Hornsey Road?

A new stage show produced by Beatle expert Mark Lewisohn sheds some light on a story we thought we knew. From The Guardian

They’ve wrapped up the recording of Abbey Road, which would turn out to be their last studio album, and are awaiting its release in two weeks’ time. Ringo Starr is in hospital, undergoing tests for an intestinal complaint. In his absence, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison convene at Apple’s HQ in Savile Row. John has brought a portable tape recorder. He puts it on the table, switches it on and says: “Ringo – you can’t be here, but this is so you can hear what we’re discussing.”

What they talk about is the plan to make another album – and perhaps a single for release in time for Christmas, a commercial strategy going back to the earliest days of Beatlemania. “It’s a revelation,” Lewisohn says. “The books have always told us that they knew Abbey Road was their last album and they wanted to go out on an artistic high. But no – they’re discussing the next album. And you think that John is the one who wanted to break them up but, when you hear this, he isn’t. Doesn’t that rewrite pretty much everything we thought we knew?”

Full article here, including a link to tour dates for a show I would kill to see.

I Thought I’d Seen It All

Check out “Twink” miming with The Pretty Things for a bewildered French TV audience.  Ever heard of Twink?  I hadn’t, so I poked around on Google.  Nicknamed after a British hair product, Twink was a mime, drummer, close friend of Syd Barrett, and general scenester of the London psychedelic underground.  He played drums with an early version of T. Rex, with Syd Barret occasionally, on one Pretty Things album, and with the Pink Fairies.  In the early 70’s, he was in Hawkwind with Lemmy.  His band The Rings were on the ground floor of the London punk scene in ’77.  Some refer to their lone single, “I Wanna be Free” as England’s first punk record.  It’s not very good compared to what was about to come from the Damned, Sex Pistols, Buzzcocks, Clash, and Jam.

What led me to this video was my fondness for The Pretty Things,  a very good British r&b band who never made any headway in the U.S.  Their guitarist, Dick Taylor, had been in an early version of the Stones.  Like the Stones, their forays into psychedelia were not always memorable, as you can hear above.   You can hear them at their best here and here.  Their raucous version of Roadrunner is my favorite cover of that song.

I Sort Of Like It

A freind whose opinion I sometimes trust saw this duo of rock royalty at Music Fest last weekend and liked what he heard.  The first song I listened to was pretty bad, but this one has some things going for it: good melodies, harmonies, and chording.   It’s too long and proggy in places, and perhaps owes too much to the White Album and Pink Floyd.  Whoever made the video has worshipped too long at Terry Gilliam’s altar.  It mostly just makes me want to go back and watch the real thing.

Bring On The Alcarelle

David Nutt, psychiatrist and director of the neuropsychopharmacology unit at Imperial College London, has been working on a safe alternative to booze since he discovered an alcohol antidote as a PhD student in 1983. From an article in The Guardian, here’s the cool science-nerd part …

What Nutt now knows is that there are 15 different Gaba receptor subtypes in multiple brain regions, “and alcohol is very promiscuous. It will bind to them all.” Without giving away his trade secrets, he says he has found which Gaba and other receptors can be stimulated to induce tipsiness without adverse effects. “We know where in the brain alcohol has its ‘good’ effects and ‘bad’ effects, and what particular receptors mediate that – Gaba, glutamate and other ones, such as serotonin and dopamine. The effects of alcohol are complicated but … you can target the parts of the brain you want to target.”

Handily, you can modify the way in which a molecule binds to a receptor to produce different effects. You can design a peak effect into it, so no matter how much Alcarelle you consume, you won’t get hammered. This is well-established science; in fact Nutt says a number of medicines, such as the smoking cessation drug varenicline (marketed as Champix), use a similar shut-off effect. You can create other effects, too, while still avoiding inebriation, so you could choose between a party drink or a business-lunch beverage.

Ultimately, the aim isn’t for Alcarelle to become a drinks company, but to supply companies in the drinks industry with the active ingredient, so that they can make and market their own products. You would expect that the alcohol industry would view Alcarelle as its nemesis, but Orren says that industry players “are approaching us as potential investing collaborators”. This doesn’t surprise Jonny Forsyth, a global drinks analyst at Mintel. “The industry is increasingly investing in alcohol alternatives,” he says. “We have seen a lot of investment in cannabis … They’re looking at nonalcoholic gins and soft drinks because they know people are drinking less [alcohol], and this is a trend that is going to carry on. If the science is right, and if it’s easy to mask the taste, I think it’s got a great chance.”

Full article here.

Bid On That Axe, Eugene

David Gilmour is probably my all time favorite guitar player, and he’s selling a bunch of his guitars for charity. 120 of them. He’s even selling the “Black Strat” that he played on Dark Side of the Moon, Wish you Were Here, Animals, and The Wall. So that’s the guitar that was used for Time, Comfortably Numb, Shine on You Crazy Diamond, and Run Like Hell. Day-um… I’d just like to see that guitar, and I can’t imagine what it would be like to own it. Check out the auction here…  

So if you’ve got $100,000 burning a hole in your pocket, go pick one up.