Monday, 16 January 2017

Subtitles - the Broadcasters secret

Its long been known by many of us that subtitles sharpen the focus, especially post war boys born during the 50's, from an early age watching that French film,  "Belle de Jour" read the subtitles, you tried to follow the film, but actually you were distracted by puberty.

I dont want to talk about that though, rather the concept us Brits suffer from, easily distracted. Isn't that what "Avant Garde" stands for?

Well that's what they told the young guys in 1916 during Battle of the Somme.

If "The Killing" from Copenhagen taught us anything, it was our capacity for understanding psychological
thrillers better if we concentrated.

How do you get the 'easily distracted' to concentrate?

Use a foreign language.

Its a lesson we should use in schools. I wish we did. As soon as the word is printed it carries a different sense, even a different scent. You can smell a shit sentence, well I can, as I write them all the time.

Its one of those things that reminded me that I will put out a few more issues of Deadbeat this year. It will be a bit bizarre after 30 years, but there's a need and we can fill it. There are spelling mistakes only we can do, the mainstream press just have trouble with their and there. We will put out monthly issues from May and by December we'll be on issue 40.

There's an audience over 50 and under 30 and with the lack of subtitles at most gigs, I feel obligated to write the lyrics.

The subtitle culture of concentration continues that wonderful Orwellian thread I mumble regularly about. As phones and other gadgets run our life, I love the concept of choosing to read which a paper offers but subtitles dont.

Subtitles oblige you to read them.

They are the Orwellian surge and I think they're the broadcasters friend.

I feel a contrarian argument hitting the letters page!

Sunday, 15 January 2017

37 years ago last May

Who knew after that 0-0 it would only be 37 years - we felt 37 hours would be enough!

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Darts & Deadbeat

Its like watching Teenage Kicks, it why the best pop songs are under 3 minutes, its why "Candyskin" by the Fire Engines will always have wee Jocky Wilson connected to it in my head. Its the soundtrack of my 18th year.

It should've been the Skids, Jocky was from Kirckaldy and just along the road from the Dunfermline mob, but it wasn't. It was Candyskin. I kept my darts in a case made of, Candyskin, that's what I told them. Rarer than snake skin, rarest of the lot.

I've never watched the Darts live, but I've watched it on the TV in the pub and those two to three minute games that can be as short as 9 darts are the ultimate in pop sensation. Sometimes there's no middle eight, just crash straight to the finish. They rarely fade out, its always "wow, what an ending!

Interspersed, as they were back then, with the incomparable Sid Waddell offering us history and cultural lessons while commentating, this is what the New Year is all about.

Who else could compare Alexander the Great to Eric Bristow, and yet he did, in that infamous comparison.

You could picture them on a talk show as Parky interviewed them,

"and so, turning to you Alexander of Macedonia, how old were you when there were no more worlds to conquer. 33 eh? How about you Eric, 27, Oh I think he's got you there Alex...."

Later when darts players got slimmer, there was still plenty meat on the bones of Sid Waddell's commentary. Phil Taylor being at Hastings in 1066? I'm sure Sid was right, they would've sent the Normans packing if Phil had been there that day. Had Sid been around today a whole generation would google 1066 to find out what happened back then, learn there was a battle, and be stunned to find out it wasn't a darts match in the Bayeux tapestry.

His commentary lives on in and lines often come out in the Edinburgh Festival. Like Shakespeare, these one liners were never owned by Sid, they were often lines he'd heard or made his own.

"He's about as predictable as a wasp on speed" has been used many times since and "its like trying to pin a kangaroo down on a trampoline" are wonderfully creative images that have graced the Udderbelly since.

If you watch the darts, you should issue bingo cards with Sid's sayings. Its a great game, and you cross them out as opportunities allow you to regale the company. This year if MVG goes all the way, I'm sure the comparisons with Alexander of Macedonia will be heaped upon him, but look who's now in his way. The old Dutch master himself, Auld Barney.

All will be revealed in the next day or two and so I leave the last word to Sid and that famous Scot from the Kingdom of Fife both of whom I pay homage to today.

"Jocky Wilson....What an athlete"

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Deadbeat #15

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Issue 4 - October 1982 - issue 16 in July 1983

 issues 4, 5 and 6 appear to be missing - I'm sure I'll find them......issue 4 had an interview with Life Support and a review of Hey! Elastica

 Hey Elastica were playing Dundee's Dance Factory and along with Aztec Camera were one of early performers at the venue.

.issue 5 had the interview with Roddy Frame, including the great title from Stu the roadie, "ITSSCH AWLL SEX'N'DRUGS'N'SHAUSHAGE ROLLS.

There was reviews of  Japan and ABC at the Glasgow Apollo,  Culture Club at Edinburgh Coasters and Stiff Little Fingers at Dundee University, where Jake Burns made his customary request for no spitting "If I see the person who's gobbin' on me after the gig I'm gonna boot his face through his head". While Jake was making the promises it was Drummer Dolphin who kicked his drums out the way so he could run over the first three rows of the crowd to kick said geezer in the head!

Oh how we all laughed to see such fun and the bass player ran away with a drum.

Another great night by the silvery Tay, shame I didn't have the camera

 Taking the hump..........Bumping into Ahmed and one of his camels at the Ladywell.....this was one of the highlights of downtown Dundee days after the clocks went back and the pints came forward

Roddy Frame also explained what lyrics on Pillar to Post, "Just like June the curtains are closed" meant.....Roddy "Its a crass black thing. Existentialist 'woe is me' in the middle of summer"

 Issue 7 came out before issue 8 but not on the blog it doesn't.

Graeme Peters did the interview with Durutti while they visited Dundee

Time was called on serving Orange Juice as the reviewer of the Glasgow gig seemed to call time on them as Edwyn's confusion wasn't creating a happy vibe which is all the gig needs to do

 Vinny tried to sell Billy Mackenzie a Deadbeat, and then called it an interview.

Our best cover was Issue 9, the drawing was superb and the lumberjack shirt that Ian McCulloch was wearing set off the whole ensemble. We were running out of the white letraset letters but had enough to complete the bottom section highlighting interviews with the Farmers Boys, David Weddell from the Happy Family, Ralph Smith from Europeans in Tropic and Brian Sinclair of the Tayside Bar.The Farmers Boys seemed to pick up where Orange Juice left off, leaving the crowds very happy and finding that good songs and good vocals are all you ever need. In the interview Roy Terre got the low down on moving from the Higsons label to EMI, the usual comparisons with other bands but finding common delight in the Monochrome Set. Finally Baz gave us his address so you could all write to him in Halesworth. To put it in context they were signed at the same time as Kajagoogoo a band that rarely got a mention in Deadbeat. The interview with Davie Weddell confirmed it was the end of the Happy Family as sadly a lot of broken promises and a general apathy had left the band with no gigs and no appetite. This issue also had a review of the Plastic Flies a poor punk band who were encouraged to split up, quick as well as confirming that Edinburgh was duller than Glasgow, or as Ian McCulloch put it during the gig at the Playhouse, "Glasgow was much more fun". The Happy Hints page had the legendary Cocktail Cat sketch, which I'm sure Auntie Lynne and Auntie Kath wrote long before its subsequent use. They had fine inventive minds and produced three ways to make trousers longer which proved very useful when drainpipes and white socks drifted out. Sew on extensions included Arabian curtain fringes, Russian mink fur fabric and technicolour ethnic beads. There was a lot of news for February not least in Dundee where the Dance Factory had 3 gigs including Eurythmics at the mighty price of £2.50. Song singer called Madonna had her debut single released by Sire, a self penned song called "Everybody" as we wrote back then, oh and Keith also said "Madonna is an accomplished ballet dancer and actress who turned to music in the late 70's learning to play drums and keyboards." Next thing you'll be telling me she can sing too.

There's a review of the St Andrews Festival '83 - Bayneys quasi nightclub - well - for 4 days the local community centre was turned into a venue - it seems they had a Dundee night on Wed 9th feb with Swing Club, AAGA and Scott Gowans, followed by Saturday 12th with So you think you're a cowboy and The Frontiers, Wed 16th it was St Andrews finest with Kix and the Rhyme Tray (Paul Milner & Derek Anderson) and finally Saturday 19th saw APB with Stereo Exit supporting. At £1.50 a ticket you had be wealthy in this part of the country, it was 50p a pint in the bars remember!

China Crisis get a page dedicated to their 12" EP with most emphasis on Greenacre Bay, which I can still sing to myself as I type.
Feb 21-Mar 13 1983. Issue 10 and what a great band the Higsons were. Where would Ricky Gervais be without Charlie, not that he was in the band, but he is a Higson. Hilary did the interview in Dundee after the Dance Factory gig. They were a bit gutted as most good bands were with the whimsical nature of the gear made available to them. I went to a lot of gigs and the sound quality was rarely praised. Its a tough nut to crack. You make the P.A. better by spending money but its not an investment you'll ever get back, unlike Vinny's trip to Paris with Jim and Si which was covered in Spotlight. That money was well invested, not least in the bottle of wine that was carried to Pere Laichaise and back to a bench under the Tour Eiffel only to break when dropped on the stone. There are some great travelling trips to Paris from Dundee, none of which I would recommend today. The news for Feb March 1983 was Aztec Camera's Debut album High Land Hard Rain surely a poor pun on Scotland and Bob Dylan, U2 had tour gigs in Dundee, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and then a month later at Glasgow's Tiffany's.

Keith went through to Glasgow to meet Stephen Pastel from The Pastels and interview the rest of the band as well. Pop Wallpaper sent us their tape while Orange Juice sent Rip it Up. That's what I call timing and it sure was bad for Pop Wallpaper as I couldn't see past Rip it Up, I still cant. Everyone has their favourite songs from their favourite postcard bands, some will be the same but everyone has their own opinion and for what its worth the Aztec's 'We could send letters' and Rip it Up by Orange Juice are mine. I'm glad Pop Wallpaper didn't hold it against us and an interview or two later came the flexi disc and fame.

This issue also saw the start of the Deadbeats, Hilary's carton strip where the hero Raymond (thumbs) plays bass in a belting rock'n'roll band. The Happy Hints page suggested that the readers "Adopta Bee in 1983" and if it wasn't obvious they went on to explain that bees were 'cleaner than dogs, cheaper to feed......and ward of intruders......and each comes complete with a dinky black and yellow jumper....

The Bluebells in Dundee and Tell me a Colour and Higsons Edinburgh gigs are all reviewed, but the amusing thing looking back now is the type face. There is clear evidence that my 21st birthday had passed and my Mum and Dad bought me half an Amstrad. I looked at them and said half (?). Yes we'll have it the rest of the time so it stays in Edinburgh when you go back to St Andrews....

The walk to the third tee was a long and winding trail through golfball gathering gorse which with auto suggestion, our gormless goaders tried to introduce JJ to his familiar foe. It was only two holes but already the gloves were off and the old yarns were being re-written.

Remember Paris, it was all going so well until you opened those curtains, chirped Vinny.

“Yes, Paris” JJ smiled, as his fag lit the hazy memories and romantic tales, suppressing the unflattering truth.

We hit Paris in 83, just before our third year started. We ate badly, but then we ordered badly as well. It’s one way to learn the language when you receive a plate of raw steak mince shaped like a hamburger topped off with half a raw egg, or do I mean a raw egg in half it’s shell.

On this occasion I realised that “un ouef est un oeuf”. We would have to buy a phrase book or get an education and stop JJ thinking he had any value in assuring us he had an A level in the language. We tried to explain he wasn’t speaking French to the Enlish anymore, these people used this language regulary, they positively owned the phrases that we were farcically covered in a smattering of “je pense, je vais voudrais…quelquechose…. si vous plait”.

We slept rough, well JJ did. For such a slim guy he failed to take advantage on the stairs of our lodgings every night. As TC wedged himself between the stairs on floors 4 & 5, he always got the pushing role, whilst I vaulted past and got to the door with the key. The key to the room, “Un  chambre, trois personnes, deux nuits”, which had sounded like “deux lits”. Apparently the floor did have a bit of give in it, but neither TC nor myself were particularly interested in finding out.

Sleeping on creaking floorboard had few benefits and JJ rose early to peel the shutters and present himself to the greying morning, as well as the St Lazare postal workers. It was hardly  and he had hardly the figure to match. He scratched his lingering body hair, reaching down below in the traditional male pose to check there had been no burglars in the night, all the time struggling to adjust his pernod stained eyes to the early autumn sunshine.

For the workers it didn’t matter. With cafĂ© in hand they gathered for their traditional stare at the tourists in room ‘cinq-deux-cinq’. The clothes Americans wear in Scotland is always tartan, in France it would appear that Scots wear nothing. That at least is what the ‘travaillers de la Poste, St Lazare’, believe, although I’m sure they were looking at the hairy guy next to JJ in cinq-deux-six.

We stumbled out after our first night, into a glorious Parisian morning. Drizzly rain bizarrely bouncing up off the filthy streets. JJ paraphrased freshening to the day ahead, “Never wear a kilt in Paris or you’ll have to clean yer balls when it rains”. This was the Bohemian quarter we would be thinking. Much rather have a quarter of Morrocan or Lebanese would be the musing reply. Thankfully we mused it to ourselves.

Paris has its Metro but hoofing it out to Pere Lachaise is standard fair for teenagers. So we did. We tramped around and admired this and that. The crunching of branches under our feet and the soft squelch of extrement,  deposited by some animal in a hurry.

“Two legs or four?” I asked.

JJ stirred it with his cowboy heels,
“Definitely two, you can see they had corn on the cob last night”. 

The Graffitti naturally dragging us to Jim Morrison’s alleged grave. We’d done our duty and could now go to the Pub. 

Someone seems to have started early, ...time for the pub then....

We arrived at the third tee and JJ had the honour, while Vinny took relief from the last piece of Gorse.

“Did they not have toilets in Paris then? asked AK

“The toilets were superb,” Vinny said sarcastically over his shoulder,

“When we got to the pub we duly ordered and TC took respite in the Crapper. Unfortunately by the look on his face when he returned, this particular toillette was not designed by Thomas Crapper but one of his drunken cousins. Presumably one who had no legs or very strong arms. Our first experience of a crapper in Paris and we find out that,”

“they use showers to shit in! Shorry” TC said, “slipped into my Sean Connery there, sit in.”

JJ sniggered as he put his ball and peg into the ground but the distractive banter continued.

“We duly took turns to inspect and then use the famous shower, then left,” continued Vinny.

“Turning left we found a shop that sold the Vin. We bought a bottle and checked our budget. TC was loitering around the cheese counter. He watched patiently as customer after customer asked if he wanted served first, then moved in front of him as he gestured ‘Apres Vous’. We moved closer to check it out until eventually he moved and picked out his words with calm alacrity. “La meme s’il vous plait”. A Camembert duly arrived and we all found out what Camembert was in French.”

“I’d already told the daft bugger but he hadn’t listened” said JJ as he measured the distance off his front foot and started the swishing that would see his ball acquire the look of a baby springbok as it fell into the bunker 100 yards up the 3rd on the right hand side. This was a bunker well worth avoiding. It usually took him 3 to get out and he rarely got it out with his club.

“Sod it” he said, before returning to the theme. “The metro was something else, although we weren’t too good at it.”

“Aye” said Vinny, “With such an efficient and cheap transport system we ignored the metro. We chose meandering through the boulevards, past the Brothels instead as we plotted our way back to the centre.”

“We made good time ‘a pied’, especially if quizzed over “Sir, looking for a lady, Sir looking for a lady?” How that phrase put a gallop in our wee steps. It also encouraged us into the supermarket.”

“Time to spend some of that money on liquid, we thought”, said TC as he rammed his peg in the ground and prepared his ball for a bashing.

“In France of course you get wines of all sorts and ours seemed to travel quite well. In fact it travelled very well indeed and duly arrived in the shadow of the Tour Eiffel. Whilst enjoying the journey it didn’t seem to enjoy arriving.” TC continued whilst hitting the ball down the centre of the fairway some 250 yards.

“Cracking drive Cy” said Vinny as he stuck his ball on the peg that he thrust in the ground while taking the swing that would topple the ball down. It duly arrived in the middle without flying more than two feet in the air. An ugly looking shot but it had rolled a reasonable length.

“A bit quick as ever Vince, but it’ll do you,” said TC as he continued his yarn.

“We chose our site in the park opposite the Tower by a bench and a tree while Vince performed the christening of the bench. Unfortunately the bench had never been christened before and leapt up as TC sat down, duly smashing its fore arm into the bottle.

“Over-rated little vintage.” Vince sighed

“I always was a bit forceful opening bottles.” Said TC

“Oh well, I said,” muttered JJ, “pass me a piece of La meme please!”

“It was a cracking Camembert though” said Cy, “I remember spending the next three days trying to find the same one but I couldn’t find it anywhere.”

It was time to adjourn to the louvre. Well it was but the bar beckoned. It was Cy’s round so they went to the Champs Elysees. £3 had got 9 pints on the boat but at the George V it only got one half of a pint and there were three of them. £9 later they moved  through the shadowy streets towards the Pompidou so  JJ & Vin got their rounds in....

But enough of Paris, back to Issue 11 - Anne & Dave sit down in Dundee and discuss the banning of the video in the states, or to quote Dave, "because they're stupid and they were scared because they thought Annie might've been a tranvestite", well it was 1983 in the land of the free.

Issue 11 with our interview with Annie Lennox was missing but i've found a copy - along with our Big Country and New Order issue 13 - its the last one. Stuart Adamson (sadly missed) is pictured below at a Night Moves gig. He spoke with Roy Terre (a massive fan) in his hotel after the Dance Factory gig in Dundee. He was very generous with his time and the questions our Roy needed answered, whether they be about the Skids or that riff in Field of Fire. This issue could've gone to 24 pages on Stuart alone. 100 years on he'll still be remembered and I trust he always will be.

Issue no. 12, and a superb cover again tells you who was interviewed plus which bands got reviewed.

Issue 14 with Edinburgh's The Wild Indians, Dundee's Dum Dum Boys, Combo Vitto and The Junkies.....oh and Tracie of course, we wouldn't put her on the cover and then forget to interview her would we?

 Issue 15 had many reviews in it including 7.84 bringing Men Should Weep to the Dundee Rep. Hilary also interviewed Pavlov Orange and Hanoi Rocks as the Tayside Bar bounced to the latest glam rockers from Finland. Unsigned Bands sent in tapes in abundance and we couldn't review them all. Burlesque, The Personality Test, Henry DF McMillan, Strawberry Tarts and Rex Begonias. Karen reviewed the Camden Palace show at Glasgow's Ultrateque as high fashion and Rusty Egan arrived in town. Night Moves was a popular venue in this issue with reviews of The Armoury Show, Passionate Friends & The Alarm. Boogie Disease in Edinburgh at Transport Houseupside down

Monday, 19 December 2016

Groucho's Dundee, 69a Liverpool & One up in Aberdeen

The reach of Deadbeat was bizarre in the extreme. Every town I got pissed in I found somewhere to stock it and the beautiful people of Liverpool pointed me to 69a. Its moved now to 75 Renshaw Street, but its still the place I send people to when they're going down to Liverpool. They sold Deadbeats, Deadbeat tapes and even the single. Its a must visit whenever you're in the city.

With vinyl making such a return in the UK its so sad that shops like One up in Aberdeen finally gave up the ghost in 2013. Again they were so good to us, stocking stuff that we'd send up by post. We got bands from Aberdeen sending us tapes or singles and we got to review them and hopefully get them to a bigger audience. All of it because the guys sold a handful of Deadbeats for us.

Groucho's for me is the quintessential record shop and this year celebrated its 40th anniversary in August. It was a mere 6 year old when they first stocked Deadbeat. I remember ogling Groucho's colour printer and wondering if we could put a colour Deadbeat out. Of course we couldn't. It cost more for one sheet than it did for a Deadbeat! I would dream of one day having a colour printer and here we are 34 years on and we've got the internet. Groucho did so much for us and like Brian at the TSB when you were humphing Deadbeats around the country wondering why you bothered, there'd be £3.20 to collect and you could go off and get pissed. That's why we bothered! Thanks again Groucho.