British Summertime

At least from today onwards until October the clock in my car will be telling the right time. British summertime starts today- you did remember to put your clocks forward didn’t you? Yesterday’s sunshine made it feel like the seasons had changed at a stroke. Everything feels a little better with some sun on your face.

It gives me a good excuse to post this Ultramarine song from 1991.

British Summertime

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British Summertime

Whatever its official start date to me the May day bank holiday is the real signal of the start of British summertime. Appropriately today’s forecast is for rain with occasional sunny spell and a temperature around ten degrees, to follow the snow, ice and sleet we had last week. Unbelievably we were camping this weekend last year. But an extra day off is an extra day off whatever the weather.

Ultramarine’s Every Man And Woman Is A Star album from 1991 is well worth getting hold of if you don’t have a copy, a very English kind of post-acid house record that brings in a folky ambience and a dash of dub. The phrase pastoral techno gets bandied about which seems silly but hits the spot.

I transferred a load of photos from an old memory card over to the new computer recently and found a load from a day I clearly went a little nuts at Jodrell Bank Observatory, shot after shot of the Lovell telescope. There are enough to accompany blogposts until July.

British Summertime

I Can Do Anything

A month or two ago I posted Stella by Ultramarine, a beautiful acid-house moment from the Essex pair. There are a multitude of different versions of Stella. The one I shared with you previously was the album version from their Every Man And Woman Is A Star lp (every home should have one). This one is a Balearic beauty too- squiggly synths, lazy beat, acoustic guitar strums and that feeling of endless possibility that the best music from this period had.

Interstellar

Stella

The MA 1 bomber jacket seems to be having a fashion moment- I’ve seen a few young people in them recently and Gallagher Senior wore one on stage with Johnny Marr last month (it’s on Youtube, they’re doing Lust For Life). It got me wishing I still had mine (from donkey’s years ago). I had a black MA 2 in the mid-90s as well, which I loved (which went missing/was borrowed). This pair of photographs were from a fashion shoot in the 100th issue of The Face (September 1988). I think the model was called Alex. You can run the risk of looking like either you’re on your way to a neo-Nazi meeting or you’re a bouncer, but they are a great jacket.

Ultramarine’s Stella was posted at another blog this week, the 12″ with the Stellla Breathes and Stella Connects versions. Ultramarine made acid house inspired music, with a dash of something English and pastoral. Stella, from 1991, is tailor made for listening to while enjoying a lazy afternoon in the sun, lying in long grass. Unfortunately it is late December but that shouldn’t take away the beauty of this.

Stella (Album Version)

Augustus

The National Portrait Gallery contains this painting of Augustus John (by William Orpen). I like Augustus John- the most technically gifted painter of Edwardian England, generally thought to have wasted his talent or not fulfilled it, and a man with an interesting life, some of it scandalising the Edwardians with his bohemian lifestyle, boozing and unconventional living arrangements. The National Portrait Gallery is a fantastic gallery, not at all stuffy or staid, well laid out and full of interesting art- it even held the interest of some of my 6th form students for a while. And it’s free. There’s a Man Ray exhibition opening next week as well which I want to get back dahn sarf for before the end of May.

I posted a song by 90s folktronic outfit Ultramarine a couple of weeks ago. This one features the vocals of David McAlmont (what happened to him?). There was a version with Kevin Ayres singing it too which I think I’ve got somewhere, lying around on a hardrive.

Hymn

Kingdom

More early 90s ambient sounds to sooth the January blues- this time from Ultramarine who did a kind of pastoral ambient techno thing with echoes of old English folk music, although Discogs tells me this is Future Jazz, Downtempo. So what do I know? Featuring Louth’s own Robert Wyatt on vocals.

Kingdom (Extended Mix)