Alvin – A True Star on All Kinds of Levels

Commemorating the life of Alvin Stardust, I think I heard somewhere that tributes were being sought for an event which is to be held in the town of his youth, Mansfield. The suggestion may have come from Dave Harness who functioned as Alvin’s road manager during the latter part of his career and who I count as a friend but, anyway, I read it somewhere. It got me to thinking on what I’d want to say.

I can’t be at the opening day of the event because of a writing commission which is going to take me to New York for a month, but I hope to visit it thereafter, but I thought to gather my thoughts here and now.

I’d written an obituary of sorts about Alvin at the time of his passing which can be found elsewhere on the internet including here:

https://twilightdawning.com/2014/10/29/good-rockers-can-never-die/

which covers his career in broad-strokes, so maybe something about my inter-action with the man.

Back in the mid-90s my agent rang me and asked me if I would be at all interested in interviewing “an old glam rocker called Alvin Stardust”(!) while he was on tour and specifically at his show in Croydon at the Fairfield Halls. What my caller didn’t realise was that when I was 9 I’d seen Mr Stardust on Top of the Pops and become convinced that he was the coolest man in the world. It was a moment that has affected me right to this very day and I guess I knew from that moment that I’d be forever “dressed in black” myself.

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Dylan in concert and a non-Jungian synchronicity that makes me smile

Last night was the first night of Bob Dylan’s tour of the Far East and Australasia.

On Friday, here and elsewhere, I published an article which argued that more care and consideration should be shown in our critiques of Dylan’s art when we considered his albums and his live performances and argued that at a very minimum we should use his written lyrics as a lexicon to try analyse who he is and what he is speaking about:

If you haven’t read it already you can see it here:

https://twilightdawning.com/2018/07/26/bob-dylan-sloppy-analysis-and-hearing-what-we-want-to-hear/

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Bob Dylan, sloppy analysis and hearing what we want to hear

Literary criticism, musical criticism and theological criticism are notoriously difficult. The reason that they are so hard is the question of subjectivity. In the early years of the 20th century, a noted conservative theologian said the following of a liberal scholar:

“The Christ that he sees, looking back through nineteen centuries of Catholic darkness, is only the reflection of a Liberal Protestant face, seen at the bottom of a deep well.”

It is a very clever idea but could the equal statement also be said of the more conservative thinker. We want our God to be like our theology says he should be. Otherwise we are wrong and that is hard to bear. We want our heroes to be like us. Otherwise that is burdensome.

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It Won’t Be Gone When the Morning Comes

What: Bat Out of Hell – The Musical

Who: Jim Steinman et al

Where: Dominion Theatre, Tottenham Court Road

When: May 2018

The Bat out of Hell phenomenon dates back to the release of the Meat Loaf album of the same name in 1977. Bat out of Hell – The musical opened in Manchester, England in February of 2017 before transferring to London in June of the same year where it was housed at the Coliseum in the West End. In October 2017 it transferred to Toronto, Canada before returning to London, England and its new venue at the Dominion in April of this year.

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Rockin’ Down the Highway

Who: The Doobie Brothers

What: BluesFest 2017

Where: o2 arena, Greenwich, London

When: 29th October 2017

Well, okay, it is a rather predictable title for a Doobie Brothers live review but I’m not going to be too hard on my self. After all, the Doobie Brothers are still, after all these years, most definitely rocking and they are on their way around Europe again so there is some travelling to be done.

The last time I saw the Doobie Brothers was on the very same night (29th October) 7 years ago, when they visited my home neighbourhood of Hammersmith. Tonight, it is a bigger show and they share billing with Steely Dan which was in my estimation a sublime coupling and I wasn’t wrong in my estimate.

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Not Q.P.R but Hippopotamus Heavy

Who: Sparks

Where: Shepherds Bush Empire, London

When: 27th September 2017

The boys in blue-and-white hoops are here but this is not Loftus Road and this is not Queens Park Rangers. But we are in West London. No, this is Sparks, some 45 years into their career returning to the city that they say is their second home.

Sparks are enjoying their second summer of critical or commercial success. Strike that. Perhaps their third or fourth.

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And a Wasted Youth is Better By Far Than a Wise and Productive Old Age…

Rock and Roll meets the Kids From Fame in the West End

What: Bat Out of Hell – The Musical

Who: Jim Steinman et al

Where: The Coliseum, London

When: July 2017

I remember everything! I remember everything as if it happened only yesterday…

About a life time ago I was playing football on the front lawn of my friend, Richard Chipchase. During a break in the game, he mentioned that his brother had seen a new band on “The Old Grey Whistle Test” the night before. He said that their name was “Meatloaf” and his brother said we ought to look out for them. Neither of us realised that Meat Loaf wasn’t a band but the singer.

Not long after, I picked up “Bat Out of Hell”. Then “Bad For Good” (composer Jim Steinman’s own album). Then “Dead Ringer” (remember buying that one in Casa Disco on the day it came out, assistant grumbling that she was fed up with taking the empty album sleeve back to the rack).

After that you realised that Meat relied on Steinman to come up with the songs to be at his peak. There was a long wait until “Bat Out of Hell II” and then another falling out between Steinman and Mr Loaf which surrounded “Bat Out of Hell III”.

There was a general deterioration in Meat Loaf’s health and voice and then another Meat Loaf / Steinman disc, “Braver Than We Are”.

And then there was “Bat Out of Hell – The musical” in Manchester and then it moved to London, the city where I live.

Musicals are not my thing – although I was in a touring musical once (that was years ago when I was young and foolish) so I decided to give this one a wide berth.

But then I was asked to go along and see the show and offer some comments prior to a possible transfer. So with some trepidation I decided to do just that.

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