Brian Wilson – Nottingham Royal Centre – Friday June 7th, 2002

For Fraser’s review at Blogjam, go here.
For Lilou’s review (in French, but well worth the effort) at blogmebogmoi, go here.

As you know, I was worried about this one. Brian Wilson may have been one of pop’s greatest creative geniuses in his day, but that day has long passed. He has been dogged by mental health problems for the past 35 years, and is regularly described as “fragile”. His flat, strange, autocue-driven performance at the Buckingham Palace concert earlier in the week had made me squirm. According to our local paper, this was the most expensive concert ever to take place in Nottingham, with tickets at a whopping fifty quid a pop. Had we shelled out all that dosh, only to bear witness to an embarrassing karaoke freak show?

The opening number (Cabinessence from the 20:20 album, I later discover) is one of the most bewildering and disorientating things I have ever heard on stage. The acoustic is terrible, the sound separation is hopeless, the song is decidedly odd, Brian is an eccentric a figure as he had been on TV, and I just can’t make sense of any of it. This is not a good start.

Obscure album track follows obscure album track. I don’t know any of this stuff – unlike Dymbel and Mir, who recognise every song. Mir in particular is a true Wilson fanatic – this is someone who has both mono and stereo versions of the same original EPs, for instance. Both of them have already seen Brian at the Royal Festival Hall earlier in the year. They know what to expect, and have briefed me accordingly. I am therefore still making huge allowances for the man.

Actually, he’s doing OK. Yes, so there are two autocue screens, mounted on either side of his keyboard – but when you’re an acid casualty survivor with short term memory problems, what are you supposed to do? Without the safety net of an autocue to fall back on, he probably wouldn’t be touring at all. Yes, so his performance style is strange, especially the rather literal hand movements he uses to illustrate the lyrics (tickling the corner of his eye at the word “crying”, for instance). However, his very fragility serves to expose the child within the man, making for a sincere, unaffected, and genuine performance, unvarnished by conscious stage techniques. There is another advantage to this. Wilson’s childlike nature means that, aged 59, he can still get away with singing songs of innocent, youthful wonderment, without ever striking a metaphorical false note. As for the literal, audible false notes – well, we know his voice isn’t what it once was, but there are no major wince-making mistakes, and whatever he lacks in physical technique is made up for in emotional acuity.

Dymbel and Mir assure me that, compared to the London gig, Brian is on top form tonight. Returning to our seats after the interval, Dymbel is even able to convey this to Brian’s wife, who is sitting three seats away from me (on the sixth row of the stalls), along with her sister, Brian’s best friend and his wife. Maybe it’s their presence which is helping to sharpen his focus – apparently there had been times in London when he had looked half asleep. He is also smiling a lot more. In fact, he looks luminously happy throughout – as well he might be, as tonight’s crowd are hugely enthusiastic, with frequent standing ovations between songs. Mrs. Wilson is particularly demonstrative and supportive, rising to her feet after every number and extending her outstretched arms to him, willing him on.

The night starts clicking into place for me with the first number I recognise, In My Room. It is performed exquisitely well, with beautiful backing harmonies from the band, and takes me straight back to the summer of 1975, when my room was my sanctuary, my album collection was almost my whole life, and my Best Of The Beach Boys LP was never off the turntable. The unexpected poignancy touches me deeply. The acoustic and the sound mix have also been steadily improving, and the performers and audience have begun to create a mood which is very special. The other highlights of the first part of the show are a rapturously received Heroes And Villains and Surf’s Up, concluding with Do It Again, our first proper knees-up of the night.

So, with Part One having pleased the diehard fans with interestingly selected back catalogue material, it’s time for some more familiar stuff. Accordingly, Part Two consists of a straight run-through of the Pet Sounds album from beginning to end, followed by Good Vibrations. With the possible exception of the title track, which is a bit of a mess, It is a magnificent performance, with I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times (how true, how true!) as its standout moment. During God Only Knows, I observe each member of the superb ten-piece backing band. Their expressions say it all. They are lost in the music, absolutely loving what they are doing, and presumably aware of the honour they have in recreating some of the greatest pop music ever recorded. The band radiate good-humoured enjoyment throughout. You sense that this is a happy tour.

You also sense, with relief, that Brian is not the re-animated zombie that you were worried he might have been. Rather than being pushed around from venue to venue, and being told what to do by those around him, he is clearly in artistic control here. The song selections are his, the band is his, and it is his presence which sets the mood for everyone else on stage. However, the band have successfully made one request, as I Know There’s An Answer becomes Hang Onto Your Ego once again (to my initial confusion, until Dymbel explains). This pleases the fans no end.

Part Three is devoted to uptempo, celebratory Beach Boys classics: Help Me Rhonda, I Get Around, Fun Fun Fun, Barbara Ann, Surfing USA, stuff like that. We’re all on our feet, frugging away, rolling back the years. The man has delivered in spades. This is one living legend who hasn’t let us down. The legend remains intact.

Damo Suzuki’s Network – Nottingham Social – Tuesday June 11.

Former singer with 70s “krautrockers” Can, playing his first gig outside London in fifteen years, watching Damo was well weird. Stereoboard and I decided that there was a fine line between Genius and Tedious, and that Damo was straddling it precariously throughout.

He was certainly on stage for a very, very long time – well in excess of two hours, not coming off stage till around half past midnight. The band’s first four numbers were all around thirty minutes long, with the concluding fifth number and the ska-tinged encore being somewhat shorter.

The music was unique – conventional yet experimental, accessible yet obtuse, melodic yet angular, disciplined yet self-indulgent. Out there on its own, impossible to categorise or indeed to form any meaningful comparisons. The pieces were episodic in nature; like several songs stitched together, except you couldn’t see the join. There were many long instrumental passages, where Damo simply stood around, sticking his head forward and shaking his lengthy locks about in time-honoured “AC/DC at the school disco” fashion.

The crowd were on the sparse side, which was not surprising at £11.50 a ticket (for a venue which normally charges half that amount). As well as the usual crowd of clued-up Social devotees, there was also a sizeable contingent of unreconstructed hippies in their late forties (we even had our own “idiot dancer” down the front, maaan). Restrained applause during the set – unrestrained, wild applause at the end, but we were all very, very drunk by then (it had been a long and arduous haul).

During one of the final instrumental passages, Damo came down off the stage and went round hugging virtually every single member of the audience, myself and Stereoboard included. It was a lovely, big, warm, sincere, proper hug – if a little moist (especially in the hair department).

With his hippy/shoegazer past and his long-standing Stereolab fixation, Stereoboard loved the whole thing, almost without reservation. As for me: I loved it in parts and was bored stiff in other parts, but my main emotion was probably “perplexed” (and later, “pissed”).

Troubled Diva’s Best Albums of 2001

1 ryan adams – gold
call it trad dad retro rock if you must, and sure it’s derivative as hell, but – like oasis in their glory days – ryan’s happy to wear his influences on his sleeve, and he transcends them magnificently.

2 charlatans – wonderland
their best yet – classic rawk swagger, in which timmy discovers falsetto and drops the angst.

3 super furry animals – rings around the world
vastly ambitious, endlessly inventive, never a dull moment: a “pet sounds” for the new millennium.

4 dolly parton – little sparrow
abandoning the nashville rhinestones, getting back to her bluegrass roots, and revealing her true vocal talent.

5 spacek – curvatia
moody mix of d’angelo style funk with downbeat electronica, which takes a few listens before worming its way into your skull – perfect weekend morning music (but be warned: it needs a decent hi-fi to avoid sounding muddy).

6 basement jaxx – rooty
more consistent than “remedy”, though maybe lacking its highlights – a whole heap of eclectic fun in a crisis year for dance.

7 whiskeytown – pneumonia
the “other” ryan adams album this year (though “heartbreaker” would have been album of the year if it hadn’t been released in 2000).

8 alicia keys – songs in a minor
took a long time to get into this one, but it’s the classiest soul collection of the year, from “a major new talent” (hopefully).

9 pulp – we love life
their third album in a row which accurately mirrors my current state of mind – is jarvis telepathic or what?

10 leonard cohen – ten new songs
simple language (and fewer jokes), but the songs are as complex as ever; allegedly his “dance album”!

11 herbert – bodily functions
if cherry red records had ever released jazzy deep house, it might have sounded like this – wet tuesday afternoon music which you can still twitch to.

12 daft punk – discovery
an album which I returned to at the end of the year, only to discover it sounded fresher than ever.

13 radiohead – amnesiac
“kid a” did it better, but this will do fine for now (I’m biased) – only could we have some more songs next time, please?

14 röyksopp – melody a.m.
in a sudden glut of chillout cds, this one stood out as having noticeably more rhythms, guts and ideas – my prediction for 2002’s slow burning word of mouth hit (like goldfrapp in 2001).

15 gotan project – la revancha del tango
accordion-led tango meets slinky electronica – dinner party cd of the year!

16 r.e.m. – reveal
I preferred them when they were being leftfield, but you can’t argue with accessible, commercial tunes like these.

17 missy elliott – miss e ..so addictive
can’t believe this is only #17, but it’s been an unusually strong year for albums – top 10 in any other year.

18 india.arie – acoustic soul
creamy classic soul with an acoustic leaning, like the lady says.

19 turin brakes – the optimist
on paper, everything I hate (travis meets del amitri meets crowded house), but somehow, it really works.

20 white stripes – white blood cells
great for when you’re doing the washing up late at night, pissed.

21 sunshine anderson – your woman
22 bjork – vespertine
23 playgroup – playgroup
24 avalanches – since i left you
25 mercury rev – all is dream

Delayed but played:
ryan adams – heartbreaker
lemon jelly – lemon jelly.ky
goldfrapp – felt mountain
slaid cleaves – broke down

Troubled Diva’s Best Singles of 2001

1 missy elliott – get ur freak on
2 kylie minogue – can’t get you out of my head
3 dandy warhols – bohemian like you
4 the ones – flawless
5 india.arie – video
6 charlatans – a man needs to be told
7 squarepusher – my red hot car (girl)
8 sunshine anderson – heard it all before
9 pulp – the trees / sunrise
10 ryan adams – new york, new york
11 andrew wk – party hard
12 new order – crystal
13 s club 7 – don’t stop movin’
14 daft punk – digital love
15 basement jaxx – romeo
16 ben folds – rockin the suburbs
17 photek feat robert owens – mine to give
18 destiny’s child – bootylicious
19 alicia keys – fallin’
20 aaliyah feat timbaland – we need a resolution
21 avalanches – since i left you
22 outkast – ms. jackson
23 roger sanchez – another chance
24 felix da housecat – silver screen shower scene
25 5ive – let’s dance
26 ben & jason – the wild things
27 super furry animals – (drawing) rings around the world
28 groove armada – my friend
29 super furry animals – juxtapozed with u
30 jakatta – american dream
31 jon cutler feat e-man – it’s yours
32 basement jaxx – where’s your head at
33 destiny’s child – survivor
34 ash – shining light
35 britney spears – i’m a slave 4u
36 radiohead – knives out
37 ash – burn baby burn
38 r.e.m. – imitation of life
39 charlatans – love is the key
40 pj harvey – this is love

Troubled Diva’s Best Films of 2001

1. Memento
2. Together
3. Moulin Rouge
4. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
5. Shrek

Troubled Diva’s Best Books of 2001

1. Last Night A DJ Saved My Life – Bill Brewster
2. The Rotters Club – Jonathan Coe
3. The Night Listener – Armistead Maupin

Troubled Diva’s Best Gigs of 2001

1. Yes
2. Gong / Hawkwind
3. Madonna (twice!)
4. John Martyn
5. Goldfrapp
6. Super Furry Animals
7. Slaid Cleaves
8. Pulp
9. Air
10. Pernice Brothers
11. Ryan Adams
12. Gorkys Zygotic Mynci

Top 20 singles & albums of 2000.

1. eminem – stan
2. bloodhound gang – the bad touch
3. ronan keating – life is a rollercoaster
4. pj harvey – good fortune
5. kelis – good stuff
6. damage – ghetto romance
7. eminem – the real slim shady
8. angie stone – life story
9. moby – porcelain
10. wookie – battle
11. ruff endz – no more
12. badly drawn boy – disillusion
13. robbie williams – rock dj
14. azzido da bass – dooms night (timo maas mix)
15. cousteau – she don’t hear your prayer
16. madonna – music
17. britney spears – oops!…i did it again
18. aaliyah – try again
19. lambchop – up with people
20. laurent garnier – the man with the red face

1. Madonna – Music
2. Radiohead – Kid A
3. Kathryn Williams – Little Black Numbers
4. Kelis – Kaleidoscope
5. Cousteau – Cousteau
6. Jill Scott – Who Is Jill Scott? Words & Sounds Vol. 1
7. Lambchop – Nixon
8. St. Germain – Tourist
9. Dusted – When We Were Young
10. Wookie – Wookie
11. Chicks On Speed – Will Save Us All!
12. Robbie Williams – Sing When You’re Winning
13. PJ Harvey – Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea
14. Bent – Programmed To Love
15. Thievery Corporation – The Mirror Conspiracy
16. Calexico – Hot Rail
17. Badly Drawn Boy – The Hour Of Bewilderbeast
18. Brothers In Sound – Family Is For Sharing
19. Joni Mitchell – Both Sides Now
20. Goldfrapp – Felt Mountain

Delayed but played:
Angie Stone – Black Diamond

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Yes – Magnification Tour – Nottingham Royal Centre, Saturday December 8, 2001.

Jon Anderson: “I was interviewed one time by this Finnish lady who said to me (adopts accent) ‘I listened to your music all the way through the 70s and I never understood one word of what you were singing about!’ So I said to her: ‘Well, I didn’t understand a word of it either!’” (Gales of audience laughter)

I was prepared for all sorts of things, but I never expected Yes to show a sense of, you know, Fun. Yet all the people on stage at Nottingham’s Royal Concert Hall – band and orchestra alike – were clearly having a ball. Bassist Chris Squire – wearing a flouncy black smock over skin-tight lycra leggings tucked into Doc Marten boots – was having more of a ball than most. Every now and again (particularly during Starship Trooper and Ritual), he would start galumphing round the stage, legs akimbo, alternately pulling fearsome “I AM THOR, GOD OF THUNDER!” type poses and cracking into broad “Isn’t this just the best job in the world?” type grins. In a flash of awful clarity, you suddenly saw where New Order’s Hooky stole his best moves.

In stark contrast, at the opposite side of the stage, Steve Howe’s aura was one of professorial detachment and studious concentration (though occasionally he would forget himself and allow a broad toothy grin to spread over his face). With his once much-envied tresses now receding, showing a surprisingly high domed forehead, he seemed to be morphing into an unholy cross between Stephen Hawking and Sven-Goran Eriksson. Midway through the third song of the night, he was already onto his ninth guitar (K was counting). By the end of the show, he had got through thirteen of them. Sometimes, he would have one guitar still strapped to him, but would actually be playing a different guitar in front of that, set up on a stand. His guitar technician, an almost constant presence on stage throughout, must surely be the hardest working roadie in show business.

Meanwhile, Anderson skipped about the stage like the irrepressibly cheerful space pixie he always was, his singing as high and clear as ever. He was only flummoxed once. Yes fans being the obsessives that they are, the real diehards down the front already knew the order of the set. So they were well aware that on some nights, the band weren’t bothering to play Gates Of Delirium (from 1974’s Relayer album) – a complex and challenging work, even by Yes standards, which I find almost impossible to listen to, but which can reduce other grown men to tears (I’ll name no names here…) So, when the appointed time arrived, shouts of “GATES!” immediately started reverberating round the front stalls. One bunch even unfurled a huge black banner, with “GATES OF DELIRIUM” painted in huge letters. Unfortunately, this wasn’t a designated “Gates night”. The orchestra didn’t even have the sheet music with them, so we were told. Anderson had thought they could all get away with it. Big mistake! Howls of protest. One very uncomfortable looking space pixie wringing his hands and squirming with embarrassment, at a loss for words.

This aside, there was, as they say, a lot of love in the room. The audience were mostly men in their forties, reliving their adolescence with unselfconscious glee (and, latterly, gimpy dancing). Their partners were, to a woman, all bearing the same Brave Smile. It was very strange being in the company of people whose lips didn’t automatically curl into a sneer at the very mention of the band’s name. Strange, and curiously liberating. Why, it almost felt like Pride marches in the late eighties!

The band opened with the first song of theirs which I ever heard (aged 12) – Close To The Edge. The experience of actually hearing it being played live in front of me, 27 years after buying the album, was overwhelming. For all of its duration (and it’s a long piece – maybe 20 minutes or so), I was on the brink of tears. I later discovered that I wasn’t the only one. The band played it superbly. The orchestral backing, which seemed so restrictive on their current album (Magnification), worked magnificently well on stage – it was a balanced, integral part of the whole.

I was watching the members of the orchestra closely. Sometimes, when a rock act adopts an orchestra, you can see a very particular expression on their faces. It’s a sort of distant disdain. It says: “My God, the things I have to do to pay the rent…” But not with this orchestra. I honestly think they, uh, dug it. Respect!

Other highlights: And You And I (the orchestra worked beautifully well on this), Ritual (Nous Sommes Du Soleil), and a final, ecstatic Roundabout. In fact, even the new stuff sounded good. In fact, there weren’t really any boring moments at all. And I was completely prepared for boring moments. But this band know how to entertain – and by God, they can play their instruments. Technically, they were stunning. You remembered why you used to like “progressive” rock – because it was an exercise in stretching one’s capabilities to the very limits, and pushing back the boundaries of what a rock band was capable of producing. Is that really so very wrong?

And one other thing, which also struck me when I saw Gong last month. Somehow, the spirit of optimism was still intact and going strong. How the hell did that happen? I’d forgotten how important that sense of optimism was to the genre – of a simple faith in human progress and evolution. Hey, we weren’t to know what was just round the corner: punk, Thatcher, style fascism, the death of the socialist dream, all the rest of it (and if you really want to know what happened, read Jonathan Coe’s superb “The Rotters Club” – all will be explained). We might have been naïve then, but it felt so good to reconnect, just for one night, with something which meant so much at the time, and for which we have spent far too much time apologising.

In the pub after the show, eight of us sat round having the most animated conversation about prog acts we had loved. Gentle Giant! Greenslade! Camel! Focus! Gryphon! And if you must, Rush! (Though there was a major schism over that last one.) At the end of the night, as we were heading off home, someone said “God, we’re sad bastards, aren’t we?” To which I replied: no – it’s the people who shut themselves off to stuff just because it’s unfashionable who are the sad bastards. Not us!

Top 30 Overview – 14 March 1982

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Perhaps the most remarkable feature of the current top thirty is the almost complete absence of black dance records. Imagination stand alone at number 18, with “Just An Illusion” cleaning up the disco market completely – last week, George Benson was disco’s sole representative. It is a sad fact that the only black faces in the charts belong to the three hunky dudes in Imagination, Neville and Lynval of the Fun Boy 3, and Haircut 100’s drummer (Burmese Annabella Lu-win is a debatable addition to the list). Is it just a fluke? Or have the white soul boys of yesteryear switched their allegiances to the bright faces of the New Pop, such as Haircut, ABC, Spandau, Soft Cell et al? Or is the current disco output just lamentably weak compared to the sheer might of some of the offerings of ’78 and ’79? Hopefully – surely – this is just a temporary aberration, but there is precious little knocking on the doors of the thirty: Kool and the Gang, Pluto Shervington, The Four Tops, and no-one else in sight.

The healthiest aspect has to be the wealth of bright and breezy new groups zooming to prominence with their first few releases. Haircut 100 currently rule to roost, at number 3 with “Love Plus One” and at number 2 in the album chart with “Pelican West” – and deservedly so, as they have effectively silenced all the carping critics of last year who had them bracketed with such faddy puffballs as Blue Rondo A La Turk and their ilk. “Funk by numbers!” they jeered – but a listen to “Pelican West” shows variety, taste and an astonishing maturity for a band so young. Nick Heyward is the perfect pin-up for 10 year olds everywhere, and so much more healthy than poor old Adam, who must by now have lost all his fans of eighteen months ago who saw him as such a welcome breath of fresh air.  The appearance of “Deutsche Girls”, now 4 years old, in the charts makes me chuckle, as the powers that be have hastily tried to remove the Nazi-chic connotations from the song in order to preserve Adam’s all-round family appeal: “Camp 49 way down on the Rhine” becomes “Lover of mine way down on the Rhine” and “why did you have to be so Nazi?” becomes, laughably, “why did you have to be so Nasty?”. Unless there is some sort of drastic re-think in the Antcamp, it looks as if the downward spiral is about to start for the tacky old trouper. Nick Heyward and Claire Grogan – young, teasing, eager and enhanced with vitamin C – are by far the better choices, and Britain’s teenys are waking up to the fact. Watch the new Altered Images offering, “See Those Eyes”, shoot up to the top 5 for another prolonged residence!!

Also up there are the Depeche boys, irresistable as ever with “See You”, Fun Boy 3, thankfully losing their one-dimensional gripe-and-groan image with an added injection of Bananarama and an insanely catchy tune in “It Ain’t What You Do…” and, of course, Soft Cell, who have captured just that little edge of danger, of subversiveness, of hidden dark forces – enough to capture the imagination and arouse the curiosity of Britain’s young innocents. (There’s something definitely not quite right about Marc Almond, isn’t there?) And then…. put out the flags! Bow Wow Wow have got it right at last! Two years, an album and six singles after the McLaren masterplan was first unfolded, “Go Wild In The Country” finally finds the right combination of catchiness, subversion, fluidity, passion and ambiguity and hits the top ten – at last, we are treated to the sight of the delightful Annabella where she rightly belongs: strutting her stuff on Top Of The Pops. Let’s only hope that they don’t go the way of the Ants, and dilute the might of their first hit in favour of lame commercialism.

Surprising, as well, to see The Associates up there. After single after single of uncompromising gloom ‘n doom, the boys have decided to clean up and go for gold. “Party Fears Two” is a glorious swirl of majestic pop sound, capped by the tortured delivery of Billy Mackenzie. I would have thought that Billy’s well over-the-top vocalising alone would have kept “Party Fears Two” a million miles away from charting, but once again, the top thirty has thrown up yet another pleasant surprise, and it looks as if The Associates are going to be stars!

Completing this clutch of young hopefuls are ABC, with, in my opinion, the most stunningly perfect single in the charts at the moment – I refer, of course, to the incomparable “Poison Arrow”. A superbly crafted record: a properly structured song, a thumping danceability, a sparkling production from Trevor Horn and intelligent, ambiguous lyrics masterfully delivered by Martin Fry. “Poison Arrow” will surely stand the test of time, and sound as right five years on as it does today. And such an improvement on the dreary anti-climax of the much-heralded “Tears Are Not Enough”, as well! ABC understand.

The old guard of the new wave are still out in force, of course – The Jam have returned with their best single since “Start” in the shape of “Town Called Malice”; sad, then, that the other side, “Precious”, is such a drossy rip-off of last year’s upsurge of white funk and “Papa’s Got A Brand New Pigbag” in particular. Madness are back as strong as ever with “Cardiac Arrest”, and have proved themselves to be so much more than nutty nutty rude-boys. There’s surely one hell of a greatest hits album to be made here! The Stranglers have surprised all and sundry with “Golden Brown” becoming the biggest hit of their careers by a long way, and deservedly so. Gary Numan‘s latest, “Music For Chameleons”, steals unashamedly from the last Japan album in every way possible, but he has worked with Mick Karn, so I suppose it can be justified to some extent – what’s more, it stands head and shoulders over everything he’s done in living memory since the heady days of “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” and “Cars”. I don’t care much for OMD, but “Maid Of Orleans” is a professional job, it has to be admitted, and I don’t begrudge them their continued success. And of course there’s Bowie, back with his thirtieth hit, no less!

And that leaves…

Special mentions for Robert Palmer and Hall & Oates! Their respective careers have both had considerable up’s and down’s, but both are currently enjoying their greatest British chart successes ever with “Some Guys Have All The Luck” and “I Can’t Go For That”. Both are worthy testaments to their perennial talents and enduring quality – and so say all of us! “Some Guys” in particular is a real sizzler, and deserves top three status at the very least. A pity, then, that other relics from the early Seventies are producing such tripe: the records from Adrian Gurvitz and Elkie Brooks are unimaginative mush. These are the sort of things that spoil the enjoyment of Top Of The Pops and the Top Forty show for everybody! The Radio One DJ’s in question should be shot for giving them the exposure that made them chart in the first place. The only heavy metal record in the charts at the moment comes from Iron Maiden, and, it must be admitted, it’s quite palatable as HM records go – at least the lyrics contain some traits, however facile, of “social conscience”. There’s usually one relatively decent HM hit per year – “Since You’ve Been Gone” in ’79, “New Orleans” in ’81, for instance – I don’t think “Run To The Hills” will be The One, but it’s not far off. The J. Geils Band‘s “Centrefold” provokes a mixed reaction – I know it’s abominably MINDLESS and SEXIST, and the video raises my liberal hackles…. but when all’s said and done, you can’t beat a good tune, and “Centrefold” is an exceptionally good tune. What’s more, it’s about time the J. Geils Band got the recognition they deserve after so many years in the wilderness. But WHAT THE HELL is “Layla” doing in the charts?!

And that leaves….

The Jets. Well, each to his own, I suppose. Beats Matchbox at any rate. Mike Post and Larry Carlton. Who buys this sort of stuff? People who never miss an episode of “The Hill Street Blues”, I suppose. Julio Iglesias and The Goombay Dance Band, continuing the fine old tradition of cruddy, half-baked, unimaginative FOREIGN (eurgh!!) slop capturing, as ever, the hearts and wallets of gullible, tone-deaf wallies everywhere. Starsound, sounding amazingly outdated already with their ‘tribute’ to Stevie Wonder. Abba, with an undistinguished offering that looks like being their smallest hit for a very long time indeed – wise up, Bjorn and Benny; you’re capable of so much more! And finally, this week’s top two, from Tight Fit and Toni Basil. And I expect you probably have your own opinions about those two!