Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Smooth 80s soul jam of the day

Princess' Say I'm Your Number 1 got to number seven in the UK charts in 1985. Bit of lightweight pop from EFTE's childhood which, with hindsight, sounds like a note-perfect electrosoul jam that Joyce Sims would have been proud of. Great video with Princess (aka Desiree Heslop) throwing down with her bra out around The British Museum, Hyde Park, an open-top bus and the BMX-infested Westway. Love him or hate him, Peter Waterman was on top of his game for this one.

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Essex: Where they do things a little differently

Spent last weekend down in Mersea Island (above), a partially connected island off the Thames Estuary, about ten miles from Colchester. Beautiful, rugged coast, plus some weird geological condition where everything seems to grow to insane heights very quickly. My friend's vegetable gardening was giving up four-foot high rhubarb, more spinach than you could handle and the world's shiniest onions. Seriously, it's like Dig For Victory crossed with Day of The effin' Triffids down there. The place seems to have some kind of microclimate, and sustains a large vineyard; it also plays host to a large scooter/skinhead rally every autumn.

Here's me and Mrs EFTE enjoying the bleak English seaside with our friend's son. Knackered old boats, grey skies and some strange vegetation; does it get any more traditional?

Dogs win prizes

A nice bit of found photography from Mrs EFTE. All we know is that the dog was called Lady Jane, she's looking in a celebratory mood after claiming the cup, and that she's sitting on some properly nasty 1970s carpet.

Friday, 24 August 2007


London's finest hip-hop, 80s soul and ignorant bass night takes over The Legion on Old St tomorrow. 8pm-2am, free.

Monday, 20 August 2007

The God-like genius of Andrew Neil

Like right-wing media types with fuzzy hair and a taste for the good life? Then check my piece for The Guardian on modern day legend Andrew Neil. He's on his summer break from The Week at the moment – somewhere vulgar like Monaco I like to imagine – but the show returns in September.Judging by the 'comments' below the article I'm not the only one with a sneaking soft spot for Brillo…

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Power electronics v Psychedelic folk

Excellent new issue of Wire featuring a lengthy interview with creepy old industrialists Whitehouse (pictured above, onstage, looking really happy to be deafening a load of angry men), and a superb primer on British psychedelic folk featuring everyone from Steeleye Span to Comus. The Whitehouse piece is by David Keenan, whose book England's Hidden Reverse is considered a nigh-on indispensable guide to the whole Death In June/Current 93/magick scene. Whitehouse are definitely one of those bands who are a lot more interesting to read about than listen to: I saw them play at The Garage in 1996 at Live Action 69, and I can honestly say I've never seen such a pack of repressed homos in one room in my life.

The Folk article also includes John Martyn. Here he is tearing The Old Grey Whistle Test a new one with just his acoustic guitar and a massive Echoplex unit.

Thursday, 9 August 2007

A bad end to a bad night, 1985

Interesting community seems to be building up on YouTube with people posting various recordings of the old 'closedown' segments from regional British TV (before the days of all night telly). This very subdued one is from Granada TV the night of the Heysel Stadium disaster. To his credit, the host segues pretty seamlessly from "A backstage look at the famous Moulin Rouge nightspot in Paris" to giving out the emergency numbers for people who didn't know whether their relatives were dead or alive. Wisely, they close down without the usual Granada jingle at the end.

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Why British pop music needs to get off the past's nuts

Following on from the previous Luke Haines-related post, he pops up again in this article of mine from The Guardian. It's generally bemoaning what a narrow view bands take when they're referencing the past (when there's so much interesting, gruesome stuff to draw on). It originally ran in 2005, so some of the Libertines* references might seem a bit out of date.

* For younger readers, The Libertines were a particularly shitty band that a load of morons thought were the new Clash for about six months.

Monday, 6 August 2007

Luke Haines strips it down

An acoustic studio version of '1967' by national treasure Luke Haines from around the time of 'How I Learned To Love The Bootboys'. Great cello work, and Haines sports a fine pair of headphones, apparently liberated from the BBC Radiophonic Workshop in the late Seventies.

Thursday, 2 August 2007

Some rare live Joy Division

Joy Division are such a fucking lazy reference point for bands/journalists that it's easy to forget how incredible they were. Basically, when any band nowadays get compared to them, what they or the writer means is 'the singer wears a tie and does a stupid version of that jerky dance.' That's it.What's almost certain is that any band who genuinely did sound like them nowadays wouldn't even get a record deal.

Bah. Anyway, press screenings start tonight of Control, Anton Corbijn's biopic of Ian Curtis which had very favourable reviews from Cannes. I'm too late to catch tonight's screening, but will report back as soon as I've got a review.

In the meantime, enjoy this excellent Super-8-with-sound footage of them tearing through a couple of tracks in an Altrincham pub in 1979. Nice to see something other than the so-so clip of them on Somethin' Else that gets endlessly recycled…

P.S. You can also check Scott King's excellent artistic tribute to Joy Division here. It's a bit like Stella Vine - if she wasn't a talentless cunt and if she ever stopped sucking up to famous people and using obvious symbolism.