Freelance Friday.

In order to introduce some semblance of consistency into this here rag-bag of a blog, I’m only going to post freelance pieces here on Fridays from now on – so you’ll get all the “pro” stuff in one dollop.

This week, we have:

1. An interview with the Living Goddess that is Joan Baez. The honour!

2. An interview with Jason Reece from …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, whose Nottingham show I’ll be reviewing on Sunday night. When reading the piece, please try to imagine Jason’s heavy, deliberate, infinitely world-weary drawl, shot through with heavy irony. That one took all of my “rapport-forming” skills, I can tell you. But I made him laugh a couple of times, before he got bored towards the end, so that was cool.

3. A review of the X Factor live show, which ended up as half think-piece, half gig report. I basically hated the whole show, and returned home fuming, with hatchet freshly sharpened – and so the extended preamble is really just my way of calming myself down. This review – to my mild alarm, as it might well have made me The Most Hated Man In Nottingham in some quarters – also turned out to be my first cover story for the paper, in that it was plugged at the top of the front page, alongside a colour photo of Leona Lewis. “Read our verdict inside! Page 26!” Yeah, that’s right, spell it out for everybody…

Highlights from the show which didn’t make it to press included Chig texting one of the backing dancers during the interval – as he recognised two of them from last year’s Eurovision in Athens, where they performed as part of the Turkish entry. He is such a pop tart. I am in awe. The backing dancers were also doubling up as “backing singers” for the various X Factor “stars”. I think those quotation marks tell you all you need to know.

But the best moment? That was when we realised that some sharp wag at the Arena had decided to pipe Just Jack’s “Starz In Their Eyes” over the PA system during the interval. For those that don’t know it, it’s a blisteringly accurate demolition job on the whole “reality pop” phenomenon. Sheesh, talk about apposite.

4. A gig review of Duke Special, who I interviewed last week. A slight disappointment, given the expectations which he had set – but a decent little gig all the same.

There, that little lot should keep you busy. Happy reading, pop-pickers.

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