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Leslie Bricusse - An Obituary

Leslie Bricusse – songwriter, lyricist, composer   Born January 29, 1931 died October 19, 2021    Leslie Bricusse, who has died aged 90, was an Academy Award winning songwriter and composer, who brought a very English pop sensibility to musical theatre that went on to charm Broadway, Hollywood and the world. At his creative peak, this was done primarily with actor and singer Anthony Newley, his artistic partner over a series of hit shows that included Stop the World – I Want to Get Off (1961) and The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd (1965).   Songs for the former included What Kind of Fool Am I?, which became a hit for Sammie Davis Jr. The latter featured Feeling Good, recorded by Nina Simone for her 1965 album, I Put a Spell on You. Also with Newley, Bricusse penned the lyrics to Goldfinger (1964), composed by John Barry, and sung by Shirley Bassey as the melodramatic theme song for the third James Bond film of the same name. Three years later, Bricusse wrote the words
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Alan Hawkshaw - An Obituary

Alan Hawkshaw – Composer, songwriter, musician   Born March 27, 1937; died October 16, 2021    Alan Hawkshaw, who has died aged 84, was a composer whose work was part of everyday popular consciousness. Hawkshaw’s TV themes crossed generations and demographics, ranging from the brass led gallops for BBC sports show, Grandstand, and comedy vehicle Dave Allen at Large, to the reggae tinged quirkiness that ushered in comprehensive school set children’s drama, Grange Hill. This contrasted with the regal stateliness of his theme for Channel Four News. Then there was Countdown, Channel Four’s flagship quiz show, for which Hawkshaw’s thirty-second theme became an integral tension-building backdrop to the word based game.   As a musician, Hawkshaw was a member of Emile Ford & The Checkmates in the 1960s, and in The 1970s joined The Shadows. He also played more than 7,000 recording sessions as keyboardist, arranger and musical director with the likes of Cliff Richard, Olivia Newton-John, Dus

Erskine Beveridge: Collecting Relics, Ruins & Ways of Life

Man With a Camera   When Erskine Beveridge picked up a camera in the late 1800s, this revolutionary way of immortalising the world was perfect for documenting the Dunfermline born mill owner’s archaeological adventures across Scotland. While Beveridge’s images would go on to appear in his assorted publications, it was only when a pile of neglected glass plate photographic negatives was accidentally discovered that a vital archive of the country’s landscape on the brink of seismic social change was preserved.    The discovery occurred while surveyors from the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (which later joined forces with Historic Scotland to form Historical Environment Scotland) were looking over one of Beveridge’s soon to be demolished mills in the early 1960s. A later donation of another box of glass plate negatives rescued from a skip and stored in a wardrobe for many years expanded the collection further. Several other boxes believed to have hel

Barry Ryan - An Obituary

Barry Ryan – Singer, musician, photographer Born October 24, 1948; died September 28, 2021   Barry Ryan, who has died aged 72, was a singer who topped the charts in several countries in 1968 with his single, Eloise. The song was a flamboyant baroque epic written by Ryan’s brother Paul, with whom he previously performed as a duo, and inspired in part by Richard Harris’ rendition of Jimmy Webb’s song, MacArthur Park.   Ryan’s recording of Eloise was produced by Bill Landis and arranged by Eurovision conductor Johnny Arthey, with musicians including future Led Zeppelin members Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones. The end result was a breathless melodramatic gallop awash with strings and horns that lasted over five minutes. As Ryan’s yearning voice gave way to a slowed down mid section, the song climaxed with a final frantic declaration of devotion.    Eloise was a glorious pop anomaly that found mass appeal through an audaciousness that went far beyond any idea of novelty. The effect was heigh

Richard H. Kirk - An Obituary

Richard H. Kirk – Electronic musician and composer Born March 21, 1956; died September 2021    Richard H. Kirk, who has died aged 65, was a pioneer of British electronic music. This was the case both as the only constant member of Cabaret Voltaire, the Sheffield sired group he formed in 1973 with Stephen Mallinder and Chris Watson, and with a plethora of solo and collaborative works. Kirk’s prolific output saw him record both under his own name and a role-call of more than forty aliases that included Sandoz, Electronic Eye and Sweet Exorcist.    Naming their group after the Zurich based Dadaist nightclub that opened in 1916, Kirk, Mallinder and Watson initially produced sonic collages that drew from the cut-up aesthetic of novelist William Burroughs. They fused primitive tape experiments and samples with psych garage, dub, funk and German kosmische influences.    With Kirk adding treated guitar, clarinet and saxophone to the electronic stew, the band’s early experiments were at times d

Germany Calling! – How Strategy: Get Arts Enlightened Edinburgh

Action! Time! Vision!   It was fifty-one years and a little bit more ago today that Strategy: Get Arts opened its doors at Edinburgh College of Art with a splash. The latter came care of Klaus Rinke’s water installation hosing people down as they entered ECA’s main building during the exhibition’s three-week run during Edinburgh International Festival from late August to mid September 1970. Since then, the ripples of this now legendary conceptualist infiltration of ECA’s historically staid environs by 35  Düsseldorf based artists has arguably helped open up, not just its host city, but the entire world it turned upside down.    Just how much the palindromically named extravaganza left its mark is clear from Christian Weikop’s forensically researched new book, Strategy: Get Arts – 35 Artists Who Broke the Rules. The book was launched in August at the 2021 Edinburgh International Book Festival, at an event in ECA’s Sculpture Court. It was here and in the rooms around it that work by Jose