Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Great days

A friend of mine (oldest friend when I think about it) sent me a link yesterday to some digitised photos from a holiday we had together a long time ago. I never saw myself as the kind of person who had a photocollage noticeboard in their living room showing me with a bunch of great mates doing great mates things, but blow me down if there isn't a photo of a skinny teenage me jumping into the Mediterranean from a pier accompanied by five or six school friends. Perhaps I wasn't always such as curmudgeon.

Anyway, the photos also showed a very long haired me and my (now) wife looking young. It's quite confronting seeing a photo from ~20 years ago all of a sudden, particularly when you were a few kilos lighter and with hair to your shoulders. Can't say it was such a bad look actually... I thought I'd show my young colleagues a couple of snaps (particularly one guy who is looking to grow some length before the hard core clinical years) and the response was quite reassuring!
Anyway, cue plenty of reflection and introspection, mulling over the person I was then, the person I was now and how the years between have affected and changed me. The young fellow in the picture probably would have been surprised to have seen his older self make a decent fist of I Banking... although whenever I was at my desk my music tastes would have been recognisable. As is not uncommon, tastes tend to ossify around the 17 - 25 years which is the case with me.

One album I was listening to for the first time in a long time, before even the photos appeared, it the Ultra Vivid Scene album Joy: 1967-1990. This was released in 1990 and was very popular amongst the hip young things of the time. Even though I was more of a SubPop fan (probably the more listenable stuff I was into), for some reason Kurt Ralske's poppy- noise(ish) music fitted my mould, and that of my friends too. Probably due to his being a New Yorker (I was very keen on Shimmy Disc at that point), the fuzz on his guitar, the odd lyrics and a song with the same title as a very popular Nick Cave song (Mercy Seat).

I never subscribed to Ralske being 100% derivative of MBV, JAMC and the rest despite him confessing to similar VU roots on a SNUBTV clip I saw. He's pretty original and the mix and the production are so layered you can listen to each track numerous times and spot a different instrument that you've been listening to passively for 20 years suddenly come to the fore.

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