Sugar – Copper Blue

To celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the release of Sugar’s classic album “Copper Blue”, a 2CD Deluxe Edition of the album will be released on May 28th 2012.  I remember when it first came out, I couldn’t stop playing it – I thought it was brilliant, and still do. I had it on Cassette & it got lost the last time I moved, so I’ve been looking to replace it for ages. In addition to the original album, you also get B-Sides, a BBC Radio Session, a Live Concert and some Promo videos on DVD

When Copper Blue came out it was rated “Best Album 1992” by the NME and bands like Nirvana, Pixies and The Smashing Pumpkins were also very popular, so I got this album and remember being blown away by the feast of guitars that exploded from the speakers. This album proved that heavy rock music could also be melodic and is one of those rare albums where all the songs still sound as great now as they did when it first came out, my favourite tracks are Hoover Dam, The Act We Act, Changes and If I can’t change your mind.

TRACKLISTING:

DISC ONE:

COPPER BLUE” 1. The Act We Act 2. A Good Idea 3. Changes 4. Helpless 5. Hoover Dam 6. The Slim 7. If I Can’t Change Your Mind 8. Fortune Teller 9. Slick 10. Man on the Moon

B-SIDES 11. Needle Hits E 12. If I Can’t Change Your Mind [solo mix] 13. Try Again 14. Clownmaster

BBC RADIO SESSION 15. If I Can t Change Your Mind 16. Hoover Dam 17. The Slim 18. Where Diamonds Are Halos

DISC TWO “LIVE AT THE CABARET METRO, CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, 22nd JULY 1992”

1. The Act We Act 2. A Good Idea 3. Changes 4. Running Out Of Time 5. Helpless 6. If I Can’t Change Your Mind 7. Where Diamonds Are Halos 8. Hoover Dam 9. Beer Commercial 10. Slick 11. Anyone 12. Clownmaster 13. Tilted 14. Armenia City In The Sky 15. JC Auto 16. The Slim 17. Dum Dum Boys 18. Man On The Moon

DISC THREE – DVD:

PROMO VIDEOS 1. Helpless 2. Changes 3. If I Can t Change Your Mind

TV APPEARANCES 4. Helpless Live on The Late Show UK 5. Interview MTV UK 6. Interview MTV US 120 Minutes

“…shouting Lager Lager Lager…”

Best known as a dance music DJ and former member of electronic/techno band Underworld Darren Emerson was born 30 April 1971, in Hornchurch. He began mixing Hip-Hop records at the age of 14, and by 16 was DJing regularly at local venues. He began to explore House Music and quickly acquired a reputation as one of the top British DJs, and demand for his services saw him playing at top clubs such as The Milk Bar, Limelights, and Venus. Darren has garnered several accolades such as “DJ of the Month” in The Face magazine, and also i-D magazine.

In 1990, he was introduced to Karl Hyde, who invited him to become the third member of techno band Underworld. 1993’s dubnobasswithmyheadman was their commercial breakthrough onto the then burgeoning British electronica scene. While working on their second album, 1996’s Second Toughest in the Infants, they released the single “Born Slippy .NUXX“, which was an instant hit following its inclusion on the soundtrack to the movie, Trainspotting. this was followed up by tracks like Pearl’s Girl, Cowgirl and Rez

Emerson also emerged as a much sought-after remix talent, with remixes for such diverse acts as The Chemical Brothers, and Björk. These two successful albums were followed by Beaucoup Fish & Everything Everything

Darren parted ways with Underworld in 2000 and then concentrated more on his solo career as a DJ and remixer, and also a label owner. “Global Underground: Uruguay” (2000) and “Global Underground: Singapore” (2001) soon followed on the Global Underground label. He continued to release tracks by himself and new artists on the Underwater records label and eventually gained its own night at super club Pacha, Ibiza alongside fellow DJ Erick Morillo, to hold a joint Underwater/Subliminal Records night. During its second summer at Pacha, his Underwater Records night won ‘House Event’ of the summer at the DJ Magazine awards. After its success, Darren Emerson decided to host its own full night at Pacha, Ibiza which has gone on to become an extremely popular night on the island.

Lately Emerson has been busy touring the world whilst preparing for his own solo debut album. He rarely plays in the UK apart from his previous bi-monthly resident slot at London club The End ( which closed down in January 2009). In 2007 he performed at Sensation White in the Amsterdam Arena. In 2009 he released a third compilation for Global Underground – ‘Bogota’ and in 2010 he launched a new label, DETONE, on which he has so far released the club tracks Gracelands, Decisions, Hard For Slow and Au Go Go, featuring the vocals of the lead singer from Empire Of The Sun. Meanwhile, he continues his relentless globe trotting DJ schedule and in the past year, Darren has also begun hosting DETONE club nights at East Village in London.

Tribute to Fred Dibnah MBE

Engineer, Steeplejack and British television personality Fred Dibnah was born on this date 29th April in 1938. As a child, Dibnah was fascinated by the steam engines which powered the many textile mills in his home town of Bolton and developed a keen interest in mechanical engineering, Steam Engines and chimneys and the men who worked on them.

He began his working life as a joiner, before becoming a steeplejack. From age 22, he served for two years in the armed forces, as part of his national service. Once demobilised, he returned to steeplejacking but met with limited success until he was asked to repair Bolton’s parish church. The resulting publicity provided a welcome boost to his business, ensuring he was almost never out of work.

Dibnah’s interest in steam power stemmed from his childhood observations of the steam locomotives on the nearby railway line, and his visits to his father’s workplace—a bleach works in Bolton—where he was fascinated by the steam engines used to drive the line shafting. He later became a steam enthusiast, befriending many of the engine drivers and firemen who worked on the nearby railway.(Yeah a similar thing happened to me when I went down to the Severn Valley Railway, Which incidentally Fred also visited a few years ago) As a teenager he met a driver who invited him onto the footplate of his locomotive and who asked him to keep the boiler supplied with fuel. Dibnah became so enamoured with steam engines that he eventually looked for one he could buy.

He learnt of a steamroller kept in a barn near Warrington and which the owners had bought from Flintshire County Council. He had the boiler pressure-tested and, despite it being in poor condition, bought it for £175. He towed it to a friend’s house, spent a fortnight making various repairs and drove it to his mother’s house in Bolton. After he married and bought his own property on Radcliffe new Road, he cut an access road to the garden of his new house and moved the steamroller there. Restoring the engine took many years, as Dibnah had to create his own replacement parts, using Victorian engineering techniques and equipment he built in his garden. The boiler was in poor condition and needed serious work, but Dibnah fell back on local knowledge and was eventually able to build a new boiler. Once restored, he used the 1910 Aveling & Porter steamroller together with a living van he bought and restored, to take his family around the local steam fairs

In 1978, while making repairs to Bolton Town Hall, Dibnah was filmed by a regional BBC news crew. The BBC then commissioned an award-winning documentary, which followed the rough-hewn steeplejack as he worked on chimneys, interacted with his family and talked about his favourite hobby—steam.  Since then he has gone on to make many more Television programmes about Steam Engines & Locomotives and In 1998, he presented a programme on Britain’s industrial history and went on to present a number of fascinating series, largely concerned with the Industrial Revolution and its mechanical and architectural legacy.

In mid-2000, Dibnah was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Technology for his achievement in engineering by Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, and on 19 July 2004 he was made an honorary Doctor of the University by the University of Birmingham. He was also awarded an MBE for services to heritage and broadcasting. He said “I’m looking forward to meeting the Queen but I shall probably have to get a new cap. And I’d like to meet Prince Charles because we share the same views about modern architecture.”On 7 July 2004, Dibnah went to Buckingham Palace to receive his award from the Queen.

Sadly Fred’s health was failing at this point although filming continued at various locations around the country, with sons Jack and Roger, who had become essential members of the tour, providing much-needed support for their father. By the end of July, the crew had filmed only 34 days with Dibnah, out of a planned 60. It was becoming more difficult by the day for Dibnah to fulfil his filming duties and the crew decided to cut short the schedule. Fred sadly passed away from cancer at Bolton Hospice in November 2004, aged 66. He is survived by his five children from three marriages.

Tribute to Alfred Hitchcock

Often regarded as one of the the greatest British filmmakers ever, the British film director and Producer,  Alfred Hitchcock KBE, sadly passed away on this date 29th April in 1980.  He remainss one of my favourite Directors & I always enjoy watching his films.

He was born in Leytonstone, London on 13th Augst 1899 and Over a career spanning more than half a century, Hitchcock directed more than fifty feature films and developed many pioneering techniques in the suspense and psychological thriller genres during which he created a distinctive and recognisable directorial style. He pioneered the use of a camera made to move in a way that mimics a person’s gaze, forcing viewers to engage in a form of voyeurism He framed shots to maximise anxiety, fear, or empathy, and used innovative film editing. His stories frequently feature fugitives on the run from the law alongside “icy blonde” female characters. Many of Hitchcock’s films have twist endings and thrilling plots featuring depictions of violence, murder, and crime, although many of the mysteries function as decoys meant only to serve thematic elements in the film and the extremely complex psychological examinations of the characters. Hitchcock’s films also borrow many themes from psychoanalysis and feature strong sexual undertones. Through his cameo appearances in his own films, interviews, film trailers, and the television program Alfred Hitchcock Presents, he became a cultural icon.

He has also left a long lasting legacy in the form of many great films including Rebecca, Notorious, Saboteur, Spellbound, Psycho, Rope, The Birds, North by Northwest, Marnie, Vertigo, Rear Window, The Man Who Knew Too Much and Frenzy. He also came first in a 2007 poll of film critics in Britain’s Daily Telegraph, which said of him: “Unquestionably the greatest filmmaker to emerge from these islands, Hitchcock did more than any director to shape modern cinema, which would be utterly different without him. His flair was for narrative, cruelly withholding crucial information (from his characters and from us) and engaging the emotions of the audience like no one else.” The magazine MovieMaker also described him as the most influential filmmaker of all time, and he is widely regarded as one of cinema’s most significant artists.

Tribute to Duke Ellington

American composer, pianist, and big-band leader Duke Ellington was Born 29th April in 1899. During his life he wrote over 1,000 compositions. In the opinion of Bob Blumenthal of The Boston Globe “In the century since his birth, there has been no greater composer, American or otherwise, than Ellington.” A major figure in the history of jazz, Ellington’s music stretched into various other genres, including blues, gospel, film scores, popular, and classical. His career spanned more than 50 years and included leading his orchestra, composing an inexhaustible songbook, scoring for movies, composing stage musicals, and world tours. Several of his instrumental works were adapted into songs that became standards.

Due to his inventive use of the orchestra, or big band, and thanks to his eloquence and extraordinary charisma, he is generally considered to have elevated the perception of jazz to an art form on a par with other traditional genres of music. His reputation increased after his death and the Pulitzer Prize Board bestowed on him a special posthumous honor in 1999.   Ellington called his music “American Music” rather than jazz, and liked to describe those who impressed him as “beyond category.” These included many of the musicians who were members of his orchestra, some of whom are considered among the best in jazz in their own right, but it was Ellington who melded them into one of the most well-known jazz orchestral units in the history of jazz.

He often composed specifically for the style and skills of these individuals, such as “Jeep’s Blues” for Johnny Hodges, “Concerto for Cootie” for Cootie Williams, which later became “Do Nothing Till You Hear from Me” with Bob Russell’s lyrics, and “The Mooche” for Tricky Sam Nanton and Bubber Miley. He also recorded songs written by his bandsmen, such as Juan Tizol’s “Caravan” and “Perdido” which brought the “Spanish Tinge” to big-band jazz. Several members of the orchestra remained there for several decades. After 1941, he frequently collaborated with composer-arranger-pianist Billy Strayhorn, whom he called his “writing and arranging companion.” Ellington recorded for many American record companies, and appeared in several films.   Ellington led his band from 1923 until his death in 1974. His son Mercer Ellington, who had already been handling all administrative aspects of his father’s business for several decades, led the band until his own death in 1996. At that point, the original band dissolved. Paul Ellington, Mercer’s youngest son and executor of the Duke Ellington estate, kept the Duke Ellington Orchestra going from Mercer’s death onwards

Ian Rankin OBE DL

I am also a big fan of the Crime Thriller novels of Prolific Scottish crime writer Ian Rankin, OBE, DL who was born on this day 28th April 1960. His best known books are the Inspector Rebus novels, although He has also written several pieces of literary criticism.

Rankin did not set out to be a crime writer. He thought his first novels Knots and Crosses and Hide and Seek were mainstream books, more in keeping with the Scottish traditions of Robert Louis Stevenson and even Muriel Spark . He was disconcerted by their classification as genre fiction. Scottish novelist Allan Massie, who tutored Rankin while Massie was writer-in-residence at the University of Edinburgh, reassured him by saying, who would want to be a dry academic writer when “they could be John Buchan?”

Among his best known novels are The Flood, Knots and Crosses, Watchman, Westwind, Hide and Seek, Tooth and Nail, Strip Jack, Witch Hunt, Bleeding Hearts, Mortal Causes, Blood Hunt, Let it Bleed, Black and Blue, The Hanging Garden, Dead Souls, Set in Darkness, The Falls, Resurrection Man, Beggars Banquet, A Question of Blood, Flesh Market Close, Exit Music, A Cool Head and Doors Open.

Rankin’s Inspector Rebus novels are set mainly in Edinburgh. They are considered major contributions to the Tartan Noir genre. Ten of the novels were adapted as a television series on ITV, starring John Hannah as Rebus in Series 1 & 2, with Ken Stott taking on the role for Series 3-5.   In 2009, Rankin donated the short story “Fieldwork” to Oxfam’s Ox-Tales project, four collections of UK stories written by 38 authors. Rankin’s story was published in the Earth collection.

Happy Birthday Sir Terry Pratchett OBE

Popular English novelist Sir Terry Pratchett OBE, was born on this date 28th April in 1948. He is best known for his frequently comical work in the fantasy genre In particular the popular and long-running Discworld series of comic fantasy novels.

Pratchett’s first novel, The Carpet People, was published in 1971, and his first Discworld novel The Colour of Magic was published in 1983. Since then he has been very prolfc, writing on average, two books a year . After finishing the fourth Discworld novel, Mort, he decided to focus fully on hs novels and make his living through writing and published his fifth book Equal Rites soon after. Snce then He has written many other discworld Novels including Monsterous Regiment, Hogfather, Small Gods, Soul Music, Interesting Times, The Truth, The Fifth Elephant, Maurice & his Educated Rodents, Carpe Jugulum, Wyrd Sisters, Making Money, Wintersmith, Thud!, Night Watch, Unseen Academicals and I shall Wear Midnight. His latest Discworld book, Snuff has become the third-fastest-selling novel since records began in the United Kingdom selling 55,000 copies in the first three days (and I bought one of them). The novels all had distinctive cover art by Josh Kirby and Since Kirby sadly passed away in October 2001, the covers have been designed by Paul Kidby.

Many of Pratchett’s books have also been adapted for Radio and Television, the BBC’s Woman’s Hour broadcast The Colour of Magic as a serial in six parts and Truckers was adapted as a stop motion animation series for Thames Television by Cosgrove Hall Films in 1992. Johnny and the Dead was also made into a TV serial for Children’s ITV on ITV, and in 1995. Wyrd Sisters and Soul Music were adapted as animated cartoon series by Cosgrove Hall for Channel 4 in 1996. In January 2006, BBC One also aired a three-part adaptation of Johnny and the Bomb.   A two-part, feature-length version of Hogfather starring Michelle Dockery, David Jason and featuring the voices of Christopher Lee and Ian Richardson, was first aired on Sky One in the United Kingdom in December 2006, and on ION Television in the U.S. in 2007. A two-part, feature-length adaptation of The Colour of Magic and its sequel The Light Fantastic aired during Easter 2008 on Sky One. A third adaptation, Going Postal was aired at the end of May 2010. The Sky adaptations are notable also for the author’s presence in cameo roles.

He remains a hugely popular author to this day and many of his books have occupied top places on the best-seller list. According to the Bookseller’s Pocket Yearbook from 2005, in 2003 Pratchett’s UK sales put him in 2nd place behind J. K. Rowling and in the paperback sales list Pratchett came 5th, behind James Patterson, Alexander McCall Smith, John Grisham and J. R. R. Tolkien). His sales in the UK alone are more than 2.5 million copies a year.

In 1998 Pratchett was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) “for services to literature” . In addition, he was knighted in the 2009 New Year Honours. In 2001 he won the Carnegie Medal for his children’s novel The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents.   In December 2007, Pratchett publicly announced that he was suffering from early-onset Alzheimer’s disease and, subsequently, made a substantial public donation to the Alzheimer’s Research Trust, and filmed a programme chronicling his experiences with the disease for the BBC, but has vowed to keep writing Discworld novels for as long as he is able.His latest novels include Snuff and The Long Earth.