Life Skills

I like to think I’m reasonably equipped with a broad range of life skills. The chances are I’m deluding myself, but in the main, I manage to convince people I’m a reasonable, functional human being with the capacity to operate on a day-to-day basis and possess most of the basic social skills required to deal with social situations. This suggests I’m at least a half-decent actor, if nothing else. But one skill I haven’t mastered is going to bed, at least at a reasonable hour.

It’s not a lack of planning that’s the issue, but the lack of hours in the day that mean I struggle to get to bed more than three or four hours before I’m due to get up, whatever time that may be. But then, even if I do get to bed earlier, the chances are I’ll wake up earlier instead. But then, sleep is for wimps, and the world’s infinitely sharper from the insomniac’s perspective…

 

 

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A Total Groove: Record Store Day 2013

Record Store Day has become an insanely big deal, and while it’s something of a double-edged sword for both stores and collectors alike – a debate I don’t feel the need to cover here – the fact is that I like RSD, and I’m certainly not alone.

While I have, in recent years, spend a lot less in record stores than I used to – partly because the opportunity isn’t there, partly because I simply don’t have the disposable income I once did and partly because I get sent a lot of music to review that I would have historically paid for – I do still put money into independent record stores whenever I can. I do so not out of a sense of dutiful charitability born out of sympathy (although there may be an element of that), but because they’re the places that tend to stock the stuff that I want.

Of course, larger independent stores still usually carry more stock than smaller ones, and have more buying power when it comes to things like Record Store Day. For this reason, I could have easily been tempted to make the trip to Leeds, raid Jumbo and Crash and return home with an armful of vinyl from my ‘wants’ list plus another armful of stuff to flog on at three times the price, thus covering my own expenditure, plus train fare and even potentially leaving me with a near profit.

Instead, I stayed local and hit The Inkwell. Why? In recognition of the fact that it’s a great little boutique shop. In recognition of the fact it’s my local record store, the one I drop into and invariably leave with something cool whenever I have any spare funds. In recognition of the fact that it has a community vibe. And in recognition of the fact that Paul, the owner, asked his customers for suggestions, recommendations and requests for items to order from the RSD release list. That’s a cool thing to do. Not having the budget to get a rack full of everything, it made sense. Moreover, look after the regular customers, and they’ll look after you.

I arrived for opening, and left happy with a clutch of singles, including a copy of the Twilight Sad 7” I’d recommended (one of only 500 numbered copies) and The Fall’s single.

In the afternoon, I went back to check out the two live acts who were playing: the ubiquitous and prodigious Mark Wynn, and purveyors of tinnitus-inducing garagey grunge, …And The Hangnails. Again, although scheduled as part of the RSD goings-on, The Inkwell hosts shows from time to time, either for the launch of local bands’ releases or just because, which is another reason stores like this (not that there are many stores quite like this) deserve support.

Mark and I exchanged goods: I traded him a hot-off-the-press print copy of This Book is Fucking Stupid for a copy of his new vinyl pressing, Social Situations, a split release with The Sorry Kisses. He proceeded to deliver one of his marvellously idiosyncratic performances, interspersing songs of social observation and gloriously off-kilter anecdotes with banterous ramblings that are awkwardly hilarious and hilariously awkward.

…And the Hangnails weren’t as loud as I might have expected and were nowhere near as loud as Swans the other week, but for a room with a standing capacity of 20 or so, the powerhouse 2-piece were pretty fucking loud. The shop got extremely warm and I began to worry the vinyl might melt (although by this time, only four or five RSD exclusive releases remained). Some kids looked uncomfortable and left, probably because they couldn’t hack anything as gritty and authentically rock ‘n’ roll as Hangnails (they’re certainly not White Stripes or The Black Keys), but the rest who stuck around really dug it. …And rightly so.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is rock ‘n’ roll. And this is what Record Store Day is really about.

 

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…And the Hangnails crank it up to ten and a half in a confined space

 

Check out The Inkwell here.

Check out …And The Hangnails here.

Check out mark Wynn here.

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Compare and Contrast: The Fall (again) vs Pavement

If Mark E Smith’s words were to be believed, every band sounds like The Fall in some way, shape or form. Every act from the last thirty years has ripped them off, apparently, such is the enormity of his band’s influence. Seminal as they are, this is patently untrue, but Pavement acknowledged their debt to the band, with the track from their debut album Slanted and Enchanted being more of a tribute than a rip-off.

So as much as a case of compare and contrast, this post’s about enjoying two cracking tunes for the price (and chords) of one.

 

 

 

 

And if you’re loving my work, there’s more of the same (only different) at Christophernosnibor.co.uk

Compare and Contrast: The Fall vs Spinal Tap

I’m aware that blogs with video or other visual content tend to receive more traffic and more comments than those without it. Perhaps it’s because, with fewer words, they’re easier to digest for those who prefer their blogs to be less challenging. I’m also aware that it requires less effort, at least in terms of writing, to produce a blog where much of the space is occupied by large pictures or videos. My insistence on text-only blogs to date has been a combination of bloody-mindedness, and an enduring habit of making life hard to myself – and believe me, writing more words with a view to receiving fewer hits really is the epitome of maximum effort for minimum reward.

Anyway, this is the first in an occasional series which places two songs side by side in order to play one of my favourite musical games, compare and contrast. But who is ripping off whom?

Today, we pit The Mighty Fall against the mighty funny Spinal Tap. Enjoy!

 

Spinal Tap: Tonight I’m Gonna Rock You Tonight

 

The Fall: Athlete Cured

And if you’re loving my work, there’s more of the same (only different) at Christophernosnibor.co.uk