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 1   Pete Atkin / Music / Re: The Top Ten Polls 2006 - Vote Here!  17.12.06 at 18:33 
1. The Beatles
2. Brian Wilson
3. The Nits
4. Stackridge
5. Louis Philippe
6. Keith Jarrett
7. XTC
8. Robert Wyatt
9. Steve Reich
10. Gentle Giant
1. Payday Evening
2. Thirty Year Man
3. Rider To The World's End
4. Canoe
5. Sunlight Gate
6. The Last Hill That Shows You All The Valley
7. Urban Guerilla
8. The Hollow and the Fluted Night
9. Prayers Against the Hitman
10. Laughing Boy
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 2   Pete Atkin / News / Re: Clive Interview - BBC4  03.08.06 at 10:34 
Yet was there a single mention of the songwriting after the introduction? Was there buggery! Anyone know if it was edited out, or whether the subject just never came up?  
(By the way, Pete, still no sign of the Hillside catalogue on emusic.com. I know, I know, too busy. But I really do think you'd reach a lot of new people all over the world through a site that's very well patronised by the more mature downloader).
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 3   Pete Atkin / News / Re: Record Collector article  21.05.06 at 09:47 
Anyone who missed the RC article can now read it - and much else that's both edifying and instructive - online at www.cgevans.co.uk/pete_atkin.htm.
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 4   Not Pete Atkin / Off-topic / Nits in London  23.10.05 at 11:04 
I seem to recall a previous exchange with a couple of MVs a while back that revealed a shared enthusiasm for a wonderful - and little heard - Dutch band called the Nits. They've been together for some 30 years and can fill halls in most European capitals, yet apart from the odd festival they've never played a proper gig in the UK. Until now, that is. They'll be making their London debut at the lovely old Bush Hall in Shepherd's Bush on December 9, tickets £10. (A venue well worth considering for the next tour, Pete). I know MVs are more discriminating than most, so even if you've never heard of them I think you'll find they're well worth a punt. Think XTC, Talking Heads, Prefab Sprout and you'll have some idea of the ball park they occupy. For more details, check out www.nits.nl (And yes, I know it's a terrible name for a band, but don't let it put you off).
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 5   Pete Atkin / News / Re: Record Collector article  10.10.05 at 15:58 
Thanks for your kind remarks, Sean. Nice to know somebody's read it. And it would be even nicer if I could get paid for it!
(One of the Shrewsbury elite)
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 6   Pete Atkin / News / Re: Record Collector article  01.10.05 at 13:31 
Closer inspection reveals that RC excised slightly more than I first realised, including one or two nice quotes. Harumph. So here are the missing paragraphs:
I wonder if (Clive’s) early style was, at least partially, born of a need to impress.
“No, I never felt the need to impress. I was just a show-off, which is very different. If I’d wanted to put everything I had in the shop window, the shop window would have been much more crowded than that. I just wanted to treat literature and culture as reality. Which it still is to me, that’s why I write my criticism. One of my main forms of expression is the critical essay, and that’s based on the idea that this stuff is just as real as bread, butter and milk.”
There were also crucial changes in Pete and Clive’s working methods on Winter/Spring.
“Clive became much less hesitant about giving me lyrics that weren’t always mathematically neat in their structures,” says Pete, “so we ended up with something like An Empty Table, for instance, which is almost free form. He would also sometimes hand me a sheet which was just a page of sketches of ideas, to see what might come out of it musically. Then I’d pass that back to him and something else would happen with the lyric. Originally, 35 years ago, Clive would just give me a finished lyric and I’d set it to music, but the more we’ve gone on, the more the writing has become a back-and-forth, two-way process.”
We conclude our conversation by trying to identify contemporary lyricists who have carried on what Clive started 35 years ago, particularly in an age where the word-soup of someone like Chris Martin is held up as evidence of towering genius. Pete is someone who still has the same enthusiasm for new records that he had in the Sixties, and he’s clearly keen not to sound like someone who’s stuck in the past. But he’s quickly struggling.
“Er, Becker and Fagen.” Contemporary? “Well they’re still doing it, of course.” But he takes my point. “David Byrne – he’s one of the few people whose records I buy unheard.” I agree, but feel constrained to point out he’s in his fifties. “Bruce Hornsby, Tom Waits, Richard Thompson, John Prior – still in codger territory, I suppose.” Exactly. “Ben Folds – I like the poppiness of what he does. And Barenaked Ladies.” Younger, I concede, though I doubt many people would class Ben Folds’ lyrics as anything better than smart. Only later do I think we might have considered Momus, probably the only lyricist of the last 20 years similarly over-qualified for the job of rock star, and still a relatively youthful 45.
In fact, though Clive was initially optimistic that writers like Randy Newman, Robbie Robertson and Bob Dylan would inspire future generations of rock wordsmiths to ever greater heights of expressiveness tempered by old-school craftsmanship, what we mostly have is lyricists who fling gimcrack images and metaphors at the page in the hope that some of them might coalesce into something that sounds like profundity. Pete Atkin and Clive James once represented the hope that rock music could aspire to a whole lot better than that. Yet though the cult of punk-induced stupidity that defeated them the first time has come and gone, the idea that a rock lyric is worth the exercise of intelligence, passion, wit and discipline seems to be in steeper decline than ever.  
And that’s likely to remain the case – until, of course, some other novelist/poet/essayist/wit and polymath decides to focus his energies on writing a hit record.
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 7   Pete Atkin / News / Re: For Sale  27.08.05 at 09:33 
Well, whaddya know. Another copy of the extremely rare and valuable  Touch Has a Memory has turned up on ebay. Let furious bidding commence!
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 8   Pete Atkin / Music / Re: Uploads and downloads  25.07.05 at 10:46 
Hi Pete
We need to talk! I just got the thumbs-up to do a feature on you and Clive from a national magazine. (No, it's not Heat. But neither is it Asian Babes or Practical Caravanning).
Ideally it should tie in with the forthcoming tour, so a certain amount of speed is of the essence. My email is chrisevans@mpdetraz.plus.com.
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 9   Pete Atkin / Music / Uploads and downloads  19.07.05 at 22:14 
I wonder if you're aware of the very wonderful - and reasonably priced - services offered by a company called emusic.com, both as a customer and a putative client. (Apologies if this has come up before, I've been AWOL for a while). They're an MP3 outfit who specialise in independently produced music - and boy do they have a catalogue to die for. As well as a million bands you've never heard of - most with preposterous, or even faintly disturbing, names - you'll find all kinds of wonderful jazz, blues, classical, world music and all points between, with plenty of big names in among the minnows. And you can get 40 tracks for as little as a fiver a month - itunes and Napster aren't in the same class, especially if your tastes run to the more esoteric. This isn't just an ad, honest guv, because although I know you - like numerous MVs - enjoy exploring music of every hue and would find it a wonderful source of otherwise hard-to-find albums, I'm sure emusic would also be a great way of making your own music available to a pan-global audience. I daresay there are obscure copyright reasons why this couldn't be done with the RCA materaal, but surely the Hillside albums would be a goer. Although emusic is an American site, I can vouch for the fact that it also has numerous British users, and already includes no lack of music by performers of, shall we say, a certain age. (Robert Wyatt, John Cale, Tom Waits, the late Kevin Coyne to name but a few).
Perhaps I missed a recent news story linking emusic to the Russian mafia and global warming, but otherwise they seem like a pretty damn good idea to me. What say you?
Chris Evans
(your PR guy in the West Midlands).
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