Thursday, June 21, 2018
Well, almost 23 years ago today. Yes, way back in 1995 I went to my first ever music festival and started with the granddaddy of them all, Glastonbury. Coincidentally Glasto and I are the same age, although Glasto's probably in better shape than me.
My memories of the whole thing are a little hazy but I remember we were hopelessly ill prepared for it (well, we didn't buy our tickets from HMV in Brum until a week or two beforehand...yes, really). We hardly took any booze (fail), food (fail), money (mega fail...this was in the days before mobile cash points) and 1995 was hot, hot, hot.
We didn't even take any roll mats so slept on the rock hard ground. I've still got the bruises to prove it. Remarkably (I say remarkably as 'smart' phones hadn't been invented...imagine that eh kids?) there are a few homemade films of Glasto 95 on You Tube and it looks like a different world (mainly due to the absence of the aforementioned 'smart' phones that seem, along with the internet, to have sucked much of the living in the moment fun out of the world in my humble opinion). Here's a delightfully 'old skool' Super 8 film of a bunch of lads from Caversham. I love the caption at the end, 80,000 people attended and tickets were £65. Good grief. I bet you couldn't get an organic emu burger for that these days.
Oh yes, who did we see. Good point. Well we certainly saw Pulp, Dodgy, Jamiroquai, Supergrass, Billy Bragg. I have vague memories of watching at least some of Jeff Buckley's set and seeing Captain Sensible in a tent up in the Green Fields. We watched a lot of circus stuff, a little comedy...did we see the legendary Malcolm Hardee?...hmmmm, maybe. I'm ashamed to say that we were so battered and broke by the whole experience that we came home on the Sunday evening but valuable lessons had been learnt and when we do make it along to a festival these days we take enough food and drink to keep a small army satisfied for a week. And wet wipes. ALWAYS take wet wipes.
Wednesday, June 20, 2018
How's this for an existential banger eh? Walsall's very own The Assist are back with the kind of track that's practically screaming out to be played in front of millions of festival goers all hugging each other, mashed off their tits on cider and William Hague's private stash. Sounds like a good night out to me.
Tuesday, June 19, 2018
I was reading an article about underappreciated albums in some magazine the other night and Bowie's Earthling cropped up. To be honest most of Bowie's stuff from the late 80s until his final two releases isn't really played much these days which is a bit of a shame. On the one hand stuff like Little Wonder sounds a little dated now (Drum 'n' Bass-tastic) but on the other I remember how much it annoyed some of the old Bowie purists when it came out which, I guess, was one of the reasons why he did it. Whatever his motivation it's not a bad track. If 90s Bowie floats yer boat check out Jump from another underrated album, Black Tie White Noise too, a mere 25 years old this year. Good grief.
Friday, June 15, 2018
Oh good grief. It's started. Six ruddy weeks of football. I'm not a fan of sports, watching or participating, so things like the World Cup leave me pretty cold. I'll watch the odd England game though, just in the vague hope that the team doesn't totally humiliate the entire country. But in the 48 years I've been on planet Earth they've pretty much been consistently hopeless. Still, football's inspired a few half decent songs so I'm prepared to embrace it...just for today (NB: Okay, I'm pretty sure A Tribe Called Quest weren't inspired by the 'beautiful game' but this track sort of fits).
Wednesday, June 13, 2018
We’ve had the vinyl revival, we’ve had the tape revival but will there ever be a revival in CD’s fortunes eh? If you frequent charity shops as much as I do you’ll have seen the prices of CDs plummet in recent years. Just a couple of weeks ago I picked up three decent double disc compilation albums and a single disc compilation for a quid. That’s SEVEN CDs for a pound. Nuts eh? Okay that may be fairly unusual but it’s not hard to find CDs for a 50p or £1 each, sometimes they’re pretty recent too (I’m guessing someone buys them, loads the music onto a digital music player and then dumps the physical version?). Compared to most digital downloads the sound quality of a CD’s vastly superior and, although it lacks the warmth of vinyl, let’s be honest it also lacks the snap, crackle and pop too.
Of course there’s still nothing like the ceremony of slipping an LP or single out of its sleeve, gently placing it on the turntable and delicately lowering the needle onto the record but popping a CD out of its case and onto the little plastic tray at least involves some kind of interaction between you and the music plus you’ve...er...got a cute little booklet to read and a plastic case to pop your drink on too. Awwww bless.
The collectors’ market for CDs is surely set to explode soon, especially as most of the CD singles sold in the 90s are probably now residing in a hole in the ground somewhere, and yet those little silver discs that just a few short years ago were...whooooooo...‘the future’ are now just about as popular as syphilis. I don’t get it but equally I don’t particularly care. I’m currently filling my boots with bags and bags of cut price music and doing my little bit for ‘charidee’ along the way. Result.
PS: If you’re wondering why there's a video for Bikini Kill's classic Rebel Girl track above this gibberish it's because I picked up a copy of the band's 'The C.D. Version of the First Two Records' from British Heart Foundations' Exeter Branch for 99p on Saturday, along with similarly bargain priced Bad Brains and Babes In Toyland albums.
PPS: The CD revival start here. Possibly.
Tuesday, June 12, 2018
Can't believe it's just over a month until Snooky Fest (huge congratulations to Snooky Fest's Caz Steffans on her British Empire Medal in the recent Queen's Birthday Honours List 2018 by the way). Tickets are flying out like seagulls after a pasty so grab one while you still can (a ticket that is...not a seagull...) right here. Just like last year there's a great mix of bands, the sunshine's guaranteed (honest) and they'll be enough cider to keep me happy (that'll be about three pints these days...lightweight...still, I'm a cheap date). Here's a little Snooky Fest promo to get you in the mood.
Friday, June 08, 2018
Wednesday, June 06, 2018
I never met Olivia, one of the original Kids Interview Bands interviewers, but I spent many a happy hour watching the interviews they did with bands great and small. So when I logged onto Facebook this morning and saw that she'd suddenly passed away (I'm guessing she was just 17 or 18) I was...well...words fail me. I can't begin to imagine what her family's going through right now but if there's any crumb of comfort to come out of this then it's the fact that she did a hell of a lot more in her all too brief life than most people her age...or any age for that matter. RIP Olivia.
PS: You can check out all of Olivia's (and her co-interviewer Connie's...and Piper, Olivia's younger sister and current Kids Interview Bands interviewer) interviews right here.
Tuesday, June 05, 2018
For various reasons this track's buzzing around my befuddled brain right now. Queen's later work rarely gets played these days which is a bit of a shame as it's fascinating stuff, albeit tinged with the sad fact that dear old Freddie knew his days were numbered. This vid's pretty uncomfortable to watch at times but then again he clearly loved what he was doing even as AIDS was sucking the very life out of him so let's not get too maudlin eh?