The Miracle of the Aubergine

These were the scenes in the Welsh market town of Cwmgrwfi this morning as crowds of people consumed with morbid curiosity descended on the bedsit of local man Sylvester Sylvestre.
Trainee astrologer Mr Sylvestre (pictured right), aged 19, is well known for his potent homebrewed aubergine cider. Yesterday as he sliced open an aubergine he was astounded to see that the seeds clearly depicted a circled A.
‘There must be some significance in this’ mused Sylvestre, ‘I’ve often toyed with the idea of devoting my life to the promotion of anarchy. This has inspired me to follow that dream’

The Aubergine showing the circled A.

The various writings of Steven Morrissey 1974-1983

Dear person,
So nice to know there's another soul out there, even if it is in Glasgow. Does being Scottish bother you? Manchester is a lovely place, if you happen to be a bedridden deaf mute. I'm unhappy, hope you're unhappy too.
In poverty,

In 1980 Morrissey responded to an advert in Sounds from a fellow called Robert Mackie (male Bowie seeks female Bowie for relationship, Glasgow area...). Mackie preserved the letters that Morrissey wrote to him and made them available in a 'fanzine' format in the late 80's (apart from one, apparently, which appears in the second link).

Here is a selection of letters and reviews from the pen of Morrissey that appeared in various music magazines from 1974-1981:

I was beginning to fear that the online version of James Dean is Not Dead published by Babylon Books in 1983 had dissapeared into the cyber ether- but here it is:

And here is Steven's 1981 work on The New York Dolls:

I've hunted these down so that you don't have to- respect to the efforts of the original compilers, transcribers and posters and , of course, to the author himself.


Kate Bush- The Kick Inside (1978)

Every now and then something remarkable comes along.
Pink Floyd’s Dave Gilmour had heard Kate Bush’s demo (which had been rejected by numerous record companies) and helped arrange for her to make a more professional sounding tape. Gilmour was also instrumental in getting her signed to EMI at the age of 16 - EMI weren’t in too much of a rush to release any of her material- they provided her with an advance of £3500 and told her to take the next year developing her material. They wanted a more commercial sound as they strove to maintain the dominance of Progressive Rock, but even at a young age Kate Bush was determined to retain control of her artistic output. Bush used the advance to fund dance and mime training under the tutelage of the legendary Lindsay Kemp.

She began recording this, her first album in August 1977 although two tracks had been recorded during the summer of 1975.
By the time the LP came out, of course, pop music was feeling the aftershock of punk- new wave, sneers, glottal stops and estuary English, and the posh sounding, folk inspired and somewhat eccentric former Convent schoolgirl was something of a curiosity.
Goofy as fuck
Here’s a tidy article.


Joy Division-Peel Session February 14th 1979

Joy Division’s first session for John Peel was transmitted on February 14th 1979.
Exercise One
She's Lost Control


Grey Tart...

Life is a tragedy when seen in close-up, but a comedy in long-shot. Charles Chaplin.

I mentioned Richard Billingham's 2000 book Ray's A Laugh in one of our occasional Read a Book posts back in the spring.
The title is borrowed (unwittingly I fancy) from Ray's a Laugh (1949–1961) a domestic comedy radio series starring Ted Ray.

Here's what Billingham says:

My father Raymond is a chronic alcoholic.
He doesn't like going outside, my mother Elizabeth hardly drinks,
but she does smoke a lot.
She likes pets and things that are decorative.
They married in 1970 and I was born soon after.
My younger brother Jason was taken into care when he was 11,
but now he is back with Ray and Liz again.
Recently he became a father.
Ray says Jason is unruly. Jason says Ray’s a laugh but doesn’t want to be like him.
Dad was some kind of mechanic, but he's always been an
alcoholic. it has just got worse over the years.
He gets drunk on cheap cider at the off licence.
He drinks a lot at nights now and gets up late.
Originally, our family lived in a terraced house,
but they blew all the redundancy money and, in desperation,
sold the house. then we moved to the council tower block,
where Ray just sits in and drinks.
That's the thing about my dad, there's no subject he's interested
in, except drink.

It's not my intention to shock, to offend, sensationalise,
be political or whatever, only to make work that is as spiritually
meaningful as I can make it -
in all these photographs I never bothered with things like
the negatives. some of them got marked and scratched.
I just used the cheapest film and took them to be processed
at the cheapest place. I was just trying to make order out of chaos.

£270 on Amazon...


Rema - Rema - Wheel In The Roses 12" (1980)

Here's a gem from the early days of the wonderful 4AD label.
The first 4 issues by the company were under the name Axis. It was Bauhaus's Dark Entries (AXIS 3), that made the biggest impact. The single was reissued as AD 3, thereby becoming the first record to actually bear the label "4AD."
This EP from Rema - Rema was the second, (BAD 5).
Line up:
Gary Asquith -guitar,vocals
Marco Pirroni -guitar
Mick Allen -bass,vocals
Mark Cox -keyboards
Max -drums

Rema - Rema split when when Marco Pirroni (an original member of Siouxsie & the Banshees) joined Adam and the Ants.
Asquith, Allen, and Cox went on to form another short-lived band Mass, which then split up to form Renegade Soundwave (Asquith) and The Wolfgang Press (Allen and Cox).
Later in her career Max joined Psychic TV.

Fond Affections was later covered by This Mortal Coil , sung by Gordon Sharp (Cindytalk) with Mark Cox again on keyboards.

The striking cover is an adaptation of the photograph The Wrestlers, Kordofan, Sudan 1949 by George Rodger.


Pindy said...

Jean Louis Pindy said: Authority, in whatever hands it is placed, is always pernicious to the advancement of humanity.


Throwing Muses - Hunkpapa (1989)

If you didn't know (I must admit I just found out myself) Hunkpapa is a branch of the Lakota Sioux.
Throwing Muses was formed in Newport Rhode Island c 1981 by school friends (and later stepsisters) Kristin Hersh and Tanya Donelly.
They were the First USA band signed by 4AD, and this was their third LP. Ripped from vinyl (gorgeous brown cardboard sleeve).

Leslie Langston- bass, vocals
David Narcizo- drums, percussion, vocals
Tanya Donelly- guitar, vocals
Kristin Hersh-guitar, vocals, piano


КИНО- Blood Type- (English version of Группа Крови)- (1989)

I’m forever singing the praises of Leningrad’s КИНО, a band whose influence on Soviet/ Russian culture during what was a transitional period in history has no parallel here in the west. In 1989, the era of Perestroika, the band went to France to record a compilation for the French market (Le Dernier Des L’Héros). It was during sessions at Studio du Val d’Orge that they recorded this English version of their great number Группа Крови (Gruppa Krovi).
The track was unreleased until 2002 when Moroz Records issued Последние записи (Posledniye Zapisi -Last Recordings).
I’m not a gamer but I gather this features on Grand Theft Auto IV?.


Hats off to Alfie...

In my eyes the only dubious thing about Gareth Thomas is the fact that he openly supports Cardiff City.
He has been a great player and comes across as a good bloke.
Typical of Wales, tho- since Gareth 'came out' this week I haven't met a single person who didn't profess to already know that he was gay!
Personally I learned this 'fact' from a man in a pub circa 1997 when Gareth was at Bridgend- he didn't reveal his sources...
Anyway, well done Alfie and I hope that everything works out well (apart from the Cardiff City side of things, of course...)


Nick Cave- 2 Lectures (1996/1999)

Nick Cave writes a mean love song, and in the first lecture here, read at the Vienna Poetry Festival 0n September 25th, 1999 , we have his thoughts on the genre.

Considering the dark and murderous world in which Nick Cave conjures many of his songs (right from the ealiest days of The Birthday Party) it's unsurprising to find that his literary interests lie in the sacred texts of the Jewish and Christian traditions, in which slaughter and torments abound.
In The Flesh Made Word, a radio essay made for the BBC in July 1996, Nick discusses his relationship with Christianity.

Note: Speaking to the Guardian in 2009, he said: Do I personally believe in a personal God? No.


Sonic Youth- Kill Yr Idols (1983)

Sonic Youth’s 3rd release features 2 tracks from Confusion Is Sex , a live recording, and 3 new songs recorded live to 2-track at Wharton's studio in October 1983.
Lee Ranaldo describes it as: An EP made in 1983, released in Germany when it seemed that no-one else was interested in releasing a Sonic Youth record.
At the time Sonic Youth were very popular in Europe, but the US press were generally ignoring them.


Hats off to Satan!

I lifted this from Comically Vintage, which is well worth a visit.


Man 2 Man- Male Stripper (1986/87)

I remember getting down to this one with the boys back in '86. Feelings of slight disappointment when it became a big hit the following year- as if something special had been lost .
Man 2 Man were Paul and Mikki Zone, veterans of the New York underground.
4 mixes here, including the Bump & Grind mix with Man Parrish- Studio 54 legend and B-boy pioneer (more from him soon!).


The Adicts- This Is Your Life (1984)

Remember the TV show This Is Your Life, the red book?

This is a compilation album from Suffolk droogs The Adicts. The Adicts enjoyed great popularity in the early 80's and are one of the bands that have continued to bash out their energetic brand of Oi/ streetpunk for thirty years.
These boys have something of a Clockwork Orange fixation.
This LP brings together some of the the band's earliest recordings from 1978-1980, and includes tracks recorded for John Peel Sessions broadcast in November 1979.

This is a vinyl rip of the 1984 Fallout records release.

Keith 'Monkey' Warren - vocals
Mel Ellis - bass
Pete Dee Davison - guitar
Michael 'Kid' Dee Davison - drums


The Winter Holiday...

The decorations are up then. The lights are on. The credit fuelled shopping frenzy is well underway.
It's usually around this time of year that some deluded fools appear urging us to remember the true meaning of Xmas.
We are supposed, they say, to be celebrating the birth of Our Lord.
There was , however , a strongly established cross cultural tradition of holding celebrations around the time of the winter solstice going back to neolithic times. This made sense. Winters were hard- the months January to April were known as the famine months, times of actual starvation. The approach of deep winter was a time for slaughtering cattle, in order that they would not have to be fed. Therefore there was a supply of fresh meat. Alcohol produced at harvest time was nicely fermented by December.It was a natural holiday- the land could not be worked- and would provide some relief from the depressant effects of hardship and a lack of daylight.
The Greeks had a solstice festival in honor of Dionysus called Brumalia (Latin bruma = the shortest day) which was generally held on December 25th.

In 45 bce December 25th was established in the Julian calendar as the winter solstice in Europe.

The Romans dedicated Brumalia to Bacchus,(their equivalent of Dionysus). No half measures here- they celebrated for thirty days, commencing on November 24 th.

The date gained added significance in the Roman festive calendar when the Emperor Elagabalus (218–222), who was eccentric even by Roman standards, introduced the festival of Dies Natalis Solis Invicti. This was a sort of catch all festival for an assortment of solar deities. Dies Natalis Solis Invicti (rebirth of the Invincinble Sun) reached the height of its popularity under the Emperor Aurelian, who promoted it as an empire-wide holiday.
Evidence suggests that the earliest Christian celebrations of the birth of Jesus were held in May. Clement of Alexandria (writing circa 200 ad) describes a group in Egypt celebrating the nativity on a date that corresponds to May 20th.
Sextus Julius Africanus popularizied the idea that Jesus was conceived on the spring equinox , and thus born on December 25 th in his reference work Chronographai, published in 221,

Many of the traditions practiced to this day have their origins in the earlier, non Christian festivals.
So my enlightened comrades, when the so called Christians (who show so little evidence of having been touched in any way by the professed teachings of Jesus) bang on about 'their' festival being appropriated by others, lets just remind them that they once did the same, gradually eroding the meaning of winter festivals, which had been around for millenia, with their crazy message.
Have a good winter holiday.


The Connells- Darker Days (1985)

I posted a version of this gem back in March. It was a CD rip and for some reason I had problems uploading and had to split the file into 3. About 15 people downloaded it, a surprisingly low number.
Any how- I've finally got around (gotten round?) to making a rip of my vinyl copy, and it's all in one file.

Here's what I wrote about this group back in March:
Formed in 1984 The Connells are from Raleigh, North Carolina. When the as yet unnamed band turned up to play their first gig at a local club they found that the flyers billed them as The Connells and they stuck with the name.
An early version of Darker Days, recorded by the band’s initial four-piece lineup, appeared on the North Carolina indie compilation More Mondo in 1984. A re-recorded version of Darker Days provides the title track to this, the band’s debut album, which was produced by fellow North Carolinian Don Dixon and released in 1985 on Elvis Costello's Demon Records in the UK.
The band featured on BBC’s Whistle Test exploration of the new music of the southern states, or Comboland, and also on the LP Welcome to Comboland a Collection of Twelve Artists From North Carolina (1986).
With their southern origins, jangly Rickenbacker sound and reflective lyrical style comparisons to R.E.M were inevitable.
Line up:
Mike Connell- guitar.
Doug MacMillan- vocals.
Peele Wimberley- drums.
David Connell- bass.
George Huntley- guitar, keyboards, vocals.


The Hepburns

On Monday 17/04/1989, two days after Hillsborough, John Peel opened his show with You’ll Never Walk Alone by Aretha Franklin. When the record finished he broke into tears …
The session that night was by Llanelli band The Hepburns. We’ve featured The Hepburns here before- and I’ll repeat my urge to readers to support these doyens of genre defying pop It was a good set.- available here, along with their later oeuvre. One thing has really been bugging me now tho for 20 years. On the track You Must Have Had It All what on earth is that first line?
I’ve lost touch with Matthew Jones so I can’t ask him, but surely someone must know?* **

I know the rest (apologies, Matt if you’re reading)
...the opportunist Denis Law,
Stanley Spencer,
A regent or
Egon Scheile, a little bit bent.
Zola, Lola Montez, Tommy Cooper's fez,
Burt and Hal and Marc Chagall
you must have had it all...
Sylvia Plath was like a lath, Carson McCullers was often slow, but never dull...
Albert Finney, Tom Courtenay, Paul Klee if I may,Yves Montand and his lifelong companion, Simone Signoret
.Dirk Bogarde in Night Porter or someone a lot shorter...

*Footnote: I pondered this so long and hard last night that it appeared in my dreams, when, I was assured the answer was Jim Bowen , Aznavour and... or was it Debord?
** See Anonymous' post below for the answer!
You can help me out by listening to the track on this neat little MP3 gadget:

Or if you want to dowload it:


Гражданская Оборона -Оптимизм (1985)

Recorded at the same time as Поганая молодёжь in a period of frenzied experimentation. One discarded title was История Омского Панка, часть 2-я (History of Omsk Punk Vol. 2).
This is very lo-fi whilst being poppier than its companion LP.
Letov recalled that at this juncture the band’s career was …Ended all by the fact that the group at the end of 1985 was pitilessly driven away by state punitive organs, me they forcibly sent into the crazy house, Kuzma - into the army…
So these guys really did suffer for their art and had to put up with a bit more than sneers from disapproving elders.
Great album.
With thanks to the lovely Natasha.

Егор Летов (Yegor Letov) - voice, guitar, bass, ‘striking’ (a reference to the simple percussion employed – a hi- hat nailed to a plank and one drum);
Кузя УО (Kuzya UO) - bass, guitar, voice;
Валерий Рожков (Valerie Rozhkov) - flute.