Just An Observation Friday February 22nd

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Quite a lot been happening over the last week not least the sad news that Shadow Morton –the genius behind the Shangri La’s and producer of the ill fated second album ‘Too Much Too Soon’ by the New York Dolls- had died, trial by social media for  the James Bulger killers which leads neatly into the latest instalment of Charlie Brooker’s ‘Black Mirror’ series and, of course, that invective inducing shambles The Brits.

Worst things first, let’s look at the Brits –or should that be The Shit Awards aka The Skits- and how the sight and sound of One Erection murdering Blondie and The Undertones-now as an act of revenge wouldn’t the sight of those two groups murdering One Direction be something to see and in fact Debbie Harry could probably blow them to pieces with one blink of her eye- will remain one of the most horrendous moments of 2013. What is most worrying of all is that the boy bland themselves might actually think they are any good. Newsflash guys; you’re not. Definitely not!

The whole debacle was trite and embarrassing and far from showing what an unhealthy state the music industry is in it merely re-iterated that it is now over run by money men who care little about the quality of music they are peddling to an ever growing mass market. Last year however saw old music outselling new music for the first time so surely that statistic in itself speaks volumes. Having already attacked this ceremony in full I will not repeat the bile which already spewed forth and if you missed my ‘critique’ then it can be found here.

Not even getting a mention at the awards was Shadow Morton the legendary producer who died last week. Creating mini rock and roll operas for teenagers- rape, death, parental fall-outs and bad boy fixations were just some of the controversial subjects covered-  with The Shangri La’s in the early sixties, Morton’s legacy still looms large over modern music. What was Amy Winehouse’s ‘Back To Black’ album if not an attempt to capture some of that aforementioned girl bands pathos for a twenty first century audience? ‘Leader of the Pack’, ‘Give Him a Great Big Kiss’, ‘I Can Never Go Home Anymore’ and ‘Past, Present and Future’ still sound as fresh today as they must have done fifty years ago.

Lapsing into alcoholism Morton was more or less washed up by the time the New York Dolls approached him to produce their second album ‘Too Much, Too Soon’-the title proved prophetic as the Dolls were ahead of their time and it wasn’t until punk exploded several years later that their influence was recognised- though this was far from a fruitful venture and more or less killed off both their careers simultaneously. Morton disappeared from the music scene after this fateful encounter and languished in alcoholism throughout the eighties and relative obscurity until his death last week.

Much has been said concerning the alleged revealing of the former child killers Robert Thompson and Jon Venables who tortured and murdered two year old Jamie Bulger twenty years ago. The revealing of their identities via social media can as far as I can see do no good for anyone involved. All such actions can do is refresh the pain of the victims families- the pain will always be there but just dealt with in a different way however the unwelcome intrusion of any form of media can only bring it to the fore and heighten any anguish- as well as the expense of relocating and providing new identities,yet again, for the perpetrators.

Much like the horrors committed by Myra Hindley-the thought that a woman could involve herself in such horrific acts still shocks even today- it is more the fact that they carried out such atrocities whilst still children themselves that makes most peoples blood run cold. Their crime was horrifically shocking both then and now but the justice system-which is far from perfect-, has tried to deal with an unprecedented case in the best way it knows how. Trial by Twitter –unconfirmed alleged images of the  two killers as they are today went viral last weekend- is perhaps the way our society is moving but this does not however make it right as it interferes with an already beleaguered justice system which is struggling to retain any semblance of credibility and control as it is.

It was a subject which reared its head in ‘White Bear’ the latest episode of Charlie Brooker’s ‘Black Mirror’ series this week in which a young woman who has committed tortuous acts on a child wakes up in a justice camp where her trial involves her being pursued by a baying audience armed with mobile phones capturing every second of her torment as meted out by her captors. She is tortured and disorientated and as a drama it could not have been better timed to coincide with the revealing of the Bulger killers identities and the subsequent fall out if Brooker had tried. A full review can be found here.

Top night out for me this weekend has to be The Subterranean Homesick Aldo Blues Experience at the Institute in Marchmont. A genuine superstar in the making this looks like being a great gig although it is an invite only showcase event but I shall report back on the evening, as well as posting an interview and exclusive pictures of the man himself in the next week, alongside upcoming dates and news.

To finish off here is ‘Leader of the Pack’ by the Shangri La’s which is probably the song most will associate with the late, great Shadow Morton. All together now ‘Is she really going out with him?’…

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