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If you don't know Big Star, go check out their second album, Radio City, which remains one of my all-time favourites. Alex Chilton was their leader. The album is full of spiky pop-rock that was the antithesis of everything else American at the time (mid-70s), which is doubtless why it sold so badly. The other albums are fine too, including some decidedly idiosyncratic solo work.

I cherish the memory of a wonderful solo gig at The Mean Fiddler in North London, back in the late 80s. I had flu and could hardly hear, but went anyway. Glad I did.

He was only 59.
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Reports are coming in that Mark Linkous has committed suicide. This is sad news indeed. As Sparklehorse, he recorded some fine country-flavoured indie-rock albums in the late 90s and early 00s. Of even greater significance to me, Mark produced the sublime debut album by A Camp, Nina Persson's other band (she of The Cardigans fame). The first A Camp album is a contender for my favourite album, ever.

Sad he's gone.
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Very sad news indeed.

Robert Holdstock was one of the finest British fantasy writers, author of the seminal Mythago Wood amongst several other notable novels.

More at:
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Harry Patch, the last surviving British soldier who fought in the trenches of the Western Front, died yesterday aged 111.

Some years ago, after watching a particularly compelling television documentary about the fast dwindling band of World War One veterans, I was prompted to write The Peace Criminal, about a deluded (or was he?) old soldier. But there was nothing deluded about Harry Patch or, I suspect, any of his peers. He was just an ordinary man who witnessed appalling events and then went on to live an extraordinary number of years. Those events are now gone from living memory.


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The death of J G Ballard was announced earlier today.

This was not unexpected news, as he'd been ill with cancer for a long time, but sad none the less.

Ballard was truly one of the giants. If I compiled a list of my ten favourite short stories, there would be a couple of his on it for sure.

A few years ago, a fellow Milfordite described one of my stories as somewhat Ballardian. I can think of no greater compliment.


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September 2017

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