Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Records You Play Every Two Decades Or So

Not a bad record, every 20 years or so...
I like ironing clothes, preferably when the house is empty so that I can cogitate while playing records without people stomping past the turntable and making the needle jump. The other day I took out a Dave Kusworth & The Bounty Hunters LP, ‘Wives, Weddings and Roses,’ recorded in late 1987. I vaguely remembered most of it, but thought that I probably hadn’t played it for about 20 years. It’s not an outstanding release, but there are a handful tracks on it good enough to warrant another listen… some time. When? In another 20 years?

It’s a strange thought that I last played the LP when I was 25, and so logically I might next seek it out when I’m about 65. It really doesn’t seem that long ago since I was 25. Does that mean it won’t be that long until I’m 65? Being 65 is old, officially. Right now I am still listening to LPs that I bought when I was still considered to be ‘young’. But surely when I’m at retirement age, I shouldn’t be listening to songs with lyrics like, “She’s a constant companion to my thoughts/Though she tore things in two/Even slept with my best friend too/I don’t know why I still love you…”

I have a soft spot for Dave Kusworth for several reasons.
 Before the Bounty Hunters, he collaborated with the late Nikki Sudden as The Jacobites, who then made one of my favourite records ever, Robespierre’s Velvet Basement. When I was living in Birmingham, I once saw him run for the number 50 bus in Balsall Heath and miss it by seconds - I was actually on the bus, and watched his aggrieved face from the window, thinking that maybe if he’d made it on to the bus, I might have had the courage to strike up a conversation.

We had that conversation years later, after a Jacobites concert in Frankfurt, at a typically cellar-like indie-venue, when he became the only musician I’ve ever talked to back stage. We were both fairly drunk, and reminisced about the number 50 bus, and the delights of buying cider in Tesco’s before midday. I told him that I’d once seen the Bounty Hunters play in a Brum pub in front of 15 people, and once they had left the stage, there had been no call for an encore. But the pub management had ordered them back on stage anyway as they were supposed to play until 10.30.

Kusworth always dressed like a sort of bohemian glam rocker, draped in scarves and clad in drain-pipe leather trousers. He probably still does. Don’t you ever tire of wearing the same thing, I asked him. “Why wait for fashion when fashion comes back round to you?” he said. Bearing that in mind, and provided that I’m still alive and the owner of a functioning turntable, in April 2031 I’ll give ‘Wives, Weddings and Roses’ another spin. Probably while ironing my t-shirts that barely display the faded names and images of bands from 1987, when we were still officially young.


nathan3e said...

An enjoyable read Ian. I honestly cannot think of records that I play every two decades. I can think of many that I have ignored for two decades but hang onto because my name is on them somewhere. Which is just a little bit sad.

As you have likely been told, count yourself lucky that the list of musicians you have met backstage is a short one.

Gorilla Bananas said...

You heard a band perform in a Brum pub? Were they singing in a Brummie accent? That would have been hilarious.