Friday, 7 December 2012

The ever popular Denim

Not many people write about Denim as they do about Felt. These are bands by the way – not fabrics. I haven’t changed the nature of the writing. It’s still about music. Lawrence – as it simply is - gets all fawned over for the Felt beauty whilst the throbbing and bubbling glam stomping pure rock n roll of Denim is seen as an aberration – a record that poured scorn on the sensitivity and style of Felt. Saying that it’s not as if Felt get written about a lot. Although recent ‘media’ interest in a film with Lawrence (of Belgravia) made a few headlines in the back pages of music magazines. This is of course not true because music magazines don’t put those sort of things in the back of the papers. And if I’m honest I don’t read music magazines – or as they were called in my day – the music press – the papers as avidly anymore. So I may have missed a six page feature on the Rise and Fall of Lawrence. I somehow feel that I haven’t – but you never can tell.

Paul and me used to buy the music papers – you know - read it in the press.

There was a lot of them back when we wore donkey jackets to protect us from the cold on our walk into town. Broke and on the dole. Just hanging around. Uptown. We would buy nearly all the music papers every week – there was writing in there. Lots of words about records and that - it was relevant and irreverent.

We would only buy Sounds if we had too. It was a bit metal in the eighties. We weren’t metal. But each to his own. Paul did once own an Iron Maiden picture disc and I bought Gillian’s New Orleans on 7 inch in Boots. In the precinct – just down from WH Smiths – I think you can say that made us ‘metal’ for a week or so. But I never could take to the clothes. You need creases in your trousers – give it an iron and that – and the denim is so faded – I like mine dark.

I couldn’t get enough of Denim when I first heard them. The excitement had been building for months in our Scunthorpe bedroom - as Paul (my brother) and I read of Lawrence’s plans to form this group, this rocking behemoth of a band. Two drummers. Synthesizers and guitars and Lawrence’s studied coolness. Denim were so much more Britpop than any of that unnecessary nonsense that came out in the nineties. They were British and they made pop music. Not eccentric or located in the past. Pop music for the day which referenced their youth. Arppeggiated synthesizers and theme tune melodies wrapped in a disdain for the eighties – beautiful really. And again if I’m being honest - sounding so much better than Felt.

I had a wonderful friend at university – who loved Felt. You know - felt Felt – if you get me. I admired his patience – his integrity. You either get it or you don’t. He formed a wonderful band – part in his head – part in real life – Bellevue – they would have been brilliant. They had a master plan – like Felt did.

Except theirs and Felt’s never came off.

Saying that I wanted Denim to be huge – but it wasn’t to be.

If I remember rightly – and I seldom do. So I’m told. We ventured to town – along Ashby Road – past The Beefeater and over Howden’s Hill to Record Village. The home of ‘smart. music – this wasn’t their slogan – I just made it up. But you get my drift – you could buy those alternative sounds of the underground there. You could find good music (if you liked good music – do you like good music?) And we wanted to buy the long player by Denim all bright blue and 70s fonts.

It was the song title ‘I’m against the eighties’ that had chimed with us all. It was everything we had felt in this disposed decade – Thatcher’s ruin. The running down of every public service and any act of collectivism – of organising and protesting – was the norm. You know you’re a teenager and you’re growing up feeling fairly hopeless. Just as she had wanted. Because you can be crushed then – and we are now. This was being left out in the cold and Lawrence channelled all of that into a fix of pop. I took a look around there was nothing going down in the ‘80s. As I have stated previously – music cannot change the world but it can chime with a thought and a feeling. I’m sick of winklepicker kids - mary chain debris. Lawrence achieved that on Back in Denim – this reflection on things past as ‘Robin’s Nest’ synths bubbled and squelched and guitars riffed. Or Middle of the Road that challenged all that coolness and being hip.

I hate to be hip – I want to be square. So there.

I wish I could have seen them perform live. I remember video tapes at the ready for a performance on ‘Later’. They were wonderful. This was what Denim had sounded like in my head. They were making glam rock for a modern age – they were taking a bit of care. This was a band that signed to Boy’s Own at the time. Taking the idea that they were a dance band – rock music was finished – this was about doing it differently. You need different strokes for different folks.

Yet Back in Denim cost so much to make that Boy's Own went bankrupt. Or so they say. Denim were never going to hit big. That was until EMI said they would sign Denim if Lawrence came up with hit material. I mean imagine that – the band already had an album’s worth and here were these A&R fuckers asking for the hits. So he gave them one – a bubblegum pop called Summer Smash.

EMI loved it. It was Radio 1's single of the week.

"It was all set to come out on a Monday," remembers Lawrence. "Then Princess Di died on the Sunday before. EMI melted all the singles down."

Cursed – some might say.Lawrence would go on to form Go Kart Mozart. They're brilliant too. Lawrence tends to add that touch of magic.

So here’s to a Denim revival. It’s 2012. Let’s all have a bit of Lawrence in our lives.

Oh and stick with the clip – I think the beginnings some programme on Spanish television but suddenly Lawrence appears. You can look up the recorded version on line – if you like the beauty and soul in this performance.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

This bird has flown.

I used to ride my bike out and about the sallow streets of Scunthorpe. People to see, places to be – busy busy busy me. There was a sense of freedom in having a set of wheels that could propel you from A to B (then down to Zee). I never progressed to a moped – or a Honda 50cc – it was pedal power. I would cycle out to Normanby Hall up and over that steeltown to pastures new and fresh. Escape the town. Searching for some tranquillity, well some privacy. And when you are young and run free [keep your teeth nice and clean] you feel alright.

You feel that anything just might be possible.

And I’ve been thinking about this green and pleasant land somewhat. England’s dream an all that. Those flashes of countryside and the urge to go running through fields and meadows – all bowlheaded youth and innocence.

You know when I look at this town – brings me right down.

Which brings me to Kes.Most things eventually arrive at that film’s door. It’s why I do what I do I guess.

I can’t exactly pinpoint when I saw this film. I feel I lived it. It felt incredibly alive to me. That opening sequence of shadow and silence – as bags filled with newspapers are shipped round streets by children on bikes and worn out shoes. I used to post the papers. I used to post the letters. Solitary jobs with banal chit chat in between.

I’ve spent my life doing that.

And I mean the chit chat is banal whilst at work. It’s hard to get to know a person when you wear the suit and carry the clipboard. Well ipad these days – we’re all hyperlinked now maaaan.

But back to the film with the bird in.

It’s a film that seeps beneath the skin. All extinguished hope and brutality. And this is where the score is so important. I am fan of the sound in film. The need to guide and explain through timbre and tone. I like its absence and its abundance in the frame – it helps a film if you can feel it to. John Cameron’s pastoral shadings grounded in the blown and plucked instrumentation of a quintet ready to conjure up hope and cheer whilst ultimately pegged to the melancholic and solitary, is both haunting and exhilarating. I wanna be free – free as a bird. This combination of simple instrumentation that documents the countryside and floats on air whilst tethered to that fragile state on land makes my heart bleed.

As I get older – and believe me it seems to becoming thick and fast – swift and sharp I return to that beautiful film and wonderful score. Emma bought it for me. A simple CD of soaring tunes. Untethered in Jarvis Cocker’s words as John Cameron composes and conducts this five piece to flight. English composers need sharing. We don’t share enough of this. This music is not about winning competitions. This is cold houses and bingo callers, booze in pubs and fights and chips. It is not a fairytale. It is music to soundtrack the humdrum – the inevitable - yet it asks us to want that little bit more.

It is socialist in sound – egalitarian in spirit.

I caught a moment of Downton or some other serialised shit that only has the working class as servants. There are no other depictions of them – of us these days. Unless you count the horrorshow of public aping and baiting from Jeremy Kyle to Britain’s got Talent. You see Hines had a care – Loach had this film made. They want us to have a voice even if we fucking choke it ourselves. There’s nothing wrong in being eduated you know. Nothing wrong about that. It gives you some choice – not a great deal – but something better.

There is thought in every moment of this film.

This is not a soundtrack of the time. It resonates now. Thought given to frame and direction as Cameron scores this tragedy from beginning to end. They used a clip from the film in the Olympics they didn’t use Cameron’s score. Missed opportunity – and I thought Cocker was involved.

Having children and being so close to those pit villages when I was younger and swaddled in this industrial life reminds me that choices might have changed for the youth but the class system still fucking grinds you down. And Cameron’s music serves to remind us that we deserve better. There’s nothing wrong in escape – of wanting some beauty in your life. Casper wasn’t looking to tear down this existence – he wasn’t a poster boy for Thatcherism – Casper sought his beauty in nature – in the opposite of the filth – he was still full of fury though.

We’re all full of fury at times. Little fury things.

There’s no real point discussing the film here. You either know it or you don’t. Suffice to say that it’s in most things that I do – the humour, the politics and the style. I once taught a Film Studies class who bought me a signed poster by the cast, Hines and Loach as a leaving present. It wasn’t ironic – they loved Kes too. I want it shown on the BBC on a monthly basis – so it gets stumbled upon by the unassuming. Either that or it goes head to head with the X Factor.

The bird wins every time.

I want my children to have some opportunities. I want them to be able to listen to music like this. I want them to do what they want. I will not let them have their wings clipped.

John Cameron re-wrote Whole Lotta Love too – the TOTP theme tune. That was different from this. But you know there’s a few sides to everyone.

This is from Kes. Listen.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

This is a raving POP blast

Back in those distance pasts when cardigans ruled and a quiff was the order of the day – I would make contact with like-minded souls through ink and roughly recorded cassettes. Scrawl out your ideas and hope that reciprocation was the order of the day – much like this hyper-writing on here. So letters were sent and songs exchanged and gigs attended.

I’m not certain how I first heard The Groove Farm – it may have been on John Peel, it may have been a flexi-disc taken from the hand of another fanzine writer, a cassette from a friend or in the flesh – but I’ve been thinking about them recently.

I guess that’s because through some odd quirks of fate I was suddenly reacquainted with that heady bunch of beatniks through the vagaries of social networking. A picture posted from the past – tagged with a friend and then suddenly comments from groove farmers and rosehip(sters) arriving in inboxes and awakening memories of fuzzy pop and feeling.  They really were quite a group – I saw them more as a collective if I’m honest – I was a little afraid of them -  if I’m honest – looking back they couldn’t have been that much older than me – but they already had the indie cultural competence tucked under their belts. Tours and vinyl, sessions and interviews – a real pop band in bleak times adding excitement and simplicity  - a raving pop blast to our humdrum lives.

As is the way - independent pop music post C86 was characterized as a shambling – rambling discordant bunch of no hopers giving rock a bad a name. Now don’t get me wrong I found it hard to revel in the fey and the flowery – but that isn’t really representative of the scene. Although I will go on record that I was a bowl headed youth who once wore a paisley pyjama top as a shirt. I’d like it to be viewed as a confrontational fashion statement – a nod to the sartorial send ups of PuNk rock. It wasn’t. It was a pyjama top left in a charity shop from the relatives of a dead old man.  Not that anyone would ever admit that there was a scene by the way  – it was a scene with no name. Commonalities and connections – shared interests and recommendations.

It was friendship across cities and fields.

And whilst I don’t find myself diving for blasts of that teenage anguish in the same way as I used to – there are moments when those tunes come rolling down the streets and right into my heart. Simple as that really. There’s always space for a Pastels tune somewhere, for The Sea Urchins, the Razorcuts, Remember Fun and The Groove Farm.

And this is about The Groove Farm as I said. A band of Bristol troopers. Creating their own brand of buzz soul glam stomp shouters. You see it’s hard to categorise a band like The Groovies – no one by the way ever referred to them as this – and to be honest no one will ever again. But they make you feel playful and daft and want to write all that daftness down. Not that you could or shouldn’t take them seriously either. But they weren’t out for the studied cool of the Velvets – although they had an edge. You get me – they weren’t CUD – they had an edge. The Groove farm were a noisy guitar pop band made in 1986 -  making things happen on the cheap, with handmade sleeves, and hand coloured labels. It felt personal and honest. This DIY punk spirit seeping into our sore heads and happy hearts. But live was where it was at – there was a control of the cacophony and rock to its roll. Garage punk played fast and loud with ba ba baaas and sha la la laaas.  They could work an audience. They could play  - sometimes on the verge of disintegrating or coming to a grinding halt but somehow rescuing the collapse and building something ba ba ba better. I saw them a fair number of times as they made their way up North to play Arts centres, public houses and polytechnics. It was that kind of time. We – that is The Williams – supported them – we were loud and jangly  - they were simply ace. Good times. I know the whole Subway records ordeal is not considered the pinnacle of pop for The Groove Farm  - but Alvin is King was/ is a stomper. A record that should be in your record collection.

And now through chance posts and pictures from my past I’m suddenly connected to Andrew (of the Groove Farm) and reacquainted with that energy and purpose they made. He’s still making music  - I expect they all are – but I’m not that well connected – moved on to a different place – like we all do – you can buy his records by searching for Our Arthur. There’s an honesty and in all his tunes – that goes right back to that Kvatch flexidisc.  You should have a listen. I have. And I liked them.

There’s also a covers album of old Groove Farm songs that Andrew has put together. I’ll get round to buying that soon.  The Williams weren’t asked to contribute – but we used to do a mean version of ‘In the Summertime’ – in a cold rehearsal room in an Ashby church.  

So in the spirit of connecting with the past – but trying to look forward. This is a raving Pop blast. 

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

There’s a natural mystic in the air

I stumbled across Golden Clouds today. A Perry/ Orb collaboration that borrowed from one tune and cheekily became another over four minutes. The subtle sequences of fluffy clouds laying host to Scratch’s observations and overstanding. As this red, gold and green wizard kicked off his shoes and walked in ponds and streams to bring his musings on things that floated.

I like Lee Scratch Perry. He’s a nutter. But I like him.

I wrote some time back about jury service in industrial ports. Of Grimsby streets and barbaric youth stood up in docks made from wood not ones that produced ships or unloaded goods. I was young myself then. I was judging not being judged. Unlike now as I wait for the suits and the clipboards to hasten an exit from a profession I am actually good at but they will fail to see. But that’s another story. And I’m telling this one.

I have talked about purchasing Linton Kwesi Johnston’s sounds. I have yet to tell of the second tape purchased from that record store – which is now a simple stolen shot that I find hard to recall. A shop on the streets full of sounds and surprises. As I said before I was looking for tapes – digging the crates – to fill the journey on hard train seats from Grimsby to Scunthorpe. A scenic route as yet to feature on any holiday programme or Portillo’s travels by train. It’s all blast furnaces, coal trucks, articulated lorries and corrugated sheds.

It was my vista. Show me yours.

And there nestled in the ‘reggae, reggae’ section with UB40 and Aswad was a little tape. Red and green – the gold being the music – do you get me?  An almighty allegiance with the Mad Professor – all gated reverb and twisted pitches  - dubbing them crazy. It spoke to me at that time – and listening to it now it talks again – all version and sound sound sound. This upsetter was making me happy through dub workouts and smoked up sounds – (duppy) conquering. There was something magical in licks and rolls, the snatches and snippets of bass and drum heavy in reverberation that tickled and soothed my brain.

I’ve always liked those dub sounds – as tapes melted and heated and expanded and sounds merged and extended with rimshots and bursts of melody. It’s a Jamaican ting. This warmth of sound in the warmth of the sun. Yet it translates to concrete streets and struggles. It’s excursions and versions sound tracking our resistance and anger. You can understand why PuNk got it. As I said in a post about P.I.L – John didn’t have a support act – he simply had some dub. It starts deep and takes you deeper.

There used to be a wonderful public house in New Cross. By the university, all smoky corners and pool hall bravado and simple reggae sounds. The Tavern – a haven for the Goldsmiths’ underground – well a place to drink after hours. You would hear a mighty tune in there of an evening. It was a mellow place. As I have aged I think I’ve become more aware of the trouble that bass can cause – as it seeps under floorboards and through walls. But this was a public house – you can play that kind of stuff there. I don’t pull out my Augustus Pablo records or King Tubby 12s these days. Even though we’re end of terrace – it doesn’t seem fair on the neighbours. As the grey hairs come thick and fast you just buy better headphones.

There’s a wonderful book heavy in weight and attitude called Bass Culture. It rides the beginnings of bass right through those West Indian struggles and leaves you feeling knowledgeable about politics, race and sound. You should read it – you probably have done. Scratch pops up in there from time to time. A pioneer, a seer, a shaker and a maker. His imprint sitting in all things reggae. You can’t ignore his presence and what presence he has.

And over the years Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry has bubbled and popped up across a variety of records I’ve bought. Through Trojan sets, MC battles and blissed out ambience Scratch can be called on to provide that sideways stomp. The unexpected. Not lyrically  - his musings and bubblings have a familiar ring – but his philosophy is one of not compromising.

Build it up. Burn it down.

I don’t buy into all that mysticsm – I don’t need a God to explain a thing – we’ve got scientists for all of that. And I like them. But possibly not chatting on records. This crazy witchdoctor can provide that and the Mad Professor can man the mixing desk. Dubbing it crazy for those who like their bass on the heavy, heavy, heavy side.  The professor really is an academic of dub. He can twist and tickle a line – make it say something else – educate the mind without words – through sounds.

I like Lee Scratch Perry. I like the Mad Professor. I like them working together.

This is was on the tape. Now it’s in your house. 

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

I spent time with Euros Childs again.

It’s becoming a regular thing I guess. I could spend hours in the company of him and the Roogie Boogie Band. And I did uptown in London last week or the week before. A school night – the beginning of term but I needed that final special summer moment.

Euros tends not to disappoint.

I had arrived tired and sweating – meetings had and late leavings from workplaces – short stop offs to put children to bed with kisses and cuddles and then trains and tube rides to small public houses on busy roads. So I arrive and if I’m honest – I’m already over excited – I’ve got a good feeling about today. A simple download from the National Elf –oooh that’s better and my Summer can finally come to a wonderful end[s]

Euros Childs has created yet another pure pop classic in Summer Special – that is both familiar and new. It chugs – it rocks - and it resonates with feeling from beginning to end.  I arrive and Euros walks by – checking the parking tickets in pricey places. Or simply taking the air? I guess you might want to – at times. The album opens with Be Be High – first heard at the Vortex with H.Hawkline adding the rock – whilst Euros kept it rolling.  And I want to shout out at the top of my voice just because this song is ace – and that’s it. I’ve already got my boys and daughter shaking their heads and wiggling their toes to it – it's infectious – it creeps in – in a good way.  And from there it just gets better.  A record filled with instantly memorable melodies – and honesty. You can’t always find that these days.

So as I said – I arrive waiting, anticipating. Adam Stearns ambles on – all piano and falsetto – a baroque beatnik. A Van Dyke Parks with a Scottish accent. It is good. Different and a challenge for an opening act – to offer up that feeling so early in the evening. But the boy done well.

So I nip downstairs – cigarettes and cider – ready to find my place at the front of the stage for The Wellgreen. I’m not certain why I wanted to be down the front – just felt they would be something I wanted to see – up close and all that. I hadn’t heard them before – I have some vague recollection of a ‘tweet’ saying ‘harmonies and pop’ and to be honest that’s enough for me. You would wouldn’t you? If it’s going to be that simple it’s bound to be beautiful.

And they were.

Absolutely simple pop music. A Scottish Everly Brothers – I wanted them to be from Edinburgh so I could call them the ‘Waverley Brothers’ but they’re from Glasgow. So I can’t.  Marco and Stuart – two thirds of the Roogie Boogie Boys – making harmonic pop of epic proportions. There’s a Zombies undercurrent with a Bacharach twist amidst it all – but carried off with a modernity of a pop band living in a modern world.
I loved it.

Two lads – a snare drum, some bongos, a guitar, a keyboard and two voices. They have released an album Wellgreens – you should own it – I do. Purchased from Euros at the end of another blinding night.  I expect he’ll be selling more when the Summer Special rolls into autumnal nights in northern quarters.

As for Euros Childs and his band [which for those not in the know consisted of Adam Stearns and The Wellgreen] they simply rocked the spot. I remained at the front- after a brief conversation with Stuart Kidd – a Wellgreen and me well chuffed – I’ll write about the Jonny Joe Meek album at a later date – and let myself rock and jump and dance and bounce as this band added more power to already powerful songs. As I’ve said before – everybody should know at least one Euros song – and hopefully they will  - Summer Special wouldn’t be a bad place to start – although I was listening to First Cousins this morning – at work – writing reports – planning lessons – thinking – and that’s also a beautiful (K)rafted (werk)  - all synths and pops. I should write about the whole set – do it justice and tap into my NME journalist tendencies and make the connections and discuss the this and the that – but I won’t – I’ve already taken up far too much of your time.

I will simply say – they played Parents’ Place – and it brings me to my knees –it just does that – brings me to my knees. It is the saddest song ever written. But I had a good feeling about tonight/ day and The Roogie Boogies did not bring me down. This lovely reworking of Ends tracks that lifts and compliments the isolation experienced on that album to bring about a welcome sense of belonging. 

And they play ‘First time I saw You’ – all looped bass and repetition [in the music and we’re never gonna lose it] It is a blistering sonic experience (trademarked any discussion of loud music and that) as that loop shakes the room from the beginning and Euros keeps it simple on the ‘moog’ or should that be Casio (my first keyboard- I formed a band with my friend Richard – we recorded a song called Nightclubbing with it – it was the eighties – I got mumps the very same evening – my career did not blossom) and slowly the band come alive  as she comes alive in my mind. It was ace too. As I said – it was all ace. I first saw ‘First time I saw You’ at the ULU when Chops was first released – it was incredible – and still is – it was a pleasure to see it back in the set. It was a pleasure to see this Summertime show. It was a pleasure to see Euros Childs.

And as always – like the first time – I bought the CD and Euros scrawled on it. I will continue to do this.

I am a fan. It’s great to be a fan of music.

Here are two for you. The Wellgreens and Euros Childs. Buy both of their albums – you’ll be smiling over Winter. 

Sunday, 26 August 2012

How Channel Four did not change the world

Channel Four tried to be innovative and cutting edge this bank holiday weekend, offering up an eight hour spectacle of ‘house’ music and telling us how the whole thing had changed the world and then having six deejays play one hour sets [without advertisements – radical, I know] with ‘twisted visuals’ and a ‘clown’ shouting out shit and sexist remarks in between as deejays changed places, swapped position and sounds.  Whilst I wanted to admire the broadcaster’s spirit  - it all felt very flat. Well perhaps not completely flat – but there was a documentary before the DJ sets presented by ‘an actor, deejay and clubber’ that was lamentable in every sense. Another countdown of the arbitrary 40 ‘pivotal’ moments that typify and extend our understanding of how ‘clubbing’ changed the world. It ended with ecstasy. When that was where it should have started.

It was out of sync and out of place.

When you have a detailed, analytical [in places] and well researched book in ‘Altered States – The Story of Ecstasy Culture and Acid House’ by Matthew Collin – it would seem a logical starting point to make a ‘documentary’ about the social and psychological impact of the 303 and 808 on our mindset, play and morals using that as a reference guide. But instead we got the usual fair – the talking heads and random sequences taking in Chicago and New York cityscapes, queues for Studio 54, a touch of travellers, swaying masses, The Hacienda, da police and The Sun, strobe lights, lasers and smiley faces. Yeah, just like I remember it. Okay – I didn’t watch it all – but I think I could fill in the gaps between number 37 up to number 5 – it was hardly rocket science was it? I guess my only thrill came from seeing DJ Pierre turn on the actually 303 used on Acid Trax and let it bubble and squelch in what seemed to be a record store – but was more likely his own collection in his house.

Funny that the documentary was the actual product of how ‘clubbing’ changed the world, a shortened attention span and lack of depth, anecdotal musings, devoid of politics and meta-narrative and pretty much vacant. Also this substitute of the word ‘clubbing’ as opposed to ‘House’ or ‘Rave’ or ‘dance’ – you know people where fairly wild before Atalantic Ocean released Waterfall [ironic ] I do believe my mum and dad went to clubs – they danced to Elvis and Eddie Cochran. The masses frightening the establishment –oooh scary maaan. Commodification and consolidation – take it under your wing my friend and exploit it for all it’s worth. Make a documentary about it and reduce it’s edge – package it up – put a logo on it [I don’t know – something ‘ministry’ like – sort of official] and sell it back for late nights in lounges and car rides, or nostalgia trips and fancy dress [School Disco – anyone?]

That’s what pop music is. It is a package of this and that – sold to us all.
It does what we want when we want it to. As Adorno said all those years ago popular music exists to fulfill the needs of the ‘emotional listener’ quickly – a hit for the moment.  This standardization of popular music means that we have already pre-accepted it even before we have heard it. Our ears are trained to hear the music in a standard form whether it is pop, rock, dance, drum and bass or death metal, we already have an expectation of the music, it is ‘pre-digested’ through the structure of the songs. Thatcher must have rubbed her hands together as we ‘put our hands together’ as the music which radiated defiance and difference was slowly reigned in and accepted. Rendering it redundant.
I was wondering round Hirst’s exhibition this week – with the kids – they wanted to see the shark and it was the same there. Empty, devoid of comment and all about the money. That should have been number one – in the C4 doc – how ‘clubbing’ changed the world – it made a lot of people rich at the expense of camaraderie and equality we all thought we were having in the queues and on dance floors as we embraced and gurned our way through the night and emerged ever ready to right the wrongs through euphoric songs and repetitive beats.
I remember when suddenly you weren’t welcome in clubs – you know ‘promoters’ wanted you to ‘dress up’ - pay twenty pound for a ticket – because ‘house music’ was only for a certain swathe of the masses. These ‘strictly’ sounds were strictly for certain kinds. Clubbing changed the world by ghettoizing the sounds and shutting the doors. By subsuming the boredom and frustrations of 1980s Britain it did the Tories a favour – it took us all off the streets and made us sleep through the day.
Now don’t get me wrong. [or do – it doesn’t really matter]
I don’t want all my music challenging but I do want to be challenged. I’m only here once. I want to think. And ‘house music’ can make you think – it can ‘open up’ the mind [body and soul] Through hearing those manipulated beats and synthesized sounds in Orbital, Black Dog, Luke Slater, Beaumant Hannett, Mark Broom, Carl Craig, Derrick May, Juan Atkins, Marshall Jefferson, Todd Terry – you understand – the list goes on and on and on – brought me to ‘musique’ concrete, Cage, Glass, Ligetti, Satie and Stockhausen. To Can, Neu!, Tangerine Dream and Eno and  other musical forms beyond the four on the floor. It made me listen to news reports about space, developments in science and technology. It made me question post modernism and the rethink Marx. It politicized and spoke with understanding.
It changed the world a little bit.