Category Archives: Entertainment

John Lennon Interview Animation

A beautiful animation done to accompany the audio recording of an interview with John Lennon in 1969. I wasn’t sure if the animation was done back then or was contemporary until I saw the image of Bush flash by.

The interview was done by Jerry Levitan, who was 14 at the time. Somehow he got into Lennon’s hotel room with his tape deck. I love the sections that show Levitan. Lennon tries to sell the idea of doing everything for Peace, and Levitan keeps on bringing it down to earth by telling him that he doesn’t like George, and that all his friends are listening to the Bee Gees. Nice.

Ray Lamontagne

Shannon and I went to the Albert Hall on Monday evening to see out first bit of live music in a while. It was one of those rushed trips. I arrived home after my hour and a half commute from Cambridge, Mum took over, we sped out to the train station and just over an hour later we were in the right neighborhood knowing we’d have to head back home soon because it was a “school night”. It was one of those events that we might have considered skipping, put off by the sheer effort of getting in and out of London. Glad we didn’t.

I think I saw Ray Lamontagne on Later with Jools Holland around January. I already had his Trouble and Till The Sun Turns Black albums, which I really enjoy. The first was a gift from my Sister, the second from our friend Amy in Seattle. His live performance really struck me as “pure”, somehow. He’s really focused on the mic when he sings, and sort of crouches, singing upward into it at the more intense bits. On the back of that I booked to see him live when he came to England.

The concert didn’t disappoint. He’s clearly into the music and his band and little else. The Hall is huge, and regularly hosts big acts, but the stage was set really simply for this one, with a cloth backdrop behind the four band members, and a few simple spotlights. Not big screens.

Lamontagne is clearly not into bantering with the crowd. Other then hearing him whispering the count-ins to the songs to the other band members, he didn’t actually say anything until at least the sixth or seventh song, and even then it was a simple “Thank You”. He stood on the right-hand end of the curve created by the other musicians, looking in at them. At one point someone from the area of the crowd towards which his back always faced heckled him to turn around so they could see him properly. He ignored this and just kept going. Somehow, the focus on the music, and the quality of the band as a whole, gave them plenty of charisma, though.

The acoustics in the Albert Hall are stunning, by the way. We were right up in the circle and you could hear all the instruments really clearly. Possibly the best sounding concert I’ve ever been to. Anyway, the whole evening was a real surprise, as all the best things are, and Shannon and I came away really impressed by the quality of Lamontagne’s performance. Really recommended.

Nice duet between Lamontagne and Damien Rice here on YouTube, BTW.



Targeting teens

Great quote from an interview of John Humphrys, host of BBC Radio 4’s “Today” program:

“He cannot understand why BBC executives obsess over attracting young audiences, as if they were chasing advertising revenues. “They see that the Today programme audience is old. Oh my gosh, how dare they be old! Many of them are over the age of 50, they will all die and we won’t have audience. Well actually, 20-year-olds get to be 21 and eventually 50. What happens when they get older is that they start to listen to the Today programme ? that’s the way it has always been. We are not a commercial station trying to sell iPods to people.”

The Today program covers news and current events in the morning slot. Humphrys is famous for giving the most grilling of interviews. Squirm-inducing questioning.

I totally agree with his point. You see teen-targeting everywhere, from music to movies to TV to games. See my previous rant on the programming of our local cinema. Targetting teens seems to mean dumbing things down, which insults teens and insults me. I’m an adult, approaching my forties, with a decent sized disposable income. I have 30 years of my working career left and then (hopefully) a life of leisure after that. I’m ready to spend. Target me, please.

John Humphrys: On the threat to ‘Today’