I’ve been thinking about my Mum and Dad a lot more recently, probably because my Dad will soon be having heart bypass surgery. Mum, a hairdresser in mid-sixties West End London, was a Stones at Eel Pie Island girl. Dad was a more stoic type, a (sort of) fan of The Shadows but much more a follower of West Ham. Mum married him because he made her laugh and was capable. Her words. In later years, just before I left home, Mum had become a Pogues fan and Dad was a Clapton and Dire Straits sort of chap. Not much has changed since, although their musical venn diagram crosses over at late fifties rock and roll, Abba and The Bee Gees, so that’s what they mostly have on in the car. Mum covets a pair of Doc Martens, Dad is a walking gear kind of bloke but they happily co-exist in their musical crossover. Anyone got any similar stories?
Inspired by the New Order thread, and I hope I’m not being too rude or treading on anyone’s toes here, as this idea was suggested to someone else, but I’d be fascinated to see a thread on this so I hope no-one minds! I too am very keen to know if there are any “older” bands still making interesting music out there. When I say older, I guess I am referring to any band or artist who has been releasing stuff for 30 years or over. That only takes us to 1990, which to me still feels pretty recent. I can think of a few… Sparks, A Certain Ratio, Wire and The Monochrome Set spring to mind, but they are very much within my comfort zone. They don’t have to be selling thousands either, the scale of it doesn’t matter, they just have to be writing new music that still sees them developing and striving to be a properly functioning outfit and not just taking the money. Anyone have any others to suggest?
Tragically young, at the age of 53. I think I’ve seen her with three bands, definitely Primal Scream and A Certain Ratio, possibly with Electronic too. A superb vocalist, and maybe even a bit unsung. She helped make a generally agreed classic out of Screamadelica to name just the one. Solo album was due out in September apparently. Her friends on Twitter have been saying Rest in Power…I can only agree wholeheartedly.
I’m sure this has been done a few times before, but it’s always good to hear new ideas.
I’ve got really into podcasts over the last year or so. They are a great way to cover my 60 mile round trip commute every day, especially as many of them seem coincidentally to fit almost exactly into the hour or so that each individual journey takes. Unfortunately that does mean that after going back through the many previous editions that are available, I will soon run out of the ones I have been listening to and I could do with some inspiration.
Current ones I’ve enjoyed include: The Treehouse (Danny Baker) which is mostly really good if a little short sometimes, (anyone else notice how sidekick the very able Louise Pepper seems to be adopting more of his mannerisms by the week?) Behind Closed Doors (Baker and Lineker) which recently returned after a break, and there is a good contrast between Baker’s wit and Lineker’s more earnest approach. Trolled, which has ex soap actress Tracy Ann Oberman interviewing people in the public eye about their experiences of being trolled on social media (much better than it sounds, honestly!) The » Continue Reading.
Since Christmas and being given a new turntable, I am buying vinyl again. It’s been great seeing proper album covers in all their full LP sleeve sized glory and I can remember artwork playing a significant part in certain LP buying choices…some real stinkers must have put me off. Others would have made the buy much more appealing I’m sure. I can remember thinking like this. However, I sold the vast majority of my vinyl albums about 18 years ago when we had kids and needed the money. As a result I can’t go and check this for myself, but has anyone ever brought any album where you were in two minds whether to buy it, but the artwork tipped you over the edge in persuasion and you ended up unreservedly loving the music?
Haven’t started a proper new post for ages so I’m jumping back in. Like many other middle aged parents this weekend I suspect, we have dropped our eldest at University for the first time. She chose Hertfordshire, partly because not that many places do her chosen course. Now her campus, at Hatfield, is only just under an hour from where we live but when you are dropping your first born it felt quite a bit longer than that. Now, I know she is going to be absolutely fine, having regularly travelled into London to meet her boyfriend and shown a general level of independence which I have long been impressed with. Seeing your kids go onto the next fledgling steps of their life is in the natural scheme of things, I know this, I am usually a rational kind of chap. So why is it that coming home and seeing her almost empty bedroom caused a lump in the throat that still hasn’t quite shifted? I’ve been impressed with just how organised everything is with going to study these days, there was none of the clueless chaos of when I went, back in the eighties. Thanks to a well moderated » Continue Reading.
I suspect that that this may have been done before, so I will try and be specific:
a) The first band/artist you paid to see (not including festivals) b) Who did you go with c) Was were your impressions of it? d) Did you end up a long term fan?
a) Mine was The Monochrome Set at North London Poly sometime in the second half of 1983. b) Went with my first proper girlfriend who was quite a fan. Quite a long way from South West London, most of the way up the Piccadilly line. c) Had no idea what to expect being a tad naive but I really enjoyed it. Possibly not the era or line up most beloved of The Set connoisseurs but it was the one I knew, plus we had listened to all the albums quite a lot, so knew most of the songs. Stood right near the front. Like many others who speak about their first gig, I loved the way the sound of the bass and drums hit you right in the chest. And it was pretty loud! d) Ended up seeing them about three times more in the next couple of » Continue Reading.
Having reached the ripe old age of 51 last year I am starting to get more and more stuff sent to me, via email and in the post, about older people’s stuff and retirement in particular. You probably know the sort of thing; Saga/insurance/comfortable trousers and footwear etc. Now I’ll have the targeted advert senders know that I’m still a Docs and Levi’s wearing kind of chap thank you very much. But it does make you think. Last month, having recently inherited some money, I brought a very nice camper van, no, not the old VW type, a much newer Peugeot Boxer Van model, and quite frankly I’d like the time to start using it more than just at weekends. It’s not really a typical mid-life crisis, as Mrs NL was right behind the idea being a stalwart camper herself. That’s my justification anyway… I suppose I am quite lucky in that I don’t actively hate my job, although I am becoming more convinced that I’d like to go part time at some point in the next few years. The kids are in compulsory education for another couple of years, and we will move somewhere much cheaper at that point. » Continue Reading.
Any ideas for the most awkward gig you’ve been to? Sometime in the early 2000’s, on holiday in North Devon, Mrs. L and I went to see Suzanne Vega at the Queen’s Theatre in Barnstaple. Mrs L was a big fan and I liked a few songs, so all seemed set for a good holiday gig. Accompanied only by a bass player, Vega started with a couple of nicely stripped down songs which seemed to go down well. However, she then made her first announcement. “It’s so nice to be here in Cornwall, (confusing Devon for its next door neighbour) I’m looking forward to a cream tea.” Now for an American on tour I guess this was an easy mistake to make and I would have cut her a lot of slack for it, hoping she might have used humour to make the best of an error but there was no chance of that. There was a slightly awkward murmur, and a loudmouth a couple of rows behind shouted out in an irritated and pained voice “Oh NOOOOOO, you’ve got it wrong, this is DEVOOOONNN!!!” Now Suzanne Vega can come across a little School Marm-ish at the best of times, » Continue Reading.
This is a non-music related post but it may still be of interest to some. An article in today’s Guardian by John Harris (ex music journo, more recently turned to politics and Brexit in particular) about the decline of British towns has made me think about how our town centres have changed over the last twenty to thirty years or so, in particular the paragraph on the “radical reinvention” of Doncaster town centre and the proposed bars, restaurants and rejuvenated markets that this will entail. Now I trust John Harris and his often very depressing tales of post referendum Britain. He makes a good point about the state of our town and city centres reflecting our current tortured angst as a nation. However, I wonder, is Doncaster’s approach really so radical, as it seems to be the default/last throw of the dice for most places who can attract a bit of investment? As some background to this, for the last few months we have been taking our daughter round the university open day circuit. You may know the type of thing: you drive to a town you aren’t really familiar with, find the correct building, then find the correct room » Continue Reading.
What was your “style tribe” when you were growing up? I do a lot of work with teenagers from 16-19 and they all look quite generic nowadays. Maybe at my age I just don’t recognise any groups these days but no particular groups or subcultures seem to particularly stand out. The (very) occasional goth stands out a mile now amongst the sportswear, Superdry and Primark acquisitions that this age group seem to favour, my own two kids (16 and 18) included. Hey, I don’t blame them, it’s cheap and mostly durable stuff. I started out in about 1979 as a 12 year old, heavily into 2-Tone and punk/post punk, which meant a Harrington, jeans and black Doc Martens shoes etc. (My Mum wouldn’t let me have boots until a couple of years later. Rock and roll eh?) At the age of 15 I morphed into the Oxfam heavy overcoat, black fingerless gloves, black jeans, black jumper and black DM boots look. On my 16th birthday I dyed my hair black and had my ear pierced. I thought I looked cool, and disdainful of the rest of bland society. Actually I must have looked like a chilly Marc Almond on his » Continue Reading.
With the BBC 4 “On Guitar… Lenny Kaye” programme showing tonight, I was thinking about guitarists whose work I admire. As a dabbling guitarist myself I am probably of the early Billy Bragg style, ie choppy and percussive rather than virtuoso, using just a handful of chords and making a little go a very long way. Being of the more late 1970’s and 80’s persuasion I probably veer much more towards the punk/new wave/indie style than anything else but there is the occasional (and possibly surprising) exception amongst those I admire. This is a list featuring some of my favs, in no particular order:
Steve Jones (Sex Pistols) Gets a mighty sound every time and makes Never Mind The Bollocks the superb album it is. Good in The Professionals too.
Billy Bragg Probably an unlikely candidate for a “guitar hero” to many but hey, I learned to play using Billy’s songbook from 1985 (I think.) It’s made me the “less is more” kind of guy I am now! I even found a green Burns Steer guitar which even makes me sound acceptable…
Johnny Marr Personally I can never get near the magic that Johnny comes up with, but he sounded » Continue Reading.
As suggested by John W on The Yachts thread. Here’s your opportunity to address the broad church that is Powerpop. What a broad church it is too. For me it could be anything from certain Beatles tracks, to The Jam to Fountains Of Wayne and then onto things like Marshall Crenshaw, The Smithereens, even some XTC. Many will disagree I suspect! Anyone prepared to argue the point and make their own definition? Any modern examples?
Inspired by the “I wish I’d seen this band” thread, I thought I’d ask what is the most unlikely gig you have actually seen? Mine would have to be when I saw TC&I back in October at a small local arts centre in Swindon. Who are TC&I, you may well ask? If you didn’t already know, or hadn’t already realised, it will all become much clearer when I say (for those unaware) that the TC stands for Terry Chambers and the “I” refers to Colin Moulding. Yes, we’re talking about half of XTC, who famously stopped playing live in 1982 due to singer and writer of the bulk of their songs Andy Partridge suffered an on-stage breakdown and subsequently decided to stop touring or indeed playing live at all. He pretty much stuck to it too. As a result I never thought I’d get to actually see any of those fabulous songs played by the people who wrote them. TC&I (an inspired name I thought) had released an EP in 2017 which had been well received if a tad under-publicised. So when back in July a week of dates all at the 200 capacity Swindon Arts Centre was announced, tickets » Continue Reading.
Having been born in 1967 I became a teenager in 1980. I didn’t suddenly get into music at that time because I already had. However I did most of my growing up in that much maligned decade and I do get rather fed up of the received wisdom nowadays that the eighties is only about Duran Duran, Wham, Princess Diana, Phil Collins, Live Aid, big hair, crap production, Yuppies and “Greed Is Good.” That stuff had a lot of fans for sure, but it isn’t just how I remember it! Sure, there was some awful stuff around but you ignored it. I remember new wave, post-punk, Billy Bragg’s first album, (whether you like him or not it was fresh, raw and different) the rise of REM/Sonic Youth/Pixies, the birth of The Smiths, some decent soul, innovative early hip hop, pre-gentrified festivals and a real dissenting voice that resulted in protests. Lots of them. In 1984 I left school. In the six years that followed I went to loads of gigs, played a bit of music myself, drank quite a bit, protested about a lot of things, calmed down a bit and by the end of the decade realised I should » Continue Reading.
I see on another thread there is a mention of football! Hope it’s OK to start a specific one. Does anyone else follow the beautiful game? Although I was raised as a West Ham fan I’m a non-league sort of guy these days. My team, Hampton & Richmond Borough of the National League South, are having a (cough!) “transitional” season in that we lost our manager and the backbone of the side to another club in the summer. All a bit depressing as we made the playoff final last season. Who are your teams and how are they doing at the moment?