It slightly scares me that I’m already at a stage where bands of my indie youth have anthologies available, rounding up their material for what must be a relatively minimal audience. My Life Story
‘s superbly titled best of, ‘Sex and Violins
‘ came in the post this morning, along with the b-sides and rarities companion, ‘Megaphone Theology
‘. I have to confess that I danced around the kitchen like a total twat whilst cooking breakfast to the sound of vintage singles like ‘12 Reasons Why I Love Her
‘ and ‘It’s A Girl Thing
‘. They weren’t particularly outstanding pop songs at the time – let’s face it they might have actually been successful if they had been – but they’re great fun. Orchestral and arch, The Divine Comedy
comparisons were never far away, although as a TDC fan I don’t associate them too closely. The fact that so few indie bands used orchestras and aimed for that classic, big sound meant that they inevitably got lumped together.
There are some splendid lyrics littered among these tunes but it’s the nagging pop melodies that do the trick. At one point I was quite conscious of the fact that one of the songs was achingly MOR, but that was kind of the point with My Life Story – it was using fairly conventional music to offer a different spin on Britpop. I remember MLS from back when I used to buy the NME. Back when it was still full of detailed features, piercing wit and printed on bog roll it used to provide details for a selection of charts and every time My Life Story released a single you just knew it would go in around 37 and then piss off with a true sense of urgency.
Everybody has their slightly uncool favourites from their youth. I remember the stick I used to get just for liking The Divine Comedy, but at the time My Life Story were a guilty pleasure satisfied only by occassional plays on the Evening Session and in the first minutes of the Top 40 countdown. Only now do I feel able to welcome them into heart of my collection. You might find you’re more willing to humour old Jake Shillingford and his clan these days too.
I’ve got the ‘Sunken Treasure‘ DVD by Jeff Tweedy on at the moment, and it’s just past his tremendous rant at the audience about talking. It’s moments like that that make it an essential purchase. You genuinely feel part of something right across the 95 minutes. But more importantly, is this point about not talking at concerts. The number of times I’ve got to see fairly low-key bands and had to endure – and I genuinely don’t think there’s a better way to put this – utter fuckwits wittering on to each other, or even worse on their mobiles, while the act on stage are playing a song that wasn’t a single or isn’t immediately accessible. Why spend the £15 to come along and stand there bloody talking? What’s the point? If you’re not bothered about the band – don’t come. Tossers.