Glastonbury

Hello again. I said the blog would now be once a fortnight, but I have been itching to do one tonight (a blog) so I'm doing it! This ultra hot weather really messes with me. But its 2.30 in the morning, which, my body clock tells me, is a good time for another drink. So here goes with my thoughts on pop history, Village Green Machine news and any other general chit chat which occurs to me.

I hope you are interested in the pop history stuff I do here. Sometimes, its preaching to the converted. Other times maybe I'm introducing people to something new, I hope so anyway. Of course 60s music is my main area. But I like bits from other decades. Even this one! And so I am pleased to report 2 new-ish bands I like. One is, Fleet Foxes. I have been wondering if, the future of pop is about bands who sound very much like old bands, but who have a brilliance of their own creatively. Much as Suede sounded like Bowie, and Oasis sounded like The Beatles. Now, Fleet Foxes sound a lot like Pet sounds/Smile era Beach Boys, but they have such great original content. That's the key to that great new band. It is an ethereal, spiritual vocal sound. It is incredible. My manager and I think it is a very 60s sound, not a million miles from what I do with Village Green Machine at times. That album is great, although it is melancholy and melancholia inducing. But its a beautiful record head and shoulders above most other stuff from this decade and others.

I didn't watch a lot of Glastonbury because I realised I wouldn't like much, but I did see Glasvegas, and I love their thing. I like the passion, again I find it very melancholic but in a way which brings a lot of joy as well as sadness. I really think that's something special, and they are such a focused band creatively, having such a defined sound and aesthetic. Its all sorted. Where to from here, it wont be easy to write a lot of songs as good as Geraldine, after the big success. Or will it? If they could keep that standard up for say 6 albums, we'd have one amazing band.

I also thought Tom Jones was incredible. His band oozes gospel r&b, my favourite song being his last hit. It sounded like the northern soul I listen to, its a stroke of genius late in the day for a performer who has drifted offcourse in the past IMO. He impressed me with his defiance of ageist stereotypes. I also thought Blur were really rocking and looking good. I used to go to Glastonbury, I remember going backstage with Mike Scott from Waterboys and getting blasted on herbal cigs. I remember seeing Elvis Costello and not being moved, although I now like some of his stuff. Now, I was in short trousers, but I did see The Smiths too. It was everything, I am lost for words on this. It was incredible, I remember it so clearly. Morrissey and Johnny up there, I can't believe my memories. What struck me and stays with me was how intense the audience reaction was- and how violent the reaction when the band wouldn't encore. Ordinary bands just don't get anything like that. And I was lucky to see them at that stage, a year into their career by which time Smiths mania was really kicking in. It happened for a reason. They were something special.
People reacted differently when The Beatles played in the early days, in ballrooms, so I was told by John McNally from The Searchers. He said how powerful they were and how the audience surged towards the stage in ballrooms, which they didn't do for ordinary groups.

Re Village Green Machine, its my thing and I don't like talking about it. We record 3 new songs a month, there is a good backlog of half produced (and complete) tracks, as diverse and eclectic as England's Dreaming Spires. EDS will be getting a proper release in the autumn, with more radio stations and show presenters getting the album, advertising (yuk) and other necessary promotion. There is a single on the way, initially I favoured Psychodrama but I'm moving toward Rollercoaster as a choice for leading track. Its John Betjeman (who?) meets 60s bubblegum, I can do that you know. I can put poetry to pop, but no one has recognised this recently. And then they say, Ray bloody Davies. Its f****** total shit to say that. Every word I write comes from me and is truth. In a sense. Its time a few of the music journalists I've been ignored by showed me some respect. Because, frankly, some of them don't trust their own opinions, they are scared of saying something new is really good in case they get laughed at. We are too focused, too constant, too consistent to remain at this level of near oblivion. Something will break in the end, and to be honest then these people will try to swoop in and capitalise. In the meantime they are happy to behave in a soul destroying manner and ignore, me. If you like England's Dreaming Spires enough, tell the music press. I have friends and supporters there, but I am really disappointed in a few individuals who should know better than to pass up EDS. there's a candle held under an ice ceiling, I'm melting it. But at the end of the day I'm just a person and I get fed up. Village Green Machine deserves to be really big. I write singles, good ones. I have a pedigree, I can pull it off live too. OK I'm not playing live yet, but I can do it. I've done it before. If England's Dreaming Spires isn't as good as the last Oasis album, or as good as what Babyshambles have up their sleeve, don't buy it. But at least have a listen first. Actually it may be withdrawn from sale for a while but if you really want a copy let us know.

Today, I saw a man praying, his eyes closed and hands held together in front of him. He was driving up Sutton new road at the time. At the park, I passed an elderly lady out walking with her daughter. She was wearing a long floral skirt, clearly respectable, middle class, perhaps a vicar's wife. As I walked past she let out the loudest fart I have ever heard. It just goes to show! You really wanted to know that, didn't you. The leaves flew off the trees! A state of emergency should have been declared. Also, a man next to me needed help pushing his car. I am on the shy side but I offered to give him a push, and so did the man in the next car, the one with the blue silver flecked nail varnish. We both helped push the car, and the skinhead driver thanked us, as if everything were quite normal.
And get this. I saw a man there a while back, standing in the middle of the field I run in. He was reading a book, and holding his hand up as he read. I thought this a little eccentric, but thought nothing more of it. He seemed immersed in, the bible perhaps. But then I saw him again, walking up the street with one hand held up in front of him as he walked. Also... I wonder what happened to the man who used to give out pictures of the BBC test card in Wolverhampton, the one who dressed in cowboy gear. He actually pointed a (toy) gun at me as I rode home on the upper deck of the bus! He used to lecture people at the bus stop, ''there are women in the IRA Mrs'' and so on.

For more, if you can stand it, come back next week

Love Mark.L xx



Reading Village Green Machine's ezine. Glastonbury
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