Tag Archives: raving

Bummed by Happy Mondays (Factory Records)

IT’S 9am on an autumnal Saturday morning and my world-leading not-so-full English breakfast is missing one vital ingredient.

I get a packet of Cauldron’s world-class Lincolnshire sausages from the Tesco Metro in Stretford Arndale and then head upstairs to check out the new record shop Suzie has been talking about.

Reel Around the Fountain’s doors are open but there’s nobody about as I quickly scan the sleeves poking out of the tops of a couple of dozen racks dividing up a pretty generous amount of retail space. There’s even a settee.

“Morning,” I say to the guy who emerges from the back.

“Is it?” he says, rubbing his head.

After a long day at work yesterday, Nigel got home to find DIY awaiting him, one glass of wine turned into another and, long story short, he’s now in work at 9am on a Saturday morning, hungover as fuck.

He was in the market downstairs for a couple of years but he’s only been in here for three weeks, and you need to put the hours in. The shop opens every day of the week, apart from Sunday.

Am I looking for anything in particular? Mate, it’s a bit more complicated than that.

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Filed under hip replacement, post punk

Greg Wilson

AS MUCH as Greg Wilson is excited about DJing a big, open-air gig on the Pier Head in his home town of Liverpool – and he’s clearly thrilled – you also get the impression that he’s every bit as excited about the chance to talk about the ideas behind his involvement with the Very Big After Party.

Transatlantic 175 is a commemoration of 175 years of passenger travel across the Atlantic, taking place on Liverpool’s waterfront and docks. It involves the Very Big Catwalk, an attempt to break the world record for most models on a catwalk, followed by the veteran DJ Wilson doing his stuff for the assorted fashion divas at the Very Big After Party.

Wilson was brought in by Wayne Hemingway (whose Vintage Festival is also at the dock over the weekend), with a brief to highlight the musical connections between Liverpool and the US.

The perceived wisdom is that the story of musical Liverpool all started with the Cunard Yanks, the merchant seamen who went to New York and took the music, the clothes, even the mannerisms they found back to their home city, planting the seeds that would eventually grow into the Beatles and Merseybeat. A young George Harrison, for example, bought a black Gretsch guitar from a Cunard Yank fresh off the boat from New York.

“That’s not half the story, even though it’s massively important,” says Wilson over a tea cake in a restaurant on the seafront in New Brighton.

“Bob Wooler, the DJ at the Cavern, told me that he got his records from everywhere, it wasn’t just about the Cunard Yanks. He told me he used to buy a lot of new American imports from a shop in Newton-le-Willows. That seemed a bit bizarre to me. But it’s next to Burtonwood Airbase. It makes complete sense. They were selling them to the US servicemen.

“There’ve been American servicemen in this country since the second world war. I think that’s one of the reasons why there’s such an affinity with black music. And that scenario plays out in Liverpool as much as anywhere else. Black American servicemen used to come to clubs like the Timepiece in Liverpool in the 70s. And at the same time, it was always a cosmopolitan city. It was a melting pot for ideas.”

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Filed under expletive undeleted, interviews

The Shamen

I’VE got all kinds of crap that I’ve accumulated over the years. Stuff I’ve written, posters, flyers, diaries, notebooks. Most of it isn’t particularly important or profound. You know, it’s just crap. I took the opportunity to get rid of a lot of it when I was moving out earlier this year. I had a bonfire.

I should probably have sorted through it a bit more thoroughly. But I couldn’t be arsed. It didn’t seem important.

One thing I did rescue from fiery oblivion was an unpublished interview with the Shamen, which I’m guessing is from 1989. It was done for Grunt, the fanzine I was involved in at the time, and typed up on Chumbawamba’s word processor – probably my first experience of new-fangled computers.

It didn’t run because we stopped doing the fanzine, partly because I was a lot more interested in 24-hour partying than pretty much anything else, partly because everyone else who was involved was busy with bands, families, actual work etc.

I think I went to the Shamen’s travelling rave experience Synergy a couple of times. I remember, well, not much, apart from the Shamen being fantastic and feeling impressed by the seamless presentation, with no gap between the DJs and the live music (I think Eskimos & Egypt were also on the bill).

Some time later, it was a pleasant surprise to find out that the infectious rave anthem that had been hammered all over the place for the last few weeks – the one that went, I can move, move, move any mountain – was actually the Shamen.

But all that was in the phuture.

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Filed under expletive undeleted, interviews

Doing it for the kids

PICTURE the scene: You’re lost in that magic moment where everything suddenly seems to synchronise, music and movement come together in perfect harmony and you are the best dancer ever, moving to the very best music in the world.

Aglow, translucent, stoned immaculate, you’re about as off your head as you’re ever going to get. It’s all downhill from here. But that’s okay.

Everything is coming in one big rush but you can handle it. You can handle anything. It doesn’t get any better than this.

The next big dramatic breakdown arrives before you know it. And with it the awful, shocking truth that you’re in a big room full of people with whom you have little in common except that you sometimes do the same drugs – and those drugs are rapidly wearing off now we’ve simultaneously arrived at the collective realisation that we are not dancing to the greatest music ever made.

No, we’re actually dancing to a song which is based around a sample from the Magic Roundabout theme tune. We all come back down to Earth with a bump.

And I’m not being funny, but you’re wearing dungarees.

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Filed under expletive undeleted, hyperbole

Requiem / Change by Killing Joke (EG / Virgin Records)

EVERYONE in the world seemed to be at it. Going out, getting on it, getting out of it, getting wasted, leathered, trollied, mullahed, munted, fucked. Staying up all night at raves, clubs, blues, parties, dancing our hearts out, like nobody was watching. Like our lives depended on it.

A generation of wasted youth? Well, I suppose it depends on your definition of ‘wasted’.

I’d somehow fallen in with the denizens of a crazed student household in Hyde Park, possibly through an acquaintance named Moz who’d attached himself to them as a way into the burgeoning student drug marketplace. That’s about as much as I can recall, officer.

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Filed under chill out, hip replacement

Preston Bob, High on Hope cinematographer

HIGH ON HOPE, Piers Sanderson’s documentary about the Hardcore Uproar parties in Blackburn in the late Eighties and early Nineties has already won acclaim at film festivals in Barcelona and Leeds, and with a bit of luck it will be touring around the UK next year. Keep an eye on the High on Hope off-yer-Facebook for more details.

In the meantime, here’s an exclusive interview with the film’s wobbly cinematographer, the visionary social historian and painfully shy local raver known at the time as Preston Bob – his real name is actually David Rostron –  without whom High on Hope would simply not have been possible.

Nice one, David.

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Filed under expletive undeleted, interviews

Some Justice by Urban Shakedown (Urban Shakedown Recordings)

WHEN Michael Eavis decided that the Glastonbury should take a year off in 1991, he spent a lot of his  time trying to work out a way of keeping freeloaders and other non-paying fellow-travellers out of the festival. The idea he came up with was to surround the entire site with a very big fence.

The following year Tom Jones, Blur, Television, the Fall, Curve, Primal Scream, the Levellers, PJ Harvey, Carter USM, James, the Breeders, Billy Bragg, Van Morrison, Kitchens of Distinction and  Spritualized were on the bill – and numbers of fence-hoppers were right down.

Among the thousands of lucky festival-goers were my then-girlfriend and me, inveterate freeloaders both. We’d managed to blag into the festival by writing a lengthy preview for the magazine we both worked for at the time.

I don’t recall seeing any of the bands above – not even the mighty Fall – but we did manage to catch the Shamen, which I think was just about the first time a dance act had played on one of the bigger stages at Glastonbury. Unfortunately, “good lights” is about the most either of us can remember about this groundbreaking performance. But they were always pretty good live, weren’t they, the Shamen?

“I think you and I only stayed two nights and didn’t sleep at all. We were up all night and too hot to sleep in the tent in the day. I do remember it wasn’t a lot of fun really,” says that same ex-girlfriend now. “Too hot, too skint, too tired, too paranoid, too scared of the toilets, going off crowds so only really being able to cope at night… Maybe you enjoyed it more.”

I probably did. I didn’t even notice how bad a time she was having, which probably says a lot.

I’ve just got a loose jumble of disembodied memories from the weekend. One of the most vivid is of an ambulance inching its way through a very packed crowd after one of the big acts had finished on the Pyramid stage one night. Some drug-nut planted himself square in front of it, crying and bellowing and wailing his heart out, not letting them by until they promised to take him away too. We’ve all been there, I’m sure.

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Filed under hardcore / rave, hip replacement