Wednesday, 7 April 2010

orange aren't the only amps

Gutted!  I just saw a copy of Let It Be on dvd at Amazon.  By the time I'd contacted the seller to verify if it was the film - there's a tv documentary going around too, confusingly - and it was gone! Vanished like an old oak table.  I've been after it for years - evidently Paul has vetoed its release.

Ah well.  On to other matters.  A copy of the new Argos laminated book of dreams arrived home after someone's shopping expedition.  I was looking for a head torch when I decided to look and see what guitars they sell now. I can't believe it but there amongst the shindogu and tat there are two pages of guitars alone.  Nowadays, any kid in any High Street has available to them a number of respectable quality instruments.  A reasonable Dobro-style resonator for 130 quid!  Two pages back and you can buy a range of Orange amps!  That's unbelievable.  Orange amps were iconic in the early 1970s - Wishbone Ash used them (until they got stolen - and because they were so unusual and identifiable the thieves couldn't sell them!).  I would have given my right arm for one.  Mind you I wouldn't be able to play guitar*.  But at least I'd have had an Orange Amp.

Kids today, eh?  They don't know they're born. . . . the availability of good quality electric guitars for less than 100 quid on every High Street.  DVD and/or online lessons etc, etc. Multi-track recording facilities, effects - so much.

If you get a chance to read Mo Foster's 17 watts? The Birth of British Rock Guitar you'll be aware that the main reason music was so vibrant and exciting in the late 60s/early 70s is because at that time rock music just wasn't as ubiquitous as it is now. Talent had an outlet that took time to grow - it wasn't only the best that survived.  many excellent acts like Help Yourself, for instance, floundered and gave up.  Musicians had to teach themselves and come up with answers as it was a pre-wiki world. Without the sort of instant gratification Ech-Factor everything is available 24/7 crap entertainment business world we have now, there was a sort of halcyon days approach.  Innocent times I guess.  Not everything is crap now of course but I'm not sure that there's really an opportunity for those "did you see Bowie on Top of the Pops?" shared moments (Starman or Focus' first OGWT appearence).  I'm not saying that they're necessarily fantastic and still hold up today, I mean the shared experience of discovery was special.

Establishing a fanbase through hard work - "paying their dues" - meant that there was a period of growth. I'm still discovering great bands from years ago that I'd never heard of.  There are some great unrecognised talents around too, so don't get me wrong.  Try Dave Alvin, Pieta Brown and Bap Kennedy for a start.  Oh and the picture was the only one I could find, honest.

*Yes, all right . . .


Mike C. said...

I like the sound of the Mo Foster book -- may be just what I've been looking for.

Does Mrs. Dave always lounge about in her thermals like that? Crikey!

N.B. if you want to see some true chindogu you need to get hold of the Bettaware catalogue, a veritable cornucopia of intriguingly useless objects.


Dave Leeke said...

It's ISBN: 1-86074-267-X and very funny in places - classic stories about session musicians.

Yes, but they're not thermals.

Er, Mike, you read the Bettaware catalogue?

Mike C. said...

"Er, Mike, you read the Bettaware catalogue?"

Of course, don't you? Where else are you going to get a combination spider catcher and novelty cocktail shaker? Indispensable.


Dave Leeke said...

Good point - I wonder if we've got one? A catalogue, that is.

Brendini said...

I didn't buy something in the Stevenage Argos five years ago. I vowed then never to cross an Argos threshold ever again. I don't think that it's a vow that I'll ever break.

Dave Leeke said...

"I didn't buy something in the Stevenage Argos five years ago."

Is that because they wouldn't let you or that they didn't sell what you required?

Argus is crap but they are available on Sundays if you happen to need a quick crap present or something.

I think you're a snob, Brendan.

Dave Leeke said...

Actually, that was bit harsh - sorry about that.

I think Argos was the precursor to the Amazon phenomenon. It paved the way for people to not actually pick up what they want physically - just look at a picture. Of course, there had been Littlewoods et al before that and of course back in our childhoods Green Shield Stamps and Embassy Coupons.

Obviously as a nation we've always been predisposed to shopping lazily.

Brendini said...

Me, a snob? Well, I shouldn't really expect anything else from riff-raff like you.
Me an' the missis went to buy something from Argos. Couldn't check the availability because that facility wasn't working and had to join a very long, very slow-moving queue to inquire of a staff of two what was the likelihood of stock actually being on the premises. It was at this point that the prospect of waiting to order the goods (if available), then waiting to pick it up from another counter simply appalled me. Argos shopping is convenient ONLY for Argos. The customer is a mere detail. I told the missis there and then that we were leaving and that I, for one, would not be returning. She agreed. We left.
I don't think that's snobbery, I think that's being expected to be treated as a human being and not as a slab of marketing meat.
So, ner!

Dave Leeke said...

I totally agree with you - they're crap. Stuck in a one horse town at the arse end of the East of England means that occasionally - like today - we need to use the damned place. They didn't have what we wanted. They rarely do. That's why I like Amazon, they usually have what I want (usually far more) and I can get it within a day or two.

I don't like the suggestions though. Bought an 120 gig iPod? Why don't you buy an 80 gig one? Why? As I've obviously just bought . . . oh forget it. Actually I don't read the suggestions, they just annoy me. I usually know what I want. Oh dear, I'm ranting again - nurse, the screens!