Posted by: Andrew Skelton | 26/03/2012

Roll-roll-roll-roll-rollin’ in andromeda^


I can’t say I’m that much of a fan of the late, great John Peel’s favourite ever single (7″ record) – The Undertones’ “Teenage Kicks”. It’s not that I don’t like the Undertones (though I did prefer That Petrol Emotion, which formed from the embers when the Undertones split up) it’s just that one song of theirs that I’m not as enamoured with (but then what do I know? That wasn’t for once, Dear Reader, a rhetorical question… answers on a postcard please). As I pen this missive , sitting by the side of a public swimming baths where my son is currently attending a swimming lesson (swimming lesson? HAH! It’s not like he needs to learn how to swim, he achieved his 3000m swimming badge last year (after a full day at school, followed by an hours worth of football! ))… let me rephrase that – swimming practise (yes, that’s much more appropriate) – the sun is streaming through the large glass panels that run floor to ceiling along one side of the pool, reflections of which shimmer across numerous walls around the pool and I’m reminded of probably my favourite Undertones song… “Here Comes The Summer“. The track, itself, isn’t that remarkable, a typical three-chord melody-driven punk ditty, what sets it apart for me is the version that was recorded as part of a Peel Session*, instead of launching straight into the song the band set the scene for the song by acting out a little skit (nothing too complex). You might think this a little cheesy, and in a way it was, it wasn’t this bit I liked, it was an utterance at the end of the song by one of the band members whilst the tapes were still rolling which did it for me – you have to read this with a soft Irish brogue (they were from Derry) to understand it’s charm and appeal – words that were recorded were… “Hey Mickey, what does incoherently mean?” Whether this was a genuine question or more for affect (seeing as the band actually spoke at the beginning of the song, I suspect it’s the later). Silly really, but I think that’s it… they weren’t too po-faced, as most serious Indie bands can be, to lampoon themselves. Perhaps that one song was the start of my love of the absurd or desire for humour in the music I listen to – such are the bands that I listen to most (Half Man Half Biscuit, Cardiacs, Goldie Lookin Chain to name but a few (and that does include the Smiths**).

A horrific thought went through my mind earlier today (well, at least something managed to penetrate the vacuum even if it then explode in the absence of any atmosphere) whilst looking for a replacement spare camera battery for my 1D. I suddenly realised that at some point either Canon or any of the third party manufacturers will stop producing spares for the 1D, and unlike the old mechanical only camera, I could be stuck with a large, and expensive camera shaped paper weight. Of course the camera will be so ancient by then that it may well have been replaced but the camera is so good I can’t imagine replacing it with anything else for a long long time (cough… 1DX!). It’s also scary to think that without means to produce electricity, as and when our fossil fuel reserves run out, there’s be no way to actually use the camera, either charging the battery, or uploading and looking at the images on a computer – mind you if and when that does happen I think that will be the least of our worries, taking photos.

I am hoping to bring you some new photos over the next few weeks as I have been asked to produce the images for a Zoo’s guide book – a Zoo I haven’t been to for at least 15 possibly even 20 years. Of course, with the aid of the Internet, I have been able to do my homework, finding out what animals they have, the layout of the park, what direction is north but until I visit the park I won’t be able to work out the best vantage points, what time the enclosures are best illuminated etc. It’s an exciting venture with the possibility of further work with the Zoo, esp when they see the photographic course I put together earlier in the year. My Plan For Vorld Zoo domination ist going to plan… Bwaaa Haaaa Haaaa (and I vill vant One Millllion Pounds(depending on the exchange rate)!***)

^ The B52s – There’s A Moon In The Sky
* Peel championed the up-and-coming bands who sent in demo tapes for him to listen to by inviting them to the BBC Maida Vale studios to record 3 to 4 songs (more if you were someone like Napalm Death or The Stupids where songs could last for a massive 1 second (and quite often that was 1 second too much)) which he’d then play during one of his shows. Over the decades, Peel played host to most of the big name bands and artists, all who owe him a debt of gratitude for their first big break on his show, including (alphabetically) AC/DC, Adam and the Ants, Black Sabbath, David Bowie, Captain Beefheart, Gerry and the Pacemakers, Elton John, Led Zeppelin, Madness, Manfred Mann.. I could go on, and these are only the name’s you’re likely to have heard of.. if I start with the bands I actually like – well I’d have blogs and blogs of content…oh, now there’s an idea!
** Morrissey can be quite witty and self-deprecating at times, singing “So I broke in to the Palace, with a sponge and a rusty spanner, She said “Eh, I know you and you cannot sing”, I said “That’s nothing you should see me play piano” – see – that was quite funny wasn’t it? Oh, go on admit it, you at least smiled.
*** Yeah Baby, a quote from Austin Powers.


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