I'm beginning to think that a weekly blog may have been a little optimistic, maybe I shouldn’t have given myself a deadline, I’ve never been any good with those. But we'll see how it goes.
I am pretty unhappy at work at the moment, probably more unhappy than I've been for ten years or so. Sadly I can't see a way out, I like my life outside of work, but that life needs a certain income, and I'm not sure I'd get that anywhere else. I don't get paid a huge amount, certainly not as much as Sarah, but it's enough to help enable us to live a pretty decent life. I guess I'll just have to grin and bear it and let punk rock help take the pain away....
I’ve spent a lot of time since the last entry here putting together a PDF to add to the new Shorts songs, collecting the lyrics, info and some photos. I also added a front and back cover in case anyone wanted to put the songs on a CDR, they could then print out that page and have a cover. We would have liked to have give this “EP” more of a proper release, but we just don’t have the money; Suspect Device is no longer in a position to release stuff, and I can’t see anyone else wanting to put our stuff out. So a download seemed like the best way to make them available. You can download “Skinned Alive” from the SD websit, or visit http://theshortsuk.blospot.com and get it from there.
New music has been a bit thin on the ground since I last wrote, at this time of the month I don't have the spare money to go buying all the music I want, so I was very grateful when Gaz Suspect bought me the Culture Shock CD boxest that Bluurg and Active have put together. http://www.subhumans.co.uk/ - http://www.activedistribution.org/
It really is a thing of beauty, and certainly got the heart racing as soon as I picked up the package from the door mat and saw the Active stamp on the back of the envelope; I instantly knew what it was.
I remember Culture Shock well. As much as I'd loved the Subhumans the first Culture Shock mini-album came like a breath of fresh air, the songs seemed bright and Dick's lyrics were as great as ever. It was ska-punk before ska-punk had been corrupted by hoards of bands playing what I came to think of as pseudo ska, hundreds of horn driven songs with nothing to say except "pick it up, pick it up."
Culture Shock got by with the usual guitar, bass, drums, voice combo and what they played was certainly a departure from what the Subhumans and A-Heads had been doing, but not such a leap that it alienated people, like me, who'd been into those bands. Having Dick's familiar voice and lyrical style helped, but the songs stood up on their own.
We interviewed them in Suspect Device. Instead of Dick sending his answers back written out on paper, he answered via cassette. LIke the Culture Shock songs, Dick's enthusiasm shone through.
Listening to these songs again certainly brought fond memories flooding back. I saw them live several times, including a particularly memorable gig at the Labour Club in Southampton where I remember watching them though a haze of strange smelling smoke! I met Dick for the first time that night, he remembered doing the interview and was as friendly as I've always found him to be, the few times I've met him since.
Anyway, this package is really neat; three CDs, the first with "Go Wild” and "All The Time", the second "Onwards & Upwards" and the third with their two demos. Tracks from compilations are included too, as well as a booklet featuring lyrics and a band history told using answers to zine interviews.
I don’t remember if I had the demos, I’m pretty sure Gaz did, so there’s a good chance if I didn’t have them (and I will be digging out the two boxes of demos I have at the bottom of a cupboard to look) I at least heard them, and we did feature them on “Life On Earth”, one of our compilation tapes, with tracks from the “Reality Stop No.44” demo.
I have found myself playing this most of the time, but I have found the odd moment to play a few other things...
Adam & The Ants. I have everything the band released, yes even “Ant Rap”! But it’s the early, pre-pirate, stuff that I really like, and of that early stuff it’s the songs they recorded before the “Dirk Wears White Sox” album that really excite me. I never owned the bootleg LPs of their demo stuff, but I have hunted them down and I love the early versions of songs that went on to get the two drummer treatment. Good as those songs became I like the stripped down versions better. There are also songs that didn’t make it further than demo stage, and I’m a sucker for all that stuff.
Also, a friend in the U.S. has sent me new recordings he’s made with a band he was originally in twenty-odd years ago. I can’t say too much more about it, but the band sound as good as they always did, despite the passing years.
I’ve just ordered Boss Tuneage’s re-release of the first two HDQ releases, so I hope they will arrive soon and I can talk about them next time.
I really need to get some reviewing done soon, and think about putting together another “proper” issue of Suspect Device.