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If you have an opinion about the matter at all, chances are you think of me as a know-nowt critter, somewhere between an ant in your lemonade and a wasp in your T-shirt in terms of how irritating I am. And you are right. But I think if you knew more about me, you might see that I am a human being just like you, rather than an insect that has been taught to type with all six legs. You’d probably still find me annoying, but a lot of people are, aren’t they? So here are some details about me in the hope of promoting deeper understanding and world peace (gawd knows we could do with some of that). I support a local football team rather than a successful one. I am partial to a poppadom sandwich. The first single I bought was American Pie, which is ironic, because my least favourite musical genre apart from opera is that of the singer-songwriter. I grew up poor and fought tooth and nail to join the middle classes so I can be deemed too well-off for the state to look after me when I am old and have to sell the house so my kids will see no benefit from my death (apart from the joy of being able to chuck my record collection in a skip). I like sparrows, Tonik suits and Peep Show on telly, but the thing that gives me the most pleasure is music. And when I say pleasure, I mean, something in my brain flicks on like a heavenly light bulb when I hear the right tune at the right time. But that can be hard to achieve.
This morning, while driving to hospital for physiotherapy on a troublesome Achilles tendon, the right tune at the right time came on the CD player. It was this and increasingly frequently, it is music by that group which switches my light on. It’s not always easy to tell why any music might do this, but in this instance I can find reasons: the intro is taken from The JBs’ Pass The Peas, a record which also turns on my light, and the guitar melody reminds me of this, which does likewise, although it’s actually drawn from this, which I don’t find particularly illuminating. But the sum of a record’s parts don’t always amount to the ideal musical number for me. So, this morning I am in a dream hearing the record, but at the weekend it was a different tune altogether, which is why it’s not always easy to find that light switch: you can often only guess at what will really tickle the neurons. At times in the past, my recorded sunshine has been PP Arnold’s If You Think You’re Groovy; ? & The Mysterians’ 96 Tears; The Adverts’ Bored Teenagers; Pete La Roca’s Turkish Women At The Bath, or almost anything. I’ve got plenty of choice when it comes to music, as you too no doubt have as a reader of this newsletter. Which doesn’t make it any easier to select (or even find) the appropriate record at any given moment. Sometimes it’s like being at the supermarket staring at the cheese selection and wishing it was like the corner shop I went to as a kid, where the cheese on offer was strong, mild, processed or Edam: a lot of choice can be too much. Sometimes I just pick up a pile of singles and play what’s there; other times I look for something in particular. It just depends on mood. And sometimes I just play nothing and eat a poppadom sandwich. With or without mint sauce.
By now you are (hopefully) in possession of the new issue of the magazine with Robert Smith on the cover, resplendently dissolute. This issue took quite a lot of putting together, but RC’s team is proud of it; loads of good stuff in there, we reckon, so we’re doing it all over again next month – only with different stuff in it, to include Pink Floyd and a great guide to punk memorabilia. Thank you for reading RC. Have a great week packed with music that turns on your love light.
Ian McCann (Editor)