Unauthorised item in the bagging area

Wednesday 29 December 2021


In 2013 while installed as artist in residence for Faber and Faber Andrew Weatherall put out a limited edition multi- media release with Michael Smith. The package brought together Michael Smith's novel Unreal City as a 10" square book with Andrew's notes in the margins, a CD mini- album of ambient music made by Andrew, Nina Walsh and Franck Alba with Michael reading extracts from the book on top and a one sided 10" single. It's a lovely artefact, now only available second hand at three figure prices. If you haven't heard it, the six tracks plus the remix are at Mixcloud. The gentle ambient wash and mournful tone of the music matched by Michael's East Yorkshire voice and his tale of a flaneur returning to the city after some time living hand to mouth on the coast in Kent and his dismay at what has happened to London in his absence. 

Andrew was interviewed on Janice Long's Radio 2 show in December 2013, an interview now archived here. Andrew and Janice chat for almost an hour, play some records and he read some short stories finishing with a play of a so far unreleased track from the Unreal City sessions called Sound And Light. Janice died a few days ago, another face and voice of our youth lost. Her championing of music, radio shows, presenter appearances on Top Of The Pops alongside John Peel and enthusiasm for so many bands loved round here, not least the great Liverpool groups of the 1980s, will be sadly missed. For some time my Twitter timeline was almost entirely people from all walks of life paying tribute to Janice, someone who no one had a bad word to say about. RIP Janice. 

Nina Walsh has just put up a new recording at her Bandcamp page, a fifty minute spoken word/ musical piece called Headland. Michael Smith returns as narrator and returns to the coast, this time around Hartlepool, and tales from his youth and summer escapades by the beach. Nina and Franck plus friends provide the music, a longform piece that starts out with washes and ambient soundscapes which then gradually moves in a more folky direction with tin whistles and acoustic stringed instruments, some chanted backing vocals and an accordion. Later on the players pick up in a 60s style folk rock direction, transforming to match Michael's story as he grows his hair long and falls in love with a hippy girl. Later again, it becomes more electronic and cosmische, oscillations, saws and bleeps. Headland is perfectly pitched for this time of year where it's difficult to tell one day of the week from the next and it seems to be permanently dusk. You can listen and buy here.  


keepingitpeel said...

"Andrew.......What's that name again...? Got it."

Swiss Adam said...

You can expect more as time goes on Peelie. Probably.