The Church Of Me
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Kissing in the churchyard, I know a righteous woman

Tuesday, August 15, 2006
FIVE YEARS

I think Laura would have been pleased and satisfied with The Church Of Me, albeit a little bewildered. By its very nature it is not a project which could have been entertained in her lifetime; there are two preceding decades of writing which only Laura ever read, and indeed was meant only for Laura to read (only two of the more relatively objective pieces have found their way into the present blog).

Now I sense that there are decades of writing to follow which are likewise intended only for private consumption, by one other. The recent inactivity of CoM must not be mistaken for a personal exhaustion with writing, either physical or emotional; the writing continues, possibly more fervently than ever, with hundreds and sometimes thousands of words being produced daily. But it's all private writing, since a new audience of one has come into being, and in the end it is - or, more accurately, she is - the only audience I now want, or need.

So the circle of grief and regeneration has been completed; and maybe there isn't much, if anything, left for me to say here. This is not to say that CoM will shut down, but that any publishing here will necessarily become far less frequent. It is not a question of writer's block, but of changed priorities.

That having been said, if, for instance, ILM doesn't return online, then I will have to do something about archiving all of those Pick Of The Pops pieces. I also owe continued apologies to Bunnybrains and fans of Judee Sill for not yet writing those articles I promised at the end of last year; as with everything, life and circumstances have conspired to delay those and other pieces. Therefore, realistically, it is very likely that more writing will appear here sooner rather than later. But the holding of breath is not to be encouraged.

In more general terms I also feel an increasing shadow of melancholy when dealing with the music of 2006. These days I am very rarely moved to write anything about current music, even the best of it. I'm not sure whether this is a symptom of general fatigue or simply my own; but compared with the fecund nature of this blog three or four years ago, when I was prompted to write about nearly every record which came my way because nearly every record seemed to propose a new and exciting route down which music could travel, 2006 from conventional viewpoints seems to be a dour and lean period comparable with 1986 or even pre-punk 1976. It may be that I am far from alone in thinking this, but also that other, younger writers are better positioned and better qualified than me to analyse the likes of the Horrors or that Aguilera double album.

One sizeable exception, of course, is the contemporary Canadian music scene; and there are of course substantial extra-musical reasons behind my passion for that. Yet it seems to me that there is a whole wave of interconnected bands, from the Constantines to the Bicycles, via the Arcade and the Social Scene, who have genuinely fresh takes on familiar musical memes and entire new ways of producing them. Collectives like Islands and The Most Serene Republic produce the altered perception sense of newness which we used to expect from our own bands. And, as also used to happen with British music in the '60s and early '70s, these collectives are loose-limbed and generous; membership of bands frequently and gladly overlaps, and there is a deep-rooted improvisational ethic at work which makes every song an adventure, every second exciting. It is something very near the ideal I once cherished for British indie music before C86 came along and instituted the concept of pop as heritage museum.

I am unsure how much of this we can readily or usefully express in the course of one hour, but there will be a Clear Spot broadcast (how appropriate that name, given the recent non-debates about Beefheart) on Resonance 104.4 FM on
Thursday 24 August in which we'll do our best. This programme will, strictly speaking, be a Stereogirl/CoM co-production, but the Stereogirl will definitely be taking the lead. It will be almost exactly five years to the day since the circumstances which gave rise to CoM came about. The sentence has been served, the gates are now open, the new life beckoning ahead.


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