Thursday, August 14, 2014

The title of the book was enough to capture my attention, A Scene in Between: Tripping Through the Fashions of UK Indie Music 1980-1988. Upon its arrival at my house, I poured over every matte-print photograph of stylish yet seemingly anonymous musicians. They'd sport black and white horizontal striped shirts, drain-pipe jeans and scruffed-up Chelsea boots. Their heavy, hollow-bodied guitars would crumple billowy shirts, anoraks and duffle coats. The girls would accessorise familiar '50s polka-dot dresses with matching linen belts. Everyone would pose awkwardly on crumbling grey streets, they would play self-consciously on stages in pine-clad rec-halls among friends. It was all reminiscent of the life I had always wanted and the style I sought to revive... and then I saw this photograph of the Swansea band, The Pooh Sticks.

So Wylde

The photograph was the most sublime combination of style and inconvenience I had ever seen. Without hesitation I made it my Facebook profile picture, never stopping to consider whether anybody would appreciate what was so cool about it. Much of my fascination had to do with the fact that I've maintained a fringe for the best part of eight years and for me, fringe trims have always been an ordeal. Every six weeks, my obscured eyesight would remind me of my ongoing obligation and they were almost always poorly executed endeavours. Sure, it's a minor operation, cutting ten centimetres of hair across my face in a straight line but it usually results with stray strands and a mystifying jump in length over my left eyebrow. A slapdash hairdresser would brush me off, both physically and literally: "It's just your hair!" and I would have to stop myself from saying: "It's just one third of my freaking face!"

Aside from fringe trims, the photograph seems to fascinate me on an entirely different level. Sure, seeing, breathing and eating would be quite difficult with such a trendy aesthetic, but I love the idea of losing yourself, ultimately sacrificing your face to style. I love the idea that a person can choose anonymity, particularly in the face of cultural recognition. Identification, attribution and celebration appears to be such an integral part of the art-making process that choosing to be anonymous seems to be such a bizarre notion. Then again, it's kind of sweet to think that all you really need to know about them is contained here. You can't see their faces, sure, but you can see it in how he tilts his head, how the other holds his cigarette, how they all stand together as they do. They're the ones with attitude, with swagger. They're the ones who understood the thrill and the value of '60s garage.

I want to be in their gang.

Cassettes & Chocolate Milk: Jangle Pop Podcast #60
The Fire Engines - Big Gold Dream
Orange Juice - Falling and Laughing
The Servants - Aim in Life
The Direct Hits - Captivating Eyes
Primal Scream - May the Sun Shine Bright for You
Marine Girls - A Place in the Sun
Strawberry Switchblade - Go Away
June Brides - Heard You Whisper
Phil Wilson - 10 Miles
Talulah Gosh - Talulah Gosh

Download (48.5 MB)


Kurt Reynolds said...

Nice one!

Really liked the drumless band...who needs drums anyway? Drummers take so many space in the studios and in the vans ;)

Eleanor said...

Too true, Kurt... too true!

Vanessa Berry said...

Love this book, and all that C-86 stuff. There's a great compilation called Scared to Get Happy that includes a lot of these bands, though a lot of them are just trying to sound like Orange Juice!

Eleanor said...

Thanks so much for your comment and recommendation, Vanessa! The tracklisting looks amazing - The House of Love, Marine Girls, Television Personalities! I can't wait to listen to it thoroughly!