Sound And Vision


David Bowie – The Best of Bowie

circa 1981.

A French twat and his German friend. Click on the pic if you dare.

I don’t think it would be accurate to say we had a lot of records in our house when I was very young. I remember my sister had what I think was called a Dansette record player. It looked like one of those cassette players with the stop/play buttons on the front and a built-in speaker in the top. It was housed in a sort of red leather protective case. It only played seven-inch 45’s with the large “american” holes in the center. I remember she had Love Grows (where my Rosemary goes) by Edison Lighthouse. For their part, my parents listened to some traditional Irish stuff and some pseudo classical schmaltz by French twat Richard Clayderman and German conductor James Last.

My early musical education came when my older brother, who was six years my senior, reached his teens. On his trips into the city of Dublin, we grew up in the suburb of Lucan, he’d bring back lps by David Bowie, Neil Young, Leonard Cohen and Gary Numan amongst others. All fantastic stuff.

"Ground control to major Tom, your circuits dead, there's something wrong Can you hear me, major Tom?"

I’d listen intently as he played The Best of Bowie over and over. I was fascinated by the life and death struggles of characters from Space Oddity and Life On Mars. I’d sit for hours and stare at the cover depicting Bowie in his various guises as Aladdin Sane and Ziggy Stardust. Even at that young age, I must have been around 9, I sensed he was something different. He was otherworldly, an alien of his own creation, even his eyes are two different colors! I was hooked for life.

I finally got to see him in person in 2003. Me and my mate Willy got tickets for a gig at the Wembley Arena, London. It’s a big barn of a place with a capacity of 12,500. It doesn’t have much in the way of atmosphere, but it was a terrific night. For a singer who’s really lived as he has, his voice sounded amazing.



Artist: David Bowie

Album: The Best of Bowie

Label: K-Tel

Released: 1980

Recommended Tracks: There’s not a bad one in the bunch, but Rock n’ Roll Suicide and Heroes are fucking great.



Spiral Scratch


I’ve been set a challenge through work to create a successful blog. Not sure quite what that means but I guess I need to get loads of hits, visits, comments etc.

I’ve never followed or read extensively any blogs, I’m not into connecting with people or much else on the internet apart from a bit of news, online banking and some other stuff that I probably shouldn’t mention here. Oh, and eBay, I buy a lot of stuff on eBay. I guess what I’m driving at is that I don’t know what I’m doing here, so I’m just going to make it up as I go along.

I remember advice I got in a writing class years ago about writing what you know. So what do I know? Well in my humble opinion, quite a bit. I love history, politics, travel, photography, art, books – all the usual stuff people add at the end of their resumés. In truth though, there is only one topic on which I could claim to be an authority enough to write about, and that’s music. Ever since I was young, very very young, I’ve been fascinated by the art, the artifice and the theater of pop and rock.

I grew up in Lucan, one of the many satellite towns around Dublin. It was a fairly picturesque place, more of a village than a town to be honest. Life was pretty idyllic, bike riding, climbing trees, playing football past dark until the auld-one (mother) came looking for me. Seemingly endless summers, you get the idea. It’s a sad reflection really but amidst all this my favorite pastime was watching TV.

TV was great as a kid, Saturday morning cartoons and Swap Shop (look it up). I’d watch all the American imports like the A-Team, Starsky & Hutch and Knight Rider. BUT, the highlight of the week was when the whole Brennan clan – Mam, Dad, brother, sister and I would gather in front of the TV to watch the top 40 chart show Top of the Pops.

This BBC show was vital viewing, it was a kind of portal into a technicolor, parallel world of the rich and famous. It featured singers and groups of the day lip syncing to their latest hit in front of an adoring studio audience. When an artist couldn’t make it to the studio, dancers would fill in and later video took over. Amongst the saccharine pop hits the occasional gem would come along, David Bowie, The Smiths and the Sex Pistols all appeared over the years. The Clash stayed away because the show was too commercial. Wankers!

“Beelzebub has the devil put aside for me, for me, for meeeeeee!”

Top of the Pops features prominently in one of my earliest memories. By Christmas 1975, Queen had been at the number one slot for a record nine weeks with Bohemian Rhapsody. Week after week the video, featuring the group’s disembodied heads, terrified me. As the line goes – “very, very frightening me”. No fucking kidding, I was 3 years old but the seed was sown. Far from turning me off music, it became a passion, a lifelong obsession.

I took the name for the blog from Spiral Scratch, the debut single by Manchester’s Buzzcocks. Their title refers to the groove a record player needle follows on an lp. This blog is for anyone that’s mad into music, anyone that ever mimed guitar solos on their brother’s tennis racket or banged their head on a door jumping around the living room to A Town Called Malice by The Jam.

Anyway, I’m going to pick records from my collection and write a short piece (shorter than this anyway) explaining how it transformed my life and maybe how it could transform yours.

Tune In, Turn On, Rock Out.