Tuesday, 30 March 2010

The Sid Presley Experience - Public Enemy Number One

Back in the mid 80s I was living in Brighton with Mrs. Mithering-Times, and we had a diary which came free with Sharwood's Spices. As well as being a useful source for Indian food recipes, it was somewhere we used to note the gigs we were intending to go to. One such entry (and I can't give the exact date as The Spice Diary is now safe under lock and key in The British Museum, where it belongs), was 'The New Sid Presley Experience' (they'd gone through some sort of split, but were on their way back) playing at The Royal Escape Club. I wish I could say we'd gone to see them that night and they'd torn the place down so bad Humpty Dumpty's physician had had to be called in to rescue the stricken venue, but we didn't because they cancelled on the day and never (to my knowledge) played under that monicker again.

As for 'Public Enemy Number One'; I know it's essentially the same big, fast, riff played over and over again, with a few sound effects stuck on top, but it's a formula that works. The Sid Presley Experience swept into town like a tornado and blasted the synthesizers back to Casioville. Two singles, a fistful of radio sessions, and an appearance on The Tube later, they were gone. As far as I can tell, nothing is available to buy on CD. There was a bootleg, Experience The Airwaves, available for a while, which still turns up on the sharing circuit, but nothing else. Some members went on to form The Godfathers.

Anyway, this is for Hefty Sefty and his 'Firewater' fanzine from way back when...

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Gordon's Not A Moron.

The Eldest decided to give himself the day off from ball-boying at FC United of Manchester yesterday, so we paid our first visit of the season to Course You Can Malcolm, "The Manchester club night that just happens to be in the afternoon and at the wrong end of the tramline..." to see 'Bernard', or as he is more famously-known, Gordon the Moron (Stage left,doing the hand-movements on Top of the Pops).  It's easy to forget how brilliantly special things can be at FC, or to take them for granted, but Bernard's unique blend of black humour and ten-thumbed ukele-picking soon erased the memory of the thousand and one spotty 'manc' bands previously seen at Malcolmses.
Before he played there was an impassioned speech by a representative from King's Lynn FC's Blue and Gold Supporters Trust telling us the circumstances in which they had formed and how they hoped to take forward their own version of fan-owned football.  He wasn't after anything, he just had a tale to tell.  At the end of our table were a few more Linnets, and they seemed to have had a great time, buying Fair Share Draw tickets, programmes, Under The Boardwalk, beer and two lots of tater hash each. Somebody should open up a decent pie shop in Kings Lynn.  They'd make a killing.

Friday, 12 March 2010

Halo of Flies - No Time.

Way up high on my Bands I Wish I'd Seen Live list, alongside garage band period Love and the full-on snak-rock go-go gorilla theatrics of The Go-Nuts are Halo of Flies. The missing link between grunge and garage with a spoonful of metal to make the medicine go down. They released a bunch of hard-to-find singles on singer Tom Hazelmeyer's Amphetamine Reptile Records, which were all collected on Music For Insect Minds. There's a great interview with Hazelmeyer here, although I'm personally disappointed AmRep's second greatest band (after Halo of Flies), Surgery aren't mentioned.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Pictures of Match Stick Men V

Don Martinesque II., originally uploaded by mithering.
Walking past The Millstone in the Scientist Quarter of Manchester I spotted a familiar site transplanted from Salford via Mad Magazine. Way back in January 2009 I spotted a sign-writer's appropriation of the work of Don Martin outside The Black Lion in Salford. Well, he has struck again, with this work advertising The Millstone's 'Free and Easy' afternoons. The illustrations and most of the text are pure Don Martin.
Don Martinesque.
It's not the only thing which links the two venues. Like The Black Lion, The Millstone is also a venue at which I have seen a band. This time, though, it was a much happier experience when I saw The Nation of Ulysses (later to be better known as The Make-Up) tear it up in a small room above the pub on a 1990s Bank Holiday evening.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Gimme Shelter

Gimme Shelter, originally uploaded by mithering.

Somebody's been busy. Seen on Shudehill in town. Poster advertising FC United's next three fixtures. You can't say they're not eye-catching and highlight the real alternative to the Glazers and 'The Red Knights'; fan-owned football clubs.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Céleste Boursier-Mougenot at Barbican Centre, London

I realise that this is probably yesterday's pizza for all you savvy, wirelessly-connected, I cover the waterfront , internet types, but I only just saw it. Yes, it's gimmicky, yes it's slight, but seeing and hearing zebra finches (what a beautiful bird) producing better sounds than 99% of current guitar bands seemed to be something worth sharing.

Friday, 5 March 2010

The Book I Read.

I was digging around for a good bird book before Christmas and eventually decided upon A Sky Full of Starlings by Stephen Moss, which is an expanded compilation of his birding columns from The Guardian. All in all I enjoyed it, but found that it didn't speak directly to my own limited experiences of birding in the city centre.  There are a few too many 'I was out with so and so, the world's leading expert in...' and car journeys to and from well-stocked birding sites.  It was, however, interesting to read that some birds I take for granted are considered something of a rarity in Somerset, where he is based.  The book overall is enjoyable, with some interesting anecdotes, such as this one about migratory Goldcrests: "It used to be thought that Goldcrests were far too frail to attempt a sea crossing, so when large numbers turned up each autumn on our eastern coasts, it was assumed they had hitched a lift from Scandinavia on the backs of birds such as Short-eared Owls".  I wish I had the artistic skill to illustrate such a theory.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Section 25 "Looking from a Hilltop" (Version 2) RIP Larry Cassidy.

There are some bands who have a big influence on your life. Some directly through their music, some in other ways. Smaller, but still as significant.
Back in the early 1980s I was attending college in Bognor Regis. I'd been writing and publishing fanzines for a couple of years; they were crude, but heartfelt. Particular influences were the Manchester-based fanzine City Fun, and a few choice friends from my then oasis of culture, Nottingham.
On starting college I decided to give up all that stuff and didn't write for a few months. Then, on returning home one weekend, I was presented an envelope by my Dad. Inside, were a few blue badges bearing the legend SXXV and a letter from the Fylde coast expressing Section 25's admiration for one of my fanzines. It was a turning point as it gave me the encouragement to write again; I began to work on the college magazine, eventually becoming co-editor. After having to leave college I carried on writing and eventually began to pick up paid work which eventually led to a short career as a full-time music journalist and experience which would shape the rest of my life.

And all because of a small envelope containing the encouragement of a band I'd never met.  So, Rest in Peace, Larry Cassidy, and thank you. I'm wearing one of those badges today.