This is the autobiography of someone who seriously knows his onions musically: someone who I can credit with giving me something to dream about and think about, someone who planted some of the canes to wrap the tendrils of my very nascent social and cultural persona around.
On reading this one is reminded of the essential vanity of the music business, its inability to balance hope and reality, the way that the alien nature of how money works clashes with the utopianism that doing things on impulse (such as releasing challenging records) releases.
My name is Stephen, and I have a penchant for kitsch pop songs like I Lost My Heart to a Starship Trooper, Rasputin, Ça Plane Pour Moi and Kool in the Kaftan.
Four weeks of listening to my entire library has made me realise that I’ve got so much shite in my iPod that it should be called an iPotty.
Shallow Dave? Shallow? I expect you to eat that rather odd Cossack hat you favour, and a huge slice of humble pie. I'm glad I shot your dog. It wasn't an accident. You know where I live.
Unfortunately, I tended to hit record. When I next played the tape, I’d discover that More Specials now comprised three minutes of a pissed bloke desperately trying to coax some life out of the old chap, followed by 17 minutes of snoring.
This is a good read and a funny, sometimes enlightening book if not one to be undertaken in an afternoon.
A workmate spent years trying to enlighten his spouse, and after this extensive period of indoctrination she brought him James Blunt’s Back to Bedlam for Christmas. He snapped it in half and filed for divorce.
Part the second of Stephen James's home taping odyssey... "although I’d like to say that I married her and we lived happily ever after, that would be untrue. Instead we spent a few wonderful months together, then I, rather predictably started acting like a colossal arse, which precipitated a couple of turbulent weeks, after which she left me for a plumber. Story of my life."
I can still recall the first album I taped: Not the Nine O Clock News’ Hedgehog Sandwich. It was recorded tape-to-tape by placing two mono, low-end radio cassette players speaker-to-speaker and pressing play and record. There is very little to recommend using this approach, a point perfectly illustrated by the finished cassette in this instance, as halfway through my mum comes in to ask suspiciously what we’re up to.
Now, where's my gimp mask...
"I'm sick of skinny white boys in jackets regurgitating the sounds of the 70s and 80s. Not content with revamping AC-DC and Led Zep, Joy Division and Gang of Four we've gone so far as to mine the back catalogues of Supertramp, 10cc and ELO. "
I do not wish to suggest that the Loach / Leigh films are ‘bad', merely that there are factors at work that explains why they are often given a pretty easy ride. Basically, critics and audience alike have a skewed idea of reality and a good deal of self-loathing. To understand these factors we must first take a look at Jean Jacques Rousseau.
I, like many others saw the full extent of this tax-payer scorn when my father was (unexpectedly) confronted with Boy George in all his glory. “What's that? Is it a lad or a girl? You surely don't like that, do you?” No, of course I didn't but I couldn't agree with him, now could I?
This is what makes up the bulk of the film: the British wave of punk bands, the fuss they caused in the UK, the catalyst they were in the US to impressionable young things like Henry Rollins. And this is what makes the film a bit of a disappointment for me.
..things never seem to be quite so simple these days. Pubs have crèches in them, petrol stations try to be mini-supermarkets and so on: everything becomes blurred.
There are moments where you are drawn to compare Dig with that other great rockumentary, This is Spinal Tap. Except that this is no spoof.
A few weeks ago an ex-NME journalist wrote a big piece in a national paper ...she displayed a complete lack of knowledge or interest in music. She had never heard of (for instance) Krautrock. It's a bit like a film journalist holding a hand up after ten years in the job and saying, ‘bugger me, have you watched anything by Kurosawa? Is he good?'
The last of the good, kind, honest and wise people left should come with me now, adorn their brows with garlands of wild roses and prepare themselves by drinking the annointed mead out of the blessed cups, prepare libations to their ancestors, pour sweet, fragrant oils on the ceremonial pyre prepared for them, and leave this Age of Idiocy.
Name a big new rock band that cannot be described as the sum of its parts.