Friday, 31 December 2010

A happy new year

Today I have trampled in the mud and sludge of Danson Park, whilst arguing about this and that. We have travelled to Halfords and purchased a ‘Disney Princess’ Bell and a car vacuum cleaner, we have journeyed to the M&S for a hairbrush and mozzarella. And visted the 'Christmas lights' of Broadwalk.

Once I would be gearing up to listen to the dejaying prowess of Todd Terry in the Leeds Corn Exchange – six hours of the finest house music the world had to offer.

I miss dancing

But I wouldn’t change anything else. Here’s to the new year. I will refuse to describe or engage with the selection - I will simple say it is a tune. Enough said.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

No nostalgia rides

I was on the telephone talking to Paul the other night. About the concretes, his journey around the nation in the grip of ice and snow and how Stephen Pastel had come to walk him back to his hotel. And we spoke of the days when going to a concert was the straightforward. Seeing things is harder these days – for so many reasons – tiredness, disinterest, a better television schedule, fucked transport systems and of course children. Sometimes things just stop. Although I watched the end of some tacked together BBC4 festival programme with abhorrent middle class fathers leading their children through fields of mud in an effort to tap into some sort of a vision of a utopian Britain where everyone – I mean white C2 families can listen to dirge like rock and non threatening ‘other world’ bands whilst their children eat ‘vegan’ foods and paint themselves as they embrace ‘free politics’. I will never parade my children as accessories for festival fun times. I for one am social responsible and secondly – hippies do festivals and you should never trust a hippy.

But sometimes I would like to watch a moment of live music. Now if that moment of live music was a multi-platinum act and tickets were timed to go on sale at 7.16 am on the first Tuesday in March when the moon was waxing and not waning, then I guess I would have to join some sort of internet/ phone ticket system feeding frenzy with the masses – but I mean I would like to watch a band who are not moderately famous – who have not released a record – who have only played a handful of dates. I wanted to watch Jonny.

This crossing over of the independent, because we’re all ‘indie’ now both saddens and utterly unfazes me – I mean I shouldn’t be shocked by the nature of the capitalist control of culture – see how we fetishize all areas of existence. Note the build up to the forthcoming Creation Records documentary – I know I will watch it – will comment on its authentic voice and rally against the Sony sell out saying McGee had no option etc - but really Creation was a record label – it wanted my money – McGee and Dick Green wanted our money. Eventually they got it with the safety of simple driving rock guitars for mindless souls who love to sing in packs and enjoy the mob mentality of the imbecilic sections of the football terraces. Doing it for the kids? Really? Remember this was a label with Momus on it.

However – there was a time when you could turn up at a venue and venture inside and see the acts - without having to have a specific printed out piece of paper with several reference numbers and a time to collect. Of course I have bought tickets in advance – but it was a case of in advance – not at the first point of sale – the very minute they are released. Everyone wants a piece of it nowadays – how can Jonny sell out?

I first saw Euros Childs supporting The Concretes at the ULU in London. I had seen a glimpse of the Scandinavian group on a Glastonbury afternoon programme – they were wearing wigs and singing ‘You can’t hurry love.’ [Not a Phil Collins tribute – more a Nordic Velvets] I told Paul - as ever he had seen it - was already on the concretes tip - as he is wont to do – I bought an album and I thought very little else about it.

I read The Concretes were playing – I gave Paul a ring – we decided to get some tickets - I actually think he had purchased tickets for the tour already - but I was in London so we could go together –there was no rush. We purchased tickets – and Euros was on the supporting bill. First on – early start. He was an absolute revelation – I had dabbled on the outer fringes of the Gorky’s Zygotic Monkey catalogue of sounds. Listened to some Peel sessions, bought an EP but to be honest I didn’t even know who Euros was and that the Gorky’s had split. But I was mesmorised by his performance and that of his band – two from Radio Luxembourg at the time [now Racehorses – and they are always worth a listen with their wonderful craft of Floyd, Furries and Cole Porter ] and Richard/ or James Tam – they were awesome. It was mainly Chops – possibly with Henry and Matilda and Billy the Seagull – and what prime cuts they were – finishing the set with ‘First Time I saw You’ – this brooding, beautiful bass filled grower full of pure sentiment and love. First time I saw you – skirt was white and blue – first time I saw you. And throughout enthused with good cheer. I was laughing, dancing and feeling thoroughly entertained.

I have since seen Euros on several other occasions. I have always got inside the venue. I buy my albums off the fella himself normally after a concert – yes I am nearly forty but I get some sad flash of ‘teenage excitement’ in meeting the artist, having the record signed. And I once stage dived at a Teenage Fanclub concert – it was being filmed for Snub TV. It was busy – the Manics were the first act – all clashed and fired up - but we [me and James – a super cool young continental] got in. Probably bought our tickets a week or so in advance.

Now Norman Blake from Teenage Fanclub and Euros Childs from Euros Childs are Jonny and everyone wants a piece of the indie action. How everyone has suddenly awoken to the subtle charm of ‘Do the Caveman’, or ‘Which Witch is which?’ is new to me but it seems I can’t get a ticket for this gig. But as I said -no nostalgia rides – the whole shape of the music scene has changed – has mutated and the mob has muscled in. I will read the review in the Guardian. I will put ‘WegotTickets’ web page in favourites and their telephone number in my mobile and next time be that little bit faster.

Or I might just decide to stay at home.

Sometimes that is just that bit easier.

Monday, 13 December 2010

We are not hippies: Kill all hippies

So Friday and Saturday came and went. The heavy excess of the Primal beat recapturing, remodelling and representing those ‘delia’ moments.

I was not there. I tend not to be there much these days. Echo and the Bunnymen, The Primitives, Teenage Fanclub, Pixies, The Zombies – the list goes on and on la did da dee da.

And now I wish I had been there.

There’s something sad in recreating the past – about nostalgia for the now. But there’s also something in the Scream Team that is very hard to capture without feeling that you want to be part of it. And in a way I had been – those teenagers moments spent with Innes, Gillespie and Young. Those hours in the company of older, wiser, rocking and rolling men with their rammalamalamma ways and musical prowess that far outshone my own.

I own half my record collection from Innes little chats – little recommendations – the passing on of pop knowledge. I think to some extent that sits with me today. I want to stop caring about the sounds [of the underground] but I just keep thinking about The Pastels or Euros Childs or Weatherall and then that bounces me off down a new avenue – a new way of experiencing sounds and I’m hooked again. I want to write again.

Sometimes I need to write a list of those tunes, moments , experiences and highs down for my children to read, hear and groove to. Because sometimes I am far too harsh with them – my moaning, my wanting a quiet moment – sometimes I need to remember they are the kids – and once I wanted record companies to do it for the kids. The kids are revolting and that’s a fact – and I want my kids to be revolting – always.

So let’s get back to the scream – this pure independent rock n roll band. We had travelled south and still playing our brand of 4AD/ Blast First and Creation rock had bored audiences to tears as they waited for the glamour and soul of that old rock n roll from the glasgae boys. And boy did they get it – dripping in that MC5 swagger and open spirit [mainly vodka] the scream were able to command an audience’s respect – as we punched the air to their she[er] power. And rolling to our final destination and final ‘gig’ of our respective mini tour – friendships had cemented and minds had been expanded. Loaded was being recorded and before you know it – the scream where rocking the clubs [the dance ones not the working men’s] and those heady screamadelic months would follow.

It was ‘Come Together’ that did for me – the Terry Farley mix – white label in a shop on Loampit Vale in Lewisham – obviously not there now – but you could buy records then in small shops – actually you could buy records in Lewisham shopping centre – not a shop just a stall in the shopping centre – I remember Lee [another old friend lost to the mercies of not talking] buying Chime there – before Orbital signed to FRRR.

I think the reason Come Together resonates is that it is still a scream record – one that has the essence of the past merged firmly with the future. That jangle riddled with soul and swagger – real dance music – or as i said in an early post – I just call it music. That trumpet blast – and a call to come together [because we know when we come together we have power] Gillespie provides that languid feeling – that hope that together we can not only party – we can change things. I’m not one for hands aloft moments in rock n roll – i don’t like stadium filling shit – but at the Marcus Garvey Centre in Nottingham in 1990 – we all just came together – holding hands – it was beautiful [really beautiful] – mind you were already feeling europhic. I think Ian [former band member and genuine top rogue] had already secreted himself in a bass bin as Dr Alex had supplied the dub madness. But in that one moment of pure ecstasy we came together – en masse – to music I know but it was a moment filled with possibility as the guitar descends and Gillespie asks – ‘kiss me – won’t you, won’t you kiss me?’ Come Together is an honest and open call to arms – something the Scream have always dealt in. We are not here for the hippies.

And the night turned wilder and weirder, Douglas Hart with his video camera – I often wonder what happened to all that footage – it never made the Screamadelica tape that’s for sure, Nightingale ‘organising’ proceedings and the music just flowing. Somehow we made it to Claire’s house.

Because when we come together – we have power – we are unified – we are together.

For some reason I can't find an audio copy of the Terry Farley mix - Sony have locked down the video onthe Screan channel. So here is the original speech which Weatherall lifted for the epic dub version.