Monday, 31 October 2016

Deadbeat tape 3 - 1985

Deadbeat Tape 2 - 1984

Issue 12 April 1983 - Pop Wallpaper

Pop wallpaper and friends again were interviewed in this issue and 33 years on we finally know why terry hall hated those gigs. Ghost town wasn't out at this stage but urban wasteland featured heavily in reviews of bands, both tapes and vinyl, or vynil as we kept calling it. When ghost town did finally arrive I remember thinking - "yeah, that's what I wanted with 'the penny drops'", a song I'd written and performed badly with life support. Google life support the penny drops - I put it on YouTube- well I say that but I failed miserably to get the song on in one go so it's in two parts! I could get a job in an irn bru ad...but enough about me being a fanny, and back to issue 12.

I liked Stuart's dance factory ad as it brought an image alive from deep in my recesses. He was hand writing it in Dundee uni and I was standing waiting and explaining I was getting the stagecoach at 3:30 to get down to Edinburgh to give it to the printer at 6 and I'd be back with issue 12 in the morning to hawk it around Dundee.

It's why I do this blog I guess. Nostalgia yes but memories keep my brain alive. I also like getting into the mind of my 20 year old self and when I witter to my soon to be 24 year old daughter I can pretend I get being young. Then I read my musings in deadbeat and realise that being young was not about thinking at all for me, it was all about living, just doing it. I didn't think about missing the bus to Edinburgh or even that I needed the ad, I just did it. I didn't think about it being my final set of exams at uni, I just ignored it. Of course May came around and I failed them all again but issue 13 sold out in less than a week so who cares, except the 53 year old me who only found a copy last month! Like issue 12 it just happened so fast and it was away, we were onto the next issue. Issue 5 was 500 and issue 13 was over 1000. That was a lot of printing, collating, stapling and folding- no wonder I couldn't go to lectures. Then there was distribution. Buses to Glasgow, Perth and Dundee to collect cash and leave more copies, and have a pint at the station tavern or whatever pub caught my attention. I did a lot of work in the pub, reviews, interviews. I remember one trip to Glasgow. I dropped 100 copies into virgin and picked up my £8. I only got £7 in Edinburgh per 100 although they did shift 3 lots of 100 most issues. I then met slaughterhouse 5 and did an interview and still had £7 left! How cheap was bevy back then eh?!

Sunday, 30 October 2016

SLF - when dolphin ran over the audience in Dundee uni

Back when I was younger......

SLF dont half jog the memory back. Issue 5 was our coming of age. It was, in our own heads, the first time we'd produced a proper issue and it was our building block in so memory ways.

It was 1982, I was 19 and just got my grant through for 3rd year so we were loaded, Roddy Frame agreed to do an interview, Dolphin had run across the stage before walking over the first 3 rows of the audience to boot a boy who was throwing his fag butts at Ali the bassist oh and Thatcher could only dream of a war over the ownership of Los Malvinas.

More than anything Keith and I were starting to understand what we were doing. He'd review Siouxsie Sioux, Dollar and Buck Fizz while I did SLF & Aztec Camera. It served us well as later when the Bananarama and Culture Club LPs came through the door he helped himself and when the Echo & Bunnymen and Talking Heads came through, he helped himself!

What I really loved about the early days is how we learned to write badly. It didn't come naturally but we did outperform. I was a stickler for consistency so when I spelt Ahmed wrongly once, I'd do it wrong all the way through the piece. Similar problems would afflict us with Vinyl and Rhythm. Keith didnt like a 6 letter rhythm his beat to a 5 letter drum and Rythm was born. Vinyl on the other hand was one of mine I think where I type too quickly for my brain or my right hand so it becomes vynil, although having read it in the Siouxsie Sioux review I'll have to hand it back to KB. Thnaks is more likely to be one of mine. Thanks relies on the right hand doing nothing while the left hand does the first three letters the way I type and I was never that good a typist.

However the really great part of this learning, was we re-read the Deadbeat constantly as we looked to improve it. What we were trying to achieve was something that satisfied us and we had no idea what people buying it would think and that's probably just as well. By issue 13 with the New Order, Big Country interviews we had a mix of the popular bands that would grab the reader's attention so they could read about the smaller bands. While my starting point had been to promote Life Support, I realised quickly there were 100's of bands with similar if not greater claims so Life Support rarely got mentioned while we concentrated on the multitude of unsigned teenage wannabees and a few who were now in their 20's!

There is no doubt in my mind that my era of bands worked for me. The early 80's underground scene in Scotland was awash with talent and dross, while the charts were alive and kicking with Trevor Horn productions. I always felt the cake of music could offer a lot of people a living but the charts wanted us to focus on the few not the many. I dont mind that great stars have evolved but I do dislike the creation of stars. While the late great Bowie was a masterful creation, he evolved. I was reading Jill Bryson's website recently and it described how she decided that pop nonsense wasn't for her and went back to her art, just as they were starting the 2nd Strawberry Switchblade album. I dont know when Charlie Higson said I've enjoyed The Higsons but I'm going to do a real job. I'm sure if the business wasn't so full of people trying to find the next big thing and just let evolution happen. Artists and Accountants are funny old bed fellows, but it was ever thus and it does mean we get a laugh at the next big flop. The line about One Direction not winning their X factor year is developed hysterically in the play "Harry", and the whole irony of being sold a band/brand as opposed to buying music you like is beautifully summed up in their story.

Live music venues still exist and I'm the last to comment on how its changed as in truth I dont really know. I go to gigs rarely now as my ears ring like fuck for the next three days even with ear plugs so its not the pleasure it was, but I've gone off piste again. Deadbeat issue 5 was the starting point and for the next 19 issues we had fantastic times. 19 issues and 16 months later I stuck my head above the parapet and realised that I was no longer at Uni, still had resits and had a wee meltdown. I'd got half my degree in first year and done nothing in 2nd and 3rd year except the band and Deadbeat. I hadn't moped at home, I was absolutely full on partying after I left, but in the August I finally passed the 3 subjects needed to get a degree....and sadly the Deadbeat pulse seemed to be slowing. I summed it up well on the page issue 26-33, the mixture of paralysis and just exhaustion. Keith and I were both probably moving on and just hadnt noticed.

Issue 5 found at last!

Friday, 28 October 2016

Falling & Laughing #5 - 1984 Dundee Fanzine

For complete issue see links page above - thanks to Gordon Gurvan, retro Dundee for scanning

Chute records publishes Forgotten Music Flyers - collated by Jan Burnett

The perfect Christmas Present for those struggling to connect to their Dundonian past. Whether it sits smack in the middle of the coffee table or perching on the window sill in the toilet, like a good party organiser you just need to flick to any page and chuckle as you remember those gigs. I think the link is attached, enjoy!

Monday, 24 October 2016

Life Support - issue 4 are now in Michigan

Nothing like a slow afternoon in Scotland to google band names from the Deadbeat tapes, circa 1983, 84 & 85. It seemed a good day to update the bibliography for all the bands on the tapes and that's technology for you, see its there for all, especially if you're in DeWitt Michigan!

October was quick this year wasn't it!

But then again its not over yet, so its probably doing as well as always. Giving it 31 days however was always a bit of a silly one.

Let's face it, the guys and ah'm sure ah ken, they were all men back then, just sat down and slam dunked a 31,30 & 31 day month to end the year. What were they thinking? Ah sorry, we ran out of months?

You cant run out of months, its your own idea to put days into months so you cant run out. What the fuck were you doing putting 28 days into February, even every 4 years it only goes up to 29. C'mon, we had an abacus, work it out. Start with 30's and 31's and if its a leap year, give us an extra day in July!

I sat down and worked out what it should be and here it is. January 30, February 31, March 30, April 31, May 30, June 31, July 30 (except in a leap year), August 31, September 30, October 31, November 30, December 31.

As I typed them, I couldn't help thinking by July they'd got one right and that was only once every four years.

To be fair the last 5 months are spot on, so clearly they were learning and if given another bottle of the cheeky chrimbo vino tinto aka, another bite at the calendar cherry, they would've cleaned up.

I figure its a bit late to change now as that means many birthdays would move, but I'm ok and anyone born after August will be fine, but its gonna be carnage for my Mum. She was born 3/3/33 and its just not going to work for her. 1/3/33 just doesn't have the same ring.

There's also a campaign starting around February 31st. Apparently its just not got the same feng shui as March 2nd. 31/2 v 2/3. From an arithmetical point of view I do get it. The '2' & the '3' are still  used but its the new 1 to make the February date that just seems to spoil everything.

I get it if people are a bit confused and concerned they have to get a new passport and birth certifcate but apparently all death certificates will stand and we dont need to upgrade them, so that's a plus. It must've been murder when we shifted from imperial to the metric system, although a bit like the way we use the metric system, its envisaged that the new system will have a colloquial balance. Just as we say half a pound, 30mph or 100 yards, schools are teaching the conversion tables so old people wont be left behind.

Luckily for me, I like to use these tags to help remember people. If you ask me in Gaelic for 8 kilos of cheese, I'll probably know you mean 8 ounces. When I charge you for 8 kilos you know I'm only joking, check the face, I must be joking!

So new dates and as usual, its not going global. Some countries view it as an interim measure and believe one day we'll lose the dates and we'll only have named days. They tried it before with Saints days but obviously there are fundamentalists all over the place and they're giving it another bash.

Another change being touted is harmonisation with the workplace. Apparently Briitsh summer time will be 4 hours a day and the end of BST will see us move to 10 hours a day. School leavers and Graduates will therefore have a very easy introduction to the workplace and the smart ones will head down under where its summer all the time.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Morrissey part 2 - from falling and laughing 1984

Morrissey in 1984 falling and laughing

Falling & Laughing

Dundee fanzine falling & laughing issue 5 June 1984

Falling & Laughing fanzine

Falling & laughing fanzine

Falling & Laughing issue 5

Dundee Fanzine Falling & Laughing issue no. 5 - Summer 1984

I love Spring cleaning, albeit I never get very far. I started tidying out some of the old stuff but stopped when I started reading Dundee fanzine, Falling & Laughing from 1984. The interviews are brilliant and photos will follow this posting - or precede them as the blog shows. I've so many orignal tapes from the era one day I'll get them uploaded to you day!

But its Sunday, .....

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

21 strides - that's the play to see in 2017

That's if you can afford the 21 * 45 minutes!

Rant over?.....I guess not, I miss the Only Ones

I love a good rant but this yin/yan thing floats like butterfly and stings like a bee. One minute I'm ranting about our life being structured and restructured by our phone manufacturers and the next thing my iphone is rebooting itself and giving me an upgrade.

Feck off, I've just learned how to swipe, now I've got to click the home page to sign in.

Oh no, text has changed too.

If this is progress, I'm a journalist!

How many of us have just had another 10 minutes of our life taken away to fiddle with our gadgets, that's time when we're not drinking a pint, writing a song, or even poggling with our tweesies as my Dad used to say... I dont even use it to play games. I dont even know how to put it on vibrate for pleasure. I cant even work out how to get it to calculate how many steps I've done, and neither do I want to.

I'm still working on that old thing called intuition. Sometimes people say common sense, sometimes even arithmetic.

Its 500 miles to walk the camino from St Jean Pied du Porte in the French Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostela. If I walk for 7 hours every day and I do about 18 miles, I'm doing 3mph. There are 1,000,000 steps in 500 miles for me. I'm an inside leg 29 and too old for the splits these days so guess what, some people might only need 900,000 steps and others, they might need more than 1m.

Each day I walk I feel a bit better and have an extra bottle of wine. Why would I need to count my steps. I am fat and lazy. I'm Fat Al, the website is called fatal-bananas, I dont need a feckin gnome counting my steps, nor an upgrade, a pair of trousers fit me or they dont. I'm still able to dress myself and guess what, when I'm fat as 18 fucking stone - I go and walk the Camino so that I dont need to buy a new wardrobe.

If I walk I'm not so fatso. After a month, I'll drop 4-5 dress sizes and have a lovely year working my way stealthily back to my fighting weight. I never realised when I gave up smoking 5 stone ago just how much I would get the munchies. It seems oxymoronic that giving up should produce such a rapid response, but it has. When people talk about weight loss, I smile and say I'll start smoking if you want me to lose weight.

Methinks I do protest too much and you'd be right. I fasted yesterday. Not on religious grounds, its just that I got back from the short 10 day Camino and had moved back to XL for three days and now ~I'm looking at my XXL collection with a fondness proving absence makes the heart grow fonder.

I just dug out the Only Ones Deadbeat issue, as my Mum's dementia takes her to a new level the 80's are now gone and she's only able to converse pre-80's, at least she remembers Another Girl Another Planet!

Sunday, 16 October 2016

(Josephine takes) 21 strides in 21 days

A fascinating 21 act play depicting scenes from Josephine's book, "Tommy Turns Cars".

(Josephine takes) 21 strides in 21 days is a delightfully dysfunctional piece that amuses and antagonises as it twists its way across the Camino to Santiago de Compostela. It is thought producing, melancholic, but ultimately uplifting and hysterically funny as the characters unravel over a 500 mile walk.

An ambitious production given that each act is only delivered once and effectively there is only one complete performance, the 60 seconds narration to commence each show helps with the delivery and the daily programme sales will undoubtedly help with the funding.

As the 21 acts are delivered consecutively on its 21 day run, it has the potential to be a hot ticket as the mid afternoon slot wont often find conflict and aficionados will want to say they attended all 21 performances, but each act stands up on its own.

The title is taken from Act 7, at the end of the first week.

Jose gives the game away as halfway through the performance she cuts TC short.

"You have your way!" she shouts at Tommy, "I like doing it my way" Josephine smiles as she turns narrator to the audience.

"But counting to 21, you'll do that a lot over 500 miles" interjects Tommy Carruthers

"I do TC, but often I dont make it to 21. I only start counting when my mind is empty and its never empty here. I look at the path for my feet, I look left and right for the views, I look straight ahead for my soul and I look back and smile. My achievements are behind me and so are my car crashes."

"Aye, like when I pummelled into you coming down from Pamplona"

"And more besides Tommy, more besides"

The conversation carries on and the sticks clatter off the stage floor, while the projected image displays the countryside and the setting.

There are three main settings, which the set designers have pulled off superbly. Namely these are the paths, the bars and the Albergue Dorms.

The paths and walkways of the camino. There are different surfaces throughout the camino but cleverly and perhaps obviously, the surfaces are the same in each act. Asphalt, dirt path, rocky, sandy and the luxurious pine needles. After hearing about the pine needles I wanted to carpet my flat in them!

Most of the Camino is in full sun and the views as produced by the displays are enticing enough to make you want to go to Azofra, Villares, Arzua or the many places depicted.

That the bars all look the same is a bit unfair. The uniquely different provinces of Spain are clearly identified with flags coloured differently and if one beer outside looks the same as another, its to do with the backdrop being the countryside. There is undoubtedly only one joiner and the budget didnt extend to different draught beers, but now I'm just being picky. The owner changes in every cafe/bar but we usually get the same one for the scene when its a pueblo and its the only cafe in town. The joy of this is when Jesus Gonzalez of La Trebede in Leon or Jose in Cafe Ligonde demonstrate the intrinsic role played by the people of Spain in the Camino. In the notes we are reminded that real characters and bars have been used although all the Pilgrim characters are fictitious or composite. I thought Jesus and Jose were so good I wanted to ask if they had just played themselves and were they enjoying Edinburgh, but decided I didnt speak any Spanish.

Finally the setting of the Albergues. There is no greater sense of the claustrophobic nature of the camino than a cramped stage and a packed audience. Had this been an evening performance, the snoring might just have extended to the audience. Its not easy to depict a bedroom scene where the joke is the snoring if you dont leave it on long enough. ~It can be like getting warm bread instead of toast, but equally for the audience, it can feel like the bread is burnt toast. I'm not sure if the producers wanted us to feel the anger of the snorers, if they did, it worked! By the morning when the fun and laughter of the bold snorer takes over from his snoring as he rustles his polythene bags, coughs, splutters and asks in a stage whisper if his fellow pilgrims are still sleeping, to be greeted with "its 5.55, not yet you schnacker, fuck off, get a coffee and let us get an hour at least." The laughter from the other beds in the dorm isnt universal, as is the audience's reaction, although clearly a lot of people did get it and laughed. I think I felt the pain too much, maybe I'm too precious. The other Albergue scenes were well handled with topics ranging from the changing and modesty, noisy mid afternoon siestas, ("Looks like we've a live one tonight" laughed Jose as TC dangled his headphones from the bunk above), early to bed, late to bed, the staggered start with shining headlamps and finally the emptying out by 8am.

The complex nature of the characters make it difficult for me to sum up but the variety of characters is what makes '21 strides', this so endearing. The absolute genius is clearly that the camino represents a society that is multicultural, multilingual but fundamentally friendly. The common cause of walking forth together, of helping people out not just in adversity, but in gentle comradeship. As Scotland meanders towards a second indie referendum and England vote for Brexit, 21 strides reminds us that we want to walk together, nations from Korea to Ireland, people from Vancouver to Berlin. There is a global community on the camino and whilst their ethnicity may be diverse their values are peculiarly common. "Atapuerca, it where they found the missing link between Neanderthal and Homo Sapien." Simone from Berlin quietly informs the big Irishman Conor, as they sit in the cafe at a table adjacent to Jose and Harry.  Jose, a one time novelist, tries to evade the pompous prick Harry who idolises her because of her genius, but is yet again leading the young apprentice on a merry dance as she deciphers the code of 'The Egg Hatcher' for him.

I'm not sure I would give all 21 acts a five star rating as there are days that I adored the play but equally the snoring gag was lost on me, but I guess like the camino, there are good days and bad. My journey with 21 strides was my own, just as I sure it'll be yours too.

When I have the 2017 dates I'll put them out.

Deadbeat the brand - Tapes, singles, fanzines and t-shirts!

Western civilisation is a misnomer. We are not civilised in the west we are happily subdued by our phones etc.

The end of the world is nigh - but not through any Armageddon - merely through us....yes US - not the USA - just us.

We are all tired and cant stand up any more, we cant fight. The 1960/70/80's produced music in the UK to make us stand up.

Now we produce plays. The voice is no longer loud, but nagging, gently nagging. Its a vibration against the colossus that is cacophony of phony nonsense. The brand has now extended to include every item of expenditure and debt too.

The economic concept of the brand was to develop something that was popular because of its usefulness, reliability, longevity or something that was beneficial.

The wise guys spotted it. Why build something, just build a facade. Its not new. Look at Georgian architecture, its all fur coat and no knickers. The problem is we used to recognise it was a facade, now with our snow blindness, all we see is facade.

Now its turned on its head, the only job now is to establish the brand, regardless of virtue. Once the brand is established the job is done. When people followed skunks and gave their names to scents, the game began again. How can you sell an empty box? Find someone stupid enough used to be the answer, now the answer is make everyone stupid!

So now media darlings are the governors of our culture. We love expressions like "edumacation" from our 'randomly' selected jokers. National treasures or international sporting celebrities. The meek have not inherited the world, but maybe the deaf, dumb and blind kid can stop playing pinball and lead us somewhere better. Let's face it, ever since Bowie asked Major Tom, "the papers want to know what shirts you wear...."

I detest the brand - as the brand became bastardised prior to Warhol.....the red star, the coca cola can, campbells soup etc.......I wrote about it 30 years ago but I was lazy....Orwell shouted it in 1984.....but its gone now ....the game is a bogey when the US debates Trump/Clinton.

The debate is wrong, but is it the only show in town?

Best meal ever - Cafe Domenico

Its that simple - a tasting menu and a happy camper!

I love this place, so no surprise but my wife is still telling me to give it 5 stars!

"I am" I shout!

another short review when a couple agree over everything.....I should've said the muscles were 'under' but the weren't they were perfecto!