With jazz giant Ornette Coleman revealled as this year’s Meltdown Festival curator, we at Pop Junkie nominate our Top 10 of those yet to be given the honour. PJ favourites Morrissey, Scott Walker, Jarvis Cocker, Bowie and John Peel have all had a go, as have the likes of Laurie Anderson, Elvis Costello, Robert Wyatt, Lee Perry, Nick Cave, Patti Smith and, last year’s hosts, Massive Attack.
1. Kate Bush: Perhaps she has previoulsy been asked and turned it down for she seems to have the ideal stature and pedigree for this role in which women have been rather disproportionally represented. A major artist with a prestigious back catalogue, slightly reclusive/mysterious, wide interest in the arts, artistic integrity beyond question. She ticks all the boxes. What would we get? Peter Gabriel, Dave Gilmour, Yes, Bowie, Ferry, Woody Allen, Truffaut, Python. Leftfield surprise: Collaboration with John Lydon and PiL.
2. John Cale: The only British member of the Velvet Underground, the Welshman again ticks all the boxes. What would we get? Esoteric leftfield classical and jazz hybrids. Leftfield Surprise: I think Cale could outdo any suggestion I could come up with.
3. Sir George Martin: Safe but worthy choice. Likely to indulge himself with a huge orchestra and pull in favours from old mates like Sir Macca for instance. His production credits also included Peter Sellars, Flanders and Swann and Beyond the Fringe so may pick some classic comedy films. Of course he may not fancy all the fuss at his age. Leftfield Surprise: Yoko Ono and Dhani Harrison link up with Paul and Ringo and play the White Album in its entirety.
4. Siouxsie Sioux: Commands respect and fronts a band that Pop Junkie has already recognised as one of the rare acts that nobody vehemently dislikes. Would expect some classic noir or French movies with slightly left-of-centre music (Portishead? Marc Almond?). Leftfield Surprise: Tony Bennett.
5. Howard Devoto: I had a little gut instinct that XTC would be a good and unusual choice. However, it appears that Colin Moulding has retired from music and not sure that Andy Partridge has the gravitas to be named solely. Mr Devoto certainly does have the required mystique and is back in vogue following Magazine’s hugely successful reunion gigs. What will we get? John Barry’s greatest hits played by the London Philharmonic, Dostoyevsky and Gerard Manley Hopkins set to electronica, tribute to Beefheart. Leftfield Surprise: Smiths reunion (if anyone could persuade Stephen Patrick…).
6. Nick Hornby: Populist choice and not the first non-musician to curate. High Fidelity and 31 Songs give an indication as to his tastes; Springsteen, Jackson Browne, Van Morrison, Teenage Fan Club, The Clash, Marvin Gaye and Badly Drawn Boy. I fancy the Gooner may well spring more surprises than most. Chas and Dave unlikely to get a look in. Leftfield Surprise: Hopefully not an evening of Arsenal songs led by John Lydon, Martin Gore, Aled Jones, Sharleen Spiteri and Dido.
7. Julian Cope: Mad as a bag of rattlesnakes but is still greatly revered both for his music and his hilarious memoir Head On. What can we expect: Krautrock, Japrock, Heavy metal, psychedelia, documentaries on ancient monuments and druidism. Leftfield Surprise: World debut of the Crucial Three with Ian McCulloch and Pete Wylie.
8. Deborah Harry Royalty. Big career as an actor as well as Blondie. Can’t really tell whether her picks would be arthouse or mainstream, maybe a mix of both. What can we expect: Giorgio Moroder, could she reform Talking Heads? (doubt it), Devo. Leftfield Surprise: Collaboration with London-based nu-jazzers the F-ire Collective.
9. Mark E Smith: Has all the credentials but his unpredictability is likely to scare the Southbank and its sponsors from ever popping the question. A shame because his sense of humour could provide an unforgettable line up. What will we get? John Cooper Clarke, Can, The Monks, Lee Perry, Italian techno, Jerry Lee Lewis. Leftfield Surprise: Roy Wood and Wizard
10. Nitin Sawhney: Multi-instrumentalist and composer of film scores with Asian/British classical/jazz/rock crossover, quite possibly in a genre of his own. Very nice chap when I was on his dinner table at school too. Leftfield Surprise: Collaboration with Dire Straits.