Book of Brilliant Things - Five things we’ve loved this week - 15th August
1. Anthony H Wilson
My hero was Tony Wilson, who died on 10th August 2007 - hard to believe he's been gone 14 years this week.
Radio and TV presenter, journalist, band manager, socialist, Situationalist, co-founder and co-owner of Factory Records and The Hacienda, impresario and all round Mr Manchester. Tony championed some of my favourite music (Joy Division, New Order, Happy Mondays, A Certain Ratio), but more importantly he created an atmosphere and an attitude that inspired others to produce music, to create, to make things happen.
My day job involves running events for the NHS and in 2007 I had the idea of getting Wilson to speak at our 2008 annual conference in Manchester. Having had to manage the Happy Mondays and New Order, I thought he could give a great after-dinner speech on managing the unmanageable. It would have been a welcome fun break from the more serious things we have to cover at these events. I am certain he would have said yes. His socialist beliefs and his pride of Manchester would have made this irresistible. I even got chatting to a local NHS CEO who knew him and said she would ask. But she warned he was ill and sadly, he died before I could ask him.
I still occasionally daydream about his speech, what he would have said and how many times he would have said something inappropriate or sworn profusely. I imagine panicking about what I have done, watching a potential car crash on stage and there would be nothing I could do....but you know fuck it, it would have been brilliant.
And when I have a daft idea, I always follow it through because his mad ideas led to so many great things. As I am sure he would have said (and I know my mam definitely said) - if you don't ask, you don't get.
His gravestone says "cultural catalyst". What a cool thing to have been? RIP Anthony H Wilson.
2. The Linda Lindas
Hailing from LA, The Linda Lindas are Asian-American/Latinx school girls, aged 10 - 16. They rock - imagine how good they'll be when they are 16 - 22? One to watch and the song is great fun.
3. A 1,000 views
I've been writing this blog since April and I have had my first article get over 1,000 views (England's (Day)Dreaming). Doesn't mean anyone thought it was any good (and indeed I have had a few comments from angry S*M*A*S*H, 60 Ft Dolls and These Animal Men fans on Facebook - who knew? ). Interestingly, no one came out and defended Chris Evans - at least we can all agree on something!
Still, great to have had so many people take the time to read it, so if you were one of them, thank you!
4. Sea Power
British Sea Power have amended their name to become just Sea Power:
"After much reflection and soul-searching, the band formerly known as British Sea Power have modified their name to simply Sea Power. We’ve been British Sea Power for 20 years – an amazing 20 years, when we’ve been able to continually traverse the British Isles, to travel the world, encountering many friendly faces, not least in the band’s remarkable audience. But the name British Sea Power had come to feel constricting, like an ancient legacy we were carrying with us. When we came up with the name British Sea Power there were at least two different lines of thought behind it. There was, literally, sea power – the elementary power of the oceans. Alongside this was the historical idea of “British sea power” – Britannia ruling the waves; the naval power that once allowed Britain to dominate the world. When we came up with the original band name, Britain no longer ruled the seas. The band name was intended with a kind of wry humour. The idea of British sea power in the historical sense was an obsolete thing. It was now just the name of a rock band… Now, 20 years later, we’re recasting the name. In recent times there’s been a rise in a certain kind of nationalism in this world – an isolationist, antagonistic nationalism that we don’t want to run any risk of being confused with. It’s become apparent that it’s possible to misapprehend the name British Sea Power, particularly if someone isn’t familiar with the band or their recordings. We’ve always been internationalist in our mindset, something made clear in songs like Waving Flags, an anthem to pan-European idealism. We always wanted to be an internationalist band but maybe having a specific nation state in our name wasn’t the cleverest way to demonstrate that. We very much hope the band’s audience won’t be affronted by this adjustment to the name. We’d like to make it clear that removing the word “British” does NOT indicate any aversion to the British Isles whatsoever. We all feel immensely fortunate to have grown up in these islands. Several or our songs are filled with love and awe for this place. We do love these lands. We all still live within the British Isles, but we are now just Sea Power. We feel the name change comes in part from the band’s audience – who at a good show will shout out, “Sea Power! Sea Power!” Maybe this name change has been there for years, shouted in our ears. It’s just taken us this long to realise – to hear what was there in front of us…"
I love this. Talking the talk and walking the walk. Will probably cost them a few fans, but fuck it.
5. Summer Of Soul
Really looking forward to watching the debut film by Questlove, a powerful documentary looking at an epic event that celebrated Black history, culture and fashion. Over the course of six weeks in the summer of 1969, just one hundred miles south of Woodstock, The Harlem Cultural Festival was filmed in Mount Morris Park (now Marcus Garvey Park). The footage was never seen and largely forgotten–until now.
Summer of Soul shines a light on these never-before-seen concert performances by Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Sly & the Family Stone, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Ray Baretto, Abbey Lincoln & Max Roach and more.
It's available to watch on Disney+.
See you next week, stay safe, x