[This post originally went up at my PATREON: subscribers get to read posts and hear podcasts early — and help offset costs and time and help me do more of this kind of thing]
This is a lightly edited extract from a piece I wrote for Frank Kogan’s fanzine WHY MUSIC SUCKS (#11, pub.June 1997). The topic was “My First Record”; some of the tone is me not quite sure at that time who I am as a writer any more, especially in this context. All the square-bracket interpolations and footnoted annotations are new.
[…] The first LP I bought was almost certainly Slapp Happy’s Slapp Happy [in 1976]. It was on bargain offer in a local shop, and I remember the grins on the faces of the shop girls when I took it off their hands. But it was very nearly – which would have been hilarious – Metal Machine Music, which was in the same bargain bin. For some reason I decided against MMM. I think that I decided it was too popular: or – since this makes no sense – that someone I knew would have bought it, so I didn’t need to.
Continue reading “when the gang chooses you:
or how the puffin club
turned me into a punk rocker”
In which I take a break from organising a quasi-historical not-very-academic (but very exciting) conference (at Birkbeck, 15-16 May) and reflect on the ways your personal backpages as a hack begin to intersect with the public record etc etc.
A few weeks back, Marcello asked if I had any thoughts on this TPL post (about, among other things, Johnny Hates Jazz and The Wire as it was in 1986/87). Well, I did and I didn’t: I did because this era of my mentor Richard Cook’s project is very much the making of me, and I absorbed an enormous amount of his sensibility and thought a lot how to advance it best (whether or not I did is for others to judge; sadly he’s no longer with us for his perspective). But I didn’t (at least tactically, for now) because I have for most of this year been organising a conference on UK music-writing in the 60s, 70s and early 80s, trying to focus on how things had evolved from roughly 1968 (and the discussion of rock in the underground press) through to maybe 1985, when (in my judgment) Live Aid hit the inkies hard sideways, and changed their political ecology for good (Geldof’s revenge, you could call it). The serious social potential of pop began to be more and more of a topic for the tabloids and the broadsheets: the inkies began more and more to fold in into their own niche, exploring less and less. In this they were reflecting changes in the world, to be sure — but they were also amplifying and accepting these changes. Continue reading “you can never go back back BAACK!”