Book of Brilliant Things - Five things we’ve loved this week - 5th September
1. A Trip to Piccadilly Records
It’s great to be back in Manchester’s Piccadilly Records, a superb record shop with a huge selection. Love my free mug, as I spent more than £50. And I picked up the new album by Willy Mason, Already Dead, plus the debut album by Hot Chip, Coming On Strong. I also picked up the new Tim Burgess book, The Listening Party, to be reviewed on Back In Black(heath) soon!
2. Arrival / Revival (ABBA ABBA HEY HEY)
Band revivals are the bog-standard conversation for music obsessives. What if….? I always told previous partners that I had a set aside a grand just in case The Smiths reformed to go see them…that £1,000 did not include getting them a ticket too!
Sadly, Moz’s views have taken a turn for the offensive, for the bigoted, for the stupid, for the distasteful, for the Islamophiobic and racist. As Marcus Brigstocke said, who knew it was such a short journey from narcissism to Nazism…I’ll stick with seeing Johnny Marr (we are going on 23rd September at the Electric Ballroom in Camden – I am stupidly excited!).
Nowadays, if Talking Heads reformed, I would be there like a shot. Supergrass reforming last year was mahoosive fun. New Order without Hooky was better than I could have dreamt (Music Complete is a brilliant, brilliant album). The Rumours line up of Fleetwood Mac was a joy. Tears For Fears was fun, though you got the impression they hated each other on stage…
But one band reforming I would not have bet on was ABBA. Too much water under the bridge, too old, too much money in the bank, too many divorces, too many winners taking it all….just too much to expect. Bjorn Again have splendidly filled that gap.
Yet here we are – new singles, a new album coming and an innovative hologram tour. I am genuinely excited. Everyone is raving about the singles – they haven’t landed with me yet, but I suspect they will.
My favourite image is them in their new hologram outfits – they look like extras from TRON – splendid! I will go and check out the show, it’s too good an opportunity to miss. In the meantime, I will be playing my copy of Super Trouper, pilfered from my in-laws this summer. Pop genius.
Ⓒ Industrial Light and Magic
3. McCartney 3, 2, 1
Like all good-hearted people, I love The Beatles. Anyone who says they don’t is adopting a pretentious pose or just being churlish. And McCartney is my favourite. Lennon would have got nowhere without him. There. I’ve said it. Not a popular view, but he needed McCartney’s pop edge.
McCartney has recorded a 6-episode series talking to Rick Rubin, legendary Def Jam producer, discussing all aspects of his career. You think you have heard everything there is to know about The Beatles, but there are still little insights, little joys to be shared. It’s shot in black & white, with Macca playing little snippets of songs, while the conversation zigzags around in no obvious chronology. It’s all the better for it. My favourite so far is listening to the bass line from While My Guitar Gently Weeps, isolated from all the other instrumentation and vocals. It sounds like nothing you have ever heard before.
This is wonderful, while we wait for the brilliant Get Back film that Peter Jackson has been lovingly putting together from 56 hours unseen footage over the last few years, which is finally due out in November.
McCartney 3, 2, 1 - available on Disney+.
4. The Stranglers – This Song
I don’t give a jot about football. Never have. I don’t get the obsessive football fans, which is ironic, as I never understand people who aren’t passionate about music. But I have a soft spot for Stuart Pearce. He has always walked his own path and had a real air of menace about him. Yet you also think he’s probably a lovely bloke and a pussycat if he’s on your side. I also love the fact he has remained all through his career a punk fan, going to gigs and open about the bands he loves.
His big love is The Stranglers and he stars in the video of their latest song, This Song. He looks menacing, scary as fuck, and super cool in the video, and the song is pretty good too. Well worth a look!
5. Use Hearing Protection – The Early Years of Factory Records
While up in Manchester visiting my godson, me and Mrs JO’B went to see this fabulous exhibition. It focuses on the label’s formative years from 1978 to 1982, and how their innovative work in music, technology and design gave Manchester an authentic voice and distinctive identity.
Peter Saville’s artwork remains stunning and iconic, but the real joy was getting to plug your headphones in and play with mixing the different tracks that make up Love Will Tear Us Apart.
The exhibition runs until 3 January 2022, Science + Industry Museum, Manchester.
See you next week, stay safe, x