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Music

Band Aid 30

Like everyone else, I want to think Bob Geldof’s awful – but I can’t

19 November 2014 12:04

Band Aid 30 is officially the fastest selling single of 2014. Yet this attempt by successful musicians to heal Africa through song has not met with universal cheer. Instead, a… Continue reading

18 Comments
Album artwork for Pink Floyd's swan song, The Endless River

Pink Floyd’s new album: it’s not hip – but it is good

11 November 2014 13:02

Yesterday, I popped into Rough Trade West record store to purchase the new Pink Floyd album. That isn’t something I expected to say in my lifetime, but 20 years after their 14th album The… Continue reading

38 Comments
Chelsea Hospital Chapel

Pop stars at prayer – from Madonna to the Beatles, and jihadist Cat Stevens

3 November 2014 15:12

A spoof in the Israeli Daily recently had Eminem planning to convert to Judaism and move to Tel Aviv. But I don’t think we’ll be seeing that any time soon… Continue reading

49 Comments
Alasdair Gray: 'You can only learn to govern yourself by doing it'

A No vote will create a schism between the voters of Scotland and its artists and writers

18 September 2014 10:37

With the Scottish independence referendum drawing closer, two Newsweek Europe magazine correspondents and friends – Finlay Young (Scotsman), and Simon Akam (Englishman) – travelled the length of the United Kingdom… Continue reading

26 Comments
The Festspielhaus in Bayreuth, Bavaria, shortly before its official opening in 1876. Image: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The Spectator at war: Bayreuth on the eve of war

23 August 2014 8:00

The Spectator, 22 August 1914: Inter arma silent Musae; but Bayreuth on the eve of the war showed very few signs of the coming cataclysm. It is true that on… Continue reading

5 Comments
The poster for Incubator Theatre's 'hip hop opera' The City

Cultural boycotts are ineffective and wrong

25 July 2014 12:57

Scotland’s national poet Liz Lochhead has been at it again. Two years ago she was petitioning against a dance company from Tel Aviv, this year it’s an Israeli theatre company… Continue reading

190 Comments
Getty Images

Three cheers for being miserable

10 July 2014 14:26

I prefer the music and lyrics of Pharrell Williams’s Happy to Morrisey’s Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now (because I loathe the smug insincerity of Morrisey more than anything else) but –… Continue reading

2 Comments
Getty Images

Crusties, trustafarians, Chris Martin and mud: the deadly predictability of Glastonbury

26 June 2014 13:47

Glastonbury weekend is upon us, and the bores are out in force. West London buzzes to the sound of hoorays buying drugs, and the army surplus stalls of Portobello Market… Continue reading

35 Comments
Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Is a Luis Suárez musical on the cards?

26 June 2014 13:29

For the moment we only have one genius song by Tom Rosenthal, Hey Luis Don’t Bite Me (hear it below), but surely a full-blown musical isn’t far away. In the meantime we… Continue reading

12 Comments
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The BBC’s music strategy is a shambles

17 June 2014 16:14

Tony Hall made some terrible music announcements yesterday. They come hot on the heels of some terrible arts announcements he made a few months ago. Among the most lousy is… Continue reading

16 Comments
michael-jackson-xscape

Michael Jackson’s back from the dead. Again.

13 May 2014 11:34

Pop humpty-dumpty Michael Jackson has a new album out today. If that statement seems odd, you don’t know the half of it; five years after his death, Jackson is only… Continue reading

10 Comments
Conchita Wurst representing Austria performs the song 'Rise Like A Phoenix' after winning the Eurovision Song Contest 2014. Photo: AFP/Jonathan Nackstrand

Eurovision: It was the beard wot won it

11 May 2014 11:10

I enjoyed Fraser’s preview of the Eurovision Song Contest; I had not known that he was such a fan. You work with someone for years, oblivious to their dark secrets,… Continue reading

67 Comments
Blur and Oasis at the height of their fame.

Britpop 20 years on: the Tory voters who love Oasis

17 April 2014 15:57

It’s twenty years since the height of Britpop, but does anyone still care about it? YouGov has carried out some polling on the subject today. Although 35 per cent stated… Continue reading

13 Comments
frankie-knuckles

House music is great music – or can be

8 April 2014 12:14

When Chicago DJ Frankie Knuckles died last week, a novelty number by a Brylcreemed Aussie pop punk group had just reached number one. It displaced Duke Dumont & Jax Jones’s… Continue reading

35 Comments
"The Night That Changed America: A GRAMMY Salute To The Beatles" - Roaming Show

Sir Paul McCartney’s media manipulation

27 February 2014 18:49

Having been whole-heartedly hacked off during the phone hacking scandal, one assumes that Sir Paul McCartney has always been an advocate of high standards in journalism. Not so. While collecting… Continue reading

4 Comments
Members of the punk group Pussy Riot staging a protest performance in Sochi. Photo: AP/Morry Gash

Is Pussy Riot’s music actually any good?

25 February 2014 6:30

Victims of state persecution, ambassadors for day-glo knitwear and wank fodder for beardy liberals the world over, the members of Pussy Riot have been filling both prison cells and column… Continue reading

37 Comments
David Cameron's state of the union speech was peppered with song lyrics. Why? (CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images)

Lyrical Dave – PM’s union speech packed with song lyrics

7 February 2014 12:39

David Cameron’s speech on the union this morning prompted many questions. Why was he in London? Why were there so many empty seats in the Olympic velodrome? Etc, etc, etc.… Continue reading

15 Comments
New Picture (39)

We’ve got to hold on…

27 November 2013 9:22

Hats off to the Duke of Cambridge for joining Jon Bon Jovi and Taylor Swift on stage at Kensington Palace last night for a sing-along of ‘Livin’ On A Prayer’.… Continue reading

3 Comments
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Old England died in 1963

21 November 2013 12:55

There is no better measure of the pivotal importance of 1963 than to recall what Britain was like in the early 1950s, as we slowly emerged from the shadows of… Continue reading

10 Comments
Paul Heaton of The Housemartins doesn't much care for David Cameron.

The PM’s musical tin-ear

20 November 2013 13:09

The news that Hull has been crowned the UK’s City of Culture for 2017 was discussed at PMQs. The PM extolled the virtues of the city, and made special mention… Continue reading

3 Comments
Alex Salmond Makes His Keynote Speech At The SNP Autumn Conference

One Great Thing gets embarrassing for the Yes campaign in Scotland

15 November 2013 16:47

Big Country’s song ‘One Great Thing’ is an anthem for the Scottish Yes campaign: it was soaring in the background during an item recorded at a ‘Yes’ rally on the… Continue reading

57 Comments
Harry Styles has been offering fans some insights into his political philosophy.

Political philosophy, Harry-style

1 November 2013 14:34

Boy-band super-hero Harry Styles proclaimed on Twitter earlier today: ‘All social change comes from the passion of individuals.’ His shrieking fans were enthused by this insight. Some even asked if they… Continue reading

19 Comments
Stella McCartney: Front Row - Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2014

Help!

15 October 2013 17:31

When did Sir Paul McCartney become so shifty? The ‘National Treasure’ has been on Sky News promoting his latest album. There were more than a few awkward, if not downright embarrassing, moments.… Continue reading

20 Comments
28th Annual Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony - Show

Welcome to the Randy Newman Hate Club

12 October 2013 10:29

There was a line in Randy Newman’s very funny song ‘Short People’  that I couldn’t quite work out, so I looked up the lyrics online. There were some observations about… Continue reading

43 Comments
Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke mid-'twerk' at the MTV Video Music Awards in New York last month.

Ban the word ‘twerk’

16 September 2013 11:29

Jesse Norman MP, who used to lead the Prime Minister’s policy forum, is using his spare time to write for ConservativeHome. About twerking. For those of you who have missed… Continue reading

2 Comments