Where to start? Having just come back from a few days in London - glorious days, real fun - I need to think a few things through. However, despite the experiences of the Hajj, The Ladykillers, the Cartoon Museum, Vinopolis, A Dangerous Method, et al, I have come back with other things on my mind. I guess reading Nick Coleman's The Train in the Night along with Mike Chisholm's blog and my own thoughts having bought the two Strawbs BBC recording cds ridiculously cheap in Fopp (Shaftesbury Avenue - next to the Marquis of Gransby).
Now, I don't know what any of you think, or to be perfectly frank, nor do I care. But they're good albums. (I love the BBC and without them, we'd be culturally much poorer without them as they have a wonderful collection of sessions and gigs from last Century on tape). I've just wallowed for longer than I should in the bath listening to one of these albums and decided that I should perhaps be writing a book about music/me/growing up/1970s and all that. Many things am coming to me in de bath . . . whoops, just slipped back into Private Eye and general Idi Amin . . .
What I really do think is that we shouldn't be caught up in this modern culture (?) of guilty pleasures. For whatever your deity's sake, if you liked it when you were young then just acknowledge it. It really doesn't matter. Why do we spend so much time apologising for what we enjoyed when we were young? Why don't we just accept that in some cases, we still like that stuff? I'm not embarrased about this stuff. If you are, get over it.
|Boyzone - the lost years|
Many of us "grow up" and stop enjoying things we enjoyed at an earlier age and try to pass it off that we've "matured" and left it all behind. But so what? Okay, I don't particularly enjoy Yes anymore - I don't have any interest in listening to them now - but that doesn't mean that I should write them out of my history, does it? Are we so "cool" now that we can't accept that we liked anything that anyone else dismisses?
Well, growing up I liked Genesis (pre-PC), Van der Graaf Generator, Focus, Audience, Capability Brown, Fields, Black Widow, Lindisfarne, Curved Air, Hatfield and the North, Caravan, Horslips, Wishbone Ash, Barclay James Harvest, Gryphon, Help Yourself, and who knows what else? I don't care if anyone thinks that my taste was crap because I got a lot of pleasure from it ( and in some cases still do). A lot of it was down to the bands I was lucky - no, privileged - to see. I spent much of my youth in clubs and pubs and the Lyceum and Hyde Park and Weeley seeing great bands. I was young and (getting served with beer by lovely young barmaids!) had a great time. God, now I think of it, it was wonderful. After all, I was able to see my "heroes" - so much for the Beatles and Otis Redding fans - I saw mine!
Let's call these "innocent pleasures" shall we? We were innocent and just checking out possible futures . . .
The sort of bands that I used to go and see for 50p at local clubs, or at the Roundhouse and Marquee, now constitute a rock'n'roll cornucopia (I'm about to write a blog about the wonderful 60p Charisma packages) that some would give their right arm to have experienced. They still surface in my memory occasionally as good times had . . .
In this current digital climate of keeping everything alive, I'm still able to hold onto those once-only memories of long forgotten bands (whither Spreadeagle? Krazy Kat?). It would seem that we are supposed to either ignore or pretend that our pasts didn't happen. Well, I'm happy those days happened. Black Widow and their naked lady being "sacrificed" at Hitchin just after being exposed in the News of the World? Yep, thanks, I was there. Rick Wakeman playing keyboards for the Strawbs at Stevenage Bowes Lyon one Sunday night just before he joined Yes; yep, I was there. Bowes Lyon again, believe it or not, Iron Butterfly on a weekday night - I was about 13/14, yep there (they really were crap, though). Weeley, the most inept British Festival ever, yep, I was there. The night the Who played Charlton football ground supported by Little Feat and just about every other future top name British Band? Nope, I was down the road at the 100 Club watching a young Peter Gabriel-led Genesis with about 50 other people. Quite happy to have been there instead of with the cool ones at the Who gig.
I guess, to be quite honest, I've about had it with the whole idea of "cool". My own personal version of cool includes seeing Joni Mitchell and the LA Express at Victoria, John Martyn many times but at the same venue with Paul Kossoff jamming on the encore; John Tams singing rock'n'roll with the Richard Thompson band at the same venue; Sandy Denny at the Cambridge Folk Festival jumping up in the middle of Al Stewart's set (Dave Swarbrick got up to jam, totally un-rehearsed); perhaps seeing the 101'ers just before they became the Clash was a bit what others may call "cool" (they were a bit crap); and hundreds of other gigs that are too numerous to remember. Not exactly "cool" I suppose to many others. And oh! Too many Albion Band gigs to mention - but the opening night of the Barbicon, let us not forget was a concert by the Home Service supported by RT. Yep, I was there. . .