The Greatest Show on Earth

I attended the Greatest Show on Earth on Saturday … and you can this week …. in Leicester, Cardiff and Liverpool …

Richard Strange’s 1983 concept album “The Phenomenal Rise of Richard Strange” told the bizarre story in which a celebrity rose up based on his own BS and the “will of the people” to become the elected president of Europe. After being trashed by the gutter press, he then tragically falls from grace, facing abduction etc. Yet, his belief in himself is unchallenged by all of this, trapped in his self image. Listen to the finale of the album “I won’t run away” for an insight into the album. Of course, nothing like this could happen in real life … Reagan, Trump, Brexit etc. !!!  Was this just a preplay??

The Phenomenal Rise of Richard Strange was hailed the greatest concept album ever made. This reproduction of the album with a live band is timely and a poignant reminder of the problems that arise when our political leaders believe their own BS. Superbly put together both musically and theatrically, Richard and the band epitoimise Pop Art in a world of Populism where soundbites are three words, attention spans are three seconds and, thirdly, well, are you still listening?

Find out more about Richard Strange, leader of Proto Punk band “The Doctors of Madness” at Richard Strange and find an exclusive interview with him at “The Music of Business

See this once in a lifetime performance this week at

June 12th 02 ACADEMY  LEICESTER with The Psychedelic Furs
June 13th TRAMSHED CARDIFF with The Psychedelic Furs
JUNE 16TH 02 LIVERPOOL with The Psychedelic Furs
The band is exceptional.  It includes Steve ‘Boltz’ Bolton on searing guitars, electric and acoustic (The Who, Paul Young, Atomic Rooster, Scott Walker and many others). Terry Edwards plays Saxophones (several of them at one time), guitar and percussion (Gallon Drunk, The Higsons, Tindersticks and PJ Harvey). Atar Shafighian is a keyboard player supreme, also adding melodica (Jamiroquai). Lily Bud lifts the roof with her vocal talents (Sarah Jane Morris, Band of Holy Joy). Andy Gallop holds the whole show together with precision drums and percussion (Orlando Seale, Harpo Smith, Fortnight in Florida) together with Dan Johnson on electric, stick bass and ambient electronic interventions. It’s an outstanding lineup to match the theatre of the absurd. All supported by the excellent Johny Brown on ambient textures and soundscapes (Band of Holy Joy) with sound design by the magnificent Jo Lord and visuals by Inga Tillere. In attendance last night, legendary producer John Leckie (Muse, Bill Nelson, Doctors of Madness and many more).

The Phenomenal Band of Richard Strange

Find Richard’s work by clicking the picture

 

Touch my hand, touch my hand …

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Definitely Theresa Maybe

Our next song in the Rage Against The Brexit Machine project is a dark analysis of Theresa May’s personal style via the hard hitting anthem “Shit Eating Grin”.  Buy the song on iTunes, Amazon and Google Play.  “Shit Eating Grin” is written and recorded entirely by Peter Da Clinker and you can find his albums via Bandcamp.

Whilst I mostly prefer to critique issues over personalities in politics, I will make an exception here.  Theresa May has remained duplicitous, disingenuous and deceitful throughout her reign. Just recall these examples:

  • Theresa May has used our 3 million EU citizens as human bargaining chips in the Brexit negotiating process, in a most inhumane act to these people and their families.
  • Theresa bribed the DUP in order to prop up a minority Government with £1 billion, whilst at the same time stating that there was no “magic money tree” to pay for health, social care, student loans etc. May is now putting the fragile Northern Ireland peace process at risk in order to satisfy the whims and fantasies of 35 Conservative Brexit Ultras in her party.
  • May campaigned to Remain in the EU but now claims to be a Brexiteer, stating that “Brexit Means Brexit” when it remains clear that it still has no meaning whatsoever.
  • She declared 63% of the UK voting population to be “Citizens of Nowhere” and now claims to want to rebuild the country as one nation under a Brexit groove …. no thank you Ma’am

Grab “Shit Eating Grin” and let’s “Break Brexit Before Brexit Breaks Britain”

 

I fall – Mark E.Smith – a memory

A mini memory of Mark E. Smith and The Fall.

My band supported The Fall at Canterbury University – The lead singer of our band was a fan of Mr Smith and we had planned to do a few Fall songs at the gig in his honour …

We had finished our soundcheck (hardly worth it given the quality of the musicians I was working with in “Akker and The Nice Boys”) and we were walking down the corridor to the dressing room and by chance Mark E Smith was coming the other way. It was a narrow corridor and my friend was gripped by the possibility of shaking Mark E. Smith’s hand. He held his hand out in anticipation and uttered some words. Mr Smith walked on by ….

An uncompromising lyrical genius who could be very difficult to work with judging by this mini memory and the “HR turnover” of his band members which saw 60 people pass through The Fall.

Here’s a selection of Mr Smith’s work which helped define The Factory and the sound that became Britpop:

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Peter Cook leads The Academy of Rock and Human Dynamics. Author of 8 books on leadership acclaimed by Tom Peters, Charles Handy, Harvey Goldsmith and Adrian Furnham. Featuring an interview exclusive with Virgin CEO Sir Richard Branson.

Punk Rock Brexit – Mixing Pop and Politics

“Mixing Pop and Politics, You ask me what the use is

I answer with embarrassment and my usual excuse”

Billy Bragg

Quite simply music reaches people much better than a spreadsheet and I’ll be performing some songs of Rebellion opposite Downing Street tonight Friday 10 March, with the Richmond Terrace Group. The group protest against Theresa May’s “deal or no deal Kamikaze Brexit” every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 6 pm till 9 pm.

For the occasion, we have re-written Rod Stewart’s Maggie May, OMD’s Enola Gay, Bruno Mars Uptown Funk and The Wild Rover by The Dubliners.  The Wild Rover needed few modifications to turn the story into one I’ve heard many times of late – the tale of a Brexiter who has realised they were ‘played’ by the tabloid press and now wish we could escape Theresa May’s appropriation of “the will of the people” for her own personal gain and a place as The Iron Lady II, when comparisons are at best restricted to fashion and hair styling.

The refrain “Rise up your kilt” may be added to recognise the way that Nicola Sturgeon has consistently supported the EU and for the Irish Prime Minister’s support last night in Brussels

Theresa May’s behaviour does not fit any rational mould and I can only assume her childhood was deprived of love and affection due to privilege ….

Come down and singalong with the “Remoaners” !!  6 pm start and Boris is making an appearance …

It is rumoured that Theresa May will invoke Article 50 on Tuesday once she has savaged her elder and wiser colleagues in The House of Lords once again, in fear of a revolt from her own party and a surprise formation of a credible opposition to an unelected dictatorship.

Join the Facebook group

Find The Richmond Group on Twitter – Use hashtag #No10Vigil

Finally, one of my favourite protest songs from the great Billy Bragg.

What a pity he is not the leader of the opposition – we would not have this mess.

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Peter Cook leads Human Dynamics, delivering exceptional business and organisation development without sex, politics or rock’n’roll. He is also CEO of The Academy of Rock, offering keynotes that blend MBA themes with parallel insights from music, reaching your head, heart and soul. Author of 7 1/2 books on leadership, innovation and creativity. Check them out on Amazon.

 

The death of the 3 minute pop song?

I am very lucky to have contributed a song to this unique album of 100 songs which are just 30 seconds long. The album 100×30 is the brainchild of Marc Christopher Lee and was featured in The Independent just recently:

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Click on the logo to read the article

Marc was interviewed on ITV News in London on Friday 11 December with the story. The concept reminded me of the work of Bill Nelson who produced several albums of simple musical illustrations, each one unfinished and recorded pretty much as is, without further refinement and so on, to preserve the musical ideas as they were conceived of at birth.

Click on the image to view ITV News

Will it be a Christmas Number One?  Buy a copy to help

Here’s some of the tracks from 100×30 – you have got time to play them all as they are 30 seconds each!! No wasted space 🙂

I interviewed Marc Christopher Lee at The Virgin Lounge last week on the ideas behind the album. I’ve discussed the importance of the theory of constraints for creativity and it is clear that the constraint of less time can produce creativity in music as much as the opposite. Find out more and download the album at 100×30, which features Mungo Jerry and Owen Paul amongst many others. Has the 3 minute pop song just died? Did brevity kill the prog rock star? Perhaps not, as David Bowie contemplates a 10 minute song for his new album, but the 30 second song is ripe for an age when only 50% of people can get all the way to the end of a song on their smart phone.

 

Click to download the album

Click the picture to download the album at http://www.100×30.com

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About the Writer:  Peter Cook leads The Academy of Rock – Keynote events with a difference and Human Dynamics – Business and organisation development, training and coaching.  Contact via peter@humdyn.co.uk or +44 (0) 7725 927585. Check our new book out for Bloomsbury “Leading Innovation, Creativity and Enterprise“.

Do It Yourself – Disrupting the Music Industry

Come join us at The Virgin Lounge in Eagle Place, London on Friday December 04 at 3 pm where I will be talking with Mark Christopher Lee, leader of cult indie band “the pocket gods”. Mark was discovered by the late John Peel who liked his song written about his local curry house – “Ballad Of The Peshwari Naan” and was called a “wilful maverick” by Tom Robinson. Mark has just released an album called 100 x 30. Mark explains the concept:

“I wanted to do something to help musicians gain fairer royalties from the music industry/streaming giants with an album of 100 songs all 30 seconds long – For example Spotfiy pays out a tiny royalty of 0.007p per track over 30 seconds. This gave me the idea of recording an album of 100 songs that were 30 seconds long each. Why write songs that are any longer? All the songs were recorded on laptops in garages from just a few takes in a lo-fi style – the album is all about ideas and creativity as opposed to perfectionism and over production – technology allows people to record great quality music at low cost at home which is very punk and empowering”.

In my business life, I’ve written about the theory of constraints on a number of occasions and this project is a classic exercise in using constraints as a spur to creativity. See Constraints and Creativity for more information.

100 x 30 - Click to view the website

100 x 30 – Click to view the website

Mark has written and recorded 72 albums since 1998. As well as an indie legend, having previously played bass in Jesus and The Mary Chain, he also runs his own indie label which is now home to 20 or so aspiring new artists, many of whom are favourites on BBC 6 music as well as home to more established acts such as the legendary songwriter Larry Weiss, who wrote million sellers Rhinestone Cowboy, Bend Me Shape Me and Hi Ho Silver Lining. 

100 x 30 features Mungo Jerry, Owen Paul (My favourite waste of time), Tom Greene of The Orb et moi – I contributed a 1984 inspired track under the name “The Pigs of Freedom” called “Anaesthesia Politica”, which sports 3 verses, 3 chords, a 3 second guitar solo and comes in at 33 seconds long – just 3 seconds over Spotify’s budget to qualify as a song 🙂 I am looking forward to my 0.007 pence royalties from them!!

City AM picked up the story recently, comparing us with Taylor Swift – I’m not sure the comparisons are valid, but take a look for yourself:

The first time we have been linked to Taylor Swift - Click to access City AM article

The first time we have been linked to Taylor Swift – Click to access City AM article

Please contact the London Eagle Place Lounge on 0207 439 8802 to register your place. It’s absolutely FREE!!  All event details here.

Here’s “Anaesthesia Politica” – I described it as a 1984 inspired Psychedelic Political Punk Poem!  An entirely new genre of music I think 🙂

and the slightly longer “Pestonomics“, released last week in support of Cancer Research UK:

Click to buy the track for Cancer Research UK

Click to buy the track for Cancer Research UK

… and two  of the album tracks:

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About the Writer:  Peter Cook leads The Academy of Rock – Keynote events with a difference and Human Dynamics – Business and organisation development, training and coaching.  Contact via peter@humdyn.co.uk or +44 (0) 7725 927585

Punks, Virgins and Pop Art

I’m proud to present a unique event on Friday November 27th 3 pm at The Virgin Lounge in Eagle Place, London with Richard Strange, founder of proto-punk band The Doctors of Madness, who inspired The Sex Pistols, The Damned, Spandau Ballet, Richard Branson, The Jam, Joy Division et al.

Urban Blitz performing with The Doctors of Madness at Richard's celebration of William Burroughs at The Royal Festival Hall

Urban Blitz performing with The Doctors of Madness at Richard’s celebration of William Burroughs at The Royal Festival Hall

Richard will talk about leading the pop art / punk rock revolt and the wider notions of disruption in music and business. He will share some hilarious and insightful stories, including his time as a Virgin Records artist, how not to deal with Bryan Ferry and various other delights  Strange will also talk about a mammoth undertaking last year, where he put on an entire theatre production at the Royal Festival Hall to celebrate the life of William Burroughs, author of “Naked Lunch” and a primary figure in the Beat Generation who influenced David Bowie, The Beatles, R.E.M, Steely Dan and U2 to name but a few.

Ginsberg-Burroughs-Angel-wings

Ginsberg and Burroughs in the Theatre Production by Richard Strange

Take a look at the trailer video for the show:

Join us in the Lounge with Richard for an interview supplemented with great video footage, Q and A, meet and greet and possible mini acoustic performance.

Please contact the London Eagle Place Lounge on 0207 439 8802 to register your place.

Never Mind The Credit Card

Never Mind The Credit Card …