Last week Eddy made promises about the content of this week’s column, but since then a certain campaign to fill the Christmas number one slot with silence – or rather composer John Cage’s silent piece, ’4’33”’ – has completely taken over his life.
I was going to rant about censorship today, but events in the Cage Against The Machine saga have taken over my life somewhat. I’ve never been so busy, and so stressed, but it’s all coming together in the most brilliantly chaotic way.
Unfortunately, last week we found ourselves in the position of losing both the amazing venue we were led to believe we had been given to record this cover, and the potential label, who, having previously blown so hot over it, decided to blow cold. So Joe from Ou Est Le Swimming Pool and I turned up at Wall Of Sound with no label and no venue. It was clearly about to go down the crapper and our heads were low.
Lucky for us, I was wearing my pink Nike Vandals. Anything pink, in the Wall Of Sound HQ at least, brings good fortune, I’ve found. My estimation of Mark Jones, my favourite label’s pink-clad talismanic figurehead, was already unfeasibly high, and by the end of this meeting, I wanted to marry him: he’d committed himself, his staff, his label and distributor because he believed in the idea so much. He also, with a single phonecall, secured us a studio with incredible rock heritage.
Remember the last thing Mark and I worked on together? The now legendary A to Z of DJs at Remix Night in Cargo, to raise money for Shelter at Christmas? If you did an internet poll, I swear 5000 people would say ‘I was there’, even though we know only a little over a tenth of them can be telling the truth.
So, Dean Street Studios on Monday is where this new version of John Cage’s ’4’33”’ is being recorded. I think we’ll end up with several producers in the control room, we already have more than half a dozen of them invited, with Paul Epworth, bless him, agreeing to be the head honcho. It’ll be his job to manage the assembled throng, which right now ranges from Pete Doherty to Orbital, Mr Hudson to Fenech-Soler, and Coldcut to Enter Shikari.
It’s not the biggest studio in the world, so the physical bodies and mental egos will be squished together in Studio One, with the music film legend Dick Curruthers (Oasis, Manics and Rolling Stones film-maker) filming the chaos for the promo video to accompany the single.
“Remixes?” I hear you ask. Fear not, there will be some mixes, Alex Metric, Adam F, Hot Chip, Herve and Mr Scruff have all agreed to do one each, though they’re not ‘remixing silence’ as such, more giving us a four and a half minute snapshot of their life, like when you get a ‘pocket-call’ from someone, and you listen to them getting on with their life, in the hope you may find clues as to the numpty who accidentally called you from their pocket.
Today I have to call Dave Soulwax and persuade him to do one in the infamous Ghent studio that has churned out some of our favourite remixes of the past decade.
Now, I need a couple of favours you as well – all I’m doing at the moment is contacting almost everyone I know and asking for favours, and I don’t want you to feel left out! So, could you, right now, go to www.facebook.com/cageagainstthemachine and join the community by pressing the ‘like’ button. Then, in a couple of weeks, when they send out the link to pre-order it, please do that. It’s so important not to lose focus about the real aim of this. Yes, OK, to see Simon Cowell’s face when he’s beaten by total silence will be delicious, but we have to raise some serious money for charities that never get a look in here in the UK.
I’m talking specifically about the BTA (the British Tinnitus Association) – for whom I’m an Ambassador – and CALM (the Campaign Against Living Miserably) – who I’ve hooked up with through my friend and colleague Joe from Ou Est Le Swimming Pool. They are so desperate for money to fund research and fuel awareness. The BTA can’t even afford to keep ONE phone line open 24 hours a day, to take calls from suicidal sufferers at their wits end at 4am.
This is the most important thing I’ve ever done (as part of a brilliant team with Joe, Wall Of Sound, the guys from the Cage page and countless others who’ve offered to help – like Buttercup Cakes, who’re turning up with brownies, soup and tea on the day!). But I can’t do it without you, so this week no rants, no humorous anecdotes from ‘Ted’s Showbiz Tales’ archive, just a plea to you, my friends, colleagues, followers and family, please, join the Cage page… and get EVERYBODY you know to do the same. Let’s spread the word and try to pull off the biggest surprise in popular music history.
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