Monday, 11 October 2010

‘Levitate Me’ – Pixies (1987)

“Come on pilgrim,
You know he loves you.”

So it wasn’t bad enough having to share a school with rabid Bros fans. Oh no. I actually had to share a school with the Bros twins Matt and Luke themselves. That’s right. My poor, fey gothic heart was imprisoned in the temple of infantile pop by the ascending pharaohs of the culturally inane. What’s more, they lived at the end of my road. There was no escape.

The Goss boys were a couple of years above me and I can’t say I noticed them at all until they left. By then I was in the lower sixth and their first single had come out ('I Owe You Nothing'). And then they were back, playing the school gym at lunchtime. And then they were everywhere. Now, I can understand the kids in the first year thinking this was all very exciting. But I had classmates who were thrilled simply because they had finally discovered a band before the rest of the world. Oh dear. How to explain to these people that there were far better bands waiting to be be discovered out there. Just turn on the John Peel show. Go to a gig that isn’t being held either at lunchtime or in your school gym. Read a music paper. Please. But no, I was surrounded by people buying multiple signed copies of the first Bros single as an investment for when they hit the big time – yes, Spencer, I’m talking about you. Which is all very fair enough I suppose as those singles probably were worth a fair bit for two weeks in 1988 as Bros-mania swept Saturday morning telly.

Meanwhile, I was hunting down the first Pixies mini-album and wondering who would like to come see My Bloody Valentine with me. And people wondered why I felt so isolated at school. Funnily enough though, I can talk about those bands now and quickly find kindred spirits. Don’t see so many people bonding over Bros.

Spotify linky:

Sunday, 3 October 2010

‘The Whole Of The Moon’ – The Waterboys (1985)

“I wondered, I guessed and I tried;
You just knew.”

Best sound effect in a song ever. Fact. “You came like a comet …” Pause and cue comet shooting across the sky. “Blazing your trail.” Do comets actually make a sound? Who cares. They do here and it’s quite perfect.

If you ever want to tempt me along to karaoke, this is the song that will get me there. A real belter of a vocal that’s simply a world of fun to perform. And the lyrics remind me of a girl from school. You’d speak about wings, while she just flew.

Spotify linky:

On this day … 1990 (aged 19)

Scribblings from my diary …

“Cousin Matt and I visit the Museum of the Moving Image on the South Bank. You can read all about the history of photography and filmmaking there. Or you can quickly pass all this by and go see Sooty and Sweep.”

Now playing: ‘Station To Station’ – David Bowie (1976)

“It's too late
to be grateful."

Ever buy an album by an artist you adore and it just doesn’t click? So you put it away and go back to listening to their other stuff. And then you take it out again one day and it sounds like the most marvellous discovery. That’s what happened to me this week with ‘Station To Station’.

I bought it back in 1991 when it was reissued on vinyl with the rest of Bowie’s back catalogue. At the time, my heart belonged to ‘Hunky Dory’ and ‘The Man Who Fell To Earth’ so this album suffered from little time on my record player and got quickly shelved. Until last Monday when it was reissued in a glorious CD box set. Here was vintage Thin White Duke Bowie with songs I’d simply neglected. I’m a fool. I’ve played it continuously all week to make amends. And the reissue comes with perhaps the best Bowie live recording I’ve heard – captured at the Nassau Coliseum in March 1976.

I wonder what other treats are buried in my collection?

Spotify linky:
David Bowie – Station To Station

Sunday, 26 September 2010

‘California’ – American Music Club (1986)

“If I have to be this lonely,
I may as well be alone.”

Walk into any supermarket in any town and you can buy a Westlife CD. Yet try and find this album in any shop in any country and you’ll be out of luck. It’s a depressing thought.

American Music Club were one of the many bands I discovered reading Melody Maker during break-time at school, but the first to introduce me to the delights of what would become 'the new sounds of the old west'. ‘California’ is their third album though the first I heard. It’s regarded as the one where they found their voice. Every song is a gem that sparkles with tales of yearning, devotion and addiction. My favourite musical cocktail.

Lead singer Mark Eitzel is unfortunately one of those artists destined to be recognised only when he’s no longer with us. I’ve only seen him live once and it was actually only last year, at a solo show in a church off Charing Cross Road. Why only once and after all these years? Well, you know when something is so special to you that you actually keep yourself away from it so as not to spoil it? Yes? Well, AMC songs are like that to me. I wasn’t sure I wanted to see them performed live with an audience as all my memories of their songs revolve around me on my lonesome. I’m pleased I went though. It was a night of beauty and pain. My favourite social cocktail.

Two decades of legal wrangles are still keeping ‘California’ from a re-release. And I’m sure the supermarkets aren’t exactly hollering to get it on their shelves. I want to live in a world though where I can find this CD in Asda. Is that too much to ask?

Spotify linky:
Mark Eitzel – Blue And Grey Shirt
‘California’ is also unavailable on Spotify, but this is a live version of one of the album’s tracks from a Mark Eitzel solo show back in 1991.

On this day ... 1987 (aged 16)

Scribblings from my diary …

“It’s McHappy day (whatever that is) and all hell is breaking loose outside McDonald’s”

Saturday, 18 September 2010

‘Heartland’ – The The (1986)

‘Well it ain't written in the papers,
But it’s written on the walls,
The way this country is divided to fall.
So the cranes are moving on the skyline,
Trying to knock down this town.
But the stains on the heartland, can never be removed,
From this country, that's sick, sad, and confused.’

Music lyrics are the modern day poetry. Discuss. Actually … let’s not. My school friend Chris though did once put this to the test in Ms Taylor’s English class. Our homework was to write a poem on urban decay. I’ve never had much heart for poetry, so have no idea what I cobbled together. But I remember that Chris decided to simply copy out the lyrics to ‘Heartland’ and hand them in as his own.

So what mark did Ms Taylor give the biting social commentary of Matt Johnson? B minus. I think he could be happy with that. Chris wasn’t. Especially as I got a B.

(This song and the album 'Infected' were accompanied by a great set of videos that I'm still hoping will one day be released on DVD to replace my now wonky video copy. Are you listening Sony/BMG?)

Spotify linky:

On this day … 1982 (aged 11)

Scribblings from my diary …

“Play out with Richard and Nicola until 5.15pm, then watch ‘Metal Mickey’”

Now playing: ‘Worm Tamer’ – Grinderman (2010)

“Well my baby calls me the Loch Ness Monster,
Two great humps and then I’m gone.”

That made me laugh out loud at the station this week.

Nick Cave’s ‘No God, no love, no piano’ approach to Grinderman didn’t really snag me the first time round as those are the things I love most about his music, but this second album has been on continuous play. Each song seems to wrestle some wonderfully discordant new sound from their guitars. A kind of painful beauty.

A visit to BUG at the NFT this week included a chance to see director John Hillcoat discuss his Grinderman videos and the new creative freedom fostered by the shift from MTV to YouTube. I’d like to see a video that explains how they make those guitar sounds.

Spotify linky:

Monday, 13 September 2010

‘Jewel’ – Cranes (1993)

“Sweet dreams,
I remember it all.
I remembered it all.”

Let’s skip back to this very day 17 years ago. I’m sitting in a small portacabin behind the local library for the beginning of a week-long Jobplan Workshop. Sitting down next to me is a man who will read the Sun newspaper and then disappear at the mid-morning break, never to be seen again. The dozen of us that remain will be taught the wonders of writing a business letter and talking to a potential employer on the phone. Through it all, I will be sitting here thinking only of lunchtime, when I can go down the Rock Box to hunt down the three new limited edition 7-inch singles from the Cranes (including a sparkling Robert Smith remix). Perhaps that’s why I’d been on the dole for two years at this point.

I’ve often wondered how different my life would be if I’d pursued other things as obsessively and devotionally as records. Would I have found a job sooner? Possibly. Would I have had a string of relationships instead of shelves of alphabeticised vinyl? I doubt it. Would I be happier? Who knows.

What I do know is that so many of my memories are linked to music that I can’t imagine my life without it. Even now, looking back at Monday 13 September 1993, I clearly remember the feeling of arriving back to the portacabin after lunch with my bag of Cranes singles. And new CDs by The Cure (Show) and Nirvana (In Utero) also out that day. And the debut Curve album. (I love days like this when you get a flurry of new releases - more than you can sensibly listen to in a day.) I then spent the afternoon longing to go home when I should have been learning about overcoming hurdles in the crowded job market. But it all worked out in the end: it only took me another year to find my first job.

Spotify linky:

Sunday, 5 September 2010

‘Your Plastic Giveaway’: The Results

There was a waffly ‘thank you’ intro here. I deleted it. You just want to hear the results of last week’s special Blog Post 100 prize draw to win two mystery bundles of CDs.

My glamorous and impartial mistress of ceremonies Joann conducted both prize draws (Psycho and Candy) this afternoon (using a Candy Cakes bag – see what she did there?) and the two winners are …

Congrats to Puffbun (aka Samantha – you didn’t actually choose a category, so I popped you in Psycho to balance the numbers) and Roslyn (hopefully this prize can double as a birthday gift too). I’ll bring your CDs with me next time we meet.

Thanks to everyone who entered. In many ways you’re all winners. Just not in this way.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Your Plastic Giveaway – Blog Post 100

Everyone loves free stuff. Fact. And I’ve got two mystery bundles of sparkling free stuff I’d like to offer you dear readers for making it through 100 of these meandering posts with me.

Basically, I’ve been having a Bank Holiday clearout. As you can imagine, I have a habit of buying my favourite albums over and over again in repackaged multi-CD gatefold limited editions (with ‘extra tracks and a tacky badge’). So I thought now was the perfect time for some of my ‘doubles’ to find new homes.

Some of the albums you’ll have read about here (including the one that started it all: ‘Psychocandy’). Most will probably pop up in future posts (Pavement, Whiskeytown, Patti Smith). All can be put on eBay if you really don’t like them.

I’ve spilt the CDs into two themed bundles: Psycho and Candy. Just tell me in the comments which mystery bundle you’d like (one choice per person, folks) and I’ll get someone who isn’t me to pick two winners at random this weekend. Sometimes I think I’m too good to you all.

Best of luck!

Small print: This giveaway is only open to readers who I know and I can give the prize to in person – I’m not meeting up with random strangers or paying for postage on any of these prizes.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

‘Sun Arise’ – The Godfathers (1986)

“Sun arise,
Come every mornin’.
Bringin' back the warmth to the ground.”

“These guys have been tuning up forever. When’s the band coming on?” “They are the band! This is their best song.” Ah, the joys of Spaceman 3 on another soggy Friday afternoon at the Reading Festival in 1989.

My first Reading was back in 1987 when it was still the Reading Rock Festival, with the emphasis very much on ‘Rock’. The days of piss bottle fights, burning fields, and the general fear of getting your head kicked in if you looked at a New Model Army fan in the wrong way – which was in any way at all. My cousins and I were by far the youngest ones there. By about a decade. We’d been drawn in by the twin gothic majesty of The Mission and All About Eve. And, of course, The Fall – who popped up third on the bill every year in the 80s and gave 95% of the field a chance to head off to the beer tents.

Looking back through my diaries at old Melody Maker clippings of past line-ups, brings back memories of Harry Hill bottom of the bill in the comedy tent, bands possibly best lost in time (The Telescopes, An Emotional Fish, Tack>>Head) and the days when a special advance three-day season ticket was just £35.

The Godfathers played at my first Reading and I remember them being a great moshing band. Another dozen or so Readings followed – mainly due to the convenience of my parents living nearby, which meant I avoided the squalor of camping there. My last one (now transformed into the Carling Weekender or something *groans*) was six years back, with Moz and The White Stripes. I felt a decade too old and can’t imagine I’ll be back. I even gave a little farewell salute to the fields of my youth – by urinating in a bottle and lobbing it a Libertines fan. Only joking!

Spotify linky:
The Godfathers – Sun Arise

Saturday, 28 August 2010

‘Flaunt It’ – Sigue Sigue Sputnik (1986)

“Shoot it up.”

So we all agree 10-inch records were annoying (from last week’s post – keep up.) Yes? Now look at this: The debut album from Sigue Sigue Sputnik. Housed in a flimsy cardboard box. (Or ‘A 21st Century Toy’ as the Sputnik Corporation would have you believe.) Who needed this in their life? Well, apart from me, obviously.

Everyone loved to hate Sputnik in the mid-80s. With their mega-bucks record contract, Blade Runner posturings and one-note multi-format releases. I thought they were genius. And to my school friend Nick they were gods. Nick was one of those friends you had in the year above who got expelled from school for something that was never clearly defined (generally a combination of alcohol, knives and arson), but still hung round the gates at lunch-time.

Nick should have been in Sputnik. He had the look, the attitude, and the ability to play two notes on a keyboard. He looked like he’d seen and lived things well beyond his sixteen years (when he wasn’t hanging out at the park or the chippy with us younger kids). If you wanted your ears pierced or head shaved, he was your go-to guy. He wouldn’t do either of these things particularly well, but there was a definite kudos in saying it was Nick who had made your ears go green and puffy.

Nick was also one of those friends who quickly passes through your life – he was there one day (I only ever knew him after he’d been expelled, through my friend Stephen) and then he was gone only a few months later. Pretty much like this album. It was fun for a few listens that year. I probably remember the adverts between the tracks (yep, that’s right kids, it was the first album to feature ad breaks from L’Oréal, i-D, etc. – how very Sputnik) as much as the songs themselves. Sadly the ads haven’t made it on to Spotify, but let’s go ride the Love Missile one more time ...

Spotify linky:
Sigue Sigue Sputnik – Love Missile F1-11

Saturday, 21 August 2010

‘Start Choppin’’ – Dinosaur Jr (1992)

“Oh, there’s no going back to that,
I’m so numb, can’t even react.”

10-inch singles. Another ridiculously inconvenient way to listen to music. No record player liked them. You always had to drop the needle manually. And then you could never remember if they played at 45rpm or 33rpm. Whichever choice you made it was always the wrong one and you’d have to get back up off your bed to flick the speed control.

And we get a double whammy with ‘Start Choppin’’ (limited edition number 1686, fact fans) as it’s also obviously a picture disc. Which meant the sound quality would be highly dubious. I’ve never actually listened to it though. That’s the golden rule of picture discs: you don’t actually play them. You wait to hear the song on the album and sacrifice ever hearing the b-sides.

With cover art that good though, it was well worth the £3.49 even if I never played it. I loved the Dinosaur Jr sleeves at that time. They were by a guy named Angry Johnny. Of course they were; Happy Johnny ain’t painting stuff like that. I had a T-shirt featuring the back cover below and I still miss it.

Spotify linky:
Dinosaur Jr. – Start Choppin'

On this day … 1992 (aged 21)

Scribblings from my diary …

“Nan and I go to see Alien 3.”

Saturday, 14 August 2010

‘Close (To The Edit)’ – Art Of Noise (1984)

“To be in England,
In the summertime,
With my love,
Close to the edge.”

Smoking. Usherettes. And Art of Noise videos. All three have now disappeared from our cinemas. Good riddance to the first. But I miss the other two.

People these days treat the cinema experience like they’re sitting in their living-rooms – continually chatting, checking texts and getting up for food. For a child of the 70s and 80s, it really was something extra special. Certainly before the rise of video recorders, this was your only chance to see new films. If you missed ‘The Black Hole’, you’d be waiting another four years before it was shown on ITV (and then you’d miss it because it’d be shown on Christmas Day and you’d be stuck round your auntie’s house and she only had a black and white TV in her bedroom and anyway we should be playing games as a family not watching futuristic visions of space exploration and robots fighting each other).

A trip to the cinema in those days would also throw up some surprises too. Which is why I so clearly remember the Kia-Ora and Butterkist adverts being followed by a random stream of animated images accompanied by the sound of a car stalling. It turned out to be the video to ‘(Close) To The Edit’. I went out to buy it immediately after. And thus began a teenage love of playing around with sound samples. And hiding behind masks (which spooked my grandparents on a couple of occasions – but that’s another post.)

Spotify linky:

YouTube video:

Now playing: ‘Orange Sky’ – Alexi Murdoch (2003)

“When I am alone,
When I’ve thrown off the weight of this crazy stone,
When I’ve lost all care for the things I own,
That’s when I miss you.”

(Not strictly a new release, so you could argue it doesn’t qualify for my ‘Now playing’ posts. But I picked this soundtrack up this week and have been playing it non-stop.)

Am I the only person who’s seen the film ‘Away We Go’? It’s a little gem. Boy and girl look for a place to raise their baby. That’s it. With funny bits. And sad bits. Co-written by the wonderful Dave Eggers (author of ‘A Heartbreaking Work Of Staggering Genius’). Directed by Sam Mendes. Starring John Krasinski (Jim Halpert in the US version of ‘The Office’). Why has no-one seen this film?

What’s more, it features an ace soundtrack. (Yes, I said ‘ace’.) This is mainly thanks to the many great songs by Alexi Murdoch. Why has no-one heard of this guy either? You need to hear ‘Orange Sky’ today. Right now. (The link’s below. Yep, there it is.) Funnily enough, this song actually reminds me of the first season of ‘Prison Break’, but it’s used here to great effect too. I’m sure one year it will be covered by some gurning fool on ‘X Factor’ and it will finally get the recognition it deserves

Spotify linky:

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

‘U-Mass’ – Pixies (1991)

“And stupid stuff,
it makes us shout”

ABBA at one in the morning. No-one should have to suffer that. (And if you disagree, you may well be reading the wrong blog.) And this wasn’t a one-off. This was a neighbour in the flat downstairs who seemed to be taking the philosophy of ‘Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight)’ far too literally.

You could bang on the floor and you’d get a torrent of abuse back. You could write a polite note and it would have no effect. So I tried another approach. When I got up for work at 6.30am, I’d move my old paint-splattered ghetto blaster (I’m guessing they’re not called that these days) into my bedroom, face the speakers towards the floor, and crank out ‘U-Mass’ by Pixies. Childish? Yes. Immensely satisfying? Absolutely.

This song seems perfectly engineered to wake your neighbours. It starts with a raw guitar riff and only gets louder – with the drums then pounding in, closely followed by the bass. And as it’s picking up speed to the first chorus, Black Francis drops in a wonderfully unnecessary sweary bit for added pleasure. Now, I don’t condone this kind of language. But, hey; stick your ‘Dancing Queen’.

After lots of typical Pixies yelping (“It’s EDUCATIONAAAAAL!!”), the song pulls a glorious false ending, before crashing back in on a final burst of full-on distorted guitar mayhem. Three minutes of perfection. And after that, you could hear my neighbours were up and moving about – job done. But not quite yet. As the final trick was always to let them settle down again and think the storm has passed, before coming back with an encore (something like the 17-minute version of ‘Sister Ray’ by the Velvet Underground). Reading this back it seems rather cruel. But remember this: ‘Mamma Mia’. 1am. Day after day. Yes? Exactly.

So, are they still around? Nah. Their landlord booted them out after two weeks and we all slept happily ever after.

Spotify linky:

Bonus linky (in case you need to annoy your neighbours too):

On this day … 1992 (aged 21)

Scribblings from my diary …

“I have an appointment with the dental hygienist – a Simply Red fan who thinks I’m reading Edgar Allan Poe for an exam!?”

Saturday, 7 August 2010

‘24’ – Red House Painters (1992)

“I thought at 15
that I'd have it down by 16.
But 24 keeps knocking at my door.”

Well, last Saturday’s Kristin Hersh double bill went down a storm. The phone hasn’t stopped ringing. (Though that may be a fault with the line – I really should get it checked out.) So we’re doing it all again. This week with Mark Kozelek. My favourite singer. Fact. Let’s rewind to the beginning with the lead song from the debut album by Red House Painters – basically a demo that 4AD loved so much they decided to release immediately.

The day this came out, I was in London for my first job interview. I was 21 and had been unemployed a year – for reasons I’ve talked about before (catch up here, newbies). The job was at a recruitment ad agency based around Farringdon way. I’d have to find lots of exciting ways to write ‘Now hiring IT professionals’. But I didn’t get it. I didn’t even get a second interview. This could be because the young lady interviewing me wasn’t so interested in the comics I’d just bought down ‘Forbidden Planet’. Her loss.

This song struck an immediate affinity with me when I got home and put the album on. 24 was still three years off and became a landmark year in my head because of this song. Should I have done more with my life already? Would I reach 24 and look back in disappointment? It turns out 24 is just like any other year. A mix of failing and successes; regrets and achievements; longings and rewards. It’s timeless quality is why this song still means as much to me today, as 40 knocks on my door.

Spotify linky:

Red House Painters – 24

Now playing: ‘Admiral Fell Promises’ – Sun Kil Moon (2010)

“And I know it’s better here,
Than anywhere I’ve been going.”

Mark Kozelek’s voice is my comfort blanket. It reminds me of late nights home alone. And walking through Boston parks on bitter cold days. And lazy afternoons in Hammersmith.

Sun Kil Moon is his latest band and this is their new album – though it’s pretty much stripped down to just Mark’s voice and guitar. It hasn’t popped up on Spotify yet, so you’re gonna have to trust me on this one and just go out and buy it. No? Fair enough.

You can listen to three tracks on their label Caldo Verde’s site here:

On this day … 1993 (aged 22)

Scribblings from my diary …

“Star Trek 2 on TV early evening. Lara’s friend Geoff walks through the living-room and seems to think it’s Star Trek 3! The younger generation, eh?.”

Thursday, 5 August 2010

‘Let’s Go Round There’ – The Darling Buds (1989)

“We don’t have to talk,
We don’t have to smile,
‘Cos we’ve only just met,
But please stay for a while”

(“What’s this?” Etched vinyl, kids. Yep, it made a whole side of your expensive record completely unplayable. Buy, hey, look at the pretty flower pattern.)

My Dad wins competitions that he doesn’t even enter. A crate of champagne will turn up at the door. Or tickets will arrive for a weekend away. Once he won a car (which he wanted to sell, but my mum nabbed it).

My winnings total a 12-inch by the La’s (whom I never liked, so that went to my friend Laura G) and a Darling Buds T-shirt. Impressive, eh? I snagged them both in the same competition. A Sunday night phone-in on Radio 210 – the local Reading station. The presenter, Sarah Jane, phoned me after the show to take my details and we got chatting about indie stuff.

The next week I got a name check and the new Buds single dedicated to me. And so began a weekly correspondence where I’d send in requests (The Wonder Stuff for my mum and some Pixies for my sister) and get my letters read out. This continued for about a year and I was mighty chuffed to get a shout out in the final show. The radio just hasn’t meant the same to me since – you never hear a good Darling Buds giveaway any more.

Spotify linky:

On this day … 1990 (aged 19)

Scribblings from my diary …

“I haven’t been out one evening this year.”

Sunday, 1 August 2010

‘Girl From The North Country’ – Bob Dylan (1963)

“If you’re travelin’ in the North Country fair,
Where the winds hit heavy on the borderline.
Remember me to one who lives there,
For she once was a true love of mine.”

In 1993, I went to court for a crime I didn’t commit. That’s because I was on the jury. (See what I did there? I made you think one thing and then I … oh, never mind.)

I wasn’t surprised to find myself called up for jury service. It was my second year on the dole, so it made sense to make me useful – and I was the cheap option too, as they only had to pay my train fare. I was surprised I got picked for actual service though. Who’d want the shoegazing raggedy indie kid wearing the trench coat in the middle of a Spring heatwave? Well, it turned out the accused did as he looked exactly the same as me. Grrr …

I don’t think I’m allowed to write much about those two days I spent at Guildford Crown Court. Other than that at one point it looked like we were going to be re-enacting ‘Twelve Angry Men’, but I’m no Henry Fonda so we all got home in time for ‘Neighbours’. I can tell you what I did in my lunch hours though, and that was buy Bob Dylan albums from the HMV up the high street. I’d only just started listening to Dylan and ‘Girl From The North Country’ was the first song of his to make me a fan. It’s still my very favourite, for its beautifully poignant lyrics. You can’t hear this song and not yearn for someone who’s left your life. Seventeen years on, I still think of the same person. I’ll let you know if that changes.

Spotify linky:
(Turns out there's very litte Dylan on Spotify and I could only track down this version for you - as much as I love both Dylan and Cash, this really pales in comparison to the original.)

Diary doodles 1990 - The 9th and last

Rusty was my cousin's dog. He's no longer with us. Consider this a touching tribute. RIP.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

‘A Feeling’ – Throwing Muses (1987)

“I never could see anyone besides you,
Believe it or not (probably not)”

It’s a Kristin Hersh Saturday double-bill. We’re all ‘Crooked’ below. And up here we begin where it began, with Throwing Muses.

Hands up all you 4AD obsessives. I discovered so many of my favourite bands through that one label. They still have a real ear for discovering the most wonderful new artists. But in the 80s, I’d buy most everything they released: Cocteau Twins, Pixies, Dead Can Dance, This Mortal Coil, Ultra Vivid Scene, and many more. If only for the glorious sleeves by Vaughan Oliver and v23 (though the Muses always did their own).

It was hard to make friends with Throwing Muses’ songs. They were wilfull and wayward and, well, wonky. And that just made you love them even more. ‘A Feeling’ is one of their more delicate compositions and the first time I felt the hug of friendship. And it nestled high up at number 3 in my Melody Maker Reader’s Chart back in 1992. (Where would it be today? I reckon number 3 still.)

Spotify linky:

Diary doodles 1990 - No.8

Now playing: ‘Crooked’ – Kristin Hersh (2010)

“Is this witchy?
My thoughts are cloudy.
This is weird: my mind is clear.”

(The return of my not-at-all-weekly-kinda-now-monthly post on recent releases – as a momentary pause from all the 80s goth memories.)

Books are the new vinyl. Sorta. Kristin Hersh has been looking at new ways to release her songs for the past few years. In that time, she’s been releasing demos, EPs and more online through the CASH Music initiative. They’re all free to share and even remix – you’re just asked to throw some money in the tip jar if you feel like it. More dedicated fans – Kristin’s ‘Strange Angels’ – also have the opportunity to subscribe to her work and in return get exclusive recordings, guestlist passes, and even the chance to visit her in the studio.

Kristin’s latest project is ‘Crooked’ – originally a series of works in progress on her site, that has now evolved into a beautiful set of essays, photos and downloadable studio recordings. These are the songs that have been distracting me on my train journeys to London. Usually I’d be reading. But Kristin’s songs always demand your attention, with their intricate phrasings and delightfully off-kilter melodies. Each listen reveals new treasures.

I’m already looking forward to Kristin’s next project: her ‘Rat Girl’ memoirs, which I saw her performing a couple of years ago as ‘Paradoxical Undressing’ at the Queen Elizabeth Hall.

No Spotify linky for this one. Instead I’ll direct you to a stream of the album at Kristin’s site:

Diary doodles 1990 - No.7

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

‘Sweetness and Light’– Lush (1990)

“Only to stay, only to breathe, only to see,
That space and light are what I really need.”

Woodstock? Whatever. If there was one event you needed to be at it was the Slough Music Festival (on this very day in 1991). Never before have so many floppy-fringed students gathered in a field to gaze at their shoes all day.

Where’s the BBC4 music documentaries celebrating this seminal event? Slowdive. Curve. Ride. All present and correct. If Betjeman’s friendly bombs had fallen down on Slough that sunny day, Melody Maker and NME may as well have closed their doors for two years.

One band that wasn’t playing (somewhat surprisingly) was Lush. But flame-haired songstress and indie pin-up Miki was there (somewhat unsurprisingly) and I got to shake her hand and say embarrassing things. This isn’t much of a story as I think just about every one who went to a gig in 1990 got to meet Miki. It kinda came with the ticket.

Come 2011, it will be 20 years since we all moshed in a Slough park to Chapterhouse – time to start planning the anniversary festivities methinks.

(This post may seem all very well-timed and cleverly planned, and yes, it is, thank you. In reality though, it’s a complete coincidence as I already had it in mind to write about Slough today and was completely surprised to see it was 19 years to the day when I checked the date in my diary.)

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Diary doodles 1990 - No.6

Today’s Diary Doodle has a song to accompany it. (“What!??!” Yes, that’s right, folks; I’m turning the format of this post on its head. For one day only. Hold on tight and enjoy the ride.)

This is actually going to be my most vacuous song story yet. It begins with me buying the ‘Velouria’ 12-inch at the Rock Box (the local indie store) in Camberley. And it ends with me then bumping (not literally) into the girl in the doodle. Karen. (No, I still can’t remember her second name.) And there’s nothing in between. And nothing before or after that I can remember.

But for some reason, I clearly recall holding this record and talking to her that morning twenty years ago. My diary says we chatted about “school (I’d left for college, but she was in her final year), hair dye, supermarkets and cheese graters.” I had a huge soft spot for Karen and clearly thought of her as a friend in the doodle, but really she was a friend of a friend who fancied one of my friends.

And, no, I don’t where she is these days. I kinda sorta actually lost touch with all my school friends.

Wow, I’ve really managed to stretch this out based on next to nothing.

‘Velouria’– Pixies (1990)

“Hold my head,
we’ll trampoline …
finally through the roof.
On to somewhere near,
and far in time.”

Spotify linky:

Sunday, 18 July 2010

‘E=mc²’– Big Audio Dynamite (1986)

“Ritual ideas, relativity
Only buildings, no people prophecy
Timeslide place to hide, nudge reality
Foresight minds wide, magic imagery.”

Guitar lessons got a lot more interesting after I was taught this song. Before that it had been all text book tablature. Nothing more modern than the ‘House of the Rising Sun’ or The Beatles. Then one Saturday morning, my guitar teacher (possibly sensing I was losing interest in strumming ‘Yellow Submarine’) asked me what I’d been listening to that week and if I wanted to learn it. This was a revelation. In the last five years, I’d never thought about actually asking to learn something I liked.

So I put this record on. And after the first verse and chorus, my teacher was playing along. And after the second verse, I was following his lead. (Listening back now, I can only smile at how rudimentary he must have thought this song was, with its two basic chords and six-note melody.) By the next lesson I’d mastered the bass riff to ‘Ghostbusters’. There was no stopping me now.

Most importantly, songwriting suddenly didn’t seem as daunting as before. By deconstructing these songs, I’d been taught how to construct my own. I’d already won the ‘Young Musician of the Year’ contest at school (hurrah for me!) with a song that I’d written but quickly disowned. It was about how rock ‘n’ roll would never die. Yes, I’m groaning too. You can see why I disowned it. (But to be fair, I found out a couple of years later that Neil Young had written a song with the same sentiments, so who’s laughing now? Oh, you are. Fair enough.) Now I felt ready to transcend those initial immature songwriting fumblings. Now it was time to write my own ‘Ghostbusters’. I’ll let you know how that worked out another time. (Clue: The fact you haven’t seen my name in the charts may suggest I never quite achieved this lofty ambition.)

Spotify linky:
Big Audio Dynamite – E=MC2

Friday, 16 July 2010

‘Supervixen’– Garbage (1995)

(Ooh … what’s this? It’s the first Garbage album. Pressed as 7-inch singles. In a box. Oh, and Tickle-Me Elmo - it'll all make sense in a minute.)

“Come down to my house,
And stick a stone in your mouth.”

Ever been woken in the night by a giggling Elmo? No? Just me, then. Well, actually not just me, as at the time I was living with someone (yes, I know … me … living with someone … I’m not making this stuff up). We’ll call her Charlotte. Because that was her name. And she woke me one night seriously spooked by one of my toys that had started laughing uncontrollably. (Yes, I collect toys … deal with it.)

The thing with Elmo is that he should only laugh when you squeeze his tummy. Since Charlotte was already convinced that our Hammersmith flat was haunted by an old lady, she was immediately freaked out. I suggested we simply take his batteries out. But then rather unhelpfully pondered how creepy it would be if he continued laughing with no batteries.

Charlotte suddenly had another idea. She raced across the room, grabbed Elmo and headed for the kitchen. When I caught up, I found Elmo stuffed in the oven. Apparently, this way we could gas him or cook him. Poor Elmo. I guess he realised Charlotte meant business, as he certainly behaved himself after that. I still live with the toys. The same isn’t true of Charlotte. Read into that what you will.

Garbage is the pick of the day, for Charlotte, who used to listen to them continuously and styled herself after Shirley Manson in our Hammersmith years. If I was being mean I could have picked ‘Stupid Girl’ (how rude! – and only joking! – and only because she loved that song). But instead I went for my own fave track from their debut.

Diary doodles 1990 - No.5

Monday, 12 July 2010

‘Friends Of P’– The Rentals (1996)

“If you’re friends with P,
Well then, you’re friends with me.”

Who doesn’t dream of meeting Mickey Mouse when they’re a child? Oh … that’s quite a lot of you. Well, anyway, it had always been my dream, but I had to wait until I was 25 for it to come true. (No, that’s not too old. Stop shaking your head.)

My Dad and I arrived in Florida to fireworks in the night sky – exactly how everyone should arrive in America. It was my first trip there and everything seemed magical and colourful and big and new. Here I was eating Chinese out of cardboard boxes like I’d seen Cliff Barnes do in all those episodes of ‘Dallas’!

MTV played ‘Ironic’ and ‘Champage Supernova’ over and over and over for those two May weeks. But it was this song by The Rentals that caught my ear. I’d never heard of them (and haven’t heard much of them since). I found the CD in a small record store in Orlando and it became my holiday song. (This is the same day I found my dad sitting in the windows of Hooters claiming he was unaware of the many scantily clad waitresses parading around him.)

And, how exciting was it finally meeting Mickey? Very. (Yes, even more so than my visit to Hooters.) As you can see in the pic below. (Yes, it was perhaps a little too hot to be wearing black every day.) I’ve met him many times since, with friends and family, in California and Paris. He never remembers me. Bit rude. But he still makes me smile every time.

Spotify linky:
The Rentals – Friends Of P.

Diary doodles 1990 - No.4

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

‘Christine’ – The House Of Love (1988)

“And the whole world dragged us down,
And the whole world turned aside.”

This song made me want to make friends with a Christine. I still haven’t to this day. It’s one of the great disappointments in my life. I love it when songs do that to me. It always adds that extra poignancy to a great song when it shares a name with one of your friends.

I knew a Charlotte, so The Cure’s ‘Charlotte Sometimes’ was made that bit more special. But I’ve yet to meet a Lola or a Velouria. I need more exotic friends. Especially if I’m ever to meet a Candy. That would surely top trump them all.

So I don’t have a Christine in my life to make me think of this song. Instead, it reminds me of sitting on the pavement outside the old Town and Country Club in Kentish Town (now the HMV Forum *sighs*) with my friend Chris the year this single came out. He’d talked me into coming up to town to see The House Of Love take part in the Creation Records ‘Doing It For The Kids’ gig. It’d been sold out for ages. We didn’t have tickets. And we never got tickets. But we enjoyed ourselves just hanging outside for a few hours with other fans. Those were simpler times.

P.S. If you’re reading this and called Christine, get in touch.

Spotify linky:
The House Of Love – Christine - John Peel 2/4/89
(The full-blown single version has yet to appear on Spotify, so I’ve linked to an acoustic radio session.)

On this day … 1991 (aged 20)

Scribblings from my diary …

“I water the garden. It’s all dead anyway.”

Monday, 5 July 2010

‘Last Exit For The Lost’ – Fields Of The Nephilim (1988)

“Summerland holds me in sumerian haze.”

“Gooooooth!” I used to hear this shouted at me about two dozen times a day at school. Most often in quite friendly ways – it kinda became my nickname back in the days when I was the only goth in school. But every so often it was some gang of lads in the year above heckling me between classes. That’s as far as they ever went though, until one day when I was in the Lower Sixth.

By some twist of good fortune, all the friends I made at my first school grew up to be the toughest kids in the playground in later years – the kind that would always be called out of class to see the Headmaster for smoking at break-time, bringing knives into school, or burning down the music room. Strangely enough, the toughest kids can be the most sentimental, which meant I always escaped their bullying as they’d remember the days we used to play with our Smurfs together up the park.

By the time I reached the Sixth Form though, my luck looked like it was about to run out as by then they’d all either left or been expelled (generally the latter). This left me in the clutches of my arch nemesis: the Head Boy. His favourite band was Level 42. Need I say more? He’d parade around school with two lackies and continually tell me to tuck my shirt in. This seemed to become an obsession with him. He seemed to feel I was undermining his authority by completely ignoring his request and walking straight past him without even looking up.

What I didn’t know at the time was that one day he finally snapped and was planning to ambush me with his mates up the school’s bridle path. But it seemed I had a guardian angel. Well, two really. A kid we called ‘Stir’ stepped in to warn them off for me – because his sister in the year below liked me (yes, I know, imagine someone liking me; I was as surprised as you). 'Stir' was one of those kids who would either charm or pummel you into doing something – the choice was yours. They left me alone after that. I only found all this out a few years back. So I’m sending a big belated thanks out now to ‘Stir’ and his fab sister. And a big “ner-ner-ner-ner-ner” to that Head Boy, wherever he is. Oops ... perhaps I shouldn’t do that. I haven’t anyone left to protect me these days.

Spotify linky:

Saturday, 3 July 2010

‘Pure’ – The Lightning Seeds (1989)

“Night-time slows,
Raindrops splash rainbows.
Perhaps someone you know,
Could sparkle and shine.”

Why did The Lightning Seeds only ever make one good song? No, not just a ‘good’ song. A sparkling pop gem. It’s one of the great mysteries of the world. (Yes, I’m sure there a few fans of ‘Three Lions’ who will dispute this with me. But you’re deluded.)

I rarely buy only one record from a band – my obsessive compulsive nature results in me usually tracking down every rare import and shoddy bootleg from every band I like. But I never had any interest in The Lightning Seeds after this first single. (I don’t think I even played the b-side.) And I’m surprised I liked it at all, as at the time I was all gothed up. It was the summer of 1989 and I’d just left school. I remember my friend Charlotte would call round a lot over those summer weeks and wonder why I always had this song on. I had no answer.

This seven inch version is still my only copy. Another peculiarity, as I always buy my favourite songs in new formats as they come along (from vinyl to CD to MP3). It’s like it has become some kind of treasured talisman. I even only allow myself to play it occasionally so as not to diminish its power to immediately transport me back to those days. (Ok, I’m just sounding odd now.)

Anyone else been strangely possessed by The Lightning Seeds? Is there a support group I should know about?

Spotify linky:

On this day ... 1991 (aged 20)

Scribblings from my diary …

“Spend the morning compiling a holiday tape for Lara. Full of obscure records to annoy her.”

Friday, 2 July 2010

‘Cruiser’s Creek’– The Fall (1985)

“See the street-litter twisting in the wind,
Crisp bags turning.”

Watching mid-80s US Brat Pack movies warned me off house parties. You know the ones … you invite a few friends over when your parents are away, they tell everyone at school, a rabble of older kids gatecrash and wreck your house while listening to Tears For Fears, and the kid who’s good at science drives your dad’s car into next door’s pool.

My parents couldn’t leave their house in safer hands when they went away. I hated parties. I rarely enjoyed being around more than one person at a time. And my tinnitus stopped me playing music too loudly. Yep, I sound like a real fun teenager, don’t I? Thing is, I’m exactly that way now too.

Only once did our neighbour come round to complain about the noise and he was quite surprised to find me in on my own. It was the summer of 1989 and John Peel had decided to play every session by The Fall over three nights. So I was listening to the latest show with all the windows wide open while doing some dusting. Yes, dusting. This is how I chose to spend my nights home alone as a teenager. I think my neighbour had rather hoped I was having a party so that he could report back to my parents that I was perfectly normal. Instead, he had to tell them he found me singing along to ‘Cruiser’s Creek’ with a feather duster in my hand. Very little changes in my life.

Spotify linky:

Diary doodles 1990 - No.3

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

‘The Sounds Of Star Wars’ – The Sonic All-Stars (1977)

“Mission control calling all eathlings. Pickwick International have broken through the inter-cosmic barriers with a new and hitherto unidentified sound.”

Many of the first albums I owned as a kid were soundtracks. In those days (otherwise known as the 70s), there were only two ways to see films: at the cinema or broadcast on telly (three years later). So soundtracks and novelisations were the closest you could get to re-living your favourite films.

I’m quite certain my grandparents bought me this record, as I saw ‘Star Wars’ with them countless times when it came out. And as a 6-year-old, I really wasn’t that worried that instead of the original John Williams score, I was listening to The Sonic All-Stars conducted by Bruce Baxter. As a 39-year-old listening back to it now, I think Pickwick International pretty much nailed it with their description at the top there: there is indeed very little you can identify on here. “Why bother with an orchestra when you can use one of these new synthesizer things?”

The album does immediately take me back though to those days of playing with my Star Wars figures in my room, reading Star Wars comics in the woods, and drawing more Star Wars adventures with my Star Wars pencils from my Star Wars pencil case, before falling asleep on my Star Wars pillow in my Star Wars pyjamas. Of course, at my age, I shouldn’t still be doing those things, but hey.

My Star Wars memories could fill a blog of their own … Watching it at the free cinema at Butlins with the sound two seconds out of synch. Watching ‘Return Of The Jedi’ and the film melting just as the Death Star explodes (oops – spoiler). Watching the original trilogy as an all-dayer with my cousins – and having the cinema almost to ourselves for nine hours. Popping over to Boston to see ‘The Phantom Menace’ the day it came out (three months ahead of the UK). And so on. Have you given up reading yet?

“So today’s song pick was simply an excuse to write about Star Wars?” Yes, it was. May the Force be with you. Always.

Spotify linky (rest easy: Spotify doesn't have the Pickwick version):
London Symphony Orchestra;John Williams – Main Title/Rebel Blockade Runner - Medley

Monday, 28 June 2010

‘Lorelei’ – Cocteau Twins (1984)

“And we can go …”

There was a time when I wanted children. I think it was 4th May 1989. But the feeling passed.

In that fleeting moment though, I immediately had that whole tricky naming them thing sorted. That was thanks to ‘Treasure’ by the Cocteau Twins. I’d simply name them after each album track: Ivo, Lorelei, Beatrix, Persephone, Pandora, Amelia, Aloysius, Cicely, Otterley and Donimo.

Yes, ok, poor Otterley may get a bit of stick in the school playground, and Aloysius will be forever repeating his name to call centre staff, but each one struck me as simply wonderful. However, since I won’t be needing them, feel free to use this idea yourself.

Spotify linky:
Cocteau Twins – Lorelei

Bonus Diary Doodles 1990 - No.2

Diary doodles 1990 - No.1

"What is this supposed to be?!!?" Me. Vacuuming. In my Charlatans 'Looking for the orange one' T-shirt. Obviously.

During the summer of 1990 (aged 19), I began capturing daily events using a black felt-tip pen, some crayons and my left-hand (I'm naturally right-handed - I was teaching myself to be ambidextrous). I thought I'd stick some up here over the next month or so.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

‘I Don’t Wanna Be Friends With You – Shop Assistants (1986)

“Say you want to leave while you still like me.
Is this what you do to the people you like?”

People say that it’s hard to find presents for me. It’s not. Just buy me badges – or buttons, if you’re reading this in the US.

At school, my bag and coat were covered in badges I’d bought in Kensington Market and Carnaby Street. Or made myself, by cutting pictures from the music papers. They always featured the names or album sleeves of obscure indie bands, such as the Shop Assistants. It was all part of my social vetting process. A nod of recognition would spark a lifelong friendship. More often than not though, it was shrugs of indifference from my Bon Jovi-loving classmates. My friend Chris took another approach and would try to antagonise the teachers with badges declaring his love for Gaye Bykers on Acid and Alien Sex Fiend.

Let’s take a peek at my bag and coat today. ‘Home is where the record player is.’ ‘Can’t sleep; clowns will eat me.’ ‘Ninjas are watching you.’ And a fab weather-worn Moomins badge my friend Tarnie made for me (and some woman on a train once wanted to buy).

I recently lost a wonderful Pat Phoenix badge that I’d had since school days. Shop assistants (ooh ... nice bit of symmetry there) would often ask me who it was … and then quickly wish they hadn’t bothered when I used to start recounting tales of 'Coronation Street' from the 1970s. Anyhoo … now you know what to get me for Christmas.

Spotify linky:

On this day ... 1986 (aged 15)

Scribblings from my diary …

“A new burger bar opens in Frimley. Madden and I get half price off lunch at our usual chippy ‘cos we don’t go to it.”

Now playing: ‘Home’ – Edward Sharpe And The Magnetic Zeros (2009)

“Do you remember that day you fell out of my window?”

You know when you buy a compilation album and a couple of tracks immediately stand out? Yes? And then you put it on again a few months later and a whole new song grabs your ears. That’s what happened here.

Apple’s Genius thingy told me that if I liked The National then I’d probably like to listen to this track from the latest ‘Counter Culture’ collection from Rough Trade. And it was right. As I walked from Farringdon down to Temple t'other night, I listened to ‘Home’ over and over. And then over again. There were tales of adventure and deep longing. There was whistling and tambourines. And a little bit of banter in the middle. I always love a little bit of Nancy & Lee-style banter in the middle. Glorious.

I loved the fact they’d sprung from nowhere that evening and I knew nothing about them. That’s how I want it to stay for a while. I refuse to discover anymore about them. All I need is this song. See if you agree.

Spotify linky:

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

'Heroes' - David Bowie (1977)

“I …
I wish I could swim.
Like the dolphins.
Like dolphins can swim.”

Bowie popped up in my life a number of times before he really caught my attention. Not literally, obviously. It wasn’t like I’d be staring out the window in Geography class and he’d be waving furiously at me from the playing fields. Though that would have been cool.

No, the reality was more the odd song on the radio here, the odd Top Of The Pops performance there. But none of them made me want to dip into his music any further. I think this was because my Bowie was 80s Bowie. I’d just missed the real good stuff.

The first time I clearly remember hearing one of his songs was at a disco (yes, kids, a disco) on another dreaded school trip. My first and last disco. The song was ‘Let’s Dance’ which was number one at the time. It stood out because it wasn’t Duran Duran, which was about the only thing the DJ (or Mr Abbott the PE teacher, as he was otherwise known) had been playing all evening.

My second encounter of the Bowie kind was in ‘Labyrinth’. At some point, this film appears to have achieved cult status and everyone in their late 20s seems to love the Goblin King. But at the time I just remember thinking, “Who’s this guy getting in the way of all the ace muppets?”

And then, in 1990, EMI began reissuing all Bowie’s albums as he went on tour to play all his big songs (except ‘The Laughing Gnome’) one final time. (And then one final time again a few years later. And then again a few years after that, etc.) At this time, Chris Roberts (my favourite music journalist then and now) wrote a review of the ‘Sound And Vision’ greatest hits collection in Melody Maker that I can still picture to this day. I’ll thank him now for it. The way he wrote about ‘Heroes’ made me want to immediately hear early Bowie. And he even brought new depths to later songs I’d already heard, such as ‘Blue Jean’. I went out that lunchtime at college and began building my Bowie collection. Yep, even the 'Labyrinth' soundtrack is in there. But that’s another post.

Spotify linky (the full length album version):

On this day ... 1991 (aged 20)

Scribblings from my diary …

“Help Lara with an English essay on dreams. I make up a simply stupid story about a pillow that fills your head with dreams, but it obviously goes wrong and the person using it never wakes up.”

Monday, 21 June 2010

Frank Sidebottom (1956 - 2010) RIP

Sodden nights in Berkshire fields. Sticky donut sugar fingers. Stench of burning polystyrene. Watching a man with an over-sized papier-mâché head sing to a hand puppet with a matching papier-mâché head. “Guess who’s been on Match of the Day.” The raucous crowd chants back: “You have! In your big shorts!” These are some of my fondest memories of the Reading Festival in the late-1980s.

Frank Sidebottom defines ‘one-of-a-kind’. Unless you count little Frank. Which we should. So, ok … ‘two-of-a-kind’. His annual Reading Festival appearances in the comedy tent made me and my friend Chris huge fans. And when he began popping up on Saturday morning telly shows such as ‘Number 73’, I could finally share his genius wonky-voiced comedy nonsense and hatstand bobbins pop covers with my younger sister. ‘Bemused’ would probably be the kindest way to describe her reaction.

It’s been over a decade since I last saw Timperley’s finest on stage, but I always hoped one day I’d share another sugary sweet donut and rainy Reading night with him. Sadly, that’s not to be as Frank Sidebottom (real name, Chris Sievey) collapsed and died at home in Greater Manchester today, after recently recovering from treatment to a tumour on his chest.

Frank, we dearly miss you. “You know we do. We really do.”

Spotify has yet to recognise the mighty Frank, so we turn to YouTube for two tip-top live clips:

‘Manchester Medley’

‘Hit The North’

Sunday, 20 June 2010

'Little Star' - Stina Nordenstam (1994)

“You must have wanted him to know.
You must have wanted the world to know.”

On the first day of my first job, I was savaged by a table of directors at ‘a big British energy company’ for a documentary script that wasn’t mine. It wasn’t the comfortable day of settling in to life in a Soho video production company that I had imagined. I should have taken it as a warning of things to come.

My new boss (the one who thought I looked like a penguin snatcher) had in fact written the script, but knew they weren’t happy so I had been sent in with instructions to pretend it was mine. It was a gruelling hour of four old men looking dismissively at me while I had to nod along in silent acceptance of every mistake I hadn’t made.

I arrived back at the office with my new pad full of notes and amends which I handed to my boss so he could crack on with a new draft. But it seemed that wasn’t the plan. This was now my project and was to be my first script. And I had two days to turn it around.

Sixteen years later, I’m actually grateful for having such an eventful introduction to life as a writer. It makes you pretty fearless. And my revised draft got the thumbs up, which was a big confidence boost. But at the time, the only bright point to the day was buying Stina Nordenstam’s new album ('And She Closed Her Eyes') at Selectadisc and hearing this exquisite song. I’d need many more songs like this to get through the next five years in that job.

Spotify linky: