Paul Weller and his various incarnations has provided the musical background to my adult life. It’s not to say I enjoy everything he produces, far from it, I just have a deep respect for the manner in which he keeps an authentic approach to music. His integrity and development of his craft makes him a standout artist from the fag end of the 70s. Judging from the fan bash tonight I can see a yearning for the glory hits of the Jam and Style Council, I get that, but he is often at his best when he and his band loosen up with many of his later releases. In my considerations he is simply my generation’s Ray Davies.
I was watching a film tonight about ethics which posed an interesting question. It went something like this. You are walking past a pond, and in the middle is a small child, stranded, with the child’s parents nowhere to be found. You look down at your shoes and realise you are wearing your new Gucci shoes and have no time to take them off before the child falls deeper into the pond and below the surface. Setting aside the self-indulgent psychopath, most people in this predicament would not think twice about launching themselves into the pond to save the child and ruin their £1000 Gucci shoes.
Yet, if the same person witnessed the same child in hunger or poverty, would they be prepared to contribute £1000 to a charity seeking to tackle said hunger and poverty – would they? A question that opens up the hollow vanity of consumerism.
One of the beautiful things about being involved in Irregular Patterns is watching bands/artists grow both in confidence and creatively. If you like a bit of REM you should enjoy this one. Paper Fishes wearing their influences on their sleeve with pride. The 2nd single from their forthcoming LP Instant Happiness, All Your Lives Are Dreams Played Inside My Head.
When helping to set up the label Irregular Patterns, along with exploring the more challenging aspects of music genres, I (for my part) wanted to find a home for the classic rock song. Those carefully crafted songs from bands such as early R.E.M, dare I say early Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, as well as Tom Waits, etc.
Songs, which are not over not produced, still rough around the edges and don’t layer guitars over guitars for no good reason. An artist prepared to explore the fragility of human life, along with its beauty and absurdity. The journey led me to Andre Levy and his band Paper Fishes.
Borrowed Time is taken from the forthcoming album, Instant Happiness, which is neither instant nor happy. The album, which I have been lucky to hear prior to release welds together tales of humanity and family tensions, set in a Damien Jurado-like love of Americana, lo-fi rock, folk and barroom ballads.
The death of Levy’s father and their strained relationship casts a long shadow over the album. The tracks ebb and flow across musical genres with little attempt to hide the scars and resentments between father and son, or the regrets and disillusionment of Levy and his brothers. This is all brutally exposed on their ironically titled debut LP. The album pulls no punches from the opening track Vanishing Point to the finale Borrowed Time.
2-square-kilometre area of woodland on the south-west side of the Avon Gorge, close to the Clifton Suspension Bridge.
As we age, face the harsh realities of life, lose loved ones, and perhaps start to contemplate our own mortality, we have choices. We can succumb to the darkness of reactionary impulses, which have built up over the years or not.
I leave an evening with John Lydon early with mixed feelings and knowing we have parted ways. Seeking to unpick Lydon today is not a joyful experience. He has long stopped being the once charismatic leader of two charismatic bands that helped shape my personal musical journey.
Lydon’s abandonment of his class politics, which I know winds a few people up, has little importance to me. However, through his physical gesturing, his mocking of Diane Abbot, the U.K. first black female MP, says far more about his current state of thinking than any words leaving his mouth. It’s mocking straight out of the Trump playbook. It’s not funny and simply gives the impression (rightfully or wrongly) of spitefulness. I do feel a sense of unease.
Lydon’s attempts at personality assassinations are predictable, often crude and dull. Refections of his time with the Pistols are old news, regurgitated stories many would have heard countless times before. His contempt for fellow Pistol’s, especially drummer Paul Cook, are delivered like an unconvincing victim who has woken to the news that nobody really cares 40 years later.
Repeating the word cunt. I genuinely believe Lydon is the last person in the room to understand it’s all wearing thin, but he keeps repeating it, time and time again. It’s silly, tedious even. Recollections of butter adverts he made over a decade ago are told as if recent glories.
By far, the best parts of the evening are when he reflects on those he holds close. His parents, brothers and wife Nora. There is a sense of genuine reflection and encouragement for those dealing with loss or faced with the prospect of losing a loved one through the horrors of Alzheimer’s Disease.
Reflections of growing up in working-class neighbourhoods ring hollow now. There is little conviction behind the words. Just an analogue image of dusty memories, fading and recast into the light through a chipped lens of fake nostalgia and patriotism.
Lydon will always have his core fanbase. Tonight it’s an overwhelmingly white, 50+-year-old, male audience. Nothing wrong with this, of course, though one can hardly ignore the reality, like a ripple in a pond, it’s a case of ever-decreasing circles.
In truth, I’m bored; he starts to end the night by instigating an Abba singalong in memory to Sid Vicious. I’m out of here. The pantomime is over.
One of those artists that are hard to define. One moment it’s a ballad to a lost friend, next it’s an ethereal sound painting. Felix Jupiter effortlessly combines non linearity alongside classic folk structure to produce an ad hoc fluid blend of psychedelic soundscapes. His music carries you through a web of sounds sometimes separate, but never far away, drawing you into his world and before you know where you are you’re captured.