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A View From The Stage Q&A – Beth Arzy

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We love music, we love the people who love music and naturally we love the people that make music.

So what about those people that make music? What sort of people are they? They like music as well, right? What were they into as kids? Was it the same sort of music we were into?  What are they listening to now? What songs did they wish they had written?

We wanted to discover the “music fan” inside these artists, so we decided to find out using a similar format to our Meet The Community feature. By firing a series of short questions at a selected indie artist we wanted to get a bit of an insight into what makes them tick musically.

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In this edition – Beth Arzy

“TOTAL heartwrenchery”

Those were the first words that Beth Arzy ever uttered to us. It was around this time last year and it was in response to a comment we’d made about the Mark Hollis vocals on Talk Talk’s “I Believe In You”. Ever since then we’ve rather enjoyed the company of Beth Arzy in our social media interactive world.

Of course we knew all about Beth before then. She has a HR file like everyone else, although in the case of artists we refer to it as a rap sheet. Beth’s rap sheet looks something like this:-

  • Sarah Records recording artist-  GUILTY
  • Appearance on Buffy The Vampire Slayer soundtrack alongside The Breeders, Dandy Warhols & Laika  – GUILTY
  • Member of Trembling Blue Stars, Charlie Big Time, Occasional Keepers – GUILTY
  • Essential follow on Soundcloud – GUILTY
  • Currently rocking our musical world in The Luxembourg Signal – GUILTY

We should also point out that our resident Sarah Records bingo caller has yet to call out numbers 93 or 97, so expect to see more of Beth in our social media world in the foreseeable future.

Considering the above and that Beth has been a big supporter of EIO40, she seemed a natural choice as the subject of our inaugural A View From The Stage Q&A.

So let’s see what Beth had to say for herself. We should clarify though that the footy season hadn’t actually started at the time of the interview (this will make sense at some point)

1) Where did you grow up?

I was born in Los Angeles but bounced between Florida and California so grew up between the two. When I moved back to California (Palm Desert) after 7-8 years in Southern Florida, I had a pretty fancy Southern accent. It’s sadly gone now and alternates between L.A. and Croydon. Croydon if I’m really angry.

2) What posters did you have on your bedroom wall as a teenager?

Early teens would have been Duran Duran and Nik Kershaw, mid to late teens was The Jesus & Mary Chain, Skinny Puppy, The Ocean Blue, The Telescopes, Primal Scream, Pale Saints, The Pastels, Trashcan Sinatras, Loop, The Wonderstuff, The Smiths, Bauhaus and more Mary Chain.

A few years ago, my mother proclaimed at a family dinner that I “loved Guns and Roses” and had a “massive poster” on my wall in high school. After nearly choking on pizza I got to the bottom of the memory failure. She confused my JAMC “Blues from a Gun” with “Guns & Roses”. Easily done I suppose.

3) What was the first record you bought?

I was given sympathy pocket money when I had my braces put on and I remember going to the record shop in the Tampa Bay Center and buying 3 singles: Queen of Hearts by Juice Newton, Sail On by The Commodores and Modern Love by David Bowie. I still have the Bowie 45 hanging on my wall, sans cover.

4) What moment made you want to become a singer/artist/musician?

Sadly I’m none of those things, but as a child, watching and listening to The Monkees as well as The Bugaloos and The Wombles made me want to give it a shot, or at least hang out with people who are… Musicians, not Wombles, though that would be cool.

5) How much did you get paid for your first gig?

My memory is so shite. I seriously can’t remember. Probably nothing. It would have been a battle of the bands thing at the high school I went to, and the prize was a demo recording session (in some dude’s garage) or, a gig at The Huntington Beach Library. My memories might be Replicant implants but I think that one was with The Brian Jonestown Massacre, and I think the lead singer dropped trou. I remember seeing a willy anyway. Again, might be a false memory or a very bad dream.

6) Do you have a particularly memorable gig you performed at?

Most of the early ones were non-events at cafes but Trembling Blue Stars playing with The Ocean Blue was pretty freaking special. I’d seen them so many times and love them to bits so to see them there in the audience as we played was about as special as it gets.

Mind you, Indietracks festival recently was pretty freaking memorable; for all the best reasons. The Luxembourg Signal are all great friends and it was an honour to sing Johnny’s amazing songs in such a cool place. There were owls, and pizza, and trains, and we played on the indoor stage which I think was where they used to store the trains. Such a great experience and the feedback has been so amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a gig as much as indietracks. I’m welling up over here…

Beth Arzy Photo 1

7) Who would you most like to perform with on stage?

Well, I’ve been lucky enough to be asked to perform as a guest with The 49 Americans as well as The Dentists so I’ll say, Jim Reid. Not as The Jesus & Mary Chain as I don’t want to contaminate that stew, but maybe if he did a solo something. That so isn’t going to happen though as I met him backstage recently at a Mary Chain gig and I had one hell of a whitey. I think I ran.

8) What is the best venue you have played at?

Indietracks with The Luxembourg Signal, no contest, but Fritz’s Corner in Stockholm (with Trembling Blue Stars) would be a close second.

9) What song would you most like to have written (not your own)?

Anything by The Dentists (nothing can come close to those songs man), or anything by The Jam. Maybe Weightlifting or Send for Henny by The Trashcan Sinatras; total corkers. I don’t write my own stuff anymore anyway; it’s not safe, nothing is sacred. People release your stuff and do whatever the hell they want to your lyrics and vocals without even asking. It’s safer to just sing great songs that other people write for me!

10) If you weren’t a singer/artist/musician what would have been?

A personal assistant; oh, wait….

11) What are you listening to at the moment? Any recommendations?

My favourite current band from The UK is called Treasures of Mexico, which is Mark Matthews from The Dentists, along with Bob from The Dentists and Russ from Secret Affair. The album (Holding Pattern) is available as a download on Shelflife and is just total great pop. We (The Luxembourg Signal), have some amazing label mates on Shelflife and if you’ve not heard The Fireworks, check them out too!

I’ve become a bit obsessed with the Medway scene lately and also love Words Beginning With X (another Mark Matthews band with Dave Read from The Claim on lead vocals and Russ Baxter from Secret Affair on drums) as well as Bob Collins and The Full Nelson (Bob from The Dentists), Stuart Turner and the Flat Earth Society, The Galileo 7 (him from The Prisoners), Theatre Royal, The Sine Waves (ex- Dentists drummer) These Guilty Men (another ex-Dentists drummer), & The Love Family.

The Treasures Of Mexico – Stars

12) What are you up to at the moment?

Coming down from a great min-tour with The Luxembourg Signal (who are working on new songs at the moment) and counting down the days until football season kicks off again!! 1, 2, 3, 4, 5!

The Luxembourg Signal – Distant Drive

Photos by Leah Zeis

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Thank you to Beth Arzy for taking part in our Q&A and for providing an enjoyable insight into her musical world. And remember. If you don’t want to bring out the Croydon in Beth…don’t make her angry.

You can find out more about Beth at the following:

http://www.ghostfinder.co.uk/
http://facebook.com/beth.arzy
http://soundcloud.com/betharzy
https://twitter.com/BethArzy

If you want to check out The Luxembourg Signal then we would suggest a visit to their site which includes some listening materials. A visit to the Shelflife Records website also recommended

http://www.theluxembourgsignal.com
http://www.shelflife.com

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So who’s gonna be next then?

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To be Kingmaker is all I need…

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Indie Encounters is a regular feature for guest contributors to recollect a memorable indie moment, whether it’s meeting a band, a special gig or how indie music has impacted on their life in some way.

In this feature Jonathan Powell @ipswichjon reveals the impact Kingmaker has had on his life with a particular focus on those lyrics of Loz Hardy.

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“To move the world in some way, without leaving any bad taste…”

On a heady cocktail of cheap pound-a-pint lager and strong antibiotics the drums of Really Scrape the Sky rolled over me and I found myself leaping around like a loony for a thirty odd minute set of brilliant indie pop songs that were all new to me. This was December 1991, Leicester Granby Halls and only the second gig I’d attended, the first I’d actually paid money to get into and it was a visceral experience that had me gig-addicted.

It also started my obsession with support bands: I had a thing for buying their T shirts and badges rather than the main acts, a minor bit of indie snobbery on my part but it did usually mean cheaper merchandise!

That night Kingmaker were second support act on after the cock-waving singer of Eat had thoroughly shocked this sheltered Suffolk lad. Their strut to the stage and bouncing opener grabbed my attention but it was the Wonder Stuff who I’d paid to see and who sticks in the memory more from that gig. It did however lead me to buy Kingmaker’s debut Celebrated Working Man EP and I was hooked.

There’s a lot to recommend Kingmaker to the indie-inclined; they were a great singles band (see Queen Jane, Ten Years Asleep and Really Scrape the Sky as proof of their pop genius) but I’m a lyrics man and it was their lyrics that I loved. With more heart and empathy in each perfectly formed piece than their contemporaries, here was a band that I loved because they spoke for the underdog, they were wry, they were dark in their humour and there was an underlying anger and bitterness in their lyrics that only a misanthropic eighteen-year-old could only get (or so I thought).

Now Kingmaker were one of those bands lumped in with your Cuds and The Family Cats (both bands I love) but they were very different: this was a band who wrote lyrics a latter-day, post-Smiths Morrissey would kill for, dealing with subjects ranging from religion, politics and sexual abuse, to economic deprivation and gender politics. Loz Hardy was a song writer with weight to his words.

I give you a Kingmaker countdown, five songs whose lyrical poignancy will hopefully create a few more converts to the Kingmaker coven:

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Freewheeling (from The Celebrated Working Man EP)

Religion is a crooked liar
Wasted flames of a burning fire,
Barbed wire, a funeral pyre
To be freewheeling is all I need
Yes it’s me and it’s got to be all for me

The first song I fell in love with: Loz Hardy tells the tale of a religious girl whose addiction to faith blinds her to everything else, the chorus I always sang with gusto after being forced to attend Sunday school, much against my wishes, as a youngster.


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Armchair Anarchist (from Armchair Anarchist EP/Sleepwalking album)

I’m a marked anarchist
Yes, I’m being totally honest
In fact, just the other morning
I was planning a bombing
Firstly, the House Of Lords
Then on to the Brit Awards
Singing
“Bomb the idiots”
“Bomb all the idiots now”
“Bomb the idiots”
“Bomb all the idiots now”

I don’t think Loz Hardy was jealous of the Brit Awards Winners but more in a rage with the music industry in general, the gestation of the ‘difficult’ second album had been well – err – difficult (there’s a great interview online that explains why in great detail) and seeing the self-congratulatory bunch of fools awarding honours to Tasmin Archer and Mick Hucknall may have been a step too far.


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Kissing Under Anaesthetic (from Armchair Anarchist EP)

She said it was Sod’s law that soon she would self-destruct
What am I waiting for she said – I already wake up in a pool of piss
She remembers innocence like an exhibit in a museum
She knows embarrassment it’s the only thing she ever feels
She said her mother told her that she nearly had her destroyed
An abortion would have been better than this her ghost would have enjoyed
Life’s half jokes

This is such a sad song, detailing the fallout of sexual abuse: heart rending and pulling no punches, its bleak nature is affecting and thought-provoking. When he sings there is so much pathos which is at odds with the music it’s set to.


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Honesty Kills (from Sleepwalking album)

People only see what they want to see
It’s a symptom of life’s hypocrisy
People only see what they want to see
That’s why you’re stripping naked in his back seat

This one may be a bit more of a personal choice, I had a bit of a thing for a girl at University who decided some guy called Richard was a better option (he was probably a jolly nice chap) and I spent a long time howling this song at the top of my lungs, especially the opening line. A great take down of one of those guys who are only after one thing with the pay off line demanding he is strung up – plus it has a killer bassline!


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Sometimes I Think She Takes Me Along Just For the Ride (from In the Best Possible Taste album)

We walked into town like sister and brother
She wore my hand-me-downs I wore a pair of her jeans
Very soon I was accosted by one of her ex-lovers
He said, “I want what’s mine”. I said, “Take her”
He said, “I meant those jeans!”

This song has a lovely way of revealing the narrator is realising he’s being taken for a ride as the lyrics subtly shift as it reaches its conclusion. It also showcases Loz Hardy’s talent for a nice twist of phrase, coupled with deeply black humour.


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I could have chosen many more songs but I’ve gone for a range from each of the albums to give you a general picture. Hopefully a few more people will fall in love with this hugely underrated band and stick two fingers up at the NME’s ironic “still waiting for that Kingmaker revival” running joke!

Jonathan Powell (@ipswichjon)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

My first taste of indie was being lent a Beechwood indie top 20 CD, it led me to PWEI, Carter USM, The Cure and a love of vinyl. I became obsessed at University attending every gig and buying every record, tape or CD I could afford. I even wrote my dissertation on indie music!

I’m now happily married to my beautiful wife and fellow indie-ite TracyK (@Perlalaloca) and we both proudly enjoy our daughter’s renditions of songs by Los Campesinos!, The Cure, The Decemberists and Lou Barlow!

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Thank you to Jon for sharing that and for taking the time to contribute. If you would like to contribute to our Indie Encounters feature and share your indie moments please email us at indieover40@gmail.com or DM us on Twitter

We are waiting in anticipation

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Hello, Love – Getting Married With The Broken Family Band

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Indie Encounters is a regular feature for guest contributors to recollect a memorable indie moment, whether it’s meeting a band, a special gig or even the moment that indie music entered their lives.

In this feature David Bruce @davidkbruce recounts the day he got The Broken Family Band to……..actually we won’t spoil it for you. Find out out for yourself

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Firstly, some background.

The much missed Broken Family Band (Steven Adams, Jay Williams, Gav Johnson, Micky Roman) gently rocked their way straight outta Cambridge in the early 00’s releasing a series of utterly brilliant but criminally overlooked albums on Track And Field.

I first became aware of them via a track (the wondrous Devil InThe Details) from their debut album on the Rough Trade Country 1 comp. I snaffled up said album, Cold Water Songs, and was hooked. Singing lines such as “moles with beaks instead of eyes” and “don’t leave that woman unattended, I might get stuck in for myself”, I mean, what’s not to love? The career peak ‘Welcome Home, Loser’ followed in 2005 (sample lyric “you’re a sick, satanic lady, you’re full of hate and I just love that”), then ‘Balls’, the album that almost (but not quite) broke them by including ‘It’s All Over’, the perfect song to soundtrack sporting failure.

After seeing them a couple of times in Cambridge and Leeds, upon the release of ‘Hello, Love’ in 2007, they announced a tour taking in Newcastle Academy. Brilliant. And so it was, on a chilly October evening, my girlfriend and I rocked up to the Academy to see a rollicking, hit-laden set by the lads. So far, so ordinary.

After the gig, there’s a “rawk” night in the main room of the Academy so in the absence of anywhere else to go, we continue getting drunk to the strains of Metallica, Foo Fighters and Jane’s Addiction. Clearly a popular idea as out the corner of my inebriated eye, I spot the Broken Family Band doing exactly the same thing.

Now I have to tell you at this point, that for some time I had been pondering popping the question to my girlfriend and thinking of the best way to do it…..an idea forms in my drunken mind…..why don’t I get them to do it for me!!! She’ll bloody love this!!!

So, over I stagger…..

“Alright, lads?”

“Er, yeah, alright?”

“Just been to the gig, great stuff”

“Er, cheers”

“Anyhow, see her over there?”

“Er……yeah?”

“Well that’s my girlfriend, any chance you can ask her to marry me?”

“…………..”

So after an in-band squabble over who was going to do the deed, up steps our hero Steven Adams, who trudges across to my girlfriend, no doubt wondering “how did I get into this shit?”

“Alright?”

“Hi”

“See that fella over there?”

“Yeah”

“Says he wants to marry you”

“Does he call this a proposal? At least do it properly and get down on one knee”

“Oh, for fuck’s sake………..”

And lo, our hero did indeed get down on one knee, she said yes and the rest is history.

We bumped into them again outside and had a chat. Gav gave us a used bus ticket as a wedding present. We asked them to play at our wedding. They changed the subject.

As a postscript, I mailed them once the wedding plans were sorted for them to suggest a song to walk down the aisle to. They suggested ‘The Final Countdown’ by Europe. An interesting choice. We went with Cursed Sleep by Bonnie Prince Billy.

My wife and I went to see them again at the Cluny just before they split. We walked past them outside. They didn’t speak. Their work was done.

David Bruce


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Thank you to David for sharing that special indie moment. If you would like to contribute to this feature and share your indie moments please email us at indieover40@gmail.com or DM us on Twitter

We are waiting in anticipation

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Meet The Community – Dalliance68

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Here we divert our attention away from the artists and bands and shine a light on some of those individuals whose contributions in our social media world have been an invaluable source of musical joy. By asking a series of 10 questions we want to get inside the mind of a selected community member and understand their indie DNA.

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In this edition – Dalliance68

Dalliance68 image

 

 

 

 

Shoplifters of the world unite, for today we shall be meeting that man with the Filofax and endless collection of gig tickets. On twitter we know him as @Dalliance68 and every morning we await with anticipation the appearance of that infamous James R Reid photo of Elvis crashing onto our Twitter feed. Discovering what gig ticket or gig memory Dalliance68 may share that day has become bit of a breakfast time ritual. Something to enjoy while we have our cornflakes and a lovely cup of rosey lee.

We are absolutely convinced that Dalliance68 has been to a gig on every calendar day of a year and we are determined to test this theory. You mark our words! As for that infamous Filofax full of carefully recorded gig attendances. Dalliance68 has restored credibility to a much maligned relic of the 1980s. For that the world should rejoice.

So without further ado, let’s meet Dalliance68

1) Where did you grow up?

Harrow in North West London. A fairly unremarkable place.

2) What first got you into “indie” music?

It was December 1983. There I was in my bedroom watching my portable black and white TV. I was doing what would now be called ‘channel hopping’ which was then tuning in the TV via a dial on the front (youngsters ask your parents). As I did so I came across The Old Grey Whistle Test showing a Smiths gig from Derby. I was transfixed.

What was this? Who were these people? A singer waving flowers singing in a way that I’d never heard before, words and phrases that immediately distanced this band from everything else I’d heard up until then.  A guitarist that just looked like the coolest bloke I’d ever seen playing guitar lines that were mesmerizing. A crowd going berserk, throwing flowers and jumping over the stage. It’s been mentioned since by a number of people but I couldn’t reference the sound, it was new exciting and the most incredible music I’d ever heard. I never looked back; it was indie music and nothing else from that moment on.

3) What was the first “indie” record you bought?

Well, my first ever vinyl purchase was Elvis Costello’s ‘Oliver’s Army’ which I suppose is a bit indie. Otherwise I think it was probably ‘Love Will Tear us Apart’

4) What was your favourite record shop?

I have fond memories of Our Price in Harrow, this is where I used to turn up mid-morning on the date of Smiths singles releases. After a while I knew when the brown boxes of singles would be delivered, I’d then approach the counter probably wearing a Smiths t-shirt and cardigan and ask for whichever single was being released that day. As the assistant went to look for it I’d tell them it was in the brown box, I’d then get a pristine copy prior to any price stickers being added. Then home where I’d listen to it constantly for hours on end.

I also liked HMV in Oxford Street where I’d rush to in order to secure The Wedding Present’s Hit Parade singles.

5) What music magazines did you read?

It was NME and Melody Maker with occasional Sounds purchases. I had a couple of letters published in the NME. One asked whether I was the only person in the country who didn’t like ‘OK Computer’. Apparently I was. The second letter was one pointing out how Paul Heaton was beginning to resemble Ron Dixon of Brookside fame. I wasn’t the only one to spot it however, they printed my letter second and then berated me for not being first telling me I was going to “die in a pool of whisky piss” Charming.

6) What was your first “indie” gig?

My first ‘indie’ gig was my first ever gig. March 21st 1986 Red Wedge at Hammersmith Odeon. The line-up was Lorna G, Blow Monkeys (it gets better), Communards, Billy Bragg and The Style Council. A great night which not only turned me into a big Billy Bragg fan it opened my mind to left wing politics and inspired me to play the guitar. I’ve still got the programme.

7) What was your most memorable “indie” gig? And why?

This was a difficult one.  I’ll plump for the indiest line up I’ve ever experienced. Reading Festival in August  1990. The line-up that day was Psychic TV, Wire, The Young Gods, Ride, Billy Bragg, Buzzcocks, The Wedding Present and Inspiral Carpets. The headliners were fantastic, the highlight being the marching band that came on during ‘She Comes in the Fall’. Mooooo!!!

8) What 3 “indie” albums would you take to a desert island?

This is making my head hurt…….
The Smiths ‘The Queen is Dead’ for its sheer perfection
My Bloody Valentine ‘Loveless’ because there’s nothing like it
The Fall – I Am Kurious Oranj
I’ll have to move on quickly before I realise I haven’t included Half Man Half Biscuit, The Wedding Present, R.E.M, Inspiral Carpets etc etc etc

9) What “indie” band/artist would you most like to meet?

Nigel Blackwell of Half Man Half Biscuit. Genius

10) What one song defines your indie-ness?

‘Dalliance’ by The Wedding Present. The perfect mix of quiet and loud. It also conjures up memories of throwing myself round various venues in London


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A huge thank you to Dalliance68 for taking part. Hope you enjoyed this insight into his indie-ness.

You could be next.

 

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Meet The Community – Clive Stringer

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Here we divert our attention away from the artists and bands and shine a light on some of those individuals whose contributions in our social media world have been an invaluable source of musical joy. By asking a series of 10 questions we want to get inside the mind of a selected community member and understand their indie DNA.

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The first thing we did when we opened up a HR file on Clive Stringer was look up what a Samoyed was, not being particularly au fait with the canine world. Clive compliments his love of white fluffy dogs from Siberia with a passionate interest is those healthy sporting pastimes of Snooker and Darts. Thankfully he’s never shared Chas & Dave’s “Snooker Loopy” among the community or anything by Darts. If you look at Clive’s twitter profile pic (@Clive_Stringer) he is sporting what looks like a hipster beard of snooker balls.

Most importantly Clive loves his indie music and has been an eager participant in pretty much every interactive event we have done. Although not so eager to agree to be a guest judge in the 30 Years Of Indie Albums or a guest referee in The IndieOver40 Cup. Three times we must have asked him.

However, we are delighted to have finally got our man as Clive has put pen to paper and agreed to let us intrude upon his indie-ness.

So without further ado, let’s meet Clive Stringer

1) Where did you grow up?

I’ve lived all my life in Wantage, an average sized town in South Oxfordshire. I wouldn’t say there’s been a dearth of successful alternative acts from the locality, but the only tenuous connection I can conjure is that the tax-dodging horseman Lester Piggott was born here and who featured in the James ‘Sometimes’ song.

2) What first got you into “indie” music?

I remember this clearly as it was a total Indie Eureka moment. ITV’s Saturday morning Chart Show is oft fondly remembered in our community as it was one of the very few shows where you could hear left-field music back then. Anyway, there I was still half asleep and munching my corn flakes when this weird yet tuneful ditty featuring a woman half shrieking half singing the chorus caught my attention. It was nothing like I’d ever heard before, it was stunning, it was Birthday by The Sugarcubes, and I never played my Suzanne Vega tapes again (this last bit may not be entirely true).

3) What was the first “indie” record you bought?

It would have been the aforementioned, and then retrospectively buying some REM and Go-Betweens albums. The Mighty Lemon Drops ‘World Without End’ was an early one too as I recall.

4) What was your favourite record shop?

Definitely The Manic Hedgehog in Headington, Oxford. Readers of NME, Melody Maker etc at the time may recognise the name as it often featured in the back pages alongside Alan’s Records, Sister Ray etc. I used to attend Brookes University just up the road hence it was convenient, not to mention the only independent record shop within a 20 mile radius of where I lived.

The place always reeked of joss sticks (possibly to overhaul other aromas) and the management used to put stickers on the top right hand corners of the LP’s advising you what genre it was, who it sounded like, etc, because of course there were no listening booths. I bought some memorable EP’s there in particular, including The Badgers Picnic EP and Chicane’s ‘Wanderlust’. I mean, who can forget them?…

5) What music magazines did you read?

The tried and tested Smash Hits to NME / Melody Maker progression. Sad to see the NME’s demise as in that era I bought it with the likes of Maconie, Collins, Quantick etc writing and it was a cracking read irrespective of how strong the music scene was at the time.

That said, I did petulantly boycott the NME for a while after having a letter in praise of The Frank & Walters published in Angst, only for the journo reviewing the letters to slag me off. Thankfully I got over it and am not bitter nor scarred by the experience. The cow.

6) What was your first “indie” gig?

Cue the ‘Our Tune’ music because my first gig ended in disaster. A mate and I boarded the train to see REM at the Birmingham NEC only to realise that the last train back was halfway through the gig. So whilst it would have been more rock and roll to stay to the end and thumb a lift home or something (ok ring Dad) we left prematurely.

Technically, mind, that wasn’t an indie gig as it was the Green tour, REM’s first album on a major. The support act were The Blue Aeroplanes who I saw shortly after at the De Montfort Hall in Leicester, my first true experience of the joys of the moshpit, stagediving, getting covered in beer and if-I-go-to-the-toilet-will-I-ever-get-my-space-back.

7) What was your most memorable “indie” gig? And why?

I would say the Slough Festival in 1991. With Ride topping the bill and Curve, Chapterhouse, Thousand Yard Stare etc in attendance. There were more pedals than the Tour De France and more feedback than an Ebay addict. This was our Shoegazing Woodstock. Only in Slough.

8) What 3 “indie” albums would you take to a desert island?

I’ve often wondered where the power comes from to play these desert island discs but anyway, let’s go Life’s Rich Pageant by REM, Swagger by The Blue Aeroplanes and Eugenie by The Popguns.

9) What “indie” band/artist would you most like to meet?

Bit of a left field answer this one. Simon Rivers from The Bitter Springs. I once wrote to his PO address asking where I could get hold of any Last Party (BS’s previous incarnation) albums. He went up in the loft, fished their LP’s out, and posted them to me with a note for thanking me for taking an interest! So I’d like to meet him to thank him in return. Plus he’s a brilliant lyricist in the Cocker Heaton mould.

10) What one song defines your indie-ness?

Whilst it’s tempting to perm any one of a thousand fey, jangly, Sarah Records-esque tunes, my choice is Mongk II by British Sea Power. Again totally original, a bit of a racket but with a top tune buried in there, to me it’s what indie music is all about – not exactly daytime radio fodder, but different and, in it’s own inimitable way, melodic.


 

A huge thank you to Clive for taking part. Hope you enjoyed this insight into the indie-ness of Clive.

You could be next.

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The IndieOver40 Cup – A View From The Terraces

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As someone who has been involved in our Twitter interactive tournament The IndieOver40 Cup in one form or another since its beginning, we asked Dawn Bovingdon (@Miss_D_xx) to write about the cup from her own perspective. Here is her account.

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When I was asked to write a blog about The IndieOver40 Cup for Everything Indie Over 40, I hastily agreed before realising I’ve never actually written a blog before and wasn’t even sure how to. Great start eh? After making some notes on what I wanted to include, this is my personal and unbiased account of The IndieOver40 Cup. Ok, maybe slightly, as those of you who don’t know me will soon realise.

It feels like eons ago when the cup launched with a message that 64 bands had been chosen by some secret selection policy to take part in the cup. Every Friday and Saturday night 4 teams would be drawn in pairs to play that weekend. Rules were simple; share a memory, story, song, video or memorabilia for the band you support.

Two willing volunteers were selected to pick the teams, one to draw numbers and the other to announce which bands each number related to. As the weeks progressed the selection and reveal methods became an event in their own right. These included bingo, Spotify shuffle, pets picking numbers and blindfold kids with darts!*

DAWN cup draw pic

A guest referee was then appointed to keep score throughout the day, announce the winner and choose a ‘Man Of The Match’ on the strength of their photo or anecdote. Still with me?

I had the pleasure of reffing an early match. I apologise to my family for blanking them for the day, but I had an important job to do. It was far tougher than you’d think.

To add to the fun/pressure a sweepstake ran alongside the cup hosted by Simon (@HertfordSoul). No money exchanged hands, instead the loser had to buy an album from the 1p album club for the winner. A fantastic way to find and share often obscure albums.

Cup Poster.jpg-large

An example match day poster

Round 1 (ding ding)

After searching cupboards, under beds, the loft and garage; pics were posted, favourite tracks chosen and blogs links shared in support of people’s band choice. The first penalty shootout of the cup came in March with a match between Mega City Four and Saint Etienne which drew at 29 all.

For those who don’t know me, I’m a bit of an MC4 geek (for those that do apologies for boring you with all my tweets!). After a long day of staring at twitter and manually trying to calculate who was winning, the retweet shootout was one of the longest hours I’ve sat through in a while. I hit refresh so many times.It was a nail biting battle and much to my relief MC4 scraped through with 30 retweets against 26.

While some of the bands moved easily to the next round, from the start we saw some surprise knock outs with PWEI, The Verve and REM making very early exits.

For the winners it was time to pour a much needed drink and start preparing for the next round. For the losers it was absolute heartbreak, made all the worse by the winners’ celebratory tweets. It’s so hard not to gloat when your band wins.

The sweepstake cost us dearly (all of about £2) in this round as both mine and my partner Adrian’s sweepstake teams were drawn the same weekend, although not against each other, and sods law we both lost.

Round 2

Passions showed as bands battled through and couple of yellow cards were handed out to uphold the ‘spirit of the cup (no names mentioned). No match was a foregone conclusion and we took to forums to rally support for our bands.

Again there were some very close matches, My Bloody Valentine beat Suede by 2 points and The Sundays scored just 1 more than The Boo Radleys to stay in the competition. Others had far easier wins with Manic Street Preachers, The Stuffies, Ride and the Weddoes easily sailing through.

Round 3

The original 64 had been whittled down to 16. Accusations of FIFA style bribery were rife (yes @Bringitonskippy I’m looking at you) as everyone again took to Twitter to show their love for their band. This round saw a surprise exit from the competition by The Wonder Stuff who were beaten 42/40 by The Manics.

My beloved MC4 put up a good fight with Gerry Bryant (MC4 bassist) and Karina Fraser (F4wt trustee) joining the campaign trail, but just couldn’t overcome the support for Ride in a week that coincided with their UK comeback gigs. Ride took the match 55/42. @Knoxy15 went off to the room with the green carpet to sob into his beer and I made my long suffering family listen to MC4 albums back to back. On the upside I took the MOTM title, probably out of pity, with my barrage of MC4 memorabilia and story tweets.

Round 4

The final 8 had been decided; Carter USM, My Bloody Valentine, Manics, Charlatans, Teenage Fanclub, Ride, James and The Weddoes. Allegiances shifted where favourite bands had fallen and one match, Carter vs MBV went down to the wire.

At full time we had a draw at 31 apiece. A penalty shootout was required and an hour allotted to gain the most re-tweets of a band video. With the lead switching several times the unthinkable happened and at the final whistle both teams were tied! It was time for the feared sudden death penalty shootout – next retweet takes the match.

In a perfectly timed move Carter stole the win when Jim Bob retweeted his own video! Commiserations to @postpunkrunner who missed out by seconds on getting MBV through to the semis.

DAWN cup Jim Bob tweetJim Bob’s penalty shoot out retweet

Semi Final

Then there were 4; Carter, The Charlatans, Ride and The Wedding Present. Both matches saw greater support than in other rounds and @_sandywishart had the unenviable task of guest refereeing the match. Carter USM’s luck ended here as The Charlatans beat them 33/24 and, despite Ride racking up what would have been a winning score in any other round of 63, The Wedding Present claimed their place in the final with an astounding 73 points.

The Final

As tensions and energy built for the much anticipated final between The Charlatans and The Wedding Present, a press release was launched. The simple 1 share was out, instead a new set of rules would apply designed to spice things up;

  • Each supporter could share a song, a photo and memorabilia
  • 5 points awarded for photos and memorabilia
  • 20 hidden songs by each band had been pre-selected and awarded 5, 10 or 20 points. All other song choices scored 0
  • If all hidden songs are found a bonus of 50 is awarded to that team
  • In the event of a ‘secret event’ happening the team scores a 100 point bonus

The Cup final would also be refereed by @IndieOver40 for the first time since the opening games back in February

Kick off was at 9am on Sunday 5th July to a flurry of early activity for the Weddoes. A Charlatans gig the night before saw a late start for their supporters trying to get their tired, hungover heads around the new rules.

Cheers went up every time a hidden song was unearthed and everyone tried to figure out the bonus secret event. Fantastic stories, memorabilia and photos were shared throughout the day for both teams. On paper it appeared that the Weddoes had it in the bag but the new rules could easily change that.

After an hour of uncertainty the final score announcement came at 9.04pm; The Wedding Present had beaten The Charlatans 400 – 160 in a fiercely fought match. No-one managed to uncover the secret event, which was later revealed as a retweet by Tim Burgess or David Gedge (if only Carter had made the final!). While The Charlatans supporters took the defeat graciously, The Weddoes fans celebrated with typical Twitter banter. As you can tell from his response to a request for a soundbite, David Gedge was thrilled with the win!

Gedge quote

Congratulations all round for a fantastic competition. Time for a much needed glass of wine and a lie down.

I’ve loved being part of The IndieOver40 Cup, and hope to share a beer with some of you in the not too distant future. While we wait for the announcement of the next competition (did I hear mention of a European League?), I’ll leave you with my personal top 5 cup moments, in reverse order:

DAWN cup knoxy carpet

Knoxy’s infamous green carpet

5. Rummaging around for old press cuttings and posters (which gave me a much needed kick up the backside to start tidying the garage).

4. The elation and relief when my band progressed to the next round. On the flip side there was also the utter heartbreak when they were knocked out, hence its lowly place in my top 5.

3. The weekend wasn’t complete without the appearance of Knoxy’s now legendary green carpet.

2. Carter progressing through to the next round when Jim Bob scored the final goal during sudden death penalty shootout.

1. The top spot has to go to the passion everyone taking part put in supporting their band with the fantastic stories and treasured possessions shared (corny but true!)

Dawn Bovingdon (@Miss_D_xx)

* No pets or children were harmed, but some may have been effectively orphaned for whole weekends

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Hollywood Day Drinking with Tim Burgess

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Indie Encounters is a regular feature for guest contributors to recollect a memorable indie moment, whether it’s meeting a band, a special gig or even the moment that indie music entered their lives.

In this feature Ben Vendetta @postpunkrunner recounts the day he interviewed Tim Burgess in a Hollywood bar and shares his fanzine pages

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Hollywood Day Drinking with Tim Burgess

It was 2001 and I had recently moved to Los Angeles from Boston. I was keeping myself busy working for an independent record label, while also operating a nationally distributed fanzine called Vendetta. I got to know a lot of the local bands on the scene, including the Brian Jonestown Massacre, the Warlocks, and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. It was a cover story interview that I had conducted with BJM frontman Anton Newcombe that led me to Charlatans’ leader Tim Burgess.

Tim had recently moved to L.A. too and he had been DJing with Alan McGee on a semi-regular basis as part of Alan’s Radio 4 nights. I got to know both of them and one evening I gave Tim some back issues. Next time I saw Tim, he said, ‘Why did you put Anton on the cover? You should put me on there!’ I was like, anytime. Tim and I agreed to meet at a Hollywood bar and conduct the interview.

Tim was pretty drunk when I arrived that afternoon and I got that way in a hurry too as we sunk down many beers over the course of two hours. At one point, Tim got into an argument with his wife on the phone and asked if I could drive him home when we were done. So, in a semi-comatose state, I drove Tim through the winding Hollywood Hills to his house with a spectacular view. When I got back to my Hollywood flat, my wife realized that the door handle on the passenger side was broken! Somehow Tim must have done something to it when I dropped him off. To this day my wife will tell people that the lead singer of the Charlatans broke our door!

So, that’s my story. The two-hour conversation with Tim without edits is transcribed below and published in my fanzine “Vendetta”

Ben Vendetta is the author of Wivenhoe Park (2013) and Heartworm (October 2015). Wivenhoe Park is available on Kindle and paperback via Amazon. Signed paperbacks can be purchased from Elephant Stone Records.

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Thank you to Ben for sharing that special moment. If you would like to contribute to this feature please contact us by DM on Twitter @indieover40 or email us at indieover40@gmail.com

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Meet The Community – Tracy Kidner

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Here we divert our attention away from the artists and bands and shine a light on some of those individuals whose contributions in our social media world have been an invaluable source of musical joy. By asking a series of 10 questions we want to get inside the mind of a selected community member and understand their indie DNA.

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Those of you on Twitter will be more familiar with Tracy as @Perlalaloca and will therefore know she is a regular fixture in our world. She has refereed The IndieOver40 Cup and was also a guest judge for the 30 Years Of Indie Albums feature exercising her duties in both with due diligence and humour (and all whilst looking after a young family). Our HR file on Tracy is marked “reliable”.

If you didn’t know (we do because it’s our job to know) Tracy’s Twitter moniker comes from the Jaime Hernandez Love & Rockets alternative comic book series. We also know that Tracy is a teacher in that real world that exists outside of indie.

We really wanted to get inside the indie-ness of Tracy so without further ado let’s meet Tracy Kidner

1) Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Tamworth. I didn’t fit in. Once I got threatened for being a tattooed girl who drank pints. Julian Cope ran away as soon as he could. Good advice.

2) What first got you into “indie” music?

Truthfully, my first love, who leant me his vinyl copies of the Smiths, The Cure, Pixies, The Mission, the Darling Buds and did me mixtapes of The Clash, the Jam, Buzzcocks & The Wonder Stuff, who were new local heroes.

3) What was the first “indie” record you bought?

Do we include Depeche Mode as indie? I loved Depeche Mode, Erasure, Pet Shop Boys, Yazoo. I think the first genuinely indie record would have been The Sundays Can’t Be Sure, after catching a bit on The Chart Show’s indie chart and hunted it down for WEEKS after, scouring Birmingham and Tamworth. I don’t think I can describe how that felt, getting my paws on it finally, and playing it over and over and over and over…

4) What was your favourite record shop?

Andy’s Records in Aberystwyth. I went to university there in 1989 and remember buying one vinyl LP every couple of months, The Wonder Stuff’s Hup, Carter USM’s 101 Damnations, Kristin Hersh’s Hips & Makers, Belly’s Star. So many important records. My ex got one of the original pressings of Tigermilk by Belle & Sebastian there. Dammit.

5) What music magazines did you read?

Smash Hits! I was a bit in love with Neil Tennant even before he joined the Pet Shop Boys. I still have the clipping where he left and they mocked him, saying he’d soon be back after going “down the dumper”! Then NME and Melody maker (always both. always) and then Select, which I LOVED. All those brilliant massive posters. I once put a personal ad in the back of Select. Crikey, the replies were…interesting…

6) What was your first “indie” gig?

The early 90s are a bit of a blur *cough-cidernblack-cough* My first gigs were both Erasure, but after that it’s a blur of Carter USM, The Wonder Stuff and Voice of the Beehive, who dedicated a song to me for slapping a bloke who kept heckling them to “Get your t*ts out for the lads”.
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7) What was your most memorable “indie” gig? And why?

Two stand out. I “met” my now-husband online after posting a music lyrics quiz. He got the most right and then corrected me on a Carter lyric! When we met in person we realised we’d spent the 90s criss-crossing the midlands at the same indie gigs. We got chatting about a Carter gig at the Hummingbird and he said he’d not had a great time because he’d had a broken leg. I remember vividly SMILING at some poor soul at the bar that night because I felt sorry for anyone not able to mosh at a Carter gig! So I smiled at my future husband 10 years before actually meeting him.

The other was my 33rd birthday, Belle & Sebastian at Tokyo’s Shibuya AX, where we got to dance onstage with the band during Dirty Dream #2. Pretty memorable!

8) What 3 “indie” albums would you take to a desert island?

ONLY THREE! Evil.
Belly – Star
The Smiths – The Queen is Dead
Pixies – Doolittle

9) What “indie” band/artist would you most like to meet?

P J Harvey. She’s unique.

10) What one song defines your indie-ness?

I know someone who’d say Echobelly’s Great Things, but I’d like to say Kenickie’s Punka. If punkas ever do grow up…


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A huge thank you to Tracy for taking part. Hope you enjoyed this insight into the indie-ness of Tracy.

You could be next.

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Teenage Fanclub & The Postcard From Minneapolis

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Indie Encounters is a regular feature for guest contributors to reminisce about a memorable indie experience, whether it’s meeting a band, a special gig or even the moment that indie music entered their lives.

In this feature our very own Steve from @IndieOver40 recounts the day he met Teenage Fanclub

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Teenage Fanclub & The Postcard From Minneapolis

On the 5th August 1997, in a record store on Hennepin Avenue in downtown Minneapolis USA, I found myself face to face with Norman Blake of Teenage Fanclub and bizarrely trying to persuade him to write a postcard to a complete stranger in Essex.

Before I reveal whether Norman relented to my request I should explain first what we were both doing in a city 4,000 miles from our own respected hometowns in the UK and what had brought us together on that hot summers day.

By the time I wandered into that record store, I had been living in Minneapolis the best part of 6 weeks, working for an IT company, courtesy of a student exchange programme that had given me that holiest of all grails. A green card. I had just completed my first year at university in the UK as a 28 year old mature student and the prospect of a summer working in America seemed like an opportunity for adventure not to be passed up.

Against the recommendation of the programme organisers I had decided to roll into the US of A without a pre-organised job sorted. So when I stepped off a plane in New York in June 1997 I was armed with just a rucksack, $1,500 in cash & basically no idea what to do next. The fact I ended up in Minneapolis owed more to the fact that it was on the destination board of the next Amtrak departing Penn Station rather than any predetermined plan. After a couple of days of exploring the big apple I was itching to hit the road and Minneapolis was just as good a place as any. There was something enticing about the name as well. Minneapolis sounded like proper America.

I hadn’t taken anything with me to the USA in terms of listening materials. No walkman. No C90s. I decided that if this was going to be an adventure then I should leave behind any remnants of life back home and travel as a blank sheet of paper and that extended to music. Unfortunately the music scene in Minneapolis didn’t provide any tangible thrills per se. Most people I came into contact with seemed to derive most of their pleasure from Hootie & The Blowfish or Young MC in the case of the residents of the frat house from whom I was renting a room that summer.

Which is why I was excited to say the least when one day on the way to work I spotted a billboard announcing a gig at The State Theatre with not only Radiohead as headline act but incredibly Teenage Fanclub as support. I mean what an indietastic combination and right here in the depths of midwestern USA! I was working just around the corner to the State Theatre so I rushed straight round there and purchased two tickets figuring that I could persuade at least one of the small circle of British expats in the city I had fallen in with to go with me.

On the day of the gig I met up with a couple of fellow Brits for lunch, one of whom had already had contact with Radiohead earlier by selling Thom Yorke a smoothie at the department store concession she was working at. She had also discovered that Teenage Fanclub would be signing copies of the album they were plugging in the US, Songs From Northern Britain, at a local record store that afternoon ahead of the gig.

There was no way I was going to miss out on an opportunity to meet one of my idols and so after laying on the Brit charm with my supervisor back at work I was granted permission to disappear from work for an hour in the afternoon. On the way I decided to purchase a postcard to send to my best mate Shan back in the UK as I couldn’t let exciting events like this go unreported back home.

I should probably introduce Shan into the story at this point as without him there wouldn’t be a story. Shan (real name Paul) was one of my oldest friends and essentially my window to that late 80s early 90s indie scene. He always seemed to have a handle of what was hip and happening musically and so through Shan’s record collection I was introduced to bands such as House Of Love & Ultra Vivid Scene at a time I was still scouring Our Price to get the latest hip-house album by DJ Fast Eddie. So the reason why I was an indie kid in the first place was down to Shan and that included hearing Bandwagonesque for the first time over at his place.

So, there I was that afternoon, standing in a queue in a record store in Minneapolis waiting to meet Teenage Fanclub armed only with a postcard showing the city skyline and of course a CD of Songs From Northern Britain which I had just purchased for signing by the band. While I was waiting my thoughts were pretty much dominated by what I was going to actually say to the band. Trying to think of an interesting comment or question without coming across as a bit of a wally.

Which is when the idea started to germinate of getting the band to sign the postcard as well as the CD. My thought process was this. Wouldn’t it be a grin if my mate Shan got a postcard from Teenage Fanclub? It seemed almost genius in its simplicity.

As time was premium I decided to ask them just to sign the back of the blank card and then I would add the message later. However, I needed to at least have Shan’s address on the postcard to make it clear what my aims were. There was also the worry that they might sign in awkward places. So I hastily wrote Shan’s address on the right hand half of the postcard as is customary. By which point I was staring straight into the eyes of Norman Blake.

After exchanging the standard “alright?” introductions and mentioning attending the gig that night I came straight out with it. “You couldn’t do us a favour and sign this postcard to my mate in England, could ya? He’s a massive fan and it would be a right laugh if he got a postcard from you”. Blimey, it sounded ridiculous.

I was just about to bail out of the whole farcical plan with what remained of my dignity and simply hand over the CD for signing, when Norman uttered. “Sure. What do want me to write?” I was gobsmacked to say the least at Norman’s acquiescence but quickly pressed ahead with the plan and with a new found confidence. Instead of asking for just a signature I went all out & suggested he write a few words so that it looked like he was writing to Shan as if he was on an actual holiday.

I was suddenly concerned that this was in the realms of pushing it too far, but I needn’t have worried. After asking for my mates name Norman scribbled in thick black pen but with perfect clarity the following simple words. “Hi Shan, Having a great holiday. Wish you were here. Regards Norman Blake”. He then handed the postcard back and with a wink said, “That’s a great idea by the way. Your mate’s gonna love that”, or words to that effect.

Whilst Norman moved onto signing the CD, which I’d decided on giving to a lady friend back home, I stared at what he had written and was overcome with a sense of pride. That a plan had been devised, executed and successfully completed within the space of mere minutes seemed a major accomplishment. In fact I’d cite this episode in later years on job application forms as an example of how I had set and accomplished a goal in life. Such was my sense of achievement.

The rest of the band did their bit of course and signed the postcard and CD accompanied by quizzical looks and the odd amusing comment. I left that record store with a skip in my step and headed straight for the downtown post office where I waved goodbye to the postcard as it began its long journey to Essex.

A lot happened between that encounter with Teenage Fanclub and when I eventually discovered that my audacious plan had worked. I remained in the USA for another couple of months during which I had many adventures covering thousands of miles that took me through the midwest, deep south and eastern seaboard of that vast country. In fact, meeting Teenage Fanclub seemed to pale into significance compared to other antics and so by the time I returned to the UK I’d almost forgotten I’d even sent that postcard.

Which in a way added to the pleasure when Shan showed me the postcard the first time I visited him at home on my return. Seeing that scrawl in thick black pen again and that large Norman that seemed to leap off the white backed card brought back that summers day in Minneapolis with such clarity. It also looked much more bona fide as it now carried the US & UK post office stamps as evidence that it had travelled 4000 miles to reach it’s final destination. Shan also recounted his disbelief when he first picked it up off his hallway mat one morning but that he never doubted its authenticity. He knew me well enough to know it was the sort of hair brained scheme only I could come up.

So that was how I got Teenage Fanclub to write a postcard from Minneapolis. Naturally a photo of the postcard would have been a perfect accompaniment to this tale and so I recently text Shan requesting he send one over to me. Rather sadly his response was short but by no means devastating. “Lost that years ago” was simply what I received in reply rather than the desired photo.

At least the recipient of the signed CD wasn’t so negligent and so I am at least able to show some evidence of my encounter.

And as for the gig itself……that’s another story.

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If you would like to contribute to this feature please email us at indieover40@gmail.com or DM us on Twitter

We are banking on it

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