Archive for November, 2012|Monthly archive page

My Bond’s My Words & Music

Tunes Galore

Last night I went to listen to the Philharmonia performing music and songs from all 23 plus 2 Bond films as recently listed in My Bond’s My Word. Carl Davis, who came to prominence through Channel 4 Silents in the early 80s, conducted this 50th Anniversary Bond concert at the Festival Hall and the ever elegant Honor Blackman (aka Pussy Galore) gave context to the music between each of the 25 pieces. It seems like a good opportunity to extend the list from My Bond’s My Word to summarise who sung what when in the world of Bond. The highlights yesterday evening for me were You Only Live Twice, Moonraker, Octopussy and Licence to Kill. What was striking was the amount of very effective quotation and echoing of earlier themes in the later scores, not least in the recent Skyfall.

Dr. No (1962)
Music: Monty Norman
Words: –
Performed by: John Barry & Orchestra

From Russia With Love (1963)
Music: Lionel Bart
Words: ”
Performed by: Matt Munro

Goldfinger (1964)
Music: John Barry
Words: Anthony Newley & Leslie Bricusse
Performed by: Shirley Bassey

Thunderball (1965)
Music: John Barry
Words: Don Black
Performed by: Tom Jones

Thunderball (1965) Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
Music: John Barry
Words: Don Black
Performed by: John Barry (Dionne Warwick – wasn’t used in final cut)

You Only Live Twice (1967)
Music: John Barry
Words: Leslie Bricusse
Performed by: Nancy Sinatra

[Casino Royale (1967)]
Music: Burt Bacharach
Words: –
Performed by: Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
Music: John Barry
Words: –
Performed by: The John Barry Orchestra

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969) We Have All the Time in the World
Music: John Barry
Words: Hal David
Performed by: Louis Armstrong

Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
Music: John Barry
Words: Don Black
Performed by: Shirley Bassey

Live and Let Die (1973)
Music: Paul & Linda McCartney
Words: Paul & Linda McCartney
Performed by: Paul McCartney & Wings

The Man with the Golden Gun (1974)
Music:John Barry
Words: Don Black
Performed by: Lulu

The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
Music: Marvin Hamlisch
Words: Carole Bayer Sager
Performed by: Carly Simon

Moonraker (1979)
Music: John Barry
Words: Hal David
Performed by: Shirley Bassey

For Your Eyes Only (1981)
Music: Bill Conti
Words: Michael Leeson
Performed by: Sheena Easton

Octopussy (1983)
Music: John Barry
Words: Tim Rice
Performed by: Rita Coolidge

[Never Say Never Again (1983)]
Music: Michel Legrand
Words: Alan & Marilyn Bergman
Performed by: Lani Hall

A View to a Kill (1985)
Music: Duran Duran, John Barry
Words: Duran Duran
Performed by: Duran Duran

The Living Daylights (1987)
Music: Pal Waaktaar & John Barry
Words: Pal Waaktaar
Performed by: Aha

Licence to Kill (1989)
Music: Narada Michael Walden, Jeffrey Cohen, Walter Afanasieff
Words: ”
Performed by: Gladys Knight

GoldenEye (1995)
Music: Bono & The Edge
Words: ”
Performed by: Tina Turner

Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
Music: Sheryl Crow & Mitchell Froom
Words: ”
Performed by: Sheryl Crow

The World is Not Enough (1999)
Music: David Arnold
Words: Don Black
Performed by: Garbage

Die Another Day (2002)
Music: Madonna & Mirwais Ahmadzai
Words: ”
Performed by: Madonna

Casino Royale (2006)
Music: David Arnold
Words: Chris Cornell
Performed by: Chris Cornell

Quantum of Solace (2008)
Music: Jack White
Words: ”
Performed by: Jack White & Alicia Keys

Skyfall (2012)
Music: Adele & Paul Epworth
Words: ”
Performed by: Adele

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Magical Music Moments

I’m just moving this parlour game over from the Inheritance Tracks post to its own space here.

The Game:

You have to pinpoint a transcendent moment in a track which constitutes a magical music moment. Provide URL of track in YouTube or similar and pinpoint the precise second the magic happens.

Moment #1 (Adam Gee)

This first one is based on a performance at the Royal Dublin Showgrounds – an uplifting moment when I realised Springsteen is at his best as a gospel/soul voice and got carried away on it.
My City of Ruins (Bruce Springsteen)
The moment is 4:07 but is indivisible from the build up 3:03-4:06
“With these hands With these hands With these hands With these hands”

Moment #2 (Adam Gee)

The second one is a massive cliche but no less powerful for that – it is one of The Great Rock Moments
Stairway To Heaven (Led Zeppelin)
4:18 at which point every fibre of you so needs those drums to come in (to deliver fully at 06:22 and 06:42)

Moment #3 (Doug Miller)

Yusef Lateef (Number 7)

One of the great live jazz albums is ‘Live at Peps’ by Yusef Lateef (Vols 1 and 2 are both great). The track is called ‘Number 7′. It’s got a great feel to it. You can hear the chat in the audience and the drinks being served behind the bar. Everything a great jazz club should be. There are two great changes – the first at 6.49 when a trumpet catches you unawares. The second a few seconds later when the piano comes in at the perfect moment and plays the blues. The audience responds and it’s recorded so well that you imagine yourself as an audience member. Yusef is now 92 and still playing. His album ‘Eastern Sounds’ is one of the great jazz albums – one of my top 10. But that’s another game.

More to follow…

A Hitch in time plays fine

As a fat man in ‘Hitchcock’

Good evening. I was first turned onto Hitch by the playwright David Rudkin. He was doing a residence at my alma mater (that’s a throw-away Hitchcock joke) and gave a talk called something like A Common or Garden Guide to Hitchcock’s Birds. He brought along his chum Alastair Reid who was starting work directing a new series called Morse. (Years later I’d work with Lewis). He also had a producer friend in the audience, Nigel Evans, who produced the movie Walter for the first night of Channel 4 (directed by Stephen Frears), 30 years ago this month. (A year later Nigel and his business partner Stephen Mellor gave me my first break with a runner job at AKA in Clerkenwell). Rudkin was an interesting character in his seaman’s knitted sweater reeking with tobaccy. I’d seen odds and ends of Hitchcock before then but fell in love in the wake of that literate, illuminating introduction.

Last night I went to a screening at Fox in Soho Square of the new movie Hitchcock about the making of Psycho. After the show Angie Errigo (a gentle reminder of my Empire-reading days) interviewed its stars Helen Mirren (Alma Reville/Mrs Hitchcock), Anthony Hopkins (Hitch) and James D’Arcy (Anthony Perkins). In the rather cosy viewing theatre I was four feet from Mirren, six from Hopkins, very much in the glow of British acting royalty.

Hopkins told how he saw Psycho when it first opened in Britain – he had the proverbial scared out of him in Piccadilly Manchester on arriving in the city one rainy night for a spell in rep. His anecdote ended with him climbing the stairs on this first night in his lodging house, run by some lone old lady, and the light clicks off as he’s half-way up.

In among the audience with me was a fella who had been in the publicity department at Paramount when Psycho was released. He described how Hitch conceived the whole promotional strategy (or exploitation as the department was charmingly named then), how this fella’s team made a How To Exploit Psycho film for exhibitors which Hitch had to approve personally, instructing cinema managers how to enforce the No Entry Once the Film has Started rule and generally dramatise the whole experience.

After the Q+A chat, I found myself in Fox reception staring into the strikingly pale blue eyes of one of the great British screen actors –  Hopkins has played everyone from Richard Nixon to Yitzhak Rabin, Hitler to Quasimodo, starring in all manner of wonders from A Bridge Too Far to Magic, The Bounty to Shadowlands, Hannibal to Dracula. As we chatted together he was gracious and warm, telling me more about Hitch’s relations with actors – from the ones he seemed to ignore (Doris Day who was anxious about lack of feedback) to the ones he gave too much unwanted attention to (Tippi Hedren).

I was asking him about whether he’d got the impression Hitch and Alma’s relationship was always so weird or dysfunctional and we discussed whether in effect the movies were their kids. The film argues that they were very much a double act from their early days on the movies together when Alma Reville was young Alfred’s boss. Mirren had used their daughter Patricia’s book about her mother as insight into her character.

I took the opportunity to thank Hopkins for QB VII, a 1974 TV mini-series which made a big impact on me when I was young. It was the thing, alongside a World at War episode, which first made me aware of the Holocaust (an episode produced by Jeremy Isaacs, first boss of Channel 4 – there was a facsimile of the Well Done Everybody memo he sent to “All at 4” the day after the launch night with Walter  [3 Nov 1982] left on our desk on the morning of 3rd November a couple of weeks ago. “The real work begins today” wrote the first Chief Exec. Paper memos – another world, more Paramount 1950s than Horseferry Road 2012).

Hopkins met Hitch once in a Hollywood restaurant with his agent. The Master of Suspense was very ill by then and trapped in his huge body, downing brandy in quantity. Nonetheless he pulled out the charm and greeted him with the familiar Good Evening.

To conclude, 4 reasons to go see Hitchcock directed by Sacha Gervasi (who also made the heavy metal feature documentary Anvil):

1) Hopkin’s Hitchcockian accent – he gets the Leytonstone in there under the elocution, always reminding us of Hitch’s London roots.

2) Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh – an uplifting portrayal to avoid the whole thing getting grimy.

3) A touch of humour – the film captures Hitch’s wry, filmic humour without becoming pastiche.

4) A well refined script tying together the story of the making of a movie (Psycho) with an eccentric love story (Hitch and Alma) and the portrait of a driven genius who was never more thrilled than when inventing the movies, techniques and ways of story-telling that no-one had thought to commit to celluloid before.

As a bad man in ‘QB VII’

The Next 30 Years of Channel 4

2nd November marked the 30th anniversary of Channel 4. Here’s an extract from an article published by Broadcast to mark the event –

How C4 must approach its next 30 years

by Dr James Bennett of Royal Holloway, University of London, derived from a 2-year study he was involved in about the role independent production companies play in the cultures and economics of Public Service Broadcasting and “its multiplatform future”.

But the cultural commitment from indies to C4’s public service remit might be under threat. Decreasing production budgets from broadcasters and the imperative to sell formats overseas as a result of producers’ retention of IP rights following the 2003 Communication Act have resulted in aversion to risk. This has the potential to undermine the creation of the kind of challenging, innovative, diverse and engaging programming that has been the hallmark of C4. Senior producers worried that younger generations lacked the skill set and training in public service modes of production that had been so pivotal to their success.

Yet a movement away from the 30 year cultural commitment to public service broadcasting would only harm UK plc: it is PSB that makes UK content unique, innovative, challenging and sellable around the world.

There remain grounds for optimism. Not least because of the cultural commitment to PSB found across so many independents, but also because of Channel 4’s investment in multiplatform production and digital platforms.

From apps that increase our awareness of sexual health – Embarrassing Bodies – to successful multiplatform ethical fishery campaign – Fish Fight – C4 has taken some its pioneering, challenging and innovative approach to public service online. And it is taking a group of talented digital producers, committed and passionate about public service, with it. If it can balance profit and public service, and its commitment to diversity of independent suppliers with the need to foster a close relationship with digital indies, C4 can help create a digital public service sector that will ensure the broadcaster’s continuing relevance for a multiplatform future.

{Extract published courtesy of Broadcast}

Work Your Socks Off

I was once conned at the South Bank by a man wearing grey socks and sandals. He stung me for twenty quid for his “train fare home”. It still hurts. How could I have been taken in by nerd socks?

I’ve been fascinated always by colour. During the summer I went to the Bauhaus exhibition at the Barby. One of my favourite exhibits was a Bauhaus entrance exam paper with a blank circle, square and triangle. The question, set by Kandinsky, was: fill these in in the right colours. If you didn’t make the circle blue, the triangle yellow and the square red, nul points – your modernist art education died on the start line.

What do your socks say about you?

Black

Worn by: Gentlemen, Well-dressed villains

The classic black speaks authority, power, sophistication and mystery. Stylish and timeless, black socks remain the first and only choice for the gentleman around town.

White

Worn by: Eighties throwbacks, Commercial radio DJs

While white usually indicates innocence and purity, in a sock it can easily be a mortal sin, especially when worn with open-toed sandals. White socks are also the tell-tale sign of the gym-goer too lazy to get changed after a work-out. White-sockers are usually up to no good.

Grey

Worn by: Bankers, Vicars, Con-men

Neither black nor white, neither here nor there, grey socks betray a dull life built on compromise, boredom and poor laundry skills. You may put your trust in a man in grey socks, but could live to regret it. With sandals, even worse than white – immediate arrest and beating in cell by the Fashion Police.

Red

Worn by: Would-be Casanovas, Politicians.

Confrontational, emotionally intense, and quick to anger. Red is the popular choice of stolen car, but red socks deserve no such favour.

Yellow

Worn by: Attention-seekers, The office joker

When he’s not wearing his Homer Simpson socks, the joker thinks yellow socks are cool. The most difficult colour for the eye to take in, people in yellow socks get inadvertently kicked in the shins more than any other social group.

Brown

Worn by: Gardeners, Librarians (male and female)

Good, solid and reliable – brown betrays a serious, down-to-earth personality that is quite happy to be in the background like a wallflower. There is probably a brown-socker within ten feet of you now, and you haven’t noticed.

Blue

Worn by: Traffic wardens, Doctors

Blue projects an image of success and security. High street store signs are often blue, as this tells the consumer they are a dynamic, growing brand. You can trust a blue sock wearer with your life (but with the nagging doubt that they don’t quite have the confidence to wear black).

Gold

Worn by: Lottery winners, Premier League footballers

Gold signifies success, achievement and extravagant triumph, yet is entirely impractical in everyday footwear. A sign of conspicuous consumption, no true gentleman – whatever his wealth – would flaunt his bank balance with so little class.

Day-Glo

Worn by: Cyclists, Nobody over the age of eleven

‘See and be seen’ they say, and we are all for cyclists wearing fluorescent colours as part of their everyday bike kit, providing they change into something less eye-catching the moment they reach their destination.

Odd socks

Worn by: People who dress in the dark; Derelicts, curs and ruffians; Would-be wacky

The odd sock wearer is more than likely emotionally unstable.

Adapted lightly from  a www.socked.co.uk missive (a monthly black sock subscription service for discerning gentlemen).

Agree with these? Anything to add from your experience?

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