This is my latest post...
All Tomorrow's Parties...
Back in the early eighties, I read, avidly, as if it was the most important thing in the world, the music press, which came in the form of newspaper like publications, giving it a precious gravity, before you read the words.
I had favourite songs, and some bands, and a huge big poster of Debbie Harry on my bedroom wall, wearing a tee-shirt that said, "Andy Warhol's Bad."
I didn't know anyone in my hometown who talked about music, art, or cultural things. I knew people who had favourite bands, and later in the eighties, I found other people who loved innovative music, art, and discussing pretentious, pseudo-intellectual, political, important stuff over litres of booze, and packets of fags, all night.
But, at that time in the early eighties, my guides were the writings of music critics who wrote dense, and absolutely crucial, reviews and views of music that is still important to me. Layers of cultural and political meaning far beyond the original intent were piled on to these pop songs; the semiology of a line, the use of a particular sound, wrapped up in the constructed image of the musicians, analysed, explained and exploded into black and white by writers vomiting their entire rainbow coloured Collins dictionary on to the page.
And I learned about Warhol, The Factory, The Velvet Underground and that Banana cover, because indie bands, post punk bands, the alternative scene-- all had connections that led back to the stuttering, fey, manufactured Andy. And I loved everything about it.
Living in a Troubles locked down mid-Ulster town, where the most important thing in the world was to fit in, I couldn't. I didn't. I dressed, and acted, in the early to late eighties, at times, relatively outrageously. I had wild hair which I at times dyed, and shaved at the sides of my head and grew into a curly mass, and conditioned with Lenor fabric conditioner. And threw together clothes in combinations that probably reflected the madness within.
But the music of the "alternative scene," as it was known then, screamed, whined, barked, and weaved out of my tape deck and record player.
And The Velvet Underground albums were sought-after, in amazing Belfast record shops and ordered in my Library.
None of my friends "got" them, until eventually a few years later I fell in with other people on the edge. And we'd discuss them, and played them, Bowie, The Doors, Roxy Music, Japan, Joy Division, jazz music, JaMC, long overtures, and lots of sixties pop and psychedelia, into the wee small hours.
(click HERE, not the pic)