Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Gogglebox

Good weekend to all !
Steve is away this week, so you will have to put up with a Scotsmans musical ramblings.
I'm not usually much of a TV person (or Radio, for that matter) but there has been some fascinating documentaries on in recent times. BBC Four have continued their series 'Pop ! What Is It Good For ?' with a whole selection of excellent programmes. So well written and presented, and a particular favourite was hosted by music journo Paul Morley, who chose 6 pop songs and explained why they were so important to him, growing up with them, what they meant, etc etc.
It made we wish I could do the same. TV contract, anyone ? I'd love to do that.
Alongside, was the 'Pop Britannia' series, and it showed how, even though the musical world has changed so much, there were exact striking parallels between the Tin Pan Alley of the 50s and 60s, right through to this decade. The word is 'Svengali'. All different in their own ways, but no matter what decade, the result was basically the same - hits.
Naturally, they looked closely at Brian Epstein, Andrew Loog Oldham, Larry Page, and the like.
Initially, I saw no connection with them to the awful 'Hit Factory' of the 80s and 90s with the manufactured acts (and even now, with the likes of Simon Cowell, etc, with their 'Idol' shows).
But of course there is. 'Svengalis' all, creating hits, creating 'pop stars', just in a different time, and a different place. I had never really thought of the parallels being that close before. But they are, and it's just that time has moved on, though the end result is the same, although, admittedly, more 'throwaway' in culture now. Money is more the key now, in a 'quick fix' hit type of way, and I guess that's why the mystique and fascination will always remain with the real creators, and the people who did it first, like the Epsteins of this world.
Back to this weekend, and the Zone continues with the Saturday and Sunday evening shows via and Sky 0195, and then through Monday to Wednesday, via
I'm around on Sunday at 8pm (UK time) via RTI and Sky, and took advantage of the fact I had a host of new material in, in recent times, so the likes of The Fratellis, Dave Gahan, Glasvegas and more, feature this week, alongside a few musical faves, and biased viewpoints !
Tonight, Saturday, at 9pm, same channel, it's Andy Miles, leaning more to the 'Rock' idiom, with the likes of Velvet Revolver, Wildhearts, and the Stones too. And much more.
Do tune in, if you can. As ever, it's all on our Pod too, by late Sunday evening.
Have a great weekend !
Johnny Reece, The Album Zone