I looked out of our window and saw a pale blue backdrop and an army of slow-moving fluffy clouds, beautiful, the planet Earth at its best. That chilly wind was pushing them across the sky as the sun shone and illuminated them like they were getting a little burst of electricity. Some of them were edged with black, remnants of darkness on their march towards the night. Aerials protrude from the roofs opposite, obsolete analogue history. The familiar sight of a Porto crane and a lone seagull lookout, I wonder where they sleep?
I found myself in two psychedelic psupermarkets today, different directions, different products, different prices. In the second of these markets they always play interesting music, it’s weird, it’s like the person that’s in charge likes indie bands, not the usual music you would hear in a place like this but I suppose not all markets are psychedelic. Today, I was experiencing the tragic music they make you exercise to in the pool, in the gym, anywhere that’s public that’s trying to offer you the chance to get fit. I wonder how many more people might be interested if they didn’t have to listen to MTV or horrible pounding dance grooves. Also, why do the trainers shout at you? Especially if you are in a group, training. If I’m there, I don’t need to be shouted at, I’m there already, I’m motivated to be there, so just tell me what I have to do and I’ll do it. I tell you, one day someone is going to steal my idea of the gothic gym, where everyone wears black and listens to underground music to exercise to. It will probably be in LA.
I saw a nice Mercedes 280 SE coupé today. A stylish two-doored saloon from 1970. I also saw a Citroen 2CV and on the same corner a Renault 4GTL. I actually get excited when I see this kind of car. Eccentric shapes, but just normal cars from the sixties and seventies. In those days instead of getting into a faceless metal box, you climbed into someone’s mad idea.
Music today was another band that no one remembers that began with the letter H, Help Yourself. Their self-titled debut was released in 1971 followed by two albums in 1972, Beware The Shadow and Strange Affair. The Return Of Ken Whaley (1973) and Happy Days also in 1973 which I can’t quite figure out if it’s an album or an idea? Their final album 5 lay unfinished until the early 2000s. Various line-up changes might have been responsible for their inability to sell any records but like Heads Hands & Feet, they were influenced by country rock and might have had difficulty in appealing to a British audience (like Bronco who I wrote about some weeks ago). There are many songs that don’t sound like country rock throughout the albums and interestingly the track Old Man from their debut shares the lyrical theme of Neil Young’s Old Man from Harvest and was released a year earlier. The fact is that at times they most certainly had something of a Crosby Stills Nash and Young sound. They didn’t sell any records throughout their career but there are some real gems buried amongst the albums. Check out Brown Lady and instrumental The Electric Fur Trapper from Strange Affair.
Members went on to work with Man and Deke Leonard, with connections to Sean Tyla and Tyla Gang, Ducks Deluxe, Clancy, Bees Make Honey and Rockfield Studios. A much-forgotten area of creative British music in the seventies.