Thursday, December 21, 2006

A Chat with The Bragg Part 1

Interview with Billy Bragg - Part Two soon

2006 saw the release of two box sets containing the entire recording (almost) of the Bard of Barking Billy Bragg, thirty years and a dozen albums later Billy is as vital as ever and what remains is the passion, the beauty and the humour three qualities that his music is vibrantly full of. Meeting the man was like meeting the man down the pub, charming debatable and full of comedy. In part one of this two part interview Billy talks about the music, the changing times and the people who have world that has shaped his songs.

What does Billy Bragg’s music say today politically?
“I hope that it makes anyone who feels awkward or outside of the current spectrum wanted, I hope it makes them realise that anyone can get there point across it allows the person however isolated to get his point across on his own terms.”

What does Billy Bragg’s music say today personally?
“I think, to me personally it says it was true to my emotions, true to the spirit of the time, life isn’t perfect you have to take the rough with the smooth. You don’t write a song about your wife and name it Brickbat and then admit everything is smooth, It allows me to dig deep personally and allow the feelings to come across.”

Do you feel any artists still have something to say? Such as Dylan in the sixties?
“I feel it’s more complicated to say it, Dylan was the first and he was a great poet. Hopefully with the internet the radio and record companies will have to play with the artist more on his terms.”

New England is probably your most well known song, why do you think such a simple sentiment?
“Good question, (with a wry smile) it must be the fabulous performance general charisma of the performer and the great lyrics (Laughs). I think it’s the general connection, it’s simple but effective.”

The Internationale is suggested as your most political, was it a consensus decision to make such a statement?
“It was recorded at a time, the end of the 1980’s and the end of the cold war also saw the end of Communism as a major debatable point, I felt the good ideals of communism were being thrown out with the bad ideas. And in a way it was an attempt to reboot the good ideals of Marxism and communism for a new generation.”
Billy proudly says that the Internationale is sang by many political choirs nowadays

Most of you’re albums mix the political with the personal is this a consensus decision?
“Basically as I see the world isn’t all politics neither is it all shagging, it’s a mixture of the two that’s how I see my albums a reflection on my world at that time. Even the book is a mixture.

1986 saw the release of Talking to the Taxman about Poetry the indie style of music is seen to have come from this time with the recent anniversary of C86 do you feel this revitalised the DIY ethnics of music after the death of punk?

“Every generation seems to create a movement, even if the remnants of the actual movement are shit, I didn’t feel the movement so much but looking back you can see that some great and some not great bands came from that era.”

What is the future for Billy Bragg musically?
“It’s pretty how its been, playing the songs I love and writing new songs that reflect day to day business, a performer goes on till he can’t perform. To play the songs like your life depends on it, that’s been my life for 30 years and it will continue to be that way.”

Part 2 – Billy reflects on the politics that have shaped his world, and says fuck to apathy

Friday, November 10, 2006

Friday, July 14, 2006

Autobiography Chapter 1

Dead – Beat – Poet
As the clouds disperse away,
Among the avenues that give way.
The flowers of sentiments they grow,
On the side of Stockwood Road.

I’ve never been much of a poet.
A self-proclaimed writer of men,
And I’ve never been much of a pacifist,
Waged a war on everyone.
Dishevelled, disbroken and disarmed
I’m nothing now your spirits passed on.

So, I ask is this hopeless a word of a broken poet
As this writing be my therapy.
Yet, my body struggles to put pen together with paper
Collapsing into a thought a dangerous retort.
As another day dawns its parade,
I lie slumped over the table I sat at the night before.

Ironically, I’m Dead Already
Outside, the peace lies
Among the sweeping maudlin fields
Pretty girls pretend to be petty as the pill numbed the pain
So much for medication
Too little time, ironically
I’m dead already.

If the heat catches upon my ageing face,
Pale turns to golden like the food you swallowed down
And I feel
That I cannot keep up with the pace
Among the trees of this startling autumn dawn
And the stagnate in growth of this years fears
Too little matters
Ironically, I’m dead already.

The air and the sky a lead looking grey,
Stalking the town, I left not long ago,
Maybe someone loves me, maybe then again not
Maybe if I only knew at the time
Your feelings
My fears
Ironically though
Ironically, I’m dead already.

A Town With No Importance
Detached house debate the decline in beauty,
As the railway closed the public house remained.
Scribbles of a man, Victorian say eagle over child
As St Marks became redundant, one September day.
A canal, which took my father’s friend, still dank and still
It revealed him the morning of the next day.

My heritage haunts this area heavy, like the pit wheel approaching
As the sun brightens the saddened clouds that match the faces.
Mother avenue hands a solitary home as a pleasant view
And the boarded windows of number 52 since the war
As the scarred red bricks mark the grave of baby Sarah May

The old mine haunts the road way away from here,
Heathen in the last decades of the lost century.
No torched faces wake at dawn and work till dust
Memories of a childhood as familiarity disperses with time
To the next generation, heres a toast to our last hour

The cold day masks the disappointment
In what was once a celebration
Who knows, where the light of youth disappeared
As the year ticks on to another corroding the clock away.

No romance only the maybes that despair brings
A dull northern boy, that’s crumbling from view
Feeling like a godfather to the people who I associate
Maybe its time to leave it to the next generation
And retire from the premise of public view.

A Childhood Angel
Since childhood
And the dark that night brings
A lady watched over black in Victorian shawl
Her presence once a fear is now comforting
In a world as bleak as the shadows frown
That murmur along the fault lines of ours and there’s

Twenty or so years
Have passed and the past became clear
Than the year I witnessed originally the interest in religion
Will I still hold the protection she once gave?
The black lady a name I gave as simple as childhood
Return please
Once more could you just guide me through
Entertain the sadness that crosses the barrow mind
By my side until I replace and the day you can rest.

A Sad Song
My sadness seems permanent
Skin whitened with the daylight sleep
Smiles seem delayed and elapse with me
Instead of hope sadness stays at mine

Some old fool sings along with me
A shanty written in about 1902
Hope traces the path beyond him
Yet my feet stay in the shadow curving a blow
Like some mystic smile from the one who walked
For the dark has gone, but its remained.

A piece of my heart cares not for what I want
Its thoughtful my futures stare is blank
Like my grandmothers grip it slowly felt weak
I guess there is always hell, for my soul to rest.

Experience makes you feel a waste
An illness, a scar on your families’ history
Met him when the streets became dark
Porcelain looks and a smile of a smirk
Had you ever done this
Done this
This way.

Inspirationally besieged our minds alike
Love never an option just hot and bothered
As we drifted together, kissed one another
Our clothes faded, since its been that way

Shoving me down and acting on perverse
I’d cry, I said sheepishly while taking him in hand
I’d die, relax he said spoken the words from his face
Down like a petal leaf, and take it like a man.

High on speed, well I chose it naturally
Seems like a harmony left something inside me
The suburban sex god still lives on
Stagnant serpents stayed from his door
While alluding the rain of the street outside
Our fears, our fears, leave tears, leave tears

Substance handed within makes us twist slow
A statement bereft of idol worship and idolism
So we fable stories in our minds
The come down from the year before
Gun down massacre the first day of December, well chose sadly.

If, Wasn’t A Question You Asked
If, wasn’t a question you asked
With brutal honesty chained as a brain of thought
With the brutal clouds hanging heavy
As a pair of lovers kiss from prying eyes

Sunshine as immaculate as your whitened eyes
And a smile as vibrant and moving as a crescent moon
I could kiss you for a thousand lengths of time
Perhaps, this reminds us of a time we’d forgot
A time that seemed close but far from us.

If wasn’t a question you spoke
From those faded red yet untainted lips
A journey, a pattern a sentence in which you spelt sadness
As you left, like a solitary figure in a kitchen sink drama
On a platform no smoke shows without a flame
No flame burns except perhaps this one
Except perhaps, maybe this one.

Sense of Stillness In Time
As my life erodes to a sharp decline
The feelings that once helped are gone
Something poised it pounced, it destroyed
Everything that was at least once stable

Hoping each twenty four hours last,
As the next twenty four could be my last
Disowned, empty and pearliness to control
Its there for others now to decide my fate

So in the sunlight at twelve twenty one
I sense a second a stillness in time
Motionally empty, emotionally stressed
My body decaying, despondent shallow and ill

A sad loss on the evening train home, dedicance allowed at the excitement it brings – Matt Hurst 2006

Monday, January 23, 2006

Latest Albums & Singles for 23rd January 2006

Arctic Monkeys - What Ever People Say I Am, Thats What I'm Not
Well four acne attacked youngsters from Yorkshire have caused quite a scene, with lyrics that have been likened to Pulp and fevered excitement not seen since the Libertines, The Arctic Monkeys seem to have it made.

The album however is indifferent, it has good tunes and bad tunes and its hardly Pulp in eithier wit or wisdom. Scummy has it was formely known and "I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor" are slices of brilliant post punk however i'd rather not waste time on the harsher parts of this album has they are many and its lack of depth tells with 5 tracks in. A Bad debut by no means but not made from gold eithier. 5/10

The Kooks - Inside In/Inside Out
Quirky four piece very similar to the zutons and et al that have gone previous, so nothing really new here then. However the songs have a catchy element of dance and rock to keep you amused for the duration of the album lots of filler but lots of fun maybe the kooks deserve more hype than they get. 6/10

Richard Ashcroft - Keys To The World
Self Proclaimed Jesus releases yet another solo album full of cacky tunes and overblown operatics, his voice is horrible its got progressivly worse since The Verve yet he still believes in his mind that he is Jesus and that his music is some what different. Its different i'll hand him that, i wouldn't hand him a recording contract though. 2/10

Cat Power - The Greatest
Possibly what Mr Ashcroft was aiming for in his album, however Chan Marshall the genius behind Cat Power pulls it off effortlessly and with so much beauty that this could of been made at least by an angel if not god himself. What is subtlely beautiful about The Greatest is its unique delivery and charm and this makes it a contender for album of the year lists. 8/10

Be Your Own Pet - Lets Get Sandy
A crazy mish mash of a track that comes in under a minute long, its unlikely to advertise the album which is a shame because unlike this track the albums good very good, while this is bad very bad 3/10

Cut Copy - Going Nowhere
Cut Copy's least electro beepy track of their amazing debut album "Bright Like Neon Love", however the song is still very good attractively sounding and desperation in the voice makes it sound like the Flaming Lips daubed in electronica in their twenties 8/10

Aha - Analogue
Rubbish, seriously pathetic its Middle of the road accoustic rock bollocks. I know they were bad in the 80's but surely maturity should of done something this is indeed the worse single of the year so far 0/10

Infadels - Can't Get Enough
Werid sounding intros and tracks that last over several minutes the Infadels have arrived into this world with a dancey disco sounding track, exciting in its very brash delieverance and rather werid sounding vocals the Infadels are just different enough to be a hit. 7/10

Matt Hurst

More Next Week

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Albums of 2005 - Full List To Follow on Left Field Rant

My Top 20 Albums of 2005

A full list profile will follow in the next issue of Left Field Rant.

20. The Tears - Here Comes The Tears
19. Ryan Adams - 29

18. New Order - Waiting For The Sirens To Call
17. Depeche Mode - Playing The Angel
16. Goldfrapp - Supernature
15. Brendan Benson - Alternative To Love
14. Ladytron - Witching Hour
13. Elbow - Leaders of the Free World
12. We Are Scientists - With Love & Squalor
11. Beck - Guerro
10. Rakes - Caputure/Release
9. Bright Eyes - I'm Wide Wake Its Morning
8. Patrick Wolf - Wind In The Wires
7. Gravenhurst - Fires In Distant Buildings

6. Ben Folds - Songs for The Sliverman
5. Hookers Green Number 1 - On How the Illustrious Captain
4. Bruce Springsteen - Devils & Dust
3. The Cribs - The New Fellas
2. Vnv Nation - Matter & Form
1. M83 - Before the Dawn Heals Us

Please comment thanks MTH.