Wednesday, January 25, 2012
1983: Should care
Just back from a brief and snowbound sojourn in New York. At the airport looking for something to read on the flight, and with no patience to start novels these days, I bought a MOJO special on The Smiths and the whole C86 indie scene of the Eighties. Oh how it took me back.
It's the Christmas holidays 1983, and I'm in London going to stay with a friend in Swiss Cottage. I'm a bit early so I detour to Oxford Street to do a bit of record shopping. IIRC Selfridge's record department was tucked away in a corner of the ground floor, and was awash with ex-chart hits at knockdown prices. Nestling among the Hold It!'s and Flaming Swords was This Charming Man.
I'd been intrigued by The Smiths since I'd seen Morrissey on TOTP doing this song, gladioli in the back pocket of his washed out jeans, big quiff and loose shirt and thought they were my kind of band. I didn't get round to buying the single when it was actually released but now was the time.
When I arrived at my friend's house we popped it on the stereo, loudly. It's such a wonderful tune, it's jingle-jangle rockabillyness is just made for dancing round the room like a loon. I've been doing it ever since.
New York, once awash with Tower Records, Sam Goodys, HMVs and Virgins is now barren of record stores. It's Barnes & Noble only, and there only seem to be two of those in the whole of NYC if you want something new. There are plenty of excellent second hand shops in the West Village and beyond, but we didn't get that far this time so it was off to B & N to reacquaint myself with The Smiths' back catalogue. Despite the less than comprehensive selection, I got what I needed.
I'm glad I did. They're not everyone's cup of tea, and Morrissey has proved himself to be a first class arse, but you've got to love the band. They changed everything.