Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Things I Can No Longer Listen to As I Am Too Old

I had a friend who went to university somewhere in south London, in about 1988 I guess. Quite often I used to finish work on a Friday night in Wellington, Shropshire, and get straight on the train to London. Ah yes, Hither Green, it's all coming back to me now. His digs were in a nursing home, and I knew the numbers to put into the keypad on the outside door lock, so could just let myself in whether he was there or not. Across the hall from him lived a rockabilly scouser called Elvis who was an Eddie Cochran fan (and postman), and owned a guitar pick thrown into the crowd by Brian Setzer at a Stray Cats gig. Anyway, the Albini project Rapeman album seemed to be on almost all the time, and is the first of my Things I Can No Longer Listen to As I Am Too Old.

I guess the majority of Things I Can No Longer Listen to As I Am Too Old should really be children's music, but actually I can listen to children's music. One of the albums that got a lot of stick from me and my brother was the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, live at Carnegie Hall. The ripped album cover showed them all stood in a line on stage, all with potato faces, in big thick woolly jumpers. As it was recorded in 1963 I don't think the jumpers were any kind of anti fashion post modernist statement, it was probably just a bit nippy. As an adult listening again the standout tracks are The Parting Glass and Patriot Game, but it's the 13 minute Children's Medley that stuck in my head. I hadn't heard it in 25 years until recently, and still knew every word. I guess this should really be in a post called Things I Can Still Listen to Even Though I Am Old.

I guess R.E.M. could feasibly be listed here, as they seem to have got progressively more crap over the years. They are the musical equivalent of George Best or Gazza. Here they are making their national TV debut on Letterman. Peter Buck's 'need the bathroom dance' is engaging, as is their determined earnestness. It's light years away from stadium gigs and doing strange things with cutlery on a British Airways flight.

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