Regular readers of this throbbing virtual organ will have noticed the previous promise of a regular bite-sized travel tip…
That’s on its way, honest. I’ve been rather caught up doing a similar (but less concise) column on the trials and tribulations of the music scene. Since these are appearing weekly in random and ‘select’ publications across the UK, it’s quite possible you may never encounter one in print. So, several weeks after publication, some thoughts on Kanye West’s Glastonbury appearance…
Festival’s final straw?
Michael Eavis would be turning in his grave. Well, if he was dead, that is.
Fortunately for all concerned, the founder of Glastonbury is alive and rocking, although it was his daughter Emily who announced Kanye West as the festival’s Saturday headliner.
Of course, we’ve been here before. Rent-a-gob Noel Gallagher famously decried the selection of rapper Jay Z seven years ago. Now, far be it for me to start agreeing with the former Oasis man. After all, Glastonbury has moved with the times – possibly thanks to Emily’s guidance – otherwise we’d all be dancing around a fairy ring to the sounds of Gentle Giant. However, the more literate Gallagher brother made a point, albeit inadvertently. Glasto, as it’s not called, started out as a hippy peace’n’love wig-out, not as a cap-poppin’, beeatch-batin’ bling-fest. Despite being a groundbreaking booking, Jay Z, with all his rap trappings, went against the whole ethos.
On Kanye’s appointment as figurehead / stalking horse for this year’s event, there has been much liberal hand-wringing – anyone disagreeing with the choice must be racist, or at best mired in the ways of plod-rock. But they’re missing the point. After all, we’ve had Curtis Mayfield, Stevie Wonder and Dizzee Rascal, as well as any number of world music acts on the plethora of stages. And Jay Z, who at least in amongst the nonsense made some releases of artistic merit including The Black Album (and, er, ‘Hard Knock Life’).
But Kanye is another proposition. Ground-breaking, yes, his first two albums changed the face of hip hop. Problem is, recently he’s been creatively bereft (despite what he might tell you), best known for being a Beyonce apologist, and his award ceremonies stage invasions. Musically he’s way past his sell-by date – those aren’t the famed Glastonbury portaloos you can smell. But, with his off-stage shenanigans, he’s what every festival needs – a headline-grabbing bogeyman. A Clarkson for the blank generation.
However, at what price for the festival’s reputation? Never mind his wife Kim Kardashian’s famous ambition to “break the internet”, Kanye could be the final straw for Glastonbury.
Oh aye, and each page comes complete with a (very) short album review:
Bill Wells & Aidan Moffat – The Most Important Place In The World (Chemikal Undergound)
It’s not every day that jazz and indie music meet, but Wells and Moffat are no everyday musicians. Already award-winners (Scottish Album of the Year for 2012) this follow-up sees the pair progress from downbeat balladeering to a whole slew of genres to back up Moffat’s acidic prose.
There are smoky late-night tales of course, the duo’s stock in trade, but ‘Any Other Mirror’ boasts bossa nova beats, there’s an electropop edge to ‘Eleven Year Glitch’, and Tom Waits-tinged squonk on ‘Lock Up Your Lambs’. All expertly stewarded by Wells and a gaggle of virtuoso musicians. The only question is: where do they head next? ****
More to follow, pop pickers…