Sunday, May 28, 2006


Big Fug can be relied on to provide some of the most interesting links around. He has unusual tastes. Here is the first crop. Many more to come.

Animusic Pipe Dream
An extraordinary piece of computer animation. Watch and be amazed.

If The Earth Were A Sandwich
Never before have two pieces of bread been simultaneously placed on the ground directly opposite each other on the globe, thus making an EARTH SANDWICH.

Getting Real: The book
The smarter, faster, easier way to build a successful web application. 171 page PDF, $19. Buy it now and download it today!

Puzzle World Database
Lee Krasnow builds extraordinary wooden puzzles

LATEST ART/SubScreenSonic

'Latest Art' is a new production from the South Coast that deserves a wide viewing - a no-nonsense gallery showcase of diverse work with some genuinely interesting articles. Refreshingly free from twee polemic or academe, I can see this catching on in a big way. Available FREE in London and the South-East.

Most interesting piece for me in this first issue was the article 'On the Wall' by Jeff Hemmings, linked to 'SubscreenSonic', a new exhibition of concert and gig posters at the Basement in Brighton. It asks the big question as to whether this show can whet the appetite of promoters, venue managers and artists and reignite the passion for gig posters that existed in the 1960s and 1970s.

I have been pondering this issue for some time, having spent five years cataloguing Felix Dennis' OZ Archives, studying in particular and in detail the history of such posters - an explosion of graphic art that hadn't been seen since Art Nouveau at the turn of the 20th century (and very influenced by that style, incidentally).

This was further reinforced by purchasing 'Art of Modern Rock' by Paul Grushkin & Dennis King [Chronicle Books], the sequel to 'The Art of Rock' documenting the earlier period, an eye-popping collection of more than 1,800 extraordinary posters produced in the last 25 years. Responding to the demise of the LP in the mid 1980s (with its superb tradition of album cover art), the rock poster rushed in to fill the void and swiftly boosted a growing independent/ alternative music scene. The book is stunning and overwhelming. The new artists are using old fashioned letterpress and silkscreen alongside digital technology with extraordinary results. There is work here from 375 international artists and studios. I don't believe that I had seen a single one of these posters in any magazine in the UK. Why is that ? Open any double page in this giant book and you're presented with an array of startling images in every graphic style under the sun. I have yet to show this book to anyone who is not startled and overwhemed. The work stands comparison with the very best of the hippy posters of the past. Why is this not happening in the UK ? Or is it about to happen? I shall be investigating further. In fact, I've decided to head down this afternoon. Will report back as discovered the show finishes tomorrow.

As it turns out Sub Screen Sonic was fab, an impressive showcase of work by 33 artists and studios - all American except for one English guy (Nick Rhodes from Manchester) and an Italian. The organisers told me they'd had large numbers of visitors during the week and one can only hope that more such shows follow in the UK and that we see more silkscreen/letterpress work happening in the UK.

Saturday, May 27, 2006


Benefit Concert For LOVE's Arthur Lee To Be Held At NYC's Beacon Theater on June 23rd.

'An all-star benefit concert, titled WE'RE DOING IT FOR LOVE, will be held at New York's Beacon Theater on Friday, June 23 which will attempt to cover the massive medical expenses of rock legend Arthur Lee (LOVE) who was diagnosed in February with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML). Unfortunately, Arthur has no medical insurance, already has medical bills in excess of $100,000 and is facing a probable bone marrow transplant.

With a rapidly increasing lineup at press time including Robert Plant, Ian Hunter, David Johansen, Yo La Tengo and Garland Jeffreys and a host of other significant artists expected to be added in the coming weeks, in addition to hopefully solving a major financial crisis, this concert will shine a long-overdue spotlight on the hugely influential but greatly underappreciated music of one of the truly innovative and influential rock artists of all-time. Tickets go onsale Friday, May 12th at noon at the Beacon Theater box office (74th & Broadway) and all Ticketmaster outlets (212-307-7171), All of the concert's proceeds will go to Arthur's medical expenses.

Produced by veteran New York concert promoter Steve Weitzman of SW Productions, in association with Arthur Lee's manager Mark Linn, the show will feature artists who will either be performng Arthur Lee's material, their own originals or a combination of both. Many of the artists invited have had a history of performing LOVE covers in their live sets or on records, and Robert Plant, for one, has been performing three of Arthur's songs regurlarly during his most recent tour.

This upcoming concert infact, owes a large debt of gratitude to the legendary Led Zeppelin vocalist, as he was the first significant artist who agreed to perform, stating simply in a mid-April email to Mr. Weitzman that he "would definitely like to be involved...and will sing with anybody!" He has also insisted on taking care of his own plane fare from London in addition to his NY hotel expenses even when those were offerered to be included in the show's budget. Very soonafter Mr. Plant confirmed, Ian Hunter followed, and in addition to doing his own performance, offered to have his stellar band back up Mr. Plant who happily accepted that arrangement. The show's producer was told to expect"some old Led Zeppelin songs" as well as material by Arthur Lee and a few other songs long admired by Mr. Plant that he hasn't often performed live. Mr. Hunter and Mr. Plant also plan on singing together on certain selections, marking the first time onstage that they will have ever done that.

Understandably, for Arthur Lee, currently battling his life-threatening illness in Memphis, news of this concert has been practically the best medicine possible and has significantly picked up his spirits. When told about Robert Plant's involvement by his manager Mark Linn, he said, "That's great! Why don't you get that guitarist too... Jimmy something," adding with his "arthuresque" humor and take on life, "Robert Plant is a man of his word. and a man's word is his castle!" While his situation is extremely serious and the next few weeks will be his most challenging with ongoing chemotherapy and extensive hospital stays, he recently told his manager thathe is not afraid of dying, only pain. If he is physically able to travel next month, he added, he would love to attend the Beacon show.

It has been well-chronicled that Arthur Lee is a man larger than life. He is a flamboyant artist with a trail of myth and mythology that follows him like a feathered boa. His band, LOVE, was the first rock band signed toElektra Records, and Arthur is responsible for talking company founder Jac Holzman into signing The Doors. Before all this, in 1964, Arthur gave his friend, an unknown Jimi Hendrix, his first appearance on record (the Arthur Lee penned "My Diary" by Rosa Lee Brooks). LOVE's third recording, the landmark "Forever Changes," is still widely considered to be one of the greatest rock and roll discs of all time. In a Rolling Stone special issuetwo years ago, it was voted the 40th greatest album ever, on a list ranking the top 500 LP's of all time, even finishing ahead of such classics as Jimi Hendrix's "Electric Ladyland", the Rolling Stones' "Beggars Banquet", "Meet The Beatles," Led Zeppelin "IV" and John Lennon's "Imagine."

Mass acceptance was elusive for LOVE at the height of their creativity as they were definitely not "careerist." They preferred staying close to home, living together in "the castle" near Griffith Park in Los Angeles as opposed to life on the road. Arthur even turned down invitations to perform at the Monterey Pop Festival and Woodstock. In the late '80's and early '90's, Arthur spent approximately seven years in jail for "allegedly" shooting off a gun in his apartment.

When he was released, he wasted no time getting back to the road and his music. He performed his first New York shows in 25 years in 1994 when he was booked by Steve Weitzman at Tramps for three shows over two engagements in the summer and fall of that year.During the past four years, Arthur Lee has performed the entire "Forever Changes" album to sold out audiences and fantastic reviews throughout Europe and the United States. backed by the local LA group Baby Lemonade, and a string and horn section. Just when he thought his bad times were finally over, he learned he was sick.

Information regardiing the latest talent additions will be constantly updated on Arthur Lee's website, In addition, Rolling Stone magazine has a preview article in their special 1,000th issue ("In The News" section, page 44). Fans who are unable to attend the concert and want to make a credit card donation to Arthur will find a link for that on his website.To everyone who has him in his or her thoughts, Arthur Lee sends his LOVE.'

For further contact: Steve Weitzman/SW Productions - 212-254-1725, Linn, Arthur Lee's manager - 615-480-6923, delmores@comcast.netAlicia Gelernt, Noble Music - 646-408-9645,

[Thanks to Ian Grant for the info]

RIP: Desmond Dekker

KEITH RICHARDS WATCH: Richards is astounding his doctors, by the latest accounts, with the speed of his recovery. He is the man who cannot die by normal (or abnormal) means. He is not appearing in 'The Pirates of the Caribbean 2' as initially rumoured.

LEWES FOOTNOTE: Composed while listening to 'On The Boards' by Taste and 'Raw Sienna' by Savoy Brown - both on crunchy vinyl, whilst having tea with Russell, who reports that earlier in the day he spotted Nick Cave in a brown suit in Bill's, our local eating and meeting venue. The weather still hasn't improved.


Manek Dubash writes :
'IBM researcher Michael Osborne, whose job is research into secure ID cards, slated the UK government’s ID cards scheme on the grounds of cost, over-centralisation, and being the wrong tool for the job. Based in Big Blue’s Zurich research labs, where the scanning tunnelling microscope was invented and won its inventors a Nobel Prize, Osborne said that the problem is neither the cards nor the fact that the scheme is intended to use biometric technology.

The big issue is that the UK government, plans to set up a central database containing volumes of data about its citizens. Unlike other European governments, most of whom already use some form of ID card, the central database will allow connections between different identity contexts - such as driver, taxpayer, or healthcare recipient - which compromises security. Centrally-stored biometric data would be attractive to hackers, he said, adding that such data could be made anonymous but that the UK Government’s plans do not include such an implementation. '
See full story here: Techworld

To keep up with the latest developments on this topic, visit NO21D - the main site for the national campaign against ID cards and the National Identity Register. It is not affiliated to any political party and is funded almost entirely by voluntary donations. Founded in 2004, it aims to bring together people and organisations from all sections of the community in opposition to the Government's plan for compulsory registration, fingerprinting and lifelong tracking of all UK residents by means of a centralised 'identity' database. They want the public to be properly informed about a scheme that has kept invisible by spin, but that aims to transform all our lives. NO2ID is supported by over 70 organisations, including unions, political parties, and local
councils-and more than 30,000 individuals. They already have around 100 local groups across the UK. You can find the nearest one here


Passports will change soon in order to force you to have a government ID card. On March 30th, the Identity Cards Act 2006 became law. Among other things this lets the Home Office turn your passport into a ‘designated document’ for its ID card scheme. That means that as soon as it is can—maybe in 2008 or 2009, but possibly before—the new ‘United Kingdom Identity & Passport Service’ (UKIPS) will refuse to renew your passport unless you attend an official interview and agree to be fingerprinted and give a wide range of personal information for a “National Identity Register” database.

The National Identity Register (NIR) will be the biggest store of personal data in the world. And once you are on it, you are on it for life. You will be required to update any details about you that change for the official record, or be fined. They want to make sure they know where you live. Every use of your passport will be recorded on the NIR—when you travel and whenever you use it to verify your identity, say at the bank or to get a job. That information may be seen by police, tax, housing, and benefits officials and thousands of other Government agencies. It may even be checked by private companies.

But for now you have a choice. The current rule is that you can renew your passport at any time. NO2ID got the Home Office to make its policy clear, and you can read it on the new UKIPS website: “You do not have to wait until your passport is nearly expired to renew it, but we can add no more than 9 months unexpired validity from the old passport to the new one. You can renew your passport whenever you wish, but you must pay the full fee and no refund can be given for the unexpired validity in the old passport”.

In other words, you can buy 10 years’ freedom from compulsory Registration on the NIR for just £51, right now. You may get slightly longer than 10 years on your new passport—but that’s entirely up to the Home Office. The government says the price will rise to at least £93 when it starts issuing ID cards. But the way you can get a passport will change from as early as October.
That’s why we suggest you act now and “renew for freedom”.


Following on from my postings concerning my encounter with Al Gore and his latest activities (see: I Bought Al Gore Lunch: Real As Rain and Al Gore 2: An Inconvenient Truth ), the man himself popped up in major pieces in these two mainstream magazines in the same month.
We're all going green it seems and Al is the new Poster Boy of the Climate Change revolution. Chance to judge for yourself as Gore will be making a presentation of his no-holds-barred view of climate change on 21st June 2-4pm at Tate Britain. The event is being organised by The Carbon Neutral Company in conjunction with the All Party Parliamentary Climate Change Group. Immediately afterwards, CNC are co-hosting with BSkyB, a panel discussion about what UK business is and could do to achieve a step change in managing CO2 emissions.

Following on my from previous post on James Lovelock (see: James Lovelock: Man of the Moment ), purpose of which being to underline the fact that JL had been a longtime supporter of nuclear energy rather than a deep green who'd only recently changed his viewpoint, comes hard and fast evidence that, in fact, he has been part of the nuclear lobby for years to a much greater extent than previously realised and also had connections with the intelligence establishment.

Thursday, May 11, 2006


Guitar Man by Will Hodgkinson
[Bloomsbury 2006]
A Six-String Odyssey or You Love That Guitar More Than You Love Me

At the age of 34, Will – who had been told he was tone deaf at school, decides not only to learn the guitar and but also commits himself to performing before a live audience in six months time by boasting to all his friends.

In particular, he wants to learn and play ‘Anji’ by Davy Graham – a tricky but seminal guitar instrumental, recorded by Paul Simon and Bert Jansch amongst others.

Having exhausted the advice of immediate friends and colleagues, he begins roaming further afield and chats and take lessons from Johnny Marr and Bert Jansch. He goes to the States and meets Roger McGuinn in Orlando, travels to Nashville, Memphis and New York and on his return, buys an electric guitar and meets the legendary eccentric/reclusive Davy Graham himself.

In addition, he learns about such outsiders as Teddy Paige and Jackson C. Frank and such masters as Django Reinhart, Robert Johnson, Link Wray and Charlie Christian, and about the whole history of the instrument from Renaissance times to the present day.

The author if a born story teller with a delightful touch, who deftly interweaves these experiences and encounters with accounts of his attempts to form a band called Double Fantasy, and rehearse them in the basement of his family home and the impact that his whole adventure has on private life, especially on his long-suffering partner NJ. All ends happily in a successful gig and a final leeson from Jansch, who patiently takes him through ‘Anji’ until he more or less gets the hang of it.,

What could have been mawkish in the wrong hands, is instead, truly informative and inspiring. - a joyful, amusing, engaging book that should be read by anybody whose trying to learn or planning to learn the guitar. Also by anybody who plays guitar or is remotely interested in the instrument.

Read Will Hodgkinson's article on Davy Graham in The Guardian: 'The Original Guitar God'

There is definitely a resurgence of interest in this beatnik pioneer. I well remember some years back now, excitedly discovering ‘Folk, Blues and Beyond’, originally recorded Decca in 1964 with Gus Dudgeon on the desk (now available again on Topic) and it remains my favourite – a perfect blend of styles and genres, way ahead of its time and highly influential.

Also re-released of late is another stunner – ‘Folk Roots, New Routes – by Davy Graham with Shirley Collins [A Wing and a Prayer 2005} which startlingly juxtaposes the pure trad folk voice and tunes of Shirley with esoteric and adventurous guitar work from Graham.

So enamoured did I become that I made strenuous efforts to track Graham down and book for one of our ‘New Beat Experience’ events in Brighton. No joy unfortunately.

Davy Graham Official site:
Apparently DG is at work on a new album called Fahrenheit and Centigrade
Outright Records:
Find out more about Davy Graham and past releases
Davy Graham discography:

Just been to see this remarkable music film at our local arthouse cinema (Duke of York’s in Brighton). A documentary journey, directed by Fatih Akin, through the musical underworlds of the music of Istanbul in the company of Alexander Hacke who records an extraordinary range of music – from heavy rap, experimental, Turkish pop, Romany and Kurdish to Pink-Floydie eastern psychedelia and much more. Moving and inspiring and a must see.
[The soundtrack album and book of the film are available. DVD is out on June 26th]

Here is the synopsis from the official press pack. Further details from the movies' official site:

'A maverick in Istanbul. ALEXANDER HACKE, a member of the German avant-garde band EINSTÜRZENDE NEUBAUTEN for more than 20 years, first came into contact with the city and its music while producing the score for the movie HEAD-ON (GEGEN DIE WAND). In Istanbul he met the members of the neo-psychedelic band BABA ZULA. When their bass player dropped out, he was asked to sit in for her. Alex Hacke is a collector of musical styles and loves to experiment with sound, and so it didn’t take much to persuade him. But he didn’t just bring his bass guitar, but also a complete mobile recording studio, including his “magic mike”, which he has used to capture exotic sounds from all over the world. He calls his approach to collecting sounds “street recording”, and it allows him to make professional recordings just about anywhere.

And so he sets out to capture the musical diversity of Istanbul onto his hard drive. His aim is to expose western ears to the broadest possible spectrum of Turkish music, ranging from modern electronic sounds, rock and hip-hop, right down to classical “Arabesque” music. FATIH AKIN, director of HEAD-ON, accompanies him with his camera and shoots a portrait of Istanbul’s lively music scene, whose music suffuses every part of the city, and which is dearly loved by all of its inhabitants. Hacke’s home base is the venerable Büyük Londra Oteli (Grand Hotel de Londres) in Istanbul’s district of Beyoglu, probably the most “European” spot in all of Turkey. From here he wanders through an alien, contradictory, lively, and seductive world, collecting impressions and tracks, drifting along in the unstoppable stream of this mega city of myriad facets.

But no hard drive or film can do justice to the diversity and overwhelming force of musical and visual impressions this city generates. With this experience he finally returns home, a musical treasure in his baggage, which now needs to be sifted and presented to the world.'


Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros – Streetcore [Hellcat Records 2003]
Amadou & Mariam: 1990-1995 The Best of the African Years [Syllart Productions 2005]
Toumani Diabate’s Symmetric Orchestra [World Circuit 2006]
Hamilton de Holanda – Samba do Avião [Kind of Blue 2006]
Anouar Braham – Le Voyage de Sahar [ECM 2006]
The Django Reinhardt Festival: Live At Birdland
[Kind of Blue 2006]

Alligator Records 35 x35 (35 Songs, 35 Years of Genuine Houserockin’ Music) [2006].
The R&B Scene [Deram 1998]
The Blues Scene [Deram 1999]
Feber 2: Andres Lokko Folk [Amigo Musik 2005]
Play Back (Good Music Re-visited) [Sony BMG 2005]