Bitesize! Japan

“Quick draft” it suggests on WordPress. But I don’t do “quick”. Every word has to be wrenched from the depths of my dark, troubled soul, poured over and endlessly revised. Hence the minimum one month gap between posts.
Well sod that.
From now on we at the Slender house of publishing offer you Bitesize! A swift Dextrosol tablet of inspiration to contrast with the stodgy Sunday meat & two veg that I usually serve up.
Suck slowly and see!

This coming Tuesday the invariably excellent Sprigg’s radio show at invites suggestions for a covers themed evening. Being somewhat evangelical on the subject I’ve felt obliged to give it some thought whilst driving the tractor round the gravestones today. And in view of the wealth of material on offer I’ve been surprised to find that the song that springs to mind so persistently is Japan’s silky seductive version of ‘All Tomorrow’s Parties” from the album “Quiet Life”.

Without this it’s unlikely I would have found my way to the Velvet Underground original at such an impressionable age and the subsequent exploration of 60’s psychedelia that followed. But where the Velvets’ “poor girl” is a sad, disolute character, the subject of Japan’s version oozes glamourous sleaze like Helmut Newton’s Club 18-30 holiday photos.  Even today it’s hard to dance to it without resorting to the early 80’s habit of passing one hand in front of your face, suggesting either a love of german expressionist cinema or an embarrassing outbreak of adult acne.

When the band announced a concert at the Hammersmith Odeon, myself and a like minded friend sent our cheques in the post together with the charming instruction to “give us the best seats in the house”. Needless to say that the finest upholstery in the Odeon was to be found two rows from the back in the upper circle. A vantage point which rendered the spectacle soon to be known as new romanticism as breathtaking as watching surfing from a space shuttle. The evening did however leave the lasting impression, common to all my favourite gigs, that those attending belonged in a completely different world.  I’ve no idea what kind of world it was that awaited this horde of unintentional Lady Di lookalikes when the last trains returned them to Purley and High Wycombe, but I’m fairly certain it was one free of paper rounds and ‘O’ level revision. Quite right too, for who, at the age of 16, wants the world of rock’n’roll to be like real life?