Sunday, July 16, 2006

When I first saw you, something stirred within me...


I purchased Rip It Up And Start Again by Simon Reynolds yesterday to ease me into my summer reading frolics. The book focuses on the post-punk era and specifically the years between 1978 and 1984 which Reynolds considers a rival to the mid-to-late 1960s for the sheer amount of fine music being produced and for the way that music reflected and connected with what was ‘appening within society and politics at the time. I suppose that, despite my belief that it is misguided to look back too energetically, this period remains ‘my period’ too. Aged 13 to 18, I experienced so many new sounds and they can mainly be categorised and classified as ‘post-punk’. I was just too young for punk itself although, for all that movement’s influence, Reynolds regards it as mainly a return to raw rock ‘n’ roll and I can appreciate that too. After the first wave of punk there were two quite disparate routes for ‘the kids’ to follow. One group craved the aggression and accessibility of punk rock and so remained ‘real punks’ which later evolved into the Oi! scene. The other group, ‘arty middle-class bohemians’ – and I purred at that description! – regarded punk as a clarion call to embark on change and to snub tradition. Reynolds calls it the ‘unfinished revolution’ and the wealth of bands that set about seeking out new aural possibilities is over-whelming although some critics regarded this new ‘art-rock elitism’ as a return to what punk itself had tried to eradicate a year or two before. The energy, experimentation, originality, wit, swagger, intelligence and ambition of the following bands changed my life and this book explores the impact of each of them: The Fall, Scritti Politti, Joy Division, Gang of Four, The Associates, The Cure, Echo and the Bunnymen, Talking Heads, Human League, PiL, Siouxsie and the Banshees. So far I have only read the prologue and flicked through and looked at photos but I sense that my shopping trip to London on Wednesday might involve searching for stuff I missed back then and, in particular, Young Marble Giants, The Mekons, Swell Maps, DAF, The Pop Group and, possibly, Heaven 17.

There are lots of marvellous things to read about the book and the post-punk period at the author's own site. It really is worth a visit.

5 comments:

Sweeny said...

Happy holidays, matey!

I have somewhere a copy of the Young Marble Giants album if you're not successful in London, although a quick delve through the old vinyl fails to locate.

Are you interested in any of the other albums I dug up?

Playing With A Different Sex - Au Pairs
Do Animals Believe in God - Pink Military
What's the Matter Boy? - Subway Sect
Lubricate Your Living Room - Fire Engines
Voice of America - Cabaret Voltaire
I Am Cold - Rip Rig & Panic

If you have the technology, you're welcome to make copies of any of these if you're interested...

Happy Hunting! Looking forward to hearing all about it at the Slak Bar...

Martin Cole said...

Cheers squire! Still finding it difficult to relax and it'll take a day or so for the body clock to hit summer holiday mode. Funnily and coincidentally, a colleague of yours alighted upon me today as I sat in the back garden reading my new book. Thanks for the music offers. I've just read about Subway Sect and they interest me greatly - and certainly The Fire Engines... Are they on CD or vinyl?

Sweeny said...

Vinyl I'm afraid, and I'm not sure what quality...

CuteHilda said...

have you read Joe Boyd's White Bicycle yet? Cracking read, although if you're too young for punk, then this may be just a tad too early too!!

The Bob Dylan is a ripping yarn too - along with the Peel (I think JP's bit is better than SR's) autobio, this year has provided me with 3 splendid factual reads.

enjoy calmer - i shall be enjoying Elephant Talk 2 in the beer tent at Trowbridge...

Martin Cole said...

Certainly keen to read the Boyd...and I still have a book token burning a hole in the back pocket so you might have solved the problem of what to spend it on. Enjoy a lot of his production work especially, of course, Master Nicholas of Drake and Dame Vashti of Bunyan. I'm now bothered because I read a feature somewhere where an artist was quoted as saying they didn't rate Joe Boyd too highly - I think it might have been John Martyn in last month's Mojo... The Peel was good - I did like the Sheila part. She dealt with a few sad things (like Marc Bolan dismissing John from his life) that maybe Peel wouldn't have been so happy writing about.

Just looked up Trowbridge - looks fun!