Probably, sorry, undoubtedly the best programme on TV right now and actually for quite a while, is "Screenwipe", Charlie Brooker's offering of uber-intelligent insight into the machinations of television in his mighty motor-mouthed manic style, packing so much into each half-hour - he's the TV equivalent of the 'Airplane' films. Alas, I can't begin to list the number of gags in each entertaining episode. I just finished watching Charlie tackle 'Reality TV' which was predictably genius. One timely music-geek detail which gets 1000 bonus points was slipping in John Carpenter's 'Halloween' theme for boardroom tension when, dressed regally, 'King Charlie' was firing his apprentices in the climax of this particular episode's theme of 'How to make a reality TV' show.
There's one very disappointing thing about "Screenwipe"; I doubt it will ever come out on DVD due to what would possibly be an expensive and logistical legal nightmare clearing all the clips of other programmes and music rights; maybe make do with hunting clips down on YouTube or get taping/torrenting.
Big up Charlie Brooker's c*ck!
Living in a current climate of 'Social Stats' - there's this need to have everything measured and rated particularly on Social Networks like Facebook etc. Interesting geeky times which I don't mind, though when it comes to the often-asked, "Name your top 5 favourite" (add 'Films', 'Albums', 'TV Programmes' etc.), I hate to, as there's just too much good stuff in the world of Pop-Culture and so much evolves/relates to what's gone before.
When Andy, Amber & I were hanging out with Tarantino the other week at the after-party for Sky's Celebrity Banger Rally Racing, QT had a good rapid response for all those "All time / fave lists" type questions when I asked him his "Top 5 Horror Films". He quickly began a top rant with, "Well, today it would definitely include 'The Exorcist' for its immaculate cast(ing), alongside "Carrie" and John Carpenter's "The Thing" with terrific tension that trickled through the screen onto the audience, though tomorrow, alright, it may be totally different, alright!".
One definitive top ten I could probably finalise and have actually wanted to pen (at some stage, time permitting), would be Top 10/all-time favourite magazines, seeing as I've derived some much pleasure from them over the years. Some titles have changed from over a quarter century of collecting and rampant reading but core publications still include: 2600, Wired (even made it my homepage recently!), Fortean Times, Record Collector, Mojo & Rolling Stone.
Recent firm favourites from this century (!) and likely to remain so: Vanity Fair, Vice, The New Yorker, Fast Company and numerous specific supplements from newspapers e.g Mondays for Media in The Guardian & same day for The Independent too.
Anyway, right up there, probably in the top 3 is 'Time Out'. Since, breaking away from the celebrity obsessed culture of slapping someone famous (for the sake of being famous) for their brief '15 minutes', the brilliantly quirky 'Time Out ' is one of my weekly essential reads. Packed with tantalising tit-bits of London life, thorough 'Music', 'Film', 'Nightlife' and 'TV' listings (to name but a few), 'Time Out' also holds my interest on practically every page from hilarious well-written readers' letters, 'The Big Smoke' that encompasses cracking snippety features such as 'On The Buses' where a ride is taken on every number bus, having started at no.1, counting upwards (!) Shouts to 'Time Out Classics' a quick dip into the mag's archive for a class cover and what the mag back then contained. Yes, you get the picture, 'Time Out's running tings from cover right through to the final back page column, 'My Favourite Londoner' where a worthy celeb waxes lyrical about a Londoner who they rate (& why etc.)
Roy Bartholomew summed it up well in his "TO die for" letter (issue 1934, September 12-18) succintly saying, "I had spent years watching Time Out turn into a flabby monster, seemingly interested mainly in food and TV. Now it's just great to see a magazine, that, once again, knows and loves London - every mile of its multi-ethnic self. If London is an aromoa, TO is the bottle they keep it in. Great Work: a great magazine for a great city."
Typically on point extract from this week's Time Out:
A Quentin Tarantino Mash-Up
(A James Hyman/Audio Shrapnel Feature Presentation)
So you all will know the seriousness of my warning, I shall say this in English. I was trolling the Information Superhighway looking for some Kill Bill wallpaper, all right, when I stumbled upon an amusing array of parody pics featuring a bespectacled berk whose horn-rimmed head had been expertly digitized into a slew of iconic Quentin Tarantino movie images from Reservoir Dogs to Kill Bill.
Upon further investigation it turned out that the four-eyed felon responsible for such an irreverent desecration was James Hyman, a highly-respected UK tube ‘n’ flick music industry veteran and dizzbusting Saturday night radio DJ on London’s XFM who’d altered the images to illustrate a QT mash-up disc he’d whipped up. Now anyone can mix a half-decent mini mash these days, all right, but it would take a true sonic surgeon to skillfully stitch together an album-length audiologue that effectively encapsulated the stylistic offbeat essence of multifaceted movies like Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown.
So I did some serious scrounging around, okay, and I finally managed to cadge a copy and after hearing it I gotta testify that James Hyman’s A Quentin Tarantino Mash-Up is an absolute bona fide bravura masterpiece that doesn’t drop the beat once, all right? Clocking in at an extensively exhaustive 78 minutes, this gargantuan--I’ve always liked that word-- 55 track epic not only features music and dialogue from QT’s first four movies, it also includes vital spoken word passages from rarely heard promo-only albums like Truth And Fiction. Toss in an astute selection of other inspirational like-minded songs that QT never used in any of his films--but sure wishes he had--and you’ll know why Tarantino himself gave this marathon magnum opus his certified cool Red Apple seal of approval once he heard it.
After all, where else can you hear the Beatles backing Elvis Presley or Missy Elliott doing a duet with Steelers Wheel or Britney Spears joining the stacked cast of Girls Who Love Guns or QT himself singing “My Sharona” with The Knack after competing in a rap throwdown with Andre 3000--all masterfully mixed into one seamless thematically-linked soundscape? Once you hear Kelis creaming “Milkshake” over Luis Bacalov’s “Summertime Killer” or Tears For Fears crooning “Shout” over Tomoyasu Hotei’s “Battle Without Honor Or Humanity” or Michael Jackson’s “Billy Jean” getting on Bernard Hermann’s “Twisted Nerve,” you’ll never listen to any of your vanilla QT soundtrack albums again.
Which is exactly the point: if you’re tired of having to constantly skip past officially released offal like RZA’s “Ode To Oren Ishii” or Lole Y Manuel’s “Tu Mirá” then this must-have album is essential listening because it’s the only QT LP you’ll ever need. Unfortunately, just like a Hattori Hanzo sword, A Quentin Tarantino Mash-Up is priceless and not for sale--not even in El Paso.
But go to jameshyman.com anyway and see if you can buy one--no matter what the cost--because this unrelenting aural canvas of carnage ‘n’ comedy proves that James Hyman is the all-time undisputed modern master of the mash-up, all right?
and a shorter review in 'Metro Times Detroit':
And you will know my name is Jeffrey Morgan when I lay my Media Blackout #140 upon thee!
SIZZLING SOUNDTRACK OF THE DECADE:
James Hyman – A Quentin Tarantino Mash-Up (A James Hyman/Audio Shrapnel Feature Presentation):
So you all will know the seriousness of my warning, I shall say this in English. James Hyman, a highly-respected UK tube ‘n’ flick music industry veteran and dizzbusting Saturday night radio DJ on London’s XFM, has skillfully stitched together an epic audiologue that effectively encapsulates the stylistic offbeat essence of multifaceted movies like Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill.
James Hyman’s A Quentin Tarantino Mash-Up is an absolute bona fide bravura masterpiece that doesn’t drop the beat once, all right? Clocking in at an extensively exhaustive 78 minutes, this gargantuan—I’ve always liked that word—55 track epic not only features music and dialogue from QT’s first four movies, it also includes vital spoken word passages from rarely heard promo-only albums like Truth And Fiction. Toss in an astute selection of other inspirational like-minded songs that QT never used in any of his films—but sure wishes he had—and you’ll know why Tarantino himself gave this marathon magnum opus his certified cool Red Apple seal of approval once he heard it.
After all, where else can you hear the Beatles backing Elvis Presley or Missy Elliott doing a duet with Steelers Wheel or Britney Spears joining the stacked cast of Girls Who Love Guns or QT himself singing “My Sharona” with The Knack after competing in a rap throwdown with Andre 3000—all masterfully mixed into one seamless thematically-linked soundscape?
This must-have album is essential listening because it’s the only QT LP you’ll ever need. Unfortunately, just like a Hattori Hanzo sword, A Quentin Tarantino Mash-Up is priceless and not for sale -- not even in El Paso. But go to jameshyman.com anyway and see if you can buy one—no matter what the cost—because this unrelenting aural canvas of carnage ‘n’ comedy proves that James Hyman is the all-time undisputed modern master of the mash-up, all right?
It’s been real!
Interesting piece about the demise of the Music Industry in today's Sunday Times, mainly in reaction to Radiohead's bold move about releasing their new "In Rainbows" album next week, allowing fans to pay what they want for it.
Will Radiohead fans be able to get their pennies back if they're not satisfied??
Reminds me of that old skool restaurant near Golders Green called, "Just Around The Corner" (pictured left), where you could pay whatever you felt your meal was worth! Alas, it shut down about 2 years ago.
Personally, I don't think the Music Industry has died, it's the record companies and recording side of the business that has been dying a slow, painful death for a while now. I briefly highlighted this 2 years ago in a blog after some holiday reading of Michael Wolff's "Autumn Of The Moguls" which analyses plenty of media including the Music Business and one of the final nails in its coffin, 'file-sharing'.
So the music business is healthy, it's the record companies who are ill; I like the quote from old school music biz veteran Maurice Oberstein who, when CDs first came on the market said that the industry was crazy, "Do you realise we are giving away our master tapes here?" (this quoted in another excellent piece about the death of the music industry from Prospect magazine and the same journalist of today's Sunday Times piece, Robert Sandall).
Earlier this year, legendary music producer Bob Ezrin (who has worked with the likes of Alice Cooper, Peter Gabriel, KISS and David Bowie and who, perhaps most famously, produced Pink Floyd's 'The Wall') told a Canadian music industry gathering that, in his opinion, the "imminent demise of the record business" is already here.
Ezrin told his audience of artists, songwriters and industry execs: "People are not going to the record store and are not paying for downloads. The old things are gone."
He told artists present that their aim should no longer be for that big hit record, but rather to build lasting relationships with a loyal fanbase, and to plan to pursue an active live career. He said: "Maybe one person in this room will have a hit record. The days of hit records are over. It's about being something real... people need to change their goals in order to survive as entertainers. You've got to play."
This was his killer quote: "What no one can steal is your direct relationship with the audience, you can't duplicate that love affair".
That, Ezrin says, means learning to perform better, and connecting one to one with fans: "You've got to get good. If you're a singer, you have to learn how to sing. You're not an actor or a rock star. You're a singer. That's your job. You have to master your craft. [And after the show] meet fans, shake hands, sign CDs and give URLs for fan clubs. Get their e-mail address, tell them you want to let them know when you're coming back. And work on your web presence. Your web representation to many people is you. You wouldn't not change your clothes for six months, not learn a new song for two years. Why have the same picture on your website? Stop thinking about how to have a hit record and think about new ways to grow the audience and get paid to do something we love."
Record companies - R.I.P.?
Big up and thanks to Norman Cook / Fatboy Slim ending his legends 1-hour Radio 1 set with good old 'Fatboy Slim Shady' 10 years after Gez & I made it. Here's some background to that "Fatboy Slim Shady" mash-up:
Around 1997 at MTV I started producing an series, "Megamix" in which audio & video were 'mashed-up' to create an audio-visual, er, "Megamix". One of the episodes (Volume 22, part 2 to be precise!) featured the acapella of Eminem's "My Name Is" mixed with Mulder's mix of Fatboy Slim's "Rockafeller Skank", ending up looking and sounding like this:
Everyone at MTV really loved it so Gez and I then created a limited edition 1-sided 12" 'white label' of the mash-up and sent it to Norman Cook (aka Fatboy Slim) and Eminem's people. Skint loved it, wanting to release it though Eminem's people I don't think 'got it' at the time.
As Norman agrees, in this clip from his Radio 1 Legends show, the force of 'mash-ups' as a way to market music and even nurture talent, soon dawned on Mr. Slim Shady so Eminem's label would start liberally and more commercially (as compared to promo-only) give out acapellas on future releases.
When Eddy & I were the radio destination for 'mash-ups' on Xfm's Remix show, it was literally either Missy Elliot or Eminem who featured as vocals on the plethora of mash-ups being produced circa 2000-2001 so Marshall had certainly wised up to the whole mash-up scene bubbling back then.
Whilst on the subject of 'mash-ups', here's something I stumbled on during a tape tidy up. Around 2003, when Canadian TV Station 'Much Music' came to London to talk to me about 'mash-ups' or as they excellently described it, "Frankenstein-ing" a song (!):
(The New Music Clip Includes: History of mash-ups, Kylie Minogue at the Brits performing 'Can't Get You Out Of My Blue Monday', comparisons to 'Surrealism', 'Andy Warhol', DJ-ing, Nirvana, Joy Division etc.)
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