Most of these are perennials - albums that are intertwined with my history, burned into my neural pathways in some way, or chained to particular times or emotions. It's a tough decision, and many favourites have been left behind. I worry there's not enough diversity here - because actually my music collection is very diverse. But from this I was formed, and that's the way it is.
Highlights included the taiko drummers (a form that swept me off my feet at the Japan Expo in L.A in 1985), the vacuum-tube bass sounds provided by Mixed Up (a troupe who bashed kitchen sinks and shopping trolleys), Sur-Taal (sitar, and I love the sound of a drone), and the City of Belfast Youth Orchestra who really stood out. The evening ended with Land of Hope and Glory and flag-waving, not my strong-point, but I joined in, of course.
I have put up a page that features tape recordings from a gig we played at The Ravenswood Inn, Sharpethorne, in May 1992 - those days were really enjoyable and happy times. Hope you enjoy the recordings.
They come complete with a Frank Frazetta cover (what could be more apt?) and it's nice to hear that the E-minor pentatonic scale is in pretty good hands and still doing what it does best.
Embarrassing moment no.327: while working as a porter at a Gatwick hotel, I asked one of the chambermaids if she wanted a pass to this new venue called the 101 Club (I was in promotion mode, not flirting - at least I don't think I was). It was quite noisy in the canteen and she was horrified to (mis)hear I was asking her to go to something called the One-on-one club! I don't think she ever looked me in the eye again.
And a little story about Bonx and his old band, Pump. When 5D organised a birthday bash at Clair Hall in Haywards Heath in 1992, we had 5 or 6 bands play. Someone had to go on first, and the band we felt were the least well-known of the bunch (and they were all top local bands) was chosen. Upon hearing this, the band refused to participate, as they felt it was too early in the evening and the crowd would not be large enough yet. So we had to get a new band in quickly, and asked Pump. They were professional to the hilt - it is true the crowd was small that early, and mostly round the corner in the bar, but Bonx didn't even mention it and played one of the best and tightest sets of the night.
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"Spacewreck is a musical story, somewhere between a soundscape and a dreamscape, the soundtrack to a film you'll only find in your imagination, describing the journey the astronaut takes into the depths of this enigmatic dead craft."
The gig was very good, and Somerset House is a fantastic venue for it. A video screen showed live drawing from Pete Fowler before the band came on. Gruff thanked everyone for coming to the gig despite the previous day's events. "This is what happens when, instead of declaring peace of terrorism, you declare war on terrorism", he said. Then the screens showed stills of Bush and Blair put to the words of Bill Hicks, looping the line "all governments are liars and murderers". There was lots of new material and some old favourites, and they ended on the defiant 'The Man Don't Give a F**k'. The illuminated hooded boiler suits were good, but not as impressive as perhaps they were intended.
Despite this being a very enjoyable show, I'm afraid I have to be an old crock and say, generally, I don't enjoy the gig-going experience. Sound is often poor (bass guitars are amplified to be felt and not heard - this is okay, but it can get too distorted), and large crowds are not my favourite. But then again, when you work from home all day self-employed, it's nice (and important) to get out like this when you can! This was far better than many I've been too - the open-air was good.
There was various music being piped through the sound system before the gig, and one artist I particularly liked, but have no idea who it was. I'm looking into it... could be Baris Manco... but it could have been Japanese.