Thursday, June 11, 2020

Throwback Thursday

In these uncertain times many of us – not all, by any means – have found time for reflection, for casting our minds back, for remembering*. As the title of one Suffolk-based compilation once had it Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits or, as Gil Scott-Heron more prosaically put it;

"The idea concerns the fact that this country wants nostalgia.
They want to go back as far as they can.
Even if it's only as far as last week."

Many of my reflections are prompted by whatever comes on in the mobile listening station on my way to work. That I can listen to pretty much any one of the albums in my collection merely by flicking a switch on the steering wheel is still tantamount to witch craft in my opinion, but I’m happy to let the random selection throw up whatever it feels like, safe in the knowledge that if I don’t feel like listening to this particular song for whatever reason, there’ll be another one that I definitely do like in a minute. Or nine or ten minutes if something from that Yes compilation comes up.

Regular readers will know that I’m not averse in any way, shape or form to revisiting past glories – I wallow in nostalgia in the same way that C-list celebrities wallow in the attention of the Daily Mail’s sidebar of shame, but this isn’t about what I wore to work this week, or what I was flaunting while I was doing it, it’s about – in the words of Goffin and/or King – Goin’ Back**. This has been quite the week for throwing up my back pages – there was the live recording from Denmark on which my friend and compadre Ross manfully attempted to replicate some rather complex three part harmonies on his own, shortly after which having listened to***, he started posting updates on the social media about his new home in Denmark. Spooky.

Last night it was the turn of Songs from The Blue House, for whom I used to contribute comments very similar to these, regarding what we’d done, where we’d been and who we’d done it to, with or for. Even now I occasionally whack up something from this blog from the (fairly) recent past that some of the participants have no recollection of enjoying. I had a good listen to the first album we did together, and had kind of forgotten how good it sounded then, and consequently how proud I am of it now.

There are a few genuinely stunning songs on there that even back in the day we had quietly dropped from the set once we had moved on to beer festivals and parties in the park. Gathering band members, exploring the highways and byways of Posh North Essex, a pregnant La Mulley expanding in all sorts of interesting directions. The band is gone, the website domain returned to the wild, only the recordings preserved in aspic. I missed those days. I went to bed nostalgic and slightly rueful.

And then when I woke up, I remembered The Wayback Machine.

*I believe that the good folk who work in those drive-through testing centres they have nowadays are reminded periodically of festivals they’ve been to in the past, their day consisting as it does of getting up ridiculously early, shitting in a portaloo and then standing around in a wide open space in the rain, eating terrible food and waiting for something to happen.

**Yes, I did watch Echo in the Canyon last night, why do you ask?

***Grammar police, please check.