Monday, November 27, 2023

faves of 1983 #2

 This one is from earlier in the year - January 15

The Xavier doesn't ring any bell at all. Nor can I summon the tune of "Insecure Me" or "Dance Your Ass Off". 

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

faves of 1983

May 1983 to be precise - a snapshot of my listening as a 19-year old, via an old letter that came into my possession again recently

Formative me...  on the cusp of leaving behind the teenage years...  discoveries and delights mostly indexed to critics I followed oh-so-closely....  but starting to scope out paths across the past all by myself: The Easybeats, reconceived as punk precursors; the strangeness of the Glitter-Leander sound....


Thursday, November 2, 2023

My Top 38 - by Brian Eno


from Sounds magazine, February 5, 1977 - the end bit of an interview with Vivien Goldman. 

Friday, October 13, 2023

three music book faves that are a little bit forgotten

[written for somebody as part of an interview, like a bonus side-bar thing , can't remember who, can't remember when - the concept was "three music books you love that aren't that well known or are a bit forgotten"

Starlust (1985) by Fred and Judy Vermorel has been out of print for years, but is just about to get reissued by my publisher as part of its Faber Finds imprint. Here’s how I blurbed it: “This fascinating and groundbreaking expose . . . lifts the lid on fan culture to reveal—and revel in—its literally idolatrous delirium. Yet, far from manipulated dupes of a cynical record industry, fans are shown to be subversive fantasists who use the objects of their worship as a means to access the bliss and glory they cannot find in their everyday lives and social surroundings. A lost classic of pop-culture critique that’s woven almost entirely out of the testimonials and confessions of the fans themselves, Starlust is above all a celebration of the power of human imagination.”

Big Noises (1991) is a really enjoyable book about guitarists by the novelist Geoff Nicholson. It consists of 36 short “appreciations” of axe-men (and they’re all men; indeed, it’s quite a male book but quite unembarrassed about that). These range from obvious greats/grates like Clapton/Beck/Page/Knopfler to quirkier choices like Adrian Belew, Henry Kaiser, and Derek Bailey. Nicholson writes in a breezy, deceptively down-to-earth style that nonetheless packs in a goodly number of penetrating insights. I just dug this out of my storage unit in London a couple of months ago and have been really enjoying dipping into it.

The Boy Looked At Johnny (1978) by Julie Burchill and Tony Parsons is a curious thing: proof that a music book can be almost entirely wrong and yet remain a bona fide rockwrite classic. Allegedly written in a few days during an amphetamine bender, it’s subtitled “The Obituary of Rock and Roll,” but is really a requiem for the then-married authors’ broken-hearted belief in punk-as-revolution. Bitter and bitchy, strident and stylish, this short, fast tract had a huge impact on me at the time, as it did on loads of other impressionable youths; I was really surprised, later on,  to find out that many people at the time of its release disapproved/deplored/dismissed it altogether. A big deal at the time, The Boy Looked At Johnny really has been forgotten. Few today even remember that perennially infamous newspaper opinionator Burchill was once a music journalist—indeed, for a few years, the U.K.’s most famous rock writer.

Friday, August 18, 2023

Fave Places in New York circa 2008

I have no memory which foreign (I assume?) magazine this was written for, or why.... Maybe I should ask Kieran (NYC native now relocated to Bushwick) to do a 2023-update.... The High Line would be an obvious addition 

Love , 179 MacDougal Street , New York, NY 10011

Dark atmospheric club with possibly the best sound system in Manhattan; home to dubstep monthly night Dub War and drum & bass party The Secret Night of Science.


The Frying Pan, Pier 66, New York, NY 10011 (West 26th St. at West Side Highway )

A cool bar that regularly hosts dance parties as well as private events, this is a boat moored at a dock on the Hudson River; once submerged for many years, it was salvaged and restored,  but the interior was left fantastically rusted and corroded from years at the bottom of the sea.


Stuyvesant  Town

Apartment block complex, originally built to house WW2 veterans, between 23rd and 14th Street and 1st Avenue to the East River, with many cool recreation areas, playgrounds, trees and greenery. Literally cool, as the tall buildings create pools of shade that are refreshing to dip inside during a sweltering Manhattan summer.



Short for Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass, this formerly industrial area in Brooklyn between the Manhattan Bridge and the Brooklyn Bridge has been redeveloped with riverside parkways, cafes, book stores, etc, but still retains the gritty residues of its dockland past. Access via the water ferry from the Fulton Slip at Fulton Landing in Manhattan, or take the F-train subway to York Street.


Prospect Park, Brooklyn

More rugged and wild than Central Park, Manhattan, the perfect place for a summer picnic party.


Chelsea Market

Indoor market with restaurants, cafes, food stores, patisseries, gelateria, etc, a short walk from the Hudson River and in close proximity to the formerly squalid, now slightly cleaned up Meatpacking District.  75 9th Ave (between 14th and 15th Street)


Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Williamsburg's Bedford Street is what the East Village's St Mark's Place and Avenue A were like 15, maybe even 20 years ago: where the hipsters prowl, grazing at the wares offered by street vendors selling used books, used records, vintage clothes, etc.