For me Duran Duran was a gateway drug to so many other bands. The most challenging for a thirteen year old was definitely Roxy Music. “Do The Strand” was undeniable, so the first Roxy record I bought was The Second Roxy Music Album. The record was a million miles from “Planet Earth”, but I was determined to get it. I remember trying to explain “In Every Dream Home a Heartache”, a song about an inflatable doll, to my best friend and partner in all things Duran. We giggled lots. “I blew up your body… but you blew my mind”.
The two Bryan/Brians were instantly magnetic but there were no fresh faces, instead beards and oboes that took some getting used to. It was not exactly as seamless a transition, as that from Duran to Japan. I kept at it. The First Roxy Music Album, Country Life, Stranded, Siren. The albums progressively became less angular, but always pushing forward. I was hooked. My love for Roxy grew and grew, and still I find some songs more intriguing than ever.
Roxy Music was chic, glamourous and captivating. They influenced everything I would come to listen to in the next few years. Bryan Ferry’s lyrics were imaginative and poetic, snapshots of experience and emotion. Even when in the later period the lyrics became sparse, a sophisticated emotion was deeply conveyed. I wasn’t escaping the drudgery of an industrial town, but faced the same kind suppression of creativity in our blue-collar town during the Mulroney years (Thatcher/Reagan).
Years later Roxy Music is part of my make-up. I was pleased to find this somewhat comprehensive BBC documentary. I definitely want “more than this”. The interviews with Bryan Ferry could have further explored his vision for the band, vocal style and inspiration for his lyrics. The Brian Eno dismissal is skirted. It will have to do for now. I did especially like seeing the music in the context of time and how they managed to survive the punk explosion, slipping through every critic’s fingers with silky disco precision. See it for yourself.
Crisis well averted, as the 80’s band China Crisis entertained a slightly sedentary, yet discerning music crowd at Hugh’s Room tonight. Initially disappointed they didn’t have a full band, using a sequencer for all the drums, but we were soon lulled into a sweet swoon. Their sound now employed by many current “dream pop” bands like Wild Nothing, Northern Portrait and The Holiday Crowd. Original members and composers Gary Daly and Eddie Lundon won the room over early in the evening with casual, acoustic versions of their singles. The mood was jovial and humourous, the stage banter might even classified as a slightly self-deprecating. The first date of a six-show North American tour, the Toronto crowd was very receptive and seemed to really fuel the band for the remaining dates. All the songs you’d hope to hear were played with soul and precision; “Christian”, “African and White”, “Wishful Thinking”, “Working With Fire & Steel”, “King In a Catholic Style”.
Hugh’s Room is a different kind of experience. Make sure you arrive early as the supper club starts on the dot! I took the 8:30 start time a little too casually and missed the first few songs. Though happily, it seems as though Hugh’s are ready to expand beyond their folk roots with recent shows by Ultravox and China Crisis.
The video, directed by visual artist Matthew Sitler, was filmed entirely on his iPhone using the 8mm App. “Something about the shadows that evening ignited my visual sense. To me, the video is a hymn to the night and all its shaded possibilities.”
It’s been so long since I’ve listened to this song. I forgot how amazing it is. Malcolm McLaren was such a visionary. He saw the future unfold just a tiny bit sooner than the rest of us. He mixed high life, hip hop and a double dutch championship, to create a song that mystified me back then, and charms me now. 1983 Fresh! Take that Vampire Weekend.