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Album review: Tony Christie – Now’s The Time

Several ago Tony Christie was soaking up the sun in his Spanish home, funding his lifestyle with royalties from long forgotten hits and the odd appearance on the chicken in a basket circuit. Then something rather wonderful happened. Hipsters began spinning his Tom Jones at the movies type tunes like the incomparable Avenues and Alleyways in clubs, fellow Sheffield son Jarvis Cocker got him singing on a one-off single and some bloke called Peter Kay was hatching plans for a Comic Relief  video.

In 2011 then Tony Christie has gone from cabaret club mainstay to hip purveyor of 60s style soul/mod pop – for the first time in years Christie is cool. A couple of years back he released the superb Made in Sheffield album which featured a collection of songs born in the city. It was a great artistic success with Christie’s soaring voice endowing Javis Cocker’s Born to Cry with epic status and turning The Human League’s Louise into a wonderfully bittersweet piano-driven ballad.

With Now’s The Time, an album that Christie rates as the best he has ever produced, it is pretty much all new stuff, and unlike Made in Sheffield, which was a little disparate given the number of songwriters on duty, it flows brilliantly. This is top class 60s influenced soul delivered by one of the most distinctive voices in the business.

The best tracks though are still the collaborations. 7 Hills is a country style soul duet (albeit with an electronic back beat) with Roisin Murphy, the golden voice of Moloko. Then there’s the frankly bizarre Get Christie which features a sample from Roy Budd’s soundtrack to Get Carter with some great Jarvis Cocker penned lyrics.

Nobody in the World is just a great classic sounding pop song, while the album’s pounding finale Something Better descends into a genuine 60s style soul freak out.

Personally I still think Sheffield might just be Christie’s finest moment, but it is great to have him back and this is one hell of an album.

8/10

Posted: 2nd, March 2011 | In: Reviews | Comment


MOJO Honours List 2010 In Pictures: Old, New And Rearranged Faces

WITH Tony Christie and Jarvis Cocker to the MOJO Honours List 2010 at the Brewery in London. Good do. But what about those faces? We couldn’t help but wonder who had aged the best, the worst and who had been assisted? The mugshots of Marc Almond and Andy Bell were like looking at the 1980s in the back of a spoon. Kasabian looked good. Bez from the Happy Mondays looks as you’d expect, and breathing. Jean Michel Jarre had windswept hair (in no wind!), Peter Blake, Mani, Alex James, Richard Hawley, Emmylou Harris, Harry Shearer, Jim Jones Review, Midlake, Jeff Prystowsky, Mark Mothersbaugh, Duane Eddy, Martha and Rufus Wainwright, Sigur Ros and Beth Orton arrived.  Jimmy Page looked smooth. And  Hawkwind looked like everyone else should have…

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Dave Brock (left) and Tim Blake of Hawkwind win the MOJO Maverick Award at the MOJO Honours List 2010 held in the Brewery, London.

Posted: 10th, June 2010 | In: Music | Comment


Rachel Weisz’s Demented Colonscope Presents The South Bank Awards In Pictures

TO the South Bank Show Awards in the North Bank of the Dorchester, Mayfair in the company of someone who used to be Vic Reeves, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Frankmusik, Jarvis Cocker, Peaches Geldof, Ronnie Wood – of whom Big Brother’s Heidi Fleiss says: “Katia Ivanova: Dumbass. Ronnie Wood must have been drunk to have been with her” – the ubiquitous Michael McIntyre, the lovely Maxine Peake, sarky Miquita Oliver, bedpan fancier Grayson Perry, Will Young, Billy Connolly and Old Mr Anorak’s future wife No. 32 Rachael Weisz, all vying to take home Melvyn Bragg’s  demented colonoscope…

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Rachel Weisz at the South Bank Show Awards 2010 at the Dorchester Hotel, Park Lane, London

Posted: 26th, January 2010 | In: Celebrities | Comment


VV Brown Proves Manmade Climate Change Is Real

vv-brownTO prove that manmade climate change is real, celebrities at a music festival –  populated by people arriving by cars and camper vans, who live in plastic tents and cook on gas burners – will be painting their faces blue.

Says the Guardian:

Celebrities including Jarvis Cocker and VV Brown will be sporting a startling look at Glastonbury as part of Oxfam’s Here and Now climate change campaign

VV Brown:

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Posted: 21st, June 2009 | In: Celebrities | Comment


Farewell Cruel World: The Search For The Perfect Iceberg

DEAR Anorak, How do I save the world? Here’s how:

Follow the Cape Farewell expedition to the Arctic, the frontline of climate change, with over 40 artists, scientists and musicians onboard including Jarvis Cocker.

It’s great. Here’s intrepid global warming explorer Francesca Galeazzi on “The search for the perfect iceberg”.

Yesterday for me was a roller-coaster of emotions: determination and failure, hope and fear, anticipation and disappointment.

We could cry but our tears would turn to ice…

One of my projects on board consisted of an artistic response to the melting and retreat of glaciers as result of climate change.

Oh?

My response was to place a park bench on a newly formed iceberg or floating ice-shelf off the fast-moving coast of West Greenland. A bench which, in its fragility and remoteness, becomes a silent witness of the dramatic changes that are occurring in the Arctic. A bench with nobody to sit on.

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Posted: 6th, October 2008 | In: Celebrities | Comments (4)