I originally wrote this on New Years Day and it kind of got out of hand (more so than usual for me). What started as a run-down of the past year and a quick look to the upcoming one turned into a 2000 word essay. So I have split it up into two “more manageable” ones. Here is Part 1 about Last year. Part 2 will follow in a day or two. Happy New Year!
Here it is Day One of the New Year and I am late posting my round-up of last year. Can’t say things don’t change eh? I had planned for this post to be done well before the New Year happened so that I could do a separate post about this upcoming year and a few goals I have in mind. More of that in a while though. (more…)
This post is part of the #WeekendCoffeeShare linkup run by Part-Time Monster . If you click this link it will open a new tab and take you to a list of posts that have been posted on Twitter this week by other bloggers taking part in the linkup. You can also check out the official link up page here. (Just a tip as you read through this post.. not all the links in this post lead to websites.. some lead to images linked to the article. I am trying something different.. I would like some feedback if it works or not.. Let me know what you think to the layout of the post and whatnot if you have the time or inclination please 🙂 ) (more…)
You have probably heard the saying “opinions are like butt-holes, everyone has one”. That is pretty much my feeling towards critics, be it music, film or book. Even though I have dabbled in said line of writing and this post could be construed a critic of Iron Maidens new album, I still think that the only opinion of a piece of art should be yours, so don’t listen to a critic unless they have paid for the coffee first. Listen to what your heart tells you about what you are observing. Here endeth the lesson.. now on to the good stuff. (more…)
From time to time I review new music over at Scribes of Metal. As much as I enjoy reviewing the new music that is coming out at the moment nothing beats the stuff that I grew up listening to. What bugs me though is the fact that I never got the chance to give the world my point of view when the album came out first time around.
So I thought, why not start a new “thing” here where I can review the albums that I grew up with that I now consider Classics.
I realise that everyone has a classic album in their collection that everyone else will say “THAT is NOT a classic album by ANY stretch of the imagination”. I think many people would probably think that the first Transvision Vamp album Pop Art isn’t much more than Pop pap, but to me, it is a kick-start to the emergence of the Girl Power movement and Wendy James was a figure-head, a vocal power house that helped kick that off. That first album helped that.
This post is about Pink Floyd’s The Division Bell.
I have mentioned before that I was already a fan of Pink Floyd before I heard The Division Bell, The Wall was my teenage angst album (isn’t it everyone’s?), but The Division Bell was the album that sealed the deal for me. It was this album that confirmed to me that music could be something that took you somewhere else and made you feel something else.
Up until I heard TDB I had been about extremes, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Bon Jovi and bands of that ilk. If I could bang my head to it, I banged my head to it. I lost more brain cells to Heavy Metal than I did to beer in those formative years (I am suffering for it now I think). Even my liking of The Wall was an extreme looking back. I took an extreme reaction to the isolating “feels” that the album offered and shared. I didn’t get the redemption that Pink got at the end of the piece (I’ll do The Wall another time).
TDB was first heard in a theatre over a professional(ish) sound system. It sounded bloody amazing, and has never quite sounded the same again. For a first listen it was pretty special. It was after a production I was working on and my best friend put the tape on and for a while it was just background music and then something caught my ear and I stopped and sat down for a cigarette break and then the music hit me. I started to sink in.
I don’t recall which track it was, I don’t know where I came in, all I know is that it was an epiphany.
A light turned on and I saw and heard something that was positive.
I was a student at the time and money was tight. More so that I was living in my own place, but the next chance I had, I had to have that album. It became a staple in my Walkman. Along with my Tobacco Tin and lighter my Walkman went everywhere with me. I had to have music pretty much everywhere I went. I guess these days a Doctor would diagnose a Social Anxiety disorder as I couldn’t (or wouldn’t) connect with the outside world if at all possible. There is more to it, but I am on an upswing with this post at the moment, I don’t want to bring you down!
I listened to that tape to death. It unravelled so many times and I hand to re-spool it many times with a pencil it grew unfunny after a while. I was too poor to own a CD player (they weren’t affordable or portable at the time) so that idea was out. After a while the tape snapped and my connection with The Division Bell drifted apart.
Well almost. In 1995 Pink Floyd released PULSE the live album from The Division Bell tour. This acquainted me with the album again and bought me a whole new world of joy and my Mum a whole new world of despair.
On the spine of the PULSE slipcase was a blinking red LED light. I kept all of my CD’s on a shelf on the far side of my room. The PULSE disc was slap dab in the middle of the shelf with the LED facing out into the room and every time Mum came into my room the first thing she would see would be that LED flashing away. (I was unlucky I had the room that caught the sun first thing in the morning, so my blinds were very rarely opened). That LED was like the cockroaches, it would have lasted a Nuclear blast. I think the only reason it gave out in the end was an untimely accident with a cup of coffee (which I would never suggest wasn’t an accident?)
Now I am much older and the world is a much more complex place for me and the way my head processes things, the music I listen to is much more important. I need music like I need medicine . The Division Bell is in my regular rotation of albums that get played when I need to calm down and find that happy place. That is an oft used clichéd term, but I do think everyone has that list of things that takes them there, my list grows each week and changes by the day.
Pink Floyd made me much happier recently with the 20th anniversary of The Division Bell by releasing a new album of music that didn’t make it to the original album. The Endless River comprises of music that predominately features Richard Wright compositions and things that weren’t suitable for TDB then. Some have said that the release of the album s just a cash grab for old-time sake, I say, NO! I say it is a fitting epitaph to a band who wanted to say goodbye to a friend who is sorely missed and to put a end to a journey that started 50 years ago and has taken many twists , climbed many a country stile and now needs to sail off down that endless river.
So that is the start of my new thing. My first Classic Album. It isn’t my Favourite album in the world, EVER, but it is an album that left a mark in my life. There are many more.
When I was a young head banger back in the day, I was on the cusp of vinyl and cassette tapes. The tapes won out in the end due to the fact I had a Walkman and fitting an album into one of those things was a bitch to do. One of the things that I missed with tapes was art work. Looking at Derek Riggs Iron Maiden art work on tape sized covers was never the same as looking at the vinyl versions. The one concession I made to vinyl was the 10 Year Anniversary Iron Maiden singles set. I collected all of those and I still have them in storage somewhere. I think if I could have used the covers as wall art I would have. In fact as years drew on I used to buy more album art posters to decorate my bedroom walls.
This leads me to the very sad news that one of the most creative and individualistic artists I have ever come across has passed away today.
Storm Thorgerson created some of the most iconic album art work ever. If he had only created the Dark Side of the Moon cover and then gone into isolated seclusion he place in art history would have been assured.
For me DSOTM is an iconic cover, but for me the cover to The Division Bell is my favourite. The two heads talking just makes me realise that everyone has two sides and that it’s not just me that has that inner dialogue that goes on in the dark nights or the lonely hours when all you really want to do is Keep Talking.
The album cover for Pink Floyd’s The Division Bell designed by Storm Thorgerson
This is by no means an obituary, I only knew the man as an artist, but it’s just a small token to say.. thank you for realising the conflict in my head.. even though you never knew I existed. We all should just keep talking.
It’s been almost a month since we made the big move and I have to say, things are settling down quite nicely. We have been and met out new GP, and have gotten most of our mail (that we know of) and the Supermarket delivery people know where we are. It’s pretty much as I expected it to be.
We are still living in cardboard city in the bedrooms and nothing has really been done to sort them out as of yet. We are all surviving on two or three changes of clothes as the third bedroom is one big dumping ground and that’s where all the clothes are. It’s mental that we thought we could just have a room for utilities. We honestly never thought that we would be in the same position that we were in in the old place (Having a box room full of boxes.) We’ll get around to sorting it out once the boredom really sets in.
I have been placating myself with endless music lately. My head has been racing quite a bit and music, as they say, soothes the savage beast. This evening for example has been an Iron Maiden night. I have imported almost their whole discography into iTunes and am steadily working my way through the lot. I remember being 15 and getting into Maiden. It was an exciting time, they had just released Seventh Son of a Seventh Son and they were at their peak. I listened to Seventh Son over and over again and ate up anything that was to do with Maiden. Each week I would go to the record shop and buy one of their back catalogue on tape. I could just about afford it on my paper boy wages and still have enough for Kerrang as well. Once I had gotten all of Iron Maiden I was happy. I did have to save for a couple of weeks to get Live After Death but it was well worth it.
Nowadays my musical tastes have grown and Maiden isn’t the big influence they used to be. As a creature of habit I get all their new releases just to keep up with the anal retentive completest in me. It’s the same with AC/DC. Once I started I couldn’t stop until I had em all. Back to Maiden for a sec. The reason they don’t hold the same fascination that they once did is that they seem to have gotten to Prog for their own good. I mean they were always into the epic tunes but now each track is over 7 minutes long and they start to meld together after a while. That’s why I intersperce New stuff with old, just to mix it up a little and remind myself why I liked em in the first place. No other band used to sound like Maiden (I know I went looking and never found them.) These days there are a dozen bands doing what Maiden do, dream Theatre being the chief band I can associate with the trend. I guess if I put Iron Maiden into my Last FM programme I would expand my horizons a little more.
OK I took a break from writing this post to check out Last FM Iron Maiden Radio station, and so far it’s all been pretty predictable. Started off with Iron Maiden and then went on to Judas Priest and then Manowar and Black Sabbath and so on… now we are on AC/DC so it’s turning out that this is a pretty good radio station (not quite as good as the Pink Floyd station… but you can’t have everything I suppose.)