Posts Tagged ‘Queen’

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In Between Days

05/05/2010

The Cure – Standing On A Beach

c.1986

Brian was in my class in primary and when we moved to the secondary school, Coláiste Phádraig, up the hill we were the only faces each other recognized so we stuck together. He introduced me to his neighbor Evin from the classroom next door. As it turned out we all lived a few streets away from each other in the Hillcrest housing estate.

After school and on the weekends we’d hangout and occasionally sneak booze from Ev’s parents drink cabinet. Sometimes we’d get Ev who was already pushing 6ft to get us cans from the offie (off-license). Top of the shopping list was Ritz Cider. Considered a drink for the ladies, it’s strength and therefore particular ability to inebriate earned it the nick name the leg-opener.

We spent a lot of time hanging out at Ev’s. He was the youngest of four. His older brothers and sister had a bunch of lps and singles that we’d stick on their rickety old record player. Thin Lizzy, Depeche Mode, Queen and Madness were staples.

At some point Ev’s brother Fergal picked up The Cure’s singles collection Standing On A Beach. I’d heard them before, The Lovecats was a pretty big hit a few years previous but this swept me up. At a time when the last thing awkward teenagers want is to stick out from the crowd, saying you liked The Cure allowed you to express your singular identity in the safety of large groups of similarly black-clad, pale-faced individuals.

Ev would disagree, but I never went in for the whole Curehead look, though I did grow my hair long at the front like everyone else. No one understood me, or so I thought. In actual fact everyone but me realized I was a mopey faced teenager with a ridiculous haircut.

"No one understands me" - apparently.

However, the importance of Standing On A Beach in my musical development cannot be overstated. It tapped into a desire for something different, an alternative to the pop and rock shite of top 40 radio. Side A featured dark and edgy material like Killing An Arab and A Forest. Flip over to Side B and there’s the poppy psychedelia of The Caterpillar and the sheer exhilaration of In Between Days.

All in a terrific lp of groundbreaking original songs. Highly recommended and their videos were always cool too, check out Boys Don’t Cry below.

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Artist: The Cure

Album: Standing On A Beach

Label: Fiction

Released: 1986

Recommended Tracks: A Forest, Boys Don’t Cry, Close To Me.

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Spiral Scratch

05/01/2010

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.

P.

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