Just Waiting…Hesitating

I heard Television’s Marquee Moon on the radio last week- all ten minutes of it. Side One of Marquee Moon is one of my favourite Side Ones, and nothing else Television recorded matches up to it. And it doesn’t matter. Sometime in winter 1989/90 myself, Mr AN and Tracy the Hippy drove to a gig in Warrington and played my cassette of Marquee Moon all the way there- See No Evil, Venus, Friction and MM sounded like the best guitar music in the world. For a band who invented punk’s look (Richard Hell, departed to his Voidoids by the time of MM) and some of it’s sound (Tom Verlaine) they have angular, clipped guitars but also a fluidity that marks them out as 1967 rather than 1977. Marquee Moon (the song) goes on for a very un-punk ten minutes and has an ace breakdown in the middle.

Marquee Moon


I Was Saying Let Me Out Of Here Before I Was Even Born

Richard Hell (above left with fellow Voidoid Marc Bell on the right) has got a pretty good claim to be one of the original punk rockers (70s variety, New York). Malcolm McLaren freely admitted the look came from him, he left Television in 1975 and wrote one of punk’s essential texts (Blank Generation, which he says everyone got wrong- it’s blank as in fill in the blank not blank as in vacant). With its choppy riff and vocal it’s a song that still sounds fresh today. Hell also wrote the very punkish Love Comes In Spurts. Drugs and bad timing left Hell and The Voidoids out in the cold.

I met him at a book signing in 1996/7ish. He’d written a novel (Go Now), a beat generation/punk rock novel, and put his shades on to read passages from the book, removing them afterwards. He was pretty surly when I got to the front of the queue to get the book signed. But maybe I was too.

Blank Generation

Hey Is Dee Dee Home?

Johnny Thunders may either be the cockiest, coolest, guitar slinging ex-New York Doll who inspired a legion of imitators (Steve Cook for one), or the dick who introduced heroin to the London punk scene, sewed bad vibes throughout and ultimately caused the whole scene to splinter, but he did leave behind at least two punk rock classics- You Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory being one, and the other being Chinese Rocks. Written by Richard Hell and Dee Dee Ramone, Chinese Rocks was an attempt to write a drug song that was better than The Velvet Underground’s Heroin. There followed a bitch and blame session about who wrote what, what Johnny Thunders contributed (‘nothing’ according to Richard Hell) and much sniping in the way that only punk bands could snipe at each other. What is pretty clear though is that Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers recorded the definitive version.