Caught by the River

VIC.ism: A Celebration of Vic Godard & Subway Sect

18th November 2012

Vic Godard, by Harry Papadopolous

Kevin Pearce writes:

VIC.ism is a short series of events put together by the Creeping Bent Organisation to celebrate the music of Vic Godard and Subway Sect. The shows feature Vic collaborating with The Sexual Objects, the wonderful group led by Davy Henderson, one of a generation irredeemably inspired by the Sect’s stark strangeness and charm.

The story goes that in 1977 Vic Godard and Subway Sect went to Scotland as part of The Clash’s White Riot tour and left their mark on the forward-thinking, artistically-inclined young punks who fell in love with the group’s monochrome mystique, literary bent and clanging guitars. As a direct consequence of these performances labels were started (Fast Product, Postcard, etc.), groups were formed (Davy’s Fire Engines, Scars, Orange Juice, Josef K, and so on), and pop music would never be the same again.

The live performances that form part of VIC.ism will be complemented by an exhibition of Harry Papadopolous’ legendary pop photography, which was featured on this site late last year. The projections will include priceless shots of a young Vic Godard along with images of the geniuses and lunatics that were part of The Sound of Young Scotland at the start of the 1980s when Postcard Records and its satellites were the only fun in town.

The events take place at Gulliver’s in Manchester (29th November), the Star and Shadow Cinema in Newcastle (30th November), Stereo in Glasgow (1st December) and the Boston Arms in London (7th December), with something different happening on each occasion. The Newcastle show, for example, will feature an exclusive solo set by local goddess Pauline Murray, and she may just sing: “My future and my past are presently disarranged. And I’m surfing on a wave of nostalgia for an age yet to come”.

In addition, in Glasgow on Sunday 2nd December, Vic will be taking afternoon tea as part of a Mao Disney spectacle at The Poetry Club, before going to the Glasgow Film Theatre for a Godard-on-Godard Q&A session with Stephen Pastel following a screening of Jean-Luc Godard’s classic Pierrot le Fou, specially chosen by Vic, as part of the Monorail Film Club.

Stephen’s group The Pastels are very much part of the successive waves of Scottish pop groups directly inspired by Subway Sect’s pioneering approach, and there was a time when it was almost obligatory for the likes of The Pastels, Primal Scream and The Jesus and Mary Chain to cover one of Vic Godard’s songs in their live sets. Orange Juice had earlier covered one of Vic’s nouveau Northern Soul songs, Holiday Hymn, which indirectly led to Edwyn Collins and Vic Godard working closely together in the years to come.

Kevin Pearce writings.