She fell in love with silence – Lostboy AKA

She Fell In Love With Silence (Radio Edit) by Cannonball_PR

Simple Minds lost their way a long, long time ago. Now Jim Kerr’s trying it solo, as ‘Lostboy AKA‘. The album’s apparently not making any waves yet, but I’m surprised by this single in which Kerr marries 80′s ‘big’ guitar sounds with a 90′s danceable groove. Just misses the mark, but at least it’s not ‘Belfast Child’.

Lostboy AKA on Spotify

There be Dragons

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Dragons, from Bristol, are an ok band, they do give it their all. Wearing shades indoors though… I think only really big rock stars can pull it off. The singer looks a little like Jim Kerr and a lot like one of my colleagues, which was a little weird. Musically they’re not even pretending not to be utterly worshipping at the altar of Joy Division, with a little Depeche demi-goddery on the side. Despite the dark sounds they managed to create a bit of a hallelujah-vibe. Perhaps it was the singer’s reaching out to heaven and falling to his knees that did it.

The support act, Huron, also played the JD/Cure and Xymox field, but their American singer (who looked more than a little bit like Chris Moyles, poor sod), infused some roots elements not unlike The Cult.

‘I’ve had it with all these new bands,’ said a friend of mine earlier this week, ‘they all sound the same.’ She’s right, you know. I’m bored. It’s time for something new, this 80s revival is getting on my nerves.

“White people cannot get enough of 80s music, partially out of
nostalgia, and partially since it was the last time that pop music
wasn’t infused with hip-hop or R n’ B stylings.”  (from Stuff White People Like)

I didn’t bring my ‘real’ camera, so all I got was a shot with my Ixus. Excuse the grain.

Playlist: Irish bands

Marco Derksen was making German and Italian playlists on iMeem today, using input from Twitterati. That set me on a quest to try and make an Irish one. Only I didn’t want to pick too obvious songs, but rather unearth some of the late 80s/early 90s bands that nobody really knew or cared about outside of Ireland. Before the internet as we know it. Before bargain flights. Before the Celtic bloody Tiger. Back when every Irish musician was washing up dishes in crappy restaurants and looking for a Green Card. And every Irish drummer played on Larry Mullen’s second hand kits.

I couldn’t find a whole lot of them on iMeem so I had to make do with what I could find, alternate tracks, etc. My own collection is mostly on vinyl. I really must get a USB record player.

As I searched online I found out a lot of the bands are making ‘come backs’ on MySpace (An Emotional Fish, Something Happens, The Golden Horde, Into Paradise, Zerra One, The Dixons, Screech Owls, In Tua Nua, Aslan) and I also found this rather marvellous website hosting the Irish punk & new wave discography.

Is it me or is making playlists on iMeem a lot of work? Search a song, click through to a song, click ‘playlist’, choose profile or group, make playlist… find next song, start over…

You’ll just have to imagine that this playlist also contains: I want too much (A House), You ain’t lovin’ me lately (Aslan), Parachute (Something Happens), Friends in Time (The Golden Horde), The Bridge (Cactus World News), Dog with no tails (The Pale) and my entire obscure Mother Records collection… perhaps I will pick up that USB record player tomorrow.

So, consider this a botched attempt at creating a playlist of the ‘best’ (read ‘available’) Irish bands.

Lex van Rossen, R.I.P.

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Lex is dead. I knew he was ill, but it’s still a shock. Lex shot the cover photo of my book. I’ve always been disappointed with the way the print came out and I have been meaning to fix that in the pdf version I’ve been working on, on and off. To give that image the full page it deserves. I knew Lex from going to concerts in the 80s and 90s. He was always in my way (for the first three songs) and we’d laugh about it – he wasn’t the tallest himself. He was a fantastic photographer, a real craftsman and one of my photography heroes. He must be taking pictures of angels now.

Here is some of his work. You may know it.
- Chris Isaak’s Heart Shaped World
- Bono vs De Kuip
- More pictures

Unprofessional x 2

Studio Brussels are using some of my photos on their site. They did not ask permission to do so, even when it was specifically stated the copyright was mine and all use required my express permission. When I called them on it, they apologised and I let them continue using the pictures. I’m not that difficult.

Last night, the veteran DJ of the programme using the pictures vented his frustration with the people ON them during his show. Very loosely translated it came down to this: ‘I saw them play live back in the 80s and they were uninspired and pretentious’ (1), ‘They were drunk when I interviewed them’ (2), ‘Their DJ set sucked, Fleetwood Mac was about the most exciting thing they played.’ (3), ‘You only need to buy one of their albums to know what they’re like.’ (4).

This DJ had not prepared his questions very well (‘Did you ever sell your soul to the devil?’), he mispronounced the band’s name and got the name of their record company wrong as well. He fucked up. Consequently the interview was a bit of a trainwreck. He was eaten alive by two charismatic artists having a laugh. On stage, in front of 250 of their fans in Ancienne Belgique. Ouch. Even heavily edited, the interview sounded painful on radio. You know you have a problem when the fans’ questions get a better response from the artists.

I felt sorry for him at the time, though I could not understand why he hadn’t prepared properly. Now I wonder why he took the job in the first place. If you don’t like an artist, why put yourself in that position?

I have asked Studio Brussels to remove my pictures from their site a.s.a.p. as I do not want my work to be associated with this level of frankly unprofessional behaviour.

Footnotes:
1. More pretentious than The Fall, who they were supporting-uh?
2. No, they weren’t. We did, however, get hammered afterwards.
3. I heard Fischerspooner, Joy Division, Brel, T Rex, Mingus…
4. Mr DJ, you fight like a girl.

I still have to write about my weekend in Brussels with those two mad Irish bastards and one London gent. Rest assured I’m working on it, scribbling down my impressions in a notebook on my way to and from work. Cause I’m an ‘amateur’.

Stan Smith in the house

Last season I noticed my (Fila) tennis shoes were getting a bit tight. As you grow older, your feet keep growing. Whether they actually grow, or just get flatter and thus longer and wider, I don’t know.

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I’d never been keen on them anyway, these ‘modern’ tennis shoes are higher around the ankle and heel. The faux leather edge feels uncomfortable.

I had looked around for a new pair, but they all had the same modern cut. Again and again I’d walk into shops to see if there was any shoe I liked. But I’d come out empty handed, or with a pair of yet another pair of sneakers for everyday use. Oh, how I yearned for a pair of old fashioned Adidas Stan Smith tennis shoes.

Stan Smith tennis shoes were the norm in the late 70s and 80s when I played tennis regularly. Adidas were big. Brands like Fila and Tacchini were starting to become popular, but Nike had only just become known in our country. Kappa was cool, but not for tennis. Diadora, of course, was for girls. Asics’ design was just too ‘busy’ with its tangled swooshes – and in any case, Asics was a badminton and volleyball brand.

I played a lot of sports in school and my friends and I were Adidas ‘fans’. We’d scrounge sports shops for bargains and bought their cotton soccer shorts in every colour imaginable. We were buying them bigger and bigger, too. Baggy had become popular. Those bargain hunts were also good for scoring ‘rare’ items – odd colour shirts and designs. We worshipped the three stripes.

I coveted Stan Smith tennis shoes with their pure white leather and green finishes. (If you wanted to be different, you bought them in France, where they had red finishes.) They were cool and they were comfortable.

They were, however, too expensive. My parents weren’t into the whole sports thing anyway and money, at the time, was tight as my dad had decided at 42 he wanted to go to University and study law. 80/90 guilders was deemed too much for a pair of tennis shoes.

They got me a pair of Ilie Nastase shoes (here shown in black – they were bright blue back then.) I think they were around 50 guilders. I was happy with them at first, but after a while the mesh finish began to look a little tatty (after a softball training session on black gravel) and I wasn’t keen on their thick slick soles. I didn’t feel like I had a good grip on whatever floor I was playing on.

They didn’t last long either. I got another pair of Adidas shoes in a bargain sale. I don’t remember what they were called. They were similar to the Stan Smith, but the leather was off-white and apparently made of kangaroo skin (which made them very supple and comfortable) and they had a red finish.

I wore them out quickly (I played every sport imaginable in them) and for my graduation I asked for a pair of Nike shoes, Nike having become a big hit with us ‘jocks’. Again, I opted for a Stan Smith look-a-like. A plain white shoe with a light blue swoosh.

When they went I got an even simpler pair of Nikes in a bargain sale in a Danish supermarket. I batted my eyes at my very sweet uncle who forked out the equivalent of 15 dollars. They were cloth-top tennis shoes with a dark blue swoosh.

I didn’t play tennis that much anymore, so they lasted me a long time but eventually died a sneaker’s smelly death.

When I picked up the sport again around 1998, I bought the Fila shoes mentioned before. And then my feet ‘grew’ and this season I got tired of the shoes being too tight. I’d also come to realise that of every brand shoe I’ve put my foot in, Adidas comes out the most comfortable.

With some glee I noticed ‘retro’ shoes coming back in fashion and a lot of brands bringing their 80s models back on the shelves. A further check brought a real smile to my face.

There they were, real Adidas Stan Smith tennis shoes. Priced at 75 euros they were cheaper than most current sports shoes, but still twice as much as back in the day. I didn’t buy them. I went back, didn’t buy. Went back again, didn’t buy. Picked them up, cooed over their absolute shinyness, but didn’t buy.

‘Maybe they’re cheaper in France,’ I thought, thinking back on how it used to be ‘cool’ to get a French pair. But when I got there, I didn’t want to carry another pair of shoes around. ‘I’ll buy them when I get back to Holland,’ I thought, thinking I didn’t want to play the tournament I’d committed myself to on shoes that were too tight.

But when I got back, the Stan Smith shoes were sold out everywhere. Which is why I turned to online shops. I had some Amazon vouchers left, enough for a pair of shoes, so that’s where I started and found Champs.

I didn’t know exactly what size to get — there are such big differences in sizes between countries and brands. So I checked all my other sports shoes and chose the average.

The shoes were cheap: 54.99, but the p&p brought it back into perspective: 87 dollars in total.

Today my shoes arrived from the USA, with 20 Euro customs tax on ‘em, too, but since I don’t count the vouchers as money, I figure that’s just what they cost me. 20 Euro for a brand new pair of Stan Smith, as coveted for the last twenty years.

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And I picked the right size too.