The world's only FREE almost-weekly music magazine

Issue 24: 17 March 1999

Well, it's supposed to be weekly but has been a little sporadic of late but it's free AND this issue is nearly twice as long as usual so wot R U complaining about ;-) Seriously folks, because ISMO is getting bigger (and we hope better) each ish, its appearances are now about once a fortnight instead of once a week. The gang who produce this mag are also all busy on other projects and so rather than put out a less groovy product more regularly we have opted for doing what we do now. We hope y`all will forgive us.......


THE GOSSIPPING HEN: The Who, Hole, Marilyn Manson, George Michael etc etc
OBITUARIES: Dusty Springfield
AMUSING BOLLOCKS: Vocabulary for the 21st Century.
FEATURE: Kula Shaker
NEWS: Barney the Dinosaur; Celine Dion, Music to die for. Self Combustion TV Ad; Home for old junkies
MISSING LINKS: Dusty Springfield
TWITCHY THE TRAMP: Gets Tourist orientated
RECORD REVIEWS: Skunk Anansie; Pist.On; XTC; Beth Orton
BOOK REVIEW: `Batman.....animated` by Paul Diny and Chip Kidd
SOFTWARE REVIEWS: Slutto slags off Corel and praises `Hideaway`

EDITED AND COMPILED BY Mr Slutto, Siggsworthy Craggs and Atilla the Hen

With contributions from The Sexiest lady in Cyberspace over in the US of A


Atilla - our intrepid capon - reveals the results of a few days spent hanging around in bars, listening at windows, and blagging drinks off P.R. men...

* So Marilyn Manson and what's her name from `Hole` are behaving like big fuckin` prima donnas refusing to be on the same stage as each other and slagging each other off across the popular press. Does anyone give a damn? No, I thought not :-)

* George Michael gave all of the profits from his rather dull single with Mary J Blige to Comic relief.....That`s a joke!!! (Geddit) Whilst on the subject, am I the only person who finds her name unutterably humorous?

* The word is that old big nose has reformed `The Who` (again!!!!) with the intention of finally releasing the long rumoured `Lifehouse` album that he started work on in about 1970. For those of you not in the know we have stolen this excerpt from a Pete Townshend web site

The Story of the Lifehouse

The 'Lifehouse' idea really was very simple. It was a portentous science fiction film with Utopian Spiritual messages into which were to be grafted up lifting scenes from a real Who concert. I was selling a simple credo: Whatever happens in the future, rock 'n' roll will save the world.

Lifehouse began as a story written around several songs. Pete Townshend: "The essence of the story-line was a kind a futuristic scene It's a fantasy set at a time when rock 'n' roll didn't exist. The world was completely collapsing and the only experience that anybody ever had was through test tubes. They lived TV programs, in a way. Everything was programmed. The enemies were people who gave us entertainment intravenously, and the heroes were savages who'd kept rock 'n' roll as a primitive force and had gone to live with it in the woods. The story was about these two sides coming together and having a brief battle."

Under those circumstances, a very, very, very old guru figure emerges and says 'I remember rock music. It was absolutely amazing; it really did something to people.' He spoke of a kind of nirvana people reached through listening to this type of music. The old man decides that he's going to try to set it up so that the effect can be experienced eternally. Everybody would be snapped out of their programmed environment through this rock and roll-induced liberated selflessness. The Lifehouse was where the music was played and where the young people would collect to discover rock music as a powerful catalyst—a religion as it were. "Then I began to feel 'Well, why just simulate it? Why not try and make it happen?'"

The plan was for The Who to take over a theater [the Young Vic] with a regular audience, develop the new material onstage and allow the communal activity to influence the songs and performances. Individuals would emerge from the audience and find a role in the music and the film. When the concerts became strong enough, they would be filmed along with other peripheral activity from the theater. A story-line would evolve alongside the music. Although the finished film was to have many fictitious and scripted elements, the concert footage was to be authentic, and would provide the driving force for the whole production.

Pete went wild, working out a complex scenario whereby a personal profile of each concert-goer would be worked out, from the individual's astrological chart to his hobbies, even physical appearance. All the characteristics would then be fed into a computer at the same moment, leading to one musical note culminating in mass nirvana that Pete dubbed 'a kind of celestial cacophony.' This philosophy was based on the writings of Inayat Khan, a Sufi master musician who espoused the theory that matter produces heat, light, and sound in the form of unique vibrations. Taking the idea one step further, making music, which was composed of vibrations, was the pervading force of all life. Elevating its purpose to the highest level, music represented the path to restoration, the search for the one perfect universal note, which once sounded would bring harmony to the entire world. Despite Pete's grandiose plans, the project had its problems. The theater had its own schedule of drama productions, and wasn't available on a regular nightly schedule that Townshend insisted was necessary for the band to sustain a "euphoric level" of performance. Pete: "The fatal flaw was getting obsessed with trying to make a fantasy a reality rather than letting the film speak for itself." Eventually Pete had to let go of Lifehouse for his own sake.

Pete's inability to translate the ideas in his head to those around him eventually led to a nervous breakdown. "It was a disaster." No one apart from himself actually understood the whole concept of Lifehouse. Kit Lambert, an integral part of the communication between the members of The Who, was missing. Pete had rejected a Tommy film script written by Lambert. Kit, dejected, frustrated and hurt, had moved to New York. With Tommy, Lambert had served as Townshend's "interpreter," explaining "to the willing but befuddled people around me what I was on about." The film was indefinitely postponed until the album had been issued. The band went to Glyn Johns to produce their collection of songs, intended for a double album. They decided to shelf most of the songs in favor of a single album, hoping that it would have "a sharper focus and greater impact" than the concept of Lifehouse had become.

for more details try URL: and The Lifehouse Picture Archive... URL:

or Lifehouse, URL:

* This has always been a project close to Pete`s heart and one which has intrigued Who fans for thirty years. Let`s hope it finally comes to fruition.

* For any of you planning to buy the Grace Slick biography so heavily hyped in the press don`t bother, its crap! God, we are being negative this week. Its probably something to do with Dusty Springfield dying. Hopefully better vibes will be restored with the next issue..


Peculiar music/art news from around the world


The Electronic Telegraph - 9 March 1999: Dion quits to start family

CELINE DION, the singer from Quebec, is quitting show business to have a family. Miss Dion has sold 55 million records in the past 30 months, with her single My Heart Will Go On forming the soundtrack of Titanic.

"This is the last time you are going to see me on stage for a long, long time," Dion, 31, who is married to her manager, Rene Angelil, 52, told a surprised audience. Fred Langan, Toronto

* The Times: November 5 1998 BRITAIN

Medieval busker in court over long sword

A LUTE player appeared in court dressed in full medieval costume to explain why he felt it necessary to carry a two-foot-long sword in public.

Edward McDonald, 51, had called police to complain that he had been assaulted in the street but it was he who ended up in court after police took exception to the weapon hanging fromhis belt. The lutist told Exeter Crown Court that he earned his living busking and denied a charge of possessing an offensive weapon in Exeter High Street last May. It was part of his costume, he said.

Bearded Mr McDonald appeared in the dock wearing a maroon cape, green tights, pointed shoes and leather belt and pouch.

Prosecutor Richard Crabb told the jury: "McDonald was complaining to the police of an assault. But he had no visible injuries on him. He appeared to be in fancy dress in pointed shoes, tights, cape, large hat with feather in it. In his belt he had a sword in a scabbard, a quite heavy metal sword, not particularly sharp on the end," said Mr Crabb. The court heard Mr McDonald was then arrested.

Mr Crabb added: "in a police interview he said he always wore a sword as part of his costume. He was a musician, a lute player, although no lute was found on him. He described it as a re-enactment sword." Mr Crabb said there was no reasonable excuse for Mr McDonald, from Exeter, to carry the weapon with him "dressed up as a musician or to go busking".

Mr McDonald told the court the sword was always in its scabbard. He said: "I never draw it. It makes it more authentic therefore I get more work and more money. "If you play a lute nothing else fits. Logically it's the only proper attire for what you do." He said he had ground off the point to ensure it was not an offensive weapon. It was part of his costume.

"I had added leather and decoration to the handle and the sheath. It's a showpiece. I have never taken it out of its scabbard."

The trial continues.

* The Independent - 27 November 1998

Old junkies never die, they go into a retirement home

CHRISTMAS WILL come early this year for Carlos Prade. In a few weeks' time, Rotterdam's newest residential home for retired people will be ready and Carlos will be moving in. Peering through a pair of funky blue tinted glasses, Carlos admits he is weary now. He wants to take it easy, let someone else take the strain.

Although a fresh-faced 59, he suffers from aches and pains, his hands are shaking and he speaks in a whisper. His grip on reality appears tenuous. He shuffles off mid-conversation and then suddenly says: "I want to go to England. To see Elizabeth."

In the home, a converted town house, Carlos will have his own room and bathroom. There will be television, a communal kitchen for anyone capable of cooking. Round-the- clock medical care is guaranteed as well as trained staff to look after his "psycho-social needs". There will not be any official supply of dope heroin or cocaine. But Carlos has no worries on that score. He is about to become the first resident of the world's first old folks home for drug addicts.

The Netherlands has the healthiest drug addicts in the world. So healthy that they are turning into pensioners and the authorities have a geriatric drug policy dilemma on their hands.

The average age of drug users in the country has risen to 36, the highest in the world. Thanks to a policy based on health rather than criminalisation, that is increasing by 10 months each year. In Rotterdam alone at least 100 people have made it to the age bracket of 55 to 70.

But substance abuse takes its toll and, although they are living longer, Dutch junkies are old before their time. "At 55 or 60 they are displaying symptoms of people 20 years older. Senility is common. They forget things and feel threatened," explained Harry Kuiper of the Boumanhuis Foundation, one of the biggest drug addiction agencies in the Netherlands.

Most old people fret about keeping warm and getting to the shops and the pension office. But geriatric junkies have the added stress of having to hold their own in the drug scene which, even in an ultra-tolerant society where consumption is not prosecuted, is run by criminals. Procuring narcotics, knowing when you are being fobbed off with inferior stuff and finding enough money to keep the dealers happy is not that easy when you have difficulty walking unaided.

Now, in response to a novel proposal from the Rotterdam Junkiebond, the drug addicts' union, the municipal health authority has agreed to finance an old folks home, devoted exclusively to drug users, for a one-year pilot scheme.

"This will be a totally new development not just for the Netherlands and Europe, but for the world," said Mr Kuiper, a keen supporter of the plan.

It is not on, he says, to integrate the junkies with ordinary senior citizens because they might have difficulty finding acceptance. "Most elderly people would tolerate a person taking a drink or smoking a cigarette, but just one gram of heroin in an old people's home and they would want you out."

Nora Storm, whose idea it was, has already given the residence a name. "Coconuts. One of the old men chose it," she said. "He's on coke and he's nuts".

A formidable woman in her fifties, Ms Storm is the Junkiebond president and has turned her own home over to accommodation for junkies of all ages. She runs a tight ship. Drugs are allowed in the rooms but you must show that you are making an effort to limit consumption and you must find a job and pay your way.

The inauguration of Coconuts means she can at last stop worrying about the grand-daddies as she calls them. "They can't cope. Their brains are going and they leave on the gas sometimes. And they are lonely. The music is not the same these days. They also have the problem that their grandchildren won't visit them."

Initially, the plan is to restrict the home to seven residents. Out of their pensions they will pay about 180 pounds sterling a month rent. There will be no pressure to kick the habit. So where will the drugs come from? "It won't be a problem," is all Nora will say. She foresees a growing demand for such homes and insists that it should be up to the national health service to take over the cost and running of them. Mr Kuiper agrees. "This is not an indulgence or an amusement," he said. "These people need special care."

The broad-minded Netherlands approach to drug use is legendary but a national home plan for old junkies may be a bridge too far. Rotterdam's health authority is pioneering a controversial scheme to distribute free heroin to serious addicts but, even here, the location of the house is being kept secret. "Neighbours think it will attract traffickers to the area. But we certainly don't want it to be in an isolated part of town, cut off from the community," said Mr Kuiper.

Local newspapers have been running stories about how drugs will be delivered each day by the home's in house dealer. A claim flatly denied by all involved. "There will be no buying or selling. Not in the house," Mr Kuiper said.

"In the end," he sighed, "it all comes down to an acceptance of drug use. At the heart of this debate is the question of whether we can accept elderly people using heroin, even in small amounts. I'm not sure everyone can. This might be too much, even for Holland."


The Times: February 16 1999 BRITAIN

IT IS not the kind of success that pop stars rave about, but the theme from the film Titanic has become the most popular choice of music at British funerals. My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion took top place from last year's winner, Elton John's version of Candle in the Wind from the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales. Britain's largest funeral business, Co-operative Funeral Services, undertakes the annual survey from more than 30,000 services. A spokesman said: "The majority of people are requesting modern songs. These give people the final chance to say something about themselves, a loved one or the world in general. While pop songs are increasingly popular, they are as subject to change as the chart on the radio." Songs dropping out of the funeral top 10 include The Best by Tina Turner, Every Breath You Take by The Police and Always Look on the Bright Side of Life by Monty Python.

The latest list is: 1 My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion; 2 Candle in the Wind - Elton John; 3 Wind Beneath My Wings Bette Midler; 4 Search For The Hero M-People; 5 My Way Frank Sinatra; 6 You'll Never Walk Alone - Gerry and The Pacemakers; 7 Release Me Engelbert Humperdinck; 8 Memory - Elaine Page; 9 Strangers In the Night Frank Sinatra; 10 Bright Eyes - Art Garfunkel.

The top traditional tunes are: 1 Abide with Me ; 2 The Old Rugged Cross; 3 The Day Thou Gavest; 4 All Things Bright and Beautiful; 5 Ave Maria; 6 Nessun Dorma; 7 The Lord Is My Shepherd; 8 -23rd Psalm; 9 I Walk With God; 10 Eternal Father.


The Independent. 12 Feb 99
'Self-combustion' ad upsets viewers

A television advertisement showing people apparently bursting into flames, which promotes a new magazine, has provoked a surge of complaints.

About 150 viewers, including representatives from the fire service, complained to the Independent Television Commission, saying they found the scenes "distressing" and "totally inappropriate". The ITC is investigating the adverts, which promote the magazine Heat and were first shown on network television two weeks ago.

Suzanne Prance, a spokesperson for the ITC, said: "We had quite a rapid reaction from viewers, with most saying they found it totally inappropriate imagery to sell a commercial product." A spokesman for the Fire Brigades Union said: "It is wholly inappropriate and totally insensitive to use these images in this way."

A spokesman for Emap Metro, the publisher of the magazine, said: "The scenes involve a lot of water or situations which make it obvious that it isn't real. It is not our intention to offend and we don't feel we have."


The Independent - 4 Dec 1998

Ask the parent of a two-year-old who is the most terrifying dinosaur of all, and instead of pondering the relative menace of a tyrannosaurus and a velociraptor, they'll probably answer "Barney". Barney is the sickliest, gooiest, "have a nice day" American camp purple dinosaur in all history. When he squeaks that he loves you, and that he loves all the children, you would gladly swap him for a real live stegosaurus wandering around your living-room.

The video, called Colours, is typical. Barney and his friends find a treasure map, and follow a series of clues that lead them to a treasure chest. They open it, to discover that the treasure is a rainbow. "This is the best treasure we could ever have," enthuses a sugary American boy, "as this is treasure we can share with all our friends."

But this is rubbish. If the chest had been crammed full of gold bullion, they could still have shared it with all their friends. So what they mean is, they don't mind sharing this treasure out because it's only a worthless rainbow. If there'd been anything valuable inside, we'd all have been told to piss off and find our own treasure. "After all, children," Barney would have said. "Who painted that yellow triangle, me or you?"

One of the differences between British and American culture is that, when American companies discover a new way of ripping us off, they don't bother to disguise it. Teletubbies would never be as blatant as Barney. "I'm so excited," he announces at the start of each video, "because I've just made my first film." Then, at the end of the plug, he says: "And remember, children - I love you".

There's probably an episode somewhere in which he says: "Hi, children. You know, I've just patented a new Barney saloon car - four-wheel drive, five gears and optional oak dashboard extra. Isn't that exciting? Well, if you really love me, you'll persuade your mummy and daddy to sell their house and buy one. Otherwise you'll be chased through the woods by a wicked wolf. And remember, I love you."

There's nothing cool about Barney, as there was with Sesame Street.

So, at Wembley Arena on Sunday night, I experienced a live show in which half of the audience hated the star they'd come to see. There were a number of issues I was fascinated to see resolved. Would he, like most performers, do a live show that was much ruder than his TV act? Would there be a support band? A singing pterodactyl from the college circuit, to be discovered by the NME, perhaps? He had certainly followed the Wembley superstar routine, coming on 20 minutes late.

Maybe Barney's friend, BJ the yellow puppet, was still sobering up.

But, within seconds of the opening, the cynicism of thousands of parents evaporated. Because, as the dinosaur came bounding across the stage, every toddler in the arena gawped in transfixed adulation. Most of them can't really have understood what they were about to see. So the adult equivalent must be to have been dragged along to a gig in 1979, wondering why you were there at all, when suddenly out popped The Jam launching into "Down in the Tube Station at Midnight".

My son, who is just over two, has never been as ecstatic as he was in the following 90 minutes, partly because, in some respects, the show did follow the pattern of a normal rock gig. After the initial dumb-struck euphoria he, along with about 100 others, barged to the front by the stage and did that half-dancing, half-jumping thing you do at venues such as the Brixton Academy in south London. And to prevent the most exuberant from clambering under the stage, a line of muscular security staff in white T-shirts were posted in squatting positions at the front.

There are some differences from gigs for adults. When you're diving about to "Rage Against the Machine", you tend not to have your mum behind you taking photos and warning you not to bump into the speakers. And at Wembley on Sunday, during the interval, bouncers handed out hundreds of cardboard hats, which I don't remember happening when I saw Nick Cave at the Shepherd's Bush Empire.

But how did the stars spend the interval? Does the actor playing Barney have a bigger dressing-room than the rest? And does he ever get artistically frustrated?

It's possible, because Barney groupies are too young even for pantomime games. Any subtle changes in choreography would therefore be lost, as would any attempt to develop the dark side of being a purple dinosaur 150 million years after the rest of his species have become extinct. The real purpose of the interval, though, is to provide an opportunity for parents and toddlers to stroll around the Barney programmes (7 pounds), Barney caps (8) and fluffy Barneys (17). And with tickets at 12 pounds each, car parking 7, and popcorn at 2.50, if you've got more than one child it's probably cheaper to go down to the Natural History Museum and put in an offer for a complete brontosaurus.

In the second half, BJ announces what he'd like for his birthday. Knowing that they'll be faced with demands for a similar present, you can feel 5,000 parents thinking: "Please say a Biro."

"I'd like a big red scooter," he says. Five thousand parents hold their head in their hands, and mutter "Shit."

For a finale, BJ is presented with a 12-ft-high birthday cake. What a splendid thought, that if a child were presented with a 9-ft-high birthday cake, they might say: "Dur, it's much smaller than the one BJ got from Barney."

Despite the expense, the hard-selling, and the banality, taking a toddler to see Barney is exhilarating. The calculated manner of Barney's size, loudness and brightness connects with young children, and there he is, not just on a video, but in front of them, in real life. "I want to kiss Barney," said my son - but I didn't fancy his chances of getting past the security guards.

"Is there any chance of meeting Barney?" I asked a particularly huge bouncer afterwards. "No, that's finished, the exit's over there," he snarled in a monotone voice, while staring straight ahead, in the way American soldiers are supposed to shout, "I am a useless, weak piece of dirt, SIR!" at their sergeants.

So Barney had left the building. Maybe he was already on his way to a nightclub to do some coke.

AMUSING BOLLOCKS From the Sexiest lady in Cyberspace

Vocabulary for the 21st Century.

Assmosis - The process by which some people seem to absorb success and advancement by sucking up to the boss.

Blamestorming - Sitting around in a group discussing why a deadline was missed or a project failed and who was responsible.

Seagull Manager - A manager who flies in, makes a lot of noise, shits over everything and then leaves.

Salmon Day - The experience of spending an entire day swimming upstream, only to get screwed and die at the end.

Chainsaw consultant - An outside expert brought in to reduce the employee head count, leaving the brass with clean hands.

CLM - `Career Limiting Move' - used among microserfs to describe ill-advised activity. Slagging off your boss while he or she is within earshot is a serious CLM.

Adminisphere - The rarefied organisational layers beginning just above the rank and file. Decisions that fall from the adminisphere are often profoundly inappropriate and irrelevant to the problems they are designed to solve.

Dilberted - To be exploited and oppressed by your boss. Derived from the experience of Dilbert, the geek-in-hell comic strip character. I've been dilberted again. The old man revised the specs for the fourth time this week.

Flight risk - Used to describe employees who are suspected oF planning to leave the company or department soon.

404 - Someone who's clueless. From the World Wide Web error message - `404 Not Found', meaning that the requested document could not be located. `Don't bother asking him...he's a 404 man.

Ohnosecond - That minuscule fraction of time in which you realise that you've just made a BIG mistake.

Percussive maintenance - The fine art of whacking the crap out of an electronic device to get it to work again.

Umfriend - A sexual relation of dubious standing or a concealed intimate relationship, as in `This is Diane,'.


Dusty Springfield

Dusty Springfield was one of the top female vocalists of the 60's with hits on both the UK and USA pop charts, several of which were in the top ten.

She was born Mary O'Brien in London in 1939. She began singing with the Lana Sisters, then formed a group with her brother Tom and Mike Hurst. As a folk trio, The Springfields, they had hits in the UK with Say I Won't Be There and Island Of Dreams, and a top twenty song in the USA with Silver Threads And Golden Needles. The first song of her solo career, I Only Want To Be With You, was recorded in 1963 and made the top twenty in the USA early the following year.

More big hits followed. Wishin' and Hopin' and her biggest of the decade, You Don't Have To Say You Love Me, made the top ten in the USA, while Goin' Back did the same in her native country.

Dusty Springfield was a big fan of Motown-type songs and was one of only a few white singers who could successfully replicate such songs. She paid close attention to which songs she would agree to record and which she would not, which set her apart from rivals such as Sandie Shaw and Cilla Black in the UK. This ability to choose the right songs contributed a great deal to her success in the recording industry.

Until the late 60's Dusty had recorded for the Phillips label. In 1969 she collaborated with Jerry Wexler at Atlantic to record the album that many regard as her best Dusty in Memphis. It included still another top ten song, Son-Of-A Preacher Man.

In 1972 Dusty moved to Los Angeles. She recorded her album Cameo in 1973 then backed off from recording for a few years, save for some back-up work with Anne Murray. Her records were not selling as well as they had in the 60's, and Dusty began to get involved in animal welfare causes. K-Tel compiled an album The Very Best Of Dusty Springfield in the early 80's that is a good representation of her music. Her long-awaited return came in 1978 with It Begins Again and in 1982 with Whiteheat, but neither album sold very well. Another attempt backed by London nightclub owner Peter Stringfellow in 1986 met with similar results. But a song she did in 1987 with the British act The Pet Shop Boys, Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe, What Have I Done To Deserve This?, was a smashing success and brought her all the way to number two on the USA charts. She sounds as good on this one as she does on anything she ever recorded. Dusty returned to England permanently in 1987.

Dusty Springfield's songs have been covered over the years by artists such as The Tourists, The Byrds, Neil Lofgren, and Bruce Springsteen. Dusty had made appearances on the British television series Ready Steady Go in the 60's and when those shows were released on video tape it enhanced her career and enabled a new generation to discover her.

In 1994 Dusty Springfield was diagnosed with breast cancer. She appeared to have beaten it a year later, but there was a re-occurence in 1996 and her health deteriorated. She died on March 2, 1999, just eleven days before she was scheduled for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. A biography by Lucy O'Brien titled simply "Dusty" is scheduled for publication in April, 1999.

Perhaps one the greatest compliments paid to Dusty Springfield came from her agent, Paul Fenn, shortly after her death. ``She was one of the icons of the music industry,'' Fenn said. ``She was one of the most talented female singers of this century.''


Because we`re soppy bastards and also because, unlike many artists who are given the appelation of "legendary" she actually deserved it, this issue we are devoting the complete Missing Links section to the memory of Dusty Springfield.....

* Dusty Springfield: A Girl Called Dusty. URL:

OFFICIAL STATEMENT FROM THE PET SHOP BOYS It was a dream come true for us when Dusty Springfield agreed to sing with us on the song "What Have I Done To Deserve This?" She hadn't recorded for several years but as soon as she arrived in the studio and began to sing we knew that the greatest female singer Britain has ever produced was still on brilliant form. Quite honestly, we were in awe of her.

Dusty was a tender, exhilarating and soulful singer, incredibly intelligent at phrasing a song, painstakingly building it up to a thrilling climax. She was also a warm and funny person.

"What do you want me to sing like?" she asked on that first day we met. "You", we replied, and she seem quite surprised. We are proud to have been a small part of her fabulous career.

Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe (Pet Shop Boys)
3rd March 1999

* The Dusty Springfield Mailing List. URL:

DUSTYMAIL is a private eMail list for fans of Dusty Springfield from all around the world. Once you have subscribed to DUSTYMAIL, you will be able to read mail sent to the list from other Dusty fans.

You will also be able to send in your own eMail to the list.

DUSTYMAIL's main objective is to link Dusty fans via the medium of the internet. Mailing lists are a great way to share information, make new friendships and discuss anything Dusty with people who share the same love for the greatest singer to come out of the United Kingdom.

How much does it cost?

Absolutely nothing. DUSTYMAIL is a free service run by a Dusty fan for other Dusty fans wherever they might live.




Kula Shaker "Peasants, Pigs and Astronauts` (Columbia SHAKER2 CD) *****

This record is undoubtedly the best that I have heard all year! OK it's only March but I very much doubt whether there will be a better one! This second album was always going to be crucial for Kula Shaker - their first album was sublime but many folk (including me) wondered if they had not perhaps put all their musical eggs into one, fragrantly oriental, basket.

It's OK folks. They haven`t. This second album is a delight. In many ways it is more of a band album than the first one and feels less contrived. It relies more on sheer ballsy ensemble playing than on studio trickery, and despite some of the comments that have been bandied about, to my mind at least, this album is, if anything under produced. As with the last album, it is the indian flavoured tracks which seem to work the best, and this time around in is `Radhe Radhe` which challenges `Tattva` for the title of the best song that the band have produced to date. The boys of yer mainstream music press are being awfully scathing about this record, and I for one can`t see why. If you buy nothing else this year buy this CD. - Atilla the Hen


The crazy world of Kula Shaker has spun on its axis from east to west at a kaleidoscope rate of kilohertz and the new phase has begun. Early 1999 sees the release of the four average alchemists second album "Peasants, Pigs and Astronauts", an expanded, radiant work which takes them deeper into the journey begun with their million selling debut 'K' and throws an arc over some of the strangest and most magical inaugural years generated by any band.

Since their emergence from the psychedelic hinterland of London's suburbs in late 1995, it's been clear that Kula Shaker - named after a ninth century Indian King, intrigued by Eastern mysticism and fascinated by the sonic power of guitar London 67 - were neither timelocked, nor two dimensional nor like any other premier league 90s British band. In christening their second album "Peasants, Pigs and Astronauts" they follow through on a philosophy of multi-layered stimulation that has set them apart. It means, of course, what you want it to.

The fact that the title was taken from note to a sketch by Kula illustrator Dan Abbott is beside the point. What's important is that after a meteoric rise and full throttle crash course in the realities of pop stardom, Kula Shaker are back boldly hammering on the doors of perception and having fun. Light fun, heavy fun, milkmaid kissing, numerologically auspicious revolutions per minute fun.

In the winter of 1995, singer / guitarist Crispian Mills, bassist Alonza Bevan, drummer Paul Winterhart and organist Jay Darlington were four struggling dole-surfing musicians living in the council flat of a freaked out acid guru friend. Crispian and Alonza had met as music 'n' sorcery fascinated teenagers at Richmond College. Somerset-raised sticksman Paul joined them in a nutty psychedelic troop and the three spent early 90's testing the electric kool aid lifestyle and running their own head trip club 'The Mantra Shack' in Richmond.

After Oxted local Jay was enticed from his mod-edelic garage band scene they refocused their objectives, setting up as The Kays. The period from 1993 through to summer 1995 when they met Krishna devotee Kula Sekhara and took on their current manifestation was a slightly left of typical saga of lost deals, haphazard pub gigs, busking adventures and out of it trips to Glastonbury. Much would eventually be made of the fact that Crispian came from a family of famous actors but the reality of the pre-fame Kula Shaker was that they were an unlikely bunch of backstreet, edge culture dreamers. When they signed to Columbia in November 1995 after blazing shows at the Manchester 'In The City' competition nobody could have predicted their rocket powered trajectory. A first limited edition single was issued in January 96. By the end of the year their four full singles releases 'Grateful When You're Dead', 'Tattva', 'Hey Dude' and 'Govinda' had been UK hits, they had been selected as Best Newcomers at the Brit Awards, their 'K' album recorded with Stone Roses producer John Leckie had astrally projected straight to number one, and they had been personally requested by Noel Gallagher to support Oasis at the latter's historic 125,000 capacity Knebworth shows.

The spin on their achievement was that they had become one of the most talked about and popular British bands in a hedonistic, materialistic, 'new lad' cultural climate which ought to have rejected them. Going against the grain (or ahead of it) their lyrics and interviews were a mirror ball of love, higher cosmic consciousness, karmic awareness, spirituality, peace and conspiracy theories. They sang in sanskrit on 'Tattva', based 'Govinda' on an ancient Indian chant, thanked William Blake and King Arthur on their album and placed Krishna in the centre of the letter K obsessed sleeve.

The more sceptically inclined couldn't believe that Crispian and his candy striped temple were for real, and many missed the inherent humour in the band's flying of mad mystic kites. But what the world was trying to decipher was a matter of roots for the band. Like many a thinking teen head, they'd been absorbing alternative consciousness since childhood. 1997 saw Kula Shaker pick up a second number 2 hit with their reworking of the Joe South tune 'Hush', which Deep Purple had covered for their first ever single. On a Spring tour of the US, where the band were starting to acquire a healthy fan base Crispian kicked up more magic dust than he'd bargained for when he failed to make crystal clear his views on the foul Nazi misappropriation of the ancient Indian swastika symbol. His subsequent apologies , affirming deeply held pro peace, love and equality beliefs were printed in the British press and the band returned to the UK for two powerful performances at the midsummer Glastonbury festival, one of them replacing Neil Young on the main stage.

After the 'Tripperary' festival of Ireland the band reached the end of an eighteen month flaming rollercoaster of melodies and mouth and opted to get off before burn-out set in. Crispian headed out to India. Paul and Alonza joined him later, tumbling into bizarre adventures with leeches and rafts while travelling in the south. Perspective was re-established.

"It had got too much about other things and not the music," explains Crispian. "That's to be expected, but it was like losing touch with the fact that we're a band and we had to make another record. We really had to be thinking about the music so we just stopped everything and cut ourselves off."

The vivid life force of the four Kulas has thrown up enough biog detail to obscure their essence, but the arrival of their second album firmly puts the emphasis back on the musicianship. It rocks, it chants, it quarter tone harmonises, and under the studio captaincy of Bob Ezrin - producer of Peter Gabriel, Alice Cooper, Pink Floyd's "The Wall" and Kiss' 'Destroyer' - it finally fully captures their universally acknowledged brilliance as a live band.

Preparatory activity for 'Peasants, Pigs and Astronauts' began in Autumn 1997 when the band went into the studio in LA with producers Rick Rubin and George Drakoulias. The eventual March 1998 top 3 single 'Sound Of Drums' came from these sessions but neither party wanted to work away from their home city on a full album. A freshly tattooed Kula Shaker set off on the low key 'Revolution For Fun' UK tour ("The best tour we did," says Crispian) and worked their way up to sessions with Ezrin, skirting Spinal Tap-isms on tour with Aerosmith and collaborating with the Prodigy on the mantra driven 'Narayan' track on the tech-punks "Fat Of The Land".

By March 1998, Alonza, Paul, a punk cropped Crispian, and the newly married and temporarily bearded Jay, were on board a Victorian house boat studio in the Thames with Ezrin at the helm. They had already recorded the freeform Indian chant "Radhe Radhe" as part of a soundtrack for Joe Massot's 60s cult film 'Reflections Of Love' (intended to run before screenings of George Harrison's restored and re-edited 'Wonderwall') re-discovering fundamental creative freedoms in the process.

"I think this album really started when we did that," says Crispian. "Kula Shaker had become something you associate with not only doing well, and doing big gigs, but with business and the trips that get laid on you and the pressures. But we did the film and it was totally separate and we really had fun. I think that's the main thing, we started having more fun. On stuff like 'S.O.S.' and 'Radhe Radhe' and even '108' you can hear that the band's just really enjoying itself and it's free, and that's the best antidote to all the shit in the business."

Afloat on newly burnished enthusiasm the band worked with Ezrin through to October 98. 'K' had been a first run at capturing their sound and with Asian music having come to the fore in British and global culture since their sitar-studded debut, they were determined to do justice to their instincts. "This was an opportunity for us to say well we're into Indian music but this is much more how we'd liked to have presented it' " says Crispian.

Gouri Choudhury, who appeared on 'Govinda' returned and revered flautist Hariprasad Chaurasia joined in with the floating temple sessions. Indian instruments like the shenai and the sarungi were interwoven with Manzarek'd hammond and Zepped up stratocasters.

"Once you've heard those sounds you can't get them out of your system," explains Crispian. "They become part of the way you want to express yourself. I think a lot of Europe's folk music has influences from North Africa and India. It's part of our principles and ideals, and part of our backgrounds just as four people as well. It's what made us what we are."

From the Aquarian guitar picking launch pad groove 'Great Hosannah' to the penultimate Zep in Tibet rock epiphany and the transcendentally traditional 'Namami Nanda-nandana' Kula Shaker:2 is refreshingly diverse and magically complete. It's their full, mature statement, alchemically interlocking classicist Anglo pop with Himalayan reverberations. In the form of singles 'Mystical Machine Gun' and 'Shower Your Love' it contains the most addictive, uplifting songs they've yet written.

It's worth noting that in 'S.O.S.' when Crispian sings "Sometimes I feel the world isn't ready for me," there's a smile hanging between the Chelsea boots and the halo of garlands. Laughing at yourself is acceptable on the path, and for those who want it, there is a kind of golden flagstone causeway laid out in the fourteen 'Peasants, Pigs And Astronauts' tracks. "Some people thought the title means past, present and future," says Crispian. "That does fit in and there is a lyrical journey going through the album. We wanted to start saying something and end saying something, but it's up to you what kind of concept you think it is."

The journey might well be that of four average high troubadours, away with deities, looking for hope and love in a hail storm. Maybe it's the credit card bill for earth seeking heaven. Or the west on a storm-tossed raft heading east. Whatever the voyage, they describe it beautifully with some of the most heart-stopping kaleido-culture songs of the century's coda. All of 'Peasants, Pigs and Astronauts' flies. Some of it's revolutions are for fun. So revolve the new sounds and enjoy.



***** Fuck-off Brilliant
**** Pretty damn Good
*** Average but no Cigar, Mr President
** Could do better
* Shite

Three albums in a row where Slutto and Atilla agree on the star ratings! Harmony rears its head in the ISMO offices???

$ell Out
Music for Nations CDMFN 248. Released: 8 Mar 1999 ***

It's okay, they haven't really. Sold out, that is. Not with that pronounciation-interrupting dot in their name, nor in musical style. This, the second album from this four-piece New York heavy bunch, is effective guitars-driven Judas Priest-type mood rock, although there's no extended bouts of riffing - it's all organised around the vocal content. Okay: pop song structure, if you like, rather than out-and-out metallica like Skunk Anansie, say. It's not pop music - this solid, smoothly grungy and at times morose swirly-guitar rock takes time to grow on you. But I like it already, which is a good sign. Not quite enough to give it four stars, though. - Slutto

Slutto was always the sort of Drongo who preferred Black sabbath to Led Zeppelin. That's probably why he thought about giving this album four stars; I'm givin it only three. It's dull. It's boring. It's predictable. It's got 'swirling guitars'. It's music for Slutto! Oi'll give it *** so fuck off! - Atilla the Hen

Skunk Anansie
Post Orgasmic Chill
Virgin VJD 2881. Reviewed: 5 Mar 1999 ****

A chill-out this album ain't, especially not with Deborah 'Skin' Dyer on vocals. Quoted as saying "I'm pissed off that I was born a woman and I have a lot of trouble dealing with that," Skin's heavy involvement with the song-writing does at times give this, their third album, an in-yer-face Led Zep type of vocal edge which blends well with the above-average stabbing heavy rock chords and various outbursts of drum-rolling and riffing. Tempo changes and dramatic instrumentation pauses add more 'edge' to what already is pretty biting and well-constructed rock-with-attitude. There are melodic parts to this album though, and some gutsy singing from Skin. A fine and attention-grabbing bit of work, overall. - Slutto

"Led Zeppelin II" with hot chick vocals. Slutto ain't got no taste... but he's right... four stars indeed. - Atilla the Hen.

Band website:

Apple Venus Volume 1
Cooking Vinyl COOKCD 172. Released: 22 Feb 1999 ***

Their first 'new stuff' album for 7 years, this album is mainly an acoustic / orchestration-based work. XTC explore, as they have on some previous albums, the psychedelia theme - happy psychedelic as in Sergeant Pepper, that is; not yer Ozric Tentacles space rock.

This album is hard to categorise. Mmmm, let's see: how about, a quirky 'pop-song format' cross between the Beatles and Gabriel-era Genesis, with a tinge of Syd Barrett. Yeah, I know they're all 'oldies' but 1967 IS when a lot of that stuff was around - a long time ago, now. The jaunty Barrett mood is strongly in evidence on this musical foray into the breezy side of that era's psychedelia music. I'm not sure how much further they've taken the genre but this album is well-crafted and will please many XTC fans. How many NEW fans it'll gain them is another matter, but it's worth at least one listen!

As the name implies, there's more to come: volume 2, currently being recorded, is expected to be released later in 1999. XTC have not been idle in the last few years... - Slutto.

Can ya imagine a 90's version of 'The Hangman's' Beautiful Daughter' by The Incredible String Band done as a cover version by Ipswitch Faves The Cleaners from Venus (see Giles Smith's 'Lost in Music'?) Well, ya get the idea. Psychedelic blando blando; as I'm sure Run DMC would say, " a Beatles style". Pointless? - of course it fuckin' is! That's why I agree with Slutto - three stars. - Atilla the Hen ***

Beth Orton
Central Reservation
Heavenly HVNLP 22CD. Reviewed: 10 March 1999 ***

Mellow folk with discreet backing band. All the songs are written and sung by Beth in late-night laid-back fashion which would be wholly in keeping with a comfortable lounge bar in quite a decent hotel. There's a pleasing immediacy and looseness about the style, though: over-produced it ain't, unlike so much of the genre, giving it something of a 'live' feel. - Slutto

Beth Orton has the cutest, freckliest nose in pop music, but can she sing? Yes she can, and very nicely too. Backed up by some lovely guitars (in particular on "Stolen car" and "Devil song") Her voice is genuinely beautiful and sounds like a transatlantic P.J Harvey. Not all songs on the album are of equal strength but the whole is quite pleasing. Well worth checking out. - Sigsworthy Craggs



Coral's WordPerfect #7 program is certainly an advance on Microsoft Word version 6 - especially in what it does to your .txt files when it's let loose on your system! We tried it and it wantomly changed loads of our .txt files into Corel .dat files, meaning they could then only be opened through Coral (time-consuming) instead of being the easy-access Notepad files that they used to be. Perhaps there's some ex-hackers and virus-writers on their staff - the modus operandi does seem familiar.

The facility for converting text into HTML code suggests that there are some incompetent programmers on their staff, too: this Corel program treats a single carriage return as a double one. It inserts a paragraph break and then a blank line instead of just a line break; and, when there should be a paragraph break, it does insert one, but then skips a line and inserts a totally spurious {br wp="br1"}{br wp="br2"} segment of code.

Word #6 takes under 5 secs to power up on our computer; whereas WordPerfect #7 takes over 15 secs! Basically, it's a slowed-down Word #6 with some frills - and the frills just don't seem worth the time or money. We've purged Corel from our system and have now repaired most of the damaged text files.


Anyone who's browsed sites in some of the new free website domains like Geocities may have noticed that the pop-ups (small windows carrying ads) are more pernicious than they used to be. Some carry fake exit buttons to trap the unwary into visiting the site - rather a contemptuous treatment of the visiting clientele? And as if this were not bad enough, some include carry special code that crashes the browser when attempting to clear this crap from the screen. Still, they say there ain't no such thing as a free lunch.

HIDEAWAY Security and encryption utilities. Beowulf & James Ltd. (

Hideaway is designed to encrypt files or images and can hide them if required, eg by burying them in an HTM file, which would still execute as normal but which would have lots of apparent gibberish in its 'source code'. Your files can be made undetectable by conventional scans of one's hard drive or unreadable by unauthorised persons; and people with sensitive or private data to protect might well be interested in this program. And you can give all your hidden or encodes documents protection passwords - just don't forget them afterwards!

Those who have never dabbled in such matters before might find its use a bit daunting at first but the authors do recommend trying it out on files that don't matter, until you're used to the software and how it operates.


`Batman.....animated` by Paul Diny and Chip Kidd (Titan Books £19.99)

As a long term Batman fan and an obsessive collector of comix I was overjoyed to hear of the `batman` movie back in 1989. As it was this turned out to be a gargantuan disappointment. The film was appalingly bad. It bore no resemblance to the dark twisted world of the comix. It showed no respect whatsoever to the source material and was appalingly acted and miscast. To add insult to injury it spawned a series of films each worse than its predecessor. The last being so childish and stupid as to defy belief.

Hence, I was highly sceptical of a Batman cartoon. If Tim Burton failed so abyssmally to bring the `Dark Knight` to screen, how could a Saturday Morning kid`s cartoon do it?

`Batman - The animated Series` was one of the biggest surprises in television history. Remaining true to the comix, it was a violent, shadowy and weird rendition. Beautifully animated in a hybrid of gothic and art deco with a hint of manga. Big name actors - including Mark Hammil (The Joker), Roddy McDowell (The Mad Hatter) and Paul Williams (The Penguin) took on the roles of characters perfectly. This book charts the rise of this cartoon legend in sumptuous detail. Artists,writers, actors and animators are all listed as well as some excellent early character sketches and designs. Most fascinating of all are the thoughts behind the stories and the motivation of the characters.

The origins of `Mr Freeze` are explained in detail for the first time and other characters like `The Mad hatter` are fleshed out and rationalised. There are sections on the comix spawned by the animated show, related collectibles, and an excellent episode guide that makes this book a MUST for any batphile. A fitting memorial to the late Bob Kane. - Siggsworthy Craggs.


Thoughts on life, love and music from Twitchy the Tramp in his tawdry little ditch..

This week I was approached by the Nuneaton tourist board and offered a job as a tour guide. The board has had to radically re-think its plans, as tourism to this nondescript, drab little midlands social backwater was at an all time low. The George Elliot motif was waring a little thin after the best part of two centuries worth of pushing. There new idea was to take visitors to see all the jolly loonies and social misfits around town.

Per square mile Nuneaton has more loonies than anywhere else on earth! There are a number of theories why this should be but the most convincing is that the sheer density of the banality field (B) acts as a kind of gravity vortex (G) both attracting existing loonies (L) and creating more by sheer mind numbingness(N) that kills brain cells.

This can be written as the formula B+G=L/N.

Some loonies native to Nuneaton are.......

Cannus shoutatnothingi :The Tin Can Man. This fascinating species is always accompanied by a large bag of tin cans. The purpose of these cans still baffles scientists. Large and unkempt this species is often met with in the Library, laughing out loud, shouting at nothing and holding enthralling conversations with himself.

Sticherus tatteringi: Mr Stitch. This fellows attractive plumage is very diagnostic. He is clad in stitched together tatters of leather, lending him the appearance of an ill made S&M scarecrow. His hovel was once flooded providing an excellent opportunity to observe if this species has cognitive abilities. After 3 whole day of sitting on his stairs he told the council his ground floor was a foot under water.

Jabberus verbaldhioreaus: Wann`a Talk? The call of this species is "Wann`a talk, eh, just for a minute, eh wann`a talk? Easy to find as he will probably approach you and try to engage you in a pointless conversation about anything that invariably goes nowhere. May be difficult to get rid of as this species cannot take a hint.

Embarressmenti obeseia: The Rude Fatman. This species is easy to spot on account of being fat to an industrial degree. H e frequents newsagents and helps himself to top shelf magazines that in the 50s would have been called "Health & Efficiency". He then lewdly, at length and excessively loudly tells the shop in general his thoughts on the young ladies pictured therein. A failed gynaecologist perhaps?

Speedyus panickus: The Running woman. Can be observed at any hour (seems not to sleep) running. This species never walks, her normal mode of movement is constant running. Some theorise that like a pelagic shark will drown if it stops swimming, she will die if she stops running. Her face is a mask of terror constantly, this has led yet others to speculate that she might actually be running from something! By the look on her face it would seem to be Great Cthulu and all his spawn. Has not stopped running for several years.

These are but a few of the fascinating creatures you can see in their natural habitat in the wilds of Nuneaton. With me, a fully trained tramp as your bush guide ,you will have nothing to fear. Write to the Nuneaton Tramp Safaris office, care of Nuneaton town council, for our FREE brochure.


Since we began in Cyberspace we have been reprinting a potted history of this project since its roots as a badly photocopied fanzine thingy a decade ago. If you still want to read this stuff you can access it thru our web-site.