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Showing posts from January, 2022

Ronnie Spector - Obituary

Ronnie Spector – Singer Born August 10, 1943; died January 12, 2022    Ronnie Spector, who has died of cancer aged 78, was a singer whose early records fronting The Ronettes defined the sound of 1960s girl groups with something more provocative than some of their saccharine-laden peers. Spector’s euphoric vocals were key to the success behind The Ronettes’s run of hit singles; Be My Baby (1963); Baby, I Love You (1963); (The Best Part of) Breakin’ Up (1964); Walking in the Rain (1964) and more. In a pre British invasion era, these bite-sized melodramas became the soundtrack to teenage yearning.    There wasn’t anything submissive or demure in Spector’s vocal style. She delivered every desire-filled line with pure joy. This was complemented by The Ronettes’ kohl-eyed beehived look and a more assured attitude than some other groups. “We weren’t afraid to look hot,” Spector wrote in her 1989 memoir, Be My Baby: How I Survived Mascara, Miniskirts, and Madness. “That was our image.”   While

John Miles - An Obituary

J ohn Miles –  Singer, songwriter, musician Born April 23, 1949; died December 5, 2021    John Miles, who has died aged 72, was a singer and songwriter, whose composition, Music, became a piece of classic rock, which travelled far beyond its 1970s roots. Written and recorded for Miles’ debut album, Rebel (1976), Music is a first person ode to the redemptive power of its subject.    Music’s lyrics consist of just two four-line stanzas sung two and a half times throughout the song’s just shy of six minutes duration. Miles’s words punctuate extended instrumental passages that shift gears and tempos several times in a sketchbook history of modern pop that moves from piano-led balladeering to progressive soft rock and disco.    Accompanied by long-term bassist and co-writer Bob Marshall and drummer Barry Black, this is fleshed out by arranger Andrew Powell’s orchestral flourishes, as the song comes full circle to confirm music’s transcendent force.    Miles said he wrote Music in half an ho

Peter Bogdanovich - An Obituary

Peter Bogdanovich – Film director, actor, writer   Born July 30, 1939; died January 6, 2022   Peter Bogdanovich, who has died aged 82 from complications of Parkinson’s Disease, was a film director who was at the centre of the rise of new American cinema in the late 1960s and 1970s. His best-known films were steeped in his devotion to old Hollywood, with early successes The Last Picture Show (1971), What’s Up, Doc? (1972) and Paper Moon (1973) on one level lovingly realised pieces of fantasy wish fulfilment.   The Last Picture Show, adapted from Larry McMurtry’s novel, was a dead-end town rites of passage that won Oscars for Ben Johnson and Cloris Leachman. What’s Up, Doc? was a riotous update of screwball comedies. One of its stars, Ryan O’Neal, also appeared in  Paper Moon (1973) as a depression era conman who hits the road with a ten-year-old girl that may or may not be his daughter.    The child was played by O’Neal’s own daughter, Tatum O’Neal, who became the youngest actor to win

Joey Simons – The Fearful Part Of It Was The Absence

Life’s a riot in  The Fearful  Part Of It Was The Absence,  Joey Simons’s new presentation, which forms the latest edition of Collective’s Satellites Programme of work by upcoming artists, provocateurs and other practitioners. Simons draws his title from the journals of Henry Cockburn, the Edinburgh born nineteenth Solicitor General for Scotland, author, conservationist and Edinburgh Royal High School graduate.    Cockburn wrote in his journals of a ‘terrible silence’ and ‘fearful absence of riot’ at demonstrations in Scotland in support of parliamentary reform. These protests nevertheless helped lead to the introduction of The Representation of the People Act 1832. More than a century and a half later, as riots swept across England in 2011 after Mark Duggan was shot and killed in London by police, Scotland again seemingly remained passive.    Drawing from his observations of such apparent cross-border differences, Simons was informed in part too by artist Jimmy Cauty’s The Aftermath D

Alvin Lucier - An Obituary

Alvin Lucier – Composer Born May 14, 1931; died December 1, 2021   Alvin Lucier, who has died aged 90, was a pioneering composer, whose boundless curiosity set down a template for generations of sound artists and sonic architects who followed in his wake. His explorations of the physical properties of sound were quietly radical and endlessly inquisitive in his extrapolation of sound from non-traditional sources. These included brain sensors, pencils and teapots.   Key works include I Am Sitting in a Room (1969), in which Lucier recorded himself talking as he explained what he was about to do. Lucier then played back the speech and re-recorded it, repeating the process until his words blur into the void, and only resonant frequencies remain. The influence of a room’s architecture and acoustic properties were key to Lucier’s work, and it was the unpredictability of the end result that intrigued him. In this sense, Lucier’s experimental approach was rooted in science as much as sound.   T

Bob Baker - An Obituary

Bob Baker – Television writer Born July 26, 1939; died November 3, 2021    Bob Baker, who has died aged 82, was a television writer, who helped bring to life two of the small screen’s most iconic creations. Along with his writing partner Dave Martin, who died in 2007, Baker co-penned thirty-eight episodes of Doctor Who (1971-1979) during the children’s SF show’s 1970s golden age. Known as the Bristol Boys, the duo’s work began with The Claws of Axos (1971), and, over eight stories, straddled the regeneration of Jon Pertwee’s third Doctor into Tom Baker’s fourth incarnation of the eccentric Time Lord.    This included the programme’s tenth anniversary story, The Three Doctors (1972-1973), which saw the first and second Doctors, played respectively by William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton, join forces with Pertwee in a battle to save Time. Baker and Martin’s tenure on Doctor Who also saw them create K9, the pompous dog-based mobile computer that went on to have a series of its own. Bake