23 February 2012


In the words of Perry Como, welcome to my week - films are more my thing than music but films are crap now, but LOVE NOW for its documentaries. Armadillo. TT3D. They’re good. A friendly Swede lent us “Sound It Out”, it’s a documentary about “the last record shop in the north-east of England”. I loved it. Imagine some Hoxton place with youngsters in zany-frame spex smilelessly asking for the white-label pre-pre-pre-release dubplate dubstep wax mix of blah blah blah blah - this doc is the opposite of that - the shop is like a fairly good Oxfam Music thingy - it has the usual balding-ponytailed StatusQuo-completists dressed like it’s 1974. I’m not mocking. They’re all LOVELY people. Never met a record obsessive I didn’t love. There’ve been times when I’ve had thousands of LPs. And got sick of them and dumped them all and started again. If a life doesn’t have a few Year Zeroes in it then it’s ALL ZERO - and there’s one nice greybeard guy who comes into the shop about 7000 times in this 75-minute documentary and he asks for e.g. something mega-obscure by some weirdy underground band - Sultans Of Swing by Dire Straits. They’ve got NEU covers on the wall and they’re talking passionately about Meat Loaf. It’s all so low-key and unpretentious and nervy and makes you wonder how the English ever find the courage to fuck. I loved it when Saint Saviour came back to her hometown to play/sing in the shop. It was very moving. Especially her version of Love Will Tear Us Apart. A Crampsy WhiteStripesy band also plays - singer standing on the counter - these are the gigs I adore - wrong place, wrong time, wrong audience, everything casual and tiny. One punter says he loves his LPs so much he is going to have the vinyl melted down to become his coffin when he dies. Seriously. When the internet collapses we’ll go back to getting vinyl again. Not at record shops. I’ve always adored the total randomness of the car boot sale.
Pathetically, some of my happiest memories are driving hundreds of miles to do something fulfilling and boring on a Saturday evening and then coming home overnight and it getting light on the southbound motorways and at 5-30am near home going straight to a big car boot sale and it’s one of those sunny lucky Sundays that come one-in-eight and getting tons of fantastic old LPs for pennies and coming home and dumping them on the sofa and drinking all day and playing unknown vinyl stuff at random. Days like that - I adore vinyl. Bugger ebay and Discogs.

I loved the Yppah album. Coo - who knew ? - but who couldn’t ? Loud and joyous and rhythmic, it’s like the fun person in the thin-walled motel room above has come down on you. Sometimes I get soooo arsey sitting on the cutting-edge that I forget that cheap POP MUSIC is my first&biggest love. And the Beach Fossils single and the Wild Nothing single and loved the Susumu Yokata (?) album and its mix of ambient pan-pipe snake-charmer toilet noises and dub techno. I liked the Weekend and The Explorers Club and that Willis Earl Beal album is fantastic and Orcas was okay and I don’t know what to make of that Jah Wobble Keith Levene thingy which is all a bit like that Steel Leg Haile Unlikely Selassie dubby stuff from centuries ago, but worse, and undubby, and terrible. Maybe. No idea. Don’t think I’ve heard it yet.

The amazing Azure fixed the computer with a fantastic female singer-songer - Natascha Roth. I love Peggy Lee more for her music than her persona and I love kd Lang more for her person than her music and Natascha is somewhere in that confusion in my head - sorry to vanish up my arsehole, but she’s someone who veers around “nearly fucking brilliant” and you can’t focus on her. But she is worth a day’s obsessing. There’s an ambient album by “Brian” which is so beautiful I thought THIS IS IT there is NO NEED to EVER hear a new album EVER again. But I’ve quit music as often as I’ve quit smoking and I ADORED blowing my way through the best album I’ve heard so far this year - by Porya Hatami. It’s calm glitch. It’s like waking up drunk and untired and like the start of Under The Volcano and with all week ahead with no commitments ever again and all the drink on tap till the end. It is so beautiful that I did an irregular thing and followed through a bit and discovered that it’s an album limited to fifty copies. Fifty !!!!!!!!!!!! Something so hugely beautiful, in such a quiet undiscovered corner. I wasn’t tempted cos I never want to own anyTHING ever again. But god, I remembered what it was like …….. if I had to own one thing in the world, it would be a copy of that album. Beautiful.

MC had an old album by Aus which I had never heard before and which is also staggeringly beautiful - glitchy slow lazylady-swoon. Even better, a new album by Voices From The Lake. It’s dub techno, so that automatically means it’s brilliant. But it’s better than that because hardly anything happens. It’s hard to explain, but it’s so simple that many might be insulted. But I prefer music where too little is happening to too much. Fascinating. I never used to be so showy-offy. Usually the quiet one at noisy things. Chloe or Edgar in 24. That type.

For stupid/irrelevant/boring reasons I have never liked Julian Cope and never fallen for his I’m-mad-me U.S.P. and I’m sure he’s lost a lot of sleep over it all, but his new album was nearly my ROTW. I was shocked. About twenty years ago I wrote an atrocious book about early SPK and Chrome and TG and all that mob and Krautrocksampler had just come out and after a bit of awkwardness Julian said he wanted to see the manuscript and so I and my beloved(ish) and a couple of PGs got in the car and drove across to his house in Calne. I don’t know if he still lives there, but Calne is theeee most fucking depressing place on the planet. When Osama Bin Laden was killed and they showed pictures of where he’d been living, it instantly reminded me of a bigger version of Julian’s house - a gigantic hollowed-out breeze-block without any windows and a huge wall all round it. Someone was obviously in but no one answered the door. I don’t blame them. I’m very conventional, and we probably looked like Jehovah’s Witnesses. If we’d been dressed up like Boadiceas and Napoleons we’d have been welcomed as fellow wackoes. He never returned the MS and I didn’t care cos I’d written it in only about a week and was still on a speedy-high but later got depressed and realised it was complete shit and deserved oblivion. His new album doesn’t have any tunes or originality or good bits. It is after all a Julian Cope album.

But maybe he is going to become the next Osama bin Laden, cos the lyrics early on are very exciting - about suicide and killing and bombing and fighting back and the trolley-dash riots last summer - and when our beloved indie-kid-bands sing about revolution I just laugh cos they’re just obediently playing the rock’n’roll game, but somehow when Julian sings this stuff I do believe him, I really do. So I suddenly kinda admire him - he’s passionate and different and done his time and has oomph and he’s not just bitterly crying into his computer this Sunday evening, but he might have problems flying to America.

My ROTW should be one of those EPs by Wild Nothing or Beach Fossils but I can’t remember what either of them sounded like exactly, or which was the best one. So it’s the Kronos Quartet/Vladimir Martynov because as we always tell each other, “there is always classical music” - and one day we’ll grow up and grow out of pop and glitch and dub techno and croaky old punks singing about becoming suicide bombers, and then we’ll finally throw away the computer and have TIME to read all those boring books that are piling up and see all the boring films that are so worthy while all of Haydn’s string quartets repeat all month and I do love my ROTW very much, it is severe and starkly-beautiful and VERY 20th Century, which to-state-the-bleeding-obvious was the greatest century for music and wars and EVERYTHING EVER!!!!!!!! but I don’t want to ever grow up and I kinda hope I’ll be hanging off the Cenotaph next to international terrorist Julian Cope the next time it all kicks off. The End. I do try to keep this shit brief but it just gets out of control.