Tuesday, 25 January 2011

The Seven Ages of Man/Woman in Popular Music: Part 3 The Lover

And so, after childhood, Shakespeare's melancholic Jacques turns his attention to adulthood and the long slow slide to death and that moment in which Beckett's Pozzo says, 'the light gleams an instant, then it's night once more.'
The third age of man and wochap sees us as the heartbroken lover,

And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow.

What are the great songs of the love lorn? For me there is no contest, the Mighty Smokey with help from his Miracles.

Reactions from The Word massive here

Seven Ages of Man in Pop: Part 2 Teenage Years

SO, in a bid to win the 'Statin' the bleedin' obvious, innit?' award for this millennium, I'm going to stick my neck out (and steal the work of countless esteemed writers and thinkers) and say that popular music's history is inextricably tied-up with the emergence of teenagers as an economic group in society.
Even 60 years or so after this emerged, pure pop is still primarily obsessed with the first flushes of love, moving towards adulthood and getting yer end away for the first time.
Now, there are many thousands of artists who have written about being a teenager - Teenager in Love, Teenage Kicks, Teenage Riot and the really quite creepy Sweet Little Sixteen, we could go on ad nauseum.
The 'Orrible Who not only made a career out of writing about teenagers, but Townshend could be considered as someone who has helped form our entire concept of being a teenager in post war Britain given his centrality to the Mod and rock movements.
But, if one song captures the first flush of teenage sexuality and the awkwardness of that age, then the mighty Fountains of Wayne nail it with this wonderful song.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

The Seven Ages of Man/Woman in Popular Music: Part 1 Childhood

Harry Chapin's Cat's in the Cradle came up on the randomiser today and it struck me as one of the greatest songs about growing up. By some circuitous route it got me thinking about Shakespeare's Seven Ages of Man speech from As You Like It.
So what are the best songs about the seven ages of man or woman?
Today is childhood.
I'm kicking off with the aforementioned Mr Chapin's beautiful paean to childhood/ adolescence and fatherhood.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

The New Economy of Comedy - Liverpool Confidential

A piece about Arena comedy and how the whole industry is experiencing its greatest ever boom in Britain's worst recession for 20 years.