FROM THE SOUTH-WEST CORRESPONDENT….P DIDDLING

Chinese fontThe Robster chose the letter P

Difficult. Is one way to describe the letter P. So many decent bands begin with P. I’ve discounted Portishead, Placebo, Pure Morning (although I truly recommend you seek out ‘Scum’ from their debut album), Pop Will Eat Itself, Procul Harum and the Pixies, to name but six. I also was tempted to talk about Panjabi MC, as I have a great story about him at a wedding in Chennai, but I would definitely get sued. Anyway, there is only one place to start when talking about bands beginning with P.

Imagine the scene if you will, it 1994, it’s the Reading Festival and a relatively drunk S-WC (evening meal vodka and a falafel burger, the food of a king) and his mate who we shall called Chris (as that is his name) are hitting on two wee Scottish girls from ‘the twee village of Blairgowrie’(their words).

It is Saturday evening and we are trying to talk the two girls into coming to see Madder Rose with us, as Chris really likes them and besides we want to catch Compulsion and Elastica who were on before them. They say no, they want to see Primal Scream, the problem is on before Primal Scream is Ice Cube who no really likes but they are willing to put up with that in order to get a good spot. Personally I’m not fussed either way, as long as I see Compulsion I don’t care. Also the girls were nicer to look at that Chris, so I was probably swaying in that direction.

We consume more vodka and I think I manage to eat a doughnut to soak up the alcohol, in 1994 eating wasn’t cheating. The two girls by the way had drunk way more than us and were absolutely far more sober than either me or Chris. In the end in ways that only girls can they ‘persuaded’ us to watch Primal Scream with them, we caught Compulsion first (who were great) missed Elastica and hot footed it over to Primal Scream. I should point out that the persuasion was not as seedy as I have made it sound, I think they produced another half bottle of vodka and that swung it.

End result, Primal Scream in 1994, was the best live performance I have ever seen, perhaps it was the drink, the company and the atmosphere but standing in a field at 1030pm listening to ‘Higher Than The Sun’just about does it for me. The four of us woke up the next morning in the same tent (clothed, you filthy minded buggers, although I do remember being disappointed) with two of us having the mother of all hangovers, but it was really worth it. I have to say I have never listened to Madder Rose since that festival.

mp3 : Primal Scream – Come Together (Farley mix)

Since then I have seen Primal Scream live more than any band, they are pretty much the only band I would now travel to see outside of the South West to see live and they just get better and better live. I saw them at a place called the Eden Project a few years back now, down in Cornwall, they played ‘Screamadelica’ in full and it was truly amazing. I love their energy, their passion, and in Bobby Gillespie they have a frontman who will I think go on for ever. For those who haven’t heard it, ‘Screamadelica’ is the greatest record ever made. Period. No arguments. Forget what is written about ‘The Queen is Dead’ or ‘Pet Sounds’, they don’t even come close.

A couple of years ago I went to a wedding it was pretty dull, until the party afterwards. I was sat at the bar recovering after having a boring conversation with some bloke who drove buses in Chester. Which took up the ENTIRE MEAL. Everything I spoke about he managed successfully to bring in buses to the equation. What do you think about David Cameron’s view on Syria? Well funny you should say that, in Chester on the buses we use engine parts made in Syria…that kind of thing.

Anyway, at the bar there was a couple of blokes who didn’t fit in, they looked cool and out-of-place. I kind of nodded at them and we did the how do you know the bride and groom thing. Turns out they were related, or one of them was. They were in a band, and that band was Public Service Broadcasting. One of the two (and I have to be careful as they use pseudonyms) said we have a mantra we aim to teach the lessons of the past through the music of the future. What they do is trawl through old film archives, and use snippets of voices and then set them to music. It sounds weird but it really works. If you have a long musical memory then you might remember Paul Hardcastle tried something similar with the song ‘19’ and perhaps even Big Audio Dynamites ‘E=MC2’ but PSB do it excellently and without the feel of a gimmick. They had me the minute they told me their mantra and I hadn’t heard them. When I did what I got was the sound of 1930s announcements set to a whirl of indie guitars and electronica and I was gobsmacked at what they had done. The problem is and I never told them, is what are they going to do next?

mp3 : Public Service Broadcasting – Spitfire

Finally an oldie but a goldie, a record that is in my top ten tracks of all time. Probably, I keep changing it. I post it as an advert really, because right now on Amazon every Pavement album is available on download for £2.99 and if that is not an excuse to buy them all then I don’t know what is.

Whenever I move house – which isn’t that often these days, but I have stretched the rules to whenever I stay in a hotel, the first song I listen to in that house, room, suite whatever is ‘Summer Babe’ by Pavement. I don’t have a reason, when I moved into students halls for the first time I plugged my stereo in and the first record out of the box was ‘Slanted and Enchanted’ and I put in on and turned it up. Within ten minutes, my new neighbour had knocked on the door and asked me if I fancied a beer and that he loved Pavement and did I have anything by the Wedding Present. After that it just stuck. These days I normally listen to it on tinny speakers on the laptop but I have this feeling that one day the person in the room next door will knock and say ‘is that pavement?

mp3 : Pavement – Summer Babe (winter version)

Next week – R. but lets have some more letters please

S-WC

5 thoughts on “FROM THE SOUTH-WEST CORRESPONDENT….P DIDDLING

  1. What a wonderful story JC. Made me smile and think about the same experience I made on an open air in Munich nearly 30 years ago. It was the time when it was allowed to bring your own booze to the concert. Me and some mates were sitting in the back row having some vodka and listening to some bands when the rain started. So we sat there drinking and having some conversation with some girls from Bavaria. The rain suddenly stopped when the main act appeared. Bob Marley did a fantastic concert. And in fact that we didn’t have a tent we woke up next morning in an old Volkswagen. Btw – I agree: Primal Scream are fantastic. I’ve seen them only once live but it was unforgettable.

  2. I understand very well that this by and large was purely a hormone- and alcohol driven decision, SWC, but I certainly would have gone to see Elastica back then, only to stare open – mouthed at Donna Matthews whilst standing in the front row! Nothing much else would have happened between her and me, of course, but nevertheless this, at least in my books, would have been much more worthwile than Primal Scream plus no sex with two Highlanders!

  3. three fantastic songs – i’ve seen primal scream many a time… probably not the most – thats probably pixies for me… i’m even finding i quite like their new album after being incredibly cynical about the whole endeavour… so if you’s done p is for pixies i’d have been pleased with that…!

    best time i saw primal scream was at the astoria on the xterminator tour when they were a proper rock beast…

    hoping to see public service broadcasting at glastonbury this year…

    and saw pavement a few times too… at the marquee (which is now a weatherspoons pub) when S+E came out… the drummer was handing out toast to the audience before they came on… and i saw them support sonic youth at brixton academy which was wonderful…

    more letters…? not sure which ones have gone but hows about L…?

  4. Weird you should choose my letter and then talk about Primal Scream being awesome at a festival and Public Service Broadcasting. I saw the Scream at Glasto in 92 (I’ll be telling my tale of that soon), and PSB is one of MrsRobster’s favourite bands – we saw them twice last year, both in Cardiff, both in tiny venues, both sell-out shows – and both pretty bloody brilliantly good.

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