Wednesday, November 19, 2008

20-ITC, London, Oasis, Liverpool, Dave Clark

long time no write, but here we are with a bit of news and views from our recent travels and musical rumbles. madame and i landed in london at the front of october en route to Manchester, where i was hosting ITC (In The City). ITC is an event founded, launched, dreamt and executed 17 years ago by tony wilson and his partner yvette livesey.

tony wilson

more about tony:
tony wilson bio
factory records
the hacienda club

tony wilson was a pimpressario/hustler extroadanaire. alas he passed just over a year ago and due to that and the ITC folks wanting to continue the In The City vision, i was asked to co-host the festival (and i say co-host because i always felt that mr. wilson was standing in spirit right next to me)

this was the first ITC without mr. w. there are not many folks the likes of alan mcgee and seymour stein that will turn out for these kinds of events.

ALO, Seymour, and Richard

this being said, tony was a guvner. tony was the guvner of all things manchester, mancurian, musical, visual , outrageous and magic.

steve coogan played him in 24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE and played him well. some say it was the last thing coogan did well.

24 Hour Party People

tony had many gifts apart from flying on a wing and a prayer and the one that comes to mind immediately is that tony made it always about home. christopher columbus, napoloeon, adolf hitler, mary quant, the beatles, the stones and all the rest had to travel away from home to truly make their mark. tony wilson made a castle of his own back yard, manchester, and i hope that manchester is as proud of their lad as everybody who attends ITC.

here’s the letter I wrote for the ITC program:

“A Letter From Bogotá…
I'm in Vancouver, just got here from the Toronto Film Festival, with Toronto famous this past weekend for a Gallagher getting attacked on stage, Mickey Rourke making a great comeback in The Wrestler and the great reviews on the Jimmy Page /Jack White /Edge seminarmovie and my thanking Toronto for it being the place I could have a catch-up with jimmy page and talk about Soho. Speaking of a Gallagher and Oasis I've been thinking about Tony Wilson and the same. In a couple of weeks I'll be in Manchester for the honor of dancing in Mr. Wilson's shoes at ITC. I'll be hosting Seymour Stein and Richard Gottherer and I hope a few more things. I had better learn to dance before October; Johnny Marr has promised to show me the Salford crawl.
In his lifetime Tony got to see a movie made about his own accomplishments, 24 Hour Party People, starring Steve Coogan as Tony and directed by Michael Winterbottom. It is one of the best pop music films I’ve seen. I wonder how Tony felt about it. Was he chuffed, irked, or a mixture of all that and more? Did it have finality to it and did he have any idea of his at the time?
I would find it disconcerting. These film things usually only appear when you are dead. Brian Epstein and John Lennon in Carry On Torquay.... or that other bit of crap about an imaginary meeting between John & Paul at the Dakota. Speaking of crap, the only time, (as far as I know) that I've been portrayed on screen was in that awful, 'never-mind-DVD, straight-to-Ryanair' stinker, the Steve Wooley flic on Rolling Stone Brian Jones - which went as low as to steal the title of my biography. I came off all right in the film, I was only in three scenes and the actor who played me, the Perrier 2004 award-winning comedian Will Adamsdale at least danced a bit and I guess I was not libeled (as it's known that on occasion I like to sue, and/or carry a huge Zen baseball bat). The rest of the movie was awful, the detail and the director did them in, never mind the subject matter.
I had read so many good things about Control, the story of Ian Curtis and Joy Division as directed by Anton Corbijn that I bought it. Waste of 38 bucks (I have yet to watch the accompanying joy division documentary, perhaps that makes it worth the price of admission). Pure dross.
I do not know why Anton went so coy on us; perhaps he was restrained by the widow Curtis? Perhaps ordinariness got in the way of breaking out? Who the fuck knows? In the ‘60s it would have starred Rita Tushingham or Tom Courteney and, to quote another Manchester lad, Peter Noone, would have been 'a-must-to-avoid.'
As much as Tony Wilson might have been chuffed by having Steve Coogan (before Steve became Owen Wilson's playmate and sat next to the God that green lights movies), I don't know what he would think of his portrayal in Control. I must ask Yvette...
There are a few scenes that work in the movie, and one of them involves Tony as he introduces Joy Division and other acts on his Granada TV show. That scene has the Wilson urgency and smacks and feels right. The rest. I’m afraid, is all a bit Peter Sellers in I’m All Right Jack for me, and I would think Mr. Wilson would have concurred.
So there we are. October is around the corner.
We'll be at The Midland Hotel. I hope the weather holds and I can bring linen.
As you can tell I'm a little bit nervous. Of all the managers and lads I followed and those that followed me, Tony Wilson was the strong one, the true runt, the leader. The one who made his pitch, led it and bled with it - and that, Alfie, is what it was all about....
Best from Bogotá,
Andrew Loog Oldham”



this year, a dear and talented pal, the artist sidney maurer, did a spectacular rendition of tony which went into silent auction on the ITC tree. one-off lithos are also available at sidney’s website:

you can bid on the painting here. it benefits the teenage cancer trust fund, a very good cause.


before we hit Manchester, madam and i hit a razorlight gig in a kentish town in north west london. the gig was to support the band's third album, slipway fires.

razorlight-slipway fires

mr. johnny borrell was in super fettle. the song "america" from their 2nd record, should have made it in America. it's a super song and performance, in rock terms, it’s up there with anything paul simon wrote in folk terms about the wunderpaiz.

on stage borrell teased, flirted and delivered to his fans. at times he looked uncannily like a ' 65 third tour of america mick jagger.


Mick Jagger 1965



a word of thanks to roger morton, razorlight manager, for taking care of esther and moi. i've loved the band since my son, maximillian, and i saw them in mexico city a couple of years ago. i hope that america takes to them and that they crack the wunderpaiz soon. both of them, the usa and razorlight deserve it.


we took the train from london's euston station to manchester. and had a wonderful time hosting and participating in ITC.


many regulars showed up to support the event. seymour stein, richard gottherer, lyor cohen of the WMG, mike smith of COLUMBIA/UK, alan mcghee, johnny marr’s manager and manchester legend joe moss, geoff travis of ROUGH TRADE, jarvis cocker, verve and soup dragons manager jazz summers and the artists.....the artists...what it's really all about. the ITC slogan said it best as it screamed "it's all about the music, stupid"

standouts for me were BLESS BEATS (a truly inspiring 22 year old producer/creator from bow in SE London) and THE PARIS RIOTS, a manchester band who really have it and i hope get it. Also the THE DETROIT SOCIAL CLUB, THE JESSIE ROSE TRIP, and ARTHUR DELANEY

i’d like to thank the whole ITC team, yvette, jon-paul, tom, james, llianne, stephen (even tho' he's a solicitor), all of the ITC staff and interns who made our journey so rewarding, enjoyable and edutaining. and an extra word of thanks to seymour stein for suggesting me to ITC in the first place.



next we popped over to liverpool to see OASIS on the second night of their two-night stand at the new liverpool echo arena. OASIS are truly amazing (but you already knew that). whether you like ' em or not. to take the swagger, as liam does, that goes with the off stage attitude lunatic aura of yer rock star and make that the job, the work on stage is truly mad and inspirational. and the songs, dear, it's always about the songs, ain't it and OASIS sure have the body of songs.

the concert was a tribal event. it was exhilarating and it was nice to visit back stage and have liam ask me if i'd bought any writs ( a sly nod to either his mate richard ashcroft's dillema with mick and keith and my orchestra over "BITTER SWEET SYMPHONY" and "THE LAST TIME " or a subliminal thought about the gallaghers more than wonderful degree from the COLLEGE OF KONSTRUCTIV PLAGARISM).

anyway nice chats were had all around, noel was a prince charming, liam a little john ("ROBIN HOOD" ref folka) and andy bell was as nice as nice about his affection for LITTLE STEVEN and the UNDERGROUND GARAGE.

lawdy, i intended to write so much more.


i had a great tea with dave clark, leader of the DC5. i had been wanting to say hallo to him ever since his oh so elegant acceptance speech at this years ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME.

he truly is a survivor and remains the innovative spirit whom the BEATLES saw, during that first 18 months of the british invasion, everytime they looked over their shoulders. it was not the STONERS, yet, or the KINKS or WHO. it was the DAVE CLARK FIVE.

gotta pack for buenos aires. off to record THE RATONES PARANOICOS. more schpater. much love america, abrazo a todo, ALO.