Friday, July 18, 2014

WeTransfer partners with @PledgeMusic and @trevormiller_LA for launch of 25th anniversary edition of Trip City

WeTransfer partners with @PledgeMusic and @trevormiller_LA for launch of 25th anniversary edition of Trip City: 25 years after its original launch, file-sharing service WeTransfer is today partnering with Trevor Miller, author of Trip City; seminal E-D-M recording artist, A Guy Called Gerald, and PledgeMusic, to celebrate 1234 Records' publication of a limited 25th anniversary edition of Trip City and its soundtrack, that was described as the 'On the Road of Acid House’ by the London Evening Standard.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Tony Wilson - Gone but NEVER forgotten...

I first met ANTHONY H WILSON in Castlefield, Manchester - when I was about 11 years old. There had been a segment on Granada Reports for kids to help out on an archaelogical 'dig' in the center of town. It was one of those 'youth awareness' schemes centered around local history and if you showed-up, you got a free T-shirt. I remember that it was Tony Wilson who handed me my free t-shirt.

Then as a Grammar School boy, I would hear about 'Wilson' putting on gigs at The Russell Club (which he called 'The Factory') in Moss Side. I remember the posters, vividly - which were pasted all over the area. The one that sticks in my mind the most was when Throbbing Gristle played on May 19th, 1979. I tore one of those posters off a wall and kept it.

In later years, I would see Wilson all the time in the Hacienda. His signature 'drop shouldered' Armani suits made him appear especially unique. He would alledgedly buy them from a store called Jack Creme. I didn't know anyone else at the time who could afford to wear Armani - however, I did know Jack Creme's daughter - Caroline.

The second (and last) time I would meet Wilson was on a pilot for a late night Arts Show that Granada was producing - I can't quite recall the name - but it was along the lines of THE OTHER SIDE OF MIDNIGHT. My college friend Andy Humphries was either Producer or Head Researcher on the show and he booked me as a guest. Another friend, Jason Jules, blagged me an outfit to wear from Paul Smith. So I was sent a train ticket and they reserved me a room at a decent hotel. Backstage I hung out with the guys from 808 State. Somebody from the band had his dad there. I drank beer with this guy and we wandered around Granada a bit. It seemed vast and cavernous.

Later, that afternoon, around tea-time Wilson interviewed me about TRIP CITY. He was very slick and the consummate pundit. On my way out, I told him about getting a Granada Reports t-shirt off him, when I was 11. He smiled at me, but didn't really comment. I never actually saw him again until his cameo appearance in 24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE - which doesn't really count as it was on DVD. And then, yesterday, I got a myspace bulletin from Dave Haslam which simply said: "Tony Wilson R-I-P."

I still can't quite believe that Anthony H Wilson is gone. I'm sure that he will be sadly missed by many people. Still, his legacy will live on. And for me, I will always remember that little smile from him as he handed me my free t-shirt, all those years ago.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Don't you want me baby..?

I flipped on the TV earlier today and came across a fantastic '80s New Wave documentary entitled 'MADE IN SHEFFIELD.' As the title suggests this 52 minute retrospective dealt with the rise of early electronica in Sheffield, England in the late 1970s and charted the rise of THE HUMAN LEAGUE, HEAVEN 17, CABARET VOLTAIRE, ABC and the lesser known but equally interesting ARTERY. This was the pop music of my youth - stylishly re-presented through a series of candid interviews by director Eve Wood. Despite catching the odd typo in some of the captions - there was something very honest and touching about this film. Apart from Phil Oakey, Martin Ware and a more current Jarvis Cocker, most of the interviewees never quite retained any great fame or mass appeal after their bubble burst. I think a great many of them are back in Sheffield. Still, the music lives on. Some of it as the greatest British pop albums of the 80s. Who can forget "Penthouse and Pavement" from Heaven 17, or The Human League's "Dare," or ABC's "The Lexicon of Love."

After remembering my youth so fondly, imagine my surprise when later (on USA Network) I heard "Don't You Want baby..?" used as the jingle for the current CHIPS AHOY commercial. Like I said - the music lives on - unfortunately inscrupulous Ad Execs have turned the Human League into four animated cookies driving a funny car. Ah, well... At least that means a few well deserved sheckels for Phil Oakey and co.

BUY 'Made In Sheffield' on DVD

Trafalgar Art Movie...

I have often discussed the possibility of making an art movie with Sean McLusky. But cost has always been an issue - even in the early days of digital video. However, as London is becoming an increasingly desirable location cost isn't such an issue anymore. It is early days, but we have started to put together the UNTITLED BATTLE OF TRAFALGAR PROJECT. This would basically feature Sean's band, Trafalgar, in a narrative somewhat reminiscent of A HARD DAY'S NIGHT or the lesser known MAGIC CHRISTIAN. In short, the band (Trafalgar) would travel across a post-apocalyptic version of London - pursued by various villains, policemen and sexy girls. (Ringo Starr is pictured to the left with Racquel Welch in THE MAGIC CHRISTIAN).

Thus far we have discussed the possibility of cameo roles with the likes of Les McKeown (Bay City Rollers), Jarvis (Pulp) and Shaun Ryder (Happy Mondays). Of course, the members of Trafalgar would occupy the most screen time. Early next month, after Sean's Shoreditch Free Festival (featuring Har Mar Superstar and Fab Moretti from the Strokes), the Art Movie concept will be pitched to the principals at I-Force Films... Exciting stuff...

VISIT 'Trafalgar' on myspace
VISIT Sean's 'Shoreditch Free Festival' on myspace
BUY 'The Magic Christian' on Amazon
BUY 'A Hard Day's Night'

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Ballad of Mike Clark...

I first met Mike Clark in 1984 at the PCLSU building on Bolsover Street - central London. Myself and Gerry Cox had been working on McGarel - the Student Union magazine - for its then sabbatical editor Thom Dibden. Somebody told me and Gerry there was a party on the second floor - so we went down stairs to see what the scoop was. In the midst of the rather meagre festivities was a guy with a pudding-bowl haircut and black motorcycle jacket. The jacket was emblazoned with a logo that was somewhere between a white cross and serpent's tail... Gerry introduced this man as "Mad Klaag." Initially, from his strange accent, I believed Mr. Klaag to be of dutch origin, or the like. Later I would find out that he was from Scotland and was in fact MIKE CLARK.

Mike had been many things - Writer, activist, and even a male hustler. He was a unique individual who would veer from the sartori of homeless man to cotton suited dandy. He had a council flat in Chalk Farm and kept a pet tarantula. To this day, I have never met anybody quite like him. He flunked his degree for political differences - so I thought. The following year I would find out that Mike left college because he was very sick - and indeed was awarded his degree posthumously.

It was Nick Coote who told me of Mike's death. Nick mentioned a very sad hospital visit, where Mike was terminally ill, yet still trying to convince a Priest that God did not exist. Ironically enough Mike was remembered at a High Mass and Church memorial service.

I only wish that Mike was still around to read the following story, which was in the Hollywood Reporter, earlier this week. A long time 'upsetter,' one of Mike's masterplans was to broadcast an alternative version of the news, where the newscaster would sing the headlines... Yes, Mike - wherever you are - even this will come to pass....


....Yahoo! is hoping a quirky take on the news will strike a chord as its next original programming effort.

The Web giant confirmed Wednesday that it will launch a new initiative before the end of this quarter that will feature a journalist-cum-crooner who will sing the news.

While a Yahoo! spokesman declined to elaborate on the video project, which will be titled "Odd News Underground," he did issue a statement from Scott Moore, head of news and information.

"This project will create an entirely new kind of news beat, so stay tuned," Moore said. "All I can say for now is that this reporter will leave you tapping your feet."

Well there you have it. A mad man's dreams have become reality. Or, as I prefer to think of it - A sadly missed visionary has become vindicated. His dreams are now a reality.

To my friend MIKE CLARK - I raise a toast. You are often missed - and the world is not quite as bright without you...

READ the whole story in 'The Hollywood Reporter'

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Vuelo wins Silver Medal...

In 2005 I teamed-up with James Gartner and Don Block to write a short film for the Sony Dreams Series... the result was called 'Vuelo' and it's still making the headlines several years later... Yesterday it was named as a Silver Medal Winner at The 2007 New York Film and Video Festival...

I found this press release on-line...
NEW YORK CITY, February 14, 2007 - "Vuelo," the short film from director James Gartner, has been awarded the Silver World Medal in this year's New York Festivals Film and Video competition.

Set in an inner city diner, "Vuelo" was Gartner's short film contribution to the distinguished Sony Dreams project. The film is wrought with fear, judgement, confusion, and frustration, spanning the emotional spectrum of cultural and ethnic tension. Its conclusion surprises, inspiring even deeper reflection on the part of the viewer.

New York Festivals (NYF) is an international awards company founded in 1957. Recognizing The World's Best WorkTM in advertising, programming, design, and marketing, NYF and its three other advertising brands, honor creativity and effectiveness in global communications through seven annual competitions. NYF honors winners with parties, UN-traditional gala awards ceremonies, and gallery-style showcases. Black-tie awards ceremonies for Film & Video and TV Programming & Promotion winners and are held the last week in January.

VIEW 'Vuelo' here...

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Prince Buster and the return of Al Capone...

In starting to research music for the documentary about my father's record store, I have been listening to and compiling various early Rock-Steady and Blue-Beat tracks... It seems strange to see this music in my I-Tunes playlist, as I haven't listened to much of it for around a decade. Drawn largely from the mid to late '60s, most of the tunes remain strangely fresh and contemporary. You can hear the roots of early reggae in these tracks - but they are much grittier, and the inherent humor makes them seem quite racy, even by today's standards. I was surprised to read somewhere that Prince Buster had retired to Miami, Florida. I was also thrilled to find a Lord Kitchener Calypso track from 1960 called, ironically enough: Margie. Much Rap music unwittingly takes a leaf from the book of Kitchener - his rhymes are clever and off-center. I have posted AL CAPONE by Prince Buster - for your enjoyment...
LISTEN to Prince Buster's Al Capone

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

MISTER MAURICE checks in...

After a stint as a volunteer in the Israeli army, my father returned to the UK and opened a blue-beat record shop in Moss Side, Manchester. Between the early 1960s and mid '70s he supplied the hottest Rocksteady and Bluebeat imports to the Jamaican emigre community. In that time the likes of Bob Marley, Desmond Dekker and Prince Buster frequented his store. He was befriended by the late, great Lord Kitchener, and was the supplier of '45s to the neighborhood Rude Boys, Sound-Systems and all-night 'blues' jams... On my last visit to the UK, I managed to video-tape my father as he discussed his tenure at the store and reminisced about the music. These interviews will form the basis of a short film detailing his store and humorous exploits. Entitled: MR. MAURICE - A GREAT WESTERN TALE, the film will feature stories, photographs and a pilgrimage to the now defunct location of his shop, on Great Western Street...
VISIT the Store via Google Maps
BLUEBEAT on Wikipedia
CELEBRATE Lord Kitchener
WHAT IS A Rude Boy

Back From The UK...

I went to the UK in November 2006, and it was the first time that I'd been back for about 12 years. I didn't even make it to London - just to Manchester - which was quite a trip, in terms of architectural and cultural changes alone. It was great to see my Mum, Dad and Brother. It was amusing to go to local thrift stores and especially Affleck's Palace - which remains as a Northern Mecca for all things pop-culture. On one particular Sunday - Michael Holden and Sean McLusky took to train to see me, and after a pub-crawl, we stayed at the illustrious five-star Lowry Hotel... Felt like an episode of Vincent on BBC America, with Ray Winstone... Out of the blue, my old college chum W.I.Z. sent this photo-booth pic of me, him and Paolo Sedazzari - who is now also a Director in his own right. The snapshot (above) is from around 1985 - we were all at college together. The UK has changed so much since... On my visit I managed to sit down for a drink with Barry Hale from Threshold Studios. It was strange to discuss how the great, grey-green River Irwell and surrounding Lowry Center had been transformed into what looked like a set from a gritty Bladerunner... WHo knows? Maybe TRIP CITY might be filmed in a futuristic setting, after all... Stay Tuned...
VISIT Affleck's Palace
STAY at the Lowry - or not
WATCH Paolo Sedazzari's Trailer
GO SEE The Lowry Center
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