I sometimes wish it was that summer again

1977

I think it’s fair to say that there is one band responsible for the person I am today.  One specific album even.  And that album is 20 years old.  Good grief.

The story of how I found 1977 and the band Ash is a bit odd and starts with Formula One.  My Dad is very into motorsports, and I got obsessed with the sport in the ’93/’94 seasons – we’d watch the all races together and my bedroom wall was covered with bits of Autosport magazine.  One morning, we were going somewhere the car in and had to stop for petrol, when I spotted a compilation tape on the shelves of the kiosk with an F1 car on the front of it.  Of course I had to have it (as previously mentioned, I was a bit obsessed).  It was full of the most awful “driving” songs, but featured Oh Yeah by Ash.

Up until this point, I had only been listening to what my parents were into and Now That’s What I Call Music compilations, so Oh Yeah was incredibly exciting.  And then about a week after I started listening to that one song, Ash appeared on The Big Breakfast, I saw Tim Wheeler’s beautiful face, and Melissa the Fangirl was born.

I collected every CD release, and I mean every releasetrifling through racks of The Sound Machine in Reading constantly.  Just in case I’d missed one.  And this was before I was an internet person so I don’t even remember how I find out about their back catalogue.  I even have three copies of 1977 – a ‘normal’ one, one with the secret tracks and the beginning and end, and the collectors edition released 8 years ago.

I recorded every TV performance on VHS which are still in a box under my bed .  This was one of my favourite recordings – I almost wore the video out constantly watching it.  It was also the first dance at my wedding because I am a giant nerd:

Oddly, I’ve only ever seen them twice live.  Once at the V97 festival where my BFF lost a shoe in the moshpit.  It was the most exhilarating gig I’d ever been to.  Admittedly, I was only 15 and only my first experience of live music but my mind couldn’t imagine that any moment could be greater.  Screaming along with my best friend, her leaning on me as she didn’t want to get a dirty foot.

When Husband and I were getting to know each other pre-dating, we bonded over our shared love of this band.  He boasted about having a Japanese DVD import of Free All Angels.  I kicked his boasting to the ground by showing him my entire collection including a signed copy of the Jack Names the Planets vinyl.  He was suitably in awe.  My second gig was with Husband as we relived our youth in 2007.  We felt extraordinarily old back then, so imagine how I feel now, 9 years later.

This week, I’ve been enjoying commemorative daily 1977 dance parties and reliving my youth.  Sometimes, there’s nothing you need more than the sound of a TIE Fighter at the beginning of Lose Control to set you up for the day.

Wow Balloons – BUG 49

BUG49Husband and I were on our own for BUG 49 as Tim had a hipster party to attend.  Dr Buckles was on sparkling form however, and showed a great selection of videos.  My favourites:


I haven’t heard of Stealing Sheep before, but this song led to us staying up late to listen to their album.  A ridiculously brilliant video as well.


I debated about putting this video by Raleigh Ritchie on here, only because I thought it was a bit lazy and contrived, but I really like the song.


Adam Buxton was grooving away to this song by Ogris Debris as the very stylish video played.  I really loved the visual style for this video.


The viral videos used in this music video by The Shoes are hypnotically funny.  Anyone who uses James Van Der Beek in their video wins in my books.


I know of Tame Impala but didn’t know what kind of music the band was.  I actually really liked this song, and the video was beautifully filmed.  Although it makes me a little nervous for my upcoming flight.

Friday was the first of my two visits to the BFI that weekend.  I should have just slept there overnight to save money on the train ticket.

BUG 41

BFI

I have been trying to get tickets for Adam Buxton’s BUG for such a long time.  I’ve either been out of the country, away for work, or the tickets have sold out before I got to them, and for a while it felt like I was destined to never see BUG live.  So when my BFF emailed a couple of months ago asking if I wanted him to get tickets for BUG 41, I quickly scrambled to say YES PLEASE.  And success – tickets were bought.

And then we found out Adam Buxton wasn’t going to be hosting.  OH FOR GOD’S SAKE!

The BFI announced a couple of weeks later that they’d drafted in Doc Brown who I think I knew from somewhere (a panel show maybe?) and I hoped that he’d be doing the show with a similar humour to Dr Buckles.

After a spicy dinner at the new Wahaca in Waterloo, we made our way through the rain to the BFI and found our seats in NFT 1 amongst the many bearded men.

Doc Brown (also known as Ben Bailey Smith) alluded to the fact he couldn’t rip off Buxton’s YouTube comments review, so came up with his own thing – Singalonga Shitbags.  I giggled insanely at his lyrics to instrumental music in films such as Jurassic Park, Last of the Mohicans, and Face Off, and I would quite happily pay to see him doing two hours of this.  He showed a clip from a Bollywood film called Singham which garnered cheers from the audience, and his comment on Oneohtrix Point Never amused me greatly (“That’s his name, because hipster is out of control”).

The purpose of the evening was music videos though, and I was actually looking forward to seeing music from bands and artists I previously hadn’t heard from before.  In particular, I have become a little obsessed by Rudimental‘s Not Giving In and I’m going to spend the weekend looking into them.

Some of the videos were a little pretentious and I did roll my eyes on a couple of occasions.  Ben interviewed Josh Cole who directed the above video, plus a whole bunch of others, and what I mainly got from the interview and videos was dude needs to calm down with the helicopter use.

I really loved the Elbow video Ben showed – I thought it was really beautiful despite not being a Elbow fan

I also really loved the Grace Jones vibe from Julio Bashmore‘s Peppermint ft Jessie Ware

We got to see videos for Burning House, Fidlar, Louis Mattrs, and The Last Skeptik amongst others.  And this is probably the only time you’ll read those names on my blog as I am far too untrendy for this music.  But that’s partly why I enjoyed BUG – I wouldn’t come across these short films in my day-to-day life, so it was really good to be exposed to something new.

The audience did feel a little cliquey – not sure if this happens at other BUGs, but it seemed as though everyone behind us was connected to one of the music video directors.  Unfortunately, this did mean that a couple of people WOULD NOT SHUT THE HELL UP.  It was an odd atmosphere, partly because of the Chatty Cathys at the back and because people were constantly in and out of their seats – it kind of felt like a gig or something.  It was a bit difficult to fully appreciate the videos with those distractions.

Overall, I did enjoy my first BUG, and I don’t think it’ll be my last.  Hopefully my calendar will be clear for the next show.

It’s wonderful what a smile can hide

Patrick Wolf

This was going to be a post about my 20th Patrick Wolf gig, but sadly, life has been a bitch to my family this week and forced us to make other plans.  So instead, I thought I would gush like the fangirl that I am about my favourite musician.

I grew up in a mid-sized crap-hole town called Bracknell.  The relevancy of this being when a friend told me in 2005 I had to see a musician called Patrick Wolf play in our local arts centre, I scoffed.  No one of note has done anything of note in Bracknell, so this Patrick guy couldn’t be all that.

The venue was tiny and there was only a handful of people there, but Patrick was mesmerising.  It was just him and a drummer, and the room was so tiny his head almost touched the ceiling (no exaggeration, although admittedly, he is a tall boy).  And he was a boy – 21 years old, his second album released a few months back.  He sang at times without a microphone – his gentle voice making everyone in that cramped room fall in love with him.  And I fell in love with him.

I couldn’t get this one song out of my head, and Googled it the second I got home – Teignmouth, which is where the name of my blog comes from.  I found out he had another gig in a month, bought his first two albums and began my obsession.

I was so excited for the release of The Magic Position.  I bought the CD and put it on as soon as I got into my car.  I remember vividly pulling out of the parking space and immediately having to stop to cry as the amazing Overture poured out of my speakers.  It was the most beautiful song I had ever heard and it remains my favourite song to this day.

It’s not all been smooth sailing as a Patrick fan, and I think a lot of fans would say the same, but the past few years, my love for him has grown again.  It’s been such a joy to see him get to the place he’s at now, to grow up and become this mature, intelligent, funny, beautiful man and there have been so many memorable moments for me – the gigs hearted below have all been so special, like the time his hair changed colour in the interval at the Bloomsbury Theatre, the time he put his hand on my back at the Boileroom and danced in the crowd to Together, and the frankly jaw dropping encore at the Palladium where he postured on a rotating mirrorball singing Vulture.  The Palladium gig was the first gig I dragged my friend Ryan along to, and despite almost scaring the crap out of him, I think Ryan was converted the moment the entire theatre got to their feet and jumped along to Hard Times.  I must have watched this YouTube video a million times.

The first time I saw him, back in my crap-hole town, I had the opportunity to meet him and I decided not to (too shy).  Which made it all the more special when I did get to meet him in Oxford two years ago.  I told him about almost meeting him in Bracknell and he remembered the venue, so we chatted about that.  He signed my ticket and I got a photo with him (which I’ve never shown anyone as I have a ridiculous dorky grin on my face).  But it finally happened, and I think I remember squealing at Ryan and his girlfriend Nikki (who I’ve also dragged into my obsession!) when they met me after.  I was on such a high.

My next ambition is to see him somewhere other than the UK.  I very nearly went over to Sweden to see him a couple of months ago, and I think I’d just about explode if I managed to combine my love of Scandinavia with Patrick.  I also had a vague idea that my fourth tattoo would somehow commemorate the 20th gig, so I’ve got a little more time to think about what I’d get.  He doesn’t have any tour dates planned for the moment, but there’ll be something.

I’ve been following this man for 8 years – through red, blond, and brown hair; through his experimenting with Alec Empire and testing the mainstream waters with Alex Zane; through pretty much every instrument out there – and I can’t see this stopping any time soon.  I should really thank all my enablers – my Husband, my BFF Tim, and the ever supportive Ryan and Nikki – all of whom I have dragged along to a various different gigs, and kept me company by text when I’ve gone alone.  I’ve endlessly babbled to them about “This one time, at a Patrick gig…” and I’m deeply appreciative for their (sometimes pretend) interest in my fun facts.

And now, what I like to call my Patrick Master List

1.     15th June 2005 – South Hill Park, Bracknell ♥
2.     18th July 2005 – Islington Academy, London
3.     31st October 2005 – Scala, London
4.     30th March 2006 – Bloomsbury Theatre, London ♥
5.     4th October 2006 – Koko, London
6.     19th December 2006 – Union Chapel, London
7.     6th February 2007 – Zodiac, Oxford
8.     11th April 2007 – Astoria, London
9.     20th December 2007 – Shepherds Bush O2, London
10.   13th March 2009 – Koko, London
11.   15th November 2009 – Palladium, London  ♥
12.   6th December 2010 – The Boileroom, Guildford   ♥♥♥
13.   25th March 2011 – O2 Academy 2, Birmingham
14.   29th March 2011 – Koko, London
15.   31st October 2011 – O2 Academy 2, Oxford ♥♥♥♥♥
16.   4th November 2011 – Roundhouse, London
17.   29th August 2012 – Old Vic, London
18.   24th Nov 2012 – Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry
19.   4th February 2013 – St Johns the Evangelist Church, Oxford

This ended up being a quite long post…