A masterful Arena, exploring cool jazz – but rather than taking the normal route of talking heads, here the music tells the story, with occasional narration, on-screen quotes from the musicians, clips from all sorts of places, even a brief Allen Ginsberg reading. There’s also wonderful original incidental music by George Taylor. Worth watching, even if you think you don’t like jazz.
Posts Tagged ‘music’
Controversy? What controversy?
Simon Amstell, the cheeky-faced tousle-haired youth who chairs Never Mind the Buzzcocks recently appeared on Russell Brand’s last radio programme where he seemed to enjoy baiting the Daily Mail. Who would have guessed he’d have felt nervous after that? Despite playing at being extra careful here, he is as dry and funny as ever.
A welcome return to the screen for Alexi Sayle too.
We’d be unhappy if pop culture didn’t regularly throw up Shakespearian figures like Phil Spector, flawed and brilliant (and in Spector’s case downright dangerous). Imagine if they were all like Cliff. This really lovely Arena takes the form of an extended interview conducted by director Vikram Jayanti (the BBC’s press release says that Jayanti’s “hallmark is empathic explorations of genius” and I don’t doubt it) with some additional forensic analysis of the songs themselves. Tracks from the producer’s long career are played in full as the action proceeds and mini-critical essays by journalist Mick Brown pop up on screen as we watch.
Here’s an interesting interview with Jayanti.
No question about it: the best programme classified ‘music’ on iPlayer at the moment: a lovely 1968 documentary about pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy. The young Ashkenazy’s evidently not your stereotypical classical soloist: not wild-eyed, tempestuous or mercurial and not an egomaniac, despite his international fame. He’s modest, curious, humane, passionate. The kind of person you’d like to meet and get to know. There are many spine-tingling moments in the programme: not least a rehearsal for Stravinsky’s arrangement for four hands of his Rite of Spring with Daniel Barenboim at the (brand new) Queen Elizabeth Hall. Inspiring.
Look, I probably ought to put up something about Credit Default Swaps or LIBOR or something but, honestly, I just can’t. So—by way of light relief—here’s this week’s Never Mind the Buzzcocks. Laugh? You’ll probably find yourself unwinding your long-term leverage or increasing your tier 1 capital. Sarcastic grammar school charmer Simon Amstell is outstanding: a major primetime find for BBC2. He’ll be presenting Newsnight before the year is out. Guest captain Stephen Fry is clueless and magnificent. Jupitus weary and witty. I laughed like a drain—like an accelerating market collapse in fact. The funniest thing on the telly this week by about 85 basis points or $700B, whichever is the greater…