Posts Tagged 'my bloody valentine'

Lithium

“Sunday morning is everyday for all I care.
And I’m not scared.  Light my candles. In a daze cause I’ve found God.

Yeah yeah yeah yeah…..”

From “Lithium” by Nirvana.

Pop culture and rock music seems to be measured by high water tides, be it the Beat Poet movement, the Summer of Love, the Spirit of ’76 or a whole host of other things.  The recessionary environment and bleakness of the late 70’s and early 80’s produced some great music too.  I wonder how the present global economic situation will inspire new expressions of what it truly is to be human?  It is often cited that this recession has brought a new moral awakening as we are more informed of the impact of our consumption on other world regions.

Throughout generations, music has defined movements, has soundtracked events and captured emotions and memories.  Can we imagine a musical history without icons like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Bob Marley or the Sex Pistols?  And whilst the influence of such artists is all around us, they aren’t the ones that defined my generation.  Do we make idols of musicians or do we somehow find a sense of something bigger than us through their art?  Something spiritual?  Something of God? And yet a previous generation often frowned and claimed it was all of the devil – even Cliff Richard!!!  Well maybe there’s some truth in that…

This week I discovered a couple of clips that appeared on one of the few TV programmes that covered the indie music scene of the early ’90’s.  They all came from a single episode of Rapido which I had videoed at the time and had watched umpteen times.  On watching it this week I was amazed at how I could virtually recite the journalistic commentary that accompanied the clips together with much of the band’s own conversations.

The first clip is extraordinary.  Nirvana in the UK literally weeks after the release of “Nevermind” – an album which was scrappy, messy, full of contradictions and which was yet deperately urgent and vital upon it’s release.  I listened to it last night for the first time in years and it sounded like a great commercial rock album.  So much subsequent music has been influenced by it.  How the landscape has changed forever even though Kurt claimed he was just ripping off The Pixies. 

This clip shows a band unaware of just how they were going to rewrite rock and it’s a rare insight into a moment in time when NME and others were getting excited about something that was literally destroying the banality of the early ’90’s music scene.  Nirvana were playing to modest sized crowds many of whom were curious.  I still can’t believe I turned down tickets to see them at Calton Road Studios in Edinburgh in November 1991…

The second clip is from a very young looking Teenage Fanclub discussing the success of “Bandwagonesque”, another album that I still listen to all these years later.  Teenage Fanclub’s music has grown over the years and is still hugely treasured by me.

Last but not least, My Bloody Valentine discuss the seminal “Loveless”.  I just couldn’t get my head around this record in 1991.  Was it genius or did you have to be out of your head on some sort of substance to “get it”?  Eighteen years later I still listen to it regularly and whilst I’ve found many of the songs lurking in the strange soundscape, it still doesn’t sound dated to me.  Despite many pale imitations, nothing sounds quite like it.  Oh and it made me nostalgic and happy to see the late John Peel give his tuppence worth too.  

Cum On, Feel The Noize

“Cum on feel the noize,

girls rock your boys,

 We’ll get wild wild wild,

Wild wild wild.”

From “Cum On, Feel The Noize” by Slade.

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I read this article in Friday’s Guardian.  Looks like I could be in trouble.

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I was elated when I managed to secure a ticket for My Bloody Valentine’s Glasgow gig via ebay last year – the first gigs they’d played in 16 years.  I was also torn when I discovered it clashed with our family holidays and was at least glad that my friend, Craig B, was able to use it.  He sheepishly texted me after the gig to tell me about how amazing it had been and the aural hell the band had raised.  Maybe I should be thankful…

Lucky

“It’s gonna be a glorious day”

From “Lucky” by Radiohead

When Thom Yorke delivers the above line, it is a crecendo which soars and lifts my spirit.

Today I was awoken by the my daughter’s calls for me which have become my Sunday morning alarm.  Once I got focused, I realised that I had a heart and head full of content thoughts having spent the last two evenings in the company of important friends, chatting to the wee small hours over good food and red wine. 

After a read of yesterday’s Guardian whilst my daughter watched a little TV, I pulled on my jeans and wind-cheater and strolled down the road to our favourite, nearby, cafe to pick up fresh coffees and pastries.  The sun was still low in the sky and bright enough for me to squint into it for most of the walk.  The air had that frosty chill when you inhale deeply followed by steam exiting my nostrils.  My Bloody Valentine provided a perfect sound-scape from my headphones as I tried to dampen the muffled sound of the passing cars and their long shadows.  There were copper leaves in the gutter and middle aged women carefully delivering communion galsses to the local church.

Sunday is often referred to as a day of rest.  We had the best laid plans of making it to the early service at 9.30 as my wife was heading off to a class with a friend at 12.  We were nowhere near making 9.30 and had thought of just ditching the 11.15 service in exchange for a family day together and, maybe, a drive in the car listening to last week’s sermon on iTunes.  20 minutes before the 11.15 service, our nearly four year old started saying how much she wanted to go to church.  Five minutes later the two of us were properly dressed and bundled into the car with her singing “Worthy, You Are Worthy” the whole way there.  (It is usually that, or “The Milkman of Human Kindness” from the child seat these days and either is fine with me).

We made it to church on time and joined some close friends in the pew.  The music was great and my daughter was desperate to go down the front and do some actions she had learned to “Worthy You Are Worthy”, before disappearing to Sunday Club all by herself like a proper little indie pop kid.

The sermon was powerful.  Our Senior Pastor Karl noted, “We are here today because God brought you here”.  I was there because my insistent nearly 4 year old wanted to be at church enough to kick my butt into action and I am more than grateful to her for it.  As I type this, my wife has headed out to the evening service to hear the same sermon.  As I look at the scribbled notes I took during the sermon, I wonder what specifically I was meant to hear?  What is to be illuminated to me and how will I respond?

The afternoon was spent helping my daughter on her bike, aping around in crunchy, fallen, leaves, playing in the swing-park, eating a late lunch and playing “nurseries” whilst being scolded any time I tried to sneak off to play my drums.

All in all, it has been a glorious day. 

I once heard Rob Bell deliver an amazingly helpful sermon on what it means to keep the Sabbath.  He described it as “the day when my work is complete, even if it’s not”.  A time to intentionally set aside the things that so often consume us, to rest and be fed instead.  He encouraged the listeners to find out what feeds their souls and to do that.  For me, I really miss church if I’m not there on a Sunday – not out of any sense of religious guilt, but, simply because it is a great place to be.  A place where I am accepted, stimulated, challenged and leave with a bunch of thoughts and ideas scribbled in my notebook and bouncing around my  head.

Feeding my soul might include anything from spending a lazy day with my family, a cozy afternoon in our home with the rain drumming off the skylights or paddling out into the sea on my surfboard to try and catch some waves – just feeling small in the vastness of nature, but fully alive.  And yet, any of those activities would take second place for me when compared with getting to one of our Sunday services.

Morrisey once beautifully sang, “Every day is like Sunday.  Every day is silent and grey”.  I no longer see Sundays or Sabbaths as something to be endured, but rather as something to be embraced.  As the Icicle Works put it “Love is full of wonderful colour”…or as REM put it, “That’s me in the corner, that’s me in the spotlight losing my religion”.  But, what I have found is something stripped of tradition and ritual and yet appreciative of what those things point to or can help with.  My faith has felt more alive and stimulated in the last three or four years than it has done in a quite some time.


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"The priest in the booth had a photographic memory for all he had heard. He took all of my sins and he wrote a pocket novel called "The State That I'm In"". From "The State I Am In" by Belle and Sebastian
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