Tuesday, May 14, 2013

"...and all the world is football shaped."

I once made a CD all of my own, you know. It was going to be the last thing that I did in terms of music - after all, they'd pretty much called time in The Last Chance Saloon and so I'd finished my pint, settled up my tab and was just doing my coat up ready to leave. I just had time to get a few friends in to do some singing and playing and as I thought it might be a nice thing to look back on in years to come I went the full nine yards in terms of different-cloured jewel cases, printed CDs, a logo, and a website for the project which my friend Wendell Gee and I planned one night over a few beers with a large sheet of paper, a ruler and a couple of pencils. "Congratulations - you've done about two grand's worth of design work there" he said as I departed at the end of the evening with a list of topics to write copy about.

One of the things I delivered was a Pete Frame-type family tree of the bands I'd played with which he very kindly extricated from the primitive Word-based file I had delivered it in and then dropped among some properly formatted text on the webpage. Here's the section that dealt with a band called As Is who I joined in the Summer of 1989 (and was out of again by the time 1991 had had time to catch its breath).

Despite the brevity of our time together the year and a half that I enjoyed behind the second guitar involved a series of truly pivotal points in my so-called career and, more importantly, my life. After As Is, things were never quite the same again, for any number of reasons that may not necessarily detain us here now. During As Is, on the other hand, I enjoyed life as only a generously-mulletted libertine let loose at the fag end of the eighties should have done. We had baggy white shirts and chorus pedals - what else were we supposed to need? You can find a video of us playing live at Colchester Arts Centre in 1990 here; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKRyVRH3BtE&list=UUqxkoPLBKrc-yfxPc4gszEA&index=6

In the clip Drummer Malcolm is wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the name of one of his favourite bands - The Replacements, which is a fresh irony to me given that this was the second wholesale line up change behind singer/ guitarist (and online archivist archivist) James. When we'd recorded Away From You in the studio Malcolm's brother (the artist formerly known as The Stupids' Marty Tuff) had added an outro lead guitar break which upon re-listening sounded oddly familiar... Once we'd worked out what it was we had an acknowledgement etched into the run-out groove of the single, which then resolutely failed to break us big in the indie charts. Bass player Ross once found a box of them, sad, lonely and unsold, in a charity shop in Brighton.   

As a postscript, we got together a couple of years ago to play at Ross's birthday party. Someone remarked that we were "...kind of Franz Ferdinandy" and would probably do quite well if we stuck at it.        

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