Saturday, 22 September 2012

'Weightless Again' - The Handsome Family (1998)

"We stopped for coffee in the Redwood forest;
Giant dripping leaves,
Spoons of powdered cream.
I wanted to kiss you, but wasn’t sure how."

There’s a note waiting for me in the hallway. Must be from my new neighbours welcoming me to the building. Yes, it’s from the girl next door. But she seems to have skipped straight over the welcoming part and launched straight in to ‘Please don’t play any music between 11pm and 8am’. That’s friendly. Especially as I haven’t even played a single song yet. Guess she must have noticed that the dozen crates I moved in yesterday were all labelled ‘Records’.  

She needn’t have worried. My tinnitus means I can never play anything loud anyway. And over the next couple of years, I often thought I’m the one who should be writing letters as she seemed to be continually throwing Proclaimers-themed parties.

Fourteen years later, she’s moved on. And I’m still here. Nesting. Moving again seems too much of an ordeal. Far easier to just buy every flat on this floor and knock through. That’s the plan. At least that was the plan, until my friend pointed out that when I’m older I’ll be stuck three floors up with no lift. Hmm.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

'(Hey You) Rock Steady Crew' - Rock Steady Crew (1983)

"Bodies in expression of music inspiration,
Tell us when you feel it,
‘Cause we’re gonna rock the nation."

Hip hop was my life. For one weekend in 1983. Think I got carried away by a trip to Croydon. It always seemed like Judge Dredd’s Mega-City One when I was a kid. With its towering concrete edifices, block wars, Umpty-baggers, chump dumping and Stookie glanding. (Ok, I may have over-stretched that analogy a little.). The big difference was that Croydon seemed more lawless. (Yeah, yeah, only joking. Or am I? Yes, I am.)  

Mega-City One illustrated by Gary Erskine.
Weekend shopping trips to Croydon with my grandparents meant I got gifts. Which is how I found myself in Our Price buying this 12-inch. My one connection to a scene that had nothing to do with my life. I wasn’t about to start popping and locking any time soon. But I’d seen someone breakdancing on a bit of cardboard outside Bejams earlier. Next to a wall covered in amateurish graffiti. So this seemed like a suitable souvenir.      

How different my life could have been if I’d let a little more electric boogaloo in to my world. Instead, the enchanting sirens of gothdom were beckoning me.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

'Where's Me Jumper?' - Sultans Of Ping F.C. (1991)

"It’s alright to say things can only get better;
You haven’t lost your brand new sweater."

"We’re on the cover of Melody Maker, Michael."

"Really, Chris? Because I’ve got it right here and I can’t see us. There’s four mud-caked lads staring at me."

"Ignore them. Look between the middle two guys at the crowd in the background. And to the right. That’s your giant parka and the back of your head."

"Hmmm. Perhaps."

"And that’s me next to you, Michael."

"Hmmm. I won’t be getting it framed."

The year we all spent three days up to our knees in mud
and folk went home with trench foot.

Fourth on the bill in the Session Tent...

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

"Strangeways, Here We Come" - The Smiths (1987)

"I travelled to a mystical time zone,
But I missed my bed,
And I soon came home."

Is the Summer over? Can I come out of hibernation now? What did I miss?

So… we were talking about The Smiths. "Oh no, Michael. Let’s move on  to something else." Ah, but we can’t. We need to wallow in the 25th anniversary of "Strangeways…" and The Smiths splitting. The news that Johnny Marr had left the group had broken in the NME a month back. It almost ruined my week on holiday in Swanage with my grandparents and cousins. Above the Mary Chain on the cover was a big ‘Why I Quit’ headline. Oh, here it is…       

My copy of this is in the loft somewhere, so thank you
Come on, you know you’ve missed these stupidly detailed musings. Heartbroken by the seaside, there was at least one final studio album on the way. Though the cloying absurdity of their current single ‘Girlfriend In A Coma’ didn’t bode well.

Morrissey has often claimed ‘Strangeways…’ is his favourite album. Marr too. I can’t agree as ‘The Queen Is Dead’ remains their glistening pinnacle for me. But they bowed out in their own inimitable style with some wonderfully intuitive paeans to the loveless, witless and, er, spleenless. And no-one rolls an ‘r’ quite like Morrissey.
Let’s hope they never reunite.

Spotify linky: