It was late, there’s a pandemic, I got into the bottle of single malt, I have no idea what came over me!
I bought my first Joy Division album.
I have spent most of my cognizant life avoiding any association with Joy Division whatsoever. I have mocked their fans, mocked the band and denied any desire to listen to or own an album.
I was lured by the price which had to be a mistake at $10 (thank you Crossroads Records) and the promise of crystal clear vinyl, also I watched Peter Hook being interviewed and heard him talk of his love for Lemmy and Hawkwind.
Currently I am coming to terms with my purchase.
I am feeling that from my new enlightened willingness to listen to anything it is time for me to confront my left over demons from the sixth form common room and the incessant playing of this album through every break by pale young men with floppy hair and black overcoats and furrowed brows.
It’s a fine collection of music though now that I am distanced from the trauma of my teenage years, even if I have not fully come to terms with that trauma.
As I exit the debris of the first three weeks of January it’s maybe time to look at all those albums I bought in some form of anxiety ridden purchase agreement with myself.
The end of the year saw a dive at Radiohead, the Stones Zappa and some other diversions that I am coming to terms with.
I have never been a Stones aficionado. I have enjoyed them over and over again and attended the Steel Wheels tour in 1990 even though it meant having to go to Maine Rd. Again as I hang my head in shame I have to admit to having no clear memory of the gig, this may be because the journey began in the Swan Inn on Wood St, a refreshing train ride, meeting up in The Salisbury in Manchester and then a walk to Maine Rd. for the gig. The return journey is even further fraught with vagueness apart from leaving the Freewheelers on Wood St in the early hours the next day. I am assured by all and sundry that I had a good time and can only trust their memories over mine. There is a picture taken at some point on this odyssey, I am not sure I am ready to share it.
Which brings me to Let It Bleed that I bought this year in some late night Amazon two for the price of one shopping spree.
It’s an album that lurches around from blues to country to a harder rocking and then back again. Which frankly is its schizophrenic appeal. It turns up on all sorts of lists of greatest albums of all time, which may be justified or not who knows? Mick Taylor plays his heart out on his two tracks and Ry Cooder turns up along with others.
It’s chock full of Stones essentials and then there is the sublime weirdness of Monkey Man which balances out Gimme Shelter and Let It Bleed as they are at times bit serious and too good. I have no idea what it’s really about, however I’m gonna make a safe guess that sex, drugs and partying are major topics along with cold Italian pizza, which is the preferred hangover cure for most discerning people, the correct balance of grease, cheese and carbs, add a warm beer and you are good to go.
I have to admit to cold chills as I get to You Cant Always Get What You Want having heard it so many times on the news this last four years on the previous presidents fascist rallies. It however is a class song if you can get over some of the more recent associations. It’s funny that Trump chose a song of drug addled resignation for his rallies, go figure. Of course he moved on to YMCA which considering his lack of tolerance to anyone outside his white heterosexual stereotype is even more incomprehensible.
In the semi-gloom of the evening I found myself bopping along to Let It Bleed and really wishing I could remember that Maine Rd. gig as it was Mr Wyman’s last tour with The Stones and therefore was probably of some historical importance.
This was also the only time I knowingly gave money to Manchester United in any way which still causes me some tribal pain at times.
You have to love that album cover, the layer cake on that record player stacking system with the boys on top like some sort of deranged deformed parody of themselves that they later became.
Sometimes there are no words, or at least not words you can understand.
Sometimes there is just mystery.
Sometimes it is time for the Cocteau Twins, hardly any recognizable lyrics but such a beautiful voice from Elizabeth Fraser and the guitars of Robin Guthrie. The music is soothing, disquieting and consuming.
With almost no percussion Victorialand kind of floats along and your brain goes with it.
It’s actually the perfect panacea for the last two weeks in the USA.