Richard's Riposte Part II
5/11/2006 (updated 5/11/2006)

Last year saw two previously little known bands have UK chart success by smart use of the Internet (rather than radio plays or more conventional marketing). I’m thinking of Arctic Monkeys and Nizlopi who both energised their Internet fan base to rush out and buy their debut singles, scoring a UK Number 1 and 2 respectively. John Otway also managed a top 10 hit after a 25 year gap. Do you have a potential Smash Hit that could be unleashed to set the charts alight? I guess the tactic would be to have a ‘drop dead must have’ song that will only be available for a short period of time either by download or as a CD single? We’d all buy it wouldn’t we? Or are you worried that most of your fans are too old to master this downloading lark? I know that the UK charts are full of turgid rubbish and are pretty much irrelevant but I like the idea that the Arctics, Nizlopi and Otway are able to subvert the predictable industry processes and at the same time provide more interesting radio plays than the latest pop idol X factor creation. So do you have your own ‘JCB Song’ ready to roll?

RT: Believe it or not, we do think about this stuff, and in many ways use these methods. My fan base doesn’t quite have the urban guerilla energy of that of the Arctic Monkeys, where news spreads like wildfire. My own 14-year-old, Honourable Number Three Son, who is genetically engineered to be a music fanatic, seems to know about everything in the music world about five minutes before it happens. I suspect my fans have lives, and kids, and jobs, and check out the web only twice a day. I do have my own ‘JCB Song’. Unfortunately, it’s also called ‘JCB Song’.

Emerging from plumbing under my floor, caught TV program in UK about 4 years ago with RT and a band playing a fantastic rock number which had as part of lyrics "...why don't you write me a letter....". Don't think it was a version of "Tear-stained letter". Can you identify and notify if available as a recording. I can't find it via Songomatic. Many thanks.

RT: I’ve no idea. Could you be confusing me with the Box Tops? Or the Lettermen? Or the Singing Postman?

I was watching the British classic "Kind Hearts and Coronets" over the weekend and was struck with the characteristics of the woman Sibella. This figure, in the film, is more or less the protagonist's "sweetheart" (though something of a perverse one) who eventually betrays him (multiple times) by first marrying a mutual friend and then by aptly framing the protagonist for a heinous crime of which he is unquestionably innocent. I must dissuade those who haven't seen the film from feeling too much sympathy for this slighted character, however -- he is responsible for a flurry of other felonies, whether he is blamed for them or not. Regardless...there aren't too many fictional entities bearing the moniker "Sibella"...other than, of course, the one from your brilliant tune. And so I wondered if perhaps the lyrics were a deft allusion to this great film -- a sort of modernization of the relationship between Louis (the twisted protagonist) and his deservedly cruel soulmate.

I'll refrain from a depthy cross-analysis of the lyrics against the film's themes so as to not reveal key plot points and spoil the cinematic gem for others. However, other than the intense longing in the chorus, I felt this line in particular was relevant...

"Life is just as deadly as it looks

But fiction is more forgiving"

Is it, now? I suppose the question is (if we view the line from the trajectory of "Kind Hearts"), to whom?

RT: I love Kind Hearts And Coronets. It is in my top 5 favourite films. I do get slightly weak at the knees at the sight of Joan Greenwood in period costume (see also The Importance Of Being Earnest), and having written a song called Cybele, it seemed only fitting to re-spell it in honour of J.G.’s performance. Aside from that, no parallels were intended with the film, but if you start the song and the film at the same time, smoke a few of those strange herbal cigarettes, and just keep looping the song over and over, it really plays with your head, man….

Who would you have replaced Martin O'Neill with if you had your choice ? Since you are not a Strachan fan! He has taken Celt to Champions league in first season, what more can he do? Its easy to slag SPL, but considering the dross i have seen from EPL and the money sloshing around, it ain’t much better!

RT: It’s not too hard to win the SPL, and I disagree, I think the current standard is way higher in the EPL. Could one drag Kenny Dalglish out of retirement? Or get Gus Hiddink?