The Church Of Me
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Kissing in the churchyard, I know a righteous woman

Thursday, May 23, 2002
LIBERATION AND LUBRICATION: EXCUSE ME MR ROWLAND, IS THAT A DEVIL ATHWART YOUR LEFT SHOULDER?

And my first lesson of this glorious new year is: fuck the canon. Shag consensus. Your perspective is permitted to change depending upon the amount of material filling the rest of the landscape.

And my second lesson is: some things may sound pallid on your/their own but whose point erupts in apparitions of apparentness when you are in compatible company.

And my first translation is: some music just doesn't make sense unless you're having sex to it.

And my first exemplar is: Handcream for a Generation by Cornershop. The Stockpot of indie albums - a meal which contains everything you could possibly want yet still leave you feeling empty, as though you had simply performed a biological function rather than indulged in something so crass as pleasure?

And my first easy crack is: did they just make this record to please Jools Holland?

And my first stern reprobation is: YOU HAVE NOT MADE LOVE TO IT. ITS RHYTHMS SUDDENLY BLEED FROM AGFA TO TECHNCOLOR! Its pleasures are now apparent. The rhythmic thrust blends perfectly with whatever you attempt. Thighs will be pleased long before the head. It is a glorious thing.

And my third lesson is: don't JUST listen to things on your own.

And my second point is: for 17 years I admired Don't Stand Me Down, the third and final album recorded by Dexy's Midnight Runners, without ever loving it.

And my third reason is: the bloody production. Horns mixed down...

And my fourth reason is: ...the band. Not up to it. Too few horns. Too much like a job lot of failed 1978 session types.

And my first askew reference is: Young Soul Rebels, while not their best album conceptually, was certainly the best performed. A new use for "authenticity" rather than making authenticity an excuse.

And my second purposeful if still askew reference is: Had Too-Rye-Ay been performed and recorded by the line-up of Dexy's I saw at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh in August 1981 it would have been one of the greatest albums ever. But then Rowland listened a wee bit too reverently to the then little-known fourth studio album by Van Morrison.

And his fourth point is: Van Morrison drove around the Bullring thrice on a Saturday morning before thinking better of it and headed back to Notting Hill.

And my fifth reason is: too much fucking reverence for Van No Good After Astral Weeks Morrison! When the text could not stop coming, like diarrhoeic Edna O'Brien castoffs, but the texture did (except for brief flashes here and there).

And my third reiteration is: Don't Stand Me Down sounds like a fucking Van Morrison record, although potentially more radical than whatever was being touted as radical in 1985 was (Scraping Foetus Off The Wheel? Jason and the Scorchers?).

And my first reiteration of a previous reiteration is: I just couldn't cohabit with it. Too much good taste.

And my first paraphrase is: the concept rocked. The reality stank (Ellroy).

And my fifth self-denial is: that was a bit hard but the quote was too hard to bite through.

And my fifth point is: Creation rereleased it in 1997.

And my first reason for a second reiteration of a previous reiteration is: it was rereleased on Creation.

And my second paraphrase is: Camden Good Music Society (McCullough).

And my first reinforcement of my fifth reason is: stereo re-enhanced. Like pressing the "surround" button on your hi-fi. Makes it more trebly but loses the detail.

And my sixth point is: it's been rereleased again.

And my sixth reason is: it's been properly remastered.

And my seventh point is: it sounds better.

And my first reinforcement of my seventh point is: when you're with someone.

And my seventh reason is: because otherwise you would be left with the thoughts of a man howling at the world. A dapper fellow strolling through Hyde Park of a fine summer morn (so the new sleeve goes), but on the inside the clouds are gathering on the left side. Cf. Sam Taylor-Wood's chap scared at the determined topless woman striding towards him on the facing screen.

And my first reinforcement of my seventh reason is: because in the early 1990s that's exactly what Rowland would have been doing.

And my second self-denial is: he's not howling because he hates the world. He wants to UNDERSTAND love. To understand passion without the Weller-verted commas.

And my fourth askew reference is: Tom Clay's 1971 "What The World Needs Now" album on MoWest, if you can find it. Pay particular attention to his deconstruction of "This Guy's In Love." Now compare with Rowland's reading of the same tune on "My Beauty."

And my eighth point is: see?

And my ninth point is: it's beyond words. Beyond easy digs at Kid Jensen on Radio 1 (by the time he recorded this, KJ had already defected to Capital). Beyond whatever you think of socialists. These people.

IT IS ABOUT STARING IN A MIRROR FOR 32 YEARS AND LEARNING TO LIKE WHAT YOU SEE WITHOUT DROWNING IN IT.

Reference points:
Vincent Crane
Jimmy Ruffin
Edgware Road
Ken Nordine
Mike Skinner
Absence of tequila
Absence of malice


posted by Marcello Carlin Permalink
. . .


. . .