'Last Train To Eastleigh!' #2

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'Last Train To Eastleigh!' #2

Notapor richpassivity » 09 Jun 2010, 13:18

Here's the contents of my free zine/one-sheeter. If anyone would like a paper copy then please let me know.
Apologies for my lack of Spanish.


Welcome to the first issue of ‘Last Train To Eastleigh’! Hopefully it will be the first of many. The premise behind it was to try & provide a little bit of focus for the local indie-pop scene & with some gigs coming up in Southampton, the idea of a free one-sheeter appealed to me. There also aren’t enough paper ‘zines around anymore, plus I also felt the urge to be creative, just because I can! The format will deliberately concentrate on the words, with a noticeable absence of flash graphics! I shall try & put these out on a reasonably regular basis & will dish them out at gigs but can also mail them out for the price of a stamp. I shall also post the contents on-line at the Anorak & Southcoast forums (see Indie-Pop Resources section!) a short time after the paper version has come out.

The title is a play on the classic CHESTERF!ELDS song ‘Last Train To Yeovil’ & whilst I have been domiciled in Shirley for the last 11 years or so, Eastleigh is my hometown & I will probably be moving back there in the not too distant future. The title reminds me of going to see bands like THE SHOP ASSISTANTS; SOUP DRAGONS; TALULAH GOSH etc in London in the C86 era. If it was somewhere like the Clarendon in Hammersmith or the Bay 63 under the Westway in Ladbroke Grove, we’d often end up missing the 11.45pm train from Waterloo & having to wait for the 2.45am paper train to Eastleigh, getting home around 5 & going straight to work after little or no sleep! I could easily do that at 20, it’s a bit more difficult in your 40s!

Please feel free to offer any comments or feedback about the contents found within. They are of course only my opinions or take on events, not necessarily gospel (not that I believe!) truths. The Southampton indie-pop history piece is kind of a work in progress & I’d like to update/add to it when I can – our history is important & needs to be documented! Finally, thanks to all my friends & those who have supported me – you’re great! Rich 4/10…


95a Malmesbury Road,
SO15 5FP

THE JUNE BRIDES – London (Stoke Newington) Others Club
COMET GAIN/MILKY WIMPSHAKE/LIECHTENSTEIN etc all-dayer – (London Popfest) Hoxton Macbeth.
THE WEDDING PRESENT – Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms.
THE SCHOOL – Southampton Joiners.
THE MOTIFS/THE MIDDLE ONES – London (Farringdon) Betsey Trotwood.
THE LUCKSMITHS/’ALLO DARLIN’ – London (Kings Cross) Scala.

THE BLANCHE HUDSON WEEKEND ‘Letters To Daddy’ 7” – Squirrel.
In my first job, I worked with a woman who could not say “Squirrel”. It always came out as “Sqwhirl” or “Sqwiwel” to much amusement! Anyway, this 3 song debut from this Leeds band is in a similar vein to THE MANHATTAN LOVE SUICIDES, who they have evolved from/out of. We’re talking 60s girl group sound & that JESUS & MARY CHAIN/early PRIMITIVES fuzz, with a dark lyrical edge that reminds us that even THE SHANGRI-LAS had an undercurrent to them. Inspiring stuff & a new 7” is due very soon on Odd Box (http://www.oddboxrecords.com – also check out Bristol’s great THE KICK INSIDE 7”). (Squirrel, PO Box 481, Leeds, LS5 3TH & http://www.squirrelrecords.co.uk).

4th release from London’s Atomic Beat Records. THE GARLANDS from Sweden were one of the hits of this year’s London Popfest (see review) & their 2 songs are simply amazing slices of speedy indie-pop, with Christin’s voice recalling GIRLS AT THEIR BEST!/TWA TOOTS. ‘Open Arms’ in particular is one of those rare life-affirming tunes that I can’t keep still to & the chorus slays me every time. Their CDEP on Cosy/Cloudberry is great too. Was hard initially not to neglect THE SUGARPLUMS side, what with being blown away by THE GARLANDS but perseverance paid off. Not sure where they’re from but I was reminded of Creation-era PASTELS & 1st LP BEAT HAPPENING (minus Calvin’s deep voice) & ‘Joyce’s Bicycle Gang’ ends on a bracing blast of fuzz. An essential buy I’d say! (http://www.atomicbeatrecords.co.uk).

Seeing Norwich’s MIDDLE ONES on the final afternoon of last year’s inaugural London Popfest was a real revelation. Fighting tiredness after 4 days of excess, I was swept away by their beguiling, infectious enthusiasm & superb melodies. The demo & a further London outing (with THE MOTIFS) confirmed it wasn’t a one-off, so I was really looking forward to this 10” (an under-used/rated format) – my expectations were met & some! Slickness is not in THE MIDDLE ONES’ vocabulary & they are all the better for it. Mostly acoustic instrumentation accentuates Anna & Grace’s heartfelt songs, that update THE MARINE GIRLS/1st LP TRACY THORN’s stripped down charm. Handmade scrapbook sleeve completes the sense of wonder. (http://www.wiaiwya.com).

SOURPATCH ‘Crushin’’ LP – Happy Happy Birthday To Me.
Debut album from a ¾ female San Jose (not even I would make a joke about them knowing the way!) group & it’s a refreshing delight to slap on the turntable after the rigours of the working day. From the opening salvo of a woman coaching a young child into extolling the virtues of SOURPATCH, we’re into enchanting songs at the punkier end of the K Records spectrum, or an American HEAVENLY or TALULAH GOSH. Would love to hear wonderful songs like ‘Toothache’; ‘Never (Ever Ever) Enough’ or the title-track live, so hopefully they’ll make it over one day. Vinyl version comes with a download code. (HHBTM, PO Box 742, Athens, GA 30603, USA & http://www.hhbtm.com).

THE WILD SWANS ‘Liquid Mercury’ 7” – Occultation.
‘Revolutionary Spirit’ by THE WILD SWANS was one of the greatest indie-pop songs of the early ‘80s. Liverpool/Zoo Records contemporaries of THE TEARDROP EXPLODES; ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN & WAH! HEAT but none of them made a record that can touch the thrill & atmospheric poise of ‘Revolutionary Spirit’. After they imploded all too soon, main men Paul Simpson & Ged Quinn had chart success with CARE & THE LOTUS EATERS respectively, before returning last year with the fantastic ‘English Electric Lightning’ 10” & some triumphant hometown gigs. This 2 song 7” is equally splendid. The title-track matches Simpson’s eloquent diary-entry style lyric with a gorgeous tune. The flip ‘The Wickedest Man in The World’ is another of their Scouse ‘Piss Factory’ monologues (the Liverpool bands were always in thrall to PATTI SMITH & NYC Punk) over duelling guitars & piano. Beautiful sleeve painting is less disconcerting than ‘English Electric Lightning’s tortured cat imagery & count me in for the forthcoming album. (http://www.occultation.co.uk).

Soon as I heard that THE DENTISTS were reforming for a couple of gigs (Medway hometown Gillingham being the other) & that their ‘80s Kent gigging buddies THE CLAIM were also playing the London one, there was no alternative but to snag a ticket! In all my 25+ years of London gig-going, strangely I hadn’t been to this famous Camden Lock venue before. A fairly typical London venue really & full enough to create an atmosphere but not to be uncomfortable. I have to admit THE CLAIM passed me by in the 80s, which is odd as I love(d) their contemporaries like THE DENTISTS & THE JASMINE MINKS but whilst I’d heard the name, I never actually heard them until last year’s great Rev-Ola ‘Black Path’ retrospective CD. Talking to someone at work beforehand about what the bands I was seeing tonight were like, I said THE CLAIM were “halfway between THE JAM & THE SMITHS”. Of course that is an over-simplification but a more poetic JAM or rougher SMITHS isn’t too far away. They played for almost an hour & it’s clear I wasn’t alone in enjoying the hell out of them & likewise the band themselves seemed to be having a ball. Minor quibble was them running out of time & having to omit ‘Losers Corner’.

I first got into THE DENTISTS around 1985/86 when their ‘Some People Are On The Pitch…’ LP & ‘You & Your Bloody Oranges’ 12” turned up in Eastleigh’s fine but short-lived record shop Mr G’s (I bought numerous other C86-era gems there too) & even though I’d never heard of them before, I bought both as they looked interesting. That wasn’t to be the first or last time I’d unearthed gems by taking a chance. That same work conversation pegged THE DENTISTS as “BUZZCOCKS playing BYRDS songs or vice versa”. Opening with their classic debut single ‘Strawberries Are Growing In My Garden (It’s Wintertime)’ set the tone & I was grinning from the word go. First half was with original drummer Ian Smith (author Vic Templar) & then final drummer Rob took over. Seeing as singer Mick Murphy had arrived back from Kenya only days before, they were incredibly tight. ‘House The Size Of Mars’ remains a favourite & with a rarities collection CD ‘If All The Flies Were One Fly’ (hopefully reviewed next time!) joining Rev-Ola’s ‘Some People Are On the Pitch…’ CD in print, hopefully more DENTISTS back catalogue will see the light of day again. Inspirational night out & my only regret is that non-availability at the bar meant I couldn’t “have a few Ricards”…

Saturday 17th April – THE PRIMITIVES – The Joiners.
Sunday 18th April – THE CROOKES – Hamptons.
Monday 26th April – THE PIPETTES – The Joiners.
Monday 3rd May – BEST COAST – The Joiners.
Thursday 13th May – FUZZBOX – The Joiners

Thought I’d take the time to detail some of my favourite internet places. In terms of record buying, I have mainly used Norman Records in Leeds for the last few years (http://www.normanrecords.com). More recently, Pebble Records in Eastbourne has come to the fore with a great selection & very quick turnaround of orders. They also have a label with singles & albums planned by reformed Scottish Sarah legends THE ORCHIDS & Preston’s THE CAVALCADE (http://www.pebblerecords.co.uk). My favourite blog is Fire Escape Talking, with Ben turning me on to more than a few pivotal discoveries in recent years (http://www.fireescapetalking.blogspot.com). TweeNet has a comprehensive directory of bands/labels – including an Ambition Records page (http://www.twee.net). The U.S. Indie Pages is good for MP3s; reviews & a message board (http://www.indiepages.com). The best U.K. indie-pop forum is the Anorak board, which has a fiercely D.I.Y. but very friendly heart to it (http://www.anorakforum.com). There is an indie-pop thread on the local punk/hardcore forum Southcoast, which is worth a look at & punk kids who frequent the board are often to be found at indie-pop gigs (http://www.southcoasthq.com)...

As well as all the junk written about in here, the soundtrack to this issue has been BLONDIE; THE RAMONES; ANOTHER SUNNY DAY; THE COOKIES; FELT; indie-pop; punk rock; 60s soul & girl groups…

Whilst Southampton may not currently have a thriving indie-pop scene, with gigs in fits & starts & a dearth of bands, this hasn’t always been the case. The city has a rich indie-pop history that has only partially been told before, so here goes!

The prize for the first indie-pop gig in Southampton probably goes to ORANGE JUICE supporting THE UNDERTONES at the Gaumont (now the Mayflower) in December 1980. This was the day before my 15th birthday & whilst there is little point in having regrets, I do rue the fact that my pocket money didn’t stretch far enough for me to go. THE TEARDROP EXPLODES also played the Gaumont in June 1981. Oliver Gray’s superb history of The Joiners ‘Access One Step’ book revealed that MICRODISNEY played there in July 1981. Australia’s amazing GO-BETWEENS supported their former Postcard labelmates AZTEC CAMERA at the Gaumont in September 1984. A few months later, THE JUNE BRIDES played the Mayfair (now replaced by flats at the end of Court Rd) & in January 1986 they came back to play Woolston’s Riverside (later burned down!). Chatting on line, JUNE BRIDE Phil Wilson told me he remembered both had scant attendance & to make matters worse their van broke down on the way back to London after one! THE MIGHTY LEMON DROPS played their first 2 gigs at the University in 1986 – the first was opening for goths THE MARCH VIOLETS but the second saw them supported by POP WILL EAT ITSELF. 1986 also saw some ‘student only’ gigs – me & my mate Mike sneaked into THE CHESTERF!ELDS/14 ICED BEARS at the Uni but didn’t get into THE BODINES at La Sainte Union (long gone college along the Avenue) & didn’t hear about 1000 VIOLINS at the Uni until after the fact.

The first regular indie night was The Tinderbox on Thursdays at the West Indian Club (now African-Caribbean Club in St Marys Rd) during the first half of 1988. Whilst not exclusively indie-pop, there were great gigs by MY BLOODY VALENTINE; BRILLIANT CORNERS; FLATMATES; DARLING BUDS & WEATHER PROPHETS amongst others. These sadly came to an end when promoter Ashley allegedly did a runner owing a ton of money. Then through 1988/89 DJs Gnome & Angus did a Friday night do at the Labour Club (on the Queensway, later McCluskys & since been empty for years). It had a dancefloor like a skating rink once drinks were spilled (I once had an entire pint of snakebite & black go over my jeans there!) but had memorable gigs by THE FIELD MICE (their 3rd ever gig although Sarah had already put out the class ‘Emma’s House’ & ‘Sensitive’ 7”s by this point); STRAWBERRY STORY; THE POOH STICKS (the ‘Trade Mark Of Quality’ live LP was recorded there!) & THE NIVENS. The Polygon Club (now The Maple Leaf) had indie nights & gigs too (CHESTERF!ELDS; EMILY etc) & during this era THE WEDDING PRESENT played their first Southampton gig at the Mayfair & at the University we had THE HOUSE OF LOVE with openers LUSH (would later play headliners at The Joiners & the Uni).

As the ‘80s morphed into the ‘90s, The Joiners became the home of indie-pop (& also that of most ‘alternative’ music) in the city. The Next Big Thing gigs there started in 1988 & early on Mint put on ROTE KAPELLE & THE WISHING STONES. Mint had eclectic taste & the NBT gigs went right across the spectrum but through to the mid-‘90s plenty of indie-pop greats graced the Joiners’ back room such as THE POPGUNS (x3); SEA URCHINS; HEAVENLY (x3 including an ace one with BRATMOBILE!); BRILLIANT CORNERS (4 times – 1 with 14 ICED BEARS); PRIMITIVES; ST CHRISTOPHER; MOTORCYCLE BOY; JASMINE MINKS (x2); JESSE GARON & THE DESPERADOES; BRIGHTER (x2); EVEN AS WE SPEAK; WOLFHOUNDS (x2); WEDDING PRESENT; BOB (x2); BMX BANDITS; BEATNIK FILMSTARS (x2); CHESTERF!ELDS; DRISCOLLS; THE CHARLOTTES… Most of these were NBT nights but Iain from THE MAYFIELDS put a few on & so occasionally did the legendary Rob the Postie! PRIMAL SCREAM also played a packed gig there in 1989 but sadly this was after they had disavowed the wonderful jangly gems of their 1st 2 Creation singles & they also turned their noses up at the veggie food lovingly cooked for them & skulked off to McDonalds!

Can’t talk about indie-pop without mentioning Ambition Records! The label was started in 1989 by DJ Gnome & the first 2 releases were 7”s by THE MAYFIELDS (‘World Of Your Own’) & JANE POW (‘Safe’). THE MAYFIELDS were actually from Salisbury but I saw both them & JANE POW numerous times as they were the supports at many of the gigs listed earlier. JANE POW had a 2nd single (‘Good Morning’ 12”) on Ambition before releasing albums on Target Records of Brighton (where they eventually moved to) & the US Slumberland Records. THE MAYFIELDS also had a 2nd 7” on the American Bus Stop label. Ambition later released singles by Southampton’s LOVE BUTTONS (‘You Can Never Have It All’ 12”) & the noisier EVOL (‘Seven Miles Up’ 7”) & Northampton’s GIRL OF MY BEST FRIEND (‘Warm Around You’ 7” – they played a Joiners gig with THE SNAP DRAGONS). In the spirit of the times, the Ambition catalogue also consisted of a JANE POW/GIRL OF MY BEST FRIEND flexi; a badge & ‘The Garden Gnome’ fanzine! Sharing roots with JANE POW in school bands were ACCRINGTON STANLEY & as well as often playing the Joiners, they featured on Ambition’s ‘Bobby Stokes Salutes The Fall Of Manchester’ tape of bands covering Manchester bands! More recently ACCRINGTON STANLEY had a track on Volume 3 of the ‘Sound Of Leamington Spa’ compilation CD series & played a reunion gig at Talking Heads. After the demise of Ambition, Gnome moved to Japan & has recently been in contact with friends from the Labour Club days, so maybe it’s high time for an Ambition retrospective CD?

After the mid ‘90s, the Southampton indie-pop scene went into decline as people moved on. This mirrored the national picture with Sarah Records stopping in 1995 & the scene went very underground. Locally there was the occasional gig with the punk rock gig collective I was a part of (the S.T.E.) putting on MILKY WIMPSHAKE at the Joiners in 1999 & a year or so later at Voltz (a gay bar in Above Bar, now the Aqua Lounge pole dance club!) & there was also HEFNER; EXPERIMENTAL POP BAND (ex BRILLIANT CORNERS) & COSMIC ROUGH RIDERS at the Joiners. Band-wise, SNAFFLER featuring ex (LOVE) BUTTONS singer Jo kept the flag flying with some great gigs & CDs (get ‘Bingo Knickers’ if you can find it).

Things picked up again as the 21st century progressed, fuelled by the popularity of BELLE & SEBASTIAN (Bournemouth is the closest they have come to playing Southampton!) & also the spread of the internet fanning a truly international scene. For me the keys to rediscovering my indie-pop past were the ‘Rough Trade Shops – Indie Pop 1’ 2xCD & the TEENAGE FANCLUB gig at the Uni in 2005 (they had earlier played Southampton at least 3 times in the early 90s). In 2007 myself & some friends formed a one-off band DE VLINDERS to play an all-dayer at the Hobbit. The short term nature of this meant it was quite shambolic (ask for a CD of the gig!) but out of it came the far superior (I wasn’t involved!) STAY TOGETHERS who played some ace local gigs. More recently we have seen the emergence of MONTAGE POPULAIRE. Gig-wise, The Joiners has hosted in the last 4/5 years the likes of LOVE IS ALL; BEARSUIT; THE PAINS OF BEING PURE AT HEART; PIPETTES; ABERFELDY; SHRAG; CAMERA OBSCURA; WEDDING PRESENT (x2); BRICOLAGE; VIVIAN GIRLS; LOS CAMPESINOS & THE SCHOOL, We have also had FANFARLO at Hamptons & CAMERA OBSCURA & GIRLS at Talking Heads…

LONDON POPFEST 2010! – 25-28/2/10...
I had such a great time at last year’s first London Popfest that when early-bird season tickets for this year’s 4 day event went on sale in November, I snapped one up straight away! Seemed forever before it came around but finally I was meeting old Southampton friend Tom (& my host for the duration) at Waterloo on a soaking Thursday evening. Due to line closures we opted to take the bus to Dalston & Café Oto, where we met Norwich friends Ian & Debbie. First time here & Oto is a large venue with a nice line in bottled organic cider! Unlike last year, where Popfest concluded with an acoustic gig, 2010 began with one. ROB PRICE sings in AIRPORT GIRL & his solo set was pleasant enough – although my attention did wander. Not seen THE PINES before (although singer & ex BLACK TAMBOURINE Pam Berry had accompanied GREGORY WEBSTER last year). Good stuff, especially when they were joined by ROSE MELBERG for one song. WITHERED HAND was a Scottish fella with offbeat acerbic & witty acoustic songs. We were sat in the far corner so not an issue but a few people got annoyed with those talking at the bar – often a problem at acoustic gigs. ROSE MELBERG finished the night off with her great voice to the fore & soon we were bussing it back to Tom’s Shepherds Bush gaff…

Bit of a lie-in Friday morning & then headed over to Borough for the afternoon’s films. After a swift Aspall cider on tap in a pub near Borough market, we headed to the Roxy Bar & Screen. Hadn’t seen the K Records documentary ‘Shield Around The K’ before & I was enthralled. Coming from the equally DIY punk scene, this aspect of indie-pop is something that I cherish & I had almost forgotten how great BEAT HAPPENING were. Even better was the DOLLY MIXTURE film ‘Take 3 Girls’. Director Paul Kelly introducing said it was still a work-in-progress but the film told the story of the influential late ‘70s/early 80s band, capturing fully their joie de vivre – loved the anecdote about them trying to play quieter to fade out a song! Tom had snoozed on getting a season ticket & tonight’s gig was sold out so while he headed off to a beer festival, me; Ian & Debbie went for delicious Thai Veg buffet in Highbury!...

The Buffalo Bar is a tiny basement club next to Highbury & Islington tube station & it was pretty crowded. THE SUNNY STREET opened & had people from POCKETBOOKS & ELECTROPHONVINTAGE. I enjoyed their Sarah/El Records inspired pop songs. Not seen HOROWITZ since the Luminaire all-dayer nearly 3 years ago & they are now a duo. Love their records & boy was that fuzz loud! Sweden’s THE GARLANDS! Getting their split 7” (see review) days beforehand I knew exactly what a treat this was going to be – sublime songs & what a voice! I swear the hairs on my arms stood up when they played ‘Open Arms’. Contender for the pick of Popfest & all too soon they were gone. After that THE JUST JOANS could only disappoint & the cider began to kick in so after a few songs we bailed…

Saturday morning & Tom cooked a lush veggie fry up for breakfast & then had a game of Scrabble & Continuo & played with Tom’s cat Charlie (sadly he was hit by a car & killed 5 weeks later…), before getting the bus to Oxford Street. Tom paid in & then we went to a Samuel Smiths pub in Soho with ex MAYFIELDS Iain & Mark who we met outside. More great cider! Headed off for Indian veggie food & got to the 100 Club to find we’d missed GORDON MCINTYRE & PLOUF! but caught the end of RED SHOE DIARIES - good intricate indie-pop songs. The 100 Club still looks exactly like it did in the photos of the 1976 punk fest when THE SEX PISTOLS; THE CLASH & C86 influences BUZZCOCKS & THE SUBWAY SECT made history. When Norway’s SODA FOUNTAIN RAG started I uttered that you can’t go wrong with a singing female stand-up drummer! More guitar live than on the album, this was strident stuff & the vocal mistakes only added to the charm. It’s clear to see why Sheffield’s STANDARD FARE have a buzz about them – great songs & all the better that they seem to have stumbled into their sound without obvious indie-pop role models. Seen ‘ALLO DARLIN’ a few times now & they have finally gelled with me. Effervescent pop tunes & looking forward to the album. Sweden’s DOROTEA had reformed especially for Popfest & the international dancefloor loved them – I was more impressed with the singer’s ABHINANDA t-shirt & also had to commend DJ Roque for playing THE CHEFS’ classic ’24 Hours’ between bands! SHRAG & BALLBOY concluded affairs nicely & we could have danced on but after copious pints of Gaymers (“cooking cider” – Tom!), our beds were calling…

Up early Sunday & headed over to the Lexington at Angel for the Pop Quiz. Me & Tom teamed up with Ben ‘Fire Escape Talking’ & there was almost an international incident when the Swedes harshly marked our answers! Upstairs for the Swedish duo LEAVING MORNINGTON CRESCENT – really top notch female vocals, male guitar & drum machine combo, as cracking as their EP. Debbie knew Jyoti WHITE TOWN from Norwich & his acoustic guitar with backing tapes was ideal for a Sunday afternoon & yeah he played his No 1 single ‘Your Woman’. US duo HORSE SHOES had Jacob from THE DRUMS & evoked BLUEBOY & THE FIELD MICE perfectly. Tom thought reformed Factory/Sarah recording artistes THE WAKE were too drab but I loved them. Played all I wanted them to & a great way to finish Popfest. Stuffed from more Thai Veg buffet, I reflected on the train home what a swell 4 days it had been. Kudos to organisers John; Sean; Marianthi & Ian & roll on London Popfest 2011!...
Mensajes: 2
Registrado: 09 Jun 2010, 13:08

Re: 'Last Train To Eastleigh!' #2

Notapor richpassivity » 04 Feb 2014, 11:32

Almost 4 years since the first one, #2 of 'Last Train To Eastleigh!' is out!
Similar format to the first one - double-sided folded A4 single sheet with a Southampton D.I.Y. indiepop focus, the first review is in http://pleasurecityavenue.blogspot.co.u ... leigh.html
PM me or email me at richpassivityAThotmailDOTcom if you'd like one (ditto #1)
Mensajes: 2
Registrado: 09 Jun 2010, 13:08

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