Monday, February 23, 2004

SUMMER NIGHTS: Lord Cliff Richard is going to spend some of the summer playing a season of dates in the grounds of very big houses in the country. It kicks off with Cliff at the Castle, when he plays Warwick Castle on the 9th and 10th of July. No Rock went to Warwick Castle once; we didn't enjoy it much because the owners had scattered the place with unconvincing waxy figures dressed in old-fashioned clothes making strange noises and moving in a jerky, awkward fashion. So it's the obvious place for Cliff to start. Later on, he's due to wind up the Bickling Hall series on July 23rd - a week of gigs that also features Simple Minds. Get the picnic basket, mother, we're going out.

In other Cliff news, in last night's slightly overlong Ultimate Pop Star on Channel Four, Cliff was given the title of, um, Ultimate Pop Star on the basis of his single sales alone. Although he has had a significantly longer career than a lot of other bands - maybe it would have made more sense to divide the total sales by number of singles released, which might have thrown up a somewhat different chart. Although it could have had Elton John at number one.

Of course, a lot of people will be pleased by the crowning of Cliff as the ultimate pop star, like Todd Slaughter, president of the Elvis fan club. He wrote to The Times last week in the wake of the Brit Awards to shake his head over these young bands and ended with a plea:

"Take me back to the Sixties, when the real giants of pop were Elvis, the Beatles and the Stones, the Brits dominated the American charts, and the only piracy came from broadcasters in the North Sea."

Well, last night was for you, Todd. [Thanks to Simon Tyers for the letter link]

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