather than definitive selection.
It’s been a particularly hectic period for me – within the last 3 weeks I’ve been in Ibiza, and then Glastonbury, before heading over to Croatia for the Garden Festival, with a couple of further festival appearances in Holland (Down The Rabbit Hole) and Leicestershire (Noisily) slotted in for good measure. On the back of this came a special event right on my doorstep in Liverpool, at St Lukes, a once Anglican parish church originally built in the early 19th century, which, during the intensive German bombing raids on Liverpool in 1941 was hit by an incendiary device and reduced to a ruin. The burnt out shell, without a roof, has become a city center landmark, affectionately known as ‘the Bombed Out Church’, and during more recent times has been utilised as a venue for a series of arts-based events. It’s a proud symbol of the city’s defiance, but it’s currently under threat of being taken over by developers, and potentially ending up as some fancy boutique hotel, or prime location accommodation. In a world where style so often triumphs over substance, let’s hope the Crowdfunder recently launched to help enable this iconic building to remain a community / arts space, raises the necessary financial support. Find out more here: http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/Bombed-Out-Church
Another Soul legend left this mortal coil last Friday, aged 70.
Roger Eagle died 15 years ago today. For those who don’t know who I’m talking about, don’t bother looking for info about him on Wikipedia, for, somewhat unbelievably, he still has no entry – yet this guy should have statues in 2 cities for, suffice to say, without him, both Manchester and Liverpool’s cultural heritage would be substantially poorer. He was a musical maven that made so much happen in ’60s Manchester and ’70s Liverpool, before returning to Manchester in the ’80s. He was there, right in the midst of things, at a series of crucial moments spanning the eras of the Mods, the Hippies, the Punks and the Ravers. His legacy was finally brought into focus via the 2012 Bill Sykes book ‘Sit Down! Listen To This!’. I blogged about it here, hopefully it will help shine some light on the true gravitas of this man:
The Northern Soul movement has marked 2 significant anniversaries this year – the launch of the weekly All-Nighters at the scene’s most famous venue, Wigan Casino, in 1973, as well as the opening of its foundation club, Manchester’s Twisted Wheel, 10 years earlier. A new book, ‘Northern Soul – An Illustrated History’ was recently published by Virgin Books, its co-author, Bury-born Elaine Constantine, also the director of the upcoming film ‘Northern Soul’. The book has been well received by Northern aficionados, Constantine (and Gareth Sweeney) congratulated for their insightful overview of the movement, which is enhanced by the anecdotal offerings of some of the DJs, dancers and collectors who epitomized Northern Soul. Alongside the music and the clubs in which it featured, the book also highlights the drug culture that played such a major role, amphetamines fuelling its development.
One of Rock’s iconic figures, former Velvet Underground frontman Lou Reed, died yesterday, aged 71. His death was reportedly due to a ‘liver related ailment’ (Reed had undergone a liver transplant earlier this year).
I was recently part of a celebratory weekend, commemorating the 25th anniversary of the ‘Second Summer Of Love’, which, in fact, spanned 2 summers (1988 and 1989), focusing on the key role played by the famous London club night, Shoom.
David Frost, who died of a heart attack last Saturday, aged 74, first made his name as the host of one of the most influential TV shows of the ’60s, ‘That Was The Week That Was’ (aka ‘TW3’). With the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech from 50 years ago also in the news, this clip, which was broadcast on ‘TW3’ the same year (and features the programme’s resident singer, Millicent Martin) provides a cutting critique on both the racism of America’s Deep South, and a British culture that embraced the Black & White Minstrels (a troupe of blacked-up white performers singing songs of the ‘good ol’ south’), who were major TV stars at the time (and, remarkably, remained on prime-time BBC for another 15 years, until 1978).
“Man goes to doctor. Says he’s depressed. Says life seems harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in a threatening world where what lies ahead is vague and uncertain. Doctor says ‘treatment is simple. Great clown Pagliacci is in town tonight. Go and see him. That should pick you up.’ Man bursts into tears. Says ‘but, doctor…I am Pagliacci.’ Good joke. Everybody laugh. Roll on snare drum. Curtains.”
Alan Moore ‘Watchmen’ (1987)