Close Your Eyes And Think Of This

Someone must have thought that sticking The Who on a bus with a baby elephant and a couple of leggy models was a good way to promote a single. And on reflection, I think it probably is.

This is an absolutley blistering slice of 1967 psychedelic mod pop- Moon’s drumming and Townshend’s skyscraping, backwards/forwards and feedback driven guitar. And those harmonies. They, and anyone in 1967 for that matter, were never any better than this. Armenia City In The Sky was written by friend of the band John ‘Speedy’ Keen and the open song from their concept album The Who Sell Out- an album no record collection should be without, even if all those radio jingles get a bit wearying.

Armenia City In The Sky

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Face Time

I used to love The Face. Between the late 80s and early 00s I bought almost every copy (and many of them are in the loft, awaiting a good sifting through). Yes, it was silly, pretentious, over-the-top, often very London-centric, and over-styled. But it was also done well, trend setting, at times laugh-out-loud funny, with some really good writers, totally hit the spot at times (and completely missed the target other times), covered issues as well as music and fashion, and its front cover felt like an event- in short essential monthly reading, a frippery but worth it.

Above, the Madchester issue, in which Nick Kent made up quotes various interviewees allegedly said… and below Tricky and Martina Topley Bird

I bought a copy in summer 1987, a double sized, special edition, 100th issue I think. It tried to review the 80s- ‘whatever happens now’ it said, ‘the decade is shaped, nothing can alter the way it looks from here’. Arf. Over the next two years acid house swept the nation, the north rose again, the Berlin Wall came down, Communism collapsed…. 



The pleasure of reading old magazines is seeing where they got it right and where they got it very, very wrong; the bands, records, trends and styles they were sure were the next big thing and are now buried in the ‘where are they now?’ file. I mean, no disrespect to The Farm (who at times I quite like) and I know Groovy Train was a big hit but ‘How to succeed in the music business’? 

Whatever it did though, The Face was rarely boring and for a while it did document our lives (or aspects of them). 
Raving, Aliens, Vodka, Discos, Ibiza… it’s got the lot.

                                                                 Mmmmmmm, Kylie.

                                                     Sorry, lost myself there for a moment…

                                         Actually I don’t remember this 90s Futures Issue one at all.

I more or less stopped buying it with this issue below- I was clearly too old for it, our time together had passed and besides I began to feel they were laughing at me.

The High Numbers (early Who as I’m sure you know). I was going to post the magnificent Face Up by New order from Lowlife but it’s not on my hard drive and I can’t be arsed ripping it at the moment. Laziness. Sorry. This is good anyway.

I’m The Face

Advent Post Number Two

It’s not that I’m against Christmas, more that I’m against Christmas music; there’s just so much tripe. Sadly the ‘alternative’ Christmas song has become a bit of a cliche too. But door number two on the Bagging Area advent calendar opens- slightly badly I’m afraid, the perforations are not very well cut and it’s ripped the face of the calendar as well- to reveal actress Clara Bow, a dog and Mr Wild Billy Childish mixing up The Who’s A Quick One mini-opera with some yuletide mod rock.

A Quick One (Pete Townshend’s Christmas)

You Can’t Switch Off The Sun

One of my favourite Jam tracks to open August- So Sad About Us was the B-side to 1978’s Down In The Tube Station At Midnight, a cover of a Who song and tribute to the Who’s Keith Moon who was pictured on the back of the sleeve and who had recently died.

So Sad About Us

Steady The Buffs

The Who mini-fest continues: first up this performance of My Generation from Germany’s Beat Club in the mid 60s, mod smarts, windmills, guitar and mic stand abuse and pounding rhythm. It all started here.

I promised Billy Childish’s cover of A Quick One the other day. There’s a version on Billy’s Christmas album but the superior one is this one from 2002’s Steady the Buffs lp.

The Buffs were the Royal East Kent Regiment, one of the oldest regiments in the British army dating back to 1572. Wild Billy Childish and The Buff Medways (named after the regiment and a local variety of chicken) released Steady The Buffs on Graham Coxon’s Transcopic label and it’s got to be one of the best Childish albums- among the twelve songs there are career highlights Archive From 1959 and Troubled Mind, the trash mod rock of Sally Sensation and Dawn Said, the very great Strood Lights and the breakneck cover of The Kinks’ Misty Water. It finishes with Ivor (the two minutes twenty two seconds cover of A Quick One, although it’s only the final section to be fair). Steady The Buffs is highly, highly recommended as a Childish starter if you’re a novice.

Ivor

Mr Childish modelling summer 2012’s look. Pay attention now Gok Wan acolytes- this is the perfect look for beer gardens, festivals, summer barbecues and your two weeks off in the English sun.

It’s The High Numbers Boys And Girls

This clip is from a film started in 1964 that was never completed. It shows The Who (who may or may not have been called the High Numbers at this point) playing US rhythm and blues live at The Railway, Keith Moon already steps ahead and Pete et al resplendent in mod threads.

But the crowd are the real stars here, some very well dressed, good looking boys and girls.

Her Man’s Been Gone For Nigh On A Year

In 1967 The Rolling Stones held their Rock ‘n’ Roll circus, a gig in a big top. Due to poor planning or Mick’s ego or Keith’s drugs they rather foolishly they went on last, in the early hours of the morning when band and audience were tired, and gave a somewhat below par performance. By that time they’d also been blown away by The Who, who stole the show with a performance of Pete Townsend’s mini-opera (it’s not really an opera, it just has different sections and tells a story. Maybe it is an opera then) A Quick One. It is one heck of a performance.

The version below was taped for the Beeb and first broadcast on Top Gear in 1967. Not that Top Gear.

A Quick One (While He’s Away) (BBC Session)

It occurs to me I’ve got a Billy Childish and The Buff Medways cover of A Quick One. The Who need seven or eight minutes for it. Typically Billy gets through it around three. I’ll try to find it for you if you like.