Archive for September 25th, 2013|Daily archive page

Dead Beat (Day 16)

Carolyn cassady

A first set back. Today I started setting up interviews. Or that was the plan…

I began by talking to Jemima KIss at The Guardian’s Technology section about her preferred methods and tech for recording interviews, live and over the phone. No point reinventing the wheel. My Live Scribe recorder is en route (Jemima’s strong recommendation from a chat we had a couple of months ago at the launch of Aleks Krotoski’s new book Untangling the Web). She gave me some very practical tips from her considerable experience, including a strong preference for conducting interviews face to face.

As we were drawing to an end, Jemima unwittingly dropped a bomb-shell. Had I seen the lovely obituary for Carolyn Cassady in The Times the other day? That was the second interview I was planning to set up. She passed away on Friday. I knew Carolyn, ex-wife of Beat protagonist Neal Cassady, was a ripe old age around 90 and at the back of my mind was a doubt as to whether she’d be fit to talk, but nonetheless I was really looking forward to meeting her (she’s been living, conveniently, in Berkshire since the early 80s) and had written a sensitive set of questions (given that people were always going to her to talk about the men in her life, not her self) in the back of my copy of her book Off The Road. Not to be. Good for her as she had been alone for half a century or more, and I hope will get to see Neal again, and he’ll be a bit wiser with old age and immateriality. Bad for me but I just had to take it on the chin and learn something about moving quickly (had I approached her as soon as I had the notion to interview her rather than doing loads of research first I might have struck lucky).

Taking the cue, I got in touch with my first planned interviewee who I’d heard loved to talk. He was a bit terse. Not quite the model of openness and generosity. But he is also quite an age and not so well. It may yet work out but I won’t hold my breath.

The rest of the day went a bit better. I was trying to pin down my Theatre case study and my number one suspect is looking good. I had a delightful phone conversation with dramatist and novelist Stella Duffy (always loved the name Stella thanks to Hal Hartley but my other half wasn’t open to it due to Northern Irish connotations, on top of which we never had a girl). Stella confirmed Joan Littlewood as a sound choice. She is currently driving a really interesting project to realise an unfulfilled vision of Joan’s – Fun Palaces where regular people could participate and collaborate in the arts and other cultural activity without having to consume and be talked at or down to.

Stella gave a great writing tip – be clear what you want people to FEEL when reading your stuff and then keep those feelings in mind as you write. I think that sounds like a very sound bit of advice which will make an impact in the writing and will apply it immediately. To some extent I think I have instinctively but can certainly up that sensibility as I push on. As I push on with resilience, with stuff upper lip, with courage mon brave…

The Box

box of 50 records

So the idea was simple: 50 songs from 50 friends/family to mark 50 years. All in a box decorated by the Enfants Terribles. In short, Now That’s What I Call a Birthday Present 50.

Various people asked me what was in The Box so I’ve finally gotten round to listing the gifts, all 7″ vinyl singles. There turned out to be 65 songs in the box as some people decided to give one song per decade, some very naturally hedged their bets as choosing just one is tough as we all know from Desert Island Discs and the like. (There’s no special significance about the first nine, that’s just how WordPress decided to cut&paste and the wisdom of five decades dictates that life’s too short to tidy up such things.)

  1. She Loves You – The Beatles [Jonathan & Julie] (No. 1 the weekend after I was born)
  2. Righteous Man – Little Roy [Nigel]
  3. One by One – Ruefrex (Good Vibrations) [Conor & Aoife] (given to him by Terry Hooley)
  4. Good Vibrations – The Beach Boys [Meabh & Orla] (I gave them Pet Sounds – the first CD they ever owned)
  5. Like a Rolling Stone – Bob Dylan [Sean]
  6. I Want That Man – Deborah Harry [Maura]
  7. Carmen – Malcolm McLaren [Maura]
  8. Higher & Higher – Jackie Wilson [Patsy]
  9. From Me to You – The Beatles [Anthony & Ruth]

box of 50 records

10. Send Another Moses – The Willows (CoxSone) [Neil]

11. Run Run – Delroy Wilson (Studio One) [Neil]

12. Door Peeper – Burning Spear [Neil]

13. There Ain’t Half Been Some Clever Bastards – Ian Dury [Neil]

14. Telegram Sam – T-Rex [Neil]

15. Something – The Beatles [Neil]

16. Double Barrel – Dave & Ansil Collins [Neil]

17. The Ayatollah Song – Not the 9 O’Clock News [Dave & Nicole]

18. Murphy’s Law – Cheri [Elizabeth & Des]

19. Close to Me – The Cure [Eileen] (we saw them live together in Wembley Arena)

20. Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd [Matthew]

21. LA Woman – The Doors [Jon]

22. Cat People – David Bowie [Jon]

23. Changing of the Guards – Bob Dylan [Jon]

24. Wet Dream – Max Romeo [Peter]

25. Go Wild in the Country – Bow Wow Wow [Judyth]

26. Modern Love – David Bowie [Mike] (we saw him together live in Grenoble on the Serious Moonlight tour)

27. A Paris – The Style Council [Mike] (we once bumped into each other totally by chance in the Louvre)

28. Speak Like A Child – The Style Council [Mike] (Mick Talbot shares the same birthday)

29. Universal Soldier – Donovan

30. Young Parisians – Adam & The Ants [Noah]

31. Pictures of Lily – The Who [Dylan] (he wanted My Generation but couldn’t find it – I taught him how to spell WH question words using a photo of Keith Moon’s drumkit)

32. The Revolution Will Not Be Televised – Gil Scott-Heron [Dan & Steff] (we saw him together at Somerset House shortly before he died)

33. Denis – Blondie [Paul] (we went to see them as his first and my second gig)

34. Thank You Very Much, Mr Eastwood – Dermot Morgan [Elizabeth-Ann]

35. Come Fly With Me – Frank Sinatra [Cecelia] (we both adore Frank)

36. Sexual Healing – Marvin Gaye [Stuart]

37. Don’t Worry Be Happy – Bobby McFerrin [Stuart]

38. The Celtic Soul Brothers – Dexy’s Midnight Runners [Stuart] (he mispronounced ‘Celtic’ in his best-man’s speech at our wedding)

39. Baby I Love You – The Ronettes [Seth]

40. Live at Hollywood High – Elvis Costello [Joan]

41. The Next Day – David Bowie [Ela]

42. Shady Lane – Pavement [Alfie]

43. Congratulations – Cliff Richard [Annie]

44. Blanket on the Ground – Billie Jo Spears [Annie]

45. Ernie – Benny Hill [Dan]

46. Tears of a Clown – The Beat [Dan]

47. Ball of Fire – The Orb & Lee Scratch Perry [Sarah]

48. Nelson Mandela – Amy Winehouse [Farrah]

49. It’s a Sin – Pet Shop Boys [Anita & Don]

50. Nothing Compares 2U – Sinead O’Connor [Maud] (my favourite female voice)

51. Irish Heartbeat (Billy Connolly) [Maud]

52. A Dreams A Dream – Soul II Soul [Maud]

53. Take It Easy – The Wilf Brothers [Maud]

54. Dedication – Thin Lizzy [Maud]

55. Round About Midnight – Miles Davis [Una] (Debbie Gould sang this magnificently at my party)

56. Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright – Bob Dylan [Una] (we named a son after him)

57. Breakfast in Bed – Lorna Bennett [Sue]

58. Wildwood – Paul Weller [Sue]

59. Streets of London – Ralph McTell [Katherine]

60. September – Earth Wind & Fire [Ja]

61. Life’s What You Make It – Talk Talk [Ja]

62. Reasons to Be Cheerful – Ian Dury [Ja] (source of Simple Pleasures blogs)

63. Running Up That Hill – Kate Bush [Ja]

64. 2-4-6-8 Motorway – Tom Robinson Band [Ja] (my first gig)

65. Love Will Tear Us Apart – Joy Division [Ja]

Late Additions:

66. The Boys Are Back in Town – Thin Lizzy [Eddie]

%d bloggers like this: