Should I have listened? (An experiment)
Rushing around this morning getting ready to give a talk at Coventry University tomorrow, I thought I might try and post a poll, for no other reason than you can post polls on Word Press, and I wanted to see how they work. But what to ask?
Then I remembered a day in 1973. I was up in my room playing the latest album that I’d just bought at Noise, the legendary Newhaven record shop. It was Uriah Heep Live. My Mum was downstairs, where she and Ralph my Old Feller were listening to Nat King Cole. My Mum shouted up the stairs, telling me to turn it down. Later she said, ‘One day you’ll like real music!’ I scoffed at her terminal un-hipness.
My question, therefore, is this. Based on the evidence provided, should I have listened more often to my poor old Mum?
I thank you for your kind participation.
Yes – she is a nice woman. Loves you. She has good taste in tunes.
Oh yes. Heep. I’ve seen photos, but I have never heard them. They were obviously bad, but just how bad were they? I can’t picture you listening to that sort of stuff, Ian; Nick Lowe, Tom Waits, Patti Smith and possibly Van Morrison are the names that spring to mind post ’75. Pre that era is a grey area. Remember the Lone Groover cartoon in NME? Andy Lawson & I used to compose our own poor version of that when we should have been translating Chaucer into Modern English in Stuart Reed’s class. Yes! Chaucer in a Comprehensive! I liked TRex then. I was so alienated!
‘orrible, isn’t it? But weirdly compelling, too. I looked at some recent German footage of the latest ‘eep incarnation; just unbelievable. Only Mick Box is left; how tragic rockist hair is when ravaged by male pattern baldness. I understand why teenage boys in the seventies listened to this kind of unmitigated shite; because it was hard to find anything good, unless you were lucky enough to find ZigZag magazine to guide you through the swamps of rockist cack, and I didn’t discover ZigZag for another year. Certainly papers like Melody Maker and Sounds endorsed this kind of drivel; and I suspect that in 1973, even the late lamented NME probably gave them space. (Yes, I know there’s still a paper called NME; but take it from me, the paper that published Nick Kent, Mick Farren, CSM, my beloved Burchill etc is long dead.)
What I can’t understand is why there are people in the world who STILL like things like Uriah Heep enough to allow them to keep working. In my view, bands like this should be imprisoned for several years and made to break up rocks.
Even I, who ‘ad at least three other ‘eep albums by the lumpen rockers, voted it bloody terrible. A double live album. Jeez. And my aged Gran bought it for me. ‘ow she carried it ‘ome is anyone’s guess. Apart from being very ‘umble it must have been very ‘eavy.
Ian, your mother is a wonderful, very forgiving woman.
And answer this. What would you be more likely to listen to now? Uriah Heep or Nat? I saw your Mum and Ralph just t’other day whilst taking my granddaughter down to see the swans. We said hello.