So this is the blog; I can use whatever criteria I like to say more or less whatever I like- wow, freedom!
Since this is the blog for Village Green Machine, I will talk about that.
This week we are preparing for the Mark Lamarr session, finalising arrangements with the Beeb. I will be getting up at the time I normally go to bed. Now, the dark glasses will be obligatory at that time of day. I will be wearing a groove black jumbo cord pea coat I just bought on vintage e bay (like the one Brian Jones had in '66) maybe with a polo neck and my Small Faces style trousers and basket weave shoes. And that's just for a radio session! However, there will be some photos at least which we will post on the website. I have to say I am grooving more and more to the way Ray Davies dressed. I love the way he looked with his acoustic guitar, with those Carnaby clothes. Now there was a great aesthetic. Hey, I've also cut my hair off. Cropped quite short. I wanna look like a 60s George Best.
It wasn't clear until very recently who would be with me on the session, but I am pleased to say I will be backed by really good musicians, reliable people. Auditioning strangers, no way. Rehearsals are shaping up well. So, we get to blast out six tracks. (Another broadcaster playing my stuff is John Cavanagh from R6.) Mark Lamarr has asked for an exclusive track for the session, which will be Berkoff Give Me Something which is not available elsewhere. I am also looking forward to discussing the extraordinary songs I have chosen by other artists for Mark to play. They will almost comprise a mini alternative 60s show- they are great I promise, so do remember to tune in for them and my Village Green Machine session.
I am also hoping to talk much more about the whole Village Green Machine scenario. I have certain things I would like to say. I would like to talk about the importance of music, and what a shame it is that it has been commodified, ruined, and so on. Which much of it has. Bland, Product. How dare they reduce my MY life force, that which has run like blood in my veins, and has galvanised my soul since my year dot, to weary, safe bland proportions. ( '' Whatever happened to my rock and roll '', indeed ) .The music business seems to be a sloth like conveyor belt churning out precisely what no person with good taste could ever possibly want. Why do people furnish their lives with the unimaginative. Why do so many people tend to settle for mediocrity? If they go to the theatre it is to see Phantom OTO. Film? Whatever garbage is most obvious. Music? Its awful all this actually. And, especially with some of this real bread head manufactured stuff, there actually isn't much music involved. (PS its all about record companies earning money, exploiting often untalented artists, and exploiting public gullability, especially that of the very young).The songs and music are slick but terrible. No content. How do they get away with it? Well, they start off with the concept of a vibe. A street vibe, say. Then they audition girl singers, and they are looking for the right attitude to reflect and inspire today's urban girls. Beautiful, well perhaps. Sexy- ? The girl has to be urban, 'street', have 'attitude', have power and have control over men and sex, be independent, and very young. And remember, this is all image, all concocted. (The 'artist' sometimes identifies with their manufactured self, which ultimately passes its sell by date- cue psychological and identity problems- I've a track on album 2 about this called Plastic Soul).) Well, speaking of concoctions, they all can 'cock' off. Its all a manufactured package, potted, and just as revolting as, potted meat. I'd sooner eat one of my father's potted meat sandwiches or bite into a writhing section of jellied eel than be forced to listen to the travesties served as music by certain daytime and nigh time broadcasters. What makes me mad is that this stuff sells, and people play it, and the videos, and make a mint. While, needless to say, the better stuff often doesn't get a look in. I would like to point out that there is an alternative, and that in my opinion Village Green Machine is a worthy part of that. (PS of course some modern music is a lot better than the junk- but in my view the best alternative music is emphatically that from the past, often lurking somewhat below the surface). You just need the time and inclination to look for it, and a little money of course.
This is a long blog but I would like to point out one more thing here. In the 60s, a great many brilliant northern soul records were made, which now change hands for astronomical figures. Certain broadcasters were busy playing, I kid you not, Val Doonican (who is he? well precisely), Max Bygraves, Pinky and Perky, Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini, and other aural delectations, while the northern soul artists great, gallant and doomed? 45s were ignored. That's bad enough, but what happened to these great talents? Many of them ended up working back on the production line. And they were the lucky ones. We British though have to prove we can handle good pop music culture, and other good culture. Then obviously market forces will dictate that it be produced. I'm sorry to say it is mass bad taste on the part of the British Public which governs what they are fed culturally. That is astounding, there are just millions of philistines soaking up all this crap all the time. I am expected to fit in with all that? Does anyone else feel at all alienated by all that ? Clearly they do, but I'm afraid we will always be the minority. Send me/ us a message, I'll pick up on any comments in my next blog.
Today I shaped up a track for the second album in the studio, called Girl With The Golden Voice. It was heading for the bin, but I rescued it by adding a loud tremolo guitar over the chorus. It is a 50's influenced song, which reminds me more and more of an early Smiths track as it has that jangly guitar thing going on. It is well documented I like The Smiths enormously. Someone I know said they didn't like them and I said, 'you wouldn't' which says it all really. So, my song is what they might have sounded like if they'd recorded a decade or two earlier. Who is the girl with the golden voice, I am not entirely sure. Maybe Gracie Fields. I think of the BBC light programme, wasn't that a pre cursor to R2? I imagine a cosy, rosy Britain. With Noddy driving his little car....(not really), valve radios, and a great, great car on the drive. Like an Austin Cambridge, a Hillman Minx, or a Morris Oxford. Or maybe even a Jag or Bentley. I can just about remember these things, heavens I'll soon be 35.
Theres something a bit surreal about Noddy, come to think of it. Loobie Loo, her too. Sooty seemed to love having an old man's hand shoved half way up his ****, I'll tell you what if the church find out about this I'm in deep ........ I am actually a great fan of the music which went with some of these 60s kids programmes. For instance, the music to Banana Splits. PS they were all on acid, those 60s cartoon animators, I must look at some of that stuff from that point of view. Now I'm definitely in trouble with the church.
So, talk to me. Send a message to me at the address you'll find on the contact button on the Village Green Machine website. I would love to hear from you, possibly. Who is out there reading this?
PPS I have said The Smiths were the only thing worth mentioning which happened in the 80s. Of course this is something of an exaggeration. The thing with The Smiths was, they were a point of reference for any young person who felt alienated from mainstream society in the 80s. Aesthetically they were so far removed. Musically, there were extraordinary things going on in their records, lyrically and with the guitar playing. But the real point was, they were working class bohemians. And some of us were ready to grasp at straws I'm sure, then The Smiths came along and it was more of a life raft. I would like to profess my admiration for Julian Cope, The Beat, Lloyd Cole, Dexys Midnight Runners, Madness, and others from that angular and alienating decade. Oh and I am going nuts for the B52s, I am about to get their first album at long last.