Category: Opinion

BRIT AWARDS 2016 preview – Evening Standard, 19 Feb 2016

Next Wednesday the great and good of British pop music will don gowns and gather at the O2 Arena, patting each other on the back and celebrating the fact that the BRIT Awards are 17 hours shorter than the Grammys. Who’ll win? Who’ll lose? Who’ll cry? Who’ll send a half-arsed acceptance video over from America? These are the things we… Read more →

POP AWARDS 2015 – Evening Standard, 18 Dec 2015

There are no ballgowns, red carpets and fancy meals for us here at the Evening Standard Pop Awards. No, we’re the kind of ceremony that concentrates on what really matters: summing up the music year with an array of hastily made-up categories, and listening to that Justin Bieber album just one more time for research purposes. If you’re after a… Read more →

BEST MUSIC BOOKS OF 2014 – Evening Standard, 4 Dec 2014

Who better to represent the true spirit of this season of excess than a bunch of rock stars? This year’s crop of music biographies, auto- or otherwise, sometimes follow a path we know so well: miserable obscurity/glittering success/druggy tarnish/boring old redemption.   Joe Perry’s Rocks: My Life in and Out of Aerosmith (Simon & Schuster, GBP20), like his music, has… Read more →

RAY DAVIES BIOGRAPHY book review – Evening Standard, 26 Feb 2015

Johnny Rogan – Ray Davies: A Complicated Life (The Bodley Head, £25)   When I interviewed Ray Davies I found him to be awkward, irritable and not in the habit of giving straight answers. Veteran music biographer Johnny Rogan’s exhaustive exploration of the Kinks man’s life has reassured me that it wasn’t my fault.   It suggests that Davies has… Read more →

THE BROSCARS (Brits/Oscars mash-up with David Sexton) – Evening Standard, 20 Feb 2015

Most Uncomfortably Sexual   Oscars   This year’s Oscar contenders hardly boast a worthwhile sex scene between them. A few flashbacks to naughtiness for Reese Witherspoon in Wild? Ros Pike getting nasty in Gone Girl? It doesn’t add up to much. Maybe sauciest was M Gustave (Ralph Fiennes) getting it on with Madame D (Tilda Swinton, marvellously made up) in… Read more →

POP AWARDS 2014 – Evening Standard, 12 Dec 2014

  We run a tight ship here at the Evening Standard pop awards, unlike our film and theatre equivalents, so no wasteful glitzy ceremonies or actual prizes for us. A mention in these prestigious pages will be considered reward enough by the singers we honour here, all heavily responsible for a memorable 2014 in music. So pull up a chair,… Read more →

ALBUMS OF 2014 GIFT GUIDE – Evening Standard, 5 Dec 2014

Sure, you could give an iTunes voucher to the music lover in your life this Christmas, or you could attempt to be a little more thoughtful and choose an album for them, if you dare. Here’s a round-up for reference, with the best releases of 2014 divided into piles depending on the kind of person who might like them. It’s… Read more →

FILM SOUNDTRACKS/HUNGER GAMES – Evening Standard, 28 Nov 2014

The albums of the year lists are beginning to roll in, but the focus is in the wrong place – the real music stars of 2014 have come from the movies. Lorde’s new soundtrack to the latest in the Hunger Games franchise, newly released, might be the coolest film and music tie-in since Trainspotting, and elsewhere the sounds of the… Read more →

2014’S BIGGEST BRITISH ALBUMS – Evening Standard, 10 Oct 2014

You may last have touched an instrument in primary school recorder lessons, but let’s claim this one for all of us anyway: we, the British, are great at making music.   Two-thirds of the way through the year, the Official Charts Company has published a list of 2014’s biggest selling albums in the UK, and nine of the top 10… Read more →

THE ‘DON’T LOOK AT ME’ GENERATION – Evening Standard, 20 June 2014

Everyone knows that the singer of the band is always going to be the one in the spotlight, hogging all the attention, right? Wrong. Go to a Lonely the Brave gig and you might have to search around for a bit before you spot frontman David Jakes.  You’ll eventually find him beside the drum kit like a lost roadie, eyes… Read more →