Friday, July 20, 2007

no escape from noise

i think i may have mentioned before that i used to make frequent trips to stay with my friends up in blackpool.
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.

negativland | escape from noise

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.

negativland | helter stupid

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.

negativand | points

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.


both the first and the last times that i saw cud was at coventry university.
i had a friend studying there and used to go and stay.
i hadn't really been interested much in cud - their early singles didn't get me all excited like they did my friends.

i can barely remember the first cud gig.
i have no idea why this event has disappeared so completely from my memory because the one thing that i do remember is that i bought a cud t-shirt.
and if the show had been so terrible as to have been forgetable surely i'd have not bothered to spend money on merchandise.
it was white and had a large flourescent orange U with udders on the front.
i wore it approximately once.
then i put it in the bin.

cud | when in rome kill me

then one day "when in rome kill me" came out.
i decided i didn't like it.
EVERYONE was going on about how fantastic cud were and it bored me rigid.
my girlfriend had bought it too and i had to listen to it constantly.

fast forward a year or two and i'm no longer with said girlfriend and i have started drinking and i have a new bosom buddy.
the thing is, this new buddy likes cud.
he also likes lots of other stuff that i like - julian cope, the fall, you know...
but he likes cud.

around this time the dreaded "indie-dance" thing was really kicking off and that, as i've mentioned before, DEFINITELY wasn't for me.
one evening this buddy of mine suggested we go see cud - they were playing birmingham.
we caught a train over and i watched them and suddenly i 'got it'.

i'm sure me 'getting' cud has more to do with my initial attitude to them and the fact they were making music you could dance to without sounding like the now f*cking atrocious soup dragons or primal cr*ppy scream (don't even get me started on my views on "screamadelica" because it might make you want to kill me).

anyway, where was i?
ah, yes.

cud, and how i became a fan.

from this first cud epiphany i and my buddy - why on earth am i using the word "buddy", i never say buddy in real life - i and my friend saw cud in various venues at least half a dozen times over the course of a few months.

cud | elvis belt

when "elvis belt" came out in 1991 i bought it and realised what i'd been missing out on by not buying the early singles.
but then something horrible happened.

the same year as "elvis bet" cud made some new records.
and they fell heavily into the catagory of "indie-dance".
my heart sank.

cud | leggy mambo

i bought the next album, "leggy mambo" but i knew i'd hate it before i even got it onto the record deck.

that same year the wedding present did a tour that was going to have a witness supporting.
i was so excited.
the tour called at coventry university and i just had to go.
sadly, a few weeks prior to the tour, a witness' guitar supremo rick aitken died in a rock climbing accident.
and who replaced a witness on the bill?
they played 40 minutes of poor dancey fluff and i booed them loudly and vigourously.
not one mention was made of why they were there and that infuriated me.
it wouldn't have hurt them to mention what had happened.
looking back of course i now think well why should they have.

i got home and filed my cud records away.
soon after my close friend and i drifted apart - he followed cud down the dance path towards the shamen, ecstacy, house music and raves in disused warehouses and i went back to my dog faced hermans, stretchheads, dawson thing.

nowadays i can listen to "when in rome kill me" and enjoy it.
but it's still tinged with a certain sadness at lost heroes, lost friends and lost bands i once loved.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

hello again

been moving house, getting reconnected, etc.

i WILL have more to say very shortly.