Sunday, 21 May 2017

2017 60s flashbacks

Something's happening here... 


Thanks to SMUQ on flickr
Lately, I've been thinking about protest songs. The ones we used to hear all the time back in the day. The ones I got to play on the radio. 

You don't hear protest songs on the radio now. So it was nice to hear the excellent Amit Dattani give an outing to Dylan's protest anthem 'The Hour When The Ship Comes In', at a gig this week. People were singing along, too, to a song recorded in 1964.

Earlier that week, on Facebook, a pal commented warily on fresh video cameras in his neighbourhood. So I put up a YouTube link to Buffalo Springfield's 'For What It's Worth', to be ironic, like you do. The verse I had in mind was this
Paranoia strikes deep
into your life it will creep
It starts when you're always afraid
Step out of line, the man come and take you away 
Hippy boomers will remember it. But It was only after I stuck the link up that I realised the song, a staple of my teenage years, was fifty years old. That set me thinking.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Surinder Sandhu and his funky Karma Machine

One of the most exciting albums I've heard in years. I don't say that very often these days.


I'm ancient. So I've heard a lot of stuff. I've seen the same ideas come round and round and round. And really, there's nothing wrong with that – pop music is always rewriting itself using what's been done before. For many people, including kids making music for the first time, that's a rush for them, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Nothing wrong with grabbing old ideas and giving them fresh interpretation either. Once in a while, the results are exceptional.

Step forward Surinder Sandhu. Surinder takes his time. His projects can take years. This one took at least five, but then he is a busy man. When I chatted with him, he was just heading off for a rehearsal at a local theatre, before finishing off a project for the CBSO, and setting up stuff for the next Mr Khan project.

There's a new album at last: Karma Machine. I see it as a hugely significant development in Birmingham's world of music.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Elections. Hustings. Culture. I'm so depressed.

It's election season. God help us.


I went to a hustings this week. A what? A hustings – that's where a bunch of people who want to be elected try to convince you that they know what they are talking about, and have an idea of a way to go forward.

Elections. Again, dammit. The reality is a parade of insincere individuals spouting robotic slogans to convince us that they really care, when for the past ten years (and more, going back to 1997 and Tony Blair) it's been painfully obvious that they really don't.

This hustings was for the West Midlands Mayoral election, and the specific area for discussion was Culture. You probably didn't know that this was going on. And if you did, you probably weren't that excited – after all, the hall (the small one in the Birmingham Rep/Birmingham Library complex) wasn't even full.