Arts and Entertainment

Does success in one genre guarantee it in another?

Did Alan Bennett write `The Sweeney'?


Obituary: David McComb

AUSTRALIAN ROCK acts exist in a cultural vacuum and have to earn their dues overseas before being accepted back home.



Could these notes save your life?

The impulse to sing was once irresistible - at home, in the factory, down the mine. Now we leave it to the professionals - except at moments of desperation

Speeches in pursuit of the unspeakable

the week in radio

Pop: She's always in the kitchen at parties


Books: Inspirations Novelist Justin Cartwright

The music

Accidental Heroes of the 20th Century: 4: Del Shannon, Pop Star

WHO HE? To some, no more than a footnote in the Guinness Book of Hit Singles, or two-and-a-half minutes on a Golden Hits of the Sixties compilation. Yet there is a convincing case to be made for Shannon as one of the true godfathers of modern pop music.

Arts: Can white girls sing the blues? This one can

Finger-snapping and scat-singing are still de rigueur for jazz singers. But not for Lisa Ekdahl.

Pop: Heaven knows they're miserable now


Music: The plastic dinosaurs of pop

The Future Bible Heroes are the house-band of a 1980s that never was, turning the decade's synthesised smoothness into a wonderland of possibility. Oriental strings strike, animals cry, synth-orchestras crash, computer machinery bleeps. And over it all soar two voices : a detached woman and a mordant man. They're singing about aquatic female monsters, a death boutique and a woman who's stopped believing in the Beach Boys. It's like Leonard Cohen and Nico fronting Sparks. It's like nothing else on the planet.

`Being funny is like being gay. It's hard to admit to, people think it's odd. You're born that way'

The frail, slightly stooped, silver-haired lady turns away from the reversible, flat-weave rugs on the wall to shake her tiny fist at the ceiling. "That noise is breaking my concentration," she complains. "All that clapping and loud laughter. Just what is going on up there?"

Album review: Mark Eitzel, `Caught in a Trap and I Can't Back Out 'Cause I Love You Too Much, Baby...' (Matador OLE 179-2)

Mark Eitzel's reputation as the Leonard Cohen of his generation remains unthreatened on Caught in a Trap and I Can't Back Out 'Cause I Love You Too Much, Baby, a mostly solo, acoustic album. Yo La Tengo's James McNew and Sonic Youth's Steve Shelley add bass and drums respectively to four tracks, and former Cramps guitarist Kid Congo Powers scrawls expressionist sheets of fractured guitar noise over three, but otherwise the absence of colluding musicians leaves Eitzel even more bereft than ever, adrift upon the whims of his misery.

I couldn't be Jagger; how about Donovan?

John Walsh didn't make an actual resolution to become a rock star. It just sort of happened. But finally resolving not to be - that was something far more weightily determined.
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