THERE IS ALWAYS SOMETHING THERE TO REMIND ME
My current favorite thing is the DVD that came packaged with the new Housemartins Best of. The CD itself is pretty pointless, as it is just Now That's What I Call Quite Good halved. But the DVD is priceless. Featuring all eight of the videos the band made, it's a crystalline example of why the '80s was often so incredibly fantastic--four nerdy boys dressed in sweaters and acting like absolute tits, working out little dance routines and having a generally good time, completely naive to how it might look. And is it possible not to smile in "Five Get Over Excited" when new drummer Dave Hemingway throws a sack over old drummer Hugh Whitaker and takes his seat behind the kit? If such a trade-off happened today, the lawyer would probably forbid the band from even talking about it, much less allow the departing member on the set of the vid'.
I discovered The Housemartins in high school. In my small desert town town, we had a brief alternative record store called Something Else Records. I would often spend an hour or more in there, looking through the vinyl and cassettes trying to decide what to buy. These were important purchases. There was no second choice if I bought something that was shit. I only had the money for one go. This was the place I bought my double-vinyl copy of Quadrophenia and my first CDs (Trash Can Sinatras' Cake and the Smiths' Peel Sessions, both used). On one of my trips, the attractive sales girl asked what I was into, and when I told her that The Smiths were my favorite band, she suggested I try The Housemartins and sent me home with a used copy of London 0 Hull 4 on LP. I was hooked. I soon had The People Who Grinned Themselves to Death and not long after Sassy magazine had a review of Welcome to The Beautiful South, and I was well on my way to a Paul Heaton love that lasts to this day.
Speaking of The Smiths, I've grown very excited about the new Moz. The clips online have been delectable teases, the video for "Irish Blood, English Heart" is good quiffy fun, and the press appearances that were getting me down a couple of weeks ago have turned a corner with great interviews in NME and Spin. The NME went for some harder questions, getting Morrissey to talk about serious stuff, while the Spin article captured him at his affable best--including the marvelous sense of humor that seemed to be missing elsewhere. The only downside was the prose of the article itself. Written by Mark Spitz, a fan who even has a Smiths-themed novel (How Soon Is Never?), his assessment of Morrissey seemed like he had only ever heard about the man through other people's opinions of him and was writing the piece to cater to the cliches. I am not sure I know a real Smiths fan that doesn't run screaming from anything that refers to Moz as the "Pope of Mope," and his shock that Morrissey is both capable of laughing and doing mundane, everyday things seems to have missed the train that transports a large part of the man's appeal.
I have been working. I turned in Ai Yori Aoshi volume 6 yesterday, a whole day early, and have completed a rough draft on a short story I am doing for one of Scott Allie's anthologies at Dark Horse. The artist on it is quite amazing, but I am not going to tell you who yet.
Current Soundtrack: The Beautiful South, Choke