Exclusive music news
Boris packs up and plays for Miles and Miles
Boris Johnson has sensationally withdrawn from the Conservative Party leadership contest and has announced that he is giving up politics for his first love, jazz.
In a move that has taken the music industry and even some close political colleagues completely by surprise, Johnson revealed that he played trumpet as a teenager and has always wanted to concentrate on a career in music.
“I was a Miles Davis nut at school,” Johnson told this website in an exclusive interview. “I used to sit in class and plot my album releases. Kind of Blue was my great inspiration, of course, but I had them all lined up, Seven Stops to Eltham, which was based on the bus journey to my music teacher’s house, and the rather amusing, I thought, Nevertitty, which I was going to dedicate to the flat-chested girl who had the nerve to stand me up on April 23, 1981. And then some friends suggested Dark Magus and You’re Under Arrest and I decided to keep my musical ambitions to myself after that.”
It's thought that following a row with his partner, who told him he was not fit to be Pram Minister and ordered him in no uncertain terms to leave her flat, the former editor of the Spectator became disoriented and asked concerned neighbours the coordinates for “some place called Fuck” so that he could enter it into his satnav.
Following a conversation with Teresa May, however, Johnson decided that it might not be too late to head instead to 52nd Street, figuratively speaking at least.
“Theresa’s all right, she’s actually quite cool, although I didn’t appreciate her idea that I record In A Silent Way,” said the man often referred to as the man with the horn and who now expects to sign a record deal worth £350 million a week.
Other leading Conservatives have quickly chipped in with parting gifts. Ken Clarke, whose enthusiasm for jazz is no secret, has presented Johnson with a trumpet mute, after years of trying to get him to understand the meaning of piano, and Amber Rudd is thought to have given Johnson a Back Seat Betty t-shirt. This could be a reference to Johnson’s favourite track from Miles Davis’s We Want Miles album or it might be that Amber Rudd has further inside knowledge.
“Everyone will have their own comments and quips,” said Johnson, “but I’m just looking forward to getting into the studio with my band, who have been kicking their heels since I became side-tracked with mayoral duties and all sorts of other things. We have enough material for a double album and I can exclusively reveal that it will not be called “Boris Runs the Voodoo Down (and gets twelve points on his licence)” or “Jack-off Johnson” as some twerps have claimed. My music is like me and the album title will tell it like it is: Sketches of Spin.”
True-blue Tory Osborne gets his mojo working
Former Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne launches a new career today with the release of his first single, a remake of Blind Alfred Reed’s 1929 classic How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live?
The move comes nine months after Osborne was named as the editor of the London Evening Standard and announced that he would be keeping on his other jobs, as MP for Tatton in Cheshire and as an adviser to US fund manager BlackRock.
As with his appointment to a senior post in journalism, Osborne’s musical endeavours scratch an old itch. When he left school his twin ambitions were to become a journalist or a musician. However he became side-tracked by politics and was so quickly immersed in the Conservative Party that he had to give up his role as the singer and harmonica-playing frontman with Blue George and the Tantrums, a rhythm and blues combo whose members were and still are very upset by Osborne’s departure.
“We were just beginning to attract the interest of record companies and George was writing some really strong material when he told us he was – in his own words - quitting, leaving and giving up,” says Frank A’Cord, the Tantrums’ guitarist. “We thought he was mad to be turning his back on wealth and fame, especially when he sang with such passion on the last gig he played with us. I mean, to hear George really go for it on his big number, F*** F*** I Love You but You Think I’m a C*** - a classic unrequited love song - was quite an experience.”
The band’s road manager, Ludwig van Hirer, agrees and says he never imagined Osborne becoming a success at anything other than music.
“He was a natural and incredibly driven,” says Mr Van Hirer. “He could listen to one note and tell you it was a B. We used to tell him he was wrong, it was a wasp and he would go off his nut. He’d be like, Be serious, this is the most important thing in my life – ever - and then he went off and found an alternative most important thing in his life – ever – and the next thing you know, he’s ruining, sorry, running the country.”
If A’Cord and Van Hirer are correct and Osborne can reproduce the form he was in when he left the band, the former Chancellor could be onto a winner in the music industry.
Avril Une, a spokeswoman for Osborne’s Paris-based record company, Amant les Blues, declined to comment on the advance the company had paid Osborne or the budget it was committing to promote his first release. She did confirm, however, that the company is fully committed to Osborne’s music and will be making every effort to achieve the success his talent deserves.
Burns find hailed as "priceless"
A previously undiscovered collection of songs written by Robert Burns during his stay in Edinburgh in 1787 has been found in an outbuilding of one of the poet’s favourite howffs.
The manuscripts were found in a saddle, used by Burns when he was on his rounds as an exciseman, which was unearthed by workmen cleaning out a property adjacent to the Globe Tavern in Dumfries where Burns met Ann Park, the mother of his daughter Elizabeth.
All of the songs, says Burns expert Dr May Eyes, of Jackson Browne University, California, relate to an adventure the bard had with a group of Eastern European sailors he befriended in an Edinburgh tavern and several of them deal with the sailors’ homesickness, a state of affairs Burns could relate to as a ploughman trying to make his mark in refined Edinburgh society.
“These are priceless gems,” said Dr Eyes, who has had the manuscripts authenticated by fellow Burns expert Emma Mauchline-Tartt. “It had been previously known that Burns met these sailors and shared a few evenings with them, helping them to forget their troubles with pints of wine and merry muses, but no-one suspected he had written songs in their honour. The Slav’s Lament is particularly poignant but although some of them, such as Gloomy Dimitriyev and Flow Gently Sweet Vltava, show an element of sadness, others are more celebratory. I’m sure, for example, folk bands will be quick to pick up the Reel of Stupino and Tae Dubrovnic Gin Ye Go, and Tibbie Fowler of Gdansk is a great example of Burns’ ability to capture characters in song even when they are hundreds, if not thousands of miles from home.”
Dr Eyes is planning to record all of the songs – there are, handily, twelve in total – for a CD featuring some of the leading Burns interpreters of today and a release date has been set for April 1.