When the random selector picks my next Music Arcades listens, there are some I can't wait to hear again. This one I left to the last moment, and, in the act of putting it on, I experienced a wave of alienation from my former self — the one from about ten years ago. Why did I bother to buy the lesser My Bloody Valentine? Even though it was cheap, it was surely a waste of money, requiring time I never had to pay attention to second rate releases. Who was this wastrel, frittering money away in compulsive acquisitiveness.
Listening to it — on We7, in background, while going through email, RSS and twitter at the start of the working day — I thought it sounded not too bad. There was a moment when I thought it stepped up a gear. But it turned out that was Only Shallow, which is from Loveless. We7 is set up like that: when the album finishes, it carries on with a stream of similar music, which always seems to start with something else by the same artist.
One thing this post allows me to do is update my earlier statement about seeing MBV in 1992, "I wished I could rewind and listen to the show again, without leaving for the foyer". Because shortly after I wrote that, the band came together again and played a series of shows, featuring a 20-minute squall of exceptionally loud white noise. This seemed to bring about hyperventilation, literally or metaphorically, in many. Here's something I wrote at the time in an email to Gideon Coe's show:
I was there yesterday and found it all profoundly dull. So completely in line with expectations was it that I found my mind wandering onto subjects like how to reorganise my office. The first and only bit of genuinely 'live' spontaneity was the white noise episode, and that was more interesting for observing the different audience reactions than it was in itself.
So I got the chance to rewind and listen again — and found that, instead of the scales having fallen from my eyes, I was bewildered and underwhelmed all over again.
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