Thursday, 31 May 2007
We'll be Surfin’ in Boston…
A Big Wednesday Beach Bag for you
(see also cool new song of the week player below)
The terrible weather (strangely) and an article took me to the Beachboys this week, also because me and My Bro’s are going to be real Beach boys this weekend I may not do a Friday Lucky bag so please accept this in advance.
The article was about a new exhibiton at Tate St Ives “If Everybody Had an Ocean: Brian Wilson: An Art Exhibition”. It’s a collection of popart, Peter Blake etc linked to Brian willson and the boys. It sounds good and links with st ives sufing heritage well too.
Two things sprang to mind on reading the article Jonathon Jones , uses the tired cliché about Brian Wilson: that he went mad and lived in a sand pit. Now like all legends this is based in fact and fits with a simplistic view of mental illness that he reverted to childlike state. Happily the story is more interesting. I’ve scanned it in from Brian Wilson autobiography “wouldn’t it be nice”. So you can read it for yourself, basically it was a slightly wacky attempt to bring the beach into the studio. Considering the mad things rock stars do this is hardly excessive. click on the text/picture for a larger view!
I do think it’s hard on Brian Wilson he seems to have suffered from depression for most of his life, received very little help for it until finally he stopped writing music, the money started to dry up and then people took notice. He’s seems more well now but not entirely happy and yet travels the world spreading joy by playing his wonderful music and yet people still go on about the blessed sand box.
Notional Surfing:Another thing that springs to mind about the title of the show is the story Dave Marsh tells in his seminal rock book “The heart of rock and soul the: 1001 greatest single ever made”. In entry 517 (why so low?) for “surfin’ USA” he recalls growing up in a landlocked middle American town and hearing the tune, in fact mishearing it .What he heard was “if anyone had a notion “ “instead an ocean” he goes on to talk about how fitting this is because the Beach Boys are about the idea of surfing rather than it’s actuality. It’s probably why they are so popular in Britain, where we are a long way from the golden sand of California and where the notion/ the idea of surfing is doubly appealing.
Badge of Honour:Which brings to one of the nicest awards I ever got. We saw Brian Wilson at Glastonbury 2005 on a warm Sunday afternoon, the mud had almost gone and I was there with my family and friends. Too strange things happened firstly I was suprised have few of the songs my friends knew. No, let me explain they new beach boys songs but not the hits. They had grown up in the strange world where “pet sounds” is played more than “best of Beach boys”. Now “Pet sounds” is a master piece but so are the singles.
Anyway once the songs were in full swing everyone was grooving and then we got our award. A women came through the crowd and came up to us and handed us some badges ,saying we deserved them for dancing. On them in yellow writing said the simple universal message “Listen to the Beach Boys”. She smiled and slipped back into the crowd. We were most proud and touched too. I’ve never had a badge for dancing before, of course listening Brian Wilson sing is reward enough but the badge made it doubly special
It seems that this mysterious woman does this a lot which is a really nice and simple way of spreading happiness. I think this her on myspace. (it is she sent me an email, she’ll be handing out more badges at this years Glasto)
By the way isn’t “listen to the Beach Boys” the best piece of advertising, it’s almost zen in it’s directness, some how “listen to Mcfly “isn’t quiet the same.
Retail Tales:While we are on the subject of surf music. I visited Notting Hill this week bear with me. I was in search of obscure Spanish pop. Having fought my way through the crowds on Portobello market. I reached the calm of Intoxica! I can’t believe I’ve lived in London for so long without visiting it. It specialises in 60’s vinyl. Beat groups, girl groups exotica and surf and drag music. I purchased a single I’m not saying what and how much, but while flicking though the racks I saw a record which should by in the Tate exhibition because it was more a work of popart than anything on show normally in gallerys. It was a copy of The GO Sound Of The Slots! By the Revells. Not your standard drag racing record, no this is a slot car racing record. Yes, an entire record of veiled Beachboys and Jan Dean covers, based on what we call Scalectrix. The cover looks great and the song titlea are just as good, there’s even a glossary of slot car slang, Cool.
Now the music may not be great which is farely unimportant as with the notion of surfing above this piece of near mint 12 inch cardboard and vinyl embodies the thrill of the early 60’s, where if you were well off and lived in California there were no limits and even kids games had cool soundtracks.
Is it worth a £100 quid yes and no. £100 will buy 8 mosquito nets to save 8 Ugandan children from malaria. But will also buy one of those god awful webdesignertastic so called popart Al Pacino in Scarface prints you see around a lot.
If you want to find out why records like Revells are so important or where they come from, track down a copy of Tom Wolfe’s “The Kandy-Kolored tangerine-flake streamline baby” which describes this teen culture at first hand. The titles cool and the picture on my old picador is equally wonderful.
Song of the week.
I suppose I should post some beach boys but firstly you should have them already and secondly I couldn’t choose 1 track (help me Rhonda) so, I went for a surf tie in with the twangtastic
Dwayne Eddie track “your baby’s gone surfin’ “
like all twanging surf music it’s big and dumb and wears a big milk feed Californian smile so bright it could weld hotrods with it, burn vinyl or even tan Barbarann’s perfect behind an even deeper shade of brown.
Now where did I put my baggy shorts …