Monday, 23 November 2015

Strawberry Switchblade summer of 1982

When we were younger - issue 16

I was 20 and KB was on his way to his 20th birthday when we took a wee summer break. We planned issue 17 to include a Flexi disc (thanks to pop wallpaper and The Wild Indians) for our one year anniversary and so the timings meant we could have a 4 week issue and I could do some revision or even course work for my resits. In my late teens the band and Deadbeat had become my life and although St. Andrews hosted my mates and dealer I only had enough time for 'moggy' sleep.

In second year I added a crash course 1st & 2nd psychology and was delighted to find myself being asked to diagnose a speed freak in the exam. That was one subject I never needed to resit.

Enough of me, although curiously that is the point. I sit here in my 50's looking back a generation and I realise Deadbeat is my diary. I wrote a lot of pish and others wrote really well so for 10p it was a steal. Stealing is also what we felt we did well in issue 16! The charismatic duo that were Strawberry Switchblade put this issue up in the top 5. To this day the autism in me doesn't understand why a couple of artistic genuises should force a docile public to buy the copy. Pictures printed by Fat Al or Vinny Bee are unlikely to be flattering so why buy on a cover....I'm still working on Je'n'comprend pas, but I love the fact I knew not to question it. That would be for my philosophising later in life, just now I had to get these bands out on the streets....oh and the ads...The long period allowed us time to get adverts and make it a 24 page edition. Our ads ranged from Hendersons to the Hoochie Coochie club in Edinburgh and Salon 51 covered St. Andrews and Dundee along with Dance Factory, Record Shak APB and even Coppers in Cockburn st, one of my happier taverns. I had drunk there for 6 years when I celebrated my 21st, oops! The long and short of it was that these ads kept us at 10p and as the section below from the issue suggests as a society, some of us were very mindful about cost. The "young ones'esque show below being £3, or £2 ub40 etc. It was during 1982 that the worst of our oil revenue boom times were being pissed up against an unemployment wall which had grown staggeringly quicker than its Berlin counterpart.

In the UK we had begun a process of crippling the poor and enabling the rich for generations. The First seeds of the underclass had been scattered on the barren soil and the country's great north of Watford divide had commenced. I was writing pish songs like the penny Drops as the mushroom rises and we were all staring into the abyss. Within a year Michael Foot was to take a bath and Maggie would have the keys to every factory, mine, steel works and shipbuilders. All paid for by black gold, council house sell offs and bargain basement giveaways of BT etc. I got so incensed I starting going to economic tutorials to noise them up but I don't really think it helped. Why not subsidise the coal I would argue. If the income tax the miners pay is more than the level of subsidy, why not. If their tax and ni contributions were greater than the subsidy we are all net winners and so are all the shops in their communities. Even a wee stupid student like me could add up. (My other resit was maths). I would argue that the coal could be stock piled. It could be our fossil fuel deterrent only to be used in the event of the oil running out or the wind and water blowing dry. I talked of keeping the steelworks to produce the steel for our wind turbines, using the coal mines for theme parks with deep tunnelling fair ground attractions creating the scariest ghost rides. Alas I failed to convince my audience and I then watched as Rome burnt and our huge oil windfall was squandered. When she sold off the houses and never built a new one I was flabbergasted. Another opportunity to let us work was missed. If every house sold had been replaced there would've been employment for all those pummelled into the dirt - alas no.

My point of course was this, I hadn't even turned 21 and already I felt old.

How could I charge 20p for a Deadbeat?

One year later the summer holiday would prove fairly terminal. Issue 26 suggested we weren't churning them out as fast as year 1 and issue 30 would see our 3rd anniversary but Britain in 1985 was a different place, then 1986, cue the Stone Roses - the interview that never got published!

Friday, 13 November 2015

The queue for issue 13 in 1983

KB and I decided to flog them outside the playhouse and the main problem was the price. 10p "anyone got any change" clearly the deadbeat coffers never extended to a float or if it did it had been drunk on the way down the road. Issues 6, 13 and 24 were the only ones to sell out within a week and I was too pissed to print anymore. Needless to say after I'd sold 50 copies I had enough for 10 pints and Keith was left with the rest of the queue as I would slope away mumbling "let me introduce you to the rest of the db crew...."

Sunday, 8 November 2015

The story of indie was repeated recently

I was walking Spain but a few of you sent me this through - cheers, vinny

Another Girl Another Planet is back

Its like a big retro thing going down with the Only Ones getting more airplay now than they did in 1979. I've heard it 3 times this week in adverts and tv dramas - obviously everything comes to those who wait - and its superb - I sit down with my 'favourite songs of the 70's' bingo card, especially, when watching the Christmas when is Candy Skin gonna get its chance....surely we cant just jump straight to Oasis.....

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Showstoppers - Pleasance courtyard Saturday 22nd - ***** - yes, that's this year's 5 stars

It was pissing down outside as our queue observed, and our compere reminded us as we dquelched into the comfortably cosy cloth cushioned seats. I couldnt help chuckling about the poor wee souls who would have to stand with hair dryers drying each and every one, but a nudge in the ribs brought me to order.

Showstoppers opened with a little bit of audience participation to set some general guidance for the show and the cast before the improv team set about their job, improvisation. On Saturday night with the help of the audience, Sean McCann edited our evening into Strummthorpe - the world air guitar championships set in Scunthorpe with music and chat at the mercy of the cast.

Random in every sense, hysterically assaulting all the senses. When you find that your making a bar chord in time with the music you know you've lost control of your sense and I surely did.

Ruth Blatt was outstanding as the current world champion of air guitar and despite the assualt from the across the pond, even at the outset there could only be one winner. You know its improv, you know the cast will take you on an adventure, but trust me, Ruth was winning that championship in 45 minute time.

The story line unfolded and MC turned narrator Sean McCann would occasionally give them a rest, cast them off in a new direction and the cast were loving it. Talk about throwing a dog a bone, Adam Meggido would slalom in as Elvis and at the behst of some nonsensical audience participation we were treated to an improv operatic diversion that Lloyd Webber would doubtless want to applaud. The singing was superb and the dialogue to die for, straight faces must've been tough for all the cast.

Pippa Evans & Nell Mooney had this great mother daughter sister thing going on while the love interest that was the geeky air guitar bassist Justin Brett absolutely aided the absurdity adding amps and cranking up the atmosphere at every octave.

Some picky bastard sitting next to me told his pal that one of them was playing Em7 all the time and I just collapsed. The audiences really join in during improv. I nudged him and suggested that Nell seems to be playing Iggy Pop's the passenger in open chords and to quote the Temptations "that aint right", surely this song was a 12 bar blues number.

Salvador Dali would be proud of the way Showstoppers melted time and no sooner had we arrived in 1961 and we had our homage to Buddy Holly, Elvis was suddenly in the building and fresh back from his time as a GI would become related to the cast. Time didnt just melt as Elvis stepped into his tardis, we moved through the 5th dimension, even Ruth air guitar had been moved to a different location.

Open stories develop differently in the audiences head and this story line was open and consequently brilliant. The performed and abstract narrative developed seamlessly, the musicians were outstanding and all the singing was a shining example of how much talent was on our stage. I feel very very fortunate to have such theatre explode upon my senses and at the ridiculously reasonable price of nothing. Our darling daughter treated us to the £14 tickets. In Edinburgh during the Fringe, they say £14 doesn't buy you much -


Shop wisely Shop Showstoppers - these are performers in their prime and buy the box set for your Christmas, it might not be on sale, but like any good air guitar just believe it is!

#Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2015

Notes to all - Deadbeat is responsible for all typos inaccuracies and nonsense it writes, apologies for all the mistakes.

Deadbeat only write 3 or 4 reviews as bad reviews are pointless. If I tipped race horses I'd tell you about the ones I really thought should win, not the hopefully next time....We only write about things we really are enthusiastic about. We might attend 20-30 shows but as in the 80's our policy is only to talk up what we like - unless of course your the erse sat next to me talking about Em7. I'm sure I always played saxophone by lifting my knee to me jaw and playing my tibia - but cmon pal - go with it.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

June Brides & Great Guitars

This was the tape that was the preliminary Deadbeat tape 4, well in my head. It also includes the Frontiers, bring on the ambience....if my ears are working.

Great stuff - not just them bands - those bands were supplemented by Mission Impossible, Page Boys, Jasmine Minks, and the priceless Half Kilos

What I love about demos from this time is the light and shade of the music

Every generation is defined by the drugs they took and while the 70's was one or two things and the 90's seemed about ecstasy and some well crack, the 60's invented acid....we were about taking speed and possible running as close as we could to the edge......

The beat of the drum and the rhythm of the bass pushed us forward with an urgency. We followed the arrows....the amarillo fleschas.....despair this this way......

We're all lucky to have had a generation of music when we were growing up whatever age, the golden period is pretty vacant age 14 and pillar to post....age 19. Candyskin at 16 was one of those freak shows you live with. Another of my great songs for the camino. I can sing "Candyskin" for about 5 hours when I wander across Spain and I still dont know the words....but I hear the riff in my head so I dont care.

The only issue with all these demos I have is you have to turn a cassette over, even the Proclaimers are digital in this house.....they are post 1985!

Take Care

Vinny B

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

2014 Eddie Izzard - When I heard Iain Stirling I think we have another new direction to head...c'mon comedy....we love it!

An hour in my life that I'll never get back and ah never want back. The journey Eddie Izzard takes you on is still the same. It is simply superb surreal comedy. Dali would love the way he melts time. As scholarly as his artistic licence allows him, he juggles time and states-people (well statesmen really, that's the way they write history....), moves seamlessly through the epochs and never forgets to give the Gods a glance. Giving punchlines away would not spoil the show as his delivery is everything. We all know why later copies of the bible suppressed the bit when Adam and Eve discussed cross dressing. We wont dwell on the ego of a performer or even older phrases on the power of deep voices, its the delivery, and Eddie delivers across a diverse eclectic range of topics. The crowd hang on every syllable and when it doesnt arrive the tension just makes the humour better. Has he forgotten?... is it for effect?... what is he thinking? The Danish have laughing clubs and Eddie clearly has his own touring laughing club. There is no tension in the room. He tries to remind us that the right wing are still alive and kicking us, but we know, and we pretend it doesnt hurt. Tonight, of course, it doesnae hurt. We have our saviour, our talismanic, idiosyncratic action transvestite. Go on yersel big man, well in those heels we'd all be big men.

The last time I saw Eddie in a venue this small was in the last months of Thatcher's Britain at the Brighton comedy club. I'd travelled down from Edinburgh and after a game of 5-a-sides stumbled into one of the finest nights of my life. Joint second with my wedding and daughter's birth. All through the 80's we had divided the country in two. Comedy was the same. Alternative comedy grew out of the ashes of our manufacturing industry although the greatest irony was working mens' clubs gave voice to the old right wing fascists, but I digress. As Thatcher's cabinet was nimbly applying pressure to the pillow they had lifted over her whisky stained gob a more sophisticated alternative comedian had appeared. Eddie shone in that Laura Ashley frock back then. He was a more overt transvestite but his mind was as sharp as the tangent at the point of a circle. Yeah, really sharp. 

He looked 25 years older but that could just be the marathons he's run or the fact that he is 25 years older and even action transvestites dont believe a nip and a tuck is a good use of financial reserves. Instead Eddie very kindly let the impoverished public wander in for £15 to an intimate gig which he did in German and French earlier in the evening. The same show performed every hour for 3 hours in 3 languages is his well publicised new gig. Some language teachers need to look at getting the kids along to his shows. The French gig tonight was not sold out, that is simply a scandal. Fanfuckintastico when he adds Spanish to the list. He'll be doing 4 hours a night, even when footballers have to go to extra time and penalties they still dont do that long and they charge more than 4 x £15....

Quite simply Eddie Izzard is a human being in our space, on our planet at the same time as us. Quite simply in the absence of God and the Clash, he is the new religion. Quite when he'll have the resources to do the show in Gaelic is unknown but I'm sure he'd relish the challenge.

Iain Stirling @the pleasance - great gig & Beirut - take two - its even better

HAPPINESS - I never tire of good food and BEIRUT reviewed last year is superb - good comedy made my evening even better. Its that simple. Iain Stirling was funny. Nervous at times about how funny he was but when he let go.... he was very funny. A raconteur is not always best when his audience is in another room but in Iain's case it frequently was the case that he used these interruptions to good effect, his act is brilliant in both versions....the audience was 99% happy - grateful for a good show but the comedian worried.....Until he didnt - then he rode the temple of the shiniest member of the audience.

I never like to give the gags away and like the best Fringe performers, Iain has the lines to fill the gaps not just where the punchlines belong.

It was a great gig where things worked really well. Edinburgh audiences populate the early shows; as we are tight fisted (quietly).

I went to a school - HOLYROOD, nuff said.////. Iain laid us out bare with Morningside jokes and the rest - I felt St Tams might take a tanning - but there were no cancer jokes so I laughed loudly internally...guffaw is not Edinburgh but this was BRILLIANT!  ****

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

What's that Skip? August approaches

Ah yes, August does approach and with it comes the sunshine in George Square gardens and a longer visit for KB & VB to meet up with everyone we usually fail to see.

2015 will be different.....

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Life Support single re-released

30 years after it first burst onto the scene 95 copies of Life Support's debut single "About You" were found as Fat Al moved house. Clearly a sign that many had been lost in transit as 905 of the original press of 1000 surely hadnt been sold, or so we here at Deadbeat thought. At a recent reunion of Wood Mackenzie, it transpired that over 50 had made their ways into the hands or onto the turntables of these fine individuals and employees of Stocktrade claimed to have a fair old number between them.

The single which featured the 2 minute pop masterpiece "State of Mind" and dark drumming of Gothic urban angst anthem "The Penny drops.... as the mushroom rises" on the b-side had grown popular for the brief period that Peter at Pierhouse recorded it. By the time of the singles pressing the band had already started drifting apart and moving to different cities. Although broadcast locally on Radio Forth and nationally by John Peel the lack of interest from the band was self evident as the sales figures plummeted and the allure of the Tayside Bar grew.

As with many groups from the early 80's the band recently got back together to do a farewell tour, but as many of the venues had now gone the way of the Tayside bar, it would prove problematic. Si, Hilary, Rocky Reihill and Vin had met to discuss who would be the drummer and tried to draft  the Prof, JJ Salisbury and his boogie box, but the call was never answered. This proved sufficient distraction for Hilary to return to Dundee and Rocky to relocate to London, just as he had in 1984, leaving Si and Vin with a familiar problem. They then met with Rich who replaced Rocky in the mid 80's, but still no drummer appeared and Rich returned to London, just as he had in 1985. Finally Si, Vin & Gordon met up and dragged Ross out of retirement and as the last line up of Life Support they met up and performed one last time.

The gig was a slow burner. Vin & Tucker performed a respectfully quiet "Dock of the Bay", aided in no small measure by a power cut and poor acoustics. When the power was restored it became clear the vocal P.A. would enjoy a good fight with the electronic drums as the mixing desk mayhem ensued. Timeless classics, "On your Own", "The Donkey", "In the End", "State of Mind", "Penny Drops" and "About You" were all eschewed in favour of a Reckless Eric cover and abortive attempts at the Only Ones "its the truth" and "Another Girl, Another Planet". Completing the show with a 'Teenage Kicks' car crash the band triumphantly left the stage to rigorous applause and shouts of  derision. They returned to perform their London hit "Out of time, out of tune" but a burst bass string would prove fortuitous and with a shrug of the shoulders, a wave to the crowd and 4 fingers for the barman, they left the stage to drink their drink and hawk 95 singles to the downloading generation.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Mad March IV - the 3rd sequel

It was my Mum's 82nd on March 3rd, 3/3/33, an easy birthday to remember when you were growing up and I remember her 50th really well as we were interviewing Annie Lennox in Dundee!

The best interview I took no part in.

I just stared while Hilary asked all the questions.

Annie was superb, warm, friendly and an excellent host as the tequila threatened to get shared out, but more of that later.

My Mum doesn't remember me coming through the door, nor when I went away to get her a coffee, but funnily enough she's ok on 30 years ago, I think she'd thrown me out the house, She knew!. She had tired of the rat's tail that was growing down my face and the inverted skunk look, she told me to leave. Fair enough I thought, Dundee and St Andrews were certainly more fun for me than Edinburgh at that time. Edinburgh was still very partisan, punk or mod, student or hippy, Hibee or Jambo! Unless you were on the broo and shootin' up you werent cool, and if you were, it didnt matter. My Mum didnt want me shootin up, far from it, she just wanted me turning up like the wee Catholic boy she'd brought up. You were always having to choose sides, although when it came to politics there were no sides to choose, you were either for the testing ground or you were'nae. You could escape and watch the Young Ones while they tried to parody all of this psuedo anarchy and get yourself completely straightened out, but that was never going to 'heppen', not when there was a gig at the Baracuda and a really bad sound system for poor Annie and Dave.....I knew we'd get back there. I bet Terry Pratchett would approve, Sweet Dreams, el Tel.

Issue 11 was a great issue, Keith loved Eurythmics and had given us these questions which meant I could just drool and stare at Annie while Hilary did the work of asking the questions, writing down the answers and making us look like we had a clue.  I'm sure I mentioned it a hundred times on the pages of Deadbeat through the years but Annie's smile was so infectious and later when she did "Sisters" with Aretha Franklin, I remember  thinking I heard her say,  it must've been the pinacle of her career (,,,well,,,after that interview with Deadbeat........not)

I remember signing off the Hiccups page with 'Take Care', and in my head I'd always thought it was to do with AIDS.

History suggests it would be 1986 before we were talking about it in Edinburgh so it must just have been a cautionary thought after I was caught  straddling a table in the tayside bar while wearing the gold lammie and my chuckies dropped into an ashtray full of lit fags.

The putrid smell of burning bollocks is not to be advertised but I will suggest 'Dont try this at home'.....

Its a while now since the band tied me to a tree. It was the night of the election, and tied to a tree in 83 was no more than I deserved after....after, well, to be honest, the amnesia does have its benefits, but it was in May 83 and so its irrelevant....

The part below (as above) was written two years ago, but I was so lazy I didnt bother to re-read it....2 years on the truth continues to come out.....Happy 2015

You can always re-invent history so when you see Deadbeat promoting Gary Glitter's rescheduled dates you can tell that what it now says is him and jimmy so vile were disliked by all at Deadbeat and should've been strung up by the short and curlies until one by one the curly ones gave way and......well at least that's what it said in the cartoon in issue 11.......but enough of that revisionist nonsense the review of his Dundee gig says he was 'strutting and posing like a cock in heat', aye you heard it here first.

There were many bands interviewed in issue 11 and where are the Swing Club now, Purveyors of the "Sloane Square malady" and many others that worked well for me. It really is 30 years ago and some since they supported Aztec Camera, and a bit like my mum, I seem to remember that gig better than the last time I went to a gig.

Its of the moment though, music, it has its moment, its vibe lives for ever, but it is a moment in time, and me singing Sloane Square melody, malady etc, will always have me strolling happy through the streets of Dundee.

Dundee looked a lot better then by the way, Jam jute and the Junkies, or was it Jam, jute and Jo Doll!

Also passing through the Dance Factory doors that month were the Bluebells and Roy Terre confidently predicted that Ken would adorn the front cover of smash hits, although it was hardly much more of a prediction than backing Desert Orchid to win the King George or Gold Cup, Red Rum to win the national would've seemed an outside chance and Shergar to be in a Tesco near you 100/1.

We were really pissed about the Cruise and Pershings missiles, and in our own little Cuban Crisis decided to print a page of enlightening talk about just what dual control meant when it came to launching these things, before getting back to the serious matter of comparing Altered images Clare Grogan with Bonnie Tyler, now there is a comparison to make you shudder. I know which one I'd want singing the eurovision song....

By issue 23, 1984 had arrived Hibs had still not won the cup, JFK's nephew pled guilty to possession of H and we remarked that at 30 he should really be a bit wiser. That enabled a seamless link to a Mr President review before my traditional moan, this time about someone stealing my ghetto blaster from the motor while I jumped out to buy some fags. Having given out the time and location, make and model, you'd have thought I knew a Deadbeat reader had it.....but alas, no, and I had to carry on without it and do my interview with Malcolm Ross with paper. A Ghetto blaster for those under the age of 50 is the things they carry on their shoulders in films from the 70's, it never looked good when you turned up at someone's flat with a ghetto gblaster to do an interview.

Picture the scene, as the interviewee looks over your shoulder to see if there's an entourage and their flat is about to be wrekced by some freak with a ghetto blaster and his 50 mates. It was quite a light ghetto blaster and as such would've been easily lifted out of my motor, by someone as young as 3.......but I digress. The interview with Malcolm proved that March was the month for good interviews. He was just trying to get 'Ape the Scientific' off the ground, and admitted to enjoying the Farmers Boys despite himself! A far cry from the days of watching the Fire Engines, Thursdays and Scars.

It was a good month for Albums as well was March, and Keith got the Smiths first offering through the post (and kept it). It was the greatest thrill getting an album like the Smiths for nothing, I got Sparkle in the Rain. Simple minds are a good band, but there was no comparison, THE SMITHS, were a great band, and at that moment, in 1984, I knew I was getting first dabs on the next postbag

The beautiful voices of Sunset Gun were reviewed and we expected "Stay with me" to be hugely successful but somehow it wasn't. We reveiwed Autumn 1904, and despite being out of season we predicted great things, hmmn, a theme is developing, oh well, we were wrong there too. I still stand by how good everyone was.

Take Care


PS - 1985 - would've been issue 29, which I mentioned last month, we were too busy hawking the Deadbeat tapes around A & R guys in London. They rarely got signed, but we did get them some publicity and, we got our free LPs!

Mad March has arrived

Clearly this dafty is off to do another camino but on my return Fat Al aka Vinny Bee will do something funny for money.....a red nose on that pilgrim for example....fatal-bananas lives!