Monday, June 25, 2007

Why I'm the best blogger in the world (part 1)

Why I'm the best blogger in the world ever is because I will talk about a number of different un-interconnected things and yeah, connect them. So here goes...

I was in London at the weekend ("What was it like?" a friend said, "Oh, a big city with a river down the middle" I replied), at the Taste of London festival in Regent's park. The food Glastonbury they call it, but probably first time they had mud to match!

There's a massive new Fopp on Tottenham Court Rd so I caught up on a few records/CDs and saw friends. One of whom has stood for Labour party candidate-ship a few times and so mid afternoon she got a phonecall from Manchester to say who'd won deputy leadership contest. She said guess, and I said John Cruddas - then Alan Johnson - and in some ways I was right, since apparently Harriet Harman ("the comeback queen" anyone?) got in above Johnson on the back of Cruddas's support. (He won the first round.)

Obviously Gordon Brown is now our Prime Minister. If he had better advisers I'm sure he'd announce a Minister for England on Wednesday, which would at one stroke devolve certain questions. I'm not a betting man (I lie, I am a betting man, but the sentence requires that start) but if I was I'd say that come Thursday there won't be a DCLG or a DCMS and the DTI is probably wobbling. If GB has any sense he'd take the Network Rail/BBC models of getting rid of problematic departments and give the Arts Council its independence (with all the responsibility THAT entails.) Any speculation or comments about any of this in our national press? Nope. They've been so obsessed with the Brown/Blair story that they aint got a story for when Blair's out of the pic!

I was in London, as I said, and friend's there are in Manchester next weekend. "Oh, its Manchester International festival" I said. "What?" they replied. Apparentlty publicity for this hasnt reached London yet, which is strange given that there's even a Virgin train festooned with it. But, the jury's out - I'm still puzzled by what the MIF is all about - I can't find a ticket office, for a start, and as it comes up to the festival I don't want to go throught their corporate website, I want to ask someone what's available! Not entirely sure it will leave an imprint on mine or anyone else's life....

... unlike the protagonists of "Classic Brittania". First episode of this astonishingyly good programme about post-war British classic music was a revelation to me. Apparently Manchester music didn't start with the Buzzcocks! Footage of astonishing pianist John Ogdon (winner of Tchaicovsky piano contest in Moscow in 1962 height of Cold war) Harrison Birtwistle and Peter Maxwell Davies was wonderful. Manchester was where it was at! But when it comes to commissions, getting Benjamin Britten to write "War Requiem" for the reopening of Cov cathedral, or Oldham-born Willaim Walton to write the music for the Queen's coronation is somewhat more impressive than Damian Albarn and "Monkey Journey to the West" don't you think?

I have only one question for Alex Poots, who led on the MIF, did you even ASK Birtwistle or Maxwell Davies for a commission? If not, shame on you.

Best bit of the weekend of course was the amazing Ricky Hatton, rapidly becoming Britain's best ever boxer, winning a massive fight in Vegas in quite stunning fashion.

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