Watch the Mekons new video “After the Rain”

This legendary group from Leeds, have written contemporary music history for the last 40 years as radical innovators of both first generation punk and insurgent roots music. Their new album was recorded in the desert environs of Joshua Tree, California and is drenched with widescreen, barbed-wire atmosphere and hard-earned (but ever amused) defiance. The return of one of the planet’s most essentil rock & roll bands.

When punk exploded in London, fast and brash and full of fury, up in Leeds the Mekons came blinking into the light at a much slower pace. Singles like “Where Were You” and “Never Been in a Riot” (both from1978) fractured punk’s outlaw myth with the ordinariness of real life. During the next decade, as country singers donned cowboy hats and slid into the stadiums, the Mekons celebrated the music’s rough, raw beginnings and tender hearts with the Fear and Whiskey album (1985) and went on to demolish rock narratives with Mekons Rock’n’Roll (1989).

For more than four decades they’ve been a constant contradiction, an ongoing art project of observation, anger and compassion, all neatly summed up in the movie Revenge of the Mekons, which has ironically brought an upsurge in their popularity around the US as new audiences discovers their shambling splendour. And now the caravan continues with Deserted, their first full studio album in eight years.

And desert is an apt word. This time there’s an emphasis on texture and sounds, a sense of space that brings a new, widescreen feel to their music, opening up songs that surge like clarion calls, like the album’s opening track, “Lawrence of California.”

“We were recording at the studio of our bass player, Dave Trumfio,” Langford recalls. “It’s just outside Joshua Tree National Park. Seeing Tom [Greenhalgh, the group’s other original member] wandering in that landscape looked like a scene from Lawrence of California.’ And then, ‘Wait a minute, there’s a song in that.’”

The band arrived with no songs written, only a few ideas exchanged by email between Langford and Tom Greenhalgh, the group’s other original member.

“Things emerged. At one point we had a sheet with a few words written here and there. Everyone added bits and by the time it was finished, it only needed a few changes to be able to sing. Somewhere else there are two lyrics sung over each other.”

Even during the mixing, Dave pushed us into some new sonic territory all the way through,” Langford recalls.

The tweaking and effects take them about as far as they can go from 2016’s Existentialism, which saw all eight members crowded around a single microphone in a tiny theatre in Red Hook, New York, recording live in front of an audience. Deserted offers a different kind of freedom. Of space and stars and wide-open land. Of possibilities and past. But mainly of the future. It’s fresh territory. But that’s always been what attracts the Mekons. They show that four decades doesn’t translate to becoming a heritage act.

Instead, they keep experimenting, from the jagged, spaced throb that powers “Into The Sun,” revolving around the drums of Steve Goulding and Trumfio’s bass to the barely controlled anarchy that’s “Mirage,” or a countrified homage to “Andromeda.” Everything is possible, everything is permitted. 41 years after that first single they’re still moving. Still defiant, still laughing, still joyful. Never underestimate some happy anarchy, and never write off the Mekons. Deserted, perhaps, but they’re back to tip the world on its axis. Again.
– GlitterbeatTV

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Review: There has never been a Partridge moment more genius than this

Steve Coogan as Alan Partridge

Despite my long acquaintance with the Partridge phenomenon, I find myself utterly unprepared for Alan’s practical demonstration of cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Despite my long acquaintance with the Partridge phenomenon, I find myself utterly unprepared for Alan’s practical demonstration of cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

As Alan explains during his short filmed insert on CPR during This Time with Alan Partridge (BBC1); although the British Heart Foundation use a basic head-and-torso model for their training, Alan prefers a full-sized 35kg realistic human replica with workable joints for his monthly practice.

Lugging the petite, fully dressed female model from the loft of his spacious home, it slowly dawns on us, if not Alan, that this “replica” he purchased from his friend – the late Pate Gabbatiss – some years ago is in fact a sex doll, complete with full lips and generously proportioned mouthparts to which Alan eagerly “docks” in the initial stages of saving its life after a putative overdose.

In this scenario, Alan is rescuing his sister-in-law Eileen, who has OD’d because she hates his brother so very much. “Come on Eileen” is the heartfelt plea as he checks for pulse and breath. As a musical accompaniment to the saving of a silicone love doll’s life, Alan rejects the usual beat of “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees (“namby pamby”) in favour of Queen’s “Another One Bites The Dust”, a “pounding rock number that injects a welcome dose of realism”.

I am racking my mind to think of a funnier bit of Partridge/Steve Coogan over his eventful 28-year long career but can’t. The chocolate-sex session/dirty protest in the Linton Travel Tavern; the full stilton slammed into the face of BBC head of commissioning Tony Hayers; the “king and car” sequence on Mid-Morning Matters; hiding in the septic tank of the chemical toilet on the Radio Norfolk roadshow bus; conversations with Michael at the BP garage: all brilliant, but none more genius than this.

Quite unnecessarily, at the conclusion of Alan’s first-aid class he advises This Time viewers: “Don’t forget to clean the mouth.” Rinsing Eileen’s cavity may be relatively straightforward, but not cleansing the memory of the image of Alan Partridge pummelling a rather primly-dressed sex doll. It is a wonder that, with its poor head bouncing as it does on hard flooring, the doll retains a beatific smile throughout. Lovely stuff.

In that respect at least, Eileen the doll resembles Alan’s co-presenter Jennie Gresham (Susannah Fielding), who seems to have got the knack of dealing with Alan by a mixture of humouring his eccentricities and ignoring his unscripted outbursts about his former wife, Carol. Somehow the pair of them manage to navigate a series of standard fluffy news-magazine items that quickly degenerate into unbroadcastable outrages against taste and decency, “Eileen” serving as a symbol of the show’s awfulness.

 

HP Sauce, Sunday roasts and all the other once-beloved British foods that millennials won’t eat 

By now, millennials are growing accustomed to getting blamed for pretty much everything. The end of marriage, the end of divorce, the end of sex and the end of relationships; the demise of cinema and the rise of PC culture. The list goes on. But it’s in the culinary world that Generation Y suffers the most virulent accusations.

Everything from the decline of pubs to the end of tuna is routinely laid at the hands of those born between 1981 and 1996. The latest grumble concerns HP Sauce [ . . . ]

Continue at The Telegraph: HP Sauce, Sunday roasts and all the other once-beloved British foods that millennials won’t eat 

Radio series about the lives of homeless duo Tara and George wins BPG Award



Journalist Audrey Gillan’s caring and compassionate radio series wins big alongside Killing Eve, Patrick Melrose and Derry Girls

A six-part series documenting the lives of two rough sleepers has won Radio Programme of the Year at the 2019 Broadcasting Press Guild Awards.

In Tara and George, which aired on Radio 4 in August 2018 but is still available online and to download as a podcast, journalist Audrey Gillan carefully teased out the complex pasts and precarious presents of rough sleepers Tara and George with compassion and care.

Gillan talked to Tara and George over the course of almost two years in and around London’s Spitalfields, where they were a mainstay of the community, often to be found on the doorstep of another famous duo, artists Gilbert and George (shown, with Tara and George, above).

Tara McKerr and George Crompton found strength and solidarity together after meeting at a Crisis at Christmas dinner. The pair, both in their late 40s, became inseparable and over the course of six episodes, listeners learned about their troubled childhoods, family breakdowns, mental health and addiction issues, with Gillan also tracking down members of their wider family.

The result was compelling, a rare gem of a radio series looking at love and devotion, as well as the everyday realities of life for two people who found companionship on the margins of society.

Listen to the podcast at at https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0bfykqm

Source: Radio series about the lives of homeless duo Tara and George wins BPG Award