Andrew Blair is a liar.
Articles by Andrew Blair
Scotland's Indie assault made as big a dent on the pop charts as a millenia's worth of coastal erosion did on the pop charts. Frustrated by this tumultuous rebuff, Scottish Indie's frustration turned in on itself, resulting in a period of experimentation and critically acclaimed unlistenable pish.
While no-one actually liked any of the music from this time, it remains deeply vulgar to say so. This pretence lends a person edge, and without edge everyone would be really fat and infinite. Thus, rather than admitting that you just listened to jangling mimsies on a constant loop, a music fan of the mid-to-late-Eighties would feign adoration for acts such as Bufty Giro.
An excerpt from 'NOVEL VAGUENESS' Music Pamphlet (unknown issue, published 1998).
LOCAL BAND NEWS
With rip-roaring success and chart domination eluding Scottish Indie bands like prophelactics historically elude Dundonian bell-ends, the mid-Eighties were a depressing time for music, and also for absolutely everything else.
While Pam Doove managed to scrape one big hit from the walls of their pop prison, the majority of Scottish Indie bands of this period found it hard to extricate themselves from demarcated band practices, which ensured quality but meant that they could be undercut by Rough Trade, Mute, and the Japanese. Not only that, but the oil which many of these bands depended on for fuel, lubricant and oil was being siphoned directly into The Exocet: a great thundering dildo made of Satan's rivets and tar-black metal. It belched black smoke thrust itself into the air on an otherwise scenic bit of countryside in Northern England, next to a sign saying 'Told you' in J.R.R. Tolkien's handwriting.
The first ever Scottish indie record was Camera Shy's Lord Cole's Stalinist Reference, which was released on the Hard Barter label in 4 AD. With its clean, trebly string sound and stop-start angular rhythms, it set a clear template for what followed. Unfortunately there was no means of playing the LP at the time of its pressing (no-one wanted to dance after King Herod of Judea's New Year mass infanticide), and so it wasn't until 1979 that its legacy ensued a-go-go.
That was the year that found 'Wee' John Merope hiding in a cave on Arran – on the run from English troops – when he discovered a copy of the Camera Shy LP hidden in the rock. He swam back to Ardrossan disguised as a Caledonian MacBrayne shuttle ferry, and found a turntable at the local tannery. Inspired by what he heard, Merope formed the seminal alt-rock group Pam Doove with other Milngavie Carpentry School dropouts, and kick-started the second fey-wristed wave of Scottish Indie bands, all seeking to gain membership of legendary labels such as Edinburgh's 'Nae Quality Control' and Glasgow's 'Tweegregious'.
For any child of the 80s or 90s, the name of Stephen Patrick Bartholomew Jezebel Morrissey was synonymous with that cherished phase of abject misery that dominated the later ebbs of a wasted youth. To children born in la petit mort of the current century however, his name will bring scant signs of recognition, possibly followed by an assumption that you were talking about Neil Morrissey, the actor and recent star of ‘The Rain Man’.
Why is this? Perhaps it is because of the lack of cinematic recognition he has received. Unlike other popular characters from the 80’s, such as Daredevil and David Bowie, he has never turned his success with a disenfranchised youthdom into a movie of unparalled popular acclaim (Daredevil, in movie format, was legendarily so bloody amazing that no-one has even attempted to make another version. Bowie famously played a suspicious bulge in Labyrinth). Children can be seen in playgrounds the country over, ever battling their Daredevil themed “Stretch” Armstrongs against the abstract concept of ‘Let’s Dance’. Morrissey doesn't get a look in. Occasionally a trip to Forbidden Planet will yield such novelty items as ‘The Morrissey Bacon Slicer ™’, which takes 14 x AAAA batteries and then screams abuse at you until you weep, thus ruining the taste of the bacon with your salty, malty tears. However anyone searching for useful or merely pleasantly diverting Morrissey themed paraphernalia will find themselves, as so often in their lives, completely denied the experience. To such men and women of our generation this feels completely wrong.
At supermarkets, the discerning consumer may encounter many different types of ham. These are mainly traditional hams, rather than your thought-provoking Heston Blumenthal ‘Ham of a She-Bear’-type hams. But amidst the sea of trad-meat one can often locate that strangest of animal proteins: that one that looks like a bear’s face. My question is this: Who thought that giving children strange ham made to look like the face of a bear was a good idea? Has anyone considered the long term consequences of giving children strange ham? Why do I keep repeating the phrase ‘giving children strange ham’?
(Imagine, if you will, a TV advert in the months preceding Christmas. The camera pans across a wasteland, with derelict flats in the background. The picture is in black and white. A gravely voiced announcer, possibly Ken Stott, intones disturbing facts about blights on our society, before finally uttering the horrible truth the information was leading to:
The History of Hiding, BBC 2
Presented by Peter Sissons and his daughter Sissy, this documentary series charts the beginnings and the development of concealment. Promised series highlights include episodes based on James I of Scotland (hiding in a cludgie), Rommel (hiding in the desert) and Your True Love.
Sissons makes for a dour and po-faced host, as if he feels the show is beneath him. His daughter, on the other hand, is very keen to contribute but one never gets the feeling that she understands what is going on, and is mainly a providing a steady stream of incoherent babble. Amidst the dry but factually rich commentary from the elder Sissons we find out that hiding was invented, not by humans, but by the Emperor of China’s least favourite rabbit. Said rabbit not only outlasted the Emperor but all of the rabbits that were preferable to him, and briefly became the new Emperor’s favourite rabbit until it got complacent.
The BBC announced recently the return of the character 'The Master' to their popular evening telly show 'Doctor Who'. Thousands of girl-wummin greeted the news with enough squee to power Belgium, and skipped merrily around 'pon the announcement. Something to do with wonts. Anyhow.
I have been commissioned by the boffins at BBC Wales' Creationisation Labs to tell people what the 'The Master' is all about. Otherwise people might watch the show in a state of confusion, which could make it unpopular. And no-one wants to see Russell T Davies cry.
The Usbourne Book of Lesbian Erotica
After the success of their controversial Gayness for the Under-Fives, Usbourne have decided to follow that weighty five-volume tome with this new, more typical, guidebook.
And what a letdown the change of format is.
Ahoy. Below are some reviews of three Edinburgh Fringe shows. By the time you read this they will be gone from Edinburgh, but consider this a time capsule of sorts so that you may return to the city in future and FIND THEM.
Oh, apparently there are other cities.
I am a human person who has been afflicted with a terrible curse. The Great Old One Dread Cthulhu, borne from the supernovae of Vhoorl, lives in my pinkie.
“Shit” doesn’t cover it, either literally or figuratively.
Bah! You’ve always been sentimental, Buttercup, but your feelings will spell the end of your reign as Supreme Overlord of us Mutos! If this...norm chooses to wander into our domain then she must be foolish indeed, straying so far from the path most of her kind follow! I say we kill her! She is a Norm! All Norms must die! That is the way we have always lived, and if you, Buttercup, are too weak to carry out our sacred duty, then perhaps we should replace you as leader?
We Mutos are shunned by her society, all because of our stunted growth, our hideously twisted faces and blistered skin, and our foul breath, like a rat farting into the mouth of a plague victim. But if you prick us, do we not bleed a strange green substance that has a pH of 12? We long to be like the Norms, but they shun us and beat us with cudgel-like devices and shield their children’s eyes from us as we scrabble around for food, beg for money, and pitch articles to Ideas Tap.
Over the years I have come to tolerate your presence on the globular accident we share as a location, but now I have reached my breaking point.
Now, I should add that I have never driven one of your cars, and I never plan to (much in the same way as I never plan to drink Cobra beer unless they too issue a grovelling, flagellating apology and stand in the stocks for several weeks while people throw hungry kittens at them), but this is entirely, 100%, completely your fault. Why? Because of "The Power of Dreams".