Answers April 2010, Part II

Having failed miserably in the American Society for Microbiology Journals Department’s NCAA brackets (“Murray State’s a nice name!”), I’m now faced with our quadrennial World Cup brackets. You seem like just the fellow to advise me on this important matter, and I would very much appreciate your picks for the top teams. In exchange, I promise to share or even give you my winnings. (I think that four years ago the prize was a jar of Vegemite.) Pamela Murray Winters

The location makes this a tough tournament to predict. Brazil might be one of the favourites, but they don’t always travel too well, and can be temperamental. They won the Confederations Cup last year in S.A., which is a plus, but against some soft teams (sorry, USA). The fact that it will be South African winter may favour teams used to slogging through the rain and mud ( not quite as extreme as Northern Europe, though). Will Ivory Coast and Ghana feel at home in South Africa? It’s still a long, long way from home.

Spain are probably favourites to win – they will need Torres fit to do so, and they might need to get past Italy, a country that can beat anybody on their day. The Italians are always well-organised, and seem to prosper the longer they can stay in a tournament. This is an old Italian team, but I wouldn’t write them off. Germany are good to go to the last 8 – again a well-organised team that seems to thrive at World Cups. In the Quarter finals, they might meet Argentina, a very talented team that includes Messi, some people’s choice for best player in the world. Alas, Argentina are managed by Diego Maradona, former greatest player in the world, an inspirational but tactically na´ve coach, the worst at this World Cup. England have the best manager at the tournament in Fabio Capello, and therefore may do better than their usual last 8, and get to the last 4, if they get past France (could be). Brazil will have to beat Ivory Coast in their preliminary group, which may not be too easy. Didier Drogba would be first forward on my world XI, he’s strong, he’s fast, and he’s direct, and he’ll have good support. Brazil, getting through that challenge, would then possibly meet Holland in the last 8, who could match their style and maybe outgun them. Anyway…

Most likely scenario: last four:

England Brazil

Spain Argentina

Then Spain to beat Brazil in the final. But many imponderables this year. Italy or Ivory Coast could stage upsets.

And you can keep the Vegemite.

Richard, I was watching "House" the other night, the episode where the knight in a renaissance festival suddenly became ill, and I started thinking about "Morris On" and the your picture on the front, holding the bow and arrow, wondering why you weren’t asked to participate in the show to add a little authenticity. And then, at the end of the show, I hear "Just the Motion" and couldn’t believe my ears. It was a nice treat, like watching "Crossing Jordan" and hearing "Season of the Witch." Anyway, I was wondering how these deals get done. Does someone call you and ask permission to use a song and you say "Sure, go ahead." Or, does somebody’s lawyer call someone else’s lawyer in a negotiation that takes months? Ken Price

Each TV company has a music department, and music supervisors. On appropriate shows, these supervisors are looking for complementary soundtrack to slot in to the shows along with the incidental music and the theme music, which are composed separately. Nowadays, they use songs a lot to fill these spots, as a way of continuing the narrative, and providing the right emotion for the story. When they find the right piece, they usually contact the publisher to negotiate a fee for usage. This varies with the importance of the artist or the piece, and the perceived value thereof. The supervisors are for the most part knowledgeable and enthusiastic, and skilled at their work. Needless to say, with the decline of CD sales, everyone and his brother are beating a path to the door of these poor besieged supervisors to grab a little publishing income.

Will there be any recordings available of the meltdown shows for the poor people (like me) who don't have the big bucks to see the real thing? Thanks, Celia

I don’t think everything, maybe a couple of things.

Re: Touring- Northern Ireland
Any chance of you touring in Northern Ireland in the near future? Is it that no promoter has asked you or are you just disinclined? Oliver

It’s been too long. Maybe we can get the band over early next year.

As a fan at School leaving age and unsure about what to do with my future, i was wondering if you faced a dillemma after coming to the end of your time in compulsory education, was it a straight decision between playing music for a living or getting a 'proper job'? or was it more complicated than that? thanks, John

I was playing quite a lot of shows with Fairport in my last year of school. I then took a design job for 6 months, still playing a lot in the evenings. We then turned ‘pro’ and put ourselves on a wage (12 quid a week). It was a smooth transition, because there was a lot of work around. I told myself that it would be great fun while it lasted, but at some point I’d go back to University, or Art School, and get a real job. here I am, 40-odd years later. Amazing. I have a son just leaving school, whom I’m sure would love to go straight on the road, and if the work was there, I’d say fine. It’s a different economy now though. Music jobs, and even temp jobs to pay the rent while you play music, are harder to come by. A journalist explained it to me thus:

1950s/early 60s – leave school at 16 and go straight into music
Mid-60s- mid 70s – complete school then go straight into music
Mid-70s – 80s - form band at university, leave after 1 or 2 years
90s – complete university, then go into music
00s – complete university, get a dot com job for 5 years, then go into music

A little cynical, but the curve seems to be true. If the work is there, or some way to support yourself while playing, then why not do what you love? If there is no work, then take the conventional route, and keep working on your skills until the time is right for you to explode onto the music scene with huge undeniable talent!