Comfort of Strangers
Released Monday 13 February
Beth Orton's first release in four years sees her return to a folksy, pared down sound.
This is a great album that is a pleasure to listen to from the first.
Creative Outlaws: the US Underground 1962-1970
This new compilation looks at the shift from polite disrespect to insolence and rebellion through the US underground scene from 1962-70.
Some songs are overtly political, like Country Joe and the Fish’s anthemic, “I Feel Like I’m Fixin’ To Die”. Others use humour, boredom or speechless rage.
A cover of Eddie Cochran’s “Summertime Blues” by Blue Cheer replaces all the adults’ excuses with loud instrumental breaks. Most famously in Jimi Hendrix’s version of the patriotic “Star Spangled Banner” the melody collapses into a firefight of feedback, wordlessly recreating the horror of the Vietnam war.
The CD offers a range of outlaws, not a coherent vision. The White Panther Party supporting MC5’s “Kick Out The Jams” remains inspiring.
Aside from rebellion the dominant feeling is wild experimentation, ranging from former beat poet Moondog’s jazzy rhythmic tones to the Godz primitive fuzz.
Yo Yo Mundi
Yo Yo Mundi are currently on tour in Britain and Ireland with Sciopero, their 2001 album.
Sciopero is the Italian word for strike and the chosen title of Yo Yo Mundi’s live musical accompaniment to Sergei Eisenstein’s film of the same name.
They are touring Chichester, Sheffield, Edinburgh, Manchester and Dublin.
Loose Theatre: Memoirs of a Guerrilla Theatre Activist
Trafford Press £20.50
Margarita D’Arcy is a pioneering artist, playwright, feminist and political activist. This is a collection of memories and stories from her varied and fascinating life.
D’Arcy, who is now in her 70s, has worked as an actor and playwright since the age of 15.
She was part of the late 1950s Royal Court era in London, where she met and later married, the playwright John Arden. Together they were a central part of the growth of radical theatre in the 1960s and 1970s.
She was one of a group of women imprisoned in Armagh in Northern Ireland in defence of prisoner rights. She was jailed protesting at the Greenham Common women’s peace camp.
If occasionally hostile to the organised left the book gives fascinating insights and a feel for the crossover of politics and radical theatre.