LTW warriors 11
Welcome warriors - we will be doing a free book giveaway this week - so stay tuned!
Meanwhile we seem to be basking away in the sub tropical - a fierce solar interruption to our sour normal grey skied fare - it’s enough to melt down our melancholic hearts and record collections and reshape them as upbeat sub tropical…can we cope! The sun is relentless - even my usual haunts in Manchester are drenched in sunshine which with the huge gleaming modern towers that make up the modern Manchester city scape make it feel like a surreal northern version of LA.
There’s something about the UK in the hot weather that seems to drain the damp mood out of us Brits and the passer byes that I observe in my people watching haunt outside Manchester’s HOME bar are walking at an almost funky slower pace. Their limbs match the soporific groove of the holy sunshine and every pore and every sense is swallowing up this seasonal bonus!
Everyone is in a good mood and the parsnip like knobbly white legs of the UK male are out for show, dangling down from long lost shorts rescued from the back corner of cupboards. Aviator shades are for a reason now and music pours out of every window in a sonic celebration of the moment!
There was a double whammy of escape this week with not just the weather but with the so called ‘freedom day’ which saw bumbling Boorish Johnson declare that the war is over and we could run amok through the cities cruelly closed enclaves of joy.
It is truly wonderful to see the venues and clubs open again but there are many caveats and tricky trepidations - is it actually safe to run this new amok without a mask and jabs? Maybe it is. We certainly hope it is but there are plenty of bumps in the road ahead that we are going to have to navigate around. The venues are well run of course but this Covid is a sneaky strand of RNA and it now feels like more people that I know have succumbed to its not very charming charms in the last week than ever before. The only safeguard is that the jabs seem to stop the victims from a horrible knock out sickness or a trip to the hospital.
Hopefully this is just a complicated moment on the road ahead…and we somehow get away with it!
This week the site has been busy - we did a long interview with the great Will Sergeant from Echo and the Bunnymen - it’s filmed so you can get his voice in your head for when you buy his wonderful just released autobiography. The book and the interview are both great, dry tales of life growing up on the edge of Liverpool and the music and clothes that dominated the seventies in those battered schools that many of us went to. You feel like you are back in the monochromatic prisons of education where pop culture was the only dayglo escape and a promise of magic castle mystery beyond the stained grey walls of scholarly life. Will has a great eye for detail and also a deadpan and hilarious sense of humour - with an added warmth that makes for a great narrator.
The interview is a gem and Will is on great form.
Contemporaries of Will, who get mentioned a lot when his autobiography reaches the post punk period are The Fall. Both he and Mac were mates with the sulphurous king of snark, Mark E Smith and their shared love for weird and wonk records, garage rock and the Velvets saw them as unlikely compadres in the early post punk scramble. As the years rolled by the Bunnymen became pop stars and the Fall a brilliantly obstinate vehicle for Mark E Smith’s luridly brilliant psycho-poetry. Event their lesser known later albums had their moments as our reviewer concludes in this new take on 2001’s ‘Are You Missing Winner’.
Jon Savage has always been one of the best commentators who places the music and culture in the heart of the surrounding socio political context and still sounds like a music fan! He is the key writer on his times and his England’s Dreaming book is the classic tome from the punk rock period.
The new edition of England’s Dreaming is out now via Faber & Faber and Rough Trade as part of the bundle including two other pivotal Savage’s books – Teenage and 1966.
Among the variety of works on the history of punk, England’s Dreaming: The Sex Pistols and Punk Rock by Jon Savage remains one of the most meticulous and striking accounts of 70s music. Its groundbreaking quality was perfectly summed up by Charles Shaar Murray whose quote adorns the cover of the first paperback edition: ‘A hole-in-one, grand-slam knockout of a book’. Marking the 30th anniversary this year, the book presents a multidimensional image of the era that resonates impressively with the current moment, defined by the hunger for change.
Creating stark future soundscapes out of electronics has become DJ Shadow’s stock in trade
His 1996 album Endtroducing wasn’t so much an LP as a cultural moment. On the 25th anniversary of its release, Dave Beer listens back to its undulating beats and is surprised to find a record that seems to capture something of 2021… It feels slightly strange to be trying to write a retrospective of a 25 year-old album that really sounds like it could have been released yesterday.