Touch. Daft Punk. Feat Paul Williams.


This is a quiet song on a much (rightly) lauded album.

But give it some space to breathe, away from the hi-energy surroundings in which it finds itself, and you’ll discover a real belter of a song.

A song about existentialism.

The sense of touch being what life may really be all about.

Is this a ghost singing?

I dunno. (What I do know is its credited as American Hall of Fame singer and composer Paul Williams who sounds like he’s on his deathbed.)

And what I also know is that it is a great piece of modern singer, songwriter, techno genius that touches the heartstrings throughout.

Nile Rodgers. The great comeback


Today Nile Rodgers was told he was in full remission from aggressively invasive prostate cancer.

That’s good and let’s face it, any of you 50 odd year old blokes out there will empathise with that.

I am happy for Nile because he made my summer.

Selfish?  Perhaps.  But heartfelt?  Oh yes.

He made my summer because I saw him live on The West Holts Dance Stage closing the first night of my Glastonbury Festival and it was monumental.  (described today in The Telegraph as reaching folklore status.  30,000 at a venue that holds 20,000).

He’s done a lot of festivals and gigs around Britain since, so there’s a good chance you too might have seen his angelically clad 11 strong ensemble.  If you have you will realise, like me, that he is something of a latter-day day musical God.

But that’s just the half of it.

Read this book.

Then you’ll know it all.

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Nile Rodgers, Le Freak, is one of the great music memoires.  In that it charts not only a golden era in pop music that he and his bands dominated but it also charts the near destruction of a mega talent addled by drink and drugs.

He was brought up in a fantasy world by junkie parents who frequently abandoned him to a life of substance abuse, starting with glue and ending with shedloads of cocaine and booze.

Which is worse he wonders?  Drink seems to be the conclusion.  Drink is dirtier.

After all is maw and paw were out and out junkies so maybe drugs ain’t so bad.

You’ll have to rise above this and avoid moral high-grounding if you are going to enjoy this read because he likes a toke or two.

B’nard Edwards fell victim, dying of pneumonia in a Tokyo Hotel bed after a gig with Niles.  It was Niles who found him the following morning.   But, B’nard wasn’t the only one.

Bowie, Madonna, Duran Duran, Chic, Sister Sledge (those puritanical christians who couldn’t stand Rodger’s ethic, but took the success anyhow) are all given their moments of glory in this glorious travelogue through the clubs of Manhattan.

It feels like Niles wrote it himself, not by a ghost.  So, it has its technical flaws, but fuck that.

This is a visceral, beautiful, no gorgeous, celebration of hedonism wrapped up in a blanket of talent.

And you know what?

He got away with it.

You want him to get away with it as you struggle through the genuine challenges that he faced as a youngster and the way he THREW himself at the guitar.  In such a way that he became legendary.

He THREW himself at drugs too.  But he also THREW himself at production so that he defined not just an era but a genre and a genre that came back to bite him.

Disco, which he never claimed to own, became such a desultory term that he was, post peak of Chic, a musical outcast.  A joke.

Yet, he was never a disco diva.  He was R and B,  R and R.

Always.

With a dance flavour.

The theme to this book is this wonderful song that he wrote and that I have many, many times enjoyed, perhaps  more than I should have,  with my sisters, my wider family, my work colleagues and my fellow festival goers.

I’ve been exhilarated for a reason.

Today he gives us this…

I am so glad this is a celebration and not an obituary.

Rankin. A life or death matter. Alive; in the face of death.


I just watched an extraordinary documentary filmed around an exhibition that glamour photographer, Rankin, put on earlier this year at the Walker Gallery in Liverpool.

It was about people in the last stages of their lives, all of whom knew they were about to die for one reason or another (mostly cancer).  His reason for doing this show were deeply personal.

My particular reason for watching was because the (now sadly departed) wife of a friend of mine, Louise Page, was one of his models.  Louise died of bone cancer three days after the exhibition’s opening night peacefully with Al and her parents in their home in Ilkley.

Another notable model was Dr Feelgood lead singer Wilko Johnson, and an Auschwitz survivor.

Although Louse could not fail to be our focal point the real star of the show was Rankin himself who came across as a lovely sympathetic man and took some Extraordinary pictures, not least this one of Louise.

louise-by-rankin

Loiuse wrote very emotionally about her journey here.

What made the documentary so moving was the incredible sense of acceptance, even euphoria that some of Rankin’s models described as they came to terms with their fate.  Truly life affirming and beautiful.

Thank you Rankin.

I can’t sleep…


Phoenix and Kraftwerk.

Four Frenchmen.  Four Germans.

Approximately.

The three or four best hours of my music viewing life.

Here.

t

My son and I have had some decent chat about what is better;  Glasto or T.

Neither of us was better informed, (apart from him).

Because only he had done both.

Now we are equals.

He has a point about T.

It is an amazing experience.  The crowd absolutely rocks, much more so than Glasto, full, as it is, with hipsters.  I totally loved the gig experience at T.

Still, I do not have the bottle to sleep over.

But that’s only part of it.

Glasto is the most amazing overall thing you can ever do in your life.

Please do it.

The best musical experience of my life.


I’m 51.

I’ve been to a lot of gigs.

(I’ve been to Glastonbury  FFS.)

Twice.

I’ve seen the Rolling Stones (zzz).

I’ve seen Kraftwerk before (in about 1980 or so).

But tonight I saw the most sublime three hours of music that I have ever seen, heard, felt in my life.

If you don’t know Phoenix you need to.  Because they kick-started it.

phoenix

Try this (their opener tonight)

Now, imediately buy their album, Bankrupt, and while you’re at it join me in the queue to buy Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix because, I promise you, you will not regret it.

Phoenix fucking destroyed the King Tut tent tonight.

It was epic.

And then…

And then…

And then…

Dare we wish too much in case we jinxed it… came Kraftwerk.

I cannot even begin to describe the monumental wonderment that was Kraftwerk in a hot, sweaty tent in Balado, Perth and Kinrosshire.  It was simply the most perfect 90 minute set ever conceived.

This was their set list (thanks to Setlist.fm)

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I actually thought I would weep with joy at The Robots, Autobahn, Tour de France AND Radioactivity, all of which were breathtaking.

The 3D show was like, WTF, it’s a music festival, you can’t do a 3D gig.

Well, it transpires, YES YOU FUCKING CAN.

3d

See what I mean?

Did I mention I was on the barrier?

robots

To Ria Gorman all I can say is; thank you and I love you for buying me this ticket for my birthday.

You have no idea how happy you made me today.

A last word…

I was not a TITP advocate.  I’m too much of a Guardian reader for that but, you know what, TITP is really very good.  The Audience is much, much more music savvy/appreciative than Glasto.

Just sayin’.