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.

A Brief Design History Of A Watch You’ll Never Own

Fun if for no other reason than you get to see a shitload of mind-numbingly expensive watches all in one place.

A silly question that we get asked quite a bit here at HODINKEE is, “What is the best watch?” Sure, I get why people ask it and what they’re getting at, but it’s impossible to say anything is “the best” when you’re dealing with something as subjective and personal as wristwatches. What you like aesthetically, the history that’s meaningful to you personally, and the idiosyncrasies of how you live your life all impact that answer of that question. However, there’s a similar question that we also get asked a lot, for which I do think there are a few good answers: “What is the most important watch of all time?” The Rolex Submariner is a pretty darn good answer. It’s not the only answer, but it’s one that I find tough to argue with.

Speaking Of Classic Synthesizer Albums …

The soundtrack to Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange was released to accompany the 1971 film of the same name. The music is a thematic extension of Alex’s (and the viewer’s) psychological conditioning. The soundtrack of A Clockwork Orange comprises classical music and electronic synthetic music composed by Wendy Carlos. Some of the music is heard only as excerpts, e.g. Edward Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 (a.k.a. Land of Hope and Glory) heralding a politician’s appearance at the prison.

The main theme is an electronic transcription of Henry Purcell’s Music for the Funeral of Queen Mary, composed in 1695, for the procession of Queen Mary’s cortège through London en route to Westminster Abbey. “March from ‘A Clockwork Orange'” (based on the choral movement of the Ninth Symphony by Beethoven) was the first recorded song featuring a vocoder for the singing; synthpop bands often cite it as their inspiration.

Switched-On Bach features ten pieces by Bach available under the public domain, performed by Carlos, with assistance from Folkman, on a modular Moog synthesizer. Carlos worked closely with Robert Moog, designer of the instrument, throughout the recording process, testing his components and suggesting improvements. The album was recorded in a studio in the basement of a brownstone building acquired by Carlos and Elkind in the West Side of Manhattan in New York City, using a custom-built 8-track recording machine constructed by Carlos from components built by Ampex.

Recording was a tedious and time-consuming process; as the synthesizers were monophonic, meaning only one note can be played at a time, each track was assembled one at a time. According to Carlos: “You had to release the note before you could make the next note start, which meant you had to play with a detached feeling on the keyboard, which was really very disturbing in making music.” The synthesizer was unreliable and often went out of tune; Carlos recalled hitting it with a hammer prior to recording to obtain correct levels. After several notes were played, it was checked again to make sure it had not “drifted”. According to Carlos, Switched-On Bach took approximately five months and a total of one thousand hours to produce.

Bach provided only two chords for the second movement of the Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G Major, intending that the musician would improvise on these chords. Carlos carefully constructed this piece to showcase the capabilities of the Moog.

Bob McLeod Draws Spider-Man

Bob McLeod was another comic artist I admired in the Eighties. I got to meet him at the first Memphis Comic Con, way back in 19 and 82.

He autographed my copy of New Mutants number 1, and somehow refrained from killing my spazzy friend who almost spilled a glass of water on a commissioned piece McLeod was working on at the time.

Vintage Star Wars Toy Auction … What

Check it out, you magnificent bastards!

A massive treasure trove of vintage Star Wars and pop culture toys and collectible ephemera are going on auction at the end of this month, and the folks at Prop Store bring a few of the rarities to our studio. We learn about prototype mockups, international figures, and even retail display pieces that would be the prize pieces for toy collectors.

All those toys you lost or destroyed that are now worth thousands of dollars? Look for ’em here.