Jim Steinman’s Batman musical

The sad news about the death of Jim Steinman obviously brought out memories of listening to Meat Loaf as a kid, mainly because of the Richard Corben cover of Bat Out of Hell, and being a young person developing his own tastes I thought if the creator of Den did a cover for someone then it has to be ridiculously over the top which of course it is. Steinman changed the career of so many from Meat Loaf and Bonnie Tyler, through to the Sisters of Mercy where he helped rewrite the sound of Goth to include big pompous drums and guitars that lives on til today.

However the thing that slipped from our grasp was a musical adaptation of Batman, specifically Tim Burton’s Batman film from 1989. Sadly it was not to be, however the music lives on in all its OTT glory.

Sit back, turn it up and enjoy…

Nirvana live in Newcastle 1991

I saw Nirvana around half a dozen or so times with each time being an experience for one reason or another but the one time I missed out was seeing them play in Newcastle, partly because it was in the legendary Mayfair, a nightclub of many rooms with dark corners where young people of the age did glorious things with drugs and other people’s body parts.

I was a tad annoyed as one can imagine so thanks again to YouTube and the person who had the foresight to go to one of NEwcastle’s finest clubs on one of its best night with a camcorder so this night can be preserved for folk like me.

The sleazy ambient joy of the Vampyros Lesbos soundtrack

For those of you who lurk in certain cinematic circles, the name Jess Franco will make you click off this page or dig in deeper, and for those of you who do, one of his best films is one of the finest sub-genre of vampire films, the lesbian vampire film which if you couldn’t grasp by the title Vampyros Lesbos then you really need to start paying attention.

Here’s the West German (not a chance of this getting into the Soviet bloc back in the day) trailer for the film featuring the quite extraordinary Soledad Miranda.

That trailer doesn’t give it the justice it deserves but this is the sort of film designed to be seen by 15 year old boys, however barring the attractions of Miranda, it is the soundtrack which lifts this film to a level above what it deserves as frankly it’d be a minor footnote in horror film history otherwise. Written by Manfred Hübler & Siegfried Schwab, the soundtrack enjoyed a revival in the 90’s thanks mainly to D.J’s playing it in sets. Norman Cook for example would drop tracks into sets.

The fact is it is a joyful work of art that deserves appreciation on its own merits, and of course, it does help introduce people to the talents of Soledad Miranda.

Life is better with new KLF material

Since the KLF returned at the start of the year there’s been a steady drip of remastered videos but the goldust is the rare stuff like the few live performances that were filmed, and of course the films they made of their various stunts and antics.

One of the long lost gems is The Rites of Mu where they got a load of music journalists and fans onto Jura to well, indulge in being a cult. Narrated by Martin Sheen the entire thing is glorious pompous nonsense and worth half and hour of your time now it’s been remastered and ready to be seen in all its glory for the first time like this.

The joy of the Die Hard PS1 soundtrack

One of the first games I ever bought for the first Playstation was the Die Hard game, which to this day remains one of the best games I’ve ever played. Many a late drunken night was spent killing terrorists in a game (actually three games) which adapted the first three DIe Hard films and the only ones worth talking about. However apart from Bruce Willis saying ‘happy trails’ when you’ve blown up a dozen terrorist thugs, most people will have the pounding techno soundtrack which was one of the best of a game in the 90s. That soundtrack is now online and it is as glorious as remembered.

Now, a remastered version of Die Hard would be nice.

Five years since we lost David Bowie

Five years ago the world ticked over, not especially well, but we didn’t seem to have the day-to-day carnage of now and although hardly a Golden Age,there was some sort of sense to the world. There are a few that say that’s because of David Bowie’s death as if Bowie was some sort of glue that held the world together, which for people like me who’d been fans since an early age, certainly felt that way.

I miss Bowie every day. Knowing there’s no new music, or a new something from him is painful, and that’s one of the reasons I never listened to his final album Blackstar, though I’m now of the opinion I actually need to listen to it just to finally accept his death and perhaps move on from the hell that’s been the world, and indeed much of my life since Bowie’s death.

The only other act who came close in terms of shaping my life was Prince, and we also lost him in 2016. As for me a month or so after Bowie’s death I had a stroke, and they also found a cancer in my neck, so 2016 fucking sucked hard as all my plans fell apart in a short time and I had to pull a new life out the wreckage of the old.

I’m now in a place I didn’t want to be in five years ago. I wish things could be better but a perfect storm of ill health and the clusterfuck of Brexit means staying put for now, and probably the next few years. And one of the things which has kept some level of sanity over these years is David Bowie.

In times of awfulness we reach out for comforting things, and Bowie’s been just that and although I don’t want to think there’s an end to what Bowie did, I need to move on, listen to what I’ve been putting off and maybe see a better tomorrow because of it.

So half a decade without Bowie. He’ll be as missed as he has been and while I draw a breath, but time to accept his death as after all, that’s part of everyone’s life, and just perhaps that makes everything else better.

So R.I.P David Bowie,he will be sorely sorely missed.

Rock City in Nottingham is 40 years old

In the early 90’s I spent just over a year living in Nottingham, not because it was handier for work (which it was as it allowed me to live near where I could work) but because the nightclub/venue Rock City was there.

Rock City formed a large part of my formative youth when I moved from Glasgow to Leicester, and although dirty, sleazy alternative clubs were a thing in Glasgow nothing came close to Rock City. My first time there was for ‘alternative night’ which was a Saturday then. Walking up the wee hill to the venue I saw some poor lad being thrown face first out the club by the quite fearsome door staff who helped ensure there was very little trouble in the place.

Back in the late 80’s, and much of the 90’s I’d go up there for a gig, a night out or one of the legendary all-nighters. An all day session would involve starting in Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, then some chips, and then to the Salutation, before making our way to Rock City where by this point everyone is happily drunk and then the insanity really begins. The next day would see you wake up in a mess on someone’s floor/couch/bed or by some miracle you made it back home!

One of my best times there was when Nirvana played in 1991 just as they became huge. I’d bumped into the band coming out of Selectadisc (a now closed legendary record shop) while I was dropping some comics off at a shop in town. A blurted hello, and a smile back from the band made my day as did their gig that evening in what was a dangerously overcrowded venue.

You can get a jist of the night in the video below.

But moving away from the East Midlands meant visits were less, plus old age, and now disablity means clubbing is a chore, but the memories of the nights there will keep me going for ages, assuming I can remember most of them…

40 years ago John Lennon died

40 years ago I got up on a cold, dark winter morning to go to school as a child basically barely a teenager to do my normal daily routine of getting up to go to school. yet this day in 1980 was different. There was a solumn tone in my mother’s voice, and something weird to me, which was shock about the murder of John Lennon.

The Beatles were sacred cows growing up, Lennon especially with his antiauthoritarian nature, but mostly because of the music. Lennon was a household hero, so in the early hours of the 9th December the news broke in the UK that John Lennon had been killed in the New York on the evening of the 8th of December. In those pre-internet days news travelled by the speed of a phone call. The spread of information seems glacial compared to today when one can follow breaking stories like this is real time online.

So it was that the news broke, again in those days things were more formal, less emotional in the bleak cold start to what would be a pretty awful winter for the UK. It wasn’t til years later that I realised the importance of it all, and how it would affect music and culture. Lennon was not a god, but a flawed man who used his position to try to do more than just make pop songs which today is a rare thing indeed.

And so here’s the BBC news broadcast from the evening and it is a wonderful bit of archive of a time long gone.

One Dove’s lost second album?

One Dove were a band who in 1993 should have been enormous, but through a series of problems, mainly caused by the record company you wanted them to sound nothing like the dreamy dub/pop/indie/dance fusion sound they’d become known for. Also there were a load of great new bands flying around in 1993 in those pre-Britpop years and just after the early 90’s Grebo scene started dying out. It was a crowded time but for me One Dove gave me the soundtrack of a great summer in Bristol in 1993.

That summer was hot, sunny and brilliant. It felt like something was brewing, but we didn’t know what yet however we lived in the time and fuck me it was fun. And One Dove was my music of choice that summer as I played that first album to death. Sadly the album flopped though a cult following did emerge, and for a brief time in 95/96 there were rumours of a second album but nothing happened as by now the band had split up with vocalist Dot Allison going off to sing with the likes of Massive Attack.

So last week this video below popped into my YouTube feed. It isn’t an actual second album but is made up of demo tracks so there’s some rough edges which a good producer would iron out, however it sounds glorious in places. Untouched is a lost classic as is Stay, though the latter track is still a bit rough at the edges but that adds to the charm. Had this been released in 96/7 it’d have been swallowed up by the fagend of Britpop when crap like Kula Shaker and Mansun were an actual thing.

I’m amazed to find this though after decades of trying (I once spent a day going through Napster once trying to find a rumoured copy of the second album) so join with me and enjoy what could have been…

Debbie Harry was once a hippy

Whenever I think of Debbie Harry it’s her in her Blondie years looking and sounding like complete perfection. Even though I’ve seen here play only in the last decade or so I still think of her in her prime.

Before this she tried her hand in almost everything, but she started her mnusical career in a band called Wind in the Willows back in the 60’s and still very much a flower child. This 1968 album is a kitch mix of 60’s folk rock (I mean there’s a fucking kazoo on one track) but there’s a few good tunes however this is very much an album of its time. There is no other year in history this album could have been released.

The album is a confused oddity but a a bit of musical history it’s worth a listen. Just skip the kazoos…