Thursday, June 01, 2006

Harmony In My Head

Today I picked up my tickets to see Buzzcocks, who are coming to Vancouver on 30 July. Being too young (cue girlish laugh and coy toss of flowing locks) to have seen them during their 1976-1981 heyday, I went along to see them at Washington D.C.'s mighty fine 9:30 Club (the old shoebox on F Street, natch) during their 1989 reunion tour, more out of morbid curiosity than anything else (EDIT: See comments for valid challenge to that statement). But, Dear Friends, oh how they rocked! I enjoyed myself so tremendously and completely that I was forced to take to my bed for the following 24 hours to recover. Since reuniting they have produced five new studio albums, none of which, in my opinion, match the quality of their shiny original catalogue. But then again it's hard to do so, and some of the new material is highly enjoyable. Anyway, I am looking forward to the show, and here are a few nuggets to get you salivating as well:

Buzzcocks - Breakdown (buy here). From the famous "Spiral Scratch" EP released in 1977.
Buzzcocks - Orgasm Addict (buy here). The most notorious, and fun, track of the bunch. Released as a single in 1977.
Buzzcocks - Under The Sun (buy here). From 1999's "Modern".

After getting my tickets at Zulu Records, I made the mistake of browsing that magnificent store's other wares. Not to buy, you see, just to look. Ah, but you can see what came next - spirit was willing, but the flesh was weak. I walked out with Volumes 2 through 5 of a wonderful series celebrating French 60s pop, cleverly titled "Pop a Paris". But that's a story for another day. I also left with a just-released compilation of work by The Pointed Sticks, a much underrated Vancouver band not a million miles away from the Buzzcocks in terms of style and era. Formed in 1978, they peddled an infectious brand of fun, buzzy punk informed largely by the then-incandescent London scene. And they were named after the Monty Python sketch. They actually signed to Stiff Records in 1980, but after a promising start the label decided not to turn their studio work into a full-fledged album. In 1981 they broke up without ever really breaking out of their West Coast scene. However, they did support Buzzcocks on one of their early tours of the US, so who knows what might happen. Oh, and last summer my children bought lemonade from guitarist Bill Napier-Hemy's kids. Honest.

Pointed Sticks - What Do You Want Me To Do?
Pointed Sticks - Apologies
(Brand new compilation "Waiting for the Real Thing" - buy here!!)

Update: I think I'm getting some superpowers back. A few minutes after saying goodnight to my six-year-old daughter, Dearest Wife heard crying coming from her room. Deep, uncontrolled sobs. She went in to comfort her and emerged to tell me that apparently Darling Daughter had left her favourite red panda stuffed toy in the school playground. Dearest Wife had reassured her that she would go look in the Lost-and-Found tomorrow morning to see if he had been turned in. I looked out of the window at the rainy, dusky sky and realised what I had to do. I saddled up the car, drove to the school, and, flashlight in hand, searched the schoolyard. After a few minutes I found a bedraggled panda sitting on the ground. He was very pleased to see me, but I was far more pleased to see him. I returned home and gently woke Darling Daughter, who had just dropped off to sleep, to tell her panda was safe. Big hug, sleepy smile, and the most sincere "Thank you, Daddy" I can remember ever hearing. For a brief, crystal-clear moment I knew exactly what it means to be a father.

(N.B. Blogger still refuses to upload pictures, but I found a way around this wee problem. Oh yes, I am clever. So ponder my brilliance with awe and wonder. Or don't. Choice is yours. Frankly, I wouldn't be too impressed. No, really.)


Anonymous said...

you are the best!!

the world needs more fathers like you!

Anonymous said...

You absolute LIAR!!!! LIAR! LIAR! LIAR!

You were genuinely stoked in 1989 to go see that Buzzcocks show. You were bouncing up and down (with me) when we thought we'd tricked the band manager into sending them to WGTB to be interviewed on our illustrious show carried via AM carrier current.

Morbid curiousity, indeed!!

Glad to see the superpowers are reasserting themsevles!

FiL said...

Elliot, so wonderful to hear from you! You are certainly a most expert witness and your testimony is invaluable.

Indeed, I do recall being thrilled at what we thought was our coup. After all, Little You and Little Me interviewing some of the grandpappies of punk - that would have been grand! Practically made me wet my pants with glee. Cursed carrier current...

As for the show, I distincly recall an underlying sense of dread that it'd end up being a bunch of fat old men farting around fatly and oldly on stage. But you are probably correct that in my own dotage I am playing down the genuine excitement and anticipation I felt. Probably I am guilty of allowing the cynicism of today to bleed into and colour my memories of yesterday. And that is A Bad Thing. Listen to me, I sound like Marcel F*cking Proust.

In sum, Dear Elliot, I am most grateful for your harsh, but not unfair call. And I'm sorry I'll be seeing them this time around without you pogoing a go-go by my side.


FiL said...

Bryce, that was very sweet of you to say! Thank you.


L'Anonyme de Chateau Rouge said...

I like read you Fil...with your style I appreciate to work my english (I need!). And it's funny to write in english in your website whereas you write in french over the Barricades.

Buzzcocks coooooolllll!

Anonymous said...

I was perhaps a wee bit harsh in my earlier entry.

The main reason why I don't believe we were at all concerned about seeing fat old men play punk is that we'd each consumed a 40oz bottle of malt liquor before we ever got on the bus to head to F Street. Any qualms that may have existed at the start of the evening were quickly beaten senseless and thrown overboard to drown amid the bubbly waves.

The other memory (reinforced by years of his complaints) is that we'd managed to break Drew's foot that night. He was foolishly wearing top siders that were crushed under your Doc Martens and my cheap Sunny's Surplus combat boots.

Not quite as much fun as the Ramones at the Bayou, but the Buzzcocks were a blast of a show....

FiL said...

Salut ACR! Merci pour tes (on peut se tutoyer?) mots sympas. Pareillement - j'aime bien visiter les barricades pour la musique et le discours!

Elliot, as I said, harsh but not unfair! And indeed, I do recall poor Drew's injuries (*blush*). I think we also broke his glasses (*shame*). Let's blame the Colt 45...