IT WAS A VERY GOOD CAREER

SinatraThe podgy middle-aged bloke with the silver rug glued to his head; the skinny sailor wandering around NYC and bursting into song – the two contradictory images I had of Frank Sinatra as a child; the former was the contemporary artist and the latter was the old Hollywood heart-throb courtesy of BBC2 on Saturday afternoons. Although my parents belonged to the wrong generation and consequently owned no Sinatra records, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know the name. The man who was born exactly one-hundred years ago today was still omnipotent, even in the 1970s.

Growing up, the impression given was of a corny old has-been, the man who inspired a thousand kitsch cabaret crooners in dickey-bows and dinner jackets, churning out cheesy Vegas-style versions of the same standards that were once the staple diet of the Jimmy Young Show on Radio 2, my grandma’s chosen playlist whenever I stopped at her house. In that relentless adolescent search for whatever was ‘cool’, Sinatra seemed the irrelevant antithesis of every recommended exponent of ‘cool’; he was a long way from The MC5 or The Stooges or The Velvet Underground; he appeared to represent that whole schmaltzy, sentimental showbiz world that rock ‘n’ roll was supposed to have swept away. John Lennon had said, ‘Before Elvis, there was nothing’, and that view still held sway in the 80s, certainly for me and my sneering teenage peers.

Once I reached my mid-20s, however, I gradually outgrew juvenile prejudices and no longer did as Melody Maker told me. I would consciously seek out anything I’d been warned to avoid; it felt like an act of rebellion to pick up a prog-era Genesis LP from a second-hand record shop, as it did to visit the local record library (libraries used to have actual vinyl records in those days) and sample Sinatra’s greatest hits. I realised the only thing that closes your ears to music of every shape and form is the cynical critic dispensing listening advice. Ignore them and you can enjoy anything, just as you did before you became aware of the divisive cancer of genres. And when I gave this Sinatra album a fair hearing, I was back where I’d been in the beginning, able to simply listen without antiquated notions of ‘cool’ getting in the way.

Although Frank Sinatra was essentially the first teen idol when he inspired pre-Beatlemania hysteria amongst American girls in the early 40s, the body of work for which he is most remembered came after he’d been written off as yesterday’s man and had been reduced to recording novelty singles with the proto-dumb blonde, Dagmar, and seemingly sacrificing whatever chances he still had of a long-term career by throwing himself into an insane affair with notorious, albeit lascivious, man-eater, Ava Gardner. At his lowest ebb – which included an alleged suicide attempt – he was rescued from the showbiz abyss by vigorously pursuing and grabbing his dream role in ‘From Here to Eternity’ (whether a horse’s head had a part to play or not) and scooped an Oscar; this in turn kick-started his musical vision. Free from the constrictions of his previous record deal, he signed to Capitol and took control of his recorded output for the first time. Now Sinatra was going to make the kind of records he wanted to make.

Not a writer himself, Sinatra nevertheless had an instinctive sense of what a made a great song and he set about revamping standards so that his interpretation of them became the definitive versions. He did this by allowing his most traumatic life experiences to infect his voice with both a mature adult swagger and an emotional vulnerability, acquiring a deeper, wider range than it had possessed in his young crooner days and delivering the song as though he had penned every word from the heart. Crucial to this transformation was his musical marriage with bandleader and arranger Nelson Riddle, who took the Big Band sound of the previous decade and made it elegant with a full orchestral facelift. Sinatra had found his most invaluable collaborator and the pair of them embarked upon a sonic journey that had few precedents in the pre-rock era.

When the phrase ‘concept album’ appears, one tends to think of the prog monoliths of the 70s, yet Sinatra effectively pioneered the idea with the series of LPs he released from 1953’s ‘Songs for Young Lovers’ onwards, finding the relatively new long-playing record the perfect vehicle for his musical rebirth. As the Sinatra/Riddle collaboration progressed, each new album tended to select a collection of songs to convey a specific mood – from the upbeat euphoria of ‘Swing Easy’ to the downbeat melancholy of ‘Frank Sinatra Sings for Only the Lonely’. The artwork on the album sleeve also reflected which Sinatra the listener was going to get. The cover of 1955’s ‘In the Wee Small Hours’ bears a portrait of Sinatra slouched against a wall, cigarette in hand, with a poorly-lit deserted street as the backdrop, whereas its follow-up, ‘Songs for Swinging Lovers’, shows a quintessential young 50s couple embracing as Sinatra’s smiling face floats above them like a benevolent Cheshire Cat midway through vanishing into the warm orange sky.

Perhaps the finest product of this purple patch on Capitol came when Sinatra’s confidence was flying so high that he replaced Riddle with Billy May and released ‘Come Fly with Me’, an LP whose memorable sleeve Sinatra apparently disliked as he felt it resembled an ad for the American airline TWA. In retrospect, it stands as the perfect visual accompaniment to the music, evoking the wonderfully enduring illusion of the Jet Set who dressed for a plane ride as though visiting the opera, travelling from one exotic location to another with the kind of nonchalant ease most hop onto the bus. The travelogue track-list takes the listener to Capri, Vermont, New York, Mandalay, London, Paris, Hawaii, Chicago and Brazil. At a time when air travel was beyond the financial reach of all but the wealthy, the album gave what is actually a pretty interminable method of getting from A to B an irresistible glamour that still maintains the allure it had sixty years ago.

Sinatra had been able to dominate the album charts during the rock ‘n’ roll era, as that was largely a singles phenomena; but by the time The Beatles showed their insatiable creativity also encompassed the LP, Frank’s days as the undisputed king of the long-player were numbered. Sinatra slowly slid into legendary status and parted company with the zeitgeist, finding the live arena more appreciative of his talents than the recording studio. The last three decades of his life saw Sinatra gradually become the kind of performer people pay to see because of the legend – ironically, the same reason people pay to see the likes of the Stones now.

If you want the gossip column Sinatra, read the plethora of books devoted to his dealings with mobsters or the self-indulgent antics of the Rat Pack or the numerous notches on his bedpost. But if you want to know what made Frank Sinatra stand head-and-shoulders above the competition and why he remains remembered whereas somebody like Vic Damone isn’t, avoid ‘My Way’ or ‘Strangers in the Night’ and listen to the cream of the Capitol crop from the early 50s to the early 60s. If you’re still not convinced, try arguably his last great recording from 1965, ‘It Was A Very Good Year’, the musical equivalent of ‘King Lear’ as an ageing man looks back on his life by remembering the loves of it. If your eyes are still dry when it ends, you haven’t got a heart.

© The Editor

TOP TRUMPS

TrumpWhy did it take so long for the world to realise Donald Trump was a prick? Wasn’t it evident from day one? Clearly not to whoever made the rentagob Republican a business ambassador for Scotland – now withdrawn by Nicola Sturgeon; and clearly not to whoever at Aberdeen’s Robert Gordon University awarded Trump an honorary degree – now revoked. The bullish Presidential wannabe with the wacky hair has been issuing deliberately provocative statements ever since he announced his decision to run for the nomination; but did anybody really expect him to do otherwise?

His appeal in the US is not dissimilar to that of Nigel Farage here; he pitches himself as an outsider from the political elite, a man who calls a spade a spade, who says what he thinks and who hasn’t had the personality squeezed out of him by being spun into a sound-bite-spouting automaton. Politicians who have suffered the latter fate believe they are telling the moderate majority of the public what they want to hear by successfully suppressing any unfashionable opinions that might cost them votes; but Trump is also telling the public what they want to hear, albeit a specific section of that public.

By airing armchair ignorance under the media spotlight, Trump is enabling every ill-informed bigot in America to feel his neglected prejudices are not exclusive to him. He’s as thick as they are, and they’re sick of someone with a brain renting the White House. Didn’t the Founding Fathers specify all men were supposed to be born equal?

In a way, it doesn’t really matter what stupid statement Trump makes next; he knows the more he is written off, the stronger his outsider status. And he may have a point. After all, nobody gave Jeremy Corbyn a cat in hell’s chance of becoming Labour leader a few months ago, and look what happened. Corbyn also capitalised on a widespread dissatisfaction with mainstream politics and its practitioners; by selling himself as an alternative – and, lest we forget, by having the good fortune to be running against such a lame bunch of no-hopers as well – Comrade Jezza exploited the hunger for change. Trump is hardly confronted by anyone within the Republican Party possessing the clout and experience of the Democrat frontrunner Hillary Clinton, so he too is in an unexpectedly strong position.

Even though not a single Brit can cast a vote for Trump, his eventful campaign has received a good deal of coverage over here; a bit like when Bernard Manning used to be dragged onto any TV debate about racism in the hope he’d say something controversial to push up the viewing figures, Trump’s bizarre one-man show is unarguably entertaining for some in the same way a ‘Jungle’ or ‘Big Brother’ is when a group of disparate nonentities are plied with booze to get them at each other’s throats. For some reason, however, despite everything he’s had to say about Mexicans and the Menstrual Cycle, it was Trump’s comments about banning any further Muslims from setting foot on American soil that has sparked the UK Puritans into action.

Not content with attempting to exclude the equally obnoxious Tyson Fury from the BBC Sports Personality of the Year shortlist, the professional prohibitionists of the online petition have now turned their attention to Trump and have begun a cyber campaign to call for him to be banned from Britain. Over 370,000 signatories agree with the motion, as do (surprise, surprise) several honourable members. It must be an incredibly busy life organising petitions; imagine spending most of one’s day monitoring the news in search of an offensive comment by somebody famous in the hope it will be offensive enough to warrant drumming up support for a ban.

Is there a ratings system, a scale by which one can judge the level of offence such a comment might potentially cause? If so, I envisage it as being akin to the old ‘clapometer’ on ITV’s Hughie Green-hosted 1970s talent show, ‘Opportunity Knocks’, which used to drift across the bottom of the screen, slowly moving up or down depending on the loudness of the studio audience’s applause to every act looking for a lucky break. Perhaps a comment has to rise above a particular point before the inevitable petition is unleashed?

Regardless of how big a dick Donald Trump is, by trying to ban him from visiting America’s oldest ally, it simply reinforces his outsider status and he can again point to how ‘the elite’ are attempting to silence him. As in the old days, whenever Radio 1 or ‘Top of the Pops’ took it upon themselves to scrub a hit single off the playlist, the record invariably shot to the top of the charts, whether ‘Je T’Aime’, ‘God Save the Queen’ or ‘Relax’. Preventing Trump from crossing the Atlantic plays entirely into his hands; it will only make him seem more important than he is and will only serve to encourage more recruits to his cause – just as his anti-Muslim policy would do the business for ISIS if implemented.

Go ahead; ban him – if you want him to become President.

© The Editor

THE FILTH AND THE FURY

Tyson 2A charmless Northern knucklehead of the kind I endured at school and have spent most of my adult life crossing the road to avoid – that’s Tyson Fury. Recently crowned undisputed heavyweight champion of the world – that’s Tyson Fury. Descended from Irish gypsy stock with a family boxing heritage, Fury’s triumph in the ring would ordinarily lead to him being lauded as a British sporting Goliath; but we are not living in the age of the gentleman pugilist ala Henry Cooper, and fighters like Fury extend the persona they inhabit when donning their gloves into all aspects of their public lives. Uttering outrageous statements and provoking headlines beyond the confines of a heavyweight bout was a tactic pioneered by Cassius Clay (AKA Muhammad Ali) fifty years ago; but Ali always did so with a smile on his face and was consequently impossible not to like. Tyson Fury doesn’t go out of his way to endear himself to anyone; he’s bullish, gobby and deliberately provocative because he makes no attempt to curb the tongue that says in public what is normally reserved for private.

Many of the views expressed by Tyson Fury – ‘A woman’s best place is in the kitchen or on her back’ – sound positively Neanderthal, or at least the sort of opinion that either emanates from the mouth of a granddad who doesn’t know any better or a simple cretin. He also apparently compares homosexuality to ‘legalised paedophilia’. He is a devout Christian. But does anybody really expect someone from Fury’s background, religious beliefs and profession to express less bigoted views than the ones he has? Perhaps with more astute management, he could keep them to himself and project a PR front engineered to charm the public; but he has chosen to be honest and expose his real self to the spotlight, however ugly that real self might be. This is not necessarily a wise move in the current climate.

Fury’s inclusion on the short-list for the interminable sporting Eurovision that is the BBC Sports Personality of the Year has sparked the secular Puritans and serial censors into action and there is now a predictable petition on the go to have his name removed from the list. Over 80,000 of what Fury himself refers to as ‘wankers’ have already added their signatures to the online death warrant. As per usual, an MP seeking to raise his profile has joined the clamour – in this case, Shadow Minister and gay man, Chris Bryant. According to Bryant, Fury’s comments will contribute towards Young Gay Suicides (Weren’t they a band?) Plod are also reported to be investigating Fury’s ‘homophobic comments’. Mind you, things are a bit quiet on the crime front at the moment, so I suppose they have to earn their wages somehow.

Unsurprisingly, the petition was started by a ‘LGBT Community’ campaigner; does anyone know what bus-route this community is on, by the way? If the incessant whingeing and urge to ban everything that disagrees with the viewpoint of the residents is anything to go by, it must be a really fun place to hang out. Of course, for centuries the lifestyle of those eager to define themselves by what they do at bedtime was condemned and criticised as beyond the pale; now it no longer is, they seem determined to do to others what was once done to them. Hounding and haranguing anybody who doesn’t conform to their principles is seen as acceptable persecution. The fact that they spent decades fighting for the right to be heard and not discriminated against doesn’t mean the end result of that battle entitles them to silence everyone not quite so enlightened.

There is a degree of macho banter between men of a certain ilk when they get together that is not really suitable for a Harrogate tea-shop, which is why they tend to indulge when in the environs of a pub or, say, a boxing club. When Tyson Fury uttered his latest ‘inflammatory’ comments, he was in such company whilst being interviewed by German TV. You see the same kind of jostling for attention by topping the comment of the previous commentator on panel shows such as ‘Mock the Week’; it’s a competition to out-gross one another. Just listen to the songs rugby players sing. Not exactly the most sensitive ditties ever composed; but are they expected to recite Wordsworth to each other?

I disagree with many of the views expressed by Tyson Fury, but I reserve he has the right to express them, all the same. The right to free speech in a democratic society applies across the board, like it or lump it; there are no exceptions. Try telling that to those whose knickers get in an almighty twist if somebody says something that contradicts the consensus. What if it was the other way round? What if someone who publicly stated that gay people deserve the same level of equality as straight people was shouted down by a cyber army and forced to retract the statement and make an apology before the media following hate mail and death threats? We’d rightly regard it as an out-of-order, borderline fascist way to treat anyone, so what’s the difference just because one opinion is regarded as ‘right’ and another as ‘wrong’?

Whether Jeremy Clarkson, Donald Trump or Tyson Fury, there are some out there who won’t modify their unpopular point of view to suit the sensibilities of a cognoscenti they hold in contempt – and why should they, however distasteful that view may be to the majority? The world the Puritans want us to reside in, a world that has one accepted set of beliefs that to deviate from warrants severe punishment, sounds too close to the North Korean model for comfort.

© The Editor

25 OR 6 TO 4

25When Oasis released their third album in 1997, the phenomenal hype and media build-up to the event was founded on three remarkable years in which a band that would previously have been ghettoised as ‘Indie’ in the old-school 1980s sense of NME front covers and singles peaking at No.26 actually became mainstream ala Take That – chart-topping 45s and sold-out stadiums. It’s easy to forget that before Oasis, that simply didn’t happen with new guitar bands. The only acts that topped the charts and sold out stadiums prior to the arrival of the Gallagher brothers and their cohorts were either 80s survivors like U2 or boy-bands. But something changed in 1994. The toppermost of the poppermost was suddenly scaled by Oasis, Blur, Pulp, Supergrass et al, as were tabloid headlines and household name status. The alternative had ceased to be alternative.

However, once the third Oasis album became the fastest-selling LP in British history and the record-buying public listened without prejudice, ‘Be Here Now’, a coked-up extravagance of self-indulgent recycling on a grandiose scale, proved to be the killer nail in the Britpop coffin. It was downhill from then on and things gradually reverted to where they’d been before, when Annie Lennox scooped her annual Brit Award year after never-changing year – only this time, it was Robbie Williams; the rise of the Cowell franchise was just a kiss away.

A few weeks ago, the record held by ‘Be Here Now’ for eighteen years was finally broken. Oasis had established the record in 17 days; Adele’s third album, ‘25’, managed it in ten. The worldwide figures for ‘25’ so far are astonishing. It sold 800,307 copies in its first week in the UK, with 252,423 being downloads (which broke another record). This kind of instant success was simultaneously repeated across all the major European territories; and in the US, ‘25’ sold 2.3 million copies after just three days on sale, making it the best-selling album in America this century. By the end of its first week on the Billboard charts, ‘25’ had become the first album in US chart history to sell more than three million copies in seven days, setting one more record. Quite frankly, I could go on; and on; and on. But I would begin to sound like a smug record company executive if I did, so I won’t.

What makes the level of sales for this one newly-released album remarkable is that we are supposed to be living in a day and age in which recorded sound on a physical artefact is as relevant as a wax cylinder when it comes to the listening experience. But there are two ways of looking at the unprecedented public response to the record.

Firstly, if we backtrack a little to the acknowledged golden age of the LP – the 1970s – we see that the removal of one all-encompassing bandleader as had existed in the previous decade inadvertently increased the variety on offer in the big-bucks stakes as a myriad of acts jostled for the top spot. Led Zeppelin’s fourth, Carole King’s ‘Tapestry’, Rod Stewart’s ‘Every Picture Tells a Story’, Elton John’s ‘Goodbye Yellowbrick Road’, Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon’, Mike Oldfield’s ‘Tubular Bells’, ‘Frampton Comes Alive’, Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Rumours’ and the Bee Gees’ ‘Saturday Night Fever’ soundtrack album all individually shifted the kind of units that are today the province of one solitary artist. Forty years ago, talent was spread far and wide, for we haven’t even mentioned Slade, T. Rex, David Bowie, Bob Marley, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, Status Quo, The Eagles, Wings, ELO, 10cc, Abba, Queen, Roxy Music, Blondie, Kate Bush or The Sex Pistols.

Secondly, for the past fifteen years the decline in record sales, largely attributed to illegal downloads, has run parallel with the rise of the TV talent show as an Open Sesame for young hopefuls who adhere to a strict formula that negates a voice with something to say in favour of someone yer mum will like. Many even graduate from a school that teaches them how to be a pop star – how to write a song, how to sing it and how to sell it. The majority of those whose impact in the 70s still resonates wouldn’t have made it past the audition stages – and rightly so.

Compared to this interchangeable production line of acts that all sound the same and look the same, someone like Adele is bound to contrast sharply with the competition. For one thing, next to, say, a beanpole glamourpuss skank like Sheryl Cole, Adele is plump and plain; for another, she’s less unreliable and ‘rock ‘n’ roll’ than someone like Amy Winehouse; she’s the Bobby Charlton to her predecessor’s George Best. Adele is what Amy Winehouse could have been had the beehived diva of the noughties not been such a spectacular car-crash. But that’s partially what made her such a fascinating figure and what makes Adele so dull. And the mass record-buying public like dull. Just look at how many records Mariah Carey or Celine Dion have sold.

There’s also the must-have fashion-accessory factor where this latest Adele release is concerned. Just as the nation’s bookshelves once bulged with unread Harry Potter or Bridget Jones books, having a copy of ‘25’ sitting casually on the coffee table when guests visit earns you membership of the ‘in’ club, the club that says we’re all ‘in’ it together. The CD could consist of Adele belching for ten seconds and it wouldn’t really matter. Whatever musical merits it possesses, ’25’ is essentially leisure industry merchandise with the aesthetic value of a T-shirt. Such is the era in which we reside.


NICHOLAS SMITH 1934-2015

Jug EarsIt was announced yesterday that the last surviving member of the original cast of innuendo-riddled 70s sitcom, ‘Are You Being Served?, passed away at the weekend. 81-year-old Nicholas Smith played jug-eared Mr Rumbold, anxious middle-man between the shop floor and ‘Young Mr Grace’, throughout the series’ 13-year run (1972-85); but there was more to Nicholas Smith than one memorable role. His biggest break prior to being recruited to the staff of Grace Brothers was as PC Yates in ‘Z-Cars’, a bullish albeit humorous copper whose unsung contribution to an ensemble cast has recently been resurrected and reassessed via the magic of DVD. He also belonged to that durable post-war generation of television character actors whose faces were more recognisable than their names; they proved to be the strong support system for the leading men and women who ascended to superstardom and were in work for the best part of five decades. For those of us who enjoy viewing British TV from the 60s or 70s, the passing of Nicholas Smith is another chapter closing on an age that is slipping away quicker than a double-entendre rolling off the tongue of Mrs Slocombe.

© The Editor

ALLAH MADE ME DO IT

KhyberIN the past few days, two horrible incidents have occurred on either side of the Atlantic that initially appeared to be random acts of violence – a mass shooting in the US in which several lives were lost (hardly uncommon) and a man with a knife stabbing commuters on the London Underground.

The first of these, which took place last Wednesday, resulted in the deaths of 14 people at the Inland Regional Centre in San Bernardino, California. The atrocity was carried out by a married couple, one of whom – Syed Rizwan Farook – was a public health inspector, attending a function alongside many of his work colleagues at the venue before abruptly departing and returning with his wife and some firearms that the pair of them proceeded to unleash upon the crowd of 75-80. Despite being clad in a ski-mask, Farook was recognised by several survivors, and within four hours of the massacre, both perpetrators were dead, killed by police following a pursuit and a shoot-out.

So routine are these kind of gruesome incidents in the US that talk of motive in the immediate aftermath seems almost irrelevant; the damage has been done and getting to the source of whatever provoked the assault won’t bring back the dead. I suppose the thinking is to gift a semblance of meaning to what seems an utterly senseless act, as though to know why it was done will somehow join the dots and make it appear less inexplicable.

What happened in San Bernardino brought the numbers of mass shootings in America for just 2015 alone to a staggering 355, not far from one shooting for every day of the year. But this latest in what often feels like an endless succession of civilian slayings has been upgraded to a terrorist incident, lifted out of the standard ‘loner with movie star/rock star/white supremacist fixation’ model and placed on another level altogether.

Three days later, an individual armed with a large knife stabbed a trio of commuters exiting Leytonstone Tube Station; thankfully, nobody was killed and the perpetrator was brought down by Taser-waving police before anyone else came within range of his weapon. Although on a far smaller scale than the kind of bloodbath Americans have been forced to become accustomed to, this unpleasant episode is rare albeit not unusual in British cities, where many mentally-disturbed, self-medicating wanderers adrift in the urban jungle occasionally act out their fantasies in public. Yet, this assault has also been classified as a terrorist incident, elevated above yer average knife crime on account of one statement issued by the knifeman before launching his attack – ‘This is for Syria’.

Was it really for Syria anymore than the San Bernardino shootings were for Syria? Terrorist motivations have been attributed to the latter due to the fact that Tashfeen Malik, Syed Rizwan Farook’s wife and fellow assassin, apparently pledged allegiance to ISIS on Facebook – possibly alongside a photo of her evening meal the same day. The FBI says there was evidence of ‘extreme planning’ of the massacre by the couple, but most of the high-school shootings in the US have been planned beforehand and on the odd occasion, rather extremely.

When it comes to the Leytonstone stabber, the terrorist tag stemmed solely from the attacker’s Syria announcement. Had he shouted ‘Ap the Ammers!’, would he have been regarded as a football hooligan? Had he quoted a line from a song, would the singer of it now be blamed for inciting violence as Marilyn Manson once was?

In theory, every gun-toting American nobody or every knife-wielding London loser could proclaim their belief in the ISIS cause prior to kicking off their spree; but does that place them in the same terrorist annals as the 9/11 hijackers or the 7/7 bombers? Surely the Real McCoy would have selected locations a tad more significant than what was essentially a Californian DWP outpost on one hand and an Underground station that is hardly the highest new entry in the Tube top forty on the other? After all, those who carried out the recent Paris attacks at least picked places in the city centre that were listed in tourist guidebooks.

I’m not quite sure if labelling both incidents terrorist ones is a concerted effort by the authorities in both Britain and America to maintain the level of fear established in the wake of Paris (thus justifying fresh legislation to keep closer tabs on everyone), or if doing so will enable these two cases to achieve a higher priority than they would otherwise warrant and the crime will therefore be solved quickly due to popular demand. So far, there doesn’t seem to be much conclusive evidence that points to actual terrorism, whereas there does seem to be at least a modicum of evidence that places both incidents in the context of unbalanced individuals possessing a distinct lack of empathy with their fellow-man and able to kill – or attempt to – bereft of any conscience. That could be a definition of terrorism, but it would make every murderer in history a terrorist if it was.

© The Editor

THE SOLO ALBUM

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THE dream is over, as someone once said. Well, I’ve woken up now and have decided to start afresh (again). The hope is some of you who once enthusiastically read a now-defunct publication will casually pick this one off the newsstand, if only out of curiosity. My own role in that deceased daily means many will already know what to expect. I shall continue to deliver the goods in the manner to which you have become accustomed – though the delivery will be down to me and me alone.

The aborted relaunch of the previous periodical was a false start, but the fate of this one is very much in my own hands. The fact is I have other things in my life that I regard as far more important than commenting on a current event. Therefore, when I feel sufficiently fired-up to write about a specific subject hogging the headlines as well as one that has yet to feature on the radar, I shall do so. Sometimes, it will be a daily delivery; on other occasions, it will be every alternate day. I cannot say which way the wind will blow, even when the nation’s curry-houses have closed their doors for the evening.

No subject will be off-limits, however contentious, though the hope is that the comments any post attracts, whatever the subject, will be above playground-taunting and name-calling. There are enough outlets for that on the inter-web, and this will not be yet another. Let’s face it, life’s too bloody short, so let’s make what’s left of it worth living by engaging in conversation and debate that lifts us out of the pit.

If those who are familiar with my work are reading this, I welcome your anticipated interjections, as your wit and wisdom will be at home here. So, let’s look forward rather than back. All that needs to be said has been said when it comes to particular topics; and there are numerous subjects that are equally deserving of our ire. Let’s do it to them before they do it to us.

© The Editor