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Later with Jools Holland: How to Do Music Properly on TV

Andy Williams, with Jools Holland at the piano: BBC Television Centre, 6 October 2009.

Photo credit: Andy Csillag/Relay Photos; courtesy BBC/WPR

The scientific jury is still out on what life forms could survive on our planet following nuclear Armageddon, but I'm willing to bet that the Tuesday after the apocalypse, the cockroaches, irradiated protozoan ooze and internet-based life forms will sit down to watch the 437th series of Later with Jools Holland. While every other music show on terrestrial British TV has shuffled off the cathode ray coil, Later... endures, for several good reasons. Going along to the studio to watch it being made last night, for about the fourth or fifth time, helped remind me of them.... more »

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posted: 07/10/2009 | comments »

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Why Giving Star Ratings to Pop Records Is Stupid

 

Stars, but no ratings: A-12/Project Oxcart commemorative coin, and CIA medallion

A Twitter discussion the other day with @rockcritics, @nedraggett and @tomewing had me banging on again about one of the most vexed aspects of the music writing world - ratings. Although I take the point, made in a gentle admonishment from @bsdf, that I do tend to bang on a bit on Twitter, some things just can't be said in <140. So here's some more fulmination from years spent fretting over the difference between 7/10 and 8/10, wondering if it's possible to give no stars (and therefore whether a five-star system is actually a six-tier system), and querying, quite seriously, why anyone who thinks that three stars really means "good, but not for everyone" could possibly award any other rating to any record ever made.... more »

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posted: 06/10/2009 | comments »

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Ukraine v England: A Watershed Moment for Broadcast Media?

Detail of air inlet on SR-71 61-7962, American Air Museum, Imperial War Museum, Duxford - May 2009

They say there's no real water-cooler moments any more: that the days when communities or nations were brought together by must-see TV have gone. Yet news that live coverage of England's World Cup qualifiying match in Kiev is to be available only to pay-per-view subscribers to an internet feed looks could to be one of those rare instances in which disparate tribes find their allegiances converging. New and old media boosters alike will surely be looking at this state of affairs with their own brand of apoplectic derision - united in their condemnation of a deal that seems to work for anyone but the viewer.... more »

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posted: 05/10/2009 | comments »

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Why I Like Raekwon the Chef

Raekwon on stage in Paris, November 2007

There are lots of things I like about Raekwon the Chef, whose gig at Matter in London I saw last night (a review for The Guardian will be linked to here when it's published later in the week).... more »

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posted: 04/10/2009 | comments »

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Terry Callier - A Video Interview

 

Amid all the hair-on-fire hysteria about a need for new models for funding journalism - and I speak as one with a severely singed scalp - the thought occurs that there are things we can do as journalists to broaden our client base. So earlier this year I teamed up with my brother, an experienced TV news cameraman and editor new to the freelance fold after the thick end of two decades in the employ of Central TV, to see if there were any projects we could work on jointly. This is the first fruits of that partnership - a short EPK (electronic press kit: basically, a biog in video form) on the great Chicago singer-songwriter, Terry Callier. ... more »

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posted: 03/10/2009 | comments »

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Do Lyrics Have to Mean Something?

 

Red Rock Canyon, NV, March 2009

To Twitter, then, and an enjoyably pointed set of conversations yesterday sparked by Chantelle Fiddy's observation that the line that forms the infamous terrace-chant finale of The Killers' All These Things That I've Done - "I've got soul but I'm not a soldier" - appears to be devoid of that essential quality of words: meaning. ... more »

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posted: 02/10/2009 | comments »

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The Future of Military Aviation: Non-Pilot Pilots

Two MQ-1 Predator aircraft in the hangar at Creech AFB, Nevada: March 2009

When I visited Creech Air Force Base, at Indian Springs, Nevada, six months ago, the first class of non-pilot UAV operators was still being trained. That class has now graduated, and the USAF's groundbreaking experiment with reinventing the concept of the military aviator begins in earnest.... more »

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posted: 01/10/2009 | comments »



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