BLOODY WELL WRITE
Missives, musings and tweets from Planet Prog.
Send your letters to us at: Prog, Future Publishing, 1-10 Praed Mews, Paddington, London, W2 1QY, or email email@example.com. Letters may be edited for length. We regret that we cannot reply to phone calls. For more comment and prog news and views, find us on facebook.com under Prog. UNCOMMON GROUND
I was profoundly disappointed to learn that Big Big Train have written songs about lockdown for their new album
[Prog 121]. As evident scholars of history, the group should appreciate that there was not a single book, nor play, nor painting produced about the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic. Why? Because people were sick of it, and quite keen to move on and get on with life, thank you very much!
I’d like to say that Prog provided a much needed escape from the terror and tedium of lockdown. But unfortunately Covid has dripped from the pages over the past year, with more mentions per issue than even Steven Wilson. It’s all been so dispiriting, especially Ian Anderson’s asinine comments that he expects to wear a mask for “the rest of my professional career”.
Big Big Train are a wonderful band. And a large part of the wonder stems from the fact that they write fascinating, passionate, insightful songs about subjects that no other band, save perhaps British Sea Power, would ever even consider. I appreciate that the majority of their latest might focus on their usual, marvellous themes of history, nature and engineering. But given the lockdowny noises they’ve been making I find I have no desire whatsoever to ever listen to their latest offering. And if I ever do, I suspect I’ll turn it off at the very first mention of “lockdown”, having rolled my eyes so dramatically I’ll have passed out.
Thanks Prog, and thanks Big Big Train. But we’re clearly not all in this together, and the sooner we can move on from this atrocity of a year the better.
Elliot Davies, via email Given that the pandemic is probably the biggest world event in most of our lifetimes, that seems like a slightly harsh take on things, Elliot. Also, a quick Google search reveals a plethora of books and plays about the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic – Ed.
The news pages of Prog 121 ignited the need for me to tap the keyboard! Caravan to release 37-CD box set; VdGG to release 20-CD box set; Faust to release eightCD box set. All will include interesting material that a collector, or just somebody interested in the bands, will want.
But, if I am interested in these bands then I will already have got the bulk of the material. And, if I am of a certain age and have been interested in these bands since those 46 collective releases were first released, then I will probably have them all on vinyl and already rebought them.
I have recently had a similar experience with fiction. The first run of the paperback edition of Polly Samson’s
A Theatre For Dreamers includes a CD of David Gilmour performing, with his daughter Romany Gilmour, Yes, I Have Ghosts and three instrumental pieces. I bought the original hardback when it first came out – would I have to rebuy a book I’d already read if I wanted the
CD? To my great pleasure, I received a free copy of the CD because I had booked to go to a Covid-cancelled book launch of the hardback. Thank you to David Gilmour, or Polly Samson, or Bloomsbury publishers, or all three.
When Pink Floyd were one of the first bands to ‘box-up’ in humongous form, there was an innovation. Material came in multi-gathered forms. Like with Caravan, Van der Graaf and Faust, I had already
bought Pink Floyd albums on vinyl and then rebought on CD. But additional material was released as smaller units for those like me.
It is possible, and even easy, to cater for those who have supported over decades – as well as cater for those who want to buy for the first time.
Steve Broadhurst, via email
In regards to the upcoming Caravan box set (which I sadly can’t afford), two of the new live albums were recorded locally to where I live in Norfolk: one in Diss in a hotel there and the other in our small village [at] Old Buckenham High School back in 1990 to celebrate the primary school headmaster’s 40th birthday.
Hopefully these discs will have a separate release or become available for downloading, and I wonder how many other readers know of one-off local concerts which were recorded for live albums from small venues in obscure places as supposed to major venues in large towns or cities?
Colin Coates, Old Buckenham, Norfolk
MAY THE FLOYD BE WITH YOU!
Probably late to the party on this one but, should there ever be that Pink Floyd biopic, Adam Driver in full on Kylo
Ren effect is the only actor to consider portraying Roger Waters.
Compare and see!
Jammasan, via email
HOUNDS OF PROG
Brilliant shot of a hound in headgear in Tweet Talk [Prog 120]. I too have a Greyhound, they’re quirky, nervy, anxious, loyal… could be describing a few prog vocalists here! So, the challenge: how prog is your dog? This could run as a whole new section!
Alan Jones, via email
YOUNG AT HEART
Thank you for the in-depth interview with Dennis DeYoung in Prog 120. It is amazing how similar his story is with that of ex-Yes singer Jon Anderson. Both iconic singers feel that their respective ex-bandmates left them behind while they were unable to tour due to illness. Styx and Yes both acquired a new singer and neither band has looked back.
I am a big fan of DeYoung’s work with Styx. Although Styx was never truly a progressive rock band, obviously prog has long been an influence on their sound. That said, they did produce two stellar prog albums in the 1970s, The Grand Illusion and Pieces Of Eight.
I have a great deal of respect for DeYoung, however I do not want to see a reunion of Styx and DeYoung. I fully support the current line-up of Styx.
Their recent albums, are among their best work [and] the current band is the most talented line-up of Styx. I love DeYoung, but I am not hankering for a reunion. No disrespect but Styx does not need DeYoung.
Troy Tennard, via email