As soon as I laid eyes on Arne Bellstorf’s new graphic novel, Baby’s in Black, I knew it was my kind of book. It tells the story of photographer Astrid Kirchherr’s tragic love affair with original Beatle Stuart Sutcliffe during the band’s Hamburg days (and ironically borrows it’s title from the Beatles’ song about her). I’ve seen this story portrayed before in the movie Backbeat but what makes this book special is the fact that Bellstorf had direct access to Astrid Kirchherr and has written his book after hearing her story first hand. On certain pages the reported dialogue between Kirchherr and the Beatles feels so fresh and authentic you can almost hear their accents.
Bellstorf’s writing and illustration is first rate – the brilliantly cropped panels reveal a wealth of story telling detail, and the lovely, sketchy style of illustration is a joy to behold – this is probably the best graphic novel I’ve ever read.
She loved him, yeah?
If there was anyone cooler than Serge Gainsbourg, I’ve yet to meet them. Serge left us for the great lounge in the sky twenty years ago today and I’m smoking a Gauloises in his honour.
While on my hols in Vancouver, my cousin Mark gave me a couple of CD’s of his friend Pete’s roots rock band The Matinée. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but after listening to both CD’s, I really love their music. The Matinée MySpace page references the Kings of Leon, The Black Crowes and old Bruce Springsteen to describe their sound and that’s about right. Since hearing the CD’s I’ve been playing them non-stop and they’ve proven a big hit in the Virgin Money studio too. My favourite song is ‘The Road’ – watch the live version above and enjoy (if you want a little smile to yourself, look at the stop-motion version of ‘The Road’ here). Oh, and iTunes has their album (and other songs including ‘The Road’) if you want to listen to more.
Last Saturday I took Number One Son to London for an amazing day buying comics, eating burgers (and later pretzels, snack fans) before ending up at Wembley Stadium to see Green Day. It was his first rock concert and it couldn’t have got any better or bigger as he was seeing his favorite band in a venue twice the size of our village. Green Day were brilliant – whipping through their hits old and new – all the while entertaining the crowd with the usual audience participation, (including recruiting three lucky members of the audience up on stage to perform with them) playing silly cover versions and being really great fun. One thing I wasn’t prepared for (and this is where I’m showing my age) was the amount of effing and geoffing coming from the mouth of singer Billie Joe Armstrong. As Number One Son said later “I learnt some new words tonight, Dad” and he weren’t f@!!?$% wrong!
It is with a heavy heart (and a hungover head) that I relate the news that the wonder drummer of The Marketing-Tings, Mr Simon Wallwork, leaves Virgin Money today. He is off to join Subway (insert weak jokes about drum/bread rolls and big baps here) where he will be drumming up business (sorry) from within their marketing department. Of course, this sounds the death knell for The Marketing-Tings, who will no doubt rise again in another form. But it won’t be the same and that’s kinda sad.
Excuse me, I think I’ve got something in my eye…
On Friday night The Marketing-Tings (of which I am the humble Bass player) played a charity gig at The Silver Fox, Taverham, ably supported by the wildman of Wymondham, Gazza D. We did it to boost the Virgin London Marathon fundraising efforts of Ben, Simon and James and by the end of the night we’d raised £1000 in total for their chosen charities, Cancer Research UK, the Haiti Appeal and CLIC Sargent . It was very, er, intimate and sometimes it was hard to distinguish between the audience and the band – it was a little like that scene in The Blues Brothers when they play Rawhide, but without the chicken wire. However, we went down a storm (and thanks for all the nice comments on Twitter and Facebook folks).
EXCLUSIVE NEWS FLASH: This blog is proud to announce the triumphant return to the stage of the mighty Marketing-Tings, the best band in Virgin Money’s Marketing department (OK, they’re the only band in Virgin Money’s Marketing department, but let’s not get bogged down in details) of whom I am the humble bass player. Virgin Money are now sponsors of the London Marathon and to help supplement the fundraising efforts of the three ’Tings who are running it (James, Rich and Simon) the Marketing-Tings are playing a special charity gig (see show poster drawn by yours truly above) raising money for Cancer Research UK, the Haiti Appeal and CLIC Sargent. With support from Gazza D, this looks to be the rock show of the year. The date is Friday 16th April, the venue is The Silver Fox, Taverham, Norwich and things will start to kick off about 8.30-ish. If you are in the Norwich area, please come long as we’d like to raise as much money as possible. In return we promise to wow you with musical magnificence, offset with some of the corniest jokes you’ll ever hear.
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