It was 1989, a confusing time to be sure for all concerned. At 23 years old I was aware that I was fast approaching the fatal 24. Neil Young had in Old Man convinced me that this was an age of importance and momentous things would happen if I made it to this landmark. There was to be sure a whole lot more waiting to happen and 24 was quite momentous for all together other reasons than Mr. Young probably had in mind.
1990 however was fast approaching and the pop landscape from the perspective of a guitar loving 20 something was a mystery, yes there was Guns ‘N’ Roses but sorry they were a little too poised and considered in their image. Looking at the charts from 89, it was a particularly difficult time, Jive Bunny was in there with Bananarama and some others that nowadays I could listen to from a slightly ironic perspective.
I am sure there were whole lot of guitar slinging bands of many varieties I have managed to forget. At the time musically I was somewhere trying to integrate a love of REM, Hawkwind and Julian Cope as well as the Talking Heads, King Crimson and Neil Young amongst others. From my current enlightened state of willingness to listen to most anything once if not twice as my friend Greg reminded me today, it all makes sense. For a 23 year old convinced that the universe may end when he reached 24 and a need to appear somewhat cool at all times this was a challenge. These biases in the next year were going to be challenged on a daily basis but all that was in the future.
All these thoughts came flooding back to me the other day as I rooted around at the local Salvation Army Store. I was overcome by a sense of longing for 1989 with the discovery of Southside by Texas. Yes they have there roots in Altered Images and Hipsway. They do however have a fine slide player and more importantly for me the memory of Sharleen Spiteri playing guitar in an oversize denim jacket and singing with that well cut floppy mop of black hair. This is an everlasting image of the end of the 80’s for me and was the first time and maybe last time I ever bought a record because the singer reminded me of an old girlfriend. This on reflection may really be the best reason to buy a pop record.
It’s a good pop record, it has three or four memorable songs. The value however is the flood of memories it brings back of riding trains back and forth form Liverpool to Bolney West Sussex.
If you look at the list of albums released in 1989 it was a great year for music with Dylan and Neil Young in their at time grizzled middle aged way. None of them however had the fair Ms. Spiteri who reminded me of a certain young woman from Hull.