no escape from noise
if i haven't then, um, i used to make frequent...you get the idea.
going up there was always eventful.
i used to stay in the home of ex membrane turned ceramic hob, stan batcow.
and he'd get me into adventures.
stuff i'd not think cool enough to do, but once in the middle of it thoroughly enjoyed.
like flying kites in the park.
learning to ride a unicycle.
teaching a drum class to local kids even though neither of us could play drums.
stuff like that.
all this fun was always peppered with music.
sometimes making it ourselves (with varying degrees of success - my violin playing is really pretty rotten), but more often than not listening to it.
one weekend stan played me negativland's "escape from noise".
i'd never heard anything like it.
it was electronic.
it used all sorts of bits and pieces from radio, records, tv shows and spliced them altogether into an early pop form of, i suppose, what latterly got called plunderphonics.
it was the funniest, most astonishing record i had heard for a long time.
i hunted down a copy - it was second hand but it still had the huge booket inside and i played it endlessly.
then i found a copy of "helter stupid".
it wasn't so immediate and i put it to one side.
a concept album, it commented on the music censorship debate by suggesting that one of negativland's records had prompted a young guy to kill his family.
this was at the height of the PMRC.
over the years i've kept returning to negativland.
in the early 90's i unearthed a copy of their first album in it's handmade box in a record store in manchester.
shortly afterwards i got hold of a copy of what has become my favourite negativland record, "points".
it's more relaxed than other negativland releases and sounds a lot like the krautrock of faust and early kraftwerk - after all they did name themselves after a neu! song.
i ought to say a bit about negativland's run-in with U2 but instead you can follow these links:
"some facts on the negativland/U2 lawsuit"
"intellectual property issues"
negativland on wikipedia
and once you've read all this, have a think about how negativland used to run a radio show that took live feeds from other radio stations and cut & pasted them together on air - it sheds a whole new light on U2's "zoo tv" thing.