Currently re-reading (it's a perennial khazi classic tbh) the late David Cavanagh’s My Magpie Eyes Are Hungry For The Prize - his doorstop account of the rise and fall of Creation Records - famously dismissed by Alan McGee, who doesn’t really need Cavanagh’s help to come across as a prize bell-end, as “the accountant’s tale”. I actually have respect for McGee, or at least the man he was, the insecure ginger Weedgie out for the main chance in London, propelled by pills and powder and sheer bloody-mindedness to fame and riches and POLITICAL INFLUENCE - at least for a time. His chequered career is pretty much a perfect analogue/exemplar of the Thatcher-Major-Blair (dis)continuum, as well an an object lesson in how much you can achieve while being out of your fucking nut. 

Magpie Eyes - published in 2001, and inexplicably out of print ever since, as far as I'm aware - is the best  book about the independent record business ever written. Cavanagh is aided of course by an incredible cast of chippy/gobby/prickly/preachy (delete as appropriate), fitfully inspired characters to light the way - Primal Scream, Television Personalities, Oasis, The Jesus & Mary Chain, The House of Love, Felt, Momus among myriad other bands great and small, plus a rotating assembly of perma-blitzed Creation staff and industry hangers-on (there is a special place in hell reserved for PRs). The LOLs come thick and fast - all Cav has to do is record, with his well-honed deadpan detachment, who did and said what. The book forms a perfect diptych with John Harris’s Britpop post-mortem The Last Party, a similarly clear-eyed, underrated epic of pop/social history which carefully unpicks the tangle of egos and vested media and institutional interests that led to that dubious cultural “moment” in the mid-90s, when London seemed like the centre of the universe, and how basically the whole thing was brought crashing back down to earth when all the principals discovered a taste for smoking heroin.

Both books also evoke something I only experienced the fag-end of (if that) - a time when Soho and the West End still had a few dark places and dirty secrets remaining, and when Chalk Farm, Primrose Hill, Camden and Kentish Town were THE places to see and be seen. Fancy that!  





You can listen back to last week's (June 17th) NTS show, hosted by Sanjay, here. Featuring, among others, Brunnen, Kallista Kult, The Spies, Frank Hurricane, RAP, Wir, Triple Negative and Matthew Sullivan.




Here's a mix of sorts I did on Monday to give me something to listen to this week while running errands in town, riding the train and tube to work, pushing a pram around, and trying not to spill boiling hot yuppie coffee on my infant child's face. ROK Y ROLL! 

Like that overpriced, potentially baby-maiming black filter, it's been percolating a while. But in the end it was thrown together more or less spontaneously, and not particularly laboured over (as fans of EQing and properly smooth transitions will notice). A few old favourites, some recent discoveries, some brand new and forthcoming/unreleased bits for a bit of flash. Distinct spring/early-summer vibes throughout, I think...songs, guitars, voices, longing, invocation of teenage spirits (paed-ooooo!). It's also worth noting that, after 15-odd years living in big, bad capital cities, I now reside in a small seaside town that I can basically walk from one end of the other to in 90 minutes. I still come into Babylon to shovel shit at the shop and see people two or three times a week, but my centre of gravity has unavoidably shifted and I suppose too has my sensibility. This, then, is the sound of the provinces...Approach with due caution! 

I was going to post the full tracklist, but Kenny reckons I should withhold it like a c**t, not sure why, he's just mean like that. By way of compromise, here's a list of who's on it: Anti-Clockwise, Thuja, Dean Roberts, Mekanik Kommando, Scythe, Edward Ka-Spel, Adopo, Brunnen,  Keijo, Entlang, Letha Rodman Melchior, LST, Static Cleaner Lost Reward, Itchy Bugger, Stephen, Band of Susans and The Clean. Enjoy! 

Download #1: Darling We're Out Of Wet Wipes




Feels like a lifetime ago, already, but on Monday we undertook a serious (I had on a tracksuit, bub) SPRING CLEAN of the shop: reordering the shop floor, renaming and/or adding helpful subdivisions to our previously unwieldy sections, yes, reintroducing used records to our offering, sure, but for the most part just throwing out vast, vast quantities of SHITE. Amazing what tat you can accumulate, almost entirely passively, in just two years. I wasn't surprised by all the ancient tupperware or the boxes full of unsolicited - and uniformly baaaad - demos/self-released tapes, but I can't say I expected to find a copy of Bear Grylls' Extreme Survivors ("a great read and not just a book for blokes", say Bookseller NZ, although Amazon reviewer SarahPoet warns: "I had thought this book would make an interesting read for my 10-yr-old son...I didn't expect the stories to be unfailingly happy, but nor had I realised that they would include accounts of girls abducted and kept in cellars as sex slaves.")

Anyway, nice to have a tidy.