The title of this one came from the fabulous Close Lobsters, who feature twice here with a couple of tracks from their excellent Headache Rhetoric album. Am I right in thinking that at the time people felt it was inferior to their Foxheads Stalk This Land debut? If so I think that is a real shame. For me Headache Rhetoric stands the test of time well; the sound of an assured and confident group. Certainly it sits well beside The Wolfhounds records of the same era, although I notice on this tape I’ve plumped for their track from the old Pink It Sells Or It Smells sampler EP. Ditto McCarthy with ‘In Purgatory’. That Pink EP was lovely with its die-cut front and spot varnish finish on the back.
Other highlights on this mix for me would be the run of New Zealand treasures on side two, led off by The Bats from their Daddy’s Highway. I played that album so much in those days. Loved it to bits. It’s something of a mystery then that I did not really follow their career much afterwards. Though by the time of their later albums I suspect my attention had been deflected by drum’n’bass and electronica. Whatever the reasons, it has been a genuine delight to discover them again in recent years. I finally got around to sourcing a digital version of Daddy’s Highway recently too, and listening again it sounds astonishingly good. It also feels beautifully familiar, like an old friend who falls back into your arms after years apart.
Sounds Like Something Dirty - A Certain Ratio (somehow escaped being zipped, so download separately!) It's Easy - Laugh Round & Round - New Order Spoilt Victorian Child - The Fall Riding The Times - Thirst My Days Are Numbered - Close Lobsters Stars In The Tarmac - The Wolfhounds In Purgatory - McCarthy She Stood Up - The Asassins Blue Thunder (With Sax) - Galaxie 500 I Had Love In My Hands - Alternative TV
Got Apprehension - Close Lobsters Marquee Moon - Television Trouble In This Town - The Bats Never Never Go - The Chills Don't Even Know Her Name - The Chills The Strange and Conflicting Feelings of Separation and Betrayal - Sneaky Feelings Better Days - Phil Wilson Rip It Up - Orange Juice Obscurity Knocks - The Trash Can Sinatras Get A Knife Between Your Teeth - McCarthy Falling Down Around Me - The Teardrop Explodes Kilburn Towers - Bee Gees Big Madness/Monday Club Carol - The Fatima Mansions
They had quite groovy haircuts as well, but that’s another story. Anyway, here’s one from January 1989. I know this to be the case because I had the foresight to add the date to the cover. It’s another rocking collection, which perhaps gives lie to the old tales about being devoutly anti-Rock and living in some candy floss Pop daydream. Whatever.
One of the things that unearthing and reassembling these old mixes reminds me of is the fact that I had remarkably few records from which to choose songs (though my mum would have begged to differ on that issue). Certainly compared to these days, when at last glance I had over 32000 songs to choose from in my music library, and literally millions more at my fingertips on the Interwebs. There is something wonderful about that ease of access of course, but equally there was something special in having limited resources. Those were days of utter immersion in records, and whilst I am willing to accept the argument that such an activity is partly to do with age, it is not entirely so. So here we have a couple of cuts from the Spacemen 3 ‘Revolution’ 12” alongside some Loop (a quick glance on the sleeve tells me that ‘Circle Grave’ was on the ‘Black Sun’ 12”) and My Bloody Valentine from the Isn’t Anything era (including one of the instrumentals from the free 7” that came with the album). Good to hear those 14 Iced Bears songs from the eponymous album on Thunderball records. My, what a splendid album that was. You can see some words I wrote about it in the old Imaginaction! Fanzine. And then there are three tracks from Lou Reed’s New York album which must have been released around that time.
The Mercy Seat - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds There Is No Time - Lou Reed Revolution - Spacemen 3 Torched - Loop (When You Wake) You're Still in a Dream - My Bloody Valentine Take It - 14 Iced Bears It's Just a Fear - Answers Psychotic Reaction - Count Five Magnificent Dreams - Television Personalities Fever Mountain - The Revolving Paint Dream Hay Fever - 14 Iced Bears
Rent Act - The Wolfhounds Don't Wait Too Long - The Jasmine Minks Strawman - Lou Reed Deanna - Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds Ché - Spacemen 3 Mandra Mandra - The Revolving Paint Dream Instrumental 2 - My Bloody Valentine Circle Grave - Loop Dime Store Mystery - Lou Reed
I was blogging for work this morning over on my Transforming Learning and Teaching blog. In the process of doing so I thought about that line in Larkins’ poem about Sidney Bechet - “on me your love falls like an enormous yes”. Eagle eyed readers will know that I referred to that line and that poem in the second issue of my Melody Haunts My Reverie fanzine, and I kind of assumed that lots of people would be familiar with it and would have quoted it in various guises on the interwebs. I was surprised then to discover that there is just ONE result returned from Google for the line. Except if you try it now there will be two. Or, erm, actually now three if you include this one. It makes me wonder if I have remembered the line slightly wrongly, which is entirely possible. I’m sure that our learned literature academics will put me right if so.
Leading on from that, I have to admit a certain level of disappointment (I’m trying to nudge myself gently away from saying ‘depression’ here) about the complete lack of interest in the Transforming Learning blog amongst my education colleagues. I’ve been in the blogging and online publishing world long enough to know that building an audience takes time, and I’ve no problem with that whatsoever. It’s the deafening silence coming from immediate colleagues that’s somewhat bewildering. Maybe it’s just evidence of that great Bukowski quote that cropped up on Quotes On Design: “Some people like what you do, some people hate what you do, but most people simply don’t give a damn.”
The Boy Himself reminds me that today is ‘officially’ Blue Monday. The most depressing day of the year, apparently. Personally I’m feeling quite upbeat and actually looking forward to a fairly regular kind of week without any disruption due to weather or days out to education shows and interviews for Newsbeat (I didn’t hear it myself but reliable sources tell me I was introduced as a Mr Pritchard, so not quite the fame I expected).
On his blog post on this topic a couple of years ago (Blue Monday I mean, not me being called Mr Pritchard) The Boy Himself ponders making a mix tape to celebrate the occasion. I think that’s a wizard idea too, so here’s one I knocked up in my shed. I call it Mist On A Monday Morning after the very marvellous Move.
Tracks below, grab your zippy here, usual terms apply, support the artists and small labels if not the multi-national corporate music industry per se, etc etc.
Monday's Rain - The Clientele A Thing Called Sadness - Bobby Vinton Glad To Be Unhappy - The Mamas & The Papas Blue Serge Blues - The Pretty Things Monday After Sunday - Chicory Tip Unhappy Boy - Twinkle Everybody's Had the Blues - Merle Haggard Space Blues - Felt Depression Is Best - Slumber Party Unhappy Holidays - The Mabels Miserable In Coat + Tie - The Pathways Depression Kicks - My Teenage Stride Unhappy Days - 14 Iced Bears Mist On A Monday Morning - The Move Thirsty And Miserable - Dirty Projectors Echoed In Sadness - Change Of Seasons
I still really like the cover on this old tape. A photo of Pete Townshend in the process of destroying his guitar, taken off the telly one night. Taking photos off the telly was great. I always loved the quality of them. Shifty, shady and gravelly. The photo was overlaid with tracing paper with the obligatory Letraset letters. I can’t believe how labour intensive making a tape cover used to be.
The tracks on this one are pretty great too. Lots of spiky tunes, including some Wolfhounds songs that I don’t think have seen digital releases. Lots of Liverpool cuts too, with the Bunnymen, Teardrops and a healthy dose of Wylie and his various incarnations of Wah!
Story of the Blues, Pts. 1 & 2 - The Mighty Wah! Pride - Echo & The Bunnymen Books - The Teardrop Explodes Why She's A Girl From The Chainstore - The Buzzcocks New Thing In Cartons - Fire Engines Deadthink - The Wolfhounds Man Of Few SyllablesvBig Flame Oh! Brother - The Fall Motorcade - Magazine Seven Minutes To Midnight - Wah! Heat Marooned - Wire
Welcome To The Working Week - Elvis Costello Because You're Frightened - Magazine Read It In Books - Echo & The Bunnymen Swamp Thing - The Chameleons Why D'You Imitate The Cut Out - Wah! Mission Impossible - Wah! Dream By Dream - The Chills Eat Y'Self Fitter - The Fall Men 2nd - Wire L.A. Juice - The Wolfhounds Bible Of The Beats - Age Of Chance
First afternoon at BETT yesterday was a mixed bag. The highlight was certainly being asked to do a wee interview for Radio One Newsbeat about five minutes after I’d arrived. Not that I have listened to Radio One for many, many years (and even then it would only have been in the evenings for Janice Long, Kid Jenson and then Peel) but I do remember the Newsbeat segments. Vaguely.
Anyway, I jest about that being the highlight of course. Actually the most enjoyable thing was taking part in the 21st Century Learning Alliance debate in the Future Learning seminar space. Chaired by Sir Mike Tomlinson, the panel and delegates talked about what we would most like government (whichever government that might turn out to be come May) to do with regards education. It ended up being quite a tangential debate, as these things often are, but a couple of threads were coming out very strongly.
The bay lifts a lazy eyelid and glances at me
on the hill, descending like death into its heart. Careless, it’s all
dying anyhow. Another bay. Another beach. Another golf course. Bodies
dot another’s sands. Numbingly identical. The tradesman’s entrance to
the Royal Turnberry Hotel, a flash, quiet now, midday bustle down below
Jenny Toomey of Tsunami / Grenadine / Simple Machines records said this one was "excellent... truly one of the most beautiful fanzines I've ever seen from England."
This was the first fanzine I had printed with a coloured ink, and the first one to have two colours (or at least two different hues of blue) used on the same page. It also had a tracing paper outer cover and a fiddly foldout page that was a nightmare to collate, but worked pretty well, particularly on the Stockholm Monsters piece. A fair bit of the text in this eventually surfaced again in Young and Foolish.
I finally got round to constructing one of my christmas presents today - a ‘kissing’ machine constructed of party blowers that Meg sent me. It’s an Art object of course. Instructions below.
Now perhaps I ought to go out in the snow and plant kisses on icicles...
Have you ever felt intoxicated by the proximity of things?
Scents can be overwhelming in the heat of a summer’s day. A little breeze can carry distant sounds to your ear. Reaching a clearing or turning a corner, you may be taken aback by the sudden nearness of the landscape jumping into view.
On such a day, feel free to unwind - revel in your surroundings and be on intimate terms!
Take a party-blower, unroll its length and cut off the tip leaving a straight edge.
Take a second blower and carefully cut off the plastic mouthpiece.
Insert the second blower inside the tip of the first and attach them together making a perfect seal with tape.
Check that you can still unroll this elongated blower with your breath.
Continue in this way adding more and more blowers, checking with each addition.
You may be surprised at the distance your breath will travel. Celebrate and plant a kiss on all you see!