Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Billy Bragg

Billy Bragg

This months Mojo magazine CD celebrates some of the music which evolved out of the UK punk rock scene between 1977 and 1983.

Billy Bragg began performing in the late '70s with the punk group Riff Raff, who released a series of indie seven-inch singles including the wonderfully titled I Wanna Be a Cosmonaut. He then he briefly joined a tank regiment of the British Army before buying himself out of his sojourn for 175 pounds.

Bragg undertook a solo tour of the concert halls and clubs of Britain and eventually managed to record his debut e.p. Life’s a Riot with Spy Vs. Spy which, when eventually reissued as the first album on the new Go! Discs label, hit the UK Top 30 in early 1984. It is from this release that the track for this post originates.

In the 22 years since the Bard of Barking released this lovelorn, one-man-Clash-styled dose of social realism it has taken on a whole new meaning. Today, Billy Bragg is still searching for that New England - a country where where belonging is not tainted by racism or tabloid-nspired xenophobia. And it is in this context that he remains one of Britains most essential, honest and inspiring rock'n'roll voices.

Billy Bragg - A New England

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Belle and Sebastian

Belle & Sebastian - Wrapped Up In Books

All good things come to an end and it is such with our jaunt overseas. Bummer!

We saw some interesting live music (which I’ll post about later), ate some great food (which I won’t), walked amongst glorious architecture and nature, met up with some old friends and made some new ones.

We also stayed in some really groovy areas. In New York it was the East Village on St Marks Place about 100 metres from Tompkins Square Park where they were celebrating the 50th anniversary of beat poet Allen Ginsburg’s epic poem HOWL!. The Marais in Paris was also a very cool area, only a few hundred metres to the Centre Georges Pompidou and the Ile de la Cité.

So I have flown home leaving mon petit chou in Paris, where she is doing further research and enjoying the wonderful Parisian autumn.

Belle and Sebastian are a favorite band of mon petit chou's, we saw them during their 2004 tour of Australia, on the day that my beautiful and talented wife returned from her previous visit to France (once again doing research). Their blend of Scottish twee and mild Francophilic tendencies, plus their sense of humor is an entrancing one, and their musical abilities were huge. I left that gig a bigger fan than when I arrived.

J'aime mon bébé, who is currently absorbing herself amongst the ancient manuscripts at the Bibliothèque nationale de France and this post is for her.

(Ab)normal transmissions will resume shortly.

Belle & Sebastian - Wrapped Up In Books