May 3rd! May the bleedin’ 3rd!
So all of a sudden there I was with 2 months of extreme business and with all best intentions applied I am still left here 6 weeks later with nothing to show on the blog front. Rectify…
4th of May was the first show of 3 for ‘Just Enough for the Real World‘ at the Pleasance Theatre in Islington – my first stage appearance (outside of the occasional Open Mike spot) for approximately 10 years. Just the one song, but it’s a good’n and it gives me the chance to work on me mockernee accent. All three nights went really well, but Saturday night’s final performance was definitely the pick of the bunch. There’s some video still in the process of editing, so watch out for it. Since the shows we’ve been hard at work with a redesign of the ‘Just Enough’ website, now in its spangly new form with loads more information about the project. It’s been amazing for us to see how much has ended up on there – it’s turning into something bigger everyday. With which cunning segway I will mention that ‘The Everyday Project’ looks like it is all going to happen in July, in advance of the launch of the new single ‘Everyday’. That will definitely keep us busy.
THE BLACK ALBUM – JAY-Z (2003)
This is hip hop right? I’m never sure about genres. I either like it or I don’t. And unexpectedly I like this. Hey! I like hip hop now. Who knew? Jay-Z has seen a bit of chart action recently; that song with Alicia Keys for a start, the New York one. And he’s married to someone quite famous I understand. I didn’t really pay attention but apparently that’s him doing the rap on ‘Crazy in Love’. I like that, but not necessarily because of that bit.
99 Problems – that’s the one that I know best from this. As I recall, my first exposure to that song was sitting in the car, having come home from work, and Zane Lowe starts playing it on the BBCR1 evening show. I remember, because it was 2006 and I’d not long split up from my long term girlfriend. To say I was feeling a bit low really is an understatement. But this came along and gave me just the momentary boost of ‘FU’ that I needed. So thanks for that. Didn’t expect to get this album, but I can see why Mr Z has got to where he is. Top stuff.
Conversely, the next two on my odyssey of Q I expected to really like. NOTHING’S SHOCKING – JANE’S ADDICTION (1988) was a disappointment. I think I was making connections with other bands from the same place and era that I already know and enjoy but this was just ‘meh’. ‘Been Caught Stealing’ is a good track. But it’s not on this album. And then on to ON FIRE – GALAXIE 500 (1989) which I had not heard of previously and fully expected to like based on the short description in the Q list (“Lo-Fi dream pop; made by the indie bands’ indie band”). Well, maybe you need to be in the mood, but more likely you need to be in 1989. I don’t think this has aged well, but worryingly I probably would have loved this at the time, and you know what it’s like once you develop an attachment to something, it can be very hard to let go of. I think that this is the kind of indie that gives indie a bad name. Sorry, it’s not going in my list of discoveries.
GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR – F#A#∞ (1997) Now this, I was not prepared for. My first thought was that this was going to be another of the albums that I couldn’t get hold of, or at least not all of it. When I searched it on Napster I only got 3 tracks. Then I realised that each of the three tracks were between 15 and 30 minutes long. Interesting. And then I played it.
What the hell? The Galaxie 500 album was described as the ‘indie bands’ indie band. This was described as ‘so indie it hurts’. Immediate? No. Catchy? Sing along? Not a chance. Cheery? Hell no!
I can’t leave this alone though. I keep wanting to go back to it and listen again. Full of weird sounds, samples, dialogue and moments of virtual silence, I’ve listened to this on a Sunday morning just chilling out, and in the car on a journey in to London and both worked. I’ve just dowloaded it to my iPhone so I can listen again. It is strange and beautiful, and definitely the one on the list so far that declares Q magazine readers to be the most amazingly eclectic group of listeners – voting for this in sufficient numbers for a place in the top 250 – i doff my hat. Now looking forward to some other strange and fascinating discoveries.
Finally for this time out it’s the not imaginatively titled TRACY CHAPMAN – TRACY CHAPMAN (1988). Ah,
memories. This is from a time when I was just beginning my proper adult life, with a proper home of my own, a proper job, and a proper girlfriend. During that summer there was the Mandela concert and Tracy Chapman, unheralded and largely unknown, got on stage and sang accompanied by just her own acoustic guitar playing. That’s how I remember it at least. Bizarrely and coincidentally this album is currently benefiting from a new lease of life due to performances of Fast Car on Britain’s Got Talent. Other than that, I don’t know what happened to Tracy Chapman. Some vague recollection that we may have owned the second album but could not tell you a single track from that. But from this one there’s Fast Car, Revolution, that one about domestic violence and the one that Boyzone covered…
It’s a good album, and glad there’s a new bunch of people hearing it, although it comes across a bit coffee table / dinner party to me now.
On a different note I’ve been frequenting the 4 Networking circuit recently and just fancy a quick shout out to my new chums Kimberley Mangleshot from Ekuilibrium Personal Training (bootcamp every Saturday); Matt Purser from Edgeward (responsible for the lovely new ‘Just Enough’ website); Stef Thomas from No Red Braces (marketing gooroo); and Richard Earl, Daryl and Paula Hine, Rob Glover, and Kelly Molson just for being great supportive buddies. Many more too, I’ll probably get round to writing more about 4N in the future. For now, just thanks to all of the above, and apologies to anyone who feels they should have been mentioned. It still seems a bit new to me now, although I’ve been at it for 5 months. Quite a change to be meeting lots of new faces every week, after spending the last 5 years in a small office largely by myself. Happy days.
And it this point I will also mention that I’ve started training for ‘Run to the Beat’ in London on 25th September. That would have been my Auntie Sheila’s birthday had she still been alive – and I will be running to raise funds for the Multiple Sclerosis society and thinking of her on the day.