Monday, September 07, 2009

Just The Weight Of The Water

Blasting out Slowdive's 'Machine Gun' really fucking loud while on gruelling, unremitting hold to the National Insurance Contributions Helpline For The Self-Employed, I looked up the numerous and touchingly pollyannaish interpretations of the song's impenetrable, delay and flanger-soaked lyrics. I once interviewed Neil Halstead; he couldn't remember them. (I have now had the pleasure of playing shows with him; naturally, he still can't remember). I briefly met Rachel Goswell while interviewing Mr. Halstead; she couldn't remember. And if 'Machine Gun' is a challenge, try 'Souvlaki Space Station'. Slowdive are clearly very strong candidates for Band Holding The Most Unequal UK Music Press Villification To Enduring Fan-Adoration Ratio, awarding them a perversely righteous honour. They deserve more. Director Greg Araki is a massive fan; he has used their music on his films throughout two decades, from his underground days pioneering the New Queer Cinema to his mature work such as the astonishing 'Mysterious Skin'. The excellent Morr Music released 'Blue Skied an' Clear', an interpretative tribute album of Slowdive 'covers'. Writer and promoter Nat Cramp champions them; his Sonic Cathedral is subtitled 'The Night That Celebrates Itself', knowingly co-opting a tired old press criticism of the shoegazing 'scene'. And obviously, for what it's worth, I love them too. Slowdive were treated so unfairly and viciously by the UK music press that it hurts. But the young generation of fans have grown up and are settling old scores on the band's behalf. And we will win you know.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

RIP Gordon Burn January 16, 1948 - July 17, 2009

The finest living English writer is now among the dead, which ups the competition considerably. Somehow I only just found out.

He rendered true crime as fiction; his novels read like brilliant reportage. His work trounced any easy distinctions between the real and the imagined. Google for obits. They mostly read the same, paragraphs quickly garnered from his publisher's press release. His work: fiction -start with 'Alma Cogan'; true crime - if you can go there- 'Happy Like Murderers', his startling account of Fred and Rosemary West. His sport writing- 'Pocket Money' and 'Best and Edwards' got me interested in Snooker and Football respectively; I previously had no interest in sport. I only read them because they were the work of England's finest living writer.


This blog has been neglected because I've managed to scrape together some, largely pseudonymous, paid writing work. The Police Diver: Commercial Division. Once I have established a rhythm the Notebook will return to form, I promise.