by C. P. Lee


TEN – Kill Bill 1&2  (Film) 

Quentin Tarantino is the Pope of Post-Modernism and in this double billed, blood drenched, kung fu fest he loots the cultural supermarket with gay abandon. The resultant flick is an homage to Japanese TV, Hong Kong martial arts movies, Kwai Chang Caine, French nouvelle vague and Spaghetti Westerns, via late sixties LA Pop Art, plus a soundtrack of thundering riffs, rips, samples and ballads featuring artists such as Chingon, film director Robert Rodriguez’s Mexicali street band, and the 5 6 7 8’s, Japanese housewife Psychobilly Power trio. 

In Po-Mo terms it’s the perfect pastiche, that is to say, the perfect blend of styles and influences. In strict Po-Mo terms it’s the perfect simulacrum – a copy without an original. Whether Tarantino is conscious of this when he works who can say – He isn’t afraid to acknowledge the films he steals from even down to the framing of  particular shots. His insistence in paying homage to the world of cinema also extends to the casting of his movies. Pairing up Uma Thurman with David Carradine works a treat. Carradine’s languid BoHo snuffmeister Bill reprises his Shao Lin half breed 1970s TV persona and lopes his way through a deadly love affair with Tarantino’s current muse, Uma Thurman.

NINE – (Internet Site) 

Gossip, rumour, innuendo, filth, jokes old and new, tips for other sites to visit (usually of a disgusting nature), Popbitch is 21st Century phenomenon. Regularly used by gossip columnists throughout the media for source material – read it on popbitch first! There even used to be a subscriber who regularly sent in pop gossip under the name ‘Bob Dylan’s Moustache’!

EIGHT – The Streets – A Grand Don’t Come For Free (CD) 

This solo project by The Streets (a young guy called Mike Skinner) has led to him being given the nickname ‘the Shakespeare of Chav’.  and it truly is a remarkable effort. A lucid, logical, evocation of urban working class youth. It has given me repeated pleasure every time I’ve played the cd – epic in its scope this can only be described as a concept album, detailing the minutiae of returning a dvd to Blockbuster, losing a thousand quid down the back of a tv, finding a cashcard won’t work, winning and losing the love of your life. The big hit taken from the album is ‘Dry Your Eyes Mate’ – if you know it you’ll love it.

SEVEN –Smile - Brian Wilson, Liverpool Empire  (Concert)

Grown men wept, me included. And I distinctly remember the earth moving.  This is one of the best gigs I have ever been to in my life, certainly worth the 35 year wait. Wilson appeared on stage to be a fragile figure who suddenly became the leader of the band again – he conducted his backing group with energy and enthusiasm. I lost count of the encores.

SIX – The Complete Earl Scruggs Story (DVD) 

Sent to me by Tricia Jungwirth, this disc is my favourite music dvd – possibly of all time, certainly of the moment. Ninety minutes of the man who revolutionised bluegrass banjo picking in the company of Dylan, Doc Watson, The Byrds with Roger McGwinn (sic from the cover!), Joan Baez, Bill  Monroe, the list goes on … Fantastic playing makes this 19th documentary a treasure and worth it alone for the look on Dylan’s face when Earl and his sons are jamming with him on Nashville Skyline rag.

FIVE – Escaping The Delta – Elijah Wald (Book) 

I’ve already mentioned in Freewheelin’ what an invaluable contribution I feel this book has made to the study of music. No need to go through it all again then!

FOUR – John Green Memorial Event 

Our Third John Green Day and another unmissable chance to be with fellow aficionados and true friends. From any perspective, the JGD fan can expect a smooth operation, packed with events, personalities and fervour – and once again all this was part and parcel of the event. Fewer stalls this year, but I still managed to spend a small fortune. You know you’re a real Dylan fan when you buy a bootleg cd that you’ve already got but the listing/title are in a different order. Here’s looking to the next one! 

THREE  – Arthur Goulding  (Person ... and 2005 book project)

Over the course of 2004 I became deeply involved in researching the Mancunian Film Company, a film studio that used to produce feature-length comedies in Manchester. It brought to the world George Formby, Norman Evans, Frank Randle and others. Through the grandson of the studios’ founder, one Mike Blakeley, I have gained access to most of the films and a list of sadly diminishing living artistes and technicians who worked at the Company. Arthur Goulding should be a national treasure – aged 85, he’s the last surviving member of the Wilton Bros, a novelty musical trio trained from infancy by their mother Madame Wilton (always ‘Madame’ Wilton) to tread the boards.


Arthur Goulding

Scene from Somewhere in England Mancunian Films Company, 1940. L:R – Arthur/Ted/Ron Goulding (The Wilton Bros) and Frank Randle.

In 1939 the Wiltons joined Randle’s Scandals Revue and performed with him in Blackpool and around the country for the next four years – they also appeared in three films with him. It was a pleasure to be not only in Arthur Goulding’s house but in his world, surrounded by his paintings, listening to his music and gaining access to all his memorabilia. 

Arthur Goulding


TWO – Early Doors (DVD) 

In a way a logical follow-up to Three (above) it’s Northern comedy only now. Rather than a Peter Kay driven sitcom, this is an ensemble almost rep-company production. Every one of the characters has developed over the two series that this has been on BBC and I find I actually want to know more about them. Not gag led, this comedy is brilliant observation of human life and its foibles all from the inside of a backstreet Manchester pub.

ONE – Chronicles (Book)

People I know who are less avid fans than your Freewheeler have been phoning me up with their observations, questions and points about Chronicles. I’ve been surprised they’ve bought it and delighted by their reaction to Dylan’s entry into autobiography. Personally it takes me historically, geographically and musically all over the place – Dylan’s writing style is so good when applied to fiction (or biography in this case?) – he’s blown us away with his songs and now with this. Fantastic.