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Christopher Fowler
Posted in
The Arts
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A few years ago I was very ill indeed and spent a lot of time in hospitals, so I always kept a book with me for those 'surprise' waiting times when you think you're about to be seen by a doctor but are sent to sit in another corridor instead. I do remember what I read when I was ill, though, and I wonder if one concentrates harder because of it. For example, I remember reading William Boyd's…
12 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
London
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No, there's not a series yet - although the option has been picked up by a TV production company - but in the meantime a very nice chap called Des Burkinshaw has written the theme tune for a Bryant & May TV series. I was just in the middle of writing a piece about theme tunes, so I'll add that to this. As a fan of Laurie Johnson, Ron Grainer and John Barry I thought the mood was exactly right. See…
16 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
London
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Why can you hear a John Barry track across a crowded room and tell it's him within three notes? There's a sense of melancholy in even his most cheerful compositions. Barry began as a jazz musician, but went on to become the most evocative film composer ever to work in England. Notable for his use of woodwinds and lush string arrangements, he also introduced electronic sounds into film scores and…
10 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
London
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A few years ago I saw Ennio Morricone at the Royal Albert Hall, on stage for the best part of three hours, delivering one of the most superb concerts I'd ever attended. It was a bumper year - I saw John Barry's final performance there, and my small local theatre hosted Michel Legrand and his orchestra, an event which still amazes me for having even existed. Morricone is of course still writing…
1 comment
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
London
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Now that I've mastered the posting of chunks from my own soundtrack collection, I thought you might like a little accompanying music every now and again (yes, this site caters for all your needs. I'd feed you if I could. I'm a natural nurturer. Please tell your friends). So, themes in motion pictures - they're not very popular anymore. They were once, of course, from John Barry's theme for 'Zulu'…
7 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
London
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It's out of control now. I can't help myself. I've always played film music while I write, but recent developments have forced me to take stronger measures than ever before, like an addict moving up to crack. I'd always had it under control. Okay, my soundtrack collection, which began when I was, oh, 10 years old, grew to several thousand copies of popular scores, then rare scores. But soundtracks…
13 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
The Arts
I always work listening to music, and today was James Bond day at Fowler Towers. After writing here about John Barry, I was talking to friends about David Arnold taking over Barry's musical duties on the 007 films, and the general opinion was that Arnold was really nothing more than an accomplished John Barry mimic. I countered by saying that I thought the score to 'Casino Royale' was terrific and…
8 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
The Arts
Since I got back I've been getting up far too early and listening to rare soundtrack albums. John Barry's scores are always evocative and powerful, but did you know he also wrote musicals? His track record wasn't perfect, but some are as haunting as Bond scores. The only ones legally available are 'The Passion Flower Hotel' (poppy and bouncy), 'Billy' (based on Billy Liar, pleasant if unmemorable)…
Tags:
John Barry
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Christopher Fowler
Posted in
London & The Arts
Why is the past so deeply embedded in London? It seems that for all its postwar rebuilding there's something to remember on every corner. Walking to the Royal Albert Hall last night I passed this street opposite the park, upon which nothing seems to have changed in 150 years (it was probably De Vere Gardens or the next one over). I was heading to John Barry's memorial concert, an event filled with…
3 comments
Christopher Fowler
Posted in
The Arts
You can tell a John Barry score in three notes. His haunting music seems to stand the test of time better than most - John Williams, for example, wrote great sweeping soundtracks but appears to have lately fallen from favour in the lists of best scores. Meanwhile, David Arnold has made a decent fist of mimicking John Barry, to the point where his romantic theme for 'Die Another Day' seems to stem…
3 comments

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