Is that machine on? Archive on Radio 4

JIMI-1000x722.jpg

Along with Jon Savage, Allan Jones, Caitlin Moran, Michael Lydon and presenter Stuart Maconie – to mention but a few – I’m one of the voices gabbing in Jonathan Mayo’s terrific Radio 4 doc on the golden age of the music-press interview. The programme also features a bunch of clips from the Rock’s Backpages audio archive, including the spoken thoughts of Messrs. Hendrix, Cobain, Marley and Garcia…

Say it one more time…

SIOMT_cover 2

A heads-up that my first book finally has a US publisher after 30 years. BMG reissues this revised and expanded edition on August 14th, complete with tons more pix by Muir Mackean and a foreword by William Bell – one of the great country-soul singers.

Here’s what BMG themselves have to say about it:

“Say It One Time for the Brokenhearted was the first of many titles by renowned UK music journalist Barney Hoskyns. Thirty years after its publication he revisited the modern-day classic for this revised and expanded anniversary edition that marks the book’s first publication in the US. Fascinated by the collision of country and soul music in the Southern states, Hoskyns and photographer Muir MacKean set out on a journey through the American South to explore the phenomenon of primarily black singers and primarily white musicians joining forces in the 1960s to create musical magic in an era of racial tension. From Memphis to Muscle Shoals to Nashville, they sat down with dozens of the architects of what’s come to be known as Country Soul to capture a story that is as inspiring as it is historically important.”

river

 

moonriver.jpg

Knotted into consternation,

weight of words and burdens

and injunctions to do better.

On a dime a song

floods into me and washes,

softens knots and nodes

and liquifies rigidity of

what I think I am,

splays me forlorn and

floating down this river:

Wider than the sea,

the sound of Hepburn

and her huckleberry friend

and me.

Judd Apatow’s Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling

lead_960_540

LAST NIGHT I finally came to the end of Judd Apatow’s extraordinary four-hour film about the late Garry Shandling – the so-called Zen Diaries of said comedian.
As the director of There’s Something About Mary read aloud a letter that Shandling had written to the older brother who’d died, as a child, of cystic fibrosis, I completely lost it – I broke down and sobbed. I’d come to the close of a remarkable, hilarious, neurotic life haunted by the loss of Barry Shandling (a death never explained to the little brother) and felt overwhelmed by compassion for the witheringly brilliant creator of the meta-show about host Larry Sanders.
It made me realise how much Shandling and his Comedy Store peers – a particular strain of American-Jewish humour that slices through to the heart of the human condition – have meant to me. And it prompted this short distillation of gratitude for the sheer fearlessness of Shandling, Seinfeld, Silverman, Larry David – and of Mel Brooks, Joan Rivers, Jackie Mason and the many who came before them. Out of such pain has come the purest comedic joy I’ve ever known.

 

comedy store

Always I’m in awe of them:

unsparing men and salty women

lancing my illusions

and my gentile self-delusions.

No hugging and no learning,

nothing left to lose:

ancestral agony of pogroms

and the terrors of the Zyklon B.

The balls it takes to work that space,

illusion of a mastery that masks

the backstage whimper of a fevered need:

  “You think they liked me?”

“Man, you killed out there.”