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Showing posts from August, 2021

Don Everly - An Obituary

Don Everly – Singer, songwriter   Born February 1, 1937; died August 21, 2021   Don Everly, who has died aged 84, was one half of The Everly Brothers, the honey-voiced duo who defined teen angst with a close harmony vocal style loaded with yearning. During their golden period, between 1957 and 1965, Everly and his younger brother Phil had twenty-eight hit singles in the British Top 30. Songs such as Bye Bye Love (1957), All I Have to Do is Dream (1958), and Crying in the Rain (1961) formed the soundtrack to many a post-hop heartbreak. With the passing of the years, the relatively innocent sounding tone of their records shrouded them in an ennui-laden haze of nostalgia.   In their heyday, the Everlys seemed invincible, belying the seeming fragility of their songs, which sounded like they were about to burst into tears any minute. Following their first hit with Bye Bye Love, they had a stream of chart toppers. Cathy’s Clown (1960) stayed at number one for nine weeks. Beatles John Lennon

Hugh Collins - An Obituary

Hugh Collins - Artist, writer   Born June 17, 1951; died August 5, 2021      Hugh Collins, who has died aged 70, was a convicted murderer who transcended his past while serving a life sentence at  HMP Barlinnie in Glasgow to become an artist and writer.   This was enabled after Collins was taken under the wing of the Barlinnie Special Unit, the radical rehabilitation programme that ran from 1972 to 1994. Championing a progressive, therapeutic approach that was in stark contrast to the prevailing brutalisation of the penal system, the Special Unit enabled self-expression through access to art.   While Jimmy Boyle, was the most high profile figure to emerge from the Special Unit’s enlightened approach, Collins’ life was similarly turned around. He created sculptures both while still in prison and following his release after serving sixteen years of his sentence. In 1983, he designed the set for a play, Death in Custody, and was allowed out to watch the production on the Edinburgh Festiva

Joey Jordison - An Obituary

Joey Jordison – Drummer   Born April 26, 1975; died July 26, 2021   Joey Jordison, who has died aged 46, was a drummer whose presence was at the thundering heart of American nu-metal band Slipknot. The group’s musical assault was heightened by a theatrical stage presence that saw each member wear grotesque horror movie style masks and costumes. Jordison performed in a white kabuki style mask with fake black blood drippings and a crown of thorns. His choice of mask was rooted in a childhood incident when his mother surprised him on Halloween sporting an original kabuki mask and a white robe. In keeping with the conceptualism, each of the band’s nine members was given a number. Jordison was number 1.     Slipknot’s mix of visceral fury and crowd-pleasing showmanship helped drag metal into the twenty-first century, with their albums selling millions. Their self-titled 1999 debut went double platinum. They were nominated for ten Grammys, and in 2006 won one for Best Metal Performance for t


Edinburgh Festival Fringe @  Newhailes House & Garden, Musselburgh Four stars If you go down to the woods over the next couple of weeks, weather permitting, the surprise in Grid Iron theatre company’s long awaited new outdoor show comes in just how well an open space can work for such expansive material. Much of this in Ben Harrison’s adaptation of Norwegian writer Erlend Loe’s 2004 novel as translated into English by Don Bartlett and Don Shaw is down to designer Becky Minto’s use of space. Working with lighting designer Elle Taylor, Minto’s transformation of a tree covered glade in a National Trust for Scotland run estate into a bijou hideaway for the play’s runaway hero provides a necessary sense of intimacy.   Doppler is a man who seemingly lives an ordinary urban existence with his high-flying wife and two children. Shortly after his father dies, he has an accident on his bike, and responds by moving out of the family home and living in a tent in the forest. In order to survive


Edinburgh International Festival 2021 @ Traverse Theatre Four stars Taking care is everything in Enda Walsh’s new play, which charts the emotional and psychological whirlwind of a young man under observation in an unnamed institution. The pyjamas the young man wears as he stumbles into a room still littered with the debris from some kind of party the night before is the giveaway in Walsh’s own production, which leads Edinburgh International Festival’s theatre programme in this tentative return to live performance.   The young man is called John Kane, and, as he tidies up the mess on Jamie Vartan’s set, it is as if he is attempting to restore order inside his own head. Disembodied voices ask after his well-being in a booth that resembles a confessional. Meanwhile, what appears to be a giant lobster and an old man turn out to be two women called Mary, a clown doctor double act with stars in their eyes. When they’re not hogging the spotlight themselves, they enable John to role-play his t

Dusty Hill - An Obituary

Dusty Hill – Bass player, singer, songwriter   Born May 19, 1949; died July 27/28, 2021      Dusty Hill, who has died aged 72, was the bass player and co vocalist with ZZ Top, the Texas sired trio whose combination of southern blues, bar-room boogie, bump-and-grind rhythms and libidinously inclined lyrics hit commercial pay dirt. There was humour too, reflected in the identical appearance of Hill and guitarist and lead vocalist Billy Gibbons. As they rocked out in co-ordinated fashion to the likes of Gimme All Your Lovin’, Sharp Dressed Man (1983), (1983), and Legs (1983), both wore shades, ten gallon hats and voluminous chest-length beards Hill and Gibbons called Texan goatees.    The dry humour was driven home even more by the fact that the only band member without extensive facial hair was called Frank Beard, who only sported a mere moustache. In videos for the songs that became MTV staples, Hill and Gibbons looked like runaway Amish homeboys who’d discovered how to have a good time

Jackie Mason - An Obituary

J ackie Mason – Comedian, actor Born June 9, 1928; died July 24, 2021     Jackie Mason, who has died aged 93, was an acerbic and forthright comedian, whose shtick of amused outrage maintained an unreconstructed attitude over a career that stretched over more than half a century. As a stand-up, his former calling as a rabbi held him in good stead, with his Jewishness a key part of his act. This was delivered in a thickset Yiddish-inflected Brooklynese that never left him. His one-man shows filled theatres, won Tony awards, and saw him nominated for an Olivier award. As a satirist he was compared to Mark Twain, and his contemporary Mel Brooks declared him one of the greatest comedians of all time.   In the 1960s, Mason was a major draw on the American TV circuit, before being kept off The Ed Sullivan Show for two years after being accused of giving the host the finger when Sullivan gave him a three-minute to start winding up his act. There was a conflict too with Frank Sinatra in the 198