Brain Drain
Kenny Graham bio
Hi there, pop fans!
Smile, smile, smile
It's all over
I have got the furious needle
Brain Drain
Revive me!
My inheritance

The Devil looks after
Hymn Number Dinky Do
The Expert
Post mortem
Tete a tete
Fine, fine, fine
Fame and fortune
Mars, they're making eyes

I took my pen to the paper but nobody asked me to write. Paraphrasing the old Gracie Fields song, I find it fits my old mate Stan Tracey perfectly. Stan has been voted Composer Of The Year, LPs of his music have been lauded as the best ever to come out of Britain, much has been made of his originality by critics, and countless words have been written proclaiming his creative talent. It can be said that Polls and Critics don’t know what they’re talking about, but in Stan’s case there are dozens of colleagues willing to back up these praises. The best he may be, but those beings in the position to hand out commissions are apparently content with second–best.

Stan hasn’t written the music for a Documentary, never mind a feature film; he hasn’t written a theme for a TV programme, never mind the background music for a series. What an extraordinary state of affairs! Jazz historians will no doubt write of Stan Tracey that he wrote for himself—and they will be telling the truth.

How many people will ever consider that he wrote for himself because nobody else asked him to write for them? I wonder if the recent influx of immigrants will ever give rise to Afro-Asian-Jazz-Fusions?

Brain Drain
The recent heart and kidney transplants have got me thinking. What will the scene be when they are able to do it with brains? Musicians are prone to getting themselves killed in car crashes and it fascinates me to imagine some quite ordinary type of person waking from a brain transplant to find some way–out musician’s brain running his body.

Or what about swaps? People are ever keen to tell you how you should live your life. Why not lend them your body for a couple of years and put yourself into cold storage? Better still, how about lending libraries? When an interesting person dies his brain is put into storage and library members may borrow it for a week at a time to enable them to dig the scene through his nut.

Heaven forbid such sorcery, but it should happen in my lifetime . . .

What a kerfuffle about the forthcoming Olympic Games and Apartheid! I am pleased that the same sort of situation did not arise when we were able to enjoy Miriam Makeba, the show King Kong and all the wonderful troupes of African drummers and dancers that have graced our theatres over the years. The peoples of the world will lose a lot if we really begin segregation. It is my belief that the free exchange of individuals who excel in anything except killing is our only salvation.

Backing out
How can the musical fraternity Back Britain? Working extra time would seem to be highly impractical. A half hour extra on a broadcast would cause havoc with Continuity and playing an extra Symphony after a concert would get everyone home in the early hours of the morning. Musicians making a free album would flood an already saturated market. It would seem that players are in no position to help out.

Not so the writers. I have decided to double my output. Twice the number of notes and double the tempo. Double our output and still finish on time. Too great a strain on players? Well, double their intake of beer, thus backing Britain through her breweries.

As a small boy I can recall a disabled ex–serviceman who had found a novel way of extracting coppers from more fortunate passers–by. He had converted an old perambulator into a mobile entertainment. On this pram he had painted strange devices explaining his circumstances and also giving a history of his military prowess. Within the pram was an old wind–up gramophone that had an enormous horn attached.

His only helpmate was a small, sad–eyed mongrel dog wearing a red–white–and–blue ruff who sat patiently on the pavement next to the pram holding a cap in his mouth to collect the pennies.

The man’s ‘act’ was to play well–worn 78s of a martial or sentimental nature after having announced what was to come. While the well–worn needle scratched its way to the play–off he would exhibit pictures he had painted of Royalty and well known people. The record over, he would repeat the process ad lib until he moved to another pitch.

The cap always held a fair number of coins, so I can only presume that his public dug him, After over thirty years, in this highly sophisticated, technological age I switch on my TV set and what do I see? Alan Freeman sitting at a contraption straight out of Doctor Who, with pictures changing at his command. He is also announcing every record that comes on! The only thing missing is an electronic hound collecting the ill–gotten gains! Maybe the highly technological name for this hound is A Very Shrewd Agent.

I don’t understand why, having reached near-perfection in recording techniques, makers of some records insist on distorting everything they record. How contrary man is!

I don’t want euphoria
What a lot of music comes over the radio and TV (I use the word ‘music’ in its widest possible meaning, to include all sounds made on instruments). Of course there is plenty of chat, but very little talking sense. Music is used mostly as a soporific. As long as something is making a noise the general populace appears to be content to be lulled into a mild hypnotic state. I suppose it excuses them from contemplating what in hell is really happening. Next, music is used as a sort of ‘barker’ to get us to “roll up and buy,” or do, something or the other. Lastly, it is occasionally and grudgingly used as an end in itself.

I must admit that I have often heard over the air pieces of music I had no idea existed, and have been very pleased to be introduced to such pieces. But more often than not it is the same old sameness coming at you day after day. When I need music I find it much more pleasant to hear it on my hi–fi player at leisure. I don’t enjoy the yakkerings of pop, the smugness of opinion programmes, the inane wittiness of games programmes and the music programme running its own Top Twenty. I feel a desire to listen to a human voice talking—be it views on educating the young or an account of Sir Tranmere Wimples as his butler knew him; I don’t care. I just like to be able to hear someone talking sense for a change instead of the twaddle and gobbledegook that passes for conversation these days. Puerile patter envelopes us completely and we find ourselves inhaling it like so much carbon monoxide and poisoning our reason. On top of this we are saturated with music from waking to sleep. There is so much noise going on we tend to listen to nothing. We fight our way through the opiate clouds not knowing what sense or music is anymore.

The implications of such a state of affairs are frightening. To be an entertainer of any type puts you in the interior decorating business: you provide aural wallpaper to cover the walls that surround our mass–produced, disposable civilisation. I don’t like the wallpaper pattern. I want to see a few cracks and blemishes. I want to hear human voices talking about something that is, or has been, important. I don’t want euphoria. I just want reassurance that there is another human being who truly believes that what he has to say is of some importance.

It is all too easy to sit back and let others think for you. It is the simplest and most effective way yet that man has devised to control his less ambitious brothers. Beware. Just as pit ponies lost the use of their eyes, so will we lose the power to think for ourselves.

When you need to hear music, listen to it on your hi-fi set or use the radio and TV with much discrimination. Big Brother is nearer than you care to believe !


Copyright © 1968, Kenny Graham. All Rights Reserved