Posts from 3rd May 2003

May 03


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MY ROCKIST SHAME!!! So I’m tidying up and “Carnival” by Archigram comes on and as you do I find myself bopping around the room, and then it suddenly dawns on me that I’m not just dancing, oh no, in fact I am playing air guitar to the track. You can take the boy out of the indie, etc etc.

Factological amendment

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Factological amendment to Simon R’s Rough Trade bit: it depends on the RT shop, dunnit? Yes none of them stock garage but in general the Ladbroke Grove one is the one that goes for nu-skool breaks et al. The Covent Garden one is much better: minimal breaks section and yes they do stock dancehall. In fact last time I was there they were blasting one of the riddim albums (Hard Drive) – I asked what it was and was seized on with enthusiasm by the counter guy and inveigled into buying an import dancehall 7″ they’d just got in. (And could have left with plenty more if my wallet had stretched to his recommendations.) Their hip-hop section is broader too, though neither shop is very good on the UK stuff, ‘proper’ or otherwise.

I think the no-hardcore and no-garage thing isn’t entirely a class thing, too – I think it’s partly to do with the economic trajectories of these musics: both of them hit commercially big quite early on and then went underground, by which time the anti-pop radar of the Rough Trade record buyer had no doubt been firmly pinged. (Of course, they kept on stocking baggy/grunge/americana etc. no-hopers long after those commercial stars had waned, but as Simon says they know their market.)

A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS – “Wishing (I Had A Photograph Of You) (Extended Mix)”

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A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS – “Wishing (I Had A Photograph Of You) (Extended Mix)”

What really gets me about nostalgia clipshows is their desire to get everyone remembering the same 80s. It’s the same objection I have to Top 100 polls – hands off my experience, fuckers! It’s the same objection people who don’t like music in ads have to music in ads, too, and the Sinker Argument (as seen on ILM threads passim) applies – to reject ad-music is to acknowledge its potential power over you. I dislike canonisation because I feel all sorts of cultural guilt and resentment about not liking so much of the canon. Similarly the False Memory implant regimens of I Love The 80s or School Disco annoy me because I’m so vulnerable to them.

Take A Flock Of Seagulls. Everyone knows AFOS – that haircut, man! And what was their song – the photograph one? – yeah, that was great. I know them too. Except I don’t think I ever saw or heard them in the 80s. In fact I think that the first time I heard “Wishing” was a few weeks ago when I downloaded this (presumably 12″) mix off an FTP site. You all know them better than me, so I won’t bother too much with description except to say that the extended mix is staggering, a strength-through-length move that just keeps getting grander and grander until eventually it ends though in some higher dimension you suspect it cycles on still. It’s an unusual 80s 12″ in that there is no drum break fuckery to keep the minutes quota up.

Actually I love drum break fuckery. “Dub mixes” where the ahem tricknology extended as far as fake scratching on the chorus – “The Reflex – R-r-r-r-reflex – “ and so on. Those are what my friends and I used to get nostalgic about, about the 80s, in the 90s, so much so that one of my friends made me a 12″ mix tape, heavy on the Ben Liebrand, he got bored after one side but I still laughed. Now when we’re sitting in a pub and waxing nostalgic there’s this nibbling guilt, embarrassed meta-references to Andrew Collins and Kate Thornton and “What were we thinking?”. They’ve ruined it for everyone: no more golden eggs, just a rather thin buffet of goose sandwiches.

These scatty reheated thoughts are a poor replacement for a piece which should have gone up on Freaky Trigger, also – sort of – about memories and nostalgia, by the Pinefox. It’s been delayed by formatting problems. I’m moving house this weekend and may be in computer limbo where I can update NYLPM but not the site proper. Next week me and my two new co-editors are going to sit down and work out a masterplan for getting FT back on track – if you fancy joining in your ideas and submissions are of course very welcome. Meanwhile go and listen to that Flock Of Seagulls track, it’s smashing.