Another Kind Of Mind is six today (please feel free to send champagne and cake).
Thank you to everyone who had read, commented, liked, shared and generally been puzzled by the nonsense I’ve written about over the last six years – you’re all absolutely fabulous, and, as I say every year (because it’s true), I couldn’t do this damn thing without you!
Watch out for some birthday guest posts from some very cool people coming up over the Bank Holiday weekend, including an extremely exciting exclusive….
And while you’re waiting for that….. you dancin’?
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the release of Nirvana’s highly influential final studio album In Utero, an album that has played a huge part in my life over those years – so I’m reblogging the review I wrote a few months back for the Top 50 Nineties Albums blog here…
Much as I love Nevermind (and it’s still a great record), it is this, Nirvana’s final studio album, which – in my view – proudly stands head and shoulders above everything else they ever released – and that’s despite my stated and probably irrational fondness for 1989’s Bleach. However, and even with the benefit of twenty years of hindsight, it’s still very difficult to properly approach In Utero without everything that went alongside rearing its ugly head.
Indeed, you can still look at it as Kurt Cobain’s final, most tragic artistic statement, with all that implies (which it wasn’t, really – the version he originally wanted was eventually watered down a little for the record company) – or you can strip away all the bullshit and see it as one of the best albums to come out of the Seattle scene full stop; as one of the last great…
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More than three hundred posts.
Over six hundred comments.
Almost fifty-three thousand views.
And you, the reader…
Yes, today is Another Kind Of Mind’s fourth birthday. I can’t quite believe that, but it’s true. I never imagined this blog would make it to four years, let alone be as (comparatively) successful as it has been.
Thank you, all of you. Thank you for reading, for commenting, for liking, for sharing, for all your support. For making this slightly eccentric and opinionated personal blog what it is today – and for continuing to inspire me and make me smile every time I log on to WordPress.
And a very happy birthday to Another Kind Of Mind!
Last Saturday, I headed off to Sipson to wish the wonderful Grow Heathrow project a very happy third birthday. Although they have the possibility of a legal judgement looming over them that could – sadly – lead to their eviction from this fantastic site, they still know how to throw a great birthday party – and I hope they have many more!
Time flies. Not sure how this happened, but today is Another Kind Of Mind’s third birthday. In those three years since August 2009, I’ve written 250 posts and wrangled more than 500 comments from the nearly 38,000 visitors who have popped by (swarmed by is more like it, as Brian’s Mum puts it) from almost every country on the face of this planet. Considering that this is an eccentric personal blog written by someone who doesn’t have a ‘niche’ subject or much time for SEO dithering, those stats amaze me. Seems I’m not talking to myself after all…
However, all this would not have been possible without some amazing people. Big thank yous go out to all my readers, whether you’re a regular subscriber or a drive-by single post glancer, and to all those who have liked, shared and commented on my posts over the last three years (especially all my lovely Twitter followers!). Thanks also to my friends and family, without whose love, support and encouragement through some difficult times Another Kind Of Mind would not exist. Here’s to the next three years!
Time for some birthday cake, methinks…
Nine years ago today more than fifteen million people marched against the Iraq war in cities all over the world. Over a million of those were in London, despite the freezing cold – and I was one of them.
I’ve been on many huge demos since that day, but never one quite that big or quite that impassioned. Almost certainly the biggest demonstration in British history, it brought together people from all walks of life and from all over the UK – all of whom were demanding one thing: that Tony Blair’s government must not go to war against Iraq.
In an article published in The Observer the following day, Euan Ferguson described the remarkable turnout:
There were, of course, the usual suspects – CND, Socialist Workers’ Party, the anarchists. But even they looked shocked at the number of their fellow marchers: it is safe to say they had never experienced such a mass of humanity.
There were nuns. Toddlers. Women barristers. The Eton George Orwell Society. Archaeologists Against War. Walthamstow Catholic Church, the Swaffham Women’s Choir and Notts County Supporters Say Make Love Not War (And a Home Win against Bristol would be Nice). They won 2-0, by the way. One group of SWP stalwarts were joined, for the first march in any of their histories, by their mothers. There were country folk and lecturers, dentists and poulterers, a hairdresser from Cardiff and a poet from Cheltenham.
Today marks the 197th anniversary of one of the strangest and most surreal disasters ever to hit London. It all started on October 17th 1814 in the premises of Meux and Company Brewery on Tottenham Court Road…
These days we see that part of central London as being an area of very expensive real estate, but in the early 19th century it was almost exactly the opposite. Tottenham Court Road was then part of the notorious St Giles ‘rookery’, which was probably the worst of all the slums in London (Hogarth’s satirical and moralising print Gin Lane was set in 18th century St Giles).
Almost fifty years after the beer flood, when the worst of the rookery had been demolished in slum clearances, the writer and reformer Henry Mayhew could still describe St Giles in scathing terms in A Visit to the Rookery of St Giles and its Neighbourhood (1860):
The parish of St. Giles, with its nests of close and narrow alleys and courts inhabited by the lowest class of Irish costermongers, has passed into a byword as the synonym of filth and squalor. And although New Oxford Street has been carried straight through the middle of the worst part of its slums—”the Rookery”—yet, especially on the south side, there still are streets which demand to be swept away in the interest of health and cleanliness…
With the lights out, it’s less dangerous
Here we are now, entertain us
I feel stupid and contagious
Here we are now, entertain us…
It’s one of the greatest album openers of all time – on what is arguably one of the greatest rock albums of all time. And, believe it or not, it’s twenty years old this month…
Released in September 1991, Nirvana’s second album, Nevermind, had an immediate and dramatic impact on the music scene (even going so far as to knock Michael Jackson’s Dangerous off the top spot in the US album charts). It has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide in the twenty years since its release, making it almost certainly the biggest selling alternative rock album of all time and placing ‘tragic singer’ Kurt Cobain straight into the canon of rock legends alongside the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin.
In September 1991, I was a troubled, music-loving 15 year old; just the right impressionable age to be utterly blown away by Nevermind. And blow me away it did. I couldn’t stop listening to it – and I was not the only one. It became one of those albums that was glued to the stereo at every single drunken teenage house party I went to over the next few years. It was on all our personal stereos, it went everywhere with us.
“You never told me he was that fucking good!” – a gobsmacked Eric Clapton on first jamming with Jimi Hendrix.
In the mid-1960s, mysterious graffiti began appearing on walls around London. ‘Clapton is God’, these simple messages said, but their writers meant it very seriously indeed. This painted phrase was the work of the legendary rock and blues guitarist Eric Clapton’s legion of devoted fans, who completely idolised their talented hero to the point of such deification.
However, as good as Clapton was (and he was – his groundbreaking work with Cream and The Yardbirds still sounds amazing today), he was soon to be eclipsed by the arrival in London of the man who was eventually to become the greatest guitar god of them all…
Born in Seattle in November 1942, Johnny Allen Hendrix (later renamed James Marshall Hendrix by his father) was fascinated by the guitar from a very early age. As he was growing up, his family life became more and more difficult and disrupted, which must have made music an important and necessary escape for the young Jimi.
Tomorrow marks an anniversary that anyone who was ever a member of a teenage tribe should be celebrating. April 1st 2010 is the fiftieth birthday of the 1460 – the original and iconic eight-hole Doc Martens boot, so named for the date it first went into production:
Decades have come and gone, brands have exploded and then imploded, but the 1460 is still there, unique, individual, original. Anti-fashion defined in eight holes.
Of the many styles of DMs that are now available, it is these boots in particular which have become design classics, and which have also gathered a cult following among the many who have had the pleasure of owning a pair at some point in their lives (I, for one, wore out several much-loved pairs of 1460s in my teens and early twenties).
Beginning life as a practical, hard-wearing and popular footwear solution for workers, the 1460 soon became much more than that. Adopted by the burgeoning skinhead movement (which started out as non-racist – ska and rocksteady being their soundtracks of choice – and very style conscious), the 1460 style soon spread further afield.
According to the Dr Martens website, these simple, comfortable boots rapidly grew in popularity, and were to be found on the feet of any number of youth culture tribes (and, of course, the musicians they followed) over the next few decades: