March 5th, 2014
Download: She’s Artistic – The Photos (mp3)
The Photos were touted as the new Blondie with their New Wave pop hooks and pretty lead singer Wendy Wu, but they crashed and burned after just the one album for reasons I’m not entirely sure about. I bought it but didn’t think they lived up to the hype. They did record a second album but it never got a proper release.
Pictured: The talented, beautiful, tragic Pauline Boty.
February 7th, 2014
Nice to see Talking Heads before they became a multimedia art project.
January 17th, 2014
Highly appropriate that this should be directed by a man called Christopher Robin. As if last week’s Pale Fountains video was directed by a Holden Caulfield.
November 19th, 2013
Originally posted August 2007.
I was never the sort of kid who was interested in planes or trains or automobiles, but even I got a kick out of seeing Concorde. It started commercial flights in 1976 and used to fly over our school one afternoon every week on its way from Heathrow to Bahrain. For a while that was the only route it flew out of England so spotting it was something of an event. We were usually in the playground on our way to the next lesson when it came over, everyone would excitedly look up when we heard its roaring engines and kids inside would rush over to their classroom windows to try and catch a glimpse.
What made Concorde so great was that it was (at least partly) British. It started flying during the dark days of the 1970s when the country was falling apart and we had little to be proud of except our “glorious” past, but here was this gorgeous, futuristic thing we helped design and build — easily the most beautiful passenger plane ever created. With it’s sleek, sexy lines and thrusting nose it was like the E-Type of aircraft, an object that stirred the loins of national pride. The fact that the Americans wouldn’t allow it to land at their airports made our pride swell even more, they said it was because of noise pollution but we thought they were just jealous because they hadn’t built the world’s first supersonic airliner themselves.
The Concorde project started in the 50s but to me it evoked the British “can do” forward thinking of the 1960s, that optimistic period when when we’d never had it so good and Harold Wilson was talking about the “white hot heat” of the technological revolution. It didn’t last of course, by the time Concorde was ready to fly the country was in the toilet and the oil crisis meant there wasn’t much demand for a petrol-hungry supersonic plane. So it was a bit of a white elephant that cost a boatload of money and ended up in limited service for the wealthy, but it was a magnificent white elephant and it was ours.
John Peel played some bizarre music on his show but “There Goes Concorde Again” by …And The Native Hipsters from 1980 must rank as the one of the most completely bonkers. This is nearly seven minutes of spoken word whimsy punctuated by tuneless electronic bleeps and bloops and the occasional clattering of typewriter keys. “Vocalist” Nanette Greenblatt sounds like some batty old cat lady who spends too much time indoors, watching the comings and goings of the world from behind her net curtains. You either love this or it will drive you from the room screaming. Me, I think it’s a lovely piece of peculiarly English eccentricity and never get tired of it no matter how many times she says “ooh look!” — which is a lot.
Surprisingly this was a big hit on the indie charts and I swear I remember Peel playing a parody version of it someone did about looking out of the window and seeing two Joy Division fans walk by carrying copies of “Unknown Pleasures” under their arms. Anyone else remember this or did I hallucinate the whole thing?
Download: There Goes Concorde Again – …And The Native Hipsters (mp3)
November 13th, 2013
In the old, dirty (and cheaper) London like the 1970s of these photos you’d see concert ads like these plastered everywhere, and in areas like Camden and Ladbroke Grove with a happening music scene and a more bohemian population the walls were often like dense collages of old and new posters pasted on top of each other in thick layers.
This constantly-changing gallery was a highly visible sign of the vibrancy of the city’s music scene, and these cheaply-printed, often illegally posted posters were a very rock and roll form of advertising. More than an email alert anyway.
A couple of gigs well worth going to above, like The Police with The Cramps at the Lyceum, and Rockpile with The Specials (bottom of the bill!) at the Palais, while below on the right there is a poster advertising the strange combo of bland soft-rockers Sad Cafe with punk poet John Cooper Clarke. Think I’d rather have gone to see Motörhead at The Music Machine..
This must be the strangest one though: Prog Rockers Curved Air with the New York Dolls third on the bill. I like to think people had more eclectic tastes back then, but more than likely the Dolls got booed off or had beer cans thrown at them by angry hippies.
I’ve seen some great headliner/support combos in my day: Orange Juice/The Pale Fountains, The Pretenders/UB40, U2/Public Enemy, and Siouxsie & The Banshees/The Associates. Sadly that last one was a bit of a disaster as the punks in the audience didn’t care for their avant-garde artpop and showered Billy Mackenzie in spit and beer the whole time they were on. The poor sod just stood there in a big fur coat and took it with a massive grin on his face.
I never saw this lot in concert but the song has the word “Wall” in the title and it’s live too, so what the hell.
Download: Over The Wall (Live 1981) – Echo & The Bunnymen (mp3)
October 22nd, 2013
The “it” in this case must mean abducting a girl in broad daylight on a busy city street. I guess having a fast car would make that a lot easier.
Download: Cartrouble – Adam & The Ants (mp3)
October 14th, 2013
Actress Jane Horrocks is probably best known for playing the ditzy Bubbles in Absolutely Fabulous and for the movie Little Voice. She’s also known for her brilliant vocal impersonations of divas like Judy Garland and Shirley Bassey, but now she’s singing in her own voice on what is planned as a series of cover versions of Post-Punk classics, starting with Joy Division’s “Isolation” which features Rat Scabies on drums. Very good it is too, I might go so far to say I prefer it to the original but that could just be because I prefer female voices.
Buy it at iTunes.
(Discovered over at Paul Gorman’s blog.)
October 9th, 2013
This is what the future was supposed to look like. But if it had stayed as bright and cheerful as this what would skinny white boys with synthesizers write songs about?
Download: Underpass – John Foxx (mp3)