17 February 2006
Current listening: Broken Family Band - Balls
it’s five o clock in the morning. i’m not properly awake yet. i’m on a train into london from wendover, and when i read this back later it probably won’t make any sense. but never mind. i’m listening to the new broken family band album. i’m a big fan.
“i didn’t have any posters of pop stars. i didn’t fancy any pop stars when i was younger. my friends did, all the pop stars used to make me throw up. i remember i did have a seashell though, if that’s any help” – Cathy Dennis
smash hits magazine is dead, and the world will never be the same again. probably a bit over the top, but the closing of the best pop magazine on the planet seems kind of a shame. to be honest, it’s been a few years since i bought a copy, but i don’t buy the nme anymore either. when i was younger though i bought smash hits every two weeks without fail. as i got older i started to buy nme and melody maker, but i still bought smash hits. i had a tower of them in the corner of my bedroom. when i moved house i had to throw all but my very favourite copies away. most of the copies were by now cut up and coverless. although i still have every copy from 1980 to 1985 in perfect condition, but that’s because me and pete found a pile of old smash hits at a car boot sale many years later. all in mint condition with flexi discs, badges and stickers all intact. they cost us three pounds. we went halves. it still stands as the best find either of us ever made at a car boot sale.
the first copy of smash hits i ever bought i flushed down the toilet. i was seven years old. it had Wham! on the cover and i thought that if my parents found it they would think i had wasted my pocket money, so page by page i tore it up and flushed it down the toilet. luckily it was one of the issues that we found at the car boot sale in mint condition all those years later, so i got it back in the end. it’s not an overstatement to say that smash hits magazine changed my life. before then i’d wanted to be a football player. i wanted to play for swansea city because my grandad had played for them when he was young. and before wanting to be a football player i’d wanted to be a cowboy, then i bought a copy of smash hits, volume six number nineteen, and from that moment on i wanted to be a pop star. however unlikely it was. smash hits shaped the way i listen to pop music and the sort of pop music i wanted to make. it never took itself too seriously and it never felt the need to wear its intelligence on its sleeve. it treated pop stars with an irreverence that nme and melody maker didn’t. it was funny and silly and somehow bought out the best in the most interesting pop stars and the worst in the dullest. it changed the way i spoke. i still refer to Paul McCartney as Paul fab macca thumbs aloft McCartney. and most of all, it changed the way i think about pop music. i still find it difficult to differentiate between Beat Happening and Girls Aloud. essentially.
i have added some of my favourite quotes from smash hits to this weblog.
“when all the other girls used to talk about boys, we thought it was disgusting, we were appalled by it. we were disinterested in boys, we just liked our pop bands. and now that we’re a pop band, we’re only interested in us!” – jacqui, Shampoo
my favourite front cover of smash hits is the one with Morrissey and a kitten on a plate. but the three Altered Images covers are fantastic too.
before it went down the dumper, i was lucky enough to be interviewed by smash hits. it was backstage at the poll winners party. i’m not sure if the person interviewing me was that excited to be interviewing me, but it was fun anyway. she asked typical smash hits questions. first snog. worst date. five things i love. five things i hate. that sort of thing. and she didn’t seem too disappointed with my answers. for me, it was a childhood dream come true. i’m not sure if the interview was ever printed in the magazine, and i guess it’s a bit late now. but it was enough to nearly be in it.
“i was the kind of child who’d bounce out of bed on a saturday, leap-frog down to the local record shop and just sit there, inhaling the hair for hours and smelling all the vinyl and caressing the sleeves. i’d leave about midday and go to bed and consider that a completely successful day.” - Morrissey
it isn’t five thirty in the morning anymore. it’s nine thirty at night. i’m back on a train again. going home this time. we just did a session on bbc six music. on the dave gorman show. it’s usually the tom robinson show, but tom is on holiday this week. it was lovely to meet dave gorman. i’m a big fan. i went to see his googlewhack show when he came to aylesbury. and it turns out that he’s a fan of ours. which is nice. its always nice to be liked by people you like. we did two songs and spoke for a bit. i think it sounded okay, but i’ve got a cold so i couldn’t really hear properly. hopefully my cold will have cleared up a bit by tomorrow when our tour starts. we’re in brighton tomorrow. and then shortly after we finish the uk tour, we’re off to america for a month. we’re doing some shows with james blunt, and we’re playing at sxsw and doing about six or seven of our own shows. i’m not sure exactly where yet, but anywhere that we don’t play i guess we’ll go back to in the summer.
“when i was at school with george i just looked forward… this is awfully romantic… but i always saw us just sitting on a verandah just having a drink, but old, you know?” – Andrew Ridgeley
sorry for the pauses. i had meant to post it up yesterday but then i had to leave for brighton and i didn’t get time. so now it’s friday and we played brighton yesterday. the hanbury ballroom. a bit shambolic, but i really enjoyed myself . tonight we’re in bristol.
things i’ve been listening to and really loving. the new album by the gothenburg indie pop group Love Is All. really like that. the Tilly and the Wall album, it’s been out for ages, but i’ve only just got a copy. really lovely, with some fantastic tap dancing percussion. and the new album by Euros Childs, the singer from Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci, which is fantastic too. and then this morning i’ve been listening to an album that someone gave me outside the hanbury ballroom yesterday. always nice when people give me records and cds. it’s by a band called the Wizard and the Frog. and it seems from the introduction to be some sort of greatest hits album. one side is called Wesley and the other side is called Willis. and so naturally the legendary Wesley Willis is obviously an influence on some of the songs, particularly the Wizard and Frog Rap. but it also kind of reminds me of We Show Up On Radar and Kid Carpet and stuff like that. but weirder than all that, it reminds me mostly of Herman’s Hermits. i think it might be the Wizard’s voice. whatever it is, it definitely makes me want to listen to Herman’s Hermits again. which is nice. favourite song, probably ‘The Wizard and the Frog were robbed’, a song about losing a battle of the bands contest i think. heartbreaking in a funny way.
anyway, i have to leave for bristol now. i’m late again.