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Pete Atkin >> Newsletter >> MV1602 - "Loose canon" book
(Message started by: Simon Reap on Today at 21:42)

Title: MV1602 - "Loose canon" book
Post by Simon Reap on Today at 21:42
Just received Pete's latest newsletter.

Excellent news on his post-enbussing recovery (really glad to hear gigs are in the offing), and news about Loose canon (http://www.reddoorpublishing.com/project/loose-canon/), a new book out our valiant duo out on 13th October.  My pre-order on Amazon (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Loose-Canon-Extraordinary-Songs-Clive/dp/1910453234) was in within about 2 minutes of the newsletter arriving :-)

Title: Re: MV1602 - "Loose canon" book
Post by Cary on 03.09.16 at 13:32
Hey Simon - try and keep up ;-) The book was announced on MV on 21/5/16 ... where were you?!  ::)  ;D

Title: Re: MV1602 - "Loose canon" book
Post by phil_smith on 21.09.16 at 19:53
I received my copy of Ian's book yesterday, and finished it by 9.00 this morning.That is most definitely NOT a criticism. I think it nails the wonderful oeuvre. I was personally pleased to see "All The Dead Were Strangers" given a prominent place as I think it one of the most hard-hitting and no less relevant [with the passing of time] songs of the canon. I am pleased that Pete's wonderful ability to draw from all manner of musical styles is recognised and applauded [a personal fond memory is his enthusing about a tuba part in Gil Evans' "Svengali"]. I see Ian was at York sometime before me [when Pete graciously gave time to a naive "Nouse" reporter}. But what is the song drawing together insurgents and Jesus with his disciples? I know, I know, it will come back [and perhaps that's the whole point of the book!]. I'll just have to trawl through the whole bloody catalogue again.......and that's no bad thing!!!!

Title: Re: MV1602 - "Loose canon" book
Post by S J Birkill on 21.09.16 at 21:34

on 09/21/16 at 19:53:32, phil_smith wrote :
... But what is the song drawing together insurgents and Jesus with his disciples? I know, I know, it will come back [and perhaps that's the whole point of the book!]...

Hi Phil -- Once you've found it (or just click here (http://www.peteatkin.com/play/i17t.htm)), you'll realise a happy side-effect of our preparations for Ian's splendid book: you (or anyone else) can now hyperlink to a player for (almost) any song. So you can reference a song in an e-mail, a blog or a Facebook post, and the recipient can instantly hear it -- a great promotional tool, I think. See the Discography page (http://www.peteatkin.com/disworks.htm).

-- Steve

Title: Re: MV1602 - "Loose canon" book
Post by phil_smith on 21.09.16 at 22:49
Thanks, Steve. I didn't even need to pick up the phone and make a call! 'Appen I'll still trawl through the catalogue again. It's that sort of book!

Title: Re: MV1602 - "Loose canon" book
Post by Kevin Cryan on 26.10.16 at 21:26

Clive James: 'I've been lucky' (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04d5w1q)

Writer and broadcaster Clive James, who has terminal cancer, has been telling Victoria about the lessons life has taught him.

"I've been lucky - I've counted the whole thing as a stroke of luck," he said.
And he said his diagnosis had given him "more to write about."
"I can write about life now. I'm much more reflective now," he said.
26 October 2016

watch here (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04d5w1q)

Kevin Cryan

P.S. The reason for posting it here will be obvious to anyone who watches.

Title: Re: MV1602 - "Loose canon" book
Post by S J Birkill on 26.10.16 at 22:00
Thanks Kevin for alerting us to this. Ian's book does get a mention -- see it on Clive's desk :

http://www.peteatkin.com/images/vderbyshire.jpg (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p04d5w1q)

A brief audio-only snippet of BotBS is played, amid a plug by Clive for YouTube -- not the best place to hear the songs, as anyone reading this will know :)

Title: Re: MV1602 - "Loose canon" book
Post by Keith Busby on 02.11.16 at 21:59
I am about half-way through Loose Canon and find Ian Shircore's readings and commentaries sound, interesting, and enlightening. However, I have to disagree profoundly with his remarks on p. 100 (first paragraph of Ch. 15) on the verse in the Gershwins, Porter, Berlin, etc. "Many of them, like Porter's 'Night and Day' and Gershwin's 'The Man I love', had slow, half-spoken and now largely forgotten introductions that rambled on at some length before the real song got going. Irving Berlin's 'What'll I Do?', for example, has one of these introductory or 'sectional' verses, muttering along for sixteen bars about the romance divine (''tis broken and cannot be mended'), like some dull sub-operatic recitative, before the familiar and brilliantly simple melody begins". This strikes me as showing a fundamental misunderstanding of the structure of such songs, within or without the shows for which many of them were written. They are thematic introductions whose relative unobtrusiveness prepares the way for the release of the song proper in the first stanza. Musically, some ('Night and Day', for example, or Hoagy's 'Star Dust') are quite complex and without them (and Ian Shircore is correct that they are now largely forgotten), the songs are usually poorer. Are they are all great? No, but many are to my mind an essential part of these great songs. I'll post this on the FB page, too.

Title: Re: MV1602 - "Loose canon" book
Post by Simon Reap on 15.11.16 at 11:43
Thoroughly enjoyed Ian's book - it arrived the day after I'd gone on a week-long holiday, so I was quite keen to get home. I played the featured songs as I read each chapter, and the number of times I would get to a line in the text at exactly the same time as in the song was uncanny.

I was amused to see that the almost legendary Patrick E Reinhardt (with the "E" omitted) has his own index entry, for his "close miked alto sax" on Dancing Master (http://www.peteatkin.com/play/k3w.htm).

(Sorry Cary, I keep forgetting to catch up with MV, so read in bursts - I do still miss the immediacy of the old mailing list. Time to reinstate my RSS reader - Yes, SJB, the feed is still used!)

Title: Re: MV1602 - "Loose canon" book
Post by S J Birkill on 12.02.17 at 17:43
MV Member Andrew Curry gives a comprehensive review of the book in his excellent blog Around the Edges (https://aroundtheedges.wordpress.com/2017/02/12/the-atkin-james-songbook/). When you've read it, check out the links at the foot of the blog page, to earlier entries concerning the songs.


[I'm posting to this 'Newsletter' thread as it seems to have attracted more replies than the original Loose Canon (http://www.peteatkin.com/cgi-bin/mv/YaBB.cgi?board=news;action=display;num=1463857218;start=0#0) thread from May 2016. To avoid dilution, I'll lock that thread and post a link to this one.]

Title: Re: MV1602 - "Loose canon" book
Post by Kevin Cryan on 26.09.18 at 20:38
There is an extract (https://www.booklaunch.london/autumn-2018-ian-shircore) from Ian Sirecore's Loose Canon in Booklaunch Autumn 2018

Kevin Cryan

Title: Re: MV1602 - "Loose canon" book
Post by Kevin Cryan on 26.09.18 at 22:21

on 09/26/18 at 20:38:02, Kevin Cryan wrote :
There is an extract (https://www.booklaunch.london/autumn-2018-ian-shircore) from Ian Sirecore's Loose Canon in Booklaunch Autumn 2018

Kevin Cryan


Posting should have read:

There is an extract (https://www.booklaunch.london/autumn-2018-ian-shircore) from Ian Shircore's Loose Canon in Booklaunch Autumn 2018

Kevin Cryan

Title: Re: MV1602 - "Loose canon" book
Post by Kevin Cryan on 13.06.19 at 15:42
Issue 112, June 2019

Loose Canon: The Extraordinary Songs of Clive James and Pete Atkin (https://www.drb.ie/new-books/loose-canon-the-extraordinary-songs-of-clive-james-and-pete-atkin1)
Ian Shircore
Publisher   Red Door    Publishing Price £14.99
ISBN 9781910453230



From Fifty Years in the Racket (https://www.drb.ie/new-books/loose-canon-the-extraordinary-songs-of-clive-james-and-pete-atkin1)

At the time of writing, Clive James is Britain's best-known living poet. With the possible exception of Roger McGough, whose early fame was greatly helped by having a Number 1 hit single with a pop group that included Paul McCartney's brother, he is just about the only poet whose status as a household name spans every household in the country.

It's a level of recognition poets like Wendy Cope, Andrew Motion and even the wonderful Carol Ann Duffy can only dream of. But these people are singleminded. Poetry is what they do. Clive has never been remotely singleminded. His fame is based on a vast range of tire­lessly productive creative activity. He has written serious poetry and bestselling memoirs, thoughtful literary criticism and a new translation of Dante to set alongside several decades of trenchant, informed and opinionated newspaper and radio journalism and a long string of hugely popular television chat shows and documentaries. By being everywhere, doing everything and refusing to pigeonhole his talents, he has become an inescapable part of our culture.

What he's not known for - beyond a small and passionate cult following - is his songwriting. The 200 or so songs co-written by Clive and his musical partner, Pete Atkin, are probably the least-known part of his creative output. And that's a shame, because this catalogue of wonders, built up over nearly half a century, includes some of his finest work.

Nobody loves a smart-arse, they told us. But it's not true. Some of us can't help being drawn to the flash and glitter of pyrotechnic wordplay, the knotted allusions and cross-references and exuberant technical ingenuity that show up in everything Clive writes, in poetry, prose or song. For us, it's about savouring the phrase, the idea, the image, the moment. Each stanza, paragraph or verse gives us something unexpected and unworn, thrown together with reckless energy in the laboratory of an extraordinary mind. When carping commentators accuse him of flaunting his erudition, dressing himself in false modesty and just plain showing off, the response surely has to be 'Yes, and...?'The man is unique, and he gives us unique pleasures, for which we are grateful.

When I first knew Pete and Clive, in the early 1970s, the songs were the thing. As each new album brought fresh and unpredictable joys — 'Touch Has a Memory' on Beware of the Beautiful Stranger, 'The Flowers and the Wine' on Driving Through Mythical America, 'Thirty Year Man' on A King at Nightfall and The Road of Silk's 'Senior Citizens', to pick just an arbitrary few - I was convinced that the James/Atkin partnership was on its way to fame and fortune. I was not alone. I saw the reaction as audiences heard these songs for the first time and instantly took them to their hearts. And I became in­creasingly aware that the songs were gaining influential fans, such as John Peel and Kenny Everett, whose enthusiasm would surely help them reach a broader public.

In the early volumes of his Unreliable Memoirs, Clive mentions several times that he and Pete had a master plan. The way they saw it back then, the songs they were writing would be the gold mine that funded everything else they wanted to do in their lives. But for that to work, they would have to make a hit single of their own or, as seemed more likely at the time, produce songs that other, better-known artists could cover. That wouldn't make them household names, but it could potentially generate a stream of songwriting royalties.


The Dublin Review of Books (drb), founded in 2006 and published online only since 2012, is an Irish review of literature, history, the arts, and culture.

Kevin Cryan

« Quote was true to online version of DRB article. Admin corrected cases of missing characters in final paragraph quoted here to improve legibility. »

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