CMU Weekly Editor's Letter

CMU Weekly – Friday 22 Jul 2011

By | Published on Friday 22 July 2011

Andy Malt

So, things I could probably have done with not doing this week – #1: Watching four hours of the Commons Select Committee For Culture, Media & Sport. Yes, despite what I may have suggested last week, I am still glued to the phone hacking scandal, as it may or may not still be appropriate to call it. How often do you get to see James and Rupert Murdoch getting a telling off to their faces? Not often.

And it was captivating stuff. Tom Watson’s grilling of Rupert Murdoch was a particular highlight, though much of the rest was politicians asking the wrong questions and getting the wrong answers, the result of which seemed the be the conclusion that no one knew anything about anything. But it was still fun. Even Murdoch Senior getting a plate of shaving foam in the face was quite fun, despite the perpetrator clearly being a bell end.

After the relatively relaxed, if not entirely forthcoming contributions from James and Rupert, the contrast of Rebekah Brooks’ hostile testimony was quite jarring. No one thought to throw anything in her face, though.

But, as I said at the beginning of this editorial, watching all of this probably wasn’t the best use of my time. It’s interesting, but it’s not really what I get paid for. Except now that I’m writing about it here, it is. So maybe it’s all fine.

Really, though, I should be watching things that are a bit more music focused. And I did, thankfully. Unable to attend this year’s Mercury Prize shortlist announcement in person, I watched the live stream of the event on Facebook instead. So, that was nice. It was like being there but without the free drink. To make up for this, I went to the shop downstairs and stole a can of Coke*.

And I know what you’re all thinking. You’re thinking, “how did Andy do with his predictions for this year’s Mercury Prize shortlist?” Well, thanks for asking, I got eight out of twelve right, which either means I know what I’m doing or the list is quite predictable. I wouldn’t like to cast aspersions, but I’m pretty sure it’s not the former.

Here’s the final list:

Anna Calvi – Anna Calvi
Elbow – Build A Rocket Boys!
James Blake – James Blake
Katy B – On A Mission
Metronomy – The English Riviera
PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
Gwilym Simcock – Good Days At Schloss Elmau
Tinie Tempah – Disc-Overy
Everything Everything – Man Alive
Ghostpoet – Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam
King Creosote & Jon Hopkins – Diamond Mine
Adele – 21

I failed to pick Anna Calvi, Everything Everything, Tinie Tempah and Gwilym Simcock. I’m a little bit annoyed with myself about three of those. I discounted Anna Calvi because I thought she was a bit too much like PJ Harvey, and I didn’t even think of Everything Everything because I thought their album was older than it actually is.

Tinie Tempah is a really obvious one, but the Mercury is not known for its love of rap, so I assumed that only one album from that genre would be allowed in and decided that Ghostpoet was a more ‘Mercury’ record. As for Gwilym Simcock, well, I just picked the wrong token jazz album, didn’t I? That’s the hardest one to pick.

I think it’s a pretty good list. There are a lot of albums I like in there. In fact, I like nearly all of them. I wouldn’t necessarily say they’re all my favourites of the last year, but then I’m not on the judging panel. And even if I was, there would have to be some compromise. One day it would be nice to see some metal or hardcore on the list, but I’ve written before about why that’s unlikely and I’m not going to start jabbering on about it again now.

Meanwhile, we’ll have to wait until September to find out that PJ Harvey has won the award for the second time.

Anyway, let’s talk about this week’s CMU podcast, shall we? It’s actually the last one you’ll hear until mid-September. Chris is going off to Edinburgh to oversee the production of ThreeWeeks, our sister title, which covers the Edinburgh Festival every August. It’s a huge operation, publishing four print newspapers, daily print and email publications, daily podcasts, and reviewing around 2000 shows.

On the final podcast of this series, you’ll find us discussing Simon Fuller’s lawsuit against the makers of ‘X-factor USA’, Leona Lewis’ new collaboration with Avicii (or not), the final stage of the French system for combating piracy, Andy Parfitt’s departure from Radio 1 and what it might mean for the station, plus, of course, this year’s Mercury Prize shortlist.

Although you’ll not be able to hear the two of us chatting next week, I’ll be here with a CMU Weekly as usual. See you then!

Andy Malt
Editor, CMU

*Please note, Mr Shopkeeper, this is a lie. It was Pepsi.

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