Ghosts of the past on Google Streetview

I’m a bit of a Suede fan so YouTube often throws Suede videos at me like a bored petulant schoolchild throwing paper at his teacher. This morning it coughed up Electricity at me, one of their songs from 1999.

The video was film by the sadly departed Astoria club on Tottenham Court Road, and in Falconberg Court, one of those wonderful old London alleyways, which near places like the Astoria used to reek of the history of the place through the smell of sex, urine and kebabs.

I thought I’d see what it looked like on Street View and got this.

The image is from October 2008 when the Astoria was being (in my view, disgracefully) ripped down to make way for Crossrail. This is no longer what this part of London looks like, but Streetview contains this ghost of what was once there and through that it provides an idea of what was lost.

In fact Google has thousands of such images from around the world sitting there reminding us of our mortality, what we’ve lost and how things are changing sometimes for the worst to be recorded in every gory digital detail. We can be reminded of pouring out onto a bust London street at 3am working out whether to make one’s way back to wherever you were sleeping that night, or to stumble into Soho, Camden or somewhere outwith Zone One or Two to carry on drinking and not caring about running the risk of a lengthy treatment of anti-biotics.

These shadows of the past will linger reminding us of better days. Google may have it’s issues, but I for one welcome these reminders of memories that twinge like phantom limbs upon viewing them. In fact you could even write a song about it…

Advertisements

Bernard Butler’s People Move On is 17 years old.

In 1998 Britpop was on it’s last legs as people moved onto other things. People bought Kula Shaker albums. Things were pretty poor, but one album came out that for me is the last great burst of what Britpop was at it’s best when it created great forward looking music with a tinge of what influenced it, rather than tired retreads of what Noel Gallagher heard in his mam’s record collection.

That album is Bernard Butler’s People Move On. It didn’t do especially well on it’s release though I remember it being quite critically praised, mainly for it’s Nick Drake/Phil Spector influences. The big single, Stay, grazed the UK top ten as did the album but didn’t hang around as long as it should have.

Butler by this point had left Suede (and I’ve mentioned before my love for Suede) due to ‘creative differences’, which led to a splendid collaboration with David McAlmont, but this album came as  something that at the time I adored and still do. So when pottering around this morning I realised this album is 17 years old it doesn’t make me feel depressingly old, it makes me feel sad that such a fantastic album is nearly lost in the history of music, which is sad as you can hear a lot of acts that seem like they’ve listened to this album and drawn from it. None though have that talent for melody, tune and song Butler has.

Anyhow, here’s the album in it’s Youtube version. Enjoy.

The Asphalt World

Video

The Asphalt World is a wonderful song by Suede which is evocative of a certain time of my life when I’m very much in transition, which seems to be a constant theme in my life as anyone who’s read my ramblings will have sussed by now.

However in 1994 going into 1995 the song summed up a period of a nova-like relationship and the fallout from that which went on for around a year, and it really does sum up that sort of drop-out Ballardiarn life that seemed to be glorious at the time, but was actually full of sadness and loss. It’s also amazing romantic in every meaning of the word.

It’s a great song. I normally listen to it once a week in an attempt to drag that time back because for all the sadness, it was absolutely wonderful and much better than the endless grind of survival that is the here and now not just for me, but for many people.

I’m going to do a few Suede songs in this on & off series of blogs of songs I love so be prepared….

An update that comes at you screaming ‘BALTIMORA!’

First some updates:

The UKCAC thing is bloody huge, but it will come at you like a drunk in the street begging for 37p for the bus fare home eventually.

I’m doing another Glastonbury blog, this time I’m skipping 1994 and going right for 1995 but in a stunning example of non-linear storytelling I will recount the 1994 story within the 1995 one in a timey wimey sort of way, and stuff. It’ll be dead clever, honest.

A Cunning Plan has been hatched. If I get backing and funding then the Cunning Plan should happen (hopefully) in the autumn and will involve me not having to work in offices again in my life.I think 13 years of working in offices is more than enough but more on that next month.

I’ve got a handful of stories from the AKA days, including the stories of the marts, some tales of the people who hung out there, the full story from what I remember of the Eisnercon in 1986 and a couple of pieces on Pete Root and John McShane as the former needs a tribute and the latter doesn’t get the respect he deserves.

I’ve also got something where I outline how Glastonbury changed during the 90’s from a loose array of hippies and travelers having fun to the establishment event it is now, not to mention how festival culture in the UK is totally fucked frankly.

I might do something about how Bernard Butler’s Stay is the best song of the 90’s.and how Suede are the most important band the UK produced in the 90’s. Or I might not…

Next up though is in the light of last night’s final episode of this series of Doctor Who and the sorry state of criticism within genre fandom, not to mention the horrible misogyny  nepotism and arse licking that goes on within it.

And oh, BALTIMORA!!

Image