JC writes…..I thought I’d kick off 2018 with a guest post. One from one of my oldest mates, Mr John Greer, who was a prolific contributor to the old blog, often on music and bands that many of us either didn’t know to begin with, or had long forgotten about. This originally appeared on 30 May 2010…..
The Freeze, not to be confused with the South London soul-funk group Freez, were formed in 1976 at Linlithgow Academy in Central Scotland, a school that was also attended by Alan Rankine co-founder of the Associates.
The main songwriter and singer Gordon Sharp was a flamboyant dresser with a gender twisting style, more of later.
As much as anything the music scene in the East of Scotland in the late ‘70’s was vibrant with groups playing a wide variety of pubs.
Two such venues were the Cunzie Neuk in Kinghorn and the Dutch Mill in Kirkcaldy. The Cunzie Neuk will always be remembered for its legendary carpet that stuck to your feet with every step. It was a combination of deep pile and McEwan’s Export.
I saw The Freeze play both pubs with their mixture of glam, punk and art rock with small dollop of Goth. Gordon Sharp loved dressing up in sequenced dresses with fishnet tights. This came in very handy after a gig at the Dutch Mill when my friend Hamish McIntosh lost a contact lens – it was only retrieved when Gordon stood on it wearing his fishnets and the lens got caught in his tights……..
I also came home to Kirkcaldy one Friday after work at St Andrews University to be told, that another friend, George “Dod” Fenton, would be picking me up at 6.30 pm and we would going to a pub in deepest darkest Dundee to see The Freeze play.
Now Dod was the scariest driver I had ever or to this day travelled with in a car. He owned a Hillman Hunter and he thought nothing of overtaking five other road users in the one manoeuvre. It was my first experience of a “white knuckle ride”, not helped by knowingg that he had written off his previous vehicle coming back from a Skids gig in Aberdeen after hitting black ice outside Montrose and rolling the car, an accident in which all occupants had miraculously walked away safely.
We survived the journey to Dundee but I didn’t think I’d survive the gig in one of Dundee’s depressive housing estate pubs when Gordon took to the makeshift stage area dressed in a flowing purple dress to a chorus of “look at that POOF!!!!”
The Freeze set featured cover versions of Roxy Music’s Virginia Plain and Eno’s Baby’s on Fire as well their own favourites Paranoia and Psychodalek Nightmares.
They had two independently released singles the In Colour EP and Celebration and they went on to make two sessions for John Peel’s Radio One Show.
In the summer of 1981, Dod Fenton and I went on holiday to Kavos in Corfu, I took with me a cassette containing one of the John Peel sessions. Our accommodation was above a taverna, the owner Terry was good enough to allow me to play the session tape over his music system as we sat under the stars enjoying our evening meal and drinking into the night.
In 1982, Gordon Sharp and fellow songwriter David Clancy relocated to London and changed the band name to Cindytalk.
Little known trivia fact – Gordon joined some near neighbours of his who lived in the town of Grangemouth when they recorded their own second Peel session – his near neighbours being The Cocteau Twins…..
In 1984 Cindytalk released their first album Camouflage Heart.
The same year Sharp joined the afore-mentioned Elizabeth Fraser and Robin Guthrie to record It’ll End in Tears under the moniker This Mortal Coil; he also provided vocals for three other tracks, including the indie chart-topping Kangaroo, which was included in John Peel’s highly thought of festive 50 from 1984.
To this day Cindytalk continue to produce experimental electronic music and are highly thought of throughout the world. In October 2009 they played Edinburgh for the first time ever. I’ll confess however, that I find their current output takes some listening to.
I prefer the fact that late last year (2009), Dod’s brother Ian Fenton gave me mp3 copies of the John Peel sessions recorded by the Freeze.
It was great to take me back to that time in my life. Now, to complete the experience in full, I’m going to pour some beer on the carpet to make my feet stick while eating my tarmasolata and kebab.