We Can’t Wait Til June

If you’re going to do a cover, do it like this- rip it to shreds with volume and feedback and stick an American TV preacher over the end with the sound of breaking glass.

Surfin’ USA

Eighteen

At 7.37 am on the morning of November 23rd 1998 our eldest Isaac forced his way into the world, two weeks early. Today he turns eighteen. Some of you know his background. He was born with an incredibly rare genetic disease, Hurler’s Disease (MPS1), which saw him taken off to intensive care immediately and he didn’t come out for a week. Hurler’s disease is caused by a missing enzyme which leads to all kind of difficulties- deafness, learning difficulties, physical disabilities and gradual loss of functions to an early death. There is no cure. Aged eighteen months he went through two bone marrow transplants that have put some of the missing enzyme into his body, a treatment that has given him the life he has now. He’s had numerous operations for skeletal problems. One unforeseen consequence of the bone marrow transplant was that the chemotherapy used to enable his body to accept the donor material also destroyed his immune system which then failed to grow back. Aged ten with a weak immune system he got flu which turned into meningitis, which floored him. Back into intensive care and not expected to survive the night. Coma and eventual recovery but with his hearing completely wiped out. It’s been a long road.

But that’s only some of the story. He is in good health currently, goes to special needs 6th form college, has trips out with friends, knows more people than I do and is having a party on Saturday where we are expecting roughly 150 guests to show up. We are transitioning into adult services from children’s, both hospitals and social care, which for us daunting. He just gets on with it. The remarkable thing isn’t his continued determination to carry on against the odds or his resilience in the face of disability (though they are pretty remarkable). The remarkable thing is the connections he makes with people, the impact he has on them and the joy he gets from them.

Eighteen years ago I was totally unprepared for this- having a child is change enough. Having a disabled child is another world. Looking back now I’m not sure how we coped with some of the things he and we went through. But here we are. One of the things he wants the most on becoming an adult is to have a pint poured for him (which he won’t drink but it’ll be poured and sat with). So if you’re raising a glass of anything tonight, have one with us.

When I drove Mrs Swiss to hospital eighteen years ago the last song that played on the car stereo cassette player was this, Cinnamon Girl- still I think my favourite Neil Young song (which I don’t have on the hard drive right now).

‘A dreamer of pictures
I run in the night
You see us together
Chasing the moonlight
My cinnamon girl’

Still Feel The Rain

Sometimes a fringe and a denim jacket is all you need. Johnny Marr’s been all over the media recently including here two days ago. His guitar playing was all over other people’s work too, occasionally during his time in the The Smiths and then especially in the years afterwards. In full flow in the years after the split he recorded impossibly funky Nile Rodgers style guitar onto Still Feel the Rain by Stex. I’ve got a real softspot for this single and even with that very 1990 drumbeat this song still sounds good today. The Grid were involved in a remixed version on the 12″. Difficult to believe this wasn’t a massive hit.

Still Feel The Rain

In the video the fringe and denim jacket have gone, replaced by a crop and baggy white sweatshirt and jeans. Time moves on, never stand still, keep looking forward and all that.

Love Is Enough

Plus Instruments were an early 80s industrial/electronic pop outfit, the work of Truus de Groot and whoever else was around (this included Jim Sclavunus from Grinderman with Nick Cave). After thirty years out of the game Truus returned recently and now Love Is Enough has been remixed for a 12″ by Khidja, Luke Solomon and Richard Sen. In a piece of happy synchronicity Richard Sen did the cover art for Sabres Of Paradise’s Smokebelch 12″ which I posted a few days ago. I chanced upon the Sen remix yesterday, a dark house reworking with a thumping kick drum, trippy strings and icy vocals. The video is pretty hypnotic too.

I Don’t Know Where To Begin

As you probably know Johnny Marr’s autobiography, Set The Boy Free, came out recently. I was in a shop and had just picked it up when my phone rang. Mrs Swiss said her Mother had just phoned saying she’d found a Christmas present for me and she was really excited because I’m ‘difficult to buy for’.

‘So whatever you do, don’t buy the Johnny Marr book’.

I put it back, sighing slightly as I’d have to wait until the end of December to read it.

Electronic was a bolt hole for both Marr and Bernard Sumner and the original intention was to put out club inspired music with a variety of guests. First single Getting Away With It was a big hit in December 1989 so the idea of releasing things quietly and anonymously was shot to pieces there and then. Follow up Get the Message in 1991 was a brilliant piece of pop. It was followed by a remix 12″ where the song structure was stretched into a dancier groove.

Get The Message (DNA Groove Mix)

The Dear One

Back in 2013 I wrote about Towers, the second album from one man band Baltic Fleet. The one man is Paul Fleming, former touring keyboardist for Echo And The Bunnymen, who has returned with another album- The Dear One. This is the title track and single, an instrumental with more than a nod to your cosmische West German groups and a synth riff that’ll stick in your cranium for days. The album takes in similar sounds, passing through Eno and Bowie’s Berlin days. It’s affecting and exhilarating stuff- and fully fits in with this week’s mission to defy fascists with music. Avanti!

We The People…

Just trying to catch up with some stuff people have recommended in various places and I come across the new one from A Tribe Called Quest. Back, back, back, backer than backer. This is how you do it…