Listicle 2 : Racism in Popular Music

In today’s world we have become conscious of the extent to which racism is prevalent at all levels of society, and that racism motivates political agendas, and that institutions including major corporations and even the police routinely practice racially discriminatory policies. This is, of course, despite many laws being passed to try to curb racist … Read more

I Guess It Doesn’t Matter Any More

This is by way of a continuation of/variation on my previous post entitled “Are song lyrics poetry? Or are they philosophy?” It has often been said that pop song lyrics are like poetry, sometimes even that they are poetry. I considered for a while that maybe song lyrics would replace poetry in the hearts and … Read more

Get Rhythm! Guitar ads of 1934.

I forget precisely when but some years ago I picked up, for a few pennies, a bound collection of editions of Rhythm magazine published between October 1934 and September 1935. In perfect condition, they make for fascinating reading, not least for the naked, unvarnished racism of the magazine’s journalistic content. It’s enlightening to see the … Read more

It Happened On A Train – The Listicle

  One of the joys of having created a vast, searchable music database ( is that I can use it (and you can too) to quickly collect together information about specific topics and how they relate to music. The following list of Train-related music facts was put together simply by me entering the word ‘train’ … Read more

Are song lyrics poetry? Or are they philosophy?

I first remember people positing that song lyrics, at least some of them, could be considered as poetry, back in the 1960s. People like Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen had started taking song lyrics so far beyond the dance-romance, moon-June cliches of traditional pop that it was a valid question. Three books have been published … Read more

The Mad Social Whirl – a memory of London 30 years ago

I don’t believe we really appreciated it at the time, but the late 1970s were a pretty hectic time for Carol and me. This post is illustrated with a couple of pages from our 1978 diary, covering our activities in the days from Dec 12 to Dec 18. I was working as a press officer … Read more

Listen … do you want to know a secret gig?

If you happened to wander past a club where the poster at the door announced tonight’s band as Blue Sunday And The Cockroaches or perhaps Hornets Attack Victor Mature, you probably wouldn’t give it a second thought. You almost certainly wouldn’t bother to go in. But you’d have made a serious mistake because both of … Read more

The Universal Soldier is back in town.

    In 1964, the great Canadian singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie wrote a stunningly powerful song called The Universal Soldier. The idea of the song was that if the young men of the world simply refused to join armies, there would be no wars. It’s a fabulous idea, and I still love the song because of … Read more