Caught by the River’s Robin Turner likes…
Deerhunter “Halcyon Digest” 4AD
God only knows what this brilliant record is. Is it shoegaze? Dream pop? Chillwave? I’m at a loss. In a nutshell, Deerhunter start with pretty straight up guitar music then push and pull until it’s so blissed out it sounds like it’s double dropped Mogadon in the studio. It glides and swoops and hooks you in. From time to time there are heavily psychedelicised touches of Flaming Lips and Grandaddy but then you hear something like loom into view sounding like a detuned Everly Brothers record or some kind of Wall Of Sound being hastily constructed in the background. I can’t recommend this album enough.
“When The Lights Went Out” by Andy Beckett
Slightly after the fact on this one so apologies if I’m stating the very obvious here. This book tells the story of the 1970s – the decade I was born – against a kaleidoscopic backdrop of general elections, trade unions, free festivals, strikes and economic chaos. Beckett’s book is ridiculously compelling considering it gives more information about the TGWU than I ever thought I’d need know. Incredibly for such a weighty political tome, it reads like a proper page-turner novel, mainly due to the spectre of Thatcherism that looms as large and terrible as Sauron over so many of the decade’s events. Overused phrase but… this book is genius.
Living in the heart of Hackney, sometimes I find silence utterly overwhelming. These days I’m permanently tuned to the sounds of the city – the relentless tedium of bass booming from open car windows; the wasp in the bedroom buzz of unexpected midnight sirens. I’m non-plussed by Nokia handsets at full blast on buses and that fucker across the road who plays Seven Nation Army at 6am without fail every time the pills he’s bought actually work. I grew up in the countryside but for nearly two decades I’ve been a denizen of the metropolis. These cloth ears don’t understand quiet and they certainly don’t recognise peace anymore.
Fforest is the sort of place that makes one appreciate the salving purity of silence. All but hidden away from the twitching net curtains of west Welsh Wales and made up of a series of tents, tipis and geodesic domes in a rolling green of the Ceredigion countryside, to call this place a campsite is like calling The Fat Duck “somewhere to grab a bite to eat”. This is outdoor living unlike any I’ve ever experienced before; a place where supreme comfort blurring effortlessly into wild countryside. Tents are raised from the floor on wooden decking and come dressed out in furs and Welsh woollen blankets. Domes have wood-fired heaters and huge Perspex windows onto nature. In a clichéd nutshell, it’s camping for a Malmaison generation and guiltily I count myself in their numbers.
Book now for next summer, you’ll see you down there, giving my ears a well deserved holiday.
Adam Curtis’ blog
One of few great artists working in the medium of television documentaries, Adam Curtis’ website is a testing ground for new ideas, unplaceable films and brilliantly incisive writing. His latest dream project – making a 40 hour film of found footage and sound to tell the story of 1970 through to now. The first half hour (1970 – tying in neatly with Andy Beckett’s book) is online and is as reliably fantastic as you’d expect.