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.
In this edition – Helen Gordon
When we asked Helen if she would agree to be our next Meet The Community victim, we were fully expecting to be told to get on our bike! Literally! You see Helen likes a bicycle, to the extent that if you follow her on Twitter or Instagram you are likely to see Helen sporting lycra and perched on a bike regularly.
What we know about Helen is that not only did she recently undertake the gruelling 100 mile Ride London for Saint Francis Hospice (a charity close to her heart) but she completed it with a fractured wrist! A moshing injury perhaps Helen?
We also know that Helen spends as much as £70 on cycling jerseys, but when one such purchase is a custom Ride “Leave Them All Behind” variety then that’s money well spent as far we are concerned.
On Twitter Helen’s moniker is @labellehelene which we are sure you are all fully aware refers to the French opera bouffe “La Belle Helene” by Jacques Offenbach. For those who do not parlez the francais, La Belle Helene translates as “The Beautiful Helen”
So without further ado, let’s meet narcissistic cyclist Helen Gordon
1) Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Hornchurch, Essex (right at the arse end of the district line). I didn’t fit in there – a shy, pale teenager with DMs and a Justine Frischmann haircut among the perma-tans and dance music. I got out as soon as I could. First to Hull, then to various parts of London, before settling in North London.
2) What first got you into “indie” music?
My taste has always been pretty eclectic but as I entered my teens I was beginning to listen to Nirvana, a bit of what could be described as Riot Girrrl, but at that time it didn’t really mean anything to me. I loved the fact it was girls with guitars but at that time they were all a bit and older and scary. Then suddenly there was this amazing thing that happened at home.
I remember one night Suede being on TV and my dad being apoplectic about them, how terrible they were, this wasn’t proper music, was it a boy or a girl etc, but I was just blown away by how they sounded and looked. I was hooked, and it took me off in all kinds of directions.
From then on my Saturdays were spent buying records, trying to learn the guitar and trips up to Camden to hang around dodgy bars and try and meet boys with similar taste in music to me.
3) What was the first “indie” record you bought?
It was probably Debut by Bjork. I remember seeing a couple of videos on TV and couldn’t get them out of my head for days.
4) What was your favourite record shop?
I didn’t have much choice in those days. It was the Our Price, HMV or WH Smith in Romford for your records. It was only when I got a bit older and started going up to town that I discovered the joy of a proper record shop. These days I’m a regular in FlashBack in Islington and Sister Ray (I even helped out when they moved last year!)
5) What music magazines did you read?
I was a reader of Smash Hits but graduated to the NME pretty quickly. Never really got into the Melody Maker for some reason.
6) What was your first “indie” gig?
The odd sticky floored pub gig locally and in Camden but we were always constrained by the hour and a half tube journey home. One of the first proper gigs was to see Blur with a friend. Both of us tiny girls at the back thinking we were so cool. I also saw Bjork around the same time who just blew me away.
7) What was your most memorable “indie” gig? And why?
A really hard question! I’ve seen Thurston Moore twice in the last year and both times were amazing. For purely selfish reasons I’m also very pro the reformation of bands I was a bit too young for or split before I found them. JAMC were amazing, as were the Pixies a couple of years ago. (Ok it wash’t Kim on bass, but it was a beautiful sunny evening and it was brilliant just hearing all those songs).
Probably the most memorable recently has to be Ride at the Roundhouse, one of my favourite bands, but one I never got to see first time around. A lot of those songs have memories attached to them and I did have a little cry when they played Vapour Trail.
8) What 3 “indie” albums would you take to a desert island?
Now this is a really hard question that has kept me awake. Three albums just isn’t enough!!! Just for the memories attached to them:
Nowhere – Ride
Doolittle – Pixies
The Libertines – The Libertines
Argh, but wait…. no JAMC, no MBV, no Smiths, no Velvet Underground, no Godspeed, no Belle and Sebastian, … I don’t think I want to go to this desert island. Actually, can I choose three really heavyweight box sets and build a raft to get me back to civilisation?
9) What “indie” band/artist would you most like to meet?
Iggy Pop, Kim Gordon (I want her to adopt me)
10) What one song defines your indie-ness?
If i’m being vain, Cherry Bomb by the Runaways or Femme Fatale by the Velvet Underground. If not, The Boy With the Arab Strap by Belle and Sebastian (as I am both hard and soft and have a filthy laugh)
A huge thank you to Helen Gordon for taking part. Hope you enjoyed this insight into her indie-ness.
You could be next.