I hear the sirens calling
As the rain is gently falling

My first record, my first music magazine

Disco 45 T-Rex Special
Jeepster by T-Rex (A-side)
Jeepster by T-Rex (B-side)

The first record I ever bought was “Jeepster” by T-Rex. I’ve still got my original copy. I’ve still got pretty much all my old records. I don’t know how many there are, but they take up an entire room. Unfortunately, I don’t have my copy of the Disco 45 T-Rex Special, which I think I am right in saying was the first music magazine I ever bought.

Disco 45 was a monthly magazine consisting mainly of song lyrics and photos. It was published by a company called Trevor Bolton Partnership and launched as a newsprint title in 1970, but was later a full-colour glossy. Despite stiff competition from magazines like Popswop, It’s Here And Now and Look-InDisco 45 kept going until 1981, when it was finally seen off by the phenomenally successful Smash Hits – as were most of the other 1970s teen magazines.

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Record Store Day 2012

Record Store Day 2012Record Store Day 2012 is set for Saturday 21 April, with over 200 shops across the UK taking part in the annual celebration of all things round and black (although sometimes other colours) and with a hole in the middle. As in previous years, a number of exclusive releases are planned for the day and these will be available only from participating shops. The releases that have caught my eye include:

  • Battles – The fourth and final part of the “Dross Glop” 12-inch vinyl only remix series (limited edition of 500 copies)
  • Lee “Scratch” Perry – Triple 10-inch box set of Perry’s classic 1973 “Blackboard Jungle Dub” album on red, yellow and green vinyl, plus a large poster of the album artwork
  • David Bowie – Seven-inch picture disc of “Starman” with the previously unreleased “Top Of The Pops” version of the song on the flip
  • Devo – “Live In Seattle 1981” double album recorded during the band’s “New Traditionalists” tour (the original cassette tape of this was found in a shoebox in Bob Casale’s house)
  • The Fall – “Night Of The Humerons” seven-inch, featuring a new track called “Victrola Time” and a live version of “Taking Off” (limited edition of 1,000 copies)
  • T-Rex – “Electric Sevens”, a box set of six seven-inch EPs of tracks from the 1971 “Electric Warrior” album, plus some demo versions and BBC recordings
  • Electronic Anthology Project – Brett Netson reworks nine Dinosaur Jr tracks in a synthpop stylee for “The Electronic Anthology Of Dinosaur Jr” and J Mascis adds new vocals

Click here to visit the Record Store Day website, where you can find out which shops are involved with the event and browse a complete list of this year’s exclusive releases. Now where did I put that 10 shillings record token I got from Auntie Sybil for my birthday…


Adam Ant at the Cheese & Grain in Frome

What’s not to like about Adam Ant? I mean, come on now, all that wild-eyed whooping and yodelling, all those have-at-thee-varlet videos, all those “Poldark” and “Onedin Line” costume cast-offs. . .

Tonight, the opening date of his biggest tour in years, Adam strolls out in his finest French Revolutionary outfit. Two hours later, having disrobed layer by layer – first the tight-fitting, gold-braided jacket, then the airy linen shirt and finally, at the end, the Adam Ant vest (oh yes, he’s wearing his own merchandising) – he leaves the stage stripped to waist, which isn’t a pretty sight. He’s not what you would call chubby, but he’s had considerably more pies than Iggy Pop. His Napoleon hat remains firmly jammed on his head all night long, though. It doesn’t move a millimetre. It must have been superglued on, unlike his awkwardly large, black-rimmed spectacles, which he keeps having to push back up his nose with his index finger. Every time that he does it, I can’t help but think of Ronnie Corbett sitting on his big chair telling a shaggy dog story.

Oh balls. I said I wouldn’t do this. Adam Ant has long been an easy target for cynical bastard music journos. But actually, to be fair, when he’s got at least some clothes on, he’s looking good for a man rapidly approaching 60. He’s still sounding good too. Despite an erratic mix, his voice is terrific throughout. A gold star for his band as well. The two drummers (oh yes, he has two drummers) mean there’s plenty of rib rattling and the guitarist isn’t fazed that he’s following in the footsteps of Matthew Ashman and Marco Pirroni, who played such keys roles in Adam And The Ants. I’m not so taken with the pair of flesh-flashing female backing singers, who are more interested in their suspenders than their harmonies, but they’re not onstage half the time and are clearly not there just for their vocals anyway.

The focus of the show is as much on Adam’s punk beginnings as it is on his chart hits. “Cleopatra”, “Cartrouble”, “Whip In My Valise”, “Zerox” and “Deutscher Girls” are some of the early songs to get airings and there’s a lot of stuff from “Kings Of The Wild Frontier”, including a ferocious version of the title track. There’s also a sprinkling of new material, most notably a paean to Vince Taylor which is introduced with a dig at Morrissey, and a crafty medley of T-Rex’s “Get It On” and “20th Century Boy”, the flipping back and forth between the two songs working a treat. When it comes to the big smasheroos, the arrangements are not without surprises, “Prince Charming” getting stripped down to vocals, drums and little else besides. “Stand And Deliver” and “Goody Two Shoes” both flirt with chaos, but I’m glad the band haven’t rehearsed the life out of everything. Raucous energy beats musical perfection any day of the week.

Adam stays at the centre from start to finish, ever the entertainer, the showman, the ringmaster. He’s lost none of his pantomime skills (oh no he hasn’t), but I wonder if some of the crowd were expecting something slicker and poppier than this. Three guys near me keep exchanging confused glances, although I have a feeling they were confused already. The white stripes they’ve painted across their faces don’t go with their smartly pressed shirt collars and V-neck sweaters. They move even less than Adam Ant’s hat and, at the end of the set, their white stripes are fully intact and their shirt collars unruffled.

In contrast, most of the others who have dipped into their children’s facepaints before heading out – and there are a lot of them – are in a right state when the lights go up. One bloke looks like a post-apocalyptic clown, which I found extremely disturbing because I think I recognised him as my GP. I guess that’s the trouble with going to a gig so close to home. I just hope he never wants to stick his finger up my bum.

Adam Ant photo by FromeTV