Thursday, August 03, 2006

sonic youth, or how i broke christmas 1986

you remember the girl who stopped me seeing bogshed?

sonic youth | bad moon rising

well now, one day she was in the record shop when i went in.
she was arguing with ian who owned the place.
i said hi and flicked through the second hand records while i listened to them.
ceri (that was her name) had ordered sonic youth's "bad moon rising" but decided she didn't want it after all.
ian was always a bit funny about that kind of thing.
after all, he'd be stuck with a record that few people in telford would want and he only just made enough to keep the shop going - even then, especially in small towns like ours, high street stores like woolworths were taking all the sales of chart records and that's where the money was.

i didn't know much at all about sonic youth.
i'd read about them in the NME and stuff, but i didn't really know what i was letting myself in for when i eventually stopped the argument by saying, "i'll buy the record instead of ceri".
she smiled and thanked me and a shiver went down my spine.
teenage lust - it's a powerful thing.

i got home with the album and didn't know what to make of it - it seemed so strange and otherworldly, but i worked hard at understanding what was going on with sonic youth.
then "starpower" was released as a single and "evol" followed soon after.
i loved "starpower" - i could understand it. it was almost a pop song and it fitted much easier into my frame of reference than, say, "ghost bitch" or "brave men run".

sonic youth | evol

i asked for "evol" for christmas that year.
then i acted like a silly child.
i saw the record sat on the shelf in the record shop.
then one day i noticed it was gone.
when i got home i had a dig about in the usual places that my folks hid our christmas presents and found a 12" wrapped in christmas paper.
i sneaked it into my room, carefully unwrapped it, put a cassette in my deck and stuck the album on.
by the time i'd got to the locked groove of "expressway to yr skull (madonna, sean and me)" i had fallen in love.
all the things in "bad moon rising" that i didn't get were now easily accessible through "evol" - the churning, oddly tuned guitars were still there but this time there were - how do i put it? - tunes?
yes, tunes.
i wrote the tracklisting on the cassette case and re-wrapped the album before putting it back as i'd found it.

that was only about a week before christmas.
and it was a week filled with endless plays of "evol".

then christmas morning came.
the family opened our gifts.
i unwrapped the album for the second time and said thanks.
"is that the right one?", asked my mum.
"yes", i replied, "thanks".
"you don't seem very keen - aren't you going to play it?", she asked.
"maybe later", i said.
then the penny dropped with her and my dad.
they gave me a hard stare and told me i was 16 and shouldn't be acting like a little boy.

they were probably right.


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