5 min read

Anyone Who Had A Diamond

More Sinisterism, subscription talk, and remembering a music legend.
A section of the cover to IMMORAL X-MEN #1.
Claremont was here.

Once again, we're right up to the wire on this, and we've got lots to cover, so let's dive in with...


Immoral X-Men #1, that's what!

The cover to IMMORAL X-MEN #1, by Leinil Yu.
What it says on the tin.

Written by Kieron Gillen, as if you couldn't tell from the pun, and drawn - as all the "10 years later" issues are - by the incomparable Paco Medina. This is the latest issue of the Sins Of Sinister crossover between the books that were once Immortal X-Men, X-Men Red and Legion Of X, but are now a horrible Sinister-verse of sin! After my book and Si's spent time with Storm's Brotherhood and the Legion of the Night respectively, Kieron takes us on a tour of what's become of the Quiet Council, in all their wickedness. Quickly, run to your local comic store for the wickedness! It won't wait!

Aside from that, it's been a quiet week, aside from a bit of business that belongs in the Corrections Corner...


Oh, Kent! Don't ever change!

Here in the Correctional Zone, I've been hearing that folks' Comixology subscriptions to X-Men Red and Immortal X-Men have been accidentally cancelled on account of confusion from our Sinister Shenanigans. If that's happened to you, you may need to re-subscribe - apologies for this unforeseen result of our playing about with book titles!


I didn't have the time or inclination to get into it last week, but the week before saw the passing of songwriter Burt Bacharach, who was someone whose work I listened to a lot when I was a lot younger - originally discovered by way of a tape compilation making its way onto the car stereo during a long-distance drive. Followers of the newsletter will have guessed that I'm a sucker for a certain vein of swinging groove from before I was born - it's probably how some of my readers feel about the eighties or (a shudder runs through my aged bones) even the nineties. Anyway, Bacharach wrote a lot of that kind of groove, and there was a real pleasure in roaming through that compilation - three tapes' worth of Burt - and feeling the sound change and mutate. So here's a Fab Five selection of songs composed Bacharach, in chronological order, from the fifties to the noughties - and more than any Fab Five before, be aware this is only the tiniest taste...

AT NUMBER 1958...

Be careful of the Blob.

It's "THE BLOB" by THE FIVE BLOBS! Now, I've only seen the eighties remake of The Blob, but I'm not sure the sound of a genial surf combo would have suited that particular gorefest. This is a song for a simpler Blob from a time of simpler visual effects - and it's one heck of a catchy number for an amorphous lump of goo to shamble along to, though Steve McQueen could probably carry it. When you switch off the light tonight, I defy you not to be careful of the Blob - how it creeps and leaps and glides and slides across the floor, right through the door! And if you're not thinking of the Blob, you'll be thinking about your next Halloween mix.

AT NUMBER 1963...

What can I do when I can never, never, never go home again?

A karaoke classic in the form of GENE PITNEY with "24 Hours From Tulsa". I feel like infidelity is a recurring theme in the Bacharach canon, especially when paired with longtime lyricist Hal David, but there's a particular tragedy to this one - the adultery in question feels destined, inevitable, the hand of a terrible god smacking Pitney down with the cards of Fate - but then, he would tell it like that, he's the adulterer. Anyway, you can really feast on this one at the mic. Have I mentioned I miss karaoke? I do.

AT NUMBER 1964...

A chair is not a house.

It would be easy to do a Fab Five Bacharach with only DIONNE WARWICK - against some stiff competition, she's the best vocalist who ever sang his melodies, and "A House Is Not A Home" is a real showcase. I picked a live version so you could watch her tear into it, feeling every note, every emotion raw on her face as she sings it - she's not performing it, she's living it. This is another thing Bacharach and David do a lot of - lonely people, wondering how they fell out of a good thing. This time it's married to an exploration of platonic forms - what is a chair? What is a house? Not a home, not anymore.

AT NUMBER 1970...

Let this be the start of so many groovy nights like this, yeah.

Every composition is at the mercy of subsequent arrangements, but ISAAC HAYES knows exactly what he's doing in adapting "THE LOOK OF LOVE" to his own style - at one point I had a copy of Hot Buttered Soul on vynyl, which features a 12-minute version of Bacharach's "Walk On By" as well as a titanic 18-minute arrangement of the Jimmy Webb classic "By The Time I Get To Phoenix", complete with the entire story of the events behind the song delivered as a monologue. So taking a long instrumental break to really explore the corners, nooks and crannies of the song, building it out into a vast cathedral before standing in the middle and listening to the echo, is entirely in keeping with what Hayes does.

AT NUMBER 2008...

What am I to do?

Hard to believe 2008 was once the modern day. ATOMIC KITTEN recorded this version of "ANYONE WHO HAD A HEART" as a charity single, and it's a very classic arrangement - close to the Dionne Warwick version, which is my go-to for this and quite a few other Bacharach songs -  with a measure of upscaling for the production values of the time. It's another song about loneliness, heartbreak, empty rooms and infidelity - but fittingly, since we're eulogising Bacharach and not David, the making and breaking of this song is in the middle eight when the words drop out and the music tells the story alone. While a good job is done here, the swanky noughties sound can't quite catch the loneliness at the heart of the song like the solitary, echoing saxophone of the Warwick version. But the remake scores a lot of points with the final chorus, which leans in on an operatic, Bondian vibe that sells the drama in proper 00s style.

And that's all I have for now! But we got through another week, so for now, this is still the place to find me. Love and strength to all those who need it, and I'll play us out - for comparison purposes - with DIONNE WARWICK doing "ANYONE WHO HAD A HEART." Listen out for that sax.

Anyone who had a heart would love me too.