Summer's Last Sound by Pete Paphides on Mixcloud

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Music was Pete Paphides' first love. And at this rate, it will be his last.

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Like so many stories about Wizz Jones, the triumphant pay-off never materialised

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Michael Jackson

In the early 80s, you didn’t just listen to Michael Jackson. You wanted to be like him.”

Five years ago, on a Thursday night at Glastonbury, I got a call from my editor at The Times, for whom I worked at the time. He informed me that he was in a taxi and the radio speaker had just imparted unconfirmed reports that Michael Jackson had suffered a fatal heart attack. It was 10.45pm and I'd had far too much "Spicey Cider". I didn't bother calling The Times. The first edition had…


A gold leotard, adorned at the back with a huge ribbon tail conspired to make her look like a futuristic Cadbury’s Caramel bunny.”




Given the fortnight she has just had, it would have been understandable if Beyonce Knowles found it difficult to muster the necessary adrenalin for this British leg of her current tour. An arena in Liverpool – one that looks much like any other arena in any other town – must have been little match for the triumphant evening she enjoyed a few nights previously as the MTV Europe Music Awards…

Revisiting Baggy

In any era, it’s the more ersatz, guileless examples of any genre that sum up the times.”




In December 1989, after my first term at Lampeter University ended, I returned to the Midlands and caught up with a few old friends. Paul, who used to work at the Virgin Megastore in Birmingham, had just landed a job with The Cartel, a distribution network set up to ensure that indie labels could get their records in shops across the country. I visited him at his new flat near The Cartel’s…

The imperishable genius of Fables Of The Reconstruction

We were incapable of meaning anything, we were too busy trying to survive.”




Writing in the liner notes of 2010’s expanded, appended reissue of REM’s third album, Peter Buck alludes to “a certain misapprehension” that has built up around the record. “For some reason,” he ponders, “people have the impression that the members of REM don’t like [it].” If Buck wants to know how that impression came about, he could do a lot worse than scour some of his old press cuttings…

Aztec Camera
Life after Aztec Camera

At school that day, I issued Imtiaz with clear instructions. If he had cords too, he should wear them.”




The first time I heard an Aztec Camera song, it wasn’t being performed by Aztec Camera. It was Eddie Holmes, absently singing the chorus of Oblivious as we filed into class on a January morning. Between Eddie’s ability to carry a tune and Roddy Frame’s ability to write one, my interest was piqued enough to ask Eddie what he was singing. In a Birmingham school where the girls had Duran Duran…

The Police

Like being clubbed to death by an English lecturer wielding a rhyming dictionary.”




When you have spent the official price of $220 per ticket to see the band that soundtracked your youth, is there any other option but to enjoy yourself? Seemingly not. Twenty-two years after The Police dissolved in a mire of acrimony, their first date of this mammoth reunion tour had all but a handful of the 20,000 fans at this ice hockey stadium standing from the very beginning. Were those…

Atoms For Peace

A unique instrument for which Flying Lotus, Autechre and Four Tet would surely pawn all their hardware.”




Lots of records are tainted by compromise, but very few have that term attached to them by the people who worked on them. However, in a recent interview with Rolling Stone magazine, longtime Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich had exactly that to say about the debut album by Thom Yorke’s “other band.” It might, of course, have been awkward, were it not for the fact that: (a) Godrich is also…

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