Unauthorised item in the bagging area

Tuesday, 25 November 2014


                                                   Salvador Dali by Man Ray, 1934

This is good, discovered and shared via two internet friends a few days ago. A lovely bass-led dubby deep house track (with a great acid bleep and whooshes), from Leftside Wobble. Nice vocal too. Listening to it makes me feel young again, despite physical evidence to the contrary.

Monday, 24 November 2014

My Life Ain't No Holiday

I'm posting this for no reason other than I chanced upon it on Youtube over the weekend and it follows on from yesterday's post. Technique is my favourite New Order album. Maybe because it was released in 1989 and that year was just right time, right place for me. Power, Corruption And Lies has innovation and Lowlife has brilliance but there's something about Technique that is spot on- every note is in exactly the right place, it has the perfect mix of late 80s Ibiza, Mancunian dance and rock, Bernard's most personal lyrics and that superb acid cherub cover. This song is as good as any of the other eight and this TV performance on Big World Cafe shows how good they could be, back when they pretended to like each other (cheers PBH for that line). The show also promises Belgian New Beat and Mariella Frostrup.

Sunday, 23 November 2014


At 7.37 am sixteen years ago today our first child, Isaac, was born. He had breathing difficulties from the start and spent the first two weeks of his life in hospital, two hospitals actually, in the special care baby unit and then maternity. He ended up spending a lot more time in hospital over the following years. At eight months he was diagnosed with a serious genetic disease, Hurler's disease, following a series of problems- deafness, hernias and then hydrocephalus. Before the age of two he had several operations and two bone marrow transplants, one of which nearly did for him. He has lived with many serious health issues and some severe special needs. In 2008, due a very weakened immune system, he contracted meningitis and survived. A very long operation to straighten his back was delayed by the meningitis and then some months later done successfully. Three years ago he had a cochlear implant which has changed his life, opening up a new world of sound to him. Funnily, a lot of this stuff I'm describing here seems like a long time ago- chronologically and in other ways too.

This list of medical issues and procedures only partly defines him and us. There's no denying it is and has been very difficult at times and that more troubles probably lie ahead. But almost everyone who meets him and gets pinned down for a chat leaves feeling happier. He knows far more people than I do. He makes friends wherever he goes. He has endless reserves and goes on where many others would just take to their beds and stay there.

So, turning sixteen today is a big deal in lots of ways.

Run Wild

Run Wild was a late addition to New Order's 2001 comeback album Get Ready. The tune is lovely, acoustic guitars and melodica and a sweet tune. Unusually the lyrics were written by Stephen (not Bernard), written for his and Gillian's seriously ill daughter. It's always struck a chord with me.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

In The Heat Of The Remix

Here's a remix us Weatherall heads may not have seen coming- an eight minute reworking (with Balearic bells on) of Noel Gallagher and his High Flying Birds. Noel's vocal contribution is restricted to one line through a megaphone four minutes in after a long build up- the rest is in pure Weatherall remix territory with a massive bassline (looped from the original track presumably), some lovely hi-hats and arpeggio action, and those bells clanging out. I'd imagine Noel might approve of this, having mispent some of his youth in the Hacienda. Noel often comes across as a witty interviewee, good fun over a few pints. But I think he mislaid all his decent tunes somewhere in the mid 90s and hasn't managed to relocate them since. If you want to see the bewilderment of some of the more conservative end of Noel's fanbase, look at the comments on the Youtube post. For the rest of us, a bit of a treat.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Some Feedback

The Jesus And Mary Chain came on stage last night and announced they would play the encore first, then go off for a few minutes and return to play Psychocandy. They then launched into April Skies, Head On and Some Candy Talking, all crystal clear and fine, William's guitar twice as loud as everything else put together, the occasional missed note or out of tune string not mattering a jot. Two more songs later they ramped up the noise with an massive version of Reverence. Two minutes and a bit after that they were off- having played Upside Down, loud and drenched in squealing feedback.

A brief public information film from the early 60s projected onto the stage wall advertised the pleasures of moving to East Kilbride and they reappeared with Just Like Honey. Then we got the rest of Psychocandy. The projections (biker gangs, Super 8 home video footage), strobes and dry ice splashed all over the stage, added some visual drama. There isn't much to look at with The Mary Chain- five middle aged men dressed in black not moving much, apart from Jim occasionally lifting the mic stand up. At some reunion gigs you get a communion between band and audience, a mass singalong, arms around shoulders, joy at hearing songs you thought you'd never hear live again, beery good times, nostalgia. The Screamadelica shows were a joyous celebration. Not here. Psychocandy is an album about alienation and while the audience weren't alienated, we stood and watched, apart from some sporadic moshing down the front. This was noise, feedback, earsplittingly loud, with Jim's vocals and the melodies sneaking through the distortion, like in You Trip Me Up. The Living End and The Hardest Walk, garage riffs with a wall of ringing noise. As the band left the stage, William's guitar bleeding loudly against his amp, Game Over, in 80s video game graphics, flashed up and down the back wall. Still alive, still kicking. Game Over.

Paris, Upside Down, a few nights ago.

Like A Vir...shhh

This Madonna song caused a bit of a stir in the school yards of the mid-80s when it was released- use of the word 'virgin' (snigger snigger). Teenage Fanclub covered it in 1991, quite fantastically, smothered in acres of beautiful distortion with sleepy vocals. When JC posted it a good while back at The Vinyl Villain it gained a takedown notice from the DMCA. When he re-posted it much later, he would not even name the song for fear of attracting the attention of the internet police. Sneaky, unnamed and hush hush. You ain't seen me right.

Like A Secret

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Just Like Honey

Tonight, six months after paying for the tickets, I'm going to see the Jesus And Mary Chain play live, Psychocandy and related songs, at Manchester Academy. It's twenty-nine years since Jim and William Reid released the album, one of the key albums of underground British 'rock' (rock seems like the wrong word somehow- this isn't rock, it's shattering glass or something similar). I've been looking forward to this and while it can't replicate mid-80s JAMC and I'm not sure I'm that much in favour of bands playing albums in their entirety (just play what you want, or play all the hits)- I love 'em.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Like A Rolling Stone

The daddy of all the 'Like A ...' songs is Bob Dylan's Like A Rolling Stone, one of those songs that tops lists and thoroughly deserves to,a man moving ahead of the art form, faster than all the others. A six minute long 7" single, with a whip crack start, amphetamine energy, wired organ and some of the best lyrics ever- crazy poetic verses and sneering, questioning choruses. Dylan's version is the original and definitive. 1960s mods The Creation had a go, a little polite with the backing but a decent stab I suppose.

Like A Rolling Stone