Thursday, 29 April 2010

Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark

As far back as I can remember I have always been fascinated by "music". By "sound". Early memories of seeing The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown on TOTP doing "Fire", and Queen on the same programme doing "Seven Seas Of Rye"....I have been fascinated by music. I remember the first record I ever bought. Geordie "All Because Of You" single (EMI Records), got it from Boots The Chemist on Lincoln High Street. (Now the Job Centre). The internet tells me that this was February 1973. I would have been 11 years old. I was led (probably by my sister) in to "Rock Music" as it was then known. Thin Lizzy, Judas Priest, Queen - yes I was a big pre-teen Queen fan - etc. All my cash went on vinyl, posters, sew on patches and the like.
My tastes changed in the summer of '77 - out with "Cat Scratch Fever" and in with "Damned Damned Damned" - but still all the spare cash (from odd jobbing, paper rounding and stealing from Mother's purse) went on vinyl and the music weeklies.
This acts as a back story to the day when my record/cassette collection was stolen. Christmas 1983. I was away from my flat in Manchester when the event occurred. 6 years of collecting gone. Not insured just gone. Words cannot describe the feeling. It was more than a feeling. (Bet you're singing that song now). The guy I was sharing the flat with also suffered the same fate (although he was insured). Strangely enough the only thing left in the flat was a tape of Aztec Camera and The Farmers Boys! It took me a while, maybe a couple of years before I seriously started buying records/cassettes again and then in 1990 whilst I was walking my (then) girlfriend to Victoria Station (still in Manchester) it happened again.
Moving to York and the home of Red Rhino Records I began what is now collection #3 and with the invention of the internet (not my idea, but a good one) re-purchasing some of my '77-'83/'85-'90 collection has been made easy...albeit costly! For three years most of my wages was filtered through E Bay. (I don't "do" E Bay anymore, now I rely on second hand vinyl shops and record fairs).

I was in Exeter at the weekend and walked in to Martian Records, the shop round the corner from The Cavern. They used to sell new CD's but now have ventured in to second hand vinyl. I bought "Messages" 7" by Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark for 50p. Mint copy too. bargain.
Now this bit is going to be difficult to explain, but..... When it comes to re-purchasing some of my old '77-'83 records I find I simply can't do it mainly because the band/singer/whatever has since proven themselves to be wank/twats/whatever. For example - Tubeway Army, Generation X, The Jam and New Order. It has taken me ages to get the first three Cure albums and "Reel To Real Cacophony" LP by Simple Minds. (discussed elsewhere). Some re-purchases are easy, like Adam & The Ants, The Human League and Psychedelic Furs because their 1980's incarnations are totally different bands and personnel etc. Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark where a could I / should I buy again group. Until last Sunday that was.
I used to have the first three singles by Orchestral Manoeuvres, the first was on Factory Records and that was a label I collected. I remember when they first appeared in "Sounds" paper shortly after they had changed their name from The iD. The paper was doing a piece on new Liverpool music and there was Mr. McCluskey with long curly hair a la Robert Plant (and a la myself in 1976)! The name attracted me. Back in 1979 they were experimental electronics. I saw Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark live in 1979, supporting Gary Numan on his "The Pleasure Principle" tour. October 6th, 1979, Aylesbury Friars. I travelled all the way from Lincoln to Aylesbury to see Gary Numan get "blown off the stage" by Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark. Two guys and a Revox called Winston. Excellent stuff. I don't remember much about the gig other than standing in a long queue outside the venue and this rumour, this Chinese whisper, going down the line that they are checking ID for underage punters. Numan had since made it big with the "Are Friends Electric" single so there were a lot of "kids" wanting to get in and because Friars was a licenced venue no one under 18 was allowed in. I was 16. Luckily me and my friends (Mick Campion + Dave Risebrow) had been quaffing in the Green Man pub (their jukebox used to be a chart in Zig-Zag mag) and we stank so much of cheap lager we must have passed for adults! And that is really about all I remember - that and being an Orchestral fan.
"Messages" is a great single. A great synth-pop single. No cheesy '80's production just a great sing-a-long song. Could be Eyeless In Gaza! No hint of "Enola Gay" or "Sailing On The Seven Seas" etc. I feel I can buy the other two missing singles. Used to have "Red Frame/White Light" on 12" vinyl.
Now...what's my thoughts on Blancmange?

1: "Messages" sleeve.
2: Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark 1979.
3: The iD.

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