Category Archives: education

➤ Nutty scientist finds himself out of his depth in the shallows of pop

Trevor Horn, pop music, production, science, TV, documentary

Trevor Horn: sharing his own tried and tested secrets of pop onscreen (© BBC)

RECORD PRODUCER TREVOR HORN – who helped shape the sounds of such 80s acts as ABC, Grace Jones, Pet Shop Boys and Frankie – last night shared five keys to being a successful pop artist. During the repeat of The Secret Science of Pop on BBC4 he said:

1 – Be able to write or have access to the best material.
2 – Have a really great voice, across two octaves.
3 – Have personal charm and charisma.
4 – Be physically and mentally strong.
5 – And, you’ve got to want it.

All of which made a deal more sense than the deluded “scientist” – a professor at London’s Imperial College who doesn’t deserve to be named! – who attempted to analyse success in the pop charts of the past 50 years by deconstructing thousands of hit tunes note by note. Nothing he proposed made any sense at all and after wasting 60 minutes of our time he shamelessly admitted he had “singularly failed” to out-flank Horn.

As compensation, Horn’s production team shared quite a lot of their intuitive magic in perhaps 15 of those minutes. Shame the whole documentary wasn’t about them instead.

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2010 ➤ What a tear-jerker! McLaren mashes up his own musical ‘Requiem to Myself’

LISTEN TO MCLAREN’S REQUIEM
EXCLUSIVELY AT SHAPERS OF THE 80S

Hitchcock , Vertigo, The Mekons,

Romance and anguish: James Stewart and Kim Novak in the psycho-drama Vertigo (top), and the post-punk Mekons

◼︎ TWO UNEXPECTED RECENT VIDEOS have acquired poignant new life in the wake of Malcolm McLaren’s death, Svengali of punk that he was. Few people could have guessed that the soundtrack to one of last month’s Paris ready-to-wear fashion shows [in the video above] would be McLaren’s final creative achievement.

It was completed after his diagnosis of cancer and possibly in acceptance of his own mortality.

What seduces the listener is the overwhelming melancholy McLaren evokes, in what suddenly amounts to a Requiem to Myself. It was commissioned by Dries Van Noten – to set a deliberately discomfiting mood for his runway show amid the gilded opulence of the Hôtel de Ville in Paris on March 3.

After McLaren’s funeral, his partner Young Kim described the piece to Shapers of the 80s as “quintessential Malcolm McLaren – an entirely original and powerful, elegant but punk collage”. She gave us permission to run the full 13-minute mash-up in clean mp3 format, featuring the Vertigo theme, Mekons, Roxy, Raincoats and Burundi Beat.

➢ CLICK HERE for the full McLaren/Dries Van Noten soundtrack and background report on its creation on our inside page

➢ The Raincoats perform The Raincoats for Don’t Look Back in London, May 20, 2010, at The Scala in London

➢ More at Shapersofthe80s: Svengali of Pistols and punk remembered by those who knew him

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McLaren on how to fail brilliantly
in this ‘karaoke world’

◼︎ “THIS WORLD WE LIVE IN TODAY is no more than a karaoke world, an ersatz society, which provides us with only the opportunity to revel in our stupidity… A karaoke world is one in which life is lived by proxy.” So said Malcolm McLaren last October, only days before he discovered he was unwell. He was presenting a keynote speech to 1,000 delegates in London at the Handheld Learning Conference 2009 about the future of learning and education.

➢ Details from the Learning Conference also on our inside page

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