This is the blog of music journalist Andy Welch. He's music editor at The Press Association and writes for NME, The Smith Journal and whoever else will have him, all the while hating referring to himself in the third person.
This week’s NME features the 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time. As the coverline states, it’s ‘the final, definitive, definitely last of its kind’, and was a pretty huge undertaking for Mark Beaumont, who worked for a good few months on the project.
Like about 80 other people who either write or have written for NME, I was asked to submit a list of my Top 50 albums. There were few rules. I did my list a while ago, so by the time the magazine came out this week I’d almost forgotten it was happening.
This the most-recent piece I’ve written for The Smith Journal. It’s about Ralph Izzard, a man who led the most extraordinary life. It took a long time to research this piece - not a great deal had been written about him before. I spent about five months reading all the books and related material I could, tracking down members of his family and old colleagues. His children Miles and Sabrina were most helpful. The only person I couldn’t speak to was Jan Morris; a former colleague of Ralph’s in Naval Intelligence and The Times journalist who accompanied Hillary and Tenzing to the top of Everest.
I think it’s an incredible story. I’m surprised more people haven’t written about him, and even more surprised there isn’t a whole book or even film dedicated to him. Now there’s a thought…
So, it turns out my grandson is in trouble with the police. I know this because this afternoon I had a telephone conversation with DCI Paul Asher from Hammersmith and Fulham police. He told me my grandson had got into a spot of bother and he was calling to let me know.
This is the transcription of an interview I did with Bryan Cranston on September 17, 2008. At this point the first series of Breaking Bad had aired in the US (the first series finale was shown in March, 2008). Bryan was sitting in his office at home, going over new scripts as they’d not long started making the second series, the first episode of which he’d just finished directing.
I was talking to him was because BB was about to start in the UK on Five US. I had seen two episodes on a screener, thought it was very good, but had no idea how much I was going to love what came after it.
Given the subsequent fan worship of the programme here in Britain, the decision to bury the show on that channel, in a late-night slot, seems ludicrous.
Anyway, here we are…
Breaking Bad is doing so well in America. Were you surprised by the reception it got? Did you have expectations?
I wasn’t surprised, because I was hopeful, because I knew it was well-written and I knew we’d done a good job in making it, bringing it to life and so on. But you never know. It could be wonderfully well-received by people you know and respect, critics could love it but it would fall flat on its face. Whether people watch the show is what matters. You never know how these things work, so the only thing we actors have any control over is to accept a part or go after a part if it’s well-written. That’s the only decision we should make.
A funny old seven days, really. The blog I wrote about being a bit naïve with my money has been read close to 750,000 times, which is far, far beyond anything I expected when I published it last Sunday evening. I wrote the post a couple of months ago, while the incident happened almost six months ago, so it has felt a bit odd going over it so much in my head this week.
"Hello Mr Welch. Visa Card Services here."
That was the line with which my nightmare started one Sunday morning, hungover, sitting on the sofa trying to piece together the night before.
The landline rang. I was surprised because I’d only given the number to about three people.
The person on the other end of the phone – Mark – told me there had been a number of fraudulent transactions on my bank account since midnight, adding up to about £1,100. I’d never heard of Visa Card Services before, but then I’d never had money stolen like this before. Maybe this is what happens?