Burmese Days

Mission Of Burma were an American post-punk band, a three piece guitar band with a fourth member, Martin Swope, who played ‘tapes’, which sounds pretty cool and very post-punk. Inspired by punk they tried to stretch it and change it with tempo changes, strange chord progressions, being a bit arty and unconventional, and with the aforementioned tapes. This song, That’s When I Reach For My Revolver, came out in 1981 and is probably their best known, and is a thrilling blast of post-punk energy. They split up in 1983 partly due to one of them having tinnitus, although they did reform a few years ago

I’m looking at the case for this cd (a re-issue) and remembering in a flash I bought this in HMV in Richmond, posh south London, land of The Rolling Stones. We were there several years ago for the wedding of Mrs Swiss’ best friend, and I’d been asked to do the record playing for the reception. Transporting myself, Mrs Swiss (unknown to us just pregnant with child number 2, so feeling a bit off colour), wedding clothes etc, record playing gear and records, to London from Manchester in a Fiat Punto, having left child number 1 with grandparents made the whole thing a mad rush. We had a couple of hours in Richmond, wandered round, bit of lunch, bought Mission Of Burma cd, all very pleasant. The ceremony and reception were in Richmond Park, I think in what used to be a hunting lodge, with fantastic views over south London. As I set up the gear for the disco the venue manager informed me there was a decibel reader above the bar. I could see it flashing green. If the music got too loud, the display would flash red and then cut the sound out for ten seconds. As you can imagine this was inevitable, and I tripped it three times, once during the brides’ only request (Ms Dynamite) and the third time, towards the finale of the evening, during Iggy’s Lust For Life. The really funny thing was when the sound cut out, people would continue dancing to silence for a couple of seconds, then stand still and look around, and then give an almighty cheer as it came back on, slightly lower in volume than before. At which point I’d gently (or not so gently, depending on alcohol intake) shove the fader up and watch the lights edge closer to the red. The other disco points of note were a bloke pestering me to play Doug Lazy’s Let It Roll promising a group of dancers if I did, and the bride’s sister standing right in front of the decks with her arms folded, scowling at me for a good ten minutes. Happy days. Strange but wonderful how looking at the cover of this Mission Of Burma cd brings it all back.

01 That’s When I Reach for My Revolver.wma

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