Tuesday, 26 January 2010

But oh oh my haircut looked so good

I'm such a sucker for the Madcap Laughs photographs. While sticking the Beatles or Bob Dylan on the front of Mojo puts me off buying it the allure of Syd is undiminished. Even though I've seen all the photos and read all the stories before. That's not quite true actually, I didn't know that nobody knows what became of Iggy, the girl posing in the background. I don't think we ever will. And I like that. The way he looks in these photos is how I think Jerry Cornelius should look.

I got two shocks while going through images for the post, one was seeing a photo of Syd without eyebrows taken when he turned up at Abbey Road while Pink Floyd were recording "Shine On You Crazy Diamond". The other was one of those photos of him as a middle aged bloke walking back from the shops in Cambridge. You could make out the newspaper he was carrying. It was the Daily Mail.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Deja vu

The Pastel's "Thru Your Heart" ep dropped through my letterbox the other day, me picking up their trail where I left it back in 1991. I remember reading somewhere that they rated Moe Tucker and the track I've posted (due to it being my favourite) is highly reminiscent of those few Velvet Underground tracks on which they let Moe sing, and to accompany it I was going to post one of them, probably "After Hours".

The Pastels: Firebell Ringing

While I was pondering the buzzer went and I agreed to take in a parcel for a neighbour. I was amused when the delivery man staggered up to my floor with a giant (100cm x 60cm x 50cm) box. Not what I had expected. Anyway, that made me think of posting "The Gift". But I didn't.

Instead, in a not very impressive leap, my mind turned to the similarly weedy rock of Jonathan Richman. The first things of his that I heard were "Road Runner" (probably at a club, or who knows, maybe on the radio), and "Pablo Picasso" (in Repo Man). Liking both very much I picked up Rev-ola's re-issue of "The Modern Lovers" round about the time it came out.

The Modern Lovers: I'm Straight

Shortly afterwards I saw him play at the Leadmill. One of my favourite gigs. I can't remember how much I paid - probably about four quid. The club had been done out in cabaret style and it was lovely, so I was surprised by how few people were there. I find it hard to believe he played there really. On the night he didn't do "Road Runner" (I don't think he ever does). But the gig, as well as being a very enjoyable evening, was also an induction into his highly idiosyncratic back catalogue and I came away knowing that I'd be (judiciously) buying it up wherever I saw it. And so it has proved.

Jonathan Richman: You're Crazy For Taking The Bus

From "Jonathan Goes Country", an album with a most amusing front and back sleeve. I almost posted "The Neighbors" which features some subtle Spanish guitar work and the beguiling co-vocals of Jody Ross - somebody I'd like to hear more of but about whom the internet is silent.

Jonathan Richman: I Eat With Gusto, Damn! You Bet

The weirdest of his recording that I've heard. There's something vaguely demonic about this track I think.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

White noise

I picked this up at Oxfam this afternoon for a mere £1.99. I already had the track below and I don't think any of the others on the album will nudge it from the top spot, but one never knows. Besides I love the sleeve art - it reminds me a bit of Blue Note. And he's smoking a pipe - swish.

"What a Bringdown" is pretty close to a perfect track - everything about it seems light. I'm not a big fan of samples, they usually strike me as clumsy, but the woman's voice on this is great: strange and distracted, possibly a bit stoned. It reminds me of Sissy Spacek in Badlands or "Little Fluffy Clouds". I did some detective work (the internet is a powerful tool) and it's from an album called "Motor-Cycle" by Lotti Golden.

MC Honky: What A Bringdown

Monday, 11 January 2010

Remember me

I forgot to mention in my first post after New Year - at one point during my xmas travelling I was running through Piccadilly station. I glanced up and there, lounging, was Johnny Marr. It threw me a bit. Anyway, I had to dash, I had a coach to miss.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010


Hurrah! It's snowed loads and I haven't had to go into work today. This is one of the easiest post New Year comedowns ever. Looking out of the window last night I noticed that some tykes had written their names in the snow on the cars. Quite often when I tell people where I live they say "Oh, that's posh" to which I modestly and truthfully reply: "Not the bit I live in". But I don't know, the names on the cars were Felix and Margot.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

What a carve up!

To take the edge off the return to work my first day today featured a visit to the Wild Thing exhibition. It's in its last few weeks. Having seen his portrait sculptures dotted about here and there I expected to enjoy the Epstein bits the best. Instead I was most drawn to a series of smallish statues by Eric Gill. There were five of them, all mother with child. The picture on the left there is one of them (my favourite, because it's not finished - the smooth figure emerging as if by magic from the block). The figures seem influenced by Egyptian statuary, especially the hair. I'm sure there are similar sculptures of Isis suckling Horus in the British Museum.

A year or two ago in every phone call I made to my dad he always managed to steer the conversation onto Eric Gill. He was reading Fiona MacCarthy's biography at the time. Each little lecture went along the lines of Gill being an absolute genius but sexually depraved - and not in a good way. It put me off him a bit, but even so, given that I walk past it most lunchtimes, I popped into Westminster Cathedral to check out his Stations of the Cross. I found it insipid. What it really needs is lots of paint splashed on it. Red paint.

Passing quickly through the Gaudier-Brzeska room (one good monumental bust of Ezra Pound that looked as though it might have been found in the temple of some forgotten cult) led to the stuff by Jacob Epstein. A fairly perfect portrait of Iris Beerbohm Tree and finally Rock Drill. Though I preferred Gill's little statues Rock Drill is the big thing at the exhibition. Like literally it's massive. Very tall. I was blown away by how modern it looked (it was created between 1913-15). I imagine it still sets the standard for what most people would think of if they had to think of an android. It reminded me of Joe Pineapples from the ABC Warriors. It's very beautiful and very clean. What does it mean? Men who carried out heavy labour were little more than machines? Possibly. But the figure is incredibly sinister - not normally the vibe given off by victims. A comment on what man becomes when joined with machines?

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Brave new year

Thank God that's all over with for another year. I love the run up to the festive period but by about the 25th I feel as though I'm wading through molasses and by January 1st I can usually be found squirming about under the covers wishing for nothing but a quick death. Good bits? The in-laws experience was as claustrophobic as ever but at least driving over the snow covered Pennines to get there (average speed: 20 mph) was beautiful. Oh, and I got a nice Nasa tee shirt.

All in all it was a great relief to get back to my frozen flat, order a pizza and then on the way to the shops to fetch a pint of milk pop into the pub for a pint to accompany the last of my New Year's Eve cigarettes. Next year I think I'll stay in London.