Today’s contributor is a long-time friend, someone whom I’ve gotten to know through a kindred love for Raith Rovers FC. I’m on my second season in carrying out the matchday announcements and providing the pre-match music but Davie has been a stalwart of Raith TV for years, giving very freely of his time to do matchday commentaries and carry out interviews for an on-line service which is the envy of many a big and highly-financed club.
The following words come direct from a Facebook posting, written on the back of last week’s gig by Johnny Marr at the Glasgow Barrowlands. My thanks to Davie and his daughter Molly for allowing me to use them on this little corner of the internet….
A long post but we wanted to show the upswing of the VIP process that is priceless as without it this couldn’t have happened…..
On Thursday night I was able accompany my daughter to meet Johnny, the wonderful Union people were fantastic calling me to arrange after it from the USA. I needed permission to help her as she has a complex set of additional support needs (she hates the “D” word); her preference at home is to call her unique.
Aged 17 she tips the tape measure at 4’7″ with the world keen to remind her of her difference and what she can’t do each and every day and often.
However from the moment we entered the room Johnny filled her with confidence, from shadow boxing to telling her to pose like they were in a band together it was indeed Marrvellous.
First line “Hey my friend what’s your name…and how old are you?” She replies and says “I am 17” Johnny stands back weighs up what he sees and replies “you know it’s a fact..us little ones are definitely coolest.” They then went on to chat about guitars being cooler than drums, an interaction when she told him he stuck his tongue out at her at a previous show and football (Johnny playing along that he now supports Raith Rovers)
Fast forward to the inevitable next “episode” at school or in the community, and she has rehearsed that I’m not going to need to rescue her as “next time” her tears wont be there. I asked her why not…..”well, Johnny Marr thinks I am cool”
Over a 10 year period volunteering with my local football team I have interviewed 100 plus football players, managers, musicians, singers, authors, actors and politicians including a prime minister. I just don’t do nerves meeting people however I was star struck, it meant that much. My own lasting memory will be getting told told “you’re doing great, look after her.”
A wee funny offshoot is that we had to head to the guitar shop before the match today to buy light gauge strings and a capo as Johnny said they will be easier to play on the guitar that hasn’t been touched for 10 years. It wasn’t touched as she “would never be able to play it, you know because of my issues..” but since Thursday night………
Thanks to Aly and Ory too for badges and their company.
Oh, and for a wonderful review of the gig, look no further than here which is Craig‘s take on it at Plain or Pan.
mp3 : Johnny Marr – Bigmouth Strikes Again (live)
mp3 : Johnny Marr – The Messenger
Monday 8 January 2018…the first day of the first full working week of the new year and the day when this little corner of the internet is supposed to return to normal business after all the re-hashed stuff over the festive period, albeit the posts were all worthy of being resurrected from the wreckage of the old place.
I’ve been giving things some thought over the past few weeks. I’ll admit to still suffering somewhat from an extended bout of blog fatigue, but in some ways that’s to be expected after more than 11 years of churning out cliché after cliché. The most annoying thing is that the fatigue has somewhat extended itself into me not having the time and/or inclination to keep up with the work of so many great talents out there, although I did, late last week, start the process of playing catch-up and will continue to do so over the coming days.
Part of the issue is that I haven’t been properly managing all that comes with trying to keep T(n)VV relevant and meaningful. This has happened a few times in the past but there’s always been something, like a new album, a tour or an event, to come along and enthuse me in some way that has delivered the required kick up the arse.
This year, and maybe it is grumy old man syndrome, but I’ve gotten increasingly bitter and disillusioned about the rip-off factor, whether it is attached to the cost of buying new vinyl or getting to gigs – assuming of course you can get your hands on saif vinyl if it has been released in limited editions or in fact you can access Ticketbastard and the likes in time before you have to look towards the secondary markets. All of which has meant 2017 ended up being a year where I spent much less on my hobby than any other since I became an adult.
Don’t get me wrong – there were many highlights in the past year, not least that never to be forgotten gathering up here in Glasgow last May, meeting JTFL in Manchester and all sorts of gigs, often with Aldo riding shotgun. LCD Soundsystem at Glasgow Barrowlands was something I never dreamed would happen to me…but it did. And the trip to Hebden Bridge for Jens Lekman was special (as was the next day in Manchester being guided by Swiss Adam). But there were more days when there wasn’t much motivating me to blog other than it being a habit. Shaking hands with Robert Forster and having my photo taken with him was also a memory to savour.
None of these memorable events woulf have happened without this blog, something I embarked upon in 2006 with no real long-term aim other than to shove up some long-lost b-sides that were only available on vinyl. I certainly never imagined that I would still be doing it all these years later and that it would have led to the flowering of some of the most amazing and rewarding friendships imaginable with some ridiculously talented writers and musicians.
It has also led me to do things that weren’t ever on my radar – promoting my own gigs, helping out at merchandising stalls, contributing to and being thanked on albums/boxsets and reigniting my passion for DJing to name but a few. I’d also say that having this hobby has helped me through some very tough and painful circumstances in my personal life (for which I will always be thankful to ctel and others) and it has also inspired me in ways that have, at the fag-end of my working life/career, had a positive impact in a professional capacity.
I know that I’ve got to the stage where I can’t really imagine not doing this and, as such, so I’m not contemplating calling it a day any time soon. I do know, however, that I need to focus a bit better, mostly by staying in my comfort zone(s) of music of bygone days with very little reviews of new albums or gigs.
There will always be a place for such things but these will need to come via guest contributions, of which I will maintain my policy of accepting without question, unless the subject matter is offensive or degrading in some way.
As I’ve long said, there’s no such thing as a bad song – it’s just that some songs aren’t quite to my taste and I can’t bring myself to say anything positive about them. The same goes for singers and bands. I’m no fan of, for instance, Coldplay, but I do admire the fact that KT and many others can be so enthusiastic about Chris and the boys and champion their work in such an informative, engaging and enjoyable way. Anyone is free to throw over an ICA Vol 2…..I will not be so childish with my responses this time round (a joke that seemed funny at the time but badly backfired on us who took part in it and left a lot of guilty feelings).
Talking of ICAs…..the long-running series is the thing I’m most proud of on this blog. It’s incredible to think that almost two-thirds of them have come from guest contributors; it is the perfect illustration of how I want T(n)VV to be a collective rather than the work of one 50-something fat and balding bloke who has no kids to direct him to what he should be listening to nowadays instead of wallowing in the delights of antiques.
I’ve decided that I’m not going to lose my enthusiasm through striving for a posting every single day from now on, although I do, as it happens, have enough just about enough ideas and things to see me through to Easter. I’ve had something of an obsession in posting every day, partly as it seemed to be meeting what was an ever-increasing demand based on the number of visitors and hits going up on a year-by-year basis; however, the stats for 2017 showed something of a drop – down by 10% on 2016 – although the number of comments left behind was higher than before.
These figures are no real surprise given that more and more folk seem to be moving away from reading blogs to consuming their info via shorter and more immediate forms of social media and many bloggers have adjusted things accordingly. I take a lot of comfort from the fact that those who do come in here on a frequent basis seem to revel in the length and format of the posts with many readers very happy to offer their views and opinions – the regulars know who you are and I’m hugely grateful for all you do.
So that’s sort of the T(n)VV manifesto for 2018 and beyond. In summary, more of the same rubbish but possibly with less frequency. I do hope you continue to enjoy the ride.
Oh, there’s one more thing. This blog is now going to avoid, as best as it can, all mentions of Morrissey as a solo artist. He pissed me off big style last year and he’s now beyond defending. I haven’t even glanced at his latest album. I will occasionally sing the praises of The Smiths – they still mean so much to me and if anything, Johnny is trying extra hard to rectify the sins of his former sparring partner.
I really think the title of a Steve Mason song provides a good way to sign off for today. You’ll be pleased to hear there’s no moaning tomorrow as there’s a guest contribution – from our Swedish Correspondent, no less.
mp3 : Steve Mason – Words In My Head
PS : I typed all this out a few days ago, clearly with a troubled mind. But there, seemingly, is an explanation. My wee note of ‘welcome back’ to the The Sound of Being OK crew was posted to their office – KT seemingly is an expert on profiling folk based on their handwriting. She has declared to SWC and Tim that I’m a psychopath. She might be onto something…
Today’s is a guest posting from a friend of mine named Ken Lynch. I first met Ken through a mutual love of Butcher Boy and over the years have come to know him as a well-refined and stylish fella with great taste for many of the finer things in life. Indeed he is something of a charming man and a bit of a handsome devil too….
He put some thoughts on Facebook yesterday and I was delighted when he responded positively to my ask that they be shared widely.
A GUEST CONTRIBUTION FROM KEN LYNCH
I’ve just finished reading Johnny Marr‘s autobiography, which I absolutely loved. I could hear Johnny speaking every word that I read; it was so engaging.
I’ve been lucky enough to meet Johnny a few times over the years; in the brief encounters with him, I’ve always come away thinking exactly how a friend of mine recently described him: A good guy. This comes across in Set The Boy Free; his humour & passion shines through every chapter. I really can’t recall enjoying another book as much. It’s well set out, with proper chronology – including chapters and an index – the absence of which affected my enjoyment of Morrissey‘s autobiography. It also felt as if Johnny put in just the right amount of detail into each section; that he was aware of wanting to tell his story accurately without ‘going on’; that he wanted the reader to enjoy his story, that the quality of the writing was important to him. He did all of this in his own engaging, enthusiastic manner, which makes it such an easy read.
Most importantly for me, I was reminded of *just* how special The Smiths were. Johnny was very young when he started the band. What they achieved in those few short years was incredible; the quality of the songs so good that you almost need to be reminded not to take them for granted. This was an extraordinarily talented group of young people; when The Smiths played their last gig, Johnny was only 23! By then, he had composed music that I don’t think has ever been matched. He’s an innovator, and continues to be so.
Here’s a picture from May 2001, in London, after a gig at The Borderline in London with Neil Finn.
I remember going to the loo before the gig. The loos at the borderline are tiny – you open the door and urinals are right in front of you. There’s room for three at the trap, and I was the filling in the sandwich. I only realised at the moment I stepped up that I had Neil Finn on my left, and Johnny Marr on my right. I couldn’t go. I made a joke about it and they both laughed and patted me on the back before they left. That night, I had a really nice chat with Johnny. He was a fascinating guy to talk to, very down to earth, affable, funny and a great storyteller. He also showed interest in my world, which I was really touched by.
If you haven’t read Set The Boy Free, I recommend you do.
In all the time I’ve known Ken, he’s never once mentioned that story. If I’d spent any sort of quality time with Johnny Marr you can be assured that I’d mention constantly to anyone remotely interested!
What I feel also makes it such a great review is that Ken, being barely over the age of 40, wouldn’t have been old enough to fully appreciate and understand the impact of The Smiths when they burst onto the scene, and so he’s offering the view of how special they were through the eyes of someone who unfortunately never got to experience the live phenomena. Such an appreciation takes a very keen and astute mind.
Here’s some tunes:-
mp3 : The Smiths – Pretty Girls Make Graves
mp3 : Electronic – Feel Every Beat (7″ remix)
mp3 : The The – The Beat(en) Generation
mp3 : Billy Bragg – The Boy Done Good (extended mix)
mp3 : Johnny Marr – The Messenger