Friday, June 25, 2010

Reversing into tomorrow

Behold the above photograph of 'miscreants watching The Shout at The Bull And Gate' in Kentish Town, sometime around 1989 - recognise anyone? That's Simon from Vicious Kiss on the far left, and Gary (usually seen with his brother Colin so I suspect that's him just out of shot) on the far right. And the bloke to Gary's right holding the worryingly red looking drink is me. Really. I've just shown it to Shirley who tells me that I 'still stand the same'. I still dress the same too. Excellent! This and lots of other splendid artefacts can be found on this Facebook site, and very good stuff it all is too, not least this flyer advertising gigs at The Opera On The Green in Shepherds Bush. There we are, bottom of the flier, bottom of the bill - t'was ever thus... and look at the other bands playing at the venue around the same time - some we gigged with, some we drank with and some went on to bigger (sometimes much bigger!) and better things. Ah, memories - some good, some bad, some best remembered and some best forgotten; nostalgia ain't what it used to be is it?

Then again, maybe it is. It's been 40 years since the original release of 'Live At Leeds' by The Who, and there's an excellent article in the current edition of Record Collector magazine detailing it's amazing journey from the 30-odd minute vinyl album to the 2-and-a-bit hour double CD version that's currently available. Reading it prompted me to get my copy (maybe that should be 'copies' as I've got pretty much every version including a bootleg of the whole show with no edits!) out and give it a listen for the first time in a while. It's often thought of as one of the best live albums released by any rock band, and as such is an absolutely vital document of what for many were the ultimate live act. Listening again now I have to say that if there has ever been a group of rock musicians that were more sympathetic to each other's playing then I've yet to hear them. OK, I'm biased (as regular readers of these hallowed pages will of course already know - assuming I have any regular readers of course...) but for an example of this just listen to 'Young Man Blues' (or indeed watch this version from The Isle Of Wight Festival a few months after the Leeds gig) and tell me the name of another band that sounds like that. Incredible.

And the England (maybe that should be 'En-Grrrrr-land'?) football team have finally managed to remember how to string more than two passes together (just!) and so are through to the next round of The World Cup where, somewhat inevitably, they meet Germany. No doubt by the time the match comes around on Sunday we'll all have seen the hallowed 1966 footage enough to be heartily sick of it, but I for one always enjoy seeing film of pretty much anything from that time. Think about it - Swinging London was swinging, 'Revolver', 'Blonde On Blonde' and 'A Quick One' were in the album charts with Hendrix waiting in the wings, Bond, 'Blowup' and 'Batman' were on at the pictures (and the latter was on the telly too!) alongside an air of optimism in society that's rarely been seen before or since; it's not hard to see why those who were young at the time talk about 'the sixties' with such reverence is it? Anyway I'm sure the newspapers will have stoked up the rivalry between the two teams to a previously unimagined level by the time kick-off comes around - let's hope nostalgia IS what it used to be after all...

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