Backlash edited by Simon Price, 9th December 1995

“Do you love anyone enough to give them your last Romo?”

Yes I’ve dusted off the scanner and once again sit scanning ephemeral pop trivia late into the night. There’s been too many requests in the intervening months for me to try and fulfil, this just caught my eye. Got love Pricey tearing Pearl to shreds, although I do quite like her Price Cube dig. Anyway…I guess this goes with this.

Oh and Andy Catlin got in touch. Go to his website to see nice pictures. http://andrewcatlin.com

Richard Norris Rebellious Jukebox, 22nd December 1994

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The Big Dance Explosion Bang, 22nd January 1994

A-Z of Club Culture, 22nd January 1994

I said dance muthafucka!

Melody Maker’s 15 page special to club culture to be posted over the next few days. I’ve decided to split it up because the content’s too disparate and difficult to tag and categorise in one post. Once this is out of the way I’m going to just start picking random stuff again for a bit.

This post for the excellently titled (and excellent) http://history-is-made-at-night.blogspot.com/

A selection of whistles and glowsticks to these blogs to:

http://www.drawerb.com/

http://teenshoegaze.blogspot.com/

http://joannecasey.blogspot.com/

http://thingsmagazine.net/index.htm

http://wordmagazine.co.uk/blog

See – it’s like I never went away.

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Maker News Special-The Battle of the Brits part 1, 2nd March 1996

Maker News Special-The Battle of the Brits part 2, 2nd March 1996

Maker News Special-The Battle of the Brits part 3, 2nd March 1996

Maker News Special: The Battle of the Brits, 2nd March 1996.

I’ve stared too long at Gallagher’s ugly Arthur Daley meets the missing link visage tonight to have anything much to say about this but I did laugh my head off at the irony of Jonathan King’s opinion being sought about Jackson’s notorious paedo-friendly Earth Song performance though. And there’s still time to get those Knighthood forms filled in.

Hi to all those visiting for the first time from the B3ta boards. The honour is all mine. Cheers!

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Reading Festival Review - Cover, 3rd September 1994

Reading Festival Review - Friday, 3rd September 1994

Reading Festival Review - Saturday, 3rd September 1994

Reading Festival Review - Photos, 3rd September 1994

Reading Festival Review - Rumour Mill, 3rd September 1994

Reading Festival Review - Sunday, 3rd September 1994

Reading Festival Review - back cover, 3rd September 1994

1994 and another Reading Festival review. Note the Court in the Act column on page 33 as a source of great embarrassment to ET, oh and can someone answer Andrew Mueller’s question/mistaken caption (page 35) “Who the f*** is this?” even if it is 14 years too late. Come on…one of you must have slept with her.

Writers: Everett True, Andrew Mueller, Cathi Unsworth, Caitlin Moran, Sarra Manning, Dave Jennings, Dave Simpson, Ian Watson

Photographers: Tom Sheehan, Steve Gullick,Stephen Sweet, Matt Bright

Those who also turned up to get drunk: Allan Jones, Sharon O’ Connell, Simon Price

If you’ve been paying attention at the back you’ll know this one’s for Alex. Why not follow her on Twitter @loopingtheloop – she has a lovely turn of phrase – which, given she’s a journalist is probably to be expected.

Head like a cold…black as your bathroom mold…

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Robert Newman Rebellious Jukebox, 3rd September 1994

Never a big fan of Newman and Baddiel – too studenty and not nearly funny enough – but I always admired Newman for walking away from the whole “comedy is the new rock ‘n roll” Wembley Arena thing to write his books and do other things. Courageous, smart and dripping with personal integrity.

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reading-festival-review-friday-12th-september-1992

reading-festival-review-saturday-12th-september-1992

reading-festival-review-sunday-part-1-12th-september-1992

reading-festival-review-photos-12th-september-1992

reading-festival-review-sunday-part-2-12th-september-1992

The 1992 Reading Festival review, 12th September 1992.

Writers: Everett True, Jim Arundel, Shane Danielsen, Andrew Smith, Simon Price, Sharon O’Connell

Photographers: Kevin Westenberg, Stephen Sweet, Matt Bright, Steve Gullick

Those who also turned up to get drunk: Allan Jones, Steve Sutherland, Andrew Mueller, Ben Turner, Sally Margret Joy, Ben Stud, Ngaire, Black Mat Smith, Clint Poppie

Apart from the mud this was the infamous Reading Festival where ET pushed Kurt onto the stage in a wheelchair. Has the story of how and why that came about been told already? If so please post a link and if not then can I tempt the story from the horse’s mouth?

UPDATE: Discussion about Reading and particularly this Reading Festival over on the WSC message board prompted by Simon Price considering breaking a 21 year attendance record.

And if you’re looking for a timeline of Reading Festival from inception to present day then this site if worth a look

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reading-festival-review-cover-12th-september-1992

Here comes the rain again…falling on my head like a memory

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whatever-happened-to-shoegazing-part-1-12th-september-1992

whatever-happened-to-shoegazing-part-2-12th-september-1992

Clearly it’s less of an investigation and more of an excuse to let Moose promote their new single by distancing themselves from their past, but that aside, I feel a bit of a rant coming on.

It’s a funny thing how occasionally this blog stirs passions and personal recollections about things I’d long since forgotten. I’m aware that there are some (most) people that read this blog who know a lot more about the history of these things and can express them a lot better than I can, however, I was there and this is my personal take on shoegaze.

Back in the day…way back 1988 or so, it was the early ‘proto-shoegaze’ bands that really got their hooks in me. Sure we’d all grown up with The Smiths and The Fall and other Peel favourites but these weren’t new bands, they weren’t undiscovered bands and crucially, a lot of them I didn’t really like them that much. However with burgeoning maturity [cough], a growing confidence and money from summer/Saturday jobs I found myself blowing meagre wages on more and more of the latest music press raves.

These days it’s hard to try and impress how difficult it was to find out about, let alone hear, ‘indie’ music, if you lived in a small market town like I did. Even if you knew what you wanted, and you had the money to afford it, you still had to order it out of a tiny Our Price stacked to the gills with CD’s of Dire Straights, U2, Sting etc… There was no flicking through heaps of tantalizing vinyl, no studying the artwork and turning your fingers lustily across the records cardboard stock. Buying records in those days was just an alternative form of gambling.

You’d walk into Our Price on Saturday. You’d endure the withering stare of some fool, a few years older than you, who thought they were fucking cool because they worked in a record shop. You’d write down your order on a little bit of paper, say thank you and leave. You’d go back after about a week, be intimidated all over again but with luck, you’d pick up a copy of  a record which you’d never even seen the cover of before. You’d take it home with mounting anticipation. You’d put it on, close your eyes and wait. You’d wait for the sound of “1,000 volcano’s erupting over 10,000 vestal virgins” that you’d read about; the sound of “skipping naked through cornfields on the first day of summer” that you’d been promised. You’d hear the needle crackling, here it comes…and you’d think… “God that sounds shit”.

Yeah…nine times out of ten the record would be total shit. But you played it to death anyway because you only had a few records and it had just cost you £6.99. Sometimes you grew to like it but you never quite loved it. But then, just occasionally, you did. Sometimes what came back through the speakers made up for every single dud you’d bought up to that point. And as depressing and uncool as it sounds today, for me, some of those records were Ride’s first EP’s.

There had been others before Ride obviously. Some have stood the test of time, some haven’t, The Stone Roses & The Eight Legged Groove Machine. But it was that trilogy of EP’s Ride released in 1990 that really got under my skin.  For a while nothing could touch Ride. I knew the lineage. The Mary Chain to My Bloody Valentine to Ride. Each band aping the one before it but in some intangible way, moving things forward, being original. Many scoffed but the fact is Ride made ‘noise’ palatable to me where JAMC and MBV had failed. Sure I’d kinda liked those other ‘cooler’ bands but I hadn’t loved them. Ride I loved and I wasn’t the only one. They had better tunes, better cheekbones and perfect hair. They were everything I wanted to be and Taste almost broke the Top 10, which back then was quite extraordinary. And while we were still inthrall to Ride, Slowdive overlapped these releases with a clutch of similar yet different EP’s which were just as engaging. Then, Chaperhouse – then, as I remember it – all hell broke loose and there were  1,000’s of bands all trying to do what Ride/Slowdive did but successively diluting the quality.

I hate ‘scenes’. I don’t mind broad genres of music, they’re helpful, but scenes serve no one in the long run. The bands that really stand out, who are doing something original, attract imitators. Very quickly there’s a whole bunch of bands that all seem to be doing the same thing. It feels exciting at the beginning. It feels like someone’s bottled youth. The bandwagon begins. Journalists scrabble to cover the new movement. New bands align themselves to this new exciting scene in a brazen attempt to get noticed and kick start their career. The more ferocious the scene becomes, the uncooler it gets. The original bands distance themselves from the sound that’s brought them their success then typically struggle to sell as many records as they used to. The third, fourth and fifth generation imitators can no longer look to anyone to copy and their records have all the substance of the froth from the top of a milkshake. The scene has imploded. The snide bitching begins. That once cool scene moniker becomes a term of abuse. You’ve passed from teenager to twenty something. You feel let down, disappointed. It’s a new feeling. Odd. Strange. You still love those records that were once so cool yet are now so derided. Future cynicism germinates.

So it was the summer of 1991 that Melody Maker invented the The Scene That Celebrates Itself – their own version, which never really caught on – of NME’s Shoegaze, which did. Originally a term of celebration, by the end of 1992 it was all over. And the mud remains slung to this day.

All of which is a flabby, over long preamble to try and justify why I hate the fact that Ride get called Shoegaze. To me Shoegaze is a term of abuse for all those shit also-ran bands. Catherine Wheel? Yeah sure. Chapterhouse? Definitely. Ocean Colour Scene before they jumped on the next bandwagon, abso-fucking-lutely! But My Bloody Valentine, The House of Love, Lush, Ride? FUCK NO! Apparently I’m wrong. Ride were definitely Shoegaze. Simon Price has told me so and well…that’s that isn’t it? Thing is I can’t see how you retrospectively apply a scene to bands who were around a long time before the scene existed. I know, I know…I’m *so* naive.

So what did happen to Shoegazing?  Well the truth is it didn’t die but became [yawn] nu-gaze. I’m not sure when the revival – jokingly predicted to start in 1995 – did start exactly but it’s been mutating and evolving in its own quiet way for years now, as this 2005-present Last.Fm list of forum post attests.

This morning, quite unrelated to this I was sent a link to a youtube video.  I couldn’t quite believe my eyes. Or ears. It’s like the last 19 years didn’t happen. This was released in February 2009 – and in case there’s any doubt – this IS Shoegaze. If you like this go buy those first 3 Ride EP’s kids. Or failing that, Ecstasy & Wine by My Bloody Valentine.

Update 13th April: Thanks to comment left by David M who highlighted this modern day article by Paul Lester on the same topic. Still don’t agree with much of it but at least Moose aren’t plugging a single.

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Orbit - Steve Bicknell and Andrew Weatherall discuss the evolution of techno, 19th February 1994

The photo does rather give the impression of (a very clean cut) Weatherall as the victor. Not so much “Head to Head” but more “Head and shoulders above the rest”. Shame the actual piece is so thin and short. Hope that Shelley Boswell’s past doesn’t embarrass her too much, not the nakedness, the staggering resemblance to Pete Burns.

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