Beatles are back in Bournemouth!

An exhibition of rare and previously unpublished photographs of The Beatles in Bournemouth goes on show in the Bourne Lounge at Bournemouth International Centre (BIC) from July 9 until September 5.

The exhibition features photographs, posters and stories from author Nick Churchill’s recent publication Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth, the definitive account of the connections between the greatest rock ’n’ roll group that ever was and a small town on the south coast of England. Did you know that the band played more shows at Bournemouth Gaumont than any other UK theatre outside London?

With stunning images of The Beatles taken in and around Bournemouth, photos licensed from Beatles Monthly and never-before-seen images of John Lennon’s aunt Mimi at home in Sandbanks, the story is told using first-hand accounts from the people who were there – the fans, reporters, photographers, venue staff and musicians.

The exhibition features more than 40 photographs taken of the Fab Four when they appeared in Bournemouth in the 1960s, including Robert Freeman’s iconic half-shadow photo that adorned the With The Beatles album sleeve which was taken in the restaurant at the Palace Court Hotel in Westover Road (now a Premier Inn) during the Beatles’ week-long summer residency at the Gaumont in August 1963.

Other exhibition highlights include posters from Beatles shows at the Bournemouth Gaumont and Winter Gardens, plus a remarkable colour photograph of John Lennon by the Sandbanks Ferry with his Aunt Mimi and four-year-old son Julian.
“Interest in The Beatles is as strong as ever and this part of the world played a significant part in their incredible story,” says Nick. “The reaction to the book and these remarkable images has been astonishing and I’m really excited to see these images on show again – suddenly The Beatles are back in Bournemouth!”

Nick would love to hear new stories from anyone who saw The Beatles in Bournemouth and especially from people who met them.

“The links between this area and The Beatles are made even stronger by people’s memories of seeing the Fab Four or meeting them,” he says. “I’m sure there are lots more stories to be told by hotel and venue staff, fans or even passers by who may have encountered John Lennon on a trip to Sandbanks to visit his Aunt Mimi.”

Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Beatles & Bournemouth is published by Natula Publications, and is available at www.beatlesandbournemouth.com.

More information can be found on the blog www.beatlesandbournemouth.blogspot.com


An hour with Terry Shaughnessy and The Universal.

Johnny Marr, Nick Churchill's interview, 2009.

Nick has written The Beatles in Bournemouth and it's still available here.

I'm not sure why it was a surprise when Johnny Marr was co-opted by The Cribs in 2009 because it shouldn’t have been. Never one to let the grass grow too long, Johnny had been plying his trade with Modest Mouse and a host of other passing collaborators – a year or so earlier I’d found him quite by chance hanging out with Peter Buck when the REM guitarist passed him the phone mid-interview.

Gamely playing the willing interviewee ahead of The Cribs’ theatre tour in support of the still-breathtaking album Ignore the Ignorant, Johnny was in a happy, chatty mood, talking up the Jarman brothers’ increasingly valid contribution to contemporary music and playing down his own legacy – athough he still found time to call the record his best in 25 years. Only when I asked about a Smiths reunion did he lose his patience and who can blame him? He later had the good grace to acknowledge he could understand why I’d asked, just that he wished people wouldn’t. Fair enough. Anyway, top bloke Johnny Marr, one of the best.

If we get the heroes we deserve, we must have done something right to end up with Johnny Marr. I find the former Smiths guitarist in expansive, expressive mood as he prepares to go out on the road for the first time as a full-time member of The Cribs, the punky indie noise factory from Wakefield, fronted by twin brothers Ryan (guitar) and Gary (bass) Jarman, with younger brother Ross on drums. “What I like about them is they’re not insecure,” says Johnny, who’ll turn 46 a couple of weeks after The Cribs play Southampton Guildhall on October 7.
The age gap – Ryan and Gary turn 29 ten days before Johnny’s birthday; Ross is nearly 25 – doesn’t concern the members of the band.
“It doesn’t come up. You know, they’re not babies,” says Johnny.
“We all like the same songs, we like the same sneakers and we like the same guitars… they’re pretty ballsy and I like that about them.”
Having founded The Smiths in 1982, Marr forged a fruitful songwriting partnership with singer Morrissey until their acrimonious split in 1987.
Since then he has worked with a host of talented singers and writers including Matt Johnson’s The The, New Order’s Bernard Sumner in Electronic, Chrissie Hynde in The Pretenders, Beck, Black Grape, Billy Bragg, Talking Heads, Pet Shop Boys and Neil Finn of Crowded House.
But as Johnny speaks it’s immediately clear how much he’s genuinely excited about being in The Cribs.
“I liked their lyrics from when I first heard the band. I like the sound of two guitars as well.”
Crucially, the other three Cribs also conform to Johnny’s philosophy on good rock and roll haircuts – the fringe should always head south.
I had to ask – will The Smiths reform?
“Why do you have to ask that question? What do you think would happen if you didn’t ask that question? Nobody’s really that bothered, only journalists,” he bristles.
He’s been answering that question for more then 20 years now. The answer is always the same and, to his credit, Johnny is fairly gracious in dismissing the notion.
“No, it doesn’t annoy me, and it’s a shame there’s a cloud of negativity around that issue.
“But thinking about playing in that situation doesn’t get me excited, unlike playing what I’m playing now, which does.
“I can’t see it happening, because I don’t think it would be anything of value. If it were going to happen, it would have done so by now.”
The Smiths – like The Jam directly before them, and The Stone Roses immediately after – meant the world to a lot of people.
“A lot of this thing that goes on with bands re-forming is to give people another opportunity to relive a past they had, or think they had, or never had, and I’m just not into that,” adds Johnny, his irritation subsiding.
“The Cribs sound inspired, full of life and energy, and that’s what I’m into... I’m not into cabaret.”
For him, the thrill of music making remains the same today as when he first strapped on a guitar after hearing Metal Guru by T-Rex.
“It’s a lot of things, but the chemistry has to be right. I never used to like touring when I started, but I really like it now.
“I like standing in front of people with an amplifier behind me and helping people enjoy themselves.
“You know, nobody’s trying to reinvent their own wheels here, we’re just doing what we do instinctively.”

Nick Churchill

First printed Bournemouth Echo, 3 October 2009


Johnny Marr in his own words (Facebook)

Playing the guitar means always having something cool to do. It means having ambitions to be a rock star, escaping your life, or just learning to play your favourite songs. It means having fun - because you really don’t need to be able to read music or have lessons to do it pretty well - and it means buying a strap and making sure it’s the correct length so it looks right and feels comfortable. But mainly so it looks right.

Playing the guitar means forming a band with your mates and having your own thing, and it means struggle, on your own with sore fingers for two weeks, or with your band in little pubs, clubs and vans around the country until something happens or you give up. Playing the guitar means meeting new people and making new friends, it means staying up late, and showing off, and it means being able to express yourself, often at very high volume. Playing the guitar means fixating on a particular model or make you dream about getting but can’t afford. It means dressing up, and impressing some girls and impressing some boys. It means having a laugh, or disagreements over bits of songs or the direction of the group or the cover of the record, and it means feeling so happy about a riff or a song that you want the world to hear it that minute.

Playing the guitar means never being alone with nothing to do. It means strumming for fun, or going further and further into amazing territory and a lifetime of discovery and discipline, or just taking up a hobby that gives you a bit pleasure and a sense of achievement.
Playing the guitar means everything. Know what I mean?


Amsterdam, June 15...

Follow the other links...

Weller in Brussels, review, the English attempt...

Copyright Alex Vanhee, check his facebook page.
A Weller gig is never only another Weller gig, it’s a complete party, we have rituals, we have to be there around 5 PM, stay in the pubs all around and when you’re anonymous Welleraholic like us, it’s always a bit a ceremony. Oh no, I’m not the ultimate fan, I don’t even have  all the records, and I’m not that sure to love Sonik Kicks, blame and shame on me but I can’t listen it from the beginning to the end. But it’s Weller and he moved forward, once again. It’s great and I love him for that. There’s nothing rational in our relation with Weller, he’s a part of us, it has to be said. You all know that, the parka army etc. So when I go to a Weller’s gig with my UK Bro Simon, with Niels, with my 21 years old son Anton (he was born the first solo LP years, mates…), got butterflies in the stomach, I’m afraid to be late due to Brussels heavy traffic (was only 15 minutes late, Simon, come on… Don’t say it to everyone or I will have to say you forgot your ticket…), I’m afraid of cancellation, first Belgium earthquake ever, whatever… Everything has been cool. We were right on time and the celebration could start! We had a few beers with Fellow friend Niels and three Liverpool’s lads who knew the blog. Couldn’t be more proud!  Honest, it’s the European and continental Weller’s version, it’s not the big crowd and we were about 25 to wait for the Magic bus. I have to admit I had really bad and very naughty thoughts  about the Weller lookalike clones, it should be very very strange to walk in the same shoes, to go to the hairdresser and ask the same cut, etc and…it’s probably very strange too to be in the bus, to be the original Weller and to watch those copies. It was a bit freaky in a way, like this Alien Movie with Sigourney weaver when she is in the test room, looking at the first attempt to recreate … Ripley. Bad boy… I don’t put the blame on them at all and Weller is, in a way, in my DNA, yes, he changed my life, when I was 14, going to a public library, listening Sound Affect. Became a mod in 35'35" minutes…for life. And he gave me so much music. Mark Baxter said it, thank him for so many records to listen, so many propositions, from the Beatles to John Coltrane for me, from Curtis Mayfield to Krautrock. Wasn’t very fan of the late Style Council and the plastic soul era (send me insults, love you anyway) but he’s always on the verge to smash me with a new song and his average songwriting level is incredibly high! He’s a real mod, completely open, not a narrow minded nationalist, he knows it’s a bit short to have a Fred Perry shirt and a Scoot. Modness is a commitment to openness, don’t you think? 

A fan, me? Yes, he’s in my DNA now and my son was here, it’s definitely in the family now but what about the gig? In 2008, it’s been a pretty bad one. He was angry, he wanted to bite someone, he did try to do something but nothing worked…No soul, no fire… Something was wrong and he even wrote “Shithole” on the setlist instead of Brussels…It’s been a short gig and the day after, he gave one of the best I’ve ever seen in Amsterdam’s Paradiso but not this one. Niels and Simon went back home under a heavy cold rain… Bad mood, bad gig… Goodbye Brussels…

Simon? Who is the guy behind the camera?
So, Last week, the internationalists had a rendez-vous near of the Ancienne Belgique. We met 3 Liverpools lads who came in Europe to watch the man in a small venue… Simon the Brummie Bluenose, Niels from Denmark, my son Anton and a few steps away, the small army of the Weller lookalikes who work very hard to look like him… I have to admit, shoot me, that I had a very strange feeling about it, It was like in a last episode of Alien movie series, when Sigourney Weaver looks her clone in the attempt room…No mockery, just kidding, I’m a Mod and I am a twins father, massively influence by the man! The only difference between Weller and me? ONE word… Talent. ;)
I really wonder how you can feel when you’re an “under the skin” fan, same hair dresser, same hair cut, same glasses but… a bit too small, a bit too something anyway. I also wonder what you can feel when you’re the real Weller, in the bus, watching the pavement and to have a strange mirror like this one.
We had much fun with our fellow English companions and they wanted to offer us a beer because they knew the blog, honest, and Anton and I had a beer in our hands and two full glasses waiting for us. Cheers, Boys!
Stay Cool Andy, Niels is just behind us...
At last, the black bus came and it’s been very magical and very cool, Steve and Steve, Andy and  Andy , very relax and Paul Weller pretty cool with everyone even if they were very late for the sound check according to Mr. Lewis, nice as pie (It’s nice to be important but it’s important to be nice…) Weller is cool, SOME people has been lucky enough to have good photos with the modfather.  Sonic Pics. It’s the continental Weller, and there was no massive crowd, Mark the bodyguard was cool, he had time to sign and chat and to shake our hands…Very strange feeling, they’re so familiar to us we almost could ask news about the family! Do not play that game with Weller. I have to admit I miss the real opportunity to have an interview for the blog for everyone… Too bad. Could have been very very easy for Andies and Stevies…
8.10 PM. The band is on stage, Weller is absolutely classy, Mod, Elegant, in the best Saville row tradition. We all know immediately than the gig will be good, Weller is happy with the sound, with the backline, with the level of his voice, with his guitar, he was just happy and not grumpy at all. Sonik Kicks is much better on stage, much electronic loops, yes, but the density is better, the stage and the sound of the LP live is very impressive. Even the cigarette is an electronic one and Weller could smoke on stage! So, it’s a good moment, a strange experience too to know exactly what he’s gonna play…It’s pretty brave to play a NEW album in full. Weller still moves on, he doesn’t want to become his own tribute band, playing the old stuff again and again and we love him for that. He could pick in his back catalogue but… no way. From In the city to Sonik Kicks, it’s a long walk to move forward. You, audience, you’re gonna hear my last album, the hot one, not my cold ashes and if you don’t like it, no way to do something else… Mrs Weller, HannaH, the sweet Weller’s palindrome came on stage and sung very well the jazzy dub song. She smiled to Paul, who didn’t have a look at her, we play, nothing else, it’s all about music.
The acoustic set reached the roof, really, completely brilliant, Weller has been intelligent, once again, and he picked up the most interesting songs from the vocal point of view to play with all the singers he can use… it means any member of the band but Ben, on the second drum kit…Vocal harmonies were beautiful and it’s not Déjà Vu by Crosby Stills Nash and Young but it’s pure, aerial, immaterial, subtle, and it’s not numb or flat… The songs walk over you, it’s always a dynamic flux, not the flat acoustic moment, it’s the time of the proper language of the acoustic way to do music. Closer of John Martyn than another useless MTV Unplugged record. We have so many useless self repeating pattern in the songs we have to stand on the radio…And then came the Sonik storm, we went in the eye of the hurricane...

Weller, sober, is very sharp and tight again when he plays the guitar and I think he took more solos than usually, he was looking for a deep sound, for the electric vibration, the sustain is back and there’s no more too short notes (and no more barking on the voice), he was really trying to reach everyone, even that 15 years old kid with a brilliant “All mod cons” shirt on the first row… The great Weller is here, when he has that very personal way to move, slowly moving on a feet and on another one,  blinking et looking at the audience in a challenging attitude, like he was saying « Is it good enough ?”  Oh yes, it was and The AB became a spaceship, straight to the clouds, up there with the best british performers and it’s been one of the most moving Weller’s gig i’ve been ever… A white butterfly  flew staright to me, a plectrum, Fender « Heavy »,was happy to catch it, Sonic Pick…
Several encores and no old stuff, no Wildsood, no You do something to me, no Malice but Broken Stones…  

No Crack on the pavement this time, no sad and cold rain, the sky wasn’t crying… The crowd went out to celebrate that gig and she was conquered, by the Weller stage army and by the music too… Outside, I met Eon Ballinger, he lives in France now and he played on the last Creation (yes the genuine mod band) when they had a reunion (Power Surge LP). We had a friendly accolade. The street was red with purple flashes…Couldn’t be more perfect…Sonik geeks...


Brussels gig, the blog's review (French today, English friday)

Un concert de Paul Weller n'est jamais seulement un concert quand on est nourri de sa musique de manière quasi pathologique, quand on a depuis longtemps dépassé le rationnel, pour autant qu’il y ait quoi que ce soit de rationnel dans l’amour fou de la musique.  C'est un rite Mod auquel je me rends en espérant bien que tout sera présent, la magie de l'avant, l'enchantement du concert, la béatitude de l'après.  Fan béat, transi, inconditionnel? Non, je n'ai pas tout et j'avoue que je dois rater quelque chose en ce qui concerne le dernier  album, Sonik Kicks, parce que j'ai vraiment beaucoup de mal à l'écouter d'une traite, je lui reconnais le mérite essentiel de ne jamais se répéter mais cette nouvelle déclinaison de son talent a du mal à m'atteindre. Weller reste Weller, on avance, move on up et on voit. Si celui-là me semble un peu mince, je n’ai aucune envie d’entendre Stanley Road volume 14. 

Mais avouons. Ce gamin de 14 ans qui entre dans une discothèque municipale, aux prises avec l'acmé de l'acné, c'est moi, le mec qui en sort en apnée de l'année devant tant de classe pour devenir un Mod à vie après l'écoute de Sound Affects, le fils racé et urbain du Revolver des Fab ‘,  c'est moi aussi. Entre deux, la cervelle percutée par la soul, le riff de cuivres de Boy About Town et je le dis sérieusement, au premier degré, une vie intégralement changée. En sortant,  j'avais une identité, j’étais un Mod un peu avant de savoir ce que c’était vraiment. Pas comme ces crétins passéistes et nationalistes qui n'ont rien compris du tout à l'ouverture d'esprit qui va obligatoirement avec ce que Weller appelle lui même la Modness, mais l'attitude mod, cet orgueil bravache qui nous fait croire qu'on ne nous la  fait pas.  Avec Weller, je découvrais les Jam mais il allait aussi m'emmener vers la soul de Curtis Mayfield, les Beatles, toutes les grandes sixties anglaises, vers des horizons constamment proposés et renouvelés et rester, de loin, hors concours en matière de songwriting malgré la tentative inaboutie de son valeureux Style Council, la Soul en plastique et le concept ayant fini par prendre le pas sur la musique. Aucun musicien ne m’a proposé autant de musique à écouter autre que la sienne. Mod, ce n’est pas s'acheter une panoplie, un Fred Perry et un scooter, glander à Carnaby et se la jouer au Bar Italia dans Soho. C'est une nécessaire ouverture sur le monde, ce n'est pas un son étriqué, rien à voir avec une crispation d’oreille obstinément collée sur de vieilles scies sixties qui n'auraient jamais quitté les clubs d'un London qu'on dit swinging. Le Mod cherche, avance, partage, écoute, propose, de John Coltrane à Debussy en passant par The Creation. C'est ce que ne cesse de faire Weller, notamment depuis le début des années 2000 quand il eut épuisé les ressources de ses obsessions, Traffic et les Small Faces. Il sentit alors qu'il fallait aller ailleurs ou rester sur place. S'ensuit une éblouissante série d'albums... Fan ?  Oui, je crois qu'il est passé dans mon ADN et la présence de mon fils à ce concert semble confirmer qu'il y a eu passation génétique. Mais quid du concert? en 2008, je l'avais vu trois fois pour deux concerts de feu et un concert très raté, ordinaire, sans âme, un peu bâclé même pour un performer qui joue sans le moindre artifice ("It ain't no fucking circus, mate"), un concert court au cours duquel toutes les tentatives de se lancer avait échoué. Un set acoustique plat qui ne décolle pas et une électricité qui tourne à vide, un Weller très agacé qui avait manifestement envie d'engueuler quelqu'un et qui écrivit un rageur "Shithole" sur la setlist au lieu de "Bruxelles". Bref, ça n'allait pas. Goodbye Brussels…

L'internationale Mod avait donc rendez-vous à côté de l'AB... Trois lads de Liverpool, Niels le Danois, Simon the brummie (Birmingham ou Brum) et nous. A quelques pas, d’authentiques copies non conformes de Weller... J'avoue, honteusement que ça me faisait penser à des essais de laboratoire non concluants, voire à Alien, le dernier épisode, quand Sigourney Weaver est face à ses premiers clones. Je me demande bien quel effet ça fait d'être à ce point admirateur, de se mettre dans les pas, dans les mèches de son idole... Je me demande aussi quel effet ça fait d'arriver pour un concert, d'être Weller et de se voir en plus petit, en plus gros, en plus vieux, en plus grand. Etrange... To be someone must be a wondefurl thing…

Tout le monde se charrie gentiment, on essaie de ne surtout pas boire autant que les Anglais, même s'il faut avouer qu'ils sont adorables et qu'Antoine et moi nous sommes retrouvés avec une bière entamée posée sur la table et... deux autres, offertes par les envahisseurs d'une Albion pas tellement perfide pour l'heure. Le temps passe, on traîne à l’anglaise, et on se raconte nos concerts... On laisse monter une impatience nécessaire. Le bus, noir et racé, arrive enfin. Weller a le même groupe depuis 2008, Steve Cradock, l'éternel lieutenant qui faisait le pied de grue devant le studio de Weller à l'âge de 19 ans pour que Weller le laisse jouer avec lui..., Andy Lewis à la basse (Red Inspectors, dernier album), Steve Pilgrim, ex battteur de the Stands et artiste folk en solo (trois albums) et le génial Andy Crofts, clavier pour Weller et auteur compositeur de The Moons, groupe dont je ne peux que vous recommander le premier album, Life on earth. Enorme avantage des concerts européens de Weller, il est détendu et abordable, nous sommes 25 à l'attendre, il est cool, le trottoir est large, aucune tension. Mark, le bodyguard, n'intervient pas et tout le monde peut discuter cinq minutes avec tout le monde, on sert la main de Weller, on prend des photos. SoniK Pics. Etrange encore, ces gars là nous sont tellement familiers depuis tant d'années qu'on demanderait presque des nouvelles de la famille...ça commence vraiment très bien, c’est un tout autre Weller que celui de 2008. Fin du premier acte.

En attendant le concert, au premier rang d’une Ancienne Belgique qui ne se remplit que doucement, on a le loisir d’apercevoir et de discuter avec le grand Alex Vanhee dont je ne peux que vous recommander les photos. Un œil inégalable sur ce qu’il photographie, comme s’il sentait parfaitement ce qu’il y a derrière l’objectif ! Enfin, 20 heures 10, le Weller en chef arrive et joue intégralement Sonik Kicks, sanglé au cordeau dans le costume de la pochette de l’album, impeccablement élégant, habitué à la grande classe vestimentaire de Saville Row et de ses maîtres tailleurs. On sait que le concert sera bon, Weller ne regarde personne rageusement, ne demande aucun ajustement, ne chipote pas sur la voix, la guitare, le retour. Honnêtement, l’album prend beaucoup de grain et de densité live, plus cohérent, le son est plus homogène, les « bandes » tournent mais le bidouillage vaguement électro est moins sensible, la densité physique de la scène amoindrit le sentiment de montage artificiel. Pourtant, même la cigarette d’un Weller qui tente obstinément d’arrêter de fumer est électronique. Allez, c’est bien, mais on attend quand même que le groupe lâche les chevaux, étonnant aussi que de savoir par cœur quel est le morceau suivant. C’est courageux de jouer un album en entier, du début à la fin, Weller ne lâche rien, il ne veut absolument pas devenir un tribute band dédié à sa propre musique. C’est l’un des rares à faire ça et il ne manque pas de morceaux après 35 ans (si.) de musique, de In the City, 1977 à ce Sonik Kicks. L’attitude est à l’image de Weller, on ne lâche rien, on ne servira pas le best réchauffé, on jouera ce qu’on vient de finir, ce qui est encore chaud et si le public reste les bras croisés et que Weller admet qu’il perd une partie de ce public sur cet album, tant pis, on avance. Quant à la reformation des Jam, n’y pensez même pas. Madame Weller, HannaH, le doux palindrome de Paul, fait une courte apparition sur la tentative électro dub de l’album. Pas un regard, elle vient chanter, point barre. Pause.

Le deuxième set est acoustique et totalement étincelant, Weller a eu l’intelligence d’aller chercher dans ses derniers titres les plus intéressants sur le plan vocal, les harmonies sont magnifiques, Steve Pilgrim, batteur discret qui s’était sauvé à la descente du bus est un excellent chanteur et Andy Crofts aussi. On harmonise donc le plus possible, ce n’est pas tout à fait Crosby Stills Nash and Young mais c’est pur, aérien, éthéré sans niaiserie, l’énergie restant un maître mot dans la dynamique wellerienne. Cette capacité de vous donner l’impression que la chanson marche vers vous est assez rare pour être soulignée, que de redites en effet après un couplet et un refrain dans tant de chansons radiophoniques.    All on a misty morning s’envole vraiment très haut dans les sphères de L’AB, on pose les guitares dites sèches.  Et puis vient l’orage et l’heure électrique, le kick sonique.

Weller, sobre, redevenu très précis dans sa quête du son, joue serré et ca chercher la vibration électrique dans le moindre recoin de la salle. Son jeu de guitare est tendu et le sustain maîtrisé, moins de pains qu’à l’habitude quand il oublie de faire attention. On le verra même avoir ce tic des grands soirs, il avance vers le public, se balance de droite à gauche en restant sur place, cligne rapidement des yeux sans les fermer totalement et donne l’impression de demander si ça envoie suffisamment en relevant le menton. Oh que oui, ça envoie et l’AB décolle, en vaisseau spatial que les salles de concert deviennent parfois selon ses propres mots. Un papillon blanc vole vers moi, heureux d’attraper ce médiator blanc, Fender Heavy,  SoniK pick. Rappel et toujours pas de vieilles scies, ouf, pas de Malice, pas de Something to me, pas de Wildwood… Move on up. Les trottoirs brusselois ne se noyèrent pas de pluie froide et intense comme en 2010 et la foule sortit conquise, au sens premier, après une conquête amoureuse et électrique. En sortant du bar, je croisai Eon Ballinger qui me gratifia d’une belle accolade. Eon a joué sur un titre de l’album de la reformation des Creation. Ça ne pouvait pas être plus parfait. Sonik Geek.

Mike Cobley's Book at last available!

Wholepoint Publications

Imagine growing up with the Carry Ons. Getting to hobnob on a regular basis with the likes of Sid James, Barbara Windsor, Frankie Howerd, Charles Hawtrey, Jim Dale and Kenneth Williams. Well, I was that lucky guy.

The catalyst for my meetings with the cream of saucy British comedy was Talbot ‘Tolly’ Rothwell. Tolly wrote the scripts for twenty-two of the big-screen Carry Ons, and was a close family friend for all of those glorious mega-grossing box office years.

A Write Carry On catalogues not only his eleven years with the Carry Ons, but also Tolly’s time as a Second World War captive at the notorious POW camp, Stalag Luft III (best known for two famous prisoner escapes that took place there by tunnelling, which were depicted in the films The Great Escape (1963) and The Wooden Horse (1950), and the books by former prisoners Paul Brickhill and Eric Williams from which these films were adapted).

Along the way you will get a behind-the-scenes peek at the lives and personalities of all the major Carry On stars. There were a lot of laughs but also a few tears. Oh, and the odd illicit affair too!
"Infamy! Infamy! They've all got it in for me!" - Kenneth Williams - Carry On Cleo (1964)

To buy a copy at the introductory price of just £2 CLICK HERE

Andy Lewis


La Libre Belgique, review, Ancienne Belgique.

Paul Weller, la classe

Sophie Lebrun
Mis en ligne le 16/06/2012
En grande forme, l’Anglais a joué trois concerts en un, en 2 heures 20, jeudi à l’AB.
L’Anglais Paul Weller affiche une forme olympique, disait-on à propos de "Sonik Kicks", son 11e album solo paru en mars. Son concert, jeudi à l’Ancienne Belgique, confirme cette impression. Ceci explique cela - c’est lui-même qui le dit - : il a arrêté de boire, de fumer, et a vu récemment sa "tribu" s’agrandir de jumeaux (prénommés Bowie et John-Paul !). A 54 ans, le "modfather" chéri des Anglais, le père de la britpop, paraît, plus que jamais, bien dans ses baskets. Façon de parler, du moins, car John William Weller, de son vrai nom, est plutôt du genre costard-cravate-souliers-coupe de cheveux bien nette.
C’est ainsi qu’il apparaît, dans une AB blindée de quadras et quinquas, fans de la première heure. Mais, pour l’heure, point de tube des Jam (groupe rock-mod-punk très populaire au tournant des années 70-80) ou du Style Council (1983-1990) emmenés jadis par Weller. Non, là, entouré de cinq musiciens, dont l’excellent guitariste Steve Cradock, il interprète "Sonik Kicks" dans son intégralité. Le son n’est pas au top et le chanteur abuse des effets d’écho, mais au final l’opus tient très bien la route, entre puissants basse-batterie, solos de guitare électrique, touches électro et notes psychédéliques. Le ska "Kling I Klang" est une petite bombe, et l’ondulant "That Dangerous Age" fait mouche, entre séduction et humour. Plusieurs titres font songer à Blur ou Gorillaz, les projets de Damon Albarn. C’est là qu’on se souvient - remettons les choses dans l’ordre - que Weller eut une influence importante sur Albarn... Un bémol : le mielleux "Be Happy Children" final. Il rappelle ces hymnes de Noël réunissant, main dans la main, pour la bonne cause, des kyrielles de popstars...
Voilà le "Sonik Kicks" bouclé. Mmmh, c’est un peu court, mon cher Weller Mais ce n’était que la mise en jambes. Un petit entracte plus tard, le chanteur s’installe à l’avant-scène avec ses musiciens, le temps d’un set quasi acoustique, occasion de puiser dans ses albums solo. L’ambiance est folk, feu de camp, et la combinaison des (quatre) guitares et des voix, tout simplement magique.
Paul Weller a troqué son costume contre un T-shirt. Il va à présent le mouiller. Car sans crier gare, le groupe a rejoint ses claviers, batteries et guitares électriques (Weller lui-même va alterner gratte et piano), et c’est parti pour une heure de déferlante rock, punk et pop. Sourires béats dans le public, ravi de retrouver cette énergie plus carrée, serrée, adolescente, un peu teigneuse. Surtout quand Weller, visiblement pas pressé de s’en aller, remonte jusqu’à l’ère The Jam, avec "Art School", "In The City" et, en guise de point final, "Start !". Well well, il a la pêche, ce Weller. Et quelle classe.

Sophie Jarry's Photos (Paris, Bataclan)

Brussels, Part 2 (Art School / In the City)...

Still doesn't know the lyrics and chords 35 years later! ;)

Thanx to original taper