Hello and welcome to the May 2018 edition pf the Pennyblackmusic Magazine.

Pennyblackmusic is delighted to announce that it is celebrating its 20th anniversary with our first Bands’ Night in London in two years on Saturday 15th September at The Water Rats at 328 Grays Inn Road, Kings Cross, WC1X. 8BZ.

The evening will be predominantly a “best of”, featuring some of the finest acts who have appeared on our previous bills.

It will be headlined by the Bitter Springs, who have released now seven studio albums of witty English lyricism and heartbreak. Their music includes elements of punk, folk, vaudeville, country and electronica, and, working now as a four-piece, they currently include the Subway Sect’s Vic Godard on keyboards. The Bitter Springs' eighth album ‘Odd Shower’ will be released later in 2018, and this will be their London show in a year.

Also on the bill are indie pop act Idiot Son who made a triumphant return with their second album - and first in ten years - ‘Stibbington’ in 2016. The night’s line-up is completed with Oldfield Youth Club, the new offshoot band of Bitter Springs’ frontman Simon Rivers who will be playing their first ever central London show, and experimental duo Raf and O, whose music is an intriguing mixture of live electronics, acoustic guitars, synths and pop melodies.

Tickets can be bought in advance at http://www.wegottickets.com/event/435924 for £8 and on the door for £10.

While the night will be very much a celebration, it also comes tinged with a lot of sadness. It has been a rough year at Pennyblackmusic in many ways.

Robert Fisher, the front man in alt.rock/country collective The Willard Grant Conspiracy, who played four Pennyblackmusic shows in London, Glasgow and Edinburgh between 2010 and 2015, lost a battle with cancer in February 2017.

We have also lost recently two writers, Mary O’ Meara on December 10th, and more recently Anthony Strutt on March 25th, both once more to cancer.

Anthony, who passed away on the day we published our last full magazine, was 55. He was one of or longest-serving writers and certainly our most prolific. He ran his own fanzine ‘Independent Underground Sound ‘for some years, before joining Pennyblackmusic in late 2000. Since then he contributed over 1,550 articles to this website.

He loved The Cure, The Smiths, Echo & The Bunnymen, The Pretenders, Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground, The Sex Pistols, The Beatles, REM, The Jesus & Mary Chain, Slowdive, The Icicle Works, The Dream Syndicate and The Stooges.

Anthony was absolutely driven by music, listened to it voraciously and knew more about it than anyone else I know. He was a fearless interviewer, not frightened to ask a potentially awkward question but always did so with sensitivity and won the respect and admiration of many of those he interviewed with both his eye for detail and in-depth awareness of his subject.

Anthony was an immensely knowledgeable buyer and seller of vinyl and CDs. Trips to record shops were always carefully planned, and Record Store Day - the musical highlight of his year – was mapped out like a Napoleonic campaign.

He was also a keen autograph hunter, and his stories of his encounters with musicians as he sought out and often won that almost impossible signature were as self-deprecating as they were hilarious.

What you saw was what you got with him. There was an absolutely refreshing total lack of pretence about him, a complete honesty and also a real loyalty. He was a lovely, kind man and great company at a gig and for a night out.

A fuller tribute to Anthony will follow soon. Our thoughts in the meantime are with his wife Celia and his family,

The Pennyblackmusic 20th anniversary gig at the Water Rats will be dedicated with love to the memory of Robert, Mary and Anthony, and all profits for this gig will be divided equally between Macmillan Cancer Care and Prostate Cancer UK.

We have a very full edition online in which most items on the front page are new items. As always this magazine has come together through the hard work of a lot of people. Thank you to Keith Ainsworth, Carl Bookstein, Kimberly Bright, Malcolm Carter, Adam Coxon, Daniel Cressey, Nicky Crewe, Nick Dent-Robinson, Anthony Dhanendran, Cat Goodwin, Dave Goodwin, Tommy Gunnarsson, Keith How, Ben Howarth, Fiona Hutchings, Adrian Janes, Steve Kinrade, Richard Lewis, L. Paul Mann, Mark Rowland, Maarten Schiethart, Stephen Simpkin, Lisa Torem, Andrew Twambley, Paul Waller, Cila Warncke and Denzil Watson. Special thanks to our webmaster Richard Banks for his work behind the scenes.

We will have an album and single reviews update online in late May and a full edition in mid-June. We hope then to run interviews with the Damned’s Rat Scabies and Brian James, John Howard, Vinny Peculiar, Burning Ferns and Bromide.

Please check out our regular Facebook and Twitter updates.

Thank you as always for reading Pennyblackmusic,

John Clarkson
Magazine Editor

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