Apr 08

DAVID ESSEX – “Hold Me Close”

FT + Popular111 comments • 5,501 views

#378, 4th October 1975

A matey vocal matched with a jaunty tune,”Hold Me Close” is clumsily eager to please. It claps me hard on the back and makes me splutter, its bogus bonhomie too loud and too close. Essex’ singing on this is such a put-on: sure, all pop singers act but few of them this badly and baroquely, with such deliberated roughness. An out-take from Oliver fifteen years late, or an echo of “Parklife” two decades early? Either way, I’m allergic.



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  1. 61
    Marcello Carlin on 14 Apr 2008 #

    Don’t recall a specific Bowie interview in ’76 NME (which doesn’t mean there wasn’t one) but the dual IMac/CSM Low review (Jan ’77) invented me, I’m afraid.

  2. 62
    Billy Smart on 14 Apr 2008 #

    Re: 58 Oh God, how obsessive am I? NME 1984-2005! (I certainly had a residual brand loyalty!), MM 1984-2000, Sounds 1984-1990, Smash Hits intermittently 1984-1996, Top Of The Pops Magazine 1995-1997, Uncut 1997-, Mojo 2000-2004, Word 2003-…

    And I was such a peculiar young man in my early twenties that I spent all of my part-time wages on buying up the NME 1974-1984.

    The epochal one for me was Melody Maker between about 1987 and 1997, though – even during the height of grunge, which held little interest for me.

  3. 63
    mike on 14 Apr 2008 #

    OK, let me think about this one. I started with Disco 45 in late 1971, and bought it religiously until late 73/early 74, while copping lengthy (and surreptitiously adoring) peeks at my sister’s Music Star, plus God knows what else (Popswap, Fab 208, something with square-shaped pages called Hit…)

    Late 73 is where I discovered the weekly inkies, more or less simultaneously although I think my first purchase was Melody Maker. This was the era when we had five weeklies, and I bought most of them most weeks, but favouring Disc and NME. (The first Sounds I bought had a one-off self-parodying pull-out supplement called Zoundz, which totally confused me). There were also various rock glossies, whose names escape me now.

    When I was packed off to boarding school in Sept 74, my dear doting Grandmama would send me Disc every week, until one of the cool older kids who sometimes let me play my prog albums in his study (and who always borrowed my copy of Disc) let it be known that he would think much more highly of me if I swapped my subscription to the NME. So I did, and so read the NME absolutely every week without fail from spring 1975 until early 2002.

    (Having said that, I preferred Sounds in its 1977-79 heyday, before the twin blights of Bushell and Barton did too much damage. And there was Sniffin’ Glue, which I bought from #3 until the end.)

    I also read Record Mirror absolutely every week without fail from 1979 until it folded in 1991, mostly for the charts and James Hamilton (who started dating my newly widowed stepmother in 1994, to my utter astonishment and delight).

    In all that time, I never switched loyalties to Melody Maker, as I never quite forgave them for their seemingly terminal unhipness in the late 1970s/early 1980s.

    My relationship with the NME soured significantly in the late 1980s, but residual loyalty (and a sense of, well, where else do I go) kept me hanging on for another 14 years or so!

  4. 64
    Tom on 14 Apr 2008 #

    Smash Hits 83-85 (ish)

    Read my lodger’s issues of The Face and Q, then Q at school, 86-88

    NME my first issue was Xmas 88, I then bought it regularly until 91 and intermittently until about 95.

    Melody Maker my first issue was also Xmas 88, I bought it intermittently (2 goth 4 me) until 91 then switched brands and bought it regularly until 96/97 ish.

    Select 1992-1997ish

    Mojo 1995-2000ish

    The Wire 1994-2000ish

    Occasional Muzik, Uncut, Qs for train journeys.

    Then nothing.

  5. 65

    yes jan 77, that’s the one! i won’t have reread it for 30 years and 3 months!

    (bah billy where is the wire 1983-94 esp. in particular 1991-94?)

  6. 66
    mike on 14 Apr 2008 #

    If we’re talking glossies as well as inkies: I bought the very early issues of Smash Hits as a guilty “I’m too old for this shit” pleasure, until it started getting genuinely good at the beginning of 1979, then continued religiously until late 1984. Bought The Face from #1, went off it at the height of the Kid Creole Cocktail phase, then never missed an issue from early 1982 until the start of “Volume Two” in 1989. It had another good phase circa 1992 as I recall. Blitz most months, i-D occasionally. Q very occasionally, with disdainful detachment (apart from the Tom Hibbert interviews). Vox more often than not, Select always. Muzik from #1, which became my bible until Conor McNicholas ruined it. Blues & Soul from time to time, especially during my regrettable early 90s snotty soulboy purist phase. Uncut circa 2000-2003, until it went too far down the classic retro rock line. Mojo only very very rarely. The Wire for a while circa 1996-97, but it was always slim pickings for my broadly populist tastes. Jockey Slut for the last two or three years before it folded; very sorry to see it go. (The) Word since Issue #1, and it’s the only one that I still buy regularly – far from an ideal match, but at least I can meet its resolutely 1985 Whistle Test perspective halfway!

  7. 67
    Marcello Carlin on 14 Apr 2008 #

    I note its very conspicuous absence from Rock’s Back Pages btw (or from The People’s Music for that matter)…
    (mark s xpost)


    MM as long as I can remember because my dad got it because of the jazz but his death more or less coincided with Jonesey cutting the jazz out of the paper so I gave up on it until the Monitor chaps came in through ’85 and went back to it, writing most of its Letters of the Week etc. for a decade or so thereafter.

    NME from ’74 (Python cover and free flexi, CSM assassinates Pepper) until Rattle And Hum time – this sounds incredibly nepotistic but I stopped reading it when Mark stopped writing for it since with the exception of SWells he was about the only readable writer left on there. I looked at the Xmas ’88 issue and its album of the year was Van Morrison and the Chieftains or something similar so it was obviously a good decision for me to stop taking it (OK, OK, it was Nation Of Millions but Van and the lads came second and AR Kane weren’t in it at all so that was quite enough of that…).

    Record Mirror forever because it had the charts and James Hamilton.

    Disc and Music Echo from ’74-77 (?) (when it stopped) largely for the J Edward Oliver cartoons.

    Smash Hits ’79-’86 before pop stopped being worthy of it.

    Sounds ’75-’84 since they were first off the line with punk and for Div Mac if not Bushell though it got a bit boring after that.

    All useless glossies, viz. Face for first half of eighties, Blitz (whither Marc Issue?), The Hit (all nine editions), early Q, occasional Mojo and Vox, and Uncut well ’nuff said about that.

    And Select right through Britpop but it sank pretty quickly when that sank.

    Street Life – ’74-6.

    Odd copies of Let It Rock, Black Music and Blues and Soul depending on who/what was in it.

    Zigzag irregularly through both its seventies and eighties runs.

    Jamming! (early eighties)

    Whatever that shortlived New Pop magazine was called where you had a free single on the front of every issue (New Music New Sounds or something like that).

    Occasional issues of No. 1 but never really got hooked.

    Innumerable fanzines, some of which included my writing.

    Mixmag and Muzik intermittently; see Let It Rock etc. above.

    MUSICS magazine (the old LMC journal of the seventies) where I was a notorious letter writer/stirrer under various unlikely pseudonyms.

    Jazz Journal for the hyuk hyuk factor.

    The Wire, for my sins, from the very first issue (May 1982, Steve Lacy) until the present.

  8. 68
    Rob M on 14 Apr 2008 #

    Inkies history.

    Aware of their existence from around 4 years ‘cos my dad would buy Melody Maker and I would read it, as best I could, up to around ’77 when he suddenly stopped buying it. He did buy the occasional NME over the next few years – I can distinctly remember the OMD “Dancing in the ruins of the western world” cover in late ’81. Bought my own first copy of an inkie in September 83 – NME, Bowie and Sakamoto on the cover – but didn’t progress with it.

    Then in spring 84 bought MM – Moz on the cover – and kept buying it week in week out until it stopped whenever it was – early 2000? I was pretty dedicated, but for some reason missed all the Blissed Out stuff from Reynolds / Roberts etc because I had other things on my mind at the time, so I caught up a few years later when it was a lot harder to find the records. Occasionally bought NME between ’85 to ’87, but as soon as I went to uni in Sept 87 I bought MM and NME every week, and Sounds as well if it looked interesting. I can remember Wednesday morning lectures just being surrounded by music papers. So, NME pretty much every week until early 2001 when I just gave up on it, couldn’t be bothered any longer.

    Monthlies? Q from issue 2 to around 100, Select from start to finish, Vox pretty much the same. Occasional Mojos, Uncuts and Wires over the years. More muso type mags like Guitarist and Computer Music too. Current reading? A quick scan through the racks in WH Smiths and that’s it.

  9. 69

    what abt collusion!?

  10. 70

    sorry rob, that was aimed at marcello — also there is another proto-wire i can’t recall the name of*, it had a company week special issue, green it was, with braxton on the cover

    *i have a whole of issues but my memory is fvcked and i’m at work — the first one i ever bought had lol coxhill on the cover, magenta on white

  11. 71
    Rob M on 14 Apr 2008 #

    Don’t worry Mark – you actually reminded me of another one I had for a while – Debut, it came with a ten inch mini LP. Early ’84, didn’t last long, but I had about three issues of it.

  12. 72
    mike on 14 Apr 2008 #

    Marcello: the New Pop glossy was called New Sounds New Styles, but the one with the flexidiscs was Flexipop. (The Jam’s “Pop Art Poem”! Adam & the Ants covering YMCA! A Bucks Fizz mega-medley!)

    Should also have mentioned ZigZag, particularly in the immediate aftermath of the Kris Needs coup, and Street Life was bloody marvellous. Also bought National Rockstar while it lasted, which wasn’t long, circa 76-77. Black Echoes occasionally, Mixmag if there was a good covermount.

  13. 73
    mike on 14 Apr 2008 #

    (Oh, and the brilliant Volume, which had a massive influence on me in 1993 particularly, helping to get me back into guitar bands as well as gently guiding me into electronica/IDM.)

  14. 74
    Marcello Carlin on 14 Apr 2008 #

    I had a feeling there was more than one of those New Pop mags…

    (though pride of place should go to the Smash Hits ’82 Xmas flexi with lots of “oh goodness me who’s that at the door now why it’s Bananarama” bits of business from Mark Ellen and “‘ullo this is Paul Weller but don’t let that put you off enjoying yourselves…”)

  15. 75
    Marcello Carlin on 14 Apr 2008 #

    …and yes, Volume, that was a fantastic idea and it’s a real shame no one else tried it…

  16. 76
    Tom on 14 Apr 2008 #

    Volume was kind of a precursor of the MP3 blog, or at least the better MP3 blogs, the ones with content to match their powers of sleuthery. And it pioneered the “every mag must have its own CD” tactic that Uncut etc now run with.

  17. 77
    crag on 14 Apr 2008 #

    At the high point of my rock/pop press habit(1994-95)i was devouring MM and NME every week along w/ Mojo, Q, Select, Vox and Record Collector every month. Looking at that list i just think “Christ how many different reviews of “Park Life” or “Ill Communication” did i think i actually needed to read?”

    Gave up on Vox about ’96, the weeklies about ’00(still buy the xmas issues each year though),Q and RC about ’01 or ’02, stuck with Select till the end, tried Uncut from about ’00 to 03 w/ occassional issues since and have basically stuck w/ Mojo and Word since ’04.

  18. 78
    a logged out p^nk s lord sukråt wötsit on 14 Apr 2008 #

    impetus! that’s the third weirdie-music proto-wire i was think on, along with musics that marcello mentioned and collusion (which was a kind of successor to musics, staff-wise if not content-wise)

    i will scan a cover of all of these if i have time before i go to strasbourg

  19. 79
    Rob M on 14 Apr 2008 #

    I also had complete sets of Underground and Offbeat magazines, circa ’87 – ’89, basically covering C86 and post C86 indie stuff. I think the first issue came as a freebie in Sounds in early 87, on the worst paper possible. It had a few covermount tapes too but when Underground closed all the staff moved to Offbeat which was basically the same on glossier paper. Offbeat also had one of the first covermounted CDs in early 89.

  20. 80
    Billy Smart on 14 Apr 2008 #

    I’ve got a few copies of that glossy and bland mid-80s magazine that was “also an LP!” It was handy to have a copy of ‘Song 3′ by Scott Walker in the days when Climate of Hunter was impossible to find.

    The shortest-lived magazine that really excited me was Chris Roberts’ Ikon – 5 months in 1995.

  21. 81
    Caledonianne on 14 Apr 2008 #

    Well, I liked ol’ twinkle eyes bit of Good Old Days nostalgia (glottal stop and all) enough to buy it. My mother appreciated it too – I seem to remember she liked to hoover to it.

    This was NICE Cockney (not like those shouty, nasty geezers on The Sweeney), and the idea of holding Mr Essex close was not unappealing.

    Seems to me that if we’d had karaoke in 1975 half (or should that be ‘alf?) the population of Glasgow would have been giving this laldy in tortured approximations of what we didn’t then know was estuary English. In much the same way that you’re not a gold-plated Weegie unless you have caroused with Wilma, the chanteuse at The Cabin restaurant on Dumbarton Road, and high-kicked your way through the climactic rendition of Noo Yoick, New York…

  22. 82
    Caledonianne on 14 Apr 2008 #

    Oh, er Music Star around 73-74 and Mojo 1996-2006 (till I was made redundant and couldn’t afford it any more).

  23. 83
    rosie on 14 Apr 2008 #

    I was never a great reader of the music press. Melody Maker when I was a sixth former but never consistently.

    I did once earn a bit of pin money by rescuing the subscription list data for The Wire at the behest of my upstairs neighbour in Notting Hill who was involved with it. It was a spin-off from doing a similar (but more convoluted) job for the Literary Review, for which I was paid with a cheque drawn on Coutts bank and countersigned by Auberon Waugh.

  24. 84
    Snif on 15 Apr 2008 #

    Did no-one buy Rolling Stone?

  25. 85
    LondonLee on 15 Apr 2008 #

    I started with Record Mirror around 1977 when they had a feature on the upcoming world tour of my favourite band ELO. I seem to remember Hugh Cornwall was on the cover though it would be almost another year before I was interested in that sort of thing. I think I read Sounds for a while (I remember Gary Bushell giving London Calling a right slagging) before moving on to the giddy heights of the NME until the mid-80s when I was more interested in what they were doing at The Face who had Julie Burchill and Ian Penman writing for them on a regular basis anyway.

    I got The Wire for while when Richard Cook was the editor but that was more because of the design than any jazzbo tendencies on my part.

    But it must be nearly 20 years since I read any music mag on a regular basis.

  26. 86
    Erithian on 15 Apr 2008 #

    Blimey, some of you lot make me sound a right part-timer! Record Mirror from ’74 and Sounds from ’75 until the early 80s, Q since its inception with the very occasional Smash Hits, NME or Mojo during that time.

    I didn’t throw out a copy of Record Mirror for five years, until my wardrobe was groaning with them, then compiled a scrapbook of what seemed to me to be the highlights of the era, from a headline reading “Wombles – Orinoco to go solo?” to a letter enthusing about the Pistols from a lad called Stephen Morrissey. Highlights of ’75 in RM included a review of “Jive Talkin’” saying the Bee Gees had totally lost direction, and a feature on Europop saying that Mouth and Macneal, like Abba, were unlikely to be heard from again.

  27. 87
    Billy Smart on 15 Apr 2008 #

    Youngsters today wouldn’t believe how exciting it was when something free came with a magazine back in the day, be it a Korky the Cat kazoo in the Dandy, a free EP featuring Steinski & Mass Media and Husker Du in the NME, or even the first two years of Uncut CDs.

    Nowadays, all is marketing, and you expect this stuff as a matter of course, and it generally just seems like clutter.

  28. 88
    Marcello Carlin on 15 Apr 2008 #

    Now you get the new Prince album free with the Mail On Sunday and the first instinctive thought is: “what’s wrong with it then?”

  29. 89
    Erithian on 15 Apr 2008 #

    And now the new album by Flo Rida is *titled* “Mail on Sunday”, and the first instinctive thought is “what the hell is that about?” Mind you it’s a first to see the phrase “Mail on Sunday – Explicit Lyrics”.

  30. 90
    Alan on 15 Apr 2008 #

    Big posters of DE’s face all around Hammersmith cos he’s playing the apollo in June.

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