An open letter to Morrissey

Dear Morrissey,

Thank you for all the joy that you have brought to me and countless others over the past 26 years. Can you believe it has been so long? I can’t.
I’m very worried about you at the moment, Steven. You seem to be pushing yourself to do things that you do not want to do, primarily performing on a stage.
Correct me if I am mistaken, but you are clearly not enjoying it right now. You need to take a break.
If you were to retire we would not blame you, we have so many fond memories to look back on, you can only damage your reputation from here on. Please don’t push yourself so far that you become branded a hack, only continuing for the sake of the record companies wishes.

Remember Wolverhampton ’88? The fans queued for days and you let them in for free, as long as they wore one of your t shirts. You enjoyed that gig.
Remember Finsbury Park ’92? Yes, it was controversial but you fought them off and won. You enjoyed that gig too.

Can you remember the last gig that YOU enjoyed? Of course, we enjoy every single one, but I’m asking you the question. When did you last turn up to a venue and really relish the fact that you were going on stage? Albert Hall ’03 possibly, during your hiatus?

I say this in kindness and sadness, you need to take some time off. Kick back, relax, perhaps even go back to your old haunts in L.A? Hang out with Nancy [Sinatra]. Do whatever you have to do to enjoy it again, because if you don’t it will consume you and it will all be over.

Best Wishes,

Nathan L Collins.

Is honesty the best policy?

Is there anything that hasn’t been said about the decision made by Radiohead to release their latest album download only, and to apply a psuedo-honesty box programme to the payment system?

I will say, however, that I don’t believe that it is an honesty box in it’s true form, as many pundits have been declaring. As in essence there is no set price, it isn’t relied upon that people use their concience to decide whether or not to short change the box, which is the true concept behind the technique.

How the band have benefited from this idea so far is still to be released, but it is the talk of the blogosphere, and beyond, so I cannot believe that they have done too badly.

I have spoken to a few friends who have partaken in this experiment and the amounts given have varied wildy, from £15 right down to the obligatory £0.00. From my findings I have deduced that the amount given will increase with the age of the person and will also fit in with their current downloading habits.
Ie. If they normally download illegally, being allowed to pay what they think the music is worth will not necessarily coax them into actually handing over their card details, but if they are regular downloaders from legal sources, they will dip into their pockets.

To say that this is typical of all who have downloaded In Rainbows would be a gross estimation, but I can imagine not to be far wide of the mark. We’ll have to wait and see if any statistics or trends are published any time soon.

Die Hard 4.0 (Live Free or Die Hard)

Best movie ever!
OK, maybe not ever.
Maybe the best movie this year … apart from The Last King of Scotland. (Was that this year?)

I was lucky enough to get to go to the ‘Welsh Premiere’ of the film, held at the Odeon Cinema in Cardiff Bay, in aid of Help a South Wales Child, Red Dragon FM’s own charity.
The place wasn’t quite awash with celebrity as was promised, but, it was still able to mingle with the likes of Welsh International (and all round bloody good rugby player) Colin Charvis and the one and only Goldie Lookin’ Chain.

Onto the picture itself, I’m a big fan of the Die Hard franchise, having watched each movie around about 15 times each, perhaps more (I kid you not). I just can’t get enough of them, and I don’t know why. I’m not a particularly macho kind of guy, and I wouldn’t class the action genre as my favourite, but something about Bruce Willis and the frantic heroics he finds himself performing hits a spot for me, and as I’m led to believe, quite a lot of other people.
Perhaps it’s the ‘everyman’ character that he plays? He isn’t ‘the last action hero’ by far.
By the third instalment he is a divorced, borderline alcoholic with a major attidude problem. But despite this, With a Vengeance is my favourite of the first three.

Die Hard 4 starts tamely enough, setting the story up to follow through later in the movie, by introducing John McClane’s daughter, Lucy, who we had already met once, albeit briefly, back in 1988 in Die Hard as a 4 year old.
Then John gets the call, the one he will obviously regret for a long, long time. Of course, he is sent by his commanding officer to the wrong place at the wrong time and gets caught up in a fire fight of epic proportions. The rest, you can kind of figure out yourselves, but it is pretty spectacular.

At no point does this movie drag on, it’s punchy but at times over the top, but what do you expect? If it wasn’t a little OTT, fans would complain about that instead. I firmly believe that Die Hard 4.0 was made as an end to the series. Bruce Willis has said that this is it, that he wants to finish off his run as Detective McClane, and who can blame him?
Since the first Die Hard movie thrust Willis into the big time as a star, he has gone on to act in films of a far higher calibre and show his skills as a truly great actor who is able to adapt to the character in many different scripts.
But as with anything, the initial success will undoubtedly be in the forefront of many peoples minds, especially if sequels are produced and received to acclaim. It becomes almost like the actor is obliged to do another. Willis has said previously that he had been hounded by press and fans, with their first questions to him being about Die Hard and if or when there will be another one.

The plot is enthralling, but also, quite scarily, plausible.
A group of hackers gets into the infrastructure of the American goverment and from there, work their way outwards, wreaking complete havoc and causing chaos.
With complete control over gas, electricity, phones, satellites, traffic lights, television and much more, they have the entire United States in their hands, not knowing which way to turn or what is going to happen next.

How can McClane fight these cyber-terrorists, when we learned a long time ago that he used to not even understand fax machines, I hear you ask? With the help of a sidekick of course. He picks up Matt at the beginning of the movie, during the first shoot-out, of course, Matt is a convicted hacker, with knowledge of pretty much everything. A good guy to have around, considering who McClane is up against.

How has this movie affected the order in which I rank each instalment of the Die Hard series?
Quite significantly, I must say, and I can only imagine becoming fonder of it as time goes by.

My table will now stand as shown below;

1. Die Hard: With a Vengeance
2. Die Hard 4.0 (Live Free or Die Hard)
3. Die Hard
4. Die Hard 2: Die Harder

I would recommend this feature to anybody who even remotely enjoyed any of the other Die Hard movies and fans of Bruce Willis himself, if you want to see him jumping out of moving cars, even at the ripe age of 52. Though it would seem that hasn’t affected his ability to stay sharp and handle a weapon with the greatest of accuracy. 7/10.

Musically typecast

It’s a resided fact in the music business that a band or artist will become most well known for one single, especially if they are not a pop band.

We’ll play some band association, shall we?
I give the name of a band, you name the first song that comes to mind…
(use your cursor to select the hilighted line to see answer)

Joy Division
Love will tear us apart

Smells like teen spirit

Franz Ferdinand
Take me out

Spandau Ballet

The look of love

That exercise should have gone some way to proving my point. I’m sure we got at least some of the same answers.
Note; the above doesn’t apply if you are a big fan of the band. I’ll come to this later.

My cinicism was roused when compiling a CD this morning from tracks by The Smiths, I wanted to make a disc that contained songs that weren’t already on the ‘Best of…’ albums, of which there are a 4 that were compiled post-split, totalling 69 tracks in all.

The very best of The Smiths

What struck me when trying to pick tracks was how many songs kept cropping up, time and time again, songs which I don’t necessarily class as their best and how many great pieces were omitted from every one of the compliations.

For a song that isn’t actually representative of the style of The Smiths, How Soon is Now manages to end up on 3 of the 4 discs, as does This Charming Man, the latter for more obvious reasons, being their first big single.
The gloomy Heaven knows I’m miserable now and There is a light that never goes out are also on all of them, again, tracks that most people will be able to name if you ask them to give you a the name of a Smiths song.

Why oh why are we not seeing songs that made the original albums as great as they were on these releases which are supposed to be pushing the band and representing their ‘best‘ songs? I refer to gems like A Rush and a Push and The Land is Ours, You’ve got Everything Now, Cemetry Gates and I Want the One I Can’t Have.

In 1987 Morrissey pleaded with his fanbase not to grow out of his whimsical lyrics through the song Rubber Ring, but, through no fault of his own, new fans are being force-fed the same old (veggie) tripe with every compilation release. We get it, How Soon is Now was huge, now, leave it.

My fantasy Smiths compilation album;

A Rush And A Push And The Land Is Ours
Barbarism Begins At Home
Handsome Devil
I Won’t Share You
Is It Really So Strange
I Want The One I Can’t Have
Nowhere Fast
Rusholme Ruffians
Vicar In A Tutu
What She Said
You Just Haven’t Earned It Yet Baby
You’ve Got Everything Now
Accept Yourself
Cemetry Gates
Frankly, Mr. Shankly
Paint A Vulgar Picture