Wednesday, October 05, 2011

How Strange Your Happy Words Have Ceased To Bring A Smile From Everyone

The BBC is to ask members of the public to turn their cameras on themselves on a single day this year to help create a self-portrait of Britain that will be broadcast as a feature-length documentary on BBC2 in 2012. The director Ridley Scott, whose films include Gladiator and Bladerunner, is working with the BBC on Britain in a Day, which aims to provide a snapshot of the country on 12 November. The documentary will form part of the BBC's Cultural Olympiad, which will showcase British life and culture during the year when London hosts the Olympic Games. The BBC said it aimed to create the 'definitive self-portrait of Britain today.' The project will be officially launched on The ONE Show in late October. Scott said: 'Film-making has always been about just picking up a camera, getting out there and doing it. Our aim for this new project is to get everyone behind the lens and give us a window onto one day in Britain.' Britain in a Day was inspired by the award-winning feature film Life in a Day, a similar project by Scott's production company, Scott Free London. Oscar-winning director Kevin Macdonald edited more than four thousand five hundred hours of footage submitted by people all over the world into a ninety-minute documentary, which premiered in US cinemas in July. Macdonald will be executive producer on the UK equivalent. It will be directed by Morgan Matthews, whose work includes The Fallen, BBC2's three-hour, BAFTA-winning 2008 documentary naming every British serviceman and woman killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Matthews 'will use the rich trove of material submitted to craft a single, coherent story that captures the variety and vibrancy of life in Britain today,' according to the BBC. The BBC wants the public to film something that captures the intimacy and singularity of their lives. Contributors will be asked to upload their footage to YouTube, which is supporting the development of the Britain in a Day film. Charlotte Moore, BBC commissioning editor for documentaries, said: 'The Cultural Olympiad feels like an ideal opportunity to take a mirror to ourselves and capture something of the kaleidoscope of life that thrives in Britain today. I hope that the fresh approach we are bringing to the production process will allow us to preserve a moment in time in a compelling and truly inclusive way. This is a bold project, hugely ambitious in scope and scale, and the BBC is in a unique position to deliver it with real impact.' BBC Learning, which makes educational programing, is funding the project and holding a series of film-making workshops across the country to encourage communities to get involved. The BBC will also work with film schools, societies and charities. The BBC will launch a promotional film to publicise Britain In A Day featuring celebrities including Ann Widdicombe, John Humphrys, Raymond Blanc, Terry Pratchett, Fiona Bruce and Stephen Fry.

The most spectacularly (and deliberately) obtuse moment in BBC2's finale of The Great British Bake-Off on Tuesday night was the totally incomprehensible crash-zoom onto this fluffy interloper. Why, director? Why for the love of God, why?!
Though, it must be admitted, it's a pretty damned good 'are you lookin' at me?' pose from Tufty, there. The Robert de Niro of the squirrel world, clearly. Nice packet, too. Over five million viewers watched Jo Wheatley crowned the winner of the BBC2 bakery show, but the clip of the animal's testicles and penis attracted an equal amount of attention on social networks sites. Critic Caitlin Moran, who had watched a preview of the final, alerted viewers to the startling shots of the animal before the show aired. 'I've just seen a preview tape of tomorrow's Great British Bake Off,' she said. 'And forty one minutes in, there's a shot of a squirrel with ENORMOUS testicles. Remember everyone: it's the squirrel with the massive knackers on Great British Bake Off. Exactly forty minutes in. HUUUUUGE.' Meanwhile, Great British Bake Off host Sue Perkins retweeted a viewer who described the creature as 'the true star of the show.' Moran added afterwards: 'How the fuck is it managing to drag them up tree? I'm sure you all understand why I have written AN ENTIRE TV COLUMN about them in this Saturday's Times.' That'll be worth reading, dear blog reader. It may contain nuts, however.

The Simpsons is reportedly facing the threat of cancellation. The long-running animated series could be axed due to a contract dispute between the show's voice-actors and 20th Century FOX, the Daily Beast reports. The studio purportedly wants the actors to agree to a forty five per cent pay cut or it will cease production on the series. Meanwhile, the actors have offered to take a thirty per cent cut as long as they receive a small portion of the show's back-end earnings. Earlier this week, 20th Century Fox released a statement regarding the contract negotiations, insisting that it is committed to finding a solution to the dispute. 'Twenty three seasons in, The Simpsons is as creatively vibrant as ever and beloved by millions around the world,' reads the statement. 'We believe this brilliant series can and should continue, but we cannot produce future seasons under its current financial model. We are hopeful that we can reach an agreement with the voice cast that allows The Simpsons to go on entertaining audiences with original episodes for many years to come.' Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston recently signed on to voice a spy on the animated series, while Glee's Jane Lynch will play Homer's new personal assistant in an upcoming episode. The Simpsons first premiered in December 1989 having previously features as animated shorts on The Tracy Ullman Show. It is the longest-running American sitcom, the longest-running American animated programme and the longest-running American primetime scripted television series ever. To date four hundred and eighty nine episodes have been broadcast.

The Daily Scum Mail has 'launched an inquiry' after it published an article on its website on Monday night which wrongly stated that Amanda Knox had been unsuccessful in overturning her guilty verdict for murder on appeal. A similar error was made on the Gruniad's live blog of the case and websites belonging to the Sun and Sky News after judge Claudio Hellmann first ruled Knox guilty of slander of Patrick Lumumba, before clearing her of the 2007 murder of Meredith Kercher. However, blogger Malcolm Coles captured the offending article from the Daily Scum Mail and noted that it included 'seemingly-invented reactions' to the incorrect verdict and 'false quotes' from the prosecution. According to the swiftly-deleted article, Knox 'sank into her chair sobbing uncontrollably while her family and friends hugged each other in tears.' Mysteriously anonymous prosecutors were quoted as saying that 'justice has been done' and adding that on 'human factor it was sad two young people would be spending years in jail.' A Daily Scum Mail spokesman told Press Gazette that the article in question had been 'online for only ninety seconds' - which is a downright bare-faced lie as this blogger was able to access it fully fifty minutes after it went live when a link to it appeared on Facebook - and that the newspaper had 'launched an inquiry into the matter.' In an addition to its piece on the Knox verdict, the Daily Scum Mail added: 'It is common practice among newspapers to prepare two versions of an article ahead of a court verdict and these are known as "set and hold" pieces. The quotes were obtained from various parties in the event of either a guilty or not guilty verdict.' It continued: 'We would like to make it clear that Nick Pisa had no involvement in the decision to publish his set and hold piece on MailOnline. We apologise for the error and have launched an enquiry [sic] to examine our procedures.'
Nick Pisa, the journalist under whose byline the piece was written, told Bloggerheads, rather snootily: 'If you knew anything about reporting and not blogging then you would know two versions are written for court stories on deadline.' On the question of the 'seemingly fabricated details and quotes' in the piece, he added: 'It is a version that is fine-tuned before being sent for publication or online. To be honest I think it's best you get a response from the Mail. They posted it. I have told you what happened.'

Media tycoon Alexander Lebedev has been charged with 'hooliganism' by prosecutors in Russia after he punched a fellow billionaire on a live television programme. In a statement on its website, the Moscow investigative committee of the general prosecutor's office said that Lebedev 'brought bodily harm' to Sergei Polonsky in the incident. Russian news agencies have said that the charge could result in up to two years in the gulag. Lebedev, who owns the UK's Independent and Evening Standard newspapers, hit property developer Polonsky during a panel discussion in September on Russia's NTV channel about the global financial crisis. After Polonsky said that he was tired of resisting the urge to give Lebedev 'a punch in the chops,' the media baron jumped up and threw punches at Polonsky, knocking him off his chair. Following the attack, Russia's prime minister Vladimir Putin described the incident as 'hooliganism,' and Polonsky posted photos online purporting to show his injuries from the assault. However, Lebedev told Russia's Interfax news agency that he only attacked Polonsky out of self defence. 'At one point, expounding on an idea of his and looking straight at me, he said, "This deserves a punch in the face,"' the tycoon claimed. 'I asked "Do you mean me?", and he shouted "Yes!" After that, I very neatly neutralised this absolutely unfounded threat.' Or, as they say in Byker, 'getting yer dig in first.' Polonsky has said that he is considering legal action against Lebedev.

Matthew Wright has defended his Channel Five chat show The Wright Stuff after the programme aired a spectacularly tasteless segment called 'Foxy Knoxy: Would Ya?' the day after Amanda Knox had her murder verdict overturned on appeal. The portion of the show has been widely criticised in online blogs and on Twitter, but Wright has stood by the decision to run it. A description on the Channel Five website read: 'So Amanda Knox has been cleared of the murder of British student Meredith Kercher. She's entirely innocent. She's also undeniably fit and loves wild sex. Or did. So if you were a guy who'd met her in a bar and she invited you back to hers, would you go? I'm being quite serious. Or would something in your brain make you think twice?' Following criticism, Wright told Metro: 'For the last four years, the world has been more than happy to refer to a woman, then presumed to be a killer, as "Foxy Knoxy", something I find appalling. I thought it would be interesting to find out if mud sticks, or whether an innocent young woman could now go out and behave in a perfectly normal way. The real disgrace is the Foxy Knoxy epithet.' A spokesperson for the show added: 'The discussion conducted between Matthew Wright and our panel of Kelly Hoppen, Christopher Biggins and Liz McClarnon was handled extremely sensitively. At no point did we lose sight of the fact that at the heart of the matter is the tragic death of a young girl - Meredith Kercher.'

A pub landlady has won the latest stage of her fight to show Premier League games using a foreign TV decoder. Karen Murphy had to pay nearly eight thousand smackers in fines and costs for using a cheaper Greek decoder in her Portsmouth pub to bypass controls over match screening. But she took her case to the European Court of Justice. The ECJ now says national laws which prohibit the import, sale or use of foreign decoder cards are contrary to the freedom to provide services. The decision could trigger a major shake-up for the Premier League and its current exclusive agreements with Sky Sports and ESPN, and pave the way to cheaper viewing of foreign broadcasts for fans of top-flight English games. However, whereas this opens up opportunities for individuals to watch overseas broadcasts at home, it remains unclear whether in future games can be shown in pubs using foreign decoders, as the ruling also threw up a number of copyright issues. The ECJ said national legislation, which banned the use of overseas decoders, could not 'be justified either in light of the objective of protecting intellectual property rights or by the objective of encouraging the public to attend football stadiums.' But the Premier League's said the ECJ's answers to the High Court's questions were 'complex. We are pleased that the judgment makes it clear that the screening in a pub of football-match broadcasts containing protected works requires the Premier League's authorisation,' the league said. Only Sky and ESPN are currently authorised by the Premier League to make such broadcasts. 'I'm relieved, very relieved,' Mrs Murphy told BBC Radio 5Live. 'It has been a rollercoaster, highs and lows and nerves. It has been a strange time and I am glad it is coming to an end.' She added: 'I feel I have taken on the Premier League and Sky.' Mrs Murphy said she no longer had a decoder box in her Red, White and Blue pub and would wait for the 'stamp of approval' from the High Court before reinstating it. The ECJ findings will now go to the High Court in London, which had sent the matter to the ECJ for guidance, for a final ruling. However, it is unusual for a member state High Court to pass a different judgement from one provided by the ECJ. 'In practical terms, the Premier League will now have to decide how it wishes to re-tender its rights,' said sports media lawyer Daniel Geey of Field Fisher Waterhouse solicitors. 'There can be little doubt it will have contingency plans ready to go and has various options available. Be it a pan-EU tender, selling in only certain EU member states or devising a plan to start its own channel, they will be deciding how best to maximise the value of their product to ensure any revenue shortfall is minimised.' The judges said that the Premier League could not claim copyright over Premier League matches as they could not considered to be an author's own 'intellectual creation' and, therefore, to be 'works' for the purposes of EU copyright law. However, the ECJ did add that while live matches were not protected by copyright, any surrounding media, such as any opening video sequence, the Premier League anthem, pre-recorded films showing highlights of recent Premier League matches and various graphics, were 'works' protected by copyright. To use any of these extra parts associated of a broadcast, a pub would need the permission of the Premier League. It remains to be seen whether pubs could broadcast match action without using any of these Premier League 'extras,' such as just broadcasting from kick-off only and therefore avoid breaching the league's copyright. By ensuring that its branding was on screen all the time, or including in-match graphics, the league may be able to claim pubs were in breach of this ECJ ruling on copyright. 'It's not a decision that the Premier League or its clubs wanted,' Wolves chief executive Jez Moxey told BBC Radio WM after the ECJ ruling was made. 'The Premier League have been aware of the situation and the possibility of the judgement going against them for some time now and have been assessing how it will sell TV rights going forward. Football has shown itself to be a resilient business.' He said that the Premier's League's financial model had been challenged by the ECJ ruling, and any future sales would need to take the court's decision into account. 'On the face of it, it looks like a blow for the Premier League and Sky and ESPN,' said the BBC's sport editor David Bond. But he added that the Premier League had faced many regulatory challenges in the past and would find ways to get round the new situation. 'The League insists the ruling is not clear cut, pointing to a part of the judgment which appears to offer them copyright protection and requiring pubs to seek their permission if they wish to use foreign decoders,' added our correspondent. 'It is a confused picture and it is now up to the High Court to try and interpret the judgment. Whatever happens the league is confident it is not about to suffer a major loss in TV income.' Sky has pumped billions into top flight English football since the league was founded in 1992, with the money given to clubs allowing them to buy some of the top names in the world. The Premier League's television income from mainland Europe is about one hundred and thirty million (or, you know, a month's wages for Wayne Rooney), less than ten per cent of their total £1.4bn overseas rights deal. However, the court decision could have a significant repercussions for other rights holders outside of sport, with life potentially getting more difficult for the film industry, which also sells its product on an country-by-country basis. Smithfield Partners is a law firm which represents David Richardson of QC Leisure (a digital box supplier), and SR Leisure Limited (a publican), all of whom were defendants to a civil action brought by the Premier League. 'We consider this ruling to be a significant step in creating fair competition across the internal market, reducing artificially inflated prices which vary across member states,' said the firm's Martin Ochs. 'It also provides some clarity in relation to the rights of businesses within the EU to broadcast live football. In fact this decision is likely to have far reaching implications beyond that of football.' The legal battle kicked off six years ago, when Mrs Murphy was taken to court for using the Nova firm to show matches at the Red, White and Blue pub. Using the Greek service, she had paid one hundred and eighteen pounds a month, rather than four hundred and eighty smackers a month with the official broadcaster. Licensed broadcasters encrypt satellite signals, with subscribers needing a decoder card to access them. Murphy took advantage of an offer to UK pubs to use imported cards. In February, an ECJ advocate general said this was in line with the aims of the EU single market - a border-free zone for goods and services. The Premier League has already taken action against two suppliers of foreign satellite equipment and a group of pub landlords who used imported decoding equipment to show English Premier League games and avoided the commercial premises subscription fees for Sky.

Jon Richardson has replaced Kevin Bridges as host of Stand Up for the Week. Channel Four's late-night satirical show will return for a third series of six episodes in November. Seann Walsh, Sara Pascoe, Josh Widdicombe and Paul Chowdrhy will join regular Rich Hall and 8 out of 10 Cats star Richardson on the stand-up team. 'Stand Up for the Week continues to be a showcase for some of the country's best comedians and we're thrilled that Jon Richardson will step up to host the new series,' announced the broadcaster's commissioning editor Madeleine Knight in a statement. Executive producer Andrew Beint of Open Mike Productions said: 'Stand Up for the Week is an exciting fresh format which combines topical comedy with the atmosphere of a live stand-up gig. For the third series we are thrilled to be working once again with new host Jon Richardson and regular Rich Hall, and welcome newcomers Seann, Josh, Sara and Paul to the Stand Up for the Week team.' Stand Up for the Week will be filmed in front of a live audience - as opposed to a dead one, we presume - at the new home of Clapham Grand in London.

Tamsin Greig has admitted that she does not think her show Episodes is a comedy. Well, in so much as it's not really very funny, that's probably true.

A claim by utter spawny-eyed parrot-faced wazzock the Home Secretary that an illegal immigrant could not be deported because of his pet cat was wrong, according to England's top judges. Well known faceache (and drag) Theresa May told the Conservative Party Conference that the ruling illustrated the problem with human rights laws. A spokesman for the Judicial Office said that the man in question's pet had had 'nothing to do with the judgement allowing him to stay.' May has since told the BBC that her speech had been 'checked for accuracy.' Not very closely, it would appear. Addressing party activists in Manchester, May sparked Pussygate by attacking what she said were 'excessive uses' of Article Eight of the European Convention on Human Rights - the right to family life. She said Article Eight had been used to prevent the removal of foreign national prisoners and illegal immigrants. She said: 'We all know the stories about the illegal immigrant who cannot be deported because, and I am not making this up, he had a pet cat.' Within minutes, however, a spokesman for the Judicial Office at the Royal Courts of Justice, which issues statements on behalf of senior judges, said: 'This was a case in which the Home Office conceded that they had mistakenly failed to apply their own policy - applying at that time to that appellant - for dealing with unmarried partners of people settled in the UK. That was the basis for the decision to uphold the original tribunal decision - the cat had nothing to do with the decision.' The case in question occurred in 2008 and involved a Bolivian student who had been living in the UK for four years and said that he could show he had a proper 'permanent relationship' with his partner and should therefore not be deported. At an earlier hearing in the case, a judge said: 'The evidence concerning the joint acquisition of Maya (the cat in question) by the appellant and his partner reinforces my conclusion on the strength and quality of the family life that appellant and his partner enjoy.' But, importantly, the judgement allowing the man to stay had nothing to do with the cat, said his lawyer, Barry O'Leary. He told the BBC that his client and his British partner had been together for four years at the time of the appeal. 'As part of the application and as part of the appeal, the couple gave detailed statements of the life they had built together in the United Kingdom to show the genuine nature and duration of their relationship,' he said. 'One detail provided, amongst many, was that they had owned a cat together for some time.' The Bolivian man eventually won his case on appeal because the Home Office had ignored its own immigration rules on unmarried couples. Those rules stated at the time that an individual should not normally be deported if they can show the relationship is 'genuine and long-lasting.' The Asylum and Immigration Tribunal appeal ruled that the Home Office's failure to follow this rule was the key issue in the case, not the human rights considerations. And not the cat. But O'Leary said that the case has been unfortunately misrepresented in the press after a light-hearted remark by Senior Immigration Judge Gleeson was taken out of context. She said that the cat which had featured in the earlier hearings 'need no longer fear having to adapt to Bolivian mice.' It's notciable in all the furore that nobody seems to have asked Maya what she feels about being at the centre of this kerfuffle. Which, one imagines, would be 'Me? How?' Or something.

Meanwhile, Primal Scream have criticised the Conservative Party after Theresa May used their single 'Rocks' as her walking-off music at the Tory party conference. The band said that it was inappropriate for May to use the song from their 1994 Give Out But Don't Give Up LP because of her political differences from the band. 'Primal Scream are totally disgusted that the Home Secretary Theresa May ended her speech at the Tory Party conference with our song 'Rocks',' a band statement to Q magazine read. 'How inappropriate. Didn't they research the political history of our band? Hasn't she listened to the words? Does she even know what getting your rocks off means? No. She is a Tory; how could she?' It continued: 'Primal Scream are totally opposed to the coalition government, Cameron, Osborne, Gove, Howard, Clegg, etc. They are legalised bullies passing new laws to ensure the wealthy stay wealthy, taking the side of big business while eradicating workers rights and continuing their attacks on young people, single parents and OAPs by slashing education and social security budgets, in effect persecuting the poor for being poor. We would like to distance ourselves from this sick association. The Tories are waging a war on the disenfranchised. They are the enemy.' There you go, dear blog reader - you wind up Bobby and the boys at your peril! Mind you, given the subject matter of the song (sex and drugs and rock an roll, basically) does this tell us something about well know faceache (and drag) Theresa May that we didn't already know?

Noel Gallagher has described this year's X Factor bands as 'fucking appalling.' So, err, what's the difference with last year's? The former Oasis guitarist and songwriter said that the groups - who will be mentored by N-Dubz singer Tulisa Contostavlos - are the worst category of the series. Gallagher told Digital Spy: 'I watched this series for the first time this weekend. I'm usually quite good at picking who is going to go through, and I think I managed to pick them all correctly this time. The groups are fucking appalling; they really are fucking dreadful!; The singer-songwriter continued: 'The over fifties or twenty fives category are fucking shite too. It's only a TV show, though, and the whole thing is more like a soap opera with all their back stories and that carry-on "The live shows are when it's at its best and it's great Saturday night TV, especially when you've got an eleven-year-old daughter. That show is her life!' No bloody excuse.

A couple have been caught engaging in sex during a Bundesliga football match. Bayern Munich were playing away against Hoffenheim when the two Bayern fans were spotted after sixteen minutes. Security were 'forced to intervene,' reports German tabloid Bild. 'I thought it did not look right,' an - anonymous - 'source' allegedly recalled. 'They had no inhibitions. Both pulled their pants down and went at it. The people around them apparently were not disturbed.' The couple were, reportedly, 'told to stop.' However, they continued at half-time and were eventually 'thrown out' of the Rhein-Neckar-Arena. The match ended in a goalless draw.

The legendary Scottish folk musician Bert Jansch, a founding member of the band Pentangle, has died at the age of sixty seven. Jansch, who had cancer, died in the early hours of Wednesday morning at a hospice in Hampstead, North London. His outstanding body of work influenced such noted guitarist as Paul Simon, Donovan, Johnny Marr, Bernard Butler, Jimmy Page, Nick Drake, Graham Coxon and Neil Young. Born in Glasgow in 1943, as a teenager, Bert acquired a guitar and started visiting a local folk club (The Howff). There, he met Archie Fisher and Jill Doyle (his hero Davey Graham's half-sister), who introduced him to the music of Big Bill Broonzy, Pete Seeger, Brownie McGhee and Woody Guthrie. He also met and shared a flat with another aspiring folkie Robin Williamson (later of The Incredible String Vest). After leaving school, Bert worked briefly as a nurseryman, then from late 1960 spent the next two years playing one-night stands in British folk clubs. This was a musical apprenticeship which exposed him to a range of further influences, including Martin Carthy, Ian Campbell and, especially, Annie Briggs, from whom he learned some of the songs (such as 'Blackwaterside' and 'Reynardine') which would later feature in his recording career. Between 1963 and 1965, he travelled around Europe, hitch-hiking and living on earnings from busking in bars and cafes. Before leaving Glasgow, he had married a sixteen-year-old girl, Lynda Campbell. It was, by all accounts, something of a marriage of convenience, which allowed her to travel with him as she was too young to have her own passport. They split up after a few months and Jansch was eventually repatriated to Britain after catching dysentery in Tangiers. Jansch moved to London where, in the mid-1960s, there was a burgeoning interest in folk music. There, he met Bill Leader, at whose home they made a recording of Jansch's music on a reel-to-reel tape recorder. Leader sold the resulting tape for one hundred quid to Transatlantic Records, who produced an eponymous debut LP directly from it. Bert Jansch was released in 1965 and went on to sell over one hundred and fifty thousand copies. It included Jansch's protest song 'Do You Hear Me Now?' which was brought to the attention of the pop mainstream later that year by Donovan Leitch - an adoring Jansch fan - who covered it on his Universal Soldier EP. Donovan's guitar picking style (which, he subsequently taught to The Beatles in India a couple of years later) was not only influenced by Jansch but he also wrote two songs - 'Bert's Blues' and 'House of Jansch' - about his hero. Also included on Jansch's first LP was his harrowing anti-heroin song 'Needle of Death' (another Jansch fan, Neil Young, used that as the basis for his own 'The Needle and the Damage Done' four years later) and what may well be the definitive version of Davey Graham's 'Angie.' Jansch followed this with two more groundbreaking LPs, produced in quick succession: It Don't Bother Me and Jack Orion — the latter of which contained his first recording of 'Blackwaterside,' later to be taken up by yet another besotted Jansch worshipper, Jimmy Page, and recorded by Led Zeppelin. In London, Jansch met other innovative acoustic guitar players, including John Renbourn (with whom he shared a flat in Kilburn High Road and co-wrote 'Lucky Thirteen' on Jack Orion), Davey Graham and Paul Simon. Legend has it that they would meet and play in various Soho folk clubs, including The Troubadour in Old Brompton Road and Les Cousins Club in Greek Street. Renbourn and Jansch developed their own intricate interplay between the two guitars, often referred to as 'Folk baroque.' Firstly they recorded a duet LP, Bert & John and then, between 1967 and 1973 the pair formed the group Pentangle, best known for their 1970 hit single 'Light Flight.' Singer Jacqui McShee, bassist Danny Thompson and drummer Terry Cox were the other original members of the band, whose LPs included Basket of Light and Solomon's Seal. The group reformed in 2008 after receiving a lifetime achievement honour the previous year at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. As a solo artist, Jansch received his own lifetime achievement accolade at the same event in 2001. Speaking to the Gruniad last year, Jansch - who is survived by his third wife Loren - said that he was 'not one for showing off.' But he admitted that his guitar-playing 'sticks out' - a skill which once prompted Neil Young to put him on the same level as a guitarist as Jimi Hendrix. His solo career continued both during the Pentangle period (check out, in particular 1967's Nicola and 1971's Rosemary Lane) and subsequently. He recorded in Paris and Los Angeles but always seemed to prefer London, and specifically, the clubs of Soho. From 1995, Jansch appeared frequently at the 12 Bar Club in Denmark Street. One of his live sets there was recorded direct to DAT by Jansch's then manager, Alan King and was released as the Live at the 12 Bar an 'official bootleg.' His profile was raised considerably in 2000 with the release of Crimson Moon, a CD featuring contributions from Suede's Bernard Butler and The Smiths' Johnny Marr among others. Marr said: 'He completely re-invented guitar playing and set a standard that is still unequalled today - without Bert Jansch, rock music as it developed in the 1960s and 1970s would have been very different. You hear him in Nick Drake, Pete Townshend, Donovan, The Beatles, Jimmy Page and Neil Young. There are people playing guitar who don't even realise they've been influenced by him one step removed.' Butler, Ralph McTell, Hope Sandoval and Colm Ó Cíosóig all contributed to Jansch's 2002 Edge of a Dream CD. In 2005, Jansch teamed up again with one of his early influences, Davey Graham, for a number of concerts in England and Scotland. However, his tour had to be postponed, owing to illness, and Jansch underwent major heart surgery in the later part of 2005. By 2006 he had recovered and was playing live again. The CD The Black Swan (his last recorded work) was released on Sanctuary, featuring contributions from Beth Orton and Devendra Banhart. Jansch's influence on a later generation of guitar players is widely acknowledged - Butler states that Noel Gallagher, Jarvis Cocker, and Johnny Marr (as well as himself) have 'paid homage to this quiet, unassuming, but hugely revered master.' Booking agent John Barrow, who helped the musician stage shows throughout his career, said he would remember Jansch as a 'hard-working musician' and 'a great man. He was very quietly spoken,' he told the BBC. 'People used to say to me, "he doesn't talk much, does he?" But when he could play the guitar like that, why should he be talking?' He is survived by his third wife, Loren, and sons, Kieron and Adam. Another son, Richard, predeceased him. His second wife was the sculptor Heather Jansch.

And, it's been a horribly sad few days for yer actual Keith Telly Topping's guitar heroes. Marv Tarplin, the guitarist with Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, has died at his Las Vegas home over the weekend aged seventy. Tarplin was one of the group's original members and co-wrote several of their best known hits including 1965's 'Tracks of My Tears.' He remained with the group until 1973, and continued to collaborate and tour with Robinson until retiring from music in 2008. A spokeswoman for The Miracles said that the cause of death had not yet been determined. Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Tarplin first came to Berry Gordy's Motown label in the late 1950s as a guitar player for The Primettes, a teenage girl group that later became The Supremes. Robinson, who was already with the label, hired Tarplin on the spot to play for The Miracles. Marv went on to co-write hits including 'My Girl Has Gone', 'Going to a Go-Go' and 'The Love I Saw in You Was Just a Mirage.' He also co-wrote, with Robinson, 'I'll Be Doggone' and 'Ain't That Peculiar?' for Marvin Gaye in the mid-60s. After Robinson went solo in 1973, Tarplin continued their musical relationship and co-wrote the singer's hits 'Cruisin' and 'Being With You.' Billy Wilson of the Motown Alumni Association paid tribute to Tarplin describing him as The Miracles' secret weapon. 'You can't express how much this one man meant to those of us dreaming to make it in the music business,' Wilson said. 'His creative backbeat rhythms on guitar allowed the powers that be to find the creative juices to formulate what would become major classic hits for Motown.' Tarplin - whose wife, Sylvia died in 2004, is survived by three daughters - Talese, Lisa and Ebony.

Further desperately sad news, the former England fast bowler Graham Dilley has died aged fifty two after a short illness. The ex Kent and Worcestershire paceman played forty one Test matches and thirty six one-day internationals. His most memorably moment came in 1981, when he helped England complete a memorable win in the third Ashes Test. 'Few will forget his contribution during the historic Ashes win at Headingley in 1981,' said David Collier, chief executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board. 'Graham made a life-long contribution to the game of cricket at all levels and we are deeply saddened by the sad news this morning.' Dilley took one hundred and thirty eight Test wickets at an average of 29.78 for his country but his biggest impact came with the bat in that famous battle with Australia in Leeds thirty years ago. His one hundred and seventeen-run partnership with Ian Botham helped lay the foundations for England's improbable victory after the home side had looked almost certain to lose. After retiring, Dilley, a two-time Ashes series winner in 1981 and 1986-87, moved into coaching. He enjoyed spells as England assistant coach and England women's bowling coach before becoming head cricket coach at Loughborough University. Botham told Sky Sports News: 'He ran in to bowl in the Caribbean, first ball, and the heel fell off his boot. Typical Graham, he's only brought one pair with him on an England tour so there was panic there, but he was a fantastic cricketer who had a lot of talent. He was plagued with injuries, his neck and knees, which probably stopped him playing a lot more for England, but on his day he was the best. I had a lot of great times with him. He had a great sense of humour, he always wanted to be part of the party and join in. He was quiet and reserved until you got to know him. It's a very sad day. We both joined Worcestershire at the same time together, almost within minutes. We had a great run of about six trophies in five years.'

And after three such terribly sad stories, for no other reason than yer actual Keith Telly Topping feels like it - and it is, after all, my blog so I can post what I sodding well like! - here's a famous photo of three Liverpool schoolboys up to no good.
The latest Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day was originally simply going to be a bit of light-hearted hot-ass, flute-tootin' disco shit, baby. Work that thang.
However, since hearing the news about the death of Bert Jansch and Marv Tarplin, here's a couple more 45's that are worth of your consideration. Firstly this one.
And secondly, this one.

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