ARE WE ROLLING?
I was sorry to read in last month's Uncut that old-school country star Slim Whitman had died, news that had otherwise passed me by. Slim was a great favourite in our house when I was growing up, my father much enamoured of "Rose Marie", which Slim had taken to No 1 on the pop charts, where it stayed for 11 weeks in 1955.
When it's announced that The Rolling Stones are planning a free concert in Hyde Park on July 5, 1969, we decide we have to be there. There are four of us, 16-year-old school friends, music a common bond between us.
ARE WE ROLLING?
Before meeting him for the first time recently for the feature in this month's issue, I read a lot of interviews with Tame Impala's Kevin Parker in which he was variously cast as a brooding outsider, a sullen introvert, generally moody, an outcast, someone on the edge of things, inclined to solitary misery.
Looking through this month's review section, one of the albums we've written about caught my eye and took me back to somewhat lively events in February, 1979. Roxy Music are due to play the first date of their reunion tour somewhere in Europe. Melody Maker want me to cover it, wherever it is.
Everybody we spoke to about Kevin Ayers following his lonely death in the South of France at the age of 68 had so much to say that trying to fit everything they told us into the tribute feature I've written for this month's issue was like trying to pour the Atlantic into a bucket.
When towards the end of 1974, The Troggs announce their latest comeback single will be a cover of The Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations", it's an occasion for much mocking laughter in the offices of what used to be Melody Maker.
In this month's Audience With Sinéad O'Connor, she's asked about her traumatic appearance at the all-star bash at New York's Madison Square Garden, put on by Columbia Records to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Dylan's debut album for the label.
Before Melody Maker swept me off the street in the manner of a benevolent old codger taking a pallid waif into his kindly, white-haired care in something written to make you weep by the venerable Dickens, I worked for a bleak season or two in the mail order department of a bookstore near Piccadilly Circus.