Monday, December 3, 2012

Neon rainbow

Yes, yes, the book reviews I promised are in the works. But gainful employment calls, and tomorrow I go to Auckland for two days of meetings with, in order: a book designer; my legal advisers; lunch with the poets; three women friends from the publishing industry (Soul Bar, I’m saying); my favourite magazine publisher (dinner); and Creative New Zealand. Also, there is a big party being held by a big publisher to fit in somewhere. So, reviews will be posted later this week when I recover. 

In other news, Home Paddock reminds us that it was on this day in 1910 that neon lighting was first publicly demonstrated, at the Paris Motor Show. So here is Alex Chilton with the Box Tops performing “Neon Rainbow” at the 2009 Hoboken Spring Arts & Music Festival. He died less than a year later, on 17 March 2010, aged 59. When he was 16 he and the original Box Tops had an international hit with “The Letter”; “Neon Rainbow” followed in 1967. Both sounded fantastic on my cheap little transistor radio. Later he was with Big Star, a band then and now revered by musicians (such as REM) and critics but not so much by record buyers – even Chilton thought they were overrated. An intermittent but always interesting solo career followed and he died unexpectedly just before he was due to perform at a Big Star reunion. The New York Times obituary is here, the LA Times one here.

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