A past gone mad, #1
Perusing the gig and tour ads at the back of Uncut is a dizzy-makingly anachronic experience. You get the most incongruous juxtapositions and unseemly adjacencies. Why, just on p. 173, divided into quarter-page ads, you'll find New Model Army, Seth Lakeman (whoever the fuck he might be), and Dreadzone rubbing shoulders with Bob Dylan. (Who you might have thought could afford a whole page of his own, i mean, Jesus, he just had a documentary on him that was some kind of world cultural event!!!). It seems like everybody's still treading the boards again: The Levellers, the Pogues (minus Shane), the Proclaimers, Was (Not) Was, Swing Out fucking Sister, Lee Scratch Perry, Jethro Tull. Durutti Column gets sandwiched in a bottom-of-page threesome with Kate & Anna McGarrigle and Eliza Carthy (well, foursome I suppose)! Sinead O' Connor with Sly & Robbie, and I don't mean ads next to each other, they're performing together, presumably they're her backing band!
Now, I don't begrudge Roy Harper his annual tour, though, some fifteen decent-sized venues across the UK. Don't begrude it one bit, and in fact if I lived in Britain I'd pay to see the man, never have had that pleasure. Hey Woebot, hey K-punk, you surely know, right, that Jeff Wayne is restaging your much-loved War of the Worlds across the country, April next year, with extra shows in response to public demand, later that summer? Delightful-sounding venues like the Glasgow Clyde Auditorium and the Bournemouth BIC, where'll he be conducting the Black Smoke Band and the 48 piece ULLAdubULLA Strings., Special guest Justin Hayward and Richard Burton in ghost form.
But all generations are catered for in this long night of the living dead. P. 170 has an almost conceptual unity, baggy-tastic and scally-delic, with Ian Brown in the upper right corner, Happy Mondays (plus support The Farm!) in the lower left, and Scousters The Coral and Echo & the Bunnymen squaring off in the middle. And bloody hell, directly opposite, a group called The Hacienda Brothers! (And I just learned that there's going to be a recreation of the Hac in all its pills'n'thrills'n'bellyaching glory, promoted by none other than Tony Wilson's young son Oliver. I would go if I lived in England, having never caught the Hac in its rave-on prime, but gone a little too early when it was still a little too indie). But I guess all this shouldn't be surprising, as it's just the live-music corollary of the retro-reissue explosion, an over-population of music with bands dying at too slow a rate c.f. the birth rate, and worse, many of them resurrecting. I suppose you can't blame 'em for having a second go, or trying to eke out a living; what else are they supposed to do? But it all contributes to what I increasingly feel is a key issue of our pop time, namely the erosion of a sense of time, of forward temporal propulsion.