Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Cure, Kyoto, and music...

As many of you will know, I am a huge fan of The Cure: as far as I am concerned, they are the best band on the planet. And, of course, "Disintegration is the best album in the world ever!"

My parents had Lovecats on 7", but I hadn't really heard any more than that. But, in my first year at Eton, I was wandering back to my room, past the room of the House Head of Games—and I heard this wonderful keyboard riff as the spine of this dreamy, creepy sounding song. Ding-ding-ding ding-ding, ding-ding-ding ding...

Ollie Lane was five years above me—in age and hierarchy—and so, even though he was the older brother of Dom (my contemporary), it took me a few days to summon up the courage to tap, nervously, on his door (as the song was playing again) and ask whether I could borrow the song and record it onto a cassette.

"No," he said. "You can't. You can't borrow the song: but you can borrow—and listen to—the whole album. Bring it back in a few days, and let me know what you think."

I had been brought up on my parents traditional Sixties music—the Beatles, the Strawbs, and similar sounding stuff. And the songs that I had occasionally heard on Top of the Pops (at the fag-end of the 80s—you know, Kylie, Jason, Tiffany, etc.) were deeply uninspiring.

So I admired the album cover (still one of my favourite pieces of artwork), and listened to this album...

And then here were these little worlds: neatly encapsulated dream sequences, Spanish-style hangover furies, hugely absorbing emotion-scapes, and blood, and fury, and tenderness, and...

And I drove my parents mad: my small allowance went on Cure albums (and cigarettes), every present I asked for was a Cure album, and I played them incessantly. Indeed, I still do (and am lucky enough to have a wife who has become a convert—although, possibly, through some sort of survival instinct).

I sailed around university with massive, back-combed hair and baggy suits—plus, of course, an air of alcohol and desperation. I was in my own little world—a world conjured and painted, just for me, by the Cure's varied and beautiful landscapes. And, whenever I listen to their music—my music—I am back in those vividly painted worlds.

Oh, and that first song? It will seem trivial to some of you, and possibly banal to others: but that doesn't alter the fact that there is a very big place in my sensibilities for Kyoto Song, from the classic The Head On The Door album...

And so began my love affair with The Cure—an affair that has yet to end.

3 comments:

The Spine said...

So good to see you blogging again, even in snippets and I'm even more grateful that it's not about politics and politicians (damn them all). In your honour, I'm about to load up my Cure folder and meow along to the Lovecats.

The Cowboy Online said...

I didn't realise you were blogging again, good to see that you are. I remember The Cure being a kind of 'background' thing when I was growing up as a kid. Friends had them, on vinyl, back when the options were vinyl or cassette, and they were on the TV - a lot, and I never really made the effort to listen to them, because that would be a bit like making an effort to breathe air.

So, off the back of reading this post, I've just gone and bought Disintegration from Amazon, and am now listening to the MP3 download you get, courtesy of AutoRip.

Thank you, and great to see you back, albeit intermittently it seems.

The Cowboy Online said...
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