Sunday, 6 March 2011


Like a lumbering centre forward with no goals for a while, I’m suffering from a lack of confidence. Chances are being teed up but instead of smashing them in, I’m bottling it completely or laying off a little sideways pass to a team mate. Just about keeping up with play but the fans are getting twitchy. Let’s think back to those wasted opportunities.

There was the Angelheaded Hipsters morning at the National Theatre where the Beat Generation was discussed by a panel including underground figures Barry Miles and Michael Horovitz; actors read Ginsberg, Kerouac, Cassady and Corso; and even a trumpeter had a sad horn to play. Horovitz was incredible. He could’ve spoke, given half the chance, for 90 minutes without pausing for breath and kept the audience entertained with his staggering array of anecdotes, quotes, cultural references and razor sharp wit and intelligence. He then popped up last week to wax lyrically on Jarvis Cocker’s Sunday Service show on 6Music (listen on BBC iPlayer).

Also last week I bought, amongst other things, the new LP, Hunger, by Frankie & The Heartstrings and an old LP, Free Jazz, by The Ornette Coleman Double Quartet. The plan was to discuss and contrast the formulaic, backward facing, rattling three minute pop song approach of the Heartstrings to the challenging, groundbreaking, and – let’s be honest - patience testing of one 37 minute piece of jumbled improvised free jazz. It would of course have been like comparing an ear to an eye, and the conclusion being I’d want to keep them both.

A new interpretation of Graham Greene’s 1938 novel Brighton Rock his hit local picturehouses. I must ‘fess up to having not read it but I like the 1947 film version. This new one is set to the backdrop of rioting mods in 1964 and gave me a chuckle spotting mates as extras. Sam Riley as Pinkie, the young upstart attempting to “run” Brighton, was unconvincing (his firm consisted of an elderly Chalky from Quadrophenia and the lanky Wigan Casino dancer from SoulBoy - hardly menacing) and trying to pass Eastbourne off as Brighton was distracting. There was one sequence where Pinkie was sitting in a London café, ran down an Eastbourne street, and then ended up in Brighton, without even breaking into a sweat. Yeah, I know, it’s a film not a documentary. Those things apart it wasn’t the worst way to spend an evening and moved Greene’s book further up the to-read list.

A couple of offshoots from The Horrors should’ve got a mention. Rhys and Joe as part of The Diddlers gave Bo Diddley the full throttle, echo laden, Cramps-rock stomp treatment at the 100 Club, and very entertaining it was too; whilst Faris has turned up to sing at the Vatican (yes, the Vatican) with his new project Cat’s Eyes. The result is as spectacular as it is surprising. See it on YouTube.

Morgan: A Suitable Case For Treatment has been on DVD before but is out again, in shoddy cheap packaging, with no extras, and at a unjustifiably high price. But, it is a smashing film as the words Vanessa Redgrave, David Warner, 1966, Arthur Mullard, Irene Handl, Karl Marx, monkeys, gorillas, King Kong, sanatorium and John Dankworth testify.

So, no goals but hopefully a boost to the assist column.

1 comment:

  1. (Cough...splutter)...'Free Jazz'?!!! And you think some of the electronic music I enjoy is difficult! Good luck, Monkey!