sat 16/11/2019

1980s

theartsdesk on Vinyl 54: The Beatles, Prince, Kid Acne, Nirvana, Teebs, Monty Python, Pulp and more

Without further ado, slightly delayed by the sheer volume of releases at this year time of year, here is the latest edition of theartsdesk on Vinyl. You will not find a more extensive monthly report on the goodies newly available on plastic anywhere...

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The Fall of the Berlin Wall with John Simpson, BBC Four review – the future we’ve left behind

John Simpson remains the BBC’s longest serving foreign correspondent. Here, he returns to the biggest moment of his career. This personalised retelling of the collapse of the Berlin wall encompasses fond remembrance, factual detail and the...

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A Prayer for Wings, King's Head Theatre review - claustrophobic mother-daughter drama soars

When Sean Mathias wrote A Prayer for Wings 35 years ago, the subject of young carers devoting their lives to parents with disabilities had just come as a revelation. That it's still very much a shame under another Tory government keeps this play...

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Ben Elton, Tunbridge Wells Assembly Hall review - magnificent return to stand-up

It has been 15 years since Ben Elton, known as Motormouth in his 1980s heyday – last toured. A decade-and-a-half ago, one of the instigators of alternative comedy tells us at the top of the show, he could have still passed muster as young or cool....

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The Mask of Orpheus, English National Opera review - amorphous excess

Advance publicity overstated the case for The Mask of Orpheus. "Iconic"? Only to academics and acolytes, for British audiences haven't had a chance to see a production since ENO's world premiere run in 1986. "Masterpiece"? Sitting there after the...

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Black Flag, The Mill, Birmingham review – hardcore punk originators come up trumps

Prior to this week, it had been 35 years since hardcore punk firestarters Black Flag had set foot in the UK. That said, it was not without some trepidation that I made my way to one of Birmingham’s more compact venues to see a band who had once been...

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CD: 808 State - Transmission Suite

Prior to the UK dance music explosion of summer 1988, house and techno were American micro-scenes, geographically restricted to Chicago, Detroit and New York. Small coteries showed interest in the UK, but few thought of making the stuff. Mancunian...

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theartsdesk on Vinyl 53: U2, Moonlight Parade, Oasis, Stray Cats, Crass, Prefab Sprout and more

It’s reckoned that this time next year vinyl sales will have overtaken CDs. It’s still a small market and anyone who thinks vinyl will one day replace streaming is living on Planet Lah-lah. There’s so much coming out even theartsdesk on Vinyl cannot...

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Reissue CDs Weekly: The Daisy Age

In the lyrics of 1989’s “Doin’ Our Own Dang”, Jungle Brothers’ Mike D noted his combo were “Breaking the beat others wished they broke.” Going further, he acknowledged “Cause you’re trying to feel what’s on my reel to reel.” Jungle Brothers...

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The Sisters of Mercy, Roundhouse review - hits delivered from the darkness

While bands such as The Birthday Party, Siouxsie and the Banshees and, especially, Bauhaus had a hand in inventing goth music at the start of the Eighties, it was The Sisters of Mercy who defined it. Their combination of black clad cowboy shtick,...

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Big the Musical - sweet if wildly overstretched

The work isn't finished on Big, if this stage musical of the beloved 1988 Tom Hanks film is ever to, um, make it big. A Broadway flop in 1996 where it was among the last shows directed by the late, much-admired Englishman Mike Ockrent, the material...

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Edwyn Collins, Concorde 2, Brighton review - enjoyable evening of tight guitar pop

In March of this year Edwyn Collins released his ninth studio album, Badbea, his fourth since two life-altering cerebral haemorrhages derailed him in 2005. It’s a vivacious collection that runs the gamut of what guitar pop can be, from acoustic...

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