Friday, January 28, 2005

Salutary tales from the world of pop

Today's Guardian contains the following salutary tales:

Five Thirty

Who were they? Proto-Britpop rock'n'roll trio from Oxford, who thrilled critics bored of shoegazing bands. Said NME: "Five Thirty communicate a buzz with the speed and efficiency of electric shock treatment ... They're going to release one of the albums of the year."

What happened? Split in 1992 after four singles and one album, Bed, neglected to trouble the top 40.

Tara Milton (vocals, bass): "We stood out from the scene like a sore thumb. Ironically enough, when we got a major recording deal, our profile deteriorated. We had a few run-ins with the label early on, which made us very unpopular with them. They chose not to promote our second single so it flopped, and I don't think we ever recovered from that. After we recorded the album, there was more pressure on us. I was a bit of a control freak - I used to scream at the drummer if he dropped a beat and I'm sad about that now. After one show in America he told me he was leaving. We tried several drummers but we split in 1992. I think Bed did OK, but I never received any royalty cheques because we owed the record company a fortune. I'm recording my solo debut now. I don't sit around analysing what happened."


Who were they? Tamworth quartet celebrated for their raucous punk-pop and bottle-blond barnets. "As far as debut discs go, this ranks among the all-time greats," said music magazine Sounds when they appeared on the scene.
What happened? Despite a handful of indie hits, their disappointing 1991 debut sank without trace.

Lee Vincent (guitar): "Our manager was in control of the hype machine. He sold it to the major labels in America that we were the next Who, and we weren't ready for that. As far as we were concerned, we were the next Jesus & Mary Chain. We got signed to MCA in America, which was a pretty big deal, but our manager was a psychopath. We generated a lot of money and we didn't see any of it so we sacked him, but we'd signed contracts that gave him control of everything and it paralysed us. I wasn't happy with the album. We should have made an album like our first EP, but of course we listened to a lot of idiots. The press turned on us and it slowly fell apart. I ended up moving to America, where I have a new band called Psychic Drive. Birdland was a nightmare, really."


Who were they? Angry Welwyn Garden City punk trio. Typical press quote: "They play as if their family and friends are being held to ransom." NME said they were like "the Stone Roses on PCP".

What happened? (I Want To) Kill Somebody reached number 26 in 1994, but a subsequent album was poorly received.

Ed Borrie (vocals, guitar): "We were built up as the leaders of a scene dubbed the New Wave of New Wave. I didn't complain because it focused attention on the records. It went wrong for us fairly quickly, mostly as a result of my worsening drug addiction. Being in the spotlight didn't help. Rob [Hague, drums] and Salv [Alessi, bass] were my two best friends since we started in a scout hut. They weren't prepared to watch me kill myself so they said goodbye. I ended up in despair, then rehab. Eighteen months ago I went round to Rob's house, had some tears and said a few apologies. We've started playing again but we have no aspirations to go through that shit again. We'll play a few gigs, make a little record and it'll be as innocent as it was in the beginning."


Who were they? Extravagantly hyped prog-glam outfit fronted by flamboyant endomorph Andrew "Tiny" Wood. NME described their music as "a monument to the transformative, colossal power of rock'n'roll".

What happened? They never bounced back from the failure of 1999's ambitious two-disc debut, Everything Picture.

Matt Jones (keyboards): "We signed for a lot of money, so there was massive pressure on us to be the next big thing, which I was always curious about because it was quite an odd band - I didn't know that we'd ever have mass appeal. The album took ages to record and I got really bored with it. Tiny and Richard [Green], as the main songwriters, thought the weight of it was on their shoulders and the rest of us suffered because we weren't being included. Our friendship deteriorated so much that even if the record had done well I'm not sure we'd have continued. Hype was the catalyst for all the egos and bad behaviour. Parts of the band were properly obnoxious. It's one thing to get a bit of confidence but if you think you're God's gift you're just going to fuck up."

Friday, January 21, 2005

KT Tunstall

Interesting article about KT Tunstall in the Independent today. She has got a lot of attention recently, not least from appearing on Jools Holland's show. The interview talks about the compromises she has made to get her album out in terms of "meeting the record company half way." I personally think this is a shame, as it seems she hasn't really made the sort of album she would like to. I guess it's the age old dilemma, to take the major label route with the money for promotion and touring and all the rest of it, or try the Kathryn Williams approach and set up your own label.

I'm going to see KT Tunstall at the Komedia in February, so I will post again on what she is like live.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

All donations gratefully received

Epiphone Wildcat
Originally uploaded by powerfulpierre.
Epiphone Wildcat. In black though please. Ta.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Imre Nagy

me and Imre Nagy
Originally uploaded by powerfulpierre.
Here's a photo of me and Imre Nagy. The statue is on a little bridge, and he is halfway across, indicating his crossing over between the state and the people.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Budapest group

Budapest group shot
Originally uploaded by powerfulpierre.
Here's a photo of Mark, Adam, Jess, Emma and myself in Budapest this weekend.


What a top place Budapest is! Beautiful architecture, thermally heated baths, food involving dumplings, the beautiful river and bridges, Communist statues etc etc. One thing, don't ever, ever, drink Unicum - it is truly vile! Great place for a weekend break and just 50 quid return with easyJet from Gatwick.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Budapest here I come

Off to Budapest tomorrow for the weekend and the weather forecast is looking promising - 1 to 2 degrees C and dry. I will be trying out my new digital camera, and if someone can tell me how to host photos on this blog (I tried some software called Hello but couldn't get it to work) - I'd be grateful. Especially software that will run on the Mac at home as well as PC. Full report upon my return!

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Tune that is stuck in my head

Sesame Street

All together now...!

Sunny Day
Sweepin' the clouds away
On my way to where the air is sweet

Can you tell me how to get,
How to get to Sesame Street

Come and play
Everything's A-OK
Friendly neighbors there
That's where we meet

Can you tell me how to get
How to get to Sesame Street

It's a magic carpet ride
Every door will open wide
To Happy people like you--
Happy people like
What a beautiful

Sunny Day
Sweepin' the clouds away
On my way to where the air is sweet

Can you tell me how to get,
How to get to Sesame street...
How to get to Sesame Street
How to get to...

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Jan 24 - the day my Switch card will die

There are so many records coming out on Jan 24 that I just have to buy. New albums by Low, Mercury Rev, EST, and two by Bright Eyes!

New series of ER

Oh ER, how I love you so! First episode of a new series is always so good, and this one certainly built up the tension. Monday nights are going to be so good from now on! Especially if my viewing companion from last night is there too...

Monday, January 10, 2005

Dobra Robota

Stand by for future transmissions.

2005 - plans and resolutions - additional

11) Dote on new friend

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

2005 - plans and resolutions

1) Grow beard
2) Launch Hush Collector upon the world
3) Avoid bird flu in Vietnam in February
4) Relegate avocardo bathroom in flat to history
5) Ditto 1970s kitchen
6) Practice singing back up vocals while playing guitar with Assistant
7) Not to spend so much money on going to gigs
8) Ditto beer
9) Ditto records
10) Go to more gigs