May 18, 2010
It was 30 years ago today that Ian Curtis died. I remember it all too well. John Peel announced to the world -“bad news folks, Ian Curtis has died” then he played The Fall’s In My Area, one of Ian’s favourite songs. The NME was on strike, so Paul Morley had plenty of time to perfect the obituary. He’s been re-writing it ever since. I still have the copy stashed away, yellowed now. Malcolm Owen was in the same issue, reminding us that Ian wasn’t rock n roll’s only victim. Most eulogised perhaps.
So many words have been written since. Films have been made, myths created. And shattered. That we still seem to care says it all really. Play Atmosphere or Decades or 24 Hours and you remember why.
May 4, 2010
Now I’ve dipped my toe back into the world of live music I’m shocked at the things that seem to go on these days:
1. Couples sharing earplugs. Just as the band took the stage the other night the bloke standing next to me pulled out a couple of sets of silicon gel earplugs which he and his girlfriend slid into their ears just as the music started. WHAT THE F***!. Back in the day it would be heads in the basebins. I wear my tinitus with pride. If you want a quiet night stay in, fire up the cocoa, put on Smooth FM and get the knitting out.
2. Bouncers giving out bottles of water. I’m more used to seeing bouncers doling out punches then the new caring breed concerned about punters’ hydration.
3. Everyone is a f****** photographer now. There were more mobile phones held aloft than lighters at a Barry Manilow concert. Just enjoy the music, maybe even dance. Your photographs will be blurred and shit and no-one will rate your shaky clip on YouTube.
One thing that hasn’t changed though. There’s always the guy right at the front. Glasses, floppy fringe and a checked shirt mouthing the words to every song just to let you know he’s the number one fan. Tosser.
May 2, 2010
I was there. I was there at the first Can sessions in Koln. I was there with Suicide in a New York loft. I was there when LCD Soundsystem played Bristol.
Only the last is true but it really did feel like an “I was there” moment. From the opening track – the Talking Heads influenced pfunk of USvsThem to the closing New York I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down (with a bit of Alesha Keys thrown in for added bliss) this was as near a perfect two hours of live music as you are likely to hear in this or any lifetime.
The set built and built and the place bounced and bounced. By the time we got All My Friends, about an hour in, I was having an out of body experience, floating on the ceiling watching the delerious throng below. But it didn’t peak there. The favourites just kept coming – we were treated to Daft Punk is Playing…., Tribulations, Yeah, Someone Great and a storming encore of that 40-something anthem Losing My Edge. The song that encapsulates James Murphy, who proves that an over-weight nearly middle aged guy (you can see the empathy here) can still be the coolest – by being a sponge for the best music for the last 30 years. Imagine the funk of Sly Stone and George Clinton, the percussive work-outs of ACR at their best, mixed by Georgio Moroder and Sparks with a bit of the Clash thrown in. That’s what we got tonight. The best music of the last three decades in one band.
As I came out, elated, exhausted I heard a girl saying to her boyfriend “and he’s like 40 or something – can you believe that”. I smiled, for once not feeling 45. Thank God tomorow’s a bank holiday though. The knees will be aching