Category Archives: Notes on Music

The philosophy of music: or the music of philosophy ?

Hand on Art: should the arts be a consideration in this election?

With voting in the election set to start in less that twenty four hours, time for one last guest post on ‘Election Views,’ as people make their final considerations before casting their vote.

Polling station
Time to get casting...

Is it important to consider the arts policies and attitudes of campaigning parties when deciding for whom to vote ? Should we rather be considering their views on employment, education, and frontline services ?

Click here to find out.

Waters under the bridge ? Not likely…

It must be the weather. Or the time of year. Or something to do with age. Hot on the heels of yesterday’s revelation about Led Zeppelin’s on-and-off-reunion tour being, well, maybe on: today it’s the turn of Roger Waters.

The Wall
Bricking it: The Wall

In what reads like a rather grouchy statement, Waters declares that David Gilmour, Pink Floyd’s guitarist from 1968, is ‘not interested’ in touring. With the thirtieth anniversary of The Wall coming up, Gilmour it seems has no desire to team up with Waters again, with whom hostilities have been maintained since the arguments over the album following The Wall’s release in 1982.

There was a brief cessation of hostilities in 2005 with the Live 8 concert, although Gilmour’s attempt to walk off-stage after the performance failed when Waters cajoled him into sharing a hug on-stage.

Still, one can but hope that other bands will also decide not to attempt to rekindle their former days of glory. There was nothing so depressing as watching super-group Cream at the Royal Albert Hall several years ago, and reflecting how much they had lost their youthful edge and committed drive. (They are still great, though).

So, the question (as with yesterday’s post) remains: should they or shouldn’t they ?

Bursting the balloon: Led Zeppelin to tour again?

Jason Bonham is keen for a Led Zeppelin tour, the papers reveal today, of potentially thirty dates.

Of course, such a tour (about which rumours have abounded since the band’s break-up in 1980) would have to overcome a couple of obstacles.  For starters, the death of drummer John Bonham in 1980 from Hendrix’s trademark death of choking on his own vomit.  Robert Plant has always expressed his lack of interest in re-forming the band, and even Jimmy Page’s manager has previously announced the band would never re-unite.

Houses of the Holy: album cover
House of the Holy (1973)

In 2007, the surviving band members re-united for a one-off performance in London’s O2 Arena with Jason Bonham taking over from his father on drums.

“There is still a lot of work to do on this project and I want to make sure it’s done tastefully,” Bonham said.

Led Zeppelin were ‘Best Live Band’ in the 2008 Mojo awards, some twenty-eight years after the band’s demise. Now that’s some accolade.

Let’s hope, if they do tour, they leave ‘The Crunge’ from1973’s Houses of the Holy well alone: my favourite, it should remain untouched.

So, come on: should they or shouldn’t they ?

A Kurt dismissal: playing Cobain.

It looks as though the Big Hollywood Movie about the life and (contested) suicide of Kurt Cobain, lead singer of glum-grunge-rockers Nirvana, may be looming ever closer. Kurt Cobain

Since Cobain’s death in 1994, his life and iconic status have seemed suitable fodder for the big Hollywood biopic also afforded to singers like The Doors’ Jim Morrison by Oliver Stone in the eponymous film from 1991.

As reported in The Sunday Times recently, the plot continues.

So, we’ve had Val Kilmer as a rock legend: who would you choose to play Kurt and Courtney ?

Feeling blue: Joni takes a pop at Bob Dylan.

Legendary Canadian songstress Joni Mitchell has had a pop at equally legendary musician Bob Dylan for being a fake.

As revealed in the media yesterday, Mitchell has declared Dylan ‘a plagiarist’ and says ‘Everything about Bob is a deception.’

Album cover: 'Blue'Of course, those who live in the glare of publicity always have an element of deception about them, creating a public persona behind which to shelter themselves from the media’s remorseless stare. As the great French poet Jean Cocteau famously declared, ‘I am a lie who always speaks the truth.’

Dylan, it seems, has been accused of plagiarism before, connected with his 2006 album Modern Times.

Both Mitchell and Dylan have changed their names, but obviously Mitchell did not take kindly to the comparison in her interview with the Los Angeles Times.

However, Mitchell also pours scorn on Madonna, whom, she says, marks a turning-point in American culture which has been ‘stupid and shallow since 1980.’ Bear in mind, however, that this was the decade that gave film Oliver Stone’s Platoon (1986),  and literature Tom Wolfe’s classic Bonfire of the Vanities, (1987), as well as the photography of Cindy Sherman, to name but a few redeeming cultural icons.

There was blood on Mitchell’s career tracks in the 1980s, when  her career took something of a dive after her success in the 70s: it was only with Night Ride Home in 1991 that her career surged back to critical acclaim. Perhaps that’s what it’s all about, really….

Although anyone who can list Court and Spark, The Hissing of Summer Lawns and Hejira amongst their back catalogue deserves our respect.

Culture Secretaries are like buses…

As usual, the arts have become a political football in the run-up to the election, with each party avowing its commitment to the arts and its funding in one way or another.

If, like me, you’re interested in the future of the arts, with its implications for which way you might be planning to vote next month, then this will be useful to you: Tom Service, music critic for ‘The Guardian‘ and broadcaster for Radio 3, recently interviewed on-air the Culture Secretary from each of the three main parties.

There is a concise summary of his interview on his blog here, plus a link to the programme which will be available on iPlayer until Saturday.

Interesting stuff…