cold war baby

this started out as a collaboration with reg length, who i did the borelimpix film with... and once i'd drafted-in the talents of alex, it all started to take shape... i'd envisioned a cold war/spy flick feel for the music, and took the imagery from that idea.
all credit to alex, for making something worthwhile out of my limited directions.

the revolutionary spirit

in response to olivia's request for three songs, that evoke a certain mood:
1. what is your saddest song: shipbuilding/robert wyatt
well, i could choose anything off the last few joe strummer and the mescaleros album, esp.silver and gold, the final song, where he yells "ok, that's a take!" in the closing moments of the track - his last ever recorded utterance.
most country and western music, is as depressing as any indie song i could ever think of... joy division could have easily fitted in to the nashville scene, with all those tales of loss and regret... when robert gordon who i am a big fan of  - got himself into faron young, that opened-up a whole new can of old sad songs:

revolutionary spirit by the wild swans - that has a certain sadness to it, but is also uplifting at times... sometimes melancholic thoughts return from when i first heard the song back in the 80s... along with out of season by icicle works - both take me back to my days as an outsider, when i used to sit by campfires in the woods with friends debating the meaning of life(which mostly revolved around avoiding gainful employment and wearing old raincoats)... we were starting to fracture from society and forge our own way, but it was sad to realise that things weren't going to just fall into our laps.
truly though, despite being depressed as hell every time i played bad town by BSA, as it reminded me of living well out of the loop, in a dead-end place in life, the one song i can remember repeatedly playing whilst actually looking out of a rain-soaked window at nothing-ness is shipbuilding by robert wyatt:
here you have the song that really spoke about what was going on in britain at that time, i was of conscription age then, i could see the falklands war was a complete sham, instigated by a horrendous old woman in power at the time, to bolster her vote in the forthcoming elections... and there was talk of signing-up teenagers to go out and kill other teenagers, in the name of a patch of land, very far away. it really seemed like there wasn't any point to starting-out on life, as we were all hanging in the balance waiting to see what would happen next... there was no optimism at all. this came to pass, obviously... and life went on, but for a certain period, it was like the 50's all over again, it takes me back to sitting in my mother's lounge, watching the rain come down outside, the week after i'd been off camping in the lake district, to come back to a family falling apart in a country that was falling apart.
obviously this was a blip in the scheme of things - Rota Fortunae and all that... life did fall apart, but i picked myself up from the torpor and started all over again..
automobile noise/the blue nile - another low point, spending a day-out in glasgow, seeing the possibilities of what i could be doing, listening to this song on my red walkman, as i waited in buchanan street bus station, watching a light snow coming down, feeling the chill, the soundtrack to my broken home.

2. which song turns you on: rollercoaster/the jesus and marychain
maybe the swagger of something by jesus and marychain, when they were in their heyday - they were channelling kenneth anger/the velvet underground/the stooges, wearing leather jackets like i did, and i even looked like i was in the band(most indie blokes did at that point to be honest), but i was so identified by them(even though i didn't listen to them all the time, contrary to popular belief), people would avoid/start relationships with me, based entirely on them.
there was more to it than that of course, i'd quit my hometown and was living a life away from parents and felt free for the first time, like i was truly being myself - i was also meeting girls who wanted to be with me(as opposed to most of the local girls back home, who avoided me like the plague), so i could say that the music was soundtracking my own awakening. despite all this, my own relationships were slightly lacking in the actual danger of a JAMC song, and more closely resembled a lloyd cole song:
- i was never going to hang out with a cool arty woman, shooting drugs in an NYC loft, i would have been more inclined to bump into a fellow outsider in a library or indie club, much more my style...

3. what song scares me: crossroads/robert johnson
well apart from the obvious mind-bender - which i experienced whilst at a techno clubnight, back in the early 00's, the first scary song i can recall hearing is devil's answer by atomic rooster, although most of their songs were fairly scary to my 12 year old ears... dealing with madness, demonic possession, desperation... it should come as no surprise that vincent crane, the main mover behind the band was treated for bipolar disorder.

as a child however, i recall being scared shitless of some dark wooden cottages that my grandad was visiting(they were just regular old folk homes), but they reminded me of hansel and gretel(surely that scariest story ever, by the aptly named brothers grimm), and i ran off screaming they were witches houses - this public information film, that used to be shown constantly on tv in the 70's would frighten the life out of me, and (which i suspect was the idea) put me off going near wooded areas with dark water:
was it really necessary to scare kids like that? all of this(coupled with watching too many hammer horror films), seemed to be encapsulated in the music of atomic rooster.
i didn't realise this until i started listening to them, back in '93 whilst on a road trip to cromer, and we passed thru some foggy landscapes and dark wooden farm houses - it all came flooding back to me...
this final track however, struck a chord with me, a few years back - i really did feel i'd reached the crossroads and all that would entail: the story of robert johnson going to the crossroads at midnight, on a deserted highway, and meeting a dark and foreboding stranger - who gave him a guitar that he could suddenly play without any effort, coming home days later - unrecognisable to anyone who knew him... that's a fear that i always have, that one day i'll return home and no one will know who i am anymore... not to mention my fear of selling-out to get what i want, making a pact with the unknown.
what is it that connects all three? awakening, i suppose... coming out of my sheltered existence and finding myself, being who i wanted to be, and ignoring the superstitions and fears of the past.
Related Posts with Thumbnails