By far the biggest thing to happen to me that’s worth writing about on here in the past two months is that on February 12th I will be flying out from Belfast to London, to see The Who play the SSE Arena in Wembley on Saturday. February 13th! Some fans have expressed anger that they’ve announced another “final UK show” of The Who Hits 50! tour but it’s the first time I’ll be seeing them live so I’m massively excited. Every new show is an opportunity for a young fan like myself to see them live for the first time after all. Besides, Roger & Pete put on a fantastic show, so why not? At their age we should be thankful that they’re still able to do it at all, especially following Roger Daltrey’s battle with meningitis in recent months. Treasure the legends whilst we still have them – that’s my philosophy. Of course I’ll also be doing some sightseeing whilst I’m there. I’ll be definitely visiting the Joe Strummer mural and Joe Strummer subway because I’m a big Clash-nerd. 8 weeks to go!!
Well, this is the moment I’ve been counting down to for what feels like an age. Pre-ordered June 20th, arrived September 14th. I can’t actually believe it’s here, it seems so surreal. At 12 discs, it’s by far and away the biggest musical purchase I’ve ever made. And it is just beautiful. The packaging is amazing. Just as importantly however, the remastering sounds equally as impressive. I’m no audiophile but it sounds crystal clear, and I can hear things I never heard before. I haven’t heard an album in full yet but me and my brother (whose equally as impressed) listened to random tracks from it earlier. I have to say I already love the extended version of Sean Flynn – given how much I love the original though that’s not really a surprise. It’s an utter treat to finally have an official copy of The Beautiful People Are Ugly Too as well. Terrific song. I never in my life thought I would ever see the Armagideon Times fanzines also. It was a stroke of genius to include them (as well as the new one). We haven’t watched the DVD yet – that’s going to be for tomorrow. I simply can’t wait to see the unreleased material on that though. This was totally worth every penny, and I cannot wait to digest it over the coming days!
The other related Clash update is that (perhaps appropriately) I’ve started reading Marcus Gray’s Route 19 Revisited: The Clash and London Calling. I’m about seventeen pages in and already the amount of meticulous research that has gone into this book is apparent. I’m still very much in the introductory stages of the book -at 500 + pages it’s definitely not lacking in length. Already I feel slightly more well versed about the significance of train imagery in rock and roll songs. God knows how detailed it’s going to get when I start reading about London Calling itself. Numerous reviews have started that the smallest minutiae of the songs are analyzed, explained etc. It’s going to be a slow read, but one that will surely prove fascinating and thoroughly rewarding.
That’s it for now, but definitely not for the day. It’s just a little over two hours to go before I finally get Sound System. I simply cannot wait.
Also, the first of the two new Clash releases arrived today. I know, I know, this may be rather excessive. This is just a greatest hits and I already own all the tracks (before even ordering Sound System). One reason I ordered this is it contains a copy of the original setlist, handwritten by Joe Strummer, in the booklet. That may be shallow I’ll concede. Also on a personal level – I won’t get many chances to enjoy an upcoming Clash release. I better make the most of them when they do happen therefore. Besides, I’d be shocked if there was a bigger release than Sound System. Most importantly though it’s handy for when I’m going somewhere and I just want one Clash CD. It’s got the best track listing of all the greatest hits in my opinion, so this is still a CD I will get a lot of use out of, even if it offers nothing new in terms of musical content.
|The Morse Code message.|
Anyway, there’s some very exciting news today if you are a Victim (a fan of The Killers). I’ll admit I’ve not been following the latest news rigidly (shameful). However, a few weeks ago they teased us by saying a big announcement is coming this month. They’ve also said they wish to commemorate the upcoming tenth anniversary of their first London show (which is in late September). It seems like the two are linked. As they played London’s Wembley stadium at the end of June, it would be fitting to release that Wembley show on DVD on this anniversary year wouldn’t it? Earlier today their Facebook page posted a cryptic Morse code message that when translated reads as “The Killers shot at the night”. It does lend credence to the theory that a Wembley DVD is imminent. However, the October issue of Vanity Fair magazine may have revealed what this announcement will be. In the Hot Tracks section of the magazine they have said that a greatest hits compilation, containing three new songs, is due for release in the autumn. It’s highly likely that the already confirmed M83 collaboration will be one of those new songs. To be honest it’s most likely the greatest hits. However, I think there may be some sort of special edition with the Wembley show DVD. In any case, expect news this coming Monday (a now deleted tweet mentioned September 16th). I’m intrigued to see what it is, to say the least!
|Limited edition 12″ cover|
However – there is a new song that has, quite frankly, bowled me over. Reflektor, from Arcade Fire’s upcoming album. I only know a handful of songs by them. I like them so far, and they do a brilliant cover version of The Clash’s Guns of Brixton to boot. I was hoping to get into them more with their upcoming album actually. That only looked even more likely after learning it would be produced by James Murphy (aka LCD Soundsystem). It definitely sounds at least somewhat like an LCD Soundsystem track, with it’s little electronic flourishes. I absolutely love the percussion parts too. The track definitely bears the influence of Talking Heads too. And just to take things up another notch, they’ve got an exceptional talent on backing vocals (albeit briefly): David Bowie, no less. I love his brief vocals. On first listen I did really like the song but I felt it perhaps ran a minute or so too long, it’s quite lengthy at almost eight listens. On repeated listens though that stance has firmly been diminished.It’s got a really lovely groove to it, and the arrangement is very infectious. After learning that the album will be a double album too, I really can’t wait to hear it now!
That’s all for now, and probably for the day, unless something unexpected crops up. It’s almost certain that something will arrive tomorrow, hopefully it will and I’ll have an update on Sound System by then!
I got this two days and forgot to post it. I also forgot to include the CD it came with as well in the picture but it’s not related to The Clash in any way. I do like Uncut, although I don’t purchase it regularly. I did love their special issue devoted solely to The Clash though, so naturally I was excited to get this. It’s a great article – I particularly loved the section were Paul Simonon made some very insightful comments regarding their infamous trip to Belfast in 1977. I must say I echoed his sentiments wholeheartedly indeed. Better still – I’ve finally been able to get some locations for the pictures taken of them here. I’d only been able to identify a few taken in Royal Avenue prior to getting this magazine. It’s not just The Clash that provided the only bit of interesting reading in the magazine though for me – there’s also a lengthy interview with Mick Fleetwood (of Fleetwood Mac). I’m sure I’ll find a new band worth investigating in their review section too, although I haven’t read the reviews section really yet. Nevertheless it’s a worthy addition to my ever-growing Clash collection!
So at long last – and boy it took a while – I finished this book! A quick backtrack through the blog says that I started this on the 9th July. Oh dear me. I took far too long to read it. I should have had this finished somewhere between two weeks to a month ago, but I went through a phase of finding it very difficult to read. Sometimes I get that, and it can last up to a month. Not good. I’m a fast reader, so it’s almost like I burn myself out or something. I didn’t even think that was possible! Worse still, my reading halted just as Mick Jones got sacked from the group. It wasn’t even like I had that much to read. Anyway – don’t take that as a comment against this book itself. I absolutely loved it. It’s very funny, informative yet easy to read (yes, in spite of my odd reading habits). It was my first actual Clash biography, so there was plenty of new information to digest. Too much for one read actually, I’ll definitely need to re-read this. My next book will be going back to Heavier Than Heaven, which is a biography on Kurt Cobain, and finishing that. I’m up to the start of 1994 in that, so obviously I’m nearly finished it too. The reason I didn’t finish? Yep, you guessed it, reader’s block (as I’ll refer to it from now on). I know I got another book by The Clash on Friday there, but I won’t start that for a bit. I want to finish Heavier Than Heaven then look at getting stuck into some novels because I could do with a break from just reading various music biographies over and over. After all, you’ve got to mix things up, right?
So, after picking The Killers shirt and briefly flirting with the idea of getting a Velvet Underground one (which I didn’t in the end) it was time to see what records to buy. This was when my plans sort of went out the window. I wanted to get Pretty Hate Machine by Nine Inch Nails. Did they have it? Not at all – in fact they had no Nine Inch Nails records whatsoever. Great.. Hm, what to buy? I checked the DVD section for Simon & Garfunkel’s Central Park show – no luck. So I just went with the CD version of the concert. Decided to look for Fleetwood Mac’s The Dance live album. Gone (although stupidly enough, they had put it by the till. I only found it once I had paid). What a stupid display move that was. Then I remembered I had spied Route 19 Revisited, which was a book about the making of London Calling. Was it in still in the display where I found it? Nope! So, back downstairs I went to the book section. Found it, along with two other Clash books. Joe Strummer & The Legend of The Clash and The Clash Talking to were the titles. I’ve been considering purchasing the latter, but I’ve never seen the former in town before though I knew of it. Stupidly I forgot to look inside Joe Strummer &The Legend of The Clash although it has good reviews. As for The Clash talking it was a stupidly dear price – £12 if I remember – for a rather short book that is just a compilation of quotes. I want it, but £12 just seemed excessive, I can get it online much cheaper. Anyway, back upstairs and I still wanted more records. Then I remembered I had liked Vampire Weekend’s new album. They didn’t have that either. Honestly I think they were in the midst of doing a display revamp or something. Then I remembered Disclosure’s debut. Surprisingly I found the deluxe edition of that for a decent price, so I snapped it up. Then I spotted The Essential Paul Simon. I have Songwriter ripped to my hard-drive because I bought it for my Dad for Father’s Day, but this collection had a lot of songs on it absent from Songwriter. I only have Graceland & The Rhythm of The Saints on CD myself. By this point, I had about enough money left for two postcards, and to my surprise they had a new Clash one in. Ironically, the first Clash item I ever got was a postcard from HMV. The only other one that caught my interest was the Nevermind cover. After that – I just wanted to get out. HMV can be very draining. I do love what I got (I always do), even if it was a slightly unexpected batch though!