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Up There

When I was first getting into music, I had a mate in the Sixth Form who had similar tastes and we'd occasionally swap tapes with each other. I did him a tape of the Pixies - he did me a tape of the Brilliant Corners. Even that far back, it's fair to say that he was trawling a slightly more indie branch of indie than I was.

Maybe 30 years later, we bumped into each other again on Facebook, and naturally our talk went often to music. When I mentioned earlier this year that I'd bought the tape deck and started going through my tapes, he dug into a box, found a load of tapes that he thought I might be interested in, and sent me them to have a listen.

Naturally his tapes are far more efficiently catalogued than mine. We're not going to get into a situation here where there's nothing on the inlay card. But they're not my tapes - so although it's going to be a different voyage of discovery, I like to think that it will still be a voyage.

The first tape I dug out had Heavenly on Side A, and a Wedding Present gig on Side B. I'll come back to Heavenly later, but I started with The Wedding Present gig, a recording of an early gig with sound quality that, its probably fair to say, is a tad ropey. But, despite itself and the fact that these are songs I've heard hundreds, nay thousands of times, this tape retains the thrill of the new - it's an early gig and there's a tension in the performance that we probably don't get when we watch the band now (or the latest iteration of the band)

Even more thrillingly, there's a song in there that I didn't recognise. I figured it must have ended up on a later LP but NO ! It turns out that it's a track that was under consideration as the debut single but it lost out to "Go Out and Get'Em Boy" and was never officially recorded. I've been listening to this band for 33 years and until today, I'd never heard "Will You Be Up There?"

Like I said - even though I might be listening to bands that I know, and even though the tracklistings are comprehensive, I can still get knocked sideways by the shock of the new.

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