Friday, 13 January 2017

Academy 23 - Chats Palace 4/10/96 (1996) C46

This was our last gig as Academy 23. It was supposed to be four gigs, or so Andy told me, but the first was cancelled, and then so were the other two following this one. It was put on by Core Arts, who were associated with Hackney Hospital and something to do with the late and very much missed Robert Dellar, and word came back that they weren't happy about Academy 23 trying to take over the event, as it was phrased. My understanding was that they had asked us to arrange it all and to find a load of bands to play, so who knows? Anyway, Konstruktivists, somehow expanded to a five piece line-up including a flautist, came down from Norfolk and played, and were amazing. Then we played, or maybe we played first. We had been rehearsing for months and it sort of paid off, although I sang on a few of the songs where Andy was obliged to play complicated guitar solos, and my singing was pretty shit, although I had fun at the time. Otherwise this is probably the best tape I've heard of any live event involving Andy. As usual it was a mix of old Apostles songs, some with new, slightly more pompous lyrics and different titles, plus legitimate Academy 23 numbers like The Stranger which was written by Dave and which we added to the set on my request. I dressed up as a bird and was subsequently subject to marriage proposals from a Nigerian gentleman in the audience, so that was an interesting new experience. I also think Jess Hopkins was there too, although I don't think he performed that night.

I doubt anyone will notice, so I'll mention it anyway - but the microphone fucked up so there's a silent second occurring on the tape during the first chorus of God of Death. Using my audio editing software I have rectified this by pasting the equivalent bars from the second time we played the chorus. You probably won't notice the join. This is because I'm amazing.

Nice to have a version of At the Academy on tape. I probably haven't listened to this cassette since the gig, having assumed it to be shite; but we put one hell of a lot of work into learning how to play our ten-minute prog instrumental, so it's nice that, contrary to what I believed, it still exists in more or less listenable form. 

1 - God of Death
2 - Alien Nation
3 - Quantum Quickstep
4 - Cam Ye O'er Frae France
5 - Look Into the Sky
6 - The Patient
7 - The Stranger
8 - Fucking Queer
9 - At the Academy

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Friday, 6 January 2017

The Dovers - Water Pistol Filled with Beer (1991) C90

This is what rock and roll used to look like, you autotuned assholes.

Here's another Dovers tape, and definitely one of the better ones. All of this stuff was recorded on various portastudios. The first eleven tracks were recorded at Carl's flat in Bermondsey over a long, hot weekend in the late eighties, as I've written on the inlay card. He Writes the Songs through to Do the Frug were apparently recorded at John Jasper's house in Chatham on his portastudio around the same time. The rest were recorded at Carl's flat from winter to spring 1991. The aforementioned inlay card was too boring to be scanned and is thus absent from the download. As I may have mentioned before, whilst these tracks transfer to my own iTunes in the right order, they'll probably download in alphabetical order for you, depending on what you use and how you listen to them, if you listen to them, so I'd advice rearranging them in the correct sequence shown below, not least because a couple of them segue into each other. I'm primarily digitising this shit for my own entertainment, so I'm not going to give them titles like A9 Work That Body! because it offends my pedantic sensibilities. If that's annoying, screw you because it's not like I'm charging anything, unlike Radiohead and Oasis, and what you get is about a million times better than Radiohead or Oasis, so great bolshy yarblockos to thee and thine.

Some of these tracks also appear on the album that never was. The versions on The World of the Dovers are probably mixed a little better, but there's probably not much in it. Carl, as pictured above, handled most of the vocal stylings and programming, and I played guitar and can usually be heard giggling in the background. I'm not sure about the photo, as I think that's Carl from when he was in a group called Churchill's Shoe, possibly, which was before we met.

Download tracks.
Burn to a plurality of CDRs.
Slap in car stereo and drive down to Camber Sands and eat ice creams on a hot day.
Job fucking done.
You're welcome. 

1 - The End
2 - Eggs, Beans & Mayonnaise
3 - Blue Moon of Kansas
4 - The Insect
5 - Sentimental Fool
6 - You Were Better When You Were Crap
7 - After a Particularly Uplifting Sermon...
8 - I Am Mr. Bennett
9 - Work That Body!
10 - When the Power Falls
11 - Fly in the Ointment
12 - He Writes the Songs
13 - Worm
14 - Sentimental Fool
15 - Beat Me Black & Blue
16 - Do the Frug
17 - Make My Flesh Crawl
18 - Do You Use Your Brain?
19 - Everybody's Got to Change
20 - Horrible Glam Thing
21 - Surfing On My Mind
22 - State of Pigs
23 - Vale of Tears
24 - John Piss-take
25 - Business Biscuits etc.

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Saturday, 31 December 2016

War Drum - My Heart is Broken OST (2001) C60

Here's another one which never came out as an actual tape, or as anything. The full story of the major motion picture that would have been My Heart is Broken has already been told here - starts on paragraph eight if you can't be arsed to read the bits which don't directly relate to south-east London's answer to Orson Welles. I recorded five tracks according to Paul's description of what he was after, and he said they were amazing, then next day he said they weren't amazing and could I make them a bit better? He lacked the vocabulary to describe what he considered would make them better, so I just remixed them and added a theme song. I don't even remember what happened after that, so probably nuffink innit.
I recorded this material on a four-track in February, 2001 and I'm still reasonably pleased with it. That said, it's a bit hissy, and for some reason I could never quite get the bass sounding right. It seemed to be in tune and yet somehow felt like it wasn't, but I could never identify the problem. The bass was purchased from Kingsley, star of My Heart is Broken, for thirty quid, so there was probably a reason why he sold it to me so cheap. Otherwise I still say Paul should have been kissing my ass for taking the trouble to record this stuff for a film which existed mostly in his head.
Yes, I am indeed a big fan of The Sweeney.

1 - Main Theme I
2 - Waiting I
3 - Losing Your Marbles I
4 - Main Theme II
5 - Acid Car Chase I
6 - Barry Car Chase I
7 - Sad Song (instrumental I)
8 - Sad Song (instrumental II)
9 - Main Theme III
10 - Waiting II
11 - Losing Your Marbles II
12 - Main Theme IV
13 - Acid Car Chase II
14 - Barry Car Chase II
15 - Sad Song

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Friday, 23 December 2016

Sat Next to the Radio, One Finger on the Pause Button (1980) C120

This was compiled in 2016, but all of the material dates from 1980, and it doesn't actually exist as a C120 but that's how long it would be if it did, so Merry Christmas.

I got my first mono portable tape recorder as a teenager, roughly coinciding with my developing an obsession with music. I bought a five-pin DIN lead and taped stuff from medium wave radio, particularly the interviews featured on Tommy Vance's Rock On Saturday show on Radio 1, usually conducted by David Hepworth, Phil Sutcliffe, and others whose names I can't remember; and being an obsessive type, of course I still have all of these tapes and this is the first six months or so converted to digital format on the grounds that it will probably be of interest to someone somewhere, and some of it is even still of interest to me.

You can probably work out who these people are or were if you retain any interest in their music, although some of this lot won't make a great deal of sense if you don't. The quality isn't amazing but it's listenable, and I've removed most of the songs played during the interviews. If you really need to hear Kings of the Wild Frontier, I'm sure you can find yourself something better than a crackly mono MP3 with someone talking over the introduction.

Points of potential interest: 1) Richard Jobson really was a bit of a Charlie, wasn't he? 2) Wouldn't have bothered including the Lennon thing given that he makes no actual appearance, but it makes for pretty weird listening considering how things turned out. 3) Interesting to note that Jello Biafra was mesmerisingly entertaining even back then, and also that 4) Bono was always like that, even when he was just a kitten. 5) Thrill as Malcolm McLaren courageously defends the sort of pictures Jimmy Savile liked to look at whilst trying not to sound like the sleazy failed art student he always was, the horrible auld tit-rifle. I particularly enjoy his amusing pronunciation of the word cassettes, delivered almost as though he's an old, old man trying hard to be down with the kids and getting it all wrong. What a fucking rotter. 6) That isn't a picture of the actual tape recorder on which all this stuff was taped, but it's the same model. I used to love that thing.

Seasons Greetings.
Happy Hanukah.
Merry Christmas.

1 - Max Splodge & Baby Greensleeves 16/8/80
2 - Spizz 16/8/80
3 - Kevin Rowland 26/7/80
4 - Annabella Lwin & Malcolm McLaren 2/8/80
5 - Ian Dury & Wilko Johnson 9/8/80
6 - Dave Wakeling 23/8/80
7 - Adam Ant 23/8/80
8 - Dave Ruffy & Paul Fox 23/8/80
9 - Lemmy 30/8/80
10 - Suggs & Chas Smash 27/9/80
11 - Richard Jobson 27/9/80
12 - David Hepworth on John Lennon's comeback 29/9/80
13 - Jello Biafra 27/9/80
14 - Sting 4/10/80
15 - Edward Tudor-Pole 4/10/80
16 - Rat Scabies 25/10/80
17 - Bono & the Edge 4/10/80
18 - Mel Smith & Pamela Stephenson 15/11/80
19 - Malcolm McLaren 15/11/80

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Do Easy - In the New Southern Territories (1986) C60

I was eighteen-nineteen and I'd just left home, moving from Warwickshire to Kent, so the title was intended to invoke the bold spirit of adventure 'n' shit, and particularly because this was the first Do Easy tape recorded entirely in a county other than the one in which I was born. It was also the first Do Easy tape for which I never got around to making a cover and flogging to strangers through the post. I recorded it, gave it a name, wrote on the inlay card, and stuck it in a box with the rest; which I suppose might be a shame given that it was arguably better than at least the previous five or six tapes I'd turded out under the assumption of quantity and quality being more or less the same thing - not saying it was a classic, but it definitely wasn't quite as shit as some of them.

At some point during the recording of this tape (May 1985 to January 1986), Thomas Docherty of Trilogy (whose tapes I also released on the Do Easy label) came to stay at the house in Leeds village for a couple of days. We spent a lot of time talking about recording and I picked up a lot from him, not least multitracking tapes so as to produce the echo effect heard on Wrist Job Alley. I think the title of Tom's Kitchen - which was recorded in the kitchen at Hollytree House in Otham - was some sort of acknowledgement of his influence. Also around this time I started to make use of the sound studio at Maidstone College of Art (at which I was taking a degree) which had a four track TEAC and a ton of relatively fancy equipment - not least being Brian Eno's old EMS suitcase synth. Let the Bayonets Speak!, had I ever finished it, would have been the first Do Easy 12" single - or so I had decided. Obviously the plan never came to anything because I was unable to generate money, or even to not spend it on records, which is probably for the best given that I was simply exploring controversial ideas and images in borrowing the title from one of Benito Mussolini's zingers.

The multi-talented Steve McGarrigle programmed the rhythm on Let the Bayonets Speak!, it being his Yamaha RX15, and also for the live set at the Good Intent in Rochester, for which he additionally played trumpet and possibly some keyboard too. The live set came about because Paul Mercer of Apricot Brigade was booked to play a solo set under the name of the Acrobatic Champions - himself with a backing tape, guitar, and a load of effects. He asked if I wanted to support and I said yes. I recruited Steve and Peter Jones and between us we worked out a rough framework around which to improvise on the night, which is what we did. It probably wasn't the most amazing night anyone ever had seeing a band at the Good Intent, but we enjoyed ourselves and that's the main thing. I think Steve later became some sort of jetsetting DJ producer type and he has a couple of releases listed on Discogs as Saturnalia.

The chorus of Bayonets was shouted by Steve McGarrigle, Melissa Darvall, Peter Avery, Mark Enright, Garreth Roberts, Jon Storey, and Nick Scullard. The rhythm on Something In Me Isn't Right was programmed by Paul Mex, and the rhythm you can hear intermittently on Tom's Kitchen is from a tape Stephen Mallinder of Cabaret Voltaire made for Kevin Thorne of We Be Echo and which Kevin kindly copied for me. One of the loops used on Tom's Kitchen was recorded by Nicola Percy, I seem to recall.

So there you go - as with most of my stuff, the tape suffers from terrible teenagery lyrics inspired by my continued failure to have sex with girls, and a general approach to music production amounting to fuck it - that'll do, but for the most part I'm still able to listen to this one without too much wincing. 

1 - Something In Me Isn't Right
2 - Wrist Job Alley
3 - Let the Bayonets Speak!
4 - Tom's Kitchen
5 - The Good Intent, Rochester 8/11/85
6 - Push You Down the Stairs

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Monday, 19 December 2016

Total Big - Rehearsals 9 & 10 (1986) C90

There's not really much that I can say about Total Big which I haven't already said here, here, here, or here. If you liked the last four tapes, then you'll probably like this, and you'll probably like the other four of these things I still have left to digitise. If you didn't like any of the last four tapes, then this one is almost certainly unlikely to change your mind. It was all recorded in the kitchen of Hollytree House, Otham, Kent. The first sixteen tracks are from our ninth rehearsal which occured on Saturday the 22nd of March, 1986, concerning which my diary of the time records:

We had a Total Big rehearsal, and Charlie came around to watch a load of Doctor Who videos. We went to Ian Elliott's party after that. It was okay but there wasn't enough dancing.

Charlie was Charlie Adlard who draws the Walking Dead comic and is as such now rich and famous. If anyone gives a shit I think we probably watched Warriors of the Deep and subsequently spent most of the time laughing like drains.

The remainder of the tracks were recorded on Saturday the 29th of March, 1986. The day began at Chris's house in Sittingbourne. Apparently I had fallen asleep on the sofa watching Catch-22 while Carl bleached his hair.

This morning we watched some episodes of Blackadder II on Chris's video. Then we went to the flea market and I bought a pair of sunglasses with white plastic frames and saw Mandy who used to go out with Paul. Then we went to Carl's mum's house in Hoo where his two sisters provided the entertainment with a display of wrestling. After that we went to Craig's house, and then we visited Paul for a bit and came home and had another Total Big rehearsal. Garreth and Steve came round. Carl and Chris left, and so did Steve, but Garreth stayed the night.

Garreth really did spell his name with two Rs. He isn't famous so far as I am aware, and he still has my fucking drum machine. He ended up in the Spinning Pygmies with me and Carl. Frankenstein is a New York Dolls cover. I was briefly obsessed with the song and even adopted it as my showbiz name for a time, not that anyone noticed.

The still is from a video we made for Keep Your Dreams A'Burnin'.

1 - Sex From Behind
2 - He Writes the Songs
3 - Rock Sandwich
4 - Keep Your Dreams A'Burnin'
5 - Call It What You Want
6 - Are You My Mother?
7 - Cold Sore Herpes
8 - Louie Louie
9 - Sister Ray
10 - Falling in Love with My Voice
11 - Hail Fellow Well Met
12 - Ugly Baby
13 - Rock & Roll
14 - I Own the World  
15 - Why Did You Forget My Name?
16 - I'm Not Losing Sleep
17 - Cold Sore Herpes B
18 - Keep Your Dreams A'Burnin'
19 - He Writes the Songs
20 - Rock Sandwich
21 - Are You My Mother?
22 - Call It What You Want
23 - Hail Fellow Well Met
24 - Frankenstein
25 - Louie Louie
26 - Sister Ray
27 - Here We Come
28 - Keep Your Dreams A'Burnin'
29 - Total Big & the Nutty Rhythm

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Monday, 12 December 2016

We Be Echo - Radio Werkz II (1985) C30

This is the last of my three tapes of obscure We Be Echo material, the first two being Psychick Kontakt Specials and Various Obscure Recordings - so feel free to refer to the write-ups for those two so that I can avoid further repeating myself about who they were and how I came to have these cassettes. This cassette actually duplicates all but one track from Psychick Kontakt Specials, but they appear in this upload as individual cuts rather than being embedded within the radio broadcast of a man who clearly could have used a coffee. I haven't bothered scanning the cover as it's a generic inlay card filled in with my own handwriting, and I'm not even sure why this should be named Radio Werkz II (aside from the obvious detail of this stuff having been broadcast on and presumably recorded for New Zealand Radio). I have a vague memory of there being a Radio Werkz I put out by the Mystery Hearsay label, but it doesn't seem to be listed on Discogs, or anywhere else so far as I can see, so maybe I imagined that.

Anyway, it turns out that Kevin is still very much at it, so the answers ye may seek shalt perchance be foundeth yonder at

1 - Never Mind
2 - Beat of the Drum
3 - Fly with the Wind
4 - Straighten Your Knees
5 - In the Beginning
6 - No No
7 - The Greatest Lover
8 - Hide and Seek

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