To absorb the media coverage of the presidential race here in the UK you’d assume that Obama was already walking up the garden path to the White House. And yet, with a little probing and digging, we understand that Obama and McCain are running neck-and-neck. However distanced we are here from the immediate consequences of the results of the American election, I imagine that across the political spectrum (nowadays a smaller step for mankind than once it was) there will be felt a mighty shockwave in the event of John McCain’s neck being just that little bit longer.
SERENADE TO MUSIC
‘Another-chance-to-see’ – a four word euphemism employed by the BBC to justify re-running programmes so as not to have to cough up for new material. In the case of the BBC4 Vaughan-Williams programme, no protests. TV doesn’t always handle music to the best effect. Music belongs between the ears so not for nothing do so many people prefer to listen to it with their eyes closed. But both the integration of visuals set against the extracts from Vaughan-Williams’ work and the overall pace and rhythm of the programme – a sensible 90 minutes long - were superb. It was a deeply satisfying account of the life and work of this most English of composers and if you missed it and have access to BBC iPlayer, don’t waste your time here – get watching!
I divide my iPod selections into groups of 15, each comprising a CD’s worth for playing in the car without an MP3 socket. This is Desert Island 1.
Mr Tambourine Man - Bob Dylan
Why Do Men Fight? - Carbon/Silicon (ex-Clash Mick Jones’ band.)
Why Be Blue? - Carlene Carter (Johnny Cash’s daughter.)
I Am the White-Mantled King - Cats On Fire
Handbags And Gladrags - Chris Farlowe (Whatever happened to this premier British white soul singer from the mid-‘60s?)
Distant Sun (live) - Crowded House
Stuck Between Stations - The Hold Steady (Springsteen and then some!)
This Woman's Work - Kate Bush (Just about my favourite female singer/songwriter.)
While You Where Sleeping - Elvis Perkins
When Will I Be Loved? – Sandy Denny and Linda Thompson (Two of the greatest of British folk voices.) Who Knows Where The Time Goes? - Fairport Convention (Sandy Denny again.)
I Am A Missile - Kingsize Five
Concerning The UFO Sighting Near Highland, Illinois - Sufjan Stevens
Elyne Road - Toumani Diabate (Exquisite.)
I'm Crying - The Animals
Intervention - The Arcade Fire (Magnificent widescreen epic stuff from this extraordinary band.)