Showing posts from March, 2014

Death Disco

Back in the dying embers of my teenage years, which coincided almost to the day with the sun setting on the 1970s I was going through big personal ch-ch-ch-changes. From the early years of my senior education at what was then Wellingborough Grammar School, having got into the A stream, for some reason I still cannot explain I gravitated towards the kids who were sons of well-to-do middle and upper middle class parents, who all lived in the more expensive enclaves of the posher villages of East Northants.

In those days England was still completely defined by the class system, your roots largely determining your destiny. Nowadays social strata is defined by money, class is largely irrelevant. I was from a family that was skilled working class morphing into lower middle class. Why I did not try to socialise with kids from my own background is a mystery to me, maybe I was subconsciously social climbing. I think I must have realised this, for almost as soon as I left that institution of …

Morrissey - Autobiography

"I am not a number, I am a free man" said Number 6 in The Prisoner, and adopting this defiant stand on individuality I joined a vast number of others who thought they were free men too; I knew that as leader of the best UK pop/rock group of the 80s, one Steven Patrick Morrissey was speaking to me and me alone (and possibly him, and OK, him too) when he warbled his elfin-like way through such wonderfully illuminating ditties as Hand In Glove and This Charming Man, even the arch Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now, although possibly not Shoplifters Of The World Unite or Girlfriend In A Coma!

After the break up of The Smiths our Mozza swiftly became a self-parody, and his increasing isolation within a highly protective, rabid, and paranoid fan-clique allowed my former hero to indulge in increasingly bizarre and ill-judged attempts to reclaim the limelight he had lost after his parting of ways with writing partner Johnny Marr, the best English tunesmith of his generation. This …

A musical postcard from the Yorkshire Pennines

It's been a while, eleven months actually, since I last reported on what's been going on up in that enclave of endless creativity that is the Big Block 454 studio up in Hebden Bridge, North Yorkshire. In that time Colin Robinson along with his sonic cohort Richard Knutson under the name of Churn Milk Joan has released two albums; Trading Cards On The Balcony in November 2013 and the charmingly titled I Live In Your Stomach in January this year, both politely placed below the radar of an uncaring world.

I have been even more lax in reporting on Colin's ambient venture Jumble Hole Clough. Since April 2013's Two Days In April he has put out a mere three studio albums and one live album! This guy makes even the likes of uber-prolific Bill Nelson seem positively lazy. I'll have a listen to the JHC offerings later, but for now it's Churn Milk Joan for our delectation.

In case you were wondering, the ancient sounding names Colin gives his bands come from local landmar…

"This is your Captain speaking...Your Captain is dead"

I have just torn myself away from a thread on the Facebook Big Big Train page, where a healthy debate is underway on the pros and cons of that strange many-horned beast that has risen from the murky depths: the Prog Cruise.

There are few of these now; the Yes-curated Cruise To The Edge, Progressive Nation At Sea, The Moody Blues Cruise, Melloboat, Rick Wakeman's Submarine To Yalta, etc etc. I may have made that last one up!

I can think of a few reasons why these trips are most assuredly not for me, some are a personal thing as I'm not a fan of cruises per sé. For this piece I will concentrate on a reason not to indulge in "prog en mer", and one not considered by those drooling at the prospect of being cooped up with their musical heroes, and that is the elitist insularity of it all.

On the face of it these cruises might seem good value; Cruise To The Edge for example starts at $550 per person for 4 full days on the boat, calling at Isla da Roatan, Honduras, and Coz…