Lee Scratch Perry RIP

Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry was unique. There won’t ever be anyone like him as these days most artists are sanitised to a ridiculous degree, but Perry could never be accused of being dull or bland. This man was a giant in reggae, and music overall as his influence spreads large, but he was not for the faint hearted as can be testified by the crowd at Reading Festival in 1998 who watched him in puzzlement doing his thing which as said, was a unique one.

I only say him a few times, once at Reading which was bizarre, and there’s sadly no footage of it online, and the other times in London over the years but I’d not seen him live in decades and was only talking about him a few weeks ago about maybe seeing him on his next tour. That sadly won’t happen but we are left with things like this…

He’s going to be seriously missed.

Beavis and Butthead videos are a lost joy

The early 90’s are not the dead zone of culture between the excesses of the 80’s and Britpop many histories would have you think these days. Back then things were pretty vibrant even though we were all skint and the Tories were relentlessly in power,we still could go a find a good time and the music was fucking ace then too.

One of the joys was staggering in late at night to finish off a night watching MTV and especially Beavis and Butthead, which people watched mainly for the videos as they’d play as most of the time they’d play stuff you’d never see elsewhere. Too many times I’d wake up on the couch with Revolting Cocks or an obscure Iggy Pop video playing as part of the show.

There’s a five hour plus edit of these videos now on Youtube and they’re a complete joy, and remarkably, still funny after all these years. Go relive your youth or discover it for the first time..

‘Heart-Shaped Scars’ by Dot Allison is the album of the year

Dot Allison is someone I’ve closely followed since hearing One Dove’s White Love on an amazing night out in Bristol in what seems like lifetimes ago, and the prospect of a new album is something I’ve been looking forward to as we slowly emerge from lockdown.

Heart-Shaped Scars

I was worried it wouldn’t capture her past glories or be very good. I’m glad to report I shouldn’t have worried as by far, this is the album of the year and is very possibly the best thing she’s done, which is saying a lot. It sounds at times like a chill-out album welded to a folk album, but it doesn’t matter as in the end this is a stunning bit of work.

Buy it from here now. You’ve been telt!

The oppresive dirge which is ‘Three Lions’.

England are in the final of a major tournament for the first time since, well, you all should know when as it’s regularly driven into our minds. This means Three Lions will be played every hour, on the hour, by every radio station in England, which is a pity because it is a fucking entitled dirge of a song.

The ‘Its coming home’ line was originally I understand meant to refer to the Euros in 1996 being held in England, but it quickly meant the trophy will come ‘home’ to England ‘cos we deserve it.

Which is bollocks and a shame because the song has potential. It is however not worthy to wear the shoes of New Order’s World in Motion which is simply perfect, and to which is also ripped off by Three Lions. World in Motion is a big cheerful look at a possible future, while Three Lions is far too wrapped up in mid 90s nostalgia of the 60s.

On the other hand Three Lions 98 tries to redeem itself and turn itself into a future-facing joyful thing without much of the entitlement but that now has been cast aside for the 96 version. But these are the final days of Britpop so that nostalgia is still there in spades.

Fact is barring New Order’s effort, football songs are shite. Three Lions happens to be the most successful one because it taps that vein of entitlement in England fans that the rest of the world should just jolly well let them win and now we’re on the verge on them possibly winning this song is about to imprinted upon us far beyond what it has been up to date.

And the only true winners are the people who wrote it as the royalty cheque this Christmas will be enough to buy a small island.

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.