Mick Ronson: The Spider with the Platinum Hair by Weird and Gilly Reviewed by Steve Rudd
Born and bred in Hull, Mick Ronson indeed did come from extremely humble beginnings to
become one of Britain's most respected musicians and producers.
Born in 1946, it was in the early seventies that Mick first became well known
through his work with David Bowie, with ace guitarist Mick being one of the
legendary Spiders From Mars.
After the Spiders broke up and Bowie battled forth with the rest of his
career (surrounded by a whole host of other musicians), Mick hardly shied away from
the music industry.
Instead, he released some brilliant solo material and even
joined up with Mott The Hoople - although the latter project with Mott wasn't as
much of a success as everybody involved hoped it would be.
Still, Mick - in his
time as a Mott member - had forged a lifetime-lasting friendship with Ian Hunter,
and both Mick and Ian were later renowned for their partnership and work together as a duo.
This book, The Spider With The Platinum Hair, chronicles Mick's life perfectly and in astute detail.
Whoever the authors in Weird and Gilly really are, they've done a fantastic job of interviewing
a great array of people that Mick worked with over the years, including Steve Harley and
Joe Elliot (who are two of my favourite singers, and who are frontmen of Cockney Rebel
and Def Leppard respectively). And the one common thing that seethes through all of the
interview excerpts bowls along the lines of how kind and caring a man he was, in the
vicinity both of fellow musicians and his many die-hard fans.
And even though his solo releases weren't as commercially successful as they deserved
to be, albums such as Slaughter On 10th Avenue and Play Don't Worry are still held in
very high regard by admirers of his music.
Away from his solo career, Mick (who sadly died of cancer in 1993) was also a fantastic producer.
Perusing the book's astonishing discography, it's impossible not to be amazed at how many great
musicians he managed to work with in his short life... from Morrissey to The Wildhearts,
John Mellencamp to Bob Dylan. And as this book - which is essentially a proud and true
tribute to Mick in more ways than one - constantly re-iterates, he never ever developed
an ego and to a large extent always somehow managed to act like the boy next door, regardless
of the stars he'd been working with.
In truth, this is probably the most touching and comprehensive biography of a musician
that I've ever read, and it also focuses on the grand tribute concerts that were held in Mick's
memory after his death... concerts that were held in London, Hull and Japan - and that involved
his mum and sister heartily when it came down to the gigs' organisation.
Before reading this book I must admit that I knew next to nothing about Mick (despite being
a massive fan of David Bowie and the songwriting and performing that Mick did with David).
Having read the book though, I feel like something of an expert on his life, and this is
because the book is so well researched and written. And now I have nothing but respect
for Mick and I honestly can't wait to trawl around the music shops (in his hometown of
Hull of all places, where he is buried) in search of his solo albums, and then the great
many albums that he produced.
RIP, Mick Ronson. An amazing musician and all-round good Samaritan of your caliber comes
around but once a very long while indeed.
ISBN 0-9539942-3-6 (first published in 2003 by Independent Music Press)
Reviews, Theatre - Gaffer! at York Theatre Royal By Nick Quantrill
Gaffer! is a one-man black-comedy which sees Deka Walmsley deliver a convincing
portrayal of a variety of comedy football characters and caricatures.
The central character is George, manager of struggling Northbridge Town.
George and Northbridge Town are old school. George has strong socialist values
Reviews, Films - Alien VS Predator By Steve Rudd
Whoever came up with the bright idea of violently pitting Alien against Predator
sure deserves a pat on the back and a raucous round of applause, for this big-budget
movie scores on many levels.
Whereas the bulk of the Alien franchise has long relied on
atmospheric tension rather than all-out action
Reviews, Books - The Promise of Bruce Springsteen by Eric Alterman. Reviewed By Steve Rudd
Brucie, we need you - and more than ever!
A true rock 'n' roll star in every sense and then some, Bruce has had a truly staggering career in the music business, and even as we maniacally rush headlong into the 21st Century he is more popular than ever.
This biography of
Reviews, Films - Open Water By Steve Rudd
I really don't understand why this movie was ever made.
Based on true events, this follows a couple of young lovers (Daniel Travis and blonde bombshell Blanchard Ryan)
on a diving day-out as part of a vacation they're taking together.
Before we know it, they've been stranded in the middle
Reviews, Books - The Beach by Alex Garland Reviewed By Steve Rudd
Escape through travel works. Almost from the moment I boarded my flight, life in England became meaningless.
Seat-belt signs lit up, problems switched off. Broken armrests took precedence over broken hearts.
Before the hit movie there was the cult novel written by an unknown
Reviews, Theatre - Fields of Gold at Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough By Nick Quantrill
For some time now thisisUll.com has been bringing news
and reviews of events that are happening in Hull.
It is quite noticeable that what is going unreported is what's happening in the near-by towns
surrounding the city of Hull.
Reviews, Books - The Body by Hanif Kureishi Reviewed By Steve Rudd
I imagine that to participate in the world with curiosity and pleasure, to see the point of what is going on, you have to be young and uninformed. Do I want to participate?
This is an incredibly compelling novel from Kent-born Hanif (who proves himself to be ever-the-philosopher)
Reviews, Films - Five Children and It Reviewed by Ruth Wilson
The other day I went to the UGC cinema in Hull to see 5 Children and It.
It was a very good film, based on a book by E. Nesbit. It's about 5 children
(surprise, surprise! I can't remember their names, though!) who get sent to live
with their loopy uncle in the country during the
Kids, Reviews, Books - Freak-Outs and Very Secret Secrets by Karen McCombie Reviewed by Ruth Whitehouse
I have recently read a brilliant book called Friends, Freak-Outs and Very Secret Secrets by Karen McCombie,
a teenage book, part of the Ally's World Series. If you want me to be precise, it's number 4.
Now, onto the actual review. It is about a teenage girl called Ally who has a best
Reviews, Books - Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer Reviewed By Steve Rudd
Reaching the top of Everest is supposed to trigger a surge of intense elation; against
long odds, afterall, I had just attained a goal I'd coveted since childhood.
But the summit was really only the halfway point. Any impulse I might have felt toward