Monday, October 16, 2006

Wrong Side of the Leamingtonian Tracks

I had a night in on my own last night. Em and Stan had gone up to see her mum and dad for the evening. Although I missed them both, I have to say that I revelled in the peace and freedom. I even gained immense satisfaction from ironing shirts as I listened to music.

The Young Knives
I’m listening to the Young Knives a lot at the moment. They’re an interesting band, with a kind of choppy, new wave slant to their music and mordent wit in their lyrics. That a really good band could come out of Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire is, frankly, astonishing.

The ‘Leamington Scene’
Though not as astonishing, admittedly, as the fact that I saw an article in the NME about a thriving ‘Leamington scene’. Now that really is bizarre. I know the NME tends to hype up excitement around ‘the next big thing’ in music without much substance, but the idea of Royal Leamington Spa as some kind of new Madchester makes me feel like I’ve stumbled into an alternative reality where the normal rules don’t apply.

Musical Memory Lane
When I was a teenager in ‘Leamo’ I remember there were only two bands of any note in the town – Bad Beach and Mortis. Bad Beach was a kind of thrash metal outfit and the short-lived Mortis were Goths. Each Mortis gig would start with the lead singer screaming ‘WE ARE MORTIS! YOU WILL DIE!” at the audience. In fact, Mortis may well have been ahead of their time, as the Horrors and Marilyn Manson have a lot of their moves.

Both bands used to play in venues down the bottom end of town (past the railway bridge, where all the poor and black people were hidden away). The favourite place to see live bands was the Bath Place community centre, which was full of crusties and ‘alternatives’.

The Neat End Paragraph
Ahh, them were the days – when sniffing marker pens was the only high readily available and sunglasses weren’t security tagged, making shoplifting a doddle. I can’t imagine that the 17 year old me could picture a point in twenty years time where he’d be listening to an album on a tiny white box holding his entire record collection, bopping around like a lunatic as he ironed fifteen shirts.


Helen Codd said...

You missed 'Mummy Calls' who achieved the zenith of fame when they appeared on the soundtrack of 'The Lost Boys'.......

Tristan said...

Oh, hello Helen! Bloody hell! I wonder if that's on iTunes?!

Helen Codd said...

I don't know! Maybe I'll go and have a look... as one of my many diversions from "getting-this-sodding-book-finished-by-March." Somewhere I have a tape of the soundtrack, but that's not much use really.... All together now, "They're only noodles Michael"...!!

John Hartnup said...

Could the Leamington Scene in question be anything to do with the Sound of Leamington Spa compilations? As that link shows, this is nothing to do with a local live scene, and everything to do with the output of a single recording studio popular with a certain kind of indie band in the 80s.

OTOH Leamington is home to a lot of Warwick University students, there's quite a lot of live music being performed in the pubs nowadays, and the town got a bit of publicity with Nizlopi last Christmas.