Goddammit, I hate writing these things. The last few years have been pretty awful for music fans, so to hear of the death of Buzzcocks frontman Pete Shelley this evening was another bitter blow for many of us.
I’m not going to say any more, except to suggest that you hit play and turn the volume up very loud…
Frankly, I’m in shock. It’s been a horrible year or so for music fans, with so many greats leaving us – but this was so unexpected, especially as a brand new David Bowie album, Blackstar, was only released a couple of days ago. Now it seems like that the album was his way of saying goodbye, a last gift for his fans.
As an 80s kid, I was always drawn to Bowie’s striking appearance and the music he was making at the time (plus there was Labyrinth, and the lovely intro he did for The Snowman). But it wasn’t until I was older that I began to explore his 70s output, and it immediately struck a chord with me. Here was a man whose music and image told people like me that it didn’t matter that we felt like freaks and weirdos, that we felt different to the rest of the world – in fact, it was a good thing and we should nurture and treasure our differences, our weirdness. He was uncompromisingly himself (whoever that was at any given time) and we should be too.
And that was a message I, and so many others, needed to hear.
For all the immediate, visual theatricality of Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane and all the rest, Bowie was real, and that’s why he had such an impact. If it had only been the front, the image, I doubt he would have become as iconic as he did. Instead, he had the image, AND the passion, the commitment and oh! so very much the music. And it’s the music which secures his immortality, beyond question or debate. So, it is with his music that I pay tribute today.
Hello everyone, I hope you’re enjoying the sunshine!
Now that I’ve finally moved into my new flat and have got most of the important unpacking and furniture stuff sorted out (as well as the ridiculous amounts of bureaucracy and paperwork which always go along with changing your address!), I am sure you will be glad to hear that I can now finally get back to Another Kind Of Mind a bit more seriously.
I’ve got all sorts of bits and pieces coming up for you, including the latest edition of my long-running Election Propaganda series which will be posted to coincide with this week’s European and local elections (although sadly I have not yet received anything through the post from UKIP, so I will be unable to be rude about them this time!).
I have also updated the Top 50 Albums Lists blog with the final part of my 1970s list, a few geeky stats, and some news about a brand new set of lists which will be coming up this summer. And if you’d like to submit your 1970s Top 50 to be included in the now semi-legendary List of Lists, you can still get in touch with me!
If you’re interested in photography, you might want to head over to my Flickr page, which I have recently updated with lots of new London street art images and some photos I took in the spring sunshine during a recent exploration of a rather lovely and historically interesting local cemetery (watch out for another picture I took that day in a post I’m planning for the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War One in August…).
You can (still) find Another Kind Of Mind over at Tumblr too, plus I’m also on Twitter (a lot!) and Goodreads (should you be curious about what I’ve been reading recently…) – please feel free to follow me at any or all of these sites!
Don’t touch that dial, folks….
Last year, after much deliberation, I posted a list of my favourite fifty albums from the 1990s. Since then, I’ve compiled a 1970s list, which you can find in full below. For more information on the Top 50 Albums Lists project, visit the blog here – and you can find lots more 70s Top 50s on the List of Lists here.
50) The Police – Reggatta de Blanc (1979)
49) Madness – One Step Beyond (1979)
48) The Damned – Damned Damned Damned (1977)
47) Marianne Faithfull – Broken English (1979)
46) Lou Reed – Transformer (1972)
45) Various Artists – Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era 1965-1968 (1972)
44) Gram Parsons – GP (1973)
43) Sly & The Family Stone – There’s A Riot Goin’ On (1971)
42) Iggy & The Stooges – Raw Power (1973)
41) John Martyn – Solid Air (1973)
40) Kraftwerk – Trans-Europe Express (1977)
Just a quick note to let you know I haven’t forgotten you all. I’m actually in the middle of moving house, so I’m currently surrounded by a ridiculous amount of dust and cardboard boxes and kept busy moving furniture around. All this could take some time – it’s going to take forever just to shift all my books and CDs, let alone anything else!
I’ve also been working on my 1970s Top 50 Albums list (you can find part of it here – the rest will be going up once I’ve moved), and adding lots of other excellent 1970s Top 50s to the ongoing List of Lists (which you can browse here). Feel free to get in touch if you’d like your 70s list included too.
I’ll be back soon with more of the usual random stuff, so don’t touch that dial….
If I ever really felt depressed, I would just start putting on all my old records that I played as a kid, because the whole thing that really lifted me then still lifted me during those other times. It was good medicine for me, and it still does that for me when I put something on. Isn’t it wonderful that we’ve got all that good medicine? I think it’s got to be all part of our DNA, this mass communication through music. That’s what it is. It’s got to be, hasn’t it? Music is the one thing that has been consistently there for me. It hasn’t let me down.
Today is Led Zeppelin guitar legend Jimmy Page’s 68th birthday. To celebrate the day on which one of the greatest and most influential rock guitarists of all time was born, I found this fantastic quote from the great man himself. It comes from an interview he gave to The Scotsman in 2010 – and, personally, I couldn’t agree more with his comments….
Some people think little girls should be seen and not heard… (X-Ray Spex – ‘Oh Bondage, Up Yours!’ 1977)
Like many punk fans of all ages – and although I never met her – I was genuinely upset to hear of the untimely death yesterday of the former X-Ray Spex vocalist Poly Styrene at the age of only 53. Tributes have been springing up all over the internet to an inspirational, much liked woman from fans and fellow musicians alike. Ex-Slits guitarist Viv Albertine was one of many who tweeted a poignant memory of her friend:
Much like The Slits’ inimitable Ari Up, who died last October, Poly was not afraid to speak her mind. A feminist and a supporter of Rock Against Racism, she wrote fiercely impassioned songs about consumerism and the environment – the lyrics to early single Oh Bondage, Up Yours! were about “being in bondage to material life. In other words it was a call for liberation” she told punk chronicler Jon Savage.¹