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 1   Pete Atkin / Words / Archive Progress: TV-Crit originals  23.06.22 at 08:03 
Started by S J Birkill | Newest post by S J Birkill
I'm very pleased to announce that my 'other' project, the Clive James Website Archive, has now obtained copies of all but a handful of Clive's writings for his hugely influential weekly 'Television' column in the Observer newspaper, published between 1972 and 1982.
Not to be confused with the edited selections published in book form by Cape/Picador ('Visions Before Midnight', The Crystal Bucket' and 'Glued To The Box' and the omnibus edition 'Clive James on Television'), these new acquisitions represent the original, uncut newspaper column, some 390 pieces at last count.
To present these properly on the website I need to perform optical character recognition to convert the newspaper articles, often low-grade photocopies, into electronic text, then spend a variable amount of time (according to copy quality) manually correcting the inevitably numerous OCR errors. The text I then reformat into HTML page form to match the Archive's house style, and where appropriate I locate, process and incorporate suitably illustrative images. All per issue, so this will take a little while!
So far I have built the Observer column entries for 1972 -- 15 articles -- he only started in August of that year, and the December 10th edition is missing. You can find them here:

I'm about to start on 1973, so you'll see the menu listing grow week by week. Keep checking back, because even when the Observer is done I will be adding many more of Clive's early reviews from other publications.
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 2   Pete Atkin / Gigs / Re: Dorking -- Rescheduled for June 11th  16.06.22 at 14:58 
Started by S J Birkill | Newest post by Seán Kelly
Thanks very much for the report and pictures Simon R - very much appreciated  Smiley
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 3   Atkin admin / Tech / Re: Image upload not easy on Windows!  12.06.22 at 20:57 
Started by Simon Reap | Newest post by Simon Reap
No problem, Steve, thought it might be that.
As the old IT saying goes, if you have 10 problems and add a regex to solve them, you now have 11 problems. Smiley
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 4   Pete Atkin / Words / Another new parody lyric  12.06.22 at 19:35 
Started by S J Birkill | Newest post by S J Birkill
New member "Terry Caster" offers this topical take on "MOTR" :
Allow me to present myself, my ladies  
And gentlemen, of this revolted age  
Before Nadine takes the stage  
For I am the Master of the Revels  
In what appertains to smirks I am a sage  
I work my scams to death for each election  
And though the world is going to pieces all the while  
I prefer to smirk and smile  
For I am the Master of the Revels  
And mastery demands a certain style  
In my office hang the pictures  
Of those who went before  
With a range of policies, ideals and crimes  
For Rupert ten different kinds of favour  
For Carrie the colour of her eyes  
Some other windows darken in the evening  
And never before morning show a light  
But for us there is no night  
For they are the Masters of the Revels  
The callers-up and casters-in of devils  
And they are here for our destruction and delight
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 5   Pete Atkin / Members / Re: New members  05.06.22 at 08:28 
Started by S J Birkill | Newest post by Terry_Caster
Having finally taken the extra step of signing up as a member of MV, rather than occasional delver, here's a few introductory words...  
I was introduced to A King At Nightfall thanks to my older brother's copy being one of a limited number of LPs in the house in the mid 1970s. (Others I recall were Led Zep II and a rather good Track compilation with Hendrix and The Who involved.)  
Some years later, when I finally had a few quid of my own I ventured into the sadly long gone Bath Place Records in Taunton, and was able to pick up four of the albums for myself. I had to wait until I found a rather expensive second hand copy, to get the first album which I found in a second hand shop in Birmingham...
There was a romanticism and literacy to the lyrics which appealed to me, along with the arrangements which allowed some of those marvellous session musicians to show their skills. It was all a bit different from the Budgie, Baker Gurvitz Army, Colliseum and Adverts stuff I also picked up there - it being the late 1970s.
Forty plus years on, I've managed to acquire most of the music on CD and it is great to appreciate it with more understanding of context and the background info on the main website. So, thanks to the website maestro for keeping things maintained, and to Pete for improving the quality of my life with his music down the years!
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 6   Pete Atkin / Gigs / Further Ado  24.05.22 at 18:20 
Started by S J Birkill | Newest post by S J Birkill

Tickets are now on sale for Pete's July 2nd appearance (with Simon) at London's The Pheasantry:  

Click/tap the image to access the Pizza Express booking page -- SJB.
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 7   Pete Atkin / Music / Re: Epitaph For A Poet  14.04.22 at 15:02 
Started by S J Birkill | Newest post by Rob Spence
Rather like "You'd Better Face It Boy", it's astonishing that Clive, as a relatively young man, could produce lyrics which are imbued with the experience of a lifetime. This sounds like a poem written in the terminal years.
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 8   Pete Atkin / Gigs / Re: New gig: Crail (Scotland)  13.04.22 at 09:22 
Started by S J Birkill | Newest post by Rob Spence
Steve: you are right about the ephemeral nature of Facebook. This forum remains the place for the dedicated Atkin / James fan. And since flattery gets you everywhere, here follows a review of the Crail gig.
Crail is a small place, and my fear before arrival was that the audience for our man would be sparse. But the very English Tony Kingsbury, who runs the Crail Folk Club, had obviously judged his audience well. The hall was full. The seats were arranged in what I've seen called "cabaret style" around long tables, probably seating about six at each. We had missed one vital element of this gig before our arrival in Crail - following standard government practice in Downing Street, it was BYOB. Luckily, we'd seen that vital information on the posters in the village, so we came prepared, though not as prepared as some veterans of the club, who arrived with bowls of crisps, bottles of wine, and cut-glass goblets.  
Tony gave a brief history of Pete and Clive, and then welcomed Pete to the stage. He went straight into a three-song medley on guitar, beginning with a rarity: "I Wouldn’t Hear A Word Against The Spring", which he said was "unrecorded" though as some have pointed out, there is a demo. Pete hinted there might be a proper recording soon. The medley finished with "Practical Man", a song which seems to be ever more relevant given the excesses of the world of pop music.  
Switching to piano, Pete then gave us a great version of "Screen Freak", contextualised in his introduction by reference to Clive's friend Bruce Beresford, a screen-freak who went on to become a highly successful director of Oscar-winning films. To my unmusical ear, Pete seemed more comfortable on piano than guitar at this gig - almost literally: there was a point where he perched awkwardly on a stool to play, and couldn't get his foot position right. He stayed with piano for one of the highlights of the evening, a lovely version of "The Way You Are With Me", infused with yearning and regret. That late song is surely becoming one of the classics of the canon.
"I See The Joker", given notably savage treatment on guitar, was preceded with some thoughts on Putin, who, it is to be hoped, feels those crosswires on his brow. It struck me as Pete took on the persona of the mafia boss that his voice is barely changed over fifty years, and he still inhabits those songs so well. The lines about being in the clear at barely fifty five could apply to Pete, who looked very trim at 76, in contrast to most of the generally mature audience.
The first set finished with two greatly contrasting songs: "Apparition in Las Vegas" which always amuses with the baroque excesses of its lyric, and "Have You Got a Biro?" which must be the best-ever song of young infatuation.  
Some local singers began the second half, and whilst they were competent, I was a little impatient to see the dreamboat sail again, and could have done without the raffle which followed the singers. Anyway, Pete kicked off his second set on piano with "Master of the Revels" taken at its original tempo, segueing into "Perfect Moments", another classic sounding as fresh as the day it was written. Also on piano, Pete launched into "Between Us There Is Nothing", a song which gave some lyrical trouble at Eyemouth, and did so again here: what does lie beyond Soho? We will never know. It didn't spoil the rendition though, and I think many in the audience wouldn't have noticed. Pete was word-perfect for the fiendishly difficult lyric of "Wristwatch" and then produced a triumphant version of "Here We Stay", which he dedicated to Volodymyr Zelenskyy. "Thirty Year Man" was as poignant as ever, before "Girl on the Train" with the now quaint line about "Ten quid from the bank" finished the set. Pete asked if anyone had a request for the encore, but had already decided on "Laughing Boy", which was an excellent choice. So - a great tour around the collected works, including rarities, early and late works, presented with Pete's customary good humour and leaving the audience well satisfied.
I had a chat with Pete and MV Ian Fraser after the show, and Pete was obviously very pleased at the turnout and the success of the gig. Venues like Crail are vital for the survival of live music, and Tony Kingsbury is to be commended for his imaginative programming. The club, according to the landlord at our B&B, is generally very well attended. I'd guess that many in the audience last week will not have come across Pete's work before, but they will certainly be returning to it now, I think. All in all, a triumph!
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 9   Not Pete Atkin / Off-topic / Re: Songwriting workshop  10.04.22 at 22:17 
Started by Simon Reap | Newest post by Simon Reap
Thanks Pete, it all sounded like fun.  
I've known Gill for over 30 years, and can confirm that her cakes have always been worth making the effort to consume Smiley
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 10   Pete Atkin / Gigs / Re: Pheasantry, March 2nd  08.03.22 at 14:28 
Started by S J Birkill | Newest post by Andrew Long
Thanks for the write up. There would indeed have been at least one more in the audience absent the tube strikes....
A pleasing list with plenty of classics. I also quite like the idea of the somewhat more select audience! Next time for me perhaps...
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