Friday 27 October 2023
Friday 20 October 2023
You may be familiar with Anish Kapoor's 2006 sculpture Cloud Gate, situated in Millennium Park, Chicago. Due to its shape, the huge reflective piece quickly became referred to as The Bean. In February, mere weeks before I touched down in New York, Kapoor's 15 years in-the-making Big Apple version of The Bean was finally unveiled, located just a few hundred yards from my cousin's apartment. Where Cloud Gate stands unencumbered on prominent display, its Tribeca counterpart gives the impression of having been forcibly squished beneath a canopy in the entrance of a large residential building, spilling out across the sidewalk. I was keen to take a good look at the sculpture, but the area was very busy during my initial visit so I only managed to snatch a quick side angle shot from Leonard Street. On the Sunday morning, while on an an extended wander in search of coffee, I found Church Street practically deserted, allowing me to capture The Bean head-on. The imposing structure is 58ft long, 19ft high and cost an estimated $8-10 million dollars to create.
Friday 13 October 2023
Monday 9 October 2023
From slap bang in the middle of the 1970s comes Bunny Clarke, aka Bunny Rugs, soon to become lead vocalist with Third World, but here in a solo stylee with the follow up to his cover of 'To Love Somebody', which, confusingly, he recorded as Bunny Scott.....I hope you're taking notes, there'll be a test later. The tune in question is 'Move Out of My Way', a militant Lee 'Scratch' Perry produced groover that didn't trouble the chart compilers of the day to any great extent. What it did do, however, was spawn a number of dubs and versions, including this oddly disturbing example, released under the title 'Kojak', by Perry himself on the 'Revolution Dub' LP later the same year. With the titular lollypop-sucking cop playing on the TV in the background as he works, Scratch retains just enough of Clarke's vocal to inject disorientating stabs into an eerily stripped back rhythm track, which I've always found a little unsettling, but perhaps that's just me. Who loves ya baby?
Friday 6 October 2023
There's a weekly feature over on Instagram that's been going on for a very long time, whereby old family photos are dug out and shared every Thursday, using the hashtag #throwbackthursday. It's an interesting way to catch glimpses of a world long gone, via anonymous vintage snapshots and memories. I've contributed to #throwbackthursday most weeks for at least 4 years now and a number of those shots have also graced these pages at one time or another. As a consequence I've plundered dad's boxes of slides and negatives multiple times, yet every now and then I still unearth one I've missed, today's being a prime example. I don't ever remember seeing this photo before a few weeks ago and I have to say that the ancient, over-exposed image caught me emotionally off-guard when I stumbled upon it.
It was taken in 1961. Dad is holding me on the pillar of the wall in the front garden. He's looking up, smiling. And me? I'm clearly loving the thrill of being up there, at just about the height I'd one day reach. These are roughly the respective perspectives Dad and I would have of each other for most of my adult life, after I'd shot past his 5' 10" at around the age of 15 or 16. It's always nice to see a photo of Dad & I together. There aren't that many in the archives, as he was the family photographer, with Mum & I as the frequent subjects. A quick squint on Google Street View shows me that, remarkably, the front garden wall is still standing, albeit in a refurbished state, 62 years later.
Monday 2 October 2023
'Free', recorded in 1989 and issued on the soundtrack of the awful 1990 film 'Flashback', was the parting shot from the classic line-up of Big Audio Dynamite. Later in 1990 a new recording of the song, rechristened 'Kickin' In', appeared on 'Kool Aid', the first LP by Mick Jones' raw recruits now trading as Big Audio Dynamite II. In 1991 the same song surfaced once again on their live 'Ally Pally Paradiso' album, though by this time, somewhat confusingly, it had reverted to its original moniker, 'Free'.
Here's that 1989 swansong from the original BAD.
Monday 4 September 2023
A couple of weeks ago our mutual blogging chum Charity Chic shared a handful of blistering punk tunes taken from a themed Mojo sampler (here), among them was the marvellous 'Paris Maquis' by French four piece Metal Urbain. The band formed in 1976, inspired by the burgeoning punk scene on this side of the English Channel and were gone by 1980, leaving three virtually perfect singles and a compilation LP of sessions, demos and b-sides behind them. They were notable at the time for using a rudimentary drum machine and sundry experimental electronic noises to embellish their gloriously primitive racket.
Here are those three brilliant singles, all of which I bought back then and still have. 'Panik' on the French indie label Cobra, 'Paris Maquis', RT 001, the first ever release on Rough Trade and 'Hystérie Connective', issued in 1979 on Radar Records, early home to Elvis Costello & the Attractions, Nick Lowe, The Pop Group and, lest it be forgotten, The Soft Boys.
With Mum's side of the family, I'm fortunate to have a well documented photographic trail to follow back through time, as far as t...
A couple of weeks ago our mutual blogging chum Charity Chic shared a handful of blistering punk tunes taken from a themed Mojo sampler ( her...
There had been singles, lots of them, but until then, any LPs that came my way were borrowed ones, hastily taped on my portable cassette pl...
As the shutter clicked, capturing a happy couple in the East End of London exchanging their wedding vows, 225 miles to the North West a youn...
In March 1977, a couple of weeks after the release of their self-titled debut LP, Ultravox! (with the all important !) supported Eddie &...