I was an avid fan of Mastermind. Couldn’t get into the re-boot. As a kid I watched it – obsessed. Even the topics/questions I didn’t really understand. I certainly ‘got’ that people were smart, passionate, engaged, a bit mouth-breathy at times…but it was just inspiring watching these nerds dribble out the least-necessary information ever about something they loved to death. Or at least had read up on big time.
The Two Ronnies skit about Mastermind is something I watch most weeks – one of my all-time favourite comedy bits.
So here’s a hypothetical for you – what would your (music-related) specialist topic be if you were on Mastermind?
I used to think about this a bit. The safe bet was probably The Beatles but then that’s not a safe bet at all.
My Mastermind effort would probably come unstuck if they turned exclusively to the hundreds of unreleased songs, the B-sides, the bootlegs. But I’d be on Mastermind so I’d do my best to make a fist of it.
I’m not quite a Prince trainspotter – but I know those albums inside out. And I’ve just finished reading an excellent book that has me newly enthused. In fact, this happens every time I read an excellent music-related book. Bios and essays send you back to the source: the actual music.
I couldn’t really recommend Mick Wall’s the-body’s-still-warm book about Prince; he’s rushing to eulogise any and everyone. And he misses the point with Prince just as he did with Lou Reed.
Several years ago – back when I was at/enrolled in university – a friend asked me if I thought I could write a book about Lou Reed. I think he asked me this because I had spent most of the two years of our friendship talking non-stop about Lou Reed and/or The Velvet Underground. I was fairly addicted to reading the bios then – and I backed myself to be able to write a book about Lou Reed. Definitely. Backed myself, as in I said I could do it. And then promptly did not do it. You know the kind of faith, surely.
I’m not sure I could do the Lou Reed thing now. It would be my back-up pick I guess.
I’d opt for Prince if I had to pick a subject. I’d dip back into Matt Thorne’s bible, I’d re-read this excellent volume. And I’d listen to as many of the rarities and obscurities as I could (now so much easier to find).
What about you? What’s your musical subject for Mastermind? What musician or band of musicians do you know the most about? What musical act have you obsessed over the most? Be honest.
Maybe I’m just answering Prince because I’ve been thinking about him a bit lately, that show…the loss…