Monday, January 25, 2010


Today's soundtrack:  Richard and Linda Thompson - Pour Down Like Silver

So, as the Staines contract draws to a close, it's time to take stock and look for the next role.  Strangely, I don't feel 'unemployed' any more, rather 'between contracts' - hence the obscure Ian Dury reference in the title above.  Better an Inbetweenie than a Doley!

Still, needs must, so I'm back signing on again.  This time round, it's Chester rather than Warrington.  So I can hang around with a better class of doley once a fortnight.  If, indeed, it comes to that.  There are a couple of contract opportunities floating around that might turn into something tangible, although both are back down in the South East.

In the meantime though, it's back to life/back to reality in the Cheshire Plains - and back to blogging as well.

The Staines work was good fun, and has given us a little bit of welcome breathing space, and has given me the appetite to do more work in this vein - at least until the permanent jobs start appearing again.  Up to a point, it's nice to be master of my own destiny again.  If I thought I could pick up a steady stream of such work, I'd do this full time.  Big 'If' though.

In my final few days away, I filled my evenings beginning to work through the first series of 'Spectacle', a music/chat show hosted by Elvis Costello.  Originally recorded and broadcast in the States, the series was somewhat lost in the depths of Channel Four's late night schedules and was consequently largely overlooked in this country.  So I was surprised to see the DVD of the first series for sale - but wasted no time getting a copy.

Four episodes in, and I'm pleased to report it is one of the most intelligent music shows I have seen in a long time - whilst Elvis (initially at least) is not the most polished of interviewers, his love of music and his respect for his interviewees comes across clearly.  And the music is superb too - whether performed by Elvis and his band (including, at various times, James Burton, Allen Toussaint and Attractions Steve Nieve and Pete Thomas) or in conjunction with his guests.

Oh, and some high quality guests as well.  Elton John in the first show, focusing heavily on his first few albums when his credibility outweighed his popularity.  Bill Clinton on the second, as a jazz fan (and sometime musician) rather than as a president, then Tony Bennett - dapper and smooth as silk, one of the last great crooners.  Then in show four - Lou Reed, for once engaging and erudite rather than bitter and abrasive.

To come - Smokey, Rufus Wainwright, Kris Kristofferson, James Taylor and others.

I have no idea what the potential audience is for a show like this - it's hardly appealing to mainstream tastes - but I'm delighted that there are producers who are prepared to invest in this sort of programming even though the returns must be tiny compared to the investment required.

Anyway, Here's Elvis and Lou duetting on 'Perfect Day'.  Fascinating contrast between Costello's crooning and Reed's, er, idiosyncratic approach to the melody.  And Elvis still looks threatening on the 'you're going to reap just what you sow' line.

Richard Thompson apparently makes an appearance on Spectacle on a later series, but comes up on the soundtrack today with wife (of the time) Linda.  I prefer the R&L albums to the solo Richard work - Linda's voice is that much easier on the ear and adds variety and nuance that can be missing from Richard's solo albums.

By any standards, this is gorgeous.  'The Dimming of the Day'.  Richard and Linda Thompson.

No comments: