Pennies From Heaven - Original Soundtrack
Once upon a time I was accused of disappearing into my world of books and films where darkness came too soon. Total nonsense of course. There was music too. But the suggestion was that I was missing out. Total nonsense too. Products have so much to teach us. So many stories to tell …
I guess if we're going to make a go of the fanzine again, we'd better start thinking about what we're going to put in there.
I've got that piece on the new Purple Hearts recordings. You've got that article on Sinatra you've been putting together. By the way, you've got to include that bit about the local barber doing a Sinatra cut for a couple of quid. And what else?
One thing I really want to do is something on the Pennies From Heaven soundtrack. I think it will fit nicely with the whole anti-rockism thing. But it's completely genuine because I keep playing the record, and I've become quite obsessed with some of those dance tunes from the '30s. The melodies that haunt my reveries ...
I hope I can get across somehow in some way in the same way Arthur in the drama itself passionately believes that these songs, the pop songs of the day, are as important as life itself, and that even though they are put together by jobbing musicians and journeyman singers the way Dennis Potter succeeds in making the songs live and articulate for the characters their feelings in a way they would struggle to do in real conversation in quite real buttoned-up times, and I guess it's hard to disentangle how much I loved the serial from how much I love the soundtrack. But I am a sucker for Dorothy Carless singing Oh You Nasty Man, and Al Bowlly and Lew Stone and the BBC Dance Orchestra. It's easy to see how Vic Godard became so sold on the swing thing and Cole Porter and co.
Which reminds me. Did you get any response to that letter you sent Benny Green? I assume it would have reached him via Broadcasting House. It would have been great to do an interview. If only to provide an alternative to all the fanzines that run the seemingly inevitable John Peel interview. My worry is that Benny would be a bit too much PG Wodehouse and Wisden, but if we can get people listening to him on Sunday afternoons then that's got to be a good thing. Let's face it - his knowledge of all the classic songwriters, the Jerome Kerns and so on, is amazing, and all those songs ... Smoke Gets In Your Eyes, All The Things You Are, The Way You You Look Tonight ... Wow!
It doesn't look like we're going to get the chance to go and see Vic Godard perform at Club Left does it? It would have been great to include a review of him performing with the new Subway Sect. The times are crazy though. They're certainly not catering for the likes of us whose last train home is just after 11.00. I suppose we could walk the streets of Soho and get the milk train home, but I know for sure our mums would go mad - school holidays or not.
And Kevin Rowland is the guest DJ next week. I'd love to know what he plans to play. Can you imagine what we'd be like if we did go. Vic Godard, Kevin Rowland, and us. Us! We'd be like Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. Two country bumpkins in the court of the kings. "Pure, let's make this pure ...". I still can't get over how brilliant that Richard Skinner session was last month. What with that and Me No Pop I and the Teardrop Explodes and Sorry For Laughing and Funeral Pyre, it's another great summer for pop. I doubt if we'd get Benny Green to buy that though.
I see Johnny Britton is playing a set a Club Left next week too, instead of being the warm up DJ, nodding along to Nina. I cannot believe Bernie Rhodes hasn't managed to turn him into a star yet. You do wonder sometimes. Vic pinched his group so he should give him a few more songs in exchange. You've got Bernie, you've got Vic, you've got Johnny and those looks. Put the whole kit and caboodle together, and surely you've got a success story. Move over Dion. Bye bye Chet. And the Polecats don't even enter into the game!
The funny thing is Club Left seems like forbidden fruit to us, stuck out on the Kent coast, but we'd probably hate it. By all accounts it's totally taken over by the trendy i-D/Face crowd. I bet it's all preening peacocks, sipping cocktails, posing and pretending to dig Peggy Lee and Eartha Kitt, when on another night they're doing the same thing at Club For Heroes or Gaz's Rockin' Blues. By all accounts Vic absolutely hates it, but it's part of the job to be there, and if he can get someone to do a set he's happy enough.
I just thought. We need something on books. What do you think? You're the bookworm. What was that one you got at the school fete? Who Walk in Darkness? What was that like? Me, I'm still struggling with Visions of Cody. I've sort of finished it. But I have to confess I skipped quite a bit. He just totally lost me with some of the stoned transcripts. They left me cold those conversations. It just seemed wacky and way out for the sake of it. And Kerouac can be such a beautiful writer. There were passages on the other hand which were so lovely and profound I just copied them out. Like the famous quote: "Everything belongs to me because I am poor". And some of the passages about jazz are wonderful. Go! Go! Go! This is it! Like one of those Pop Group offshoots. And hang on a minute, here's another line I wrote down because it just hit me between the eyes: "Pop tunes pop in the clouds but nonetheless I'm scared of this frightening afternoon." That's pure poetry. We should use that as a caption on the back cover over a picture of Sinatra crooning.
© 2007 John Carney