millionreasons: (marnie)
The Weddoes! I was wondering what had happened to them. All their songs are bunched up from here on in. This is the ultimate lovelorn love-song, albeit set to a very merry tune, all chikka chikka guitar and fuzzy bass.



Every time a car drives past I think it's you
Every time somebody laughs I think it's you
Every time a car drives past I think it's you
Every time somebody laughs I think it's you
millionreasons: (marnie)
The penultimate Fall entry. The opening guitar riff on this sounds like a saxophone and for a minute I thought we were going into the Benny Hill theme tune. This is very uptempo Fall with saw-like keyboards, cheery, repetitious guitar, and Mark E's lyrics about getting pissed in Hanseatic Germany. The German section reminds me of the Spanglish that the Pogues utilise in Fiesta. It goes on a fair bit.

millionreasons: (marnie)
Over these circus Christmas lights

Sitting in a backwards facing seat on the train, I momentarily drop off and imagine the train is rumbling forward to Scotland; it is disconcerting to open my eyes and I'm hurtling backwards, disoriented. I'm on a nostalgia trip to Glasgow to see my schoolfriend Jin, and Deacon Blue, a band I loved 1987-1989, whom we both went to see the day before my 16th birthday at Sheffield City Hall, my first proper gig. We meet up by the Christmas tree in Glasgow Central and go to sip mulled wine in George Square's Christmas market, before going over to the Royal Concert Hall for the gig. Being 43 is different from being 16 and it's nice to have a seat in pleasant surroundings, not in a damp basement venue with one toilet. I think we are the youngest people, here (except for the 30-something ladies in their best slinky frocks, with as, Jin puts it, "I'd like to speak to the manager" iron-straight hair, doing the hen party dance: one hand in the air, eyes closed and frowning, a pseudo-sexy wiggle of the bottom), but old people have their advantages. There are snaps and vids, but people are not gassing on their phones or facebooking all the way through, indeed when DB do This Town To Be Blamed and someone chats, Ricky Ross calls them out and people applaud.

Lost in music, sweet (blue eyed) soul music

They come on to a cover of People Get Ready and and do a mini-version of Human League's Human, before going onto new songs and old-new songs, with little that I recognise until they get to Real Gone Kid and I'm woo-ooh-ooh-ooh-woo-hoohoo-ing along in joyful recognition. This is the song that made them mega. Although rather than this and other radio-friendly unit shifters, I preferred the more thoughtful, balladic, poetic, whisky-drenched melancholia of songs like When Will You Make My Telephone Ring or Loaded. I loved the first album about rain and the second album about light, and then I don't know what their following LPs' subjects were because I'd moved on. They do all the hits except Dignity, so when they leave and return for the encore, it's got to be Dignity but they surprise with the forgotten delight of Wages Day: the joyful celebration of Friday night on the town: "And his heart, it was reeling with the thrill of it all/All to do and only hours/He said: and this is all YOURS/And you can have it all!" and then, oh, the highlight, the gorgeous Born in A Storm which mingles into the fantastic, bombastic Raintown.



And then it's still not done, there's an ill-advised 60s megamix which folds into an exuberant Queen of the New Year, complete with glitter cannon, which threatens to go Full Partridge, but fortunately it goes off, to applause applause applause. And then they're STILL not finished, they come back for an acoustic version of a Bob Dylan song, Forever Young, which we're not, but it doesn't matter, sometimes it's fine to go backwards, even if it makes your heart lurch and your brain gets muddled. The band has done two and a half hours of singing, leaping, dancing, running through the first row of the audience, touching hands. Ricky Ross is 58, but looks better than other reformed popstars I've been to see recently. The soft-left politics are still there, he talks briefly about UKIP, Jo Cox, even the poll tax, and I remember how they championed forgotten soul singer James Carr by covering Dark End of the Street and even writers, referencing Carson McCullers in Undeveloped Heart. You you don't get that with Mumford or his sons.

Over the sea, over the land, and the city

We drive out to Loch Lomond, empty and autumnal with a Scottish wind whipping up off the lake and into our uncovered ears. A seaplane lifts up and crosses the water, landing on the other side. A few dog walkers, a country pub, and us; its a small oasis 45 minutes from the city. When I come to other cities I think about how i could fit in, live. But then it's dark by three and I change my mind.

kOWyYkc_

millionreasons: (marnie)
Picture the scene. It's Christmas 1988. My parents are having one of their interminable drinks parties. I sneak gin 'n' lemonades when they're not looking. After five of them, I throw up. I go lie down and put on the radio, it's the Festive Fifty, this terrifying song is playing, I don't know whether the spinny, spacey, dustbin lid crashing feeling is the song or my head.



I love of it.
millionreasons: (marnie)
There are more House of Love tracks to come, deservedly higher up the chart. I suspect that this song is in the top twenty because 1988 was shared between HoL and MBV as Their Year. This is bombastic, U2-esque stuff (I started singing "with or without you" along with it), with not great lyrics "My love in a car/we're gonna go far/It's a beautiful car/my love". There is a bit of a sexy shimmer though that anticpates showgaze by a few years.

millionreasons: (marnie)
More from Ver Youth. This starts off slow, almost sweet, with Kim's whispers, then it kicks the door down at 1:22 with a great guitar flourish, followed by the drum explosion, the bass and then Thurston rockin' out for the next five minutes.

millionreasons: (marnie)
It's Advent, so that means we get to do all the Xmassy things (Fairytale of NY, eggnog latte, Xmas jumpers) without the bore of visiting relatives and eating dry turkey/nutroast and falling asleep in front of the Open All Hours Christmas special. This song is somewhat more polished and produced than the Sugarcubes' perfect moment (Birthday) but this icy, tinselly song'll do for today.

millionreasons: (marnie)
In the '80s, TV channels went 24 hour and they had to fill them with something that people would watch at 2 a.m. (remember The Hit Man And Her?). One of those things was Rockin' In The UK, before its name was changed to the preferable Transmission. It was indie, but, like, proper, indie: MBV, the Heart-Throbs, Sarah Records: the music was more to my taste than Snub TV, which was mostly Butthole Surfers and Front 242 every week, or even Peel himself, where you'd be falling asleep listening to some jangles and be torn from slumber a few minutes later by Napalm Death or a Beligian hardcore track. Anyway, that's where I first heard this song, which is lovely, all determined drums and hammond and fake trumpets. This should have been a massive hit - they could've given Aztec Camera a run for their money.

millionreasons: (marnie)
I've finished The Girl In Berlin and have written a short review. Book number 210 is Mother London, by Michael Moorcock, a 1980s fantasy novel.
millionreasons: (marnie)
This isn't the best song, musically, on Viva Hate with its stompy drums, meagre accoustic guitar and Morissey's almost yodel over the top of it all. Lyrically though, it's an epic poem, a 7 minute 41 paean to love and loss and leaving and Salford. The importance of moving on.

How that line struck a chord: "I could list the details of everything you wore or said, or how you stood that day," before I got old enough to realise that love isn't obsessional and secretive. But I did use the line "Love at first sight may sound trite, but it's true you know," on someone, once, long ago.


Oh, winter push on, Winter is so long, Winter moves on.
millionreasons: (marnie)
1988 was the year of Morrissey's much-anticipated solo album, although this song wasn't on it: it was a b-side, if I remember correctly. In December, he played his first solo gig in Wolverhampton. I've written here about how I didn't go.

Anyway, the song, which I love. It has great melodies, great hooks, lovely shimmer of a guitar, Moz's typical strength in adversity lyrics and lovelorn swoop of a vocal. It used to be Mozzer's final song of his live set, and the crowd would boo instead of the recorded version's applause when he sang: "This is the last song I will ever sing - "



Don't talk to me - no - about people who are nice
Because I have spent my whole life being ruined because of people who are nice
millionreasons: (marnie)
We're half way through and I need to get a move on if I'm to be finished by Xmas. Next up: The Fall! I'm a big fan of this song: Brix's threatening bassline, Mark E at his most declamatory, the uneasy backing vocals, like witnessing a muffled argument through the wall. I think at this point they were working with Michael Clarke, which explains the slightly Vic 'n' Bob dancers in this video.


Check the record, check the record, check the guy's track record -
millionreasons: (marnie)
How do I love this song? Let me count the ways:
1) The lyrics, including these wonderful couplets:
Mixing pop and politics - he asks me what the use is/I offer him embarrassment and my usual excuses,
It's a mighty long way down rock 'n' roll/from Top Of The Pops to drawing the dole,
It's a perfect world we'd all sing in tune/but this is reality, so give me some room -
So join the struggle while you may/the revolution is just a t-shirt away!

2) The politics - I prefer Billy when he's subtle, singing here about the importance of (despite everything) optimistic political activism, of needing to believe that you, we, despite numerous setbacks, are making progress. The song is 28 years old and is as relevant as ever. I kind of wish it weren't.
3) The build up. The drums don't even kick in properly until verse four. The chorus is delayed and delayed until you want, need, it to spill over into the rousing choral of Great! Leap! Forwards! And when it does, it satisfies.



The fact that it references Fidel Castro, or his brother at least, seems almost too apt today.
millionreasons: (marnie)
ah-har har har ha
ding ding ding hey ah
(etheral instrumental break)
nah har argh ar
la har ah har da ah
whispers hee he
Be still come to me ah-ah
(hee heee be still)
listen to me
(hee heeargh swear ah ah ah ah)
yes it's ah ah ah ah
ree hee ah ha ha
Be den de dem de end
(repeat to fade)

millionreasons: (london)

When we were house hunting, we were looking in roads that were within ¾ mile of Forest Gate train station; we thought that we’d be getting around via the speedy train from Liverpool Street. The place that we found is a mile walk to Stratford and since the station has five lines, as well as national rail, it seems beneficial to use it instead and I find myself there most days.

Thing is, Stratford is weird. I don’t mean Westfield or the Olympic Park. Since the clocks went back, I have enjoyed turning off of the darkened canal path, past the welcoming Here East, and through the park with its neon cranes and blood moon Orbit and multi-coloured floodlights around the stadium as the twilight settles. But the other bit. The other bit is weird. First of all there’s a cereal café. In E15. There are no hipsters in E15. More bizarre, it is friendly, cheap and has comfy armchairs and little side tables, like a Victorian drawing room (it is in a Victorian house). What is it doing here amongst Wilkos, Wetherspoons, Bright House, Maplins, grimy-windowed lettings agents and 0 star hygiene rating take-aways? It should be on the other side.

Then you walk down a side road and find a wonderful, imposing dilapidated old building, once the court and the cells of the Old Town Hall, and a pub that used to be a tramshed: you can still see where the rails would have been. Just behind that is a games (both electronic and board) pub, but neither this Shoreditchy venue nor By 37 cereal café has ever been in Time Out or Londonist. In the summer, there was crazy golf on the roof of the Stratford Centre (not to be, never to be, confused with Westfield).

On Romford road, an undistinguished parade of shops is housed inside a red brick Edwardian Working Mens’ Institute. The UEL was the ornate Passmore Edwards museum that once housed the natural history collection of the Essex Field Club. There’s a 1700s timber-framed and weatherboarded building just stood there on Romford Road amongst the chicken shops and newsagents. None of it makes any sense.  If you go down Stratford high street there’s a string of coloured baubles that change colour when you go under them. But there’s always one that’s the wrong colour, like: We may have these fancy things, but we still rebel against them. If you walk through the Straford Centre at night, it turns into the Thunderdome, with kids BMX-ing up and down, someone setting up a route for rollerblading, boom boxes and body poppers, and homeless people stretched out on the floor. It’s unthreatening but weird.

There’s a meridian lazer that points over the bus station to Greenwich. There’s also a bronze meridian line on the ground. But it points in a different direction. There’s a stationary train in front of the station for no reason that I can fathom. Ther's a tiny picturesque Catholic Church on the Grove next door to a sauna-cum-brothel. There's a cafe called The Pie Crust that doesn't serve any pies.

What makes the least sense is the transport. Many many many more people travel to Stratford than they used to - to go shopping, to the Velodrome, Aquatics centre, West Ham stadium, or to the events in the park. But the transport doesn’t take this into account. More people live here now with the opening of East Village and lots more blocks of flats opening or almost finished. People moving from Hackney and Tower Hamlets into Newham’s Victorian housing stock are less likely to have cars and thus more likely to use transport. But the PT doesn’t take this into account. The Goblin line is shut for a year, but apart from the rail replacement, there are no extra buses to Leytonstone or Walthamstow. The line out of Liverpool street is shut until May next year at weekends due to Crossrail. But there are no extra buses going east. Given that West Ham fans tend to live out in Essex, this is pretty disastrous. In the near future, a new university will open. Where do students like to go out at night? Dalston. But the overground is run like a train service, even though people treat it as tube service. When I get on the central line to go west at Stratford, it’s half empty, but on the Overgound, the first stop, you can’t get a seat. I waited 18 minutes for a train in rush hour – no-one would accept that as good service on a tube line. A new skyscraper hotel is due to open, new museums in the park by 2020, meaning more footfall. Yet TfL’s solution to this is just to tell people not to travel through Stratford at rush hour, or to close down the central corridor so that you’re walking up and down stairs for about ¾ mile to get out.

No doubt in ten years time, it will be homogenised, dullsville (there's already a Starbucks). But for now, it's just odd.


millionreasons: (marnie)
I have finally finished Bitten By The Tarantula and have written a review. Book number 200 (half way through my to-read list with three months to go!) is The Girl In Berlin by Elizabeth Wilson, a cold war novel.
millionreasons: (marnie)
Are we at peak Fall in 1988? Brix Smith was still in the band, co-writing, and so the songs are still quite pop with (synth) horns, stylophone bits that are signalling to an alien planet, and heavy basslines, a sort of reggae beat on this one. I am not of the avant-garde, I much prefer the slicker side of The Fall.



Older viewers may remember the Curious Orange on This Morning With Richard Not Judy (TMWRNJ):-

millionreasons: (marnie)
I didn't realise that Overlord X was a Hackney boy, I thought he was American. This song is about Edward Earl Johnson, who was executed in 1987 for a crime he most likely didn't commit. This from back when rap was by necessity political; nowadays even Kanye "George Bush doesn't care about Black people" West is a Trump suporter and it's left to musical theatre actors to speak out against the establishment.



The song is actually quite hard to listen to: it's very spare, sparse, no soul samples or melodies, just hard truths.
millionreasons: (marnie)
Silver Rocket, the song that launched a thousand club nights. Ok, one club night.  It's not as frantic as Teenage Riot, but after a sinister start, we're off there with panicky guitars, driving drum-beats, and anguished vocals. And a middle feedback instead of a middle eight.



- you got it/you ride a silver rocket/you can't stop it/it's burning a hole in your pocket -
millionreasons: (marnie)
I heard this recently on the last episode of Season 1 of Mr Robot, a delicate piano version. Apparently, it was an  homage to Fight Club, I thought it was because the creator is a few years younger than me, so the Pixies are part of his worldview.



Anyway, this is a great song, sinister guitar, wailing from Frank 'n' Kim, a feeling of world weary eeriness.

January 2017

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