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Probably the last thing you wanna read is blah blah blah, my gig was fabulous at the weekend daahling, but I gotta say to the people of Nottingham… you rock. And skank. And a lot of other dances that they don’t have names for, but which sure look good. Temperature was sky-high at Ska-Lip-Soul last Friday, but was anyone daunted? No way. I am really impressed.

BBC 4 is now into its punk season – ooh a bit controversial really, what with it being the Jubilee – and the Evidently: John Cooper Clarke programme was enjoyable if a little gushy. I remember him standing in his charcoal suit in a field at some Godawful one-day festival in Hertfordshire in the late 70s – in fact it’s the only thing I can remember from the day, a bad sign – and he was blinking in the sunlight looking impossibly thin, alone, and out of place, like a solitary ant dropped from space. I wanted to go and talk to him but you don’t always get a good response from an approach out of the blue, and what would I have said anyway? “I really like your poetry, Mr Clarke,” or should that have been “…Mr Cooper Clarke?” I just couldn’t decide, so I stayed put and tried not to stare like Paddington Bear. It now seems likely that he won’t actually get to be the real Poet Laureate, instead of the punk one, which is a shame. But at least the BBC hasn’t forgotten him.

Got an email the other day asking why I hadn’t interviewed Steve Marriott for the Small Faces cover story. I assumed it was a wind-up, but just in case it wasn’t, I politely replied that this was not actually possible as the cockney answer to Eddie Floyd was no longer able to speak to anyone, sadly. Back came the response: “The magazine started long before he died. You should have interviewed him then and saved it for today.” Hmm.

This week I’ve been enjoying a Cliff Richard picture disc (about which more in issue 404) and a Prodigy medley (ditto) played by the brass band that brought us this version of a Toto classic. Heaven knows what the Grimethorpe Colliery Band would make of it…

Enjoy the gatefold-sized bank holiday,

Until next week,

Best wishes


Ian McCann, Record Collector Editor


The Small Faces – we get an update on Bert's lumbago.

A guide to the myriad Beatle books in the market.

Smoking potholes – strange tales of Led Zep and friends in London's real underground.

Indian psych groovers Atomic Forest and their lost classic.

The brilliant musician, songwriter and producer, Richard Hawley
pops in for a chat.

Think you know about the Ziggy Stardust album, then think again!

Kris Needs guides us through one of NYC's most important labels, Nu Groove.

+Feeder, Marillion, Can, Dexys...

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