June

It’s June, June already. How on earth did that happen? Summer has arrived in the north west of the UK recently and long may it continue. I spent most of yesterday pulling up the wooden decking from our back garden, ten years old and rotten and collapsing in places (but really well secured in others, hence every single part of me aches today. I ache in places I didn’t know you could ache). We’re replacing it with gravel. Gravel doesn’t rot and doesn’t need maintaining.

In 2008 Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve put out this track, Winter In June, a 60s psychedelic inspired adventure, a re-edit of The Mystic Astrologic Crystal Band’s 1967 song Flowers Never Cry.

And yes, that is the voice of Percy Thrower.

Winter In June

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Weekend

I was over in Liverpool last week, at the Tate Gallery. There’s a show on currently curated by Ken Simons, the art handling manager at Tate Liverpool since it opened in 1988, who recently retired. In the gallery is this Mark Rothko painting, which was hanging in the Tate when I went to university there in September 1988, thirty years ago and which made a big impression on me. So things tied together quite nicely there.

I was scrolling through my downloads folder recently finding tons of music I’d forgotten about and some I wasn’t sure I knew anything about. In there was this Richard Norris remix, a well Balearic take on an ode to the timespan between Friday evening and Sunday evening by Molly Wagger (from Edinburgh, moved to London, mixed up disco, indie and shoegaze). This came out back in 2010, followed by an album in 2011. Their Twitter and Facebook accounts don’t seem to have been updated since 2016 so I’m guessing they’ve called it a day. This remix is very good, nicely suited to these lighter evenings we’re getting and if it’s a few days early, then maybe we should all try and be a bit more weekend on a Wednesday.

Weekend (Richard Norris Balearic Remix)

Easter’s Not For Everyone

On Easter Sunday I took the train over to Liverpool to an event in The Merchant advertised as An Afternoon With Andrew Weatherall. When we arrived Bernie Connor and a friend were playing a set of blues, ska and dub beforehand. Weatherall played a collection of tunes that redefine eclectic- rockabilly was the starting point but it went to all kinds of other musical and geographic places during the subsequent two hours, in a nice bar to an appreciative crowd. And as the picture shows, I had my photo taken with him. There are all sorts of things you think you might say in these circumstances, all sorts of comments that could be made, to a man whose musical journey I’ve been following since 1989. In the end I probably just came across as a bit of a bumbling idiot. When I approached him he said ‘we’ve met before haven’t we?’, which I don’t think we have apart from a time in Cream back in the mid 90s when I shook his hand after he’d finished raising the roof a little. So either he mistook me for someone else or he has a very good memory for faces.

At the end of last week Weatherall was back for his monthly show at NTS, Music’s Not For Everyone, which apart from the usual broadminded record selection includes a new dub he’s done for Django Django and a new one from the man himself with Nina Walsh and Andy Bell (from Ride).

Acid house dj encounters continued when we got back to Manchester. We got off the train at Oxford Road and headed into The Refuge, where Richard Norris was spinning a very danceable set of cosmic disco. So…

I have to report that leaving an hour or two later we didn’t bump into any further acid house djs. I was kind of hoping David Holmes or Terry Farley might be spinning records/cds as we passed some local pubs and that I could get a triptych, but it was not to be. As a day out it was all kinds of fun. Happy Easter.

River Theme

That’s the Mersey, wending its way from Stockport, through Sale (where the picture was taken) and out through Cheshire to Liverpool. Mersey Paradise as four mop-tops once said.

There’s an excellent 7″ release- sold out/repressed/sold out/repressed and currently available again here– by the Dubwood Allstars called Under Dubwood, a Richard Burton reading Dylan Thomas in dub King Tubby excursion.

The B-side is River Theme, a grizzly, funky garage-psyche groove from The Time And Space Machine.

River Theme

You Learned A Hard Lesson

Some more rivers coming your way over the next few days I think. Yesterday’s river was the Afon Llugwy in Betws-Y-Coed, North Wales, photographed when I was there a few weeks ago. Today’s river picture shows the Irwell, historic boundary between Manchester (right) and Salford (left). The pub down by the river on the Salford side, the Mark Addy, was ruined by floods in 2015.

In 2002 Doves found themselves caught by the river. I think it’s the same river that R.E.M. were looking for yesterday, a mystical river rather than a geographically specific river. Rivers often symbolise time, power, nature obviously, loss of control, and futility (the futility of trying to hold a river back). Also the river, in song and in life, always joins the sea and then disappears into it. The narrator in this song seems to be talking to his son, who’s made a mistake, been caught and now has to learn the lesson.

Caught By The River

Doves were a good band. Currently on hiatus, Andy and Jez re-appeared as Black Rivers in 2015. I’ve posted it before but this Richard Norris remix of their song The Forest is well worth hearing again, a kind of autumnal Balearica.

Morning Velvet Sky Drive

Two new Richard Norris remixes for your enjoyment at the start of the week. There’s a lot of new stuff out at the moment, from all over the place and a multitude of sources. It’s difficult to keep up.

This one is a new version of Morning Velvet Sky by Gulp, one that has gone down a storm recently with punters at A Love From Outer Space. Pulsing synth bass, echo on the drums, and then joined by a spaced out, slightly folky vocal. Blissful. Gulp contain one Super Furry Animal (Guto Pryce).

And this one is Richard’s remix of Drive by Halina Rice, a London based producer. It picks up where the previous one started/left off- whooshing synths, electronic arpeggios, Halina’s choral vocals and some space age flamboyance. Magical stuff.

Gagarin

Tonight we are going to my niece’s 18th birthday party. She is a very artistic and creative person and has given her party a retro space/sci fi theme, with fancy dress. So tonight Matthew, I am going to be …Yuri Gagarin.

Gagarin (Richard Norris Vostok Remix)