Friday, November 24, 2006

a bit of the other

pastels | a bit of the other

were you as disappointed with the pastels video as i was?

i remember mark flunder telling me he'd been putting it together and i couldn't wait to see it.
it eventually came out on glass records in 1988 and was more than just a bit rubbish.

mark didn't like it either - supposedly the pastels had been really unhelpful in making it.
it really shows in the lack of interest they display in every scene of the video.

there's a scratchy black and white version of baby honey (that damn song was on every pastels record for 10 years! or so it seemed), and the "crawl babies" video was on there - that was probably the highlight.
poor mark - that's the one video he didn't make.

the rest of it is the pastels moping about, occassionally holding bits of plastic fruit while eugene and frances vaseline mope about in the background.

for the anoraks amongst you, stills from all this nonsense were used in the artwork for the "up for a bit" LP.

i recently watched it again.
i'd not sat through it in about 15 years.
it was even worse than i remember.
the music's fine - of course it is, it's a bunch of songs from "up for a bit" along with "truck train tractor".

at around the same time i got hold of a copy of this:

SWANS | a long slow screw

now this was more like it!

this video captures SWANS at their most brutal.
once described as "the sound of a man chained to a pole walking in endless circles" (sorry - can't remember who i'm (mis)quoting there), the live set on this video is intense and huge and frighteningly wonderful.
there's a couple of videos stuck on the end - the one for "a screw" is particularly fine.

and so i threw my hand in with the noise brigade.
i had loved the pastels, i really had.
soon after the video came the "baby, you're just you" single and the pastels had lost a fan.
from stephen pastel © haircut to burning my anorak over the course of one 4 minute pop song.


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

compilation #5 download problems

apologies for the earlier download problems.
all the links should work now.

here they are again, just in case:

xPQwRtz #5 part 1

xPQwRtz #5 part 2

happy? sad? you be the judge

you know how songs gather memories?
a song you love becomes inextricably linked with an event - the break up of a relationship or the buying of a fantastic pair of socks.

and sometimes these songs don't in themselves evoke a particular mood.
or the mood they evoke is the opposite of the effect they have on you.

with that said, here's xPQwRtz compilation #5.
like buses there are two at once this time.

#5.1 is songs that, whenever i hear them, make me feel sad or uncomfortable.
#5.2 is songs that always make me feel happy or make my heart race.

i'm not going to go into the reasons all these songs have their effect on me - it would take forever, i can't be bothered, and i'm sure you don't really care.
i'm also pretty sure you'll know a lot of these songs and you'll think, "why on earth does THAT make him sad/happy?"

so, here they are for your pleasure - two very personal groups of songs:

xPQwRtz compilation #5 part one - sad songs

felt - declaration
cannanes - woe
beloved - this means war
jazz butcher - susie
strawberry switchblade - trees & flowers
june brides - this town
chills - the great escape
kilgore trout - basilisk
marc riley & the creepers - shadow figure
microdisney - pink skinned man
pastels - surprise me
band of holy joy - mad dot
weather prophets - naked as the day you were born
sea urchins - please rain fall
biff bang pow! - if i die
stump - our fathers
television personalities - arthur the gardener
momus - murderers, the hope of women
these immortal souls - marry me (lie! lie!)
young marble giants - final day


xPQwRtz compilation #5 part two - happy songs

pastels - heaven's above
prefab sprout - don't sing
robert lloyd - the part of the anchor
stitched back foot airman - wouldn't you like to know
bIG fLAME - man of few syllables
pleasureheads - something you're above
television personalities - and don't the kids just love it
wolfhounds - disgusted, e7
soup dragons - whole wide world
great leap forward - let's jive while we're still alive
that petrol emotion - it's a good thing
scritti politti - jacques derrida
haircut one hundred - favourite shirts (boy meets girl)
bogshed - tried & tested public speaker
hit parade - stop
fire engines - candyskin
tynal tywyll - '73 heb flares
teardrop explodes - ha ha i'm drowning
woodentops - good thing


note: as usual the vast majority of these are taken from my scratchy old records and so the quality is a bit poor in places.


Monday, November 20, 2006

being a shop assistant

it's 5.30am.
i've been up since 4am worrying about some work i need to get finished.

now, full of coffee and with the work done (phew) my mind has turned to approximately 300 different subjects (that'll be the coffee), one of which is the week i spent working in my local record shop when i was 15.

i've mentioned the local record shop before.
it was called langland's.
it was my mecca.
weekly visits, sometimes daily visits almost always saw me coming away with something for the turntable.

with 21 years hindsight however the place was pretty nasty.
by midday there would be a half dozen blokes steadily drinking pints bought from the pub across the street - so much in fact that the shop became known as the langland arms.

smiths | the smiths

the first thing that should have rung alarm bells for me was when the smiths' first album came out.
the owner of the shop didn't like the smiths.
which was fine. that was his choice.
i arrived after school to pick up my copy and as i was passed it across the counter a long splodgy line of biro was drawn across the front.
i didn't complain.
but i should've.
(i've since managed to clean the offending pen mark off the cover).

one week i was asked if i'd like to help out in the shop for a week as the owner was going on holiday.
i'd been in there so often i knew my way around and knew the shop's VERY odd system for filing the records behind the counter - this involved records sitting in their inner sleeves in alphabetical/numerical order of catalogue number sub-divided into record label.

obviously i jumped at the chance.
every morning i got to the shop half an hour before opening time to get the place together, tidy up a bit, get the doors opened to clear the fug of pub-like, stale beer and cigarette air.

i enjoyed the entire week.
especially tuesday and thursday morning when the orders arrived and i had to go through the boxes sorting out all the new arrivals and getting customer orders ready.

the following monday the owner was back and i went in to hand back the keys.
a couple of records had come in for me that week too, but i'd resisted taking them home.
through the mists of time i think one of them was this:

fall | this nation's saving grace

but i can't be sure.

i handed over the keys and hung about wondering what i'd get for my week's work.
would i be paid some money or perhaps i'd be given the couple of records i'd ordered as payment?

the owner thanked me and handed me my pay.

it was a pair of sunglasses sent to every shop in the country as a promotional tool by polygram.

they went in the trash as soon as i got home.

i'm stil angry about it 21 years later.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

gaye bykers on acid | telford | 1987

gaye bykers on acid | everythang's groovy

there was a pub that a lot of people from sixth form went to called (i think) pisces.
i didn't drink alcohol in my teens (i didn't start until i was 20) and, being a rather weedy indie-kid, i was always too nervous and afraid to go in.
after all it was full of guys in black and purple wearing mission or sisters of mercy t-shirts and girls with dangerously back-combed hair and doc martens.

but one evening gaye bykers on acid were coming to town and a couple of people i knew from college said they were going and they'd meet me in the pub.
so, feeling very uncomfortable, i went in.

the barman was wearing a balaam & the angel t-shirt.
i kid you not.
it was that kind of place.

as i walked further into the pub it was like that scene from "american werewolf in london" where the hitch-hikers go into "the slaughtered lamb".
everyone looked at me.
even the jukebox seemed to stop playing.
i knew quite a lot of the faces in there and they knew me yet not a single person acknowledged me.
so i walked back out.
it's the only time i ever went in and it lasted 2 minutes at the most.

in the end i went down to the venue that GBoA were playing and went in there early, bought a glass of coke and sat in a corner feeling very very nervous that someone would ask me how old i was.

it seemed like a long long time before the band came on stage and they weren't really worth the wait.
the excitement that was their first (and best) record became a muddy metal workout live.
i didn't even stay to the end.
i did however make my first sighting of the man who was later to become the drummer in my next band after the colgates.

he was asleep on the front of the stage throughout the bykers' set.