Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Medway Mortal Musings - Twydall Tea





Tonight the Curator ushers a fresh face into the Medway Music Museum. The man known as Twydall Tea has burst out of the UFK Dollshouse and is here tonight to give his unexpurgated views on the Medway Towns. Watch out for Twydall in a pub near you in 2010...he's quite an act. Twydall provided support to Unlucky Fried Kitten at the recent Time For Change roadshow in Maidstone....but the shadowlands of Twydall(Medway) are his roots. Ladies and gents...here...in completely unedited flow...is Twydall Tea.

1) Please tell us a little about yourself and about how long you've been associated with the Medway Towns?
ello ello ello, my name's Peter, A.K.A Twydall, i'm a punk/performance poet based in medway and maidstone, most of my family live in twydall and i'm a medway lad through and through.

2) What's your favorite memory of Medway?
getting banned from camping international on the top road for playing cricket down the aisles and for hiding in the sleeping bags.

3) What's your favourite Medway building?
my nans house, bacon sandwich and a cup of tea at any time of the day

4) Where's your parish? Rochester, Chatham, Gillingham? Elsewhere?
Twydall!

5) Have you some favourite bands or solo acts from past and/or present? (Medway Acts)
Pete Molinari at the barge, classic

6) Any great memories of wild nights out to share?
how fucking long we got?

7) What's your favorite pub? (clubs and bars do count)
Flowerpot in maidstone

8) If you were to show a visitor around Medway for a day...where would you take them?
to the hospital

9) Is there a landmark that you instantly think of for the towns?
great lines, many a night have i ended up asleep on those fields.

10) If you could live in any building in Medway where would you choose?
i'd live in the theatre.

11) Any particular shops that you think are worth a mention?
Dark times in the inn shops, rizla, bongs, roach.... you get the idea.

12) Which famous people...real or fictional...do you immediately associate with Medway?
billy fucking childish and tracy fucking emin

13) What's your very earliest memory of being here in these towns?
probably a fireworks display on the great lines.

14) Any sad memories of Medway?
too many

15) What's your favourite local music venue...past or present?
maybe the beacon court or the billabong in rochester.

16) Do you enjoy the current Medway Music Scene?
most of it is all good. i'm not too sure about those unlucky fried kitten geezers though, they seem a little crazy.

17) Do you think the towns will change drastically...on the entertainment front...over the next 20 years?
Medway never changes.

18) What would you change about Medway if you had the chance?
i would make the pigeons wear hats.

19) If you were asked to design a snappy logo for the Medway Towns....perhaps for an ultra-modern coat of arms...what items or items would you have on it?
a flick knife and some burberry

20) Lastly...on the tail of the last question...what would be a great SLOGAN for The Medway Towns?

Medway - because there's nothing else to do.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Medway Mortal Musings - Alex Turner




Alex Turner is a much-respected lensman of the Medway Towns...a fellow with a fine eye for detail and for observation and capture of the ironic side of culture. His photographic work can be seen on Flickr under the moniker of MONAXLE.
Today he shares some of his wonderful thoughts with us:


1) Please tell us a little about yourself and about how long you've been associated with the Medway Towns?
My roots are in Faversham and Canterbury. 15 years in and around London. I've lived in Medway since 2001.

2) What's your favorite memory of Medway?
My three youngest being born at Medway Hospital. Amazing stuff.

3) What's your favourite Medway building?
I like that old warehouse in Gillingham, near the railway line, where they sell the mobility aids and such like.

4) Where's your parish? Rochester, Chatham, Gillingham? Elsewhere?
Chatham

5) Have you some favourite bands or solo acts from past and/or present? (Medway Acts)
Archie Wah Wahs, Lupen Crook, The Singing Loins. The Deccas.

6) Any great memories of wild nights out to share?
It got a bit loopy in The General at Sea a little while ago. Lucky to get out unscathed I was!

7) What's your favorite pub? (clubs and bars do count)
The Brittania

8) If you were to show a visitor around Medway for a day...where would you take them?
Out to Cliffe on a bike. Out on the river in a canoe.

9) Is there a landmark that you instantly think of for the towns?
Rochester railway bridge as seen and heard from the inside of a train carrige.

10) If you could live in any building in Medway where would you choose?
The Command House

11) Any particular shops that you think are worth a mention?
Nah.

12) Which famous people...real or fictional...do you immediately associate with Medway?
Zandra Rhodes

13) What's your very earliest memory of being here in these towns?
Driving past Rod Hulls old house in Rochester back in the seventies. Queueing up in traffic for Chatham Navy Day. Again back in the seventees.

14) Any sad memories of Medway?
No.

15) What's your favourite local music venue...past or present?
The Barge.

16) Do you enjoy the current Medway Music Scene?
Love it. I think Medway musicians and creatives are all brilliant.

17) Do you think the towns will change drastically...on the entertainment front...over the next 20 years?
Yes. For the good and the bad.

18) What would you change about Medway if you had the chance?
Remove the hills. At least the ones that go up.

19) If you were asked to design a snappy logo for the Medway Towns....perhaps for an ultra-modern coat of arms...what items or items would you have on it?
A guitar, a camera, some paintbrushes and a microphone.

20) Lastly...on the tail of the last question...what would be a great SLOGAN for The Medway Towns?
Medway Moves You

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Medway Mortal Musings- Phil Dillon




Phil Dillon....photographer/occasional musician/ex-Matador/stylish geezer (one of those is not true) has grasped the biro-baton and crystallized his thoughts on Medway for us.
Phil has been a regular on the local scene playing in bands and organising various events...particularly with the Medway Eyes group. Here..we crack open his mind with a crowbar from B&Q:

1) Please tell us a little about yourself and about how long you've been associated with the Medway Towns? I was born in All Saints Hospital in Chatham and I've lived in Medway all my life.

2) What's your favorite memory of Medway? Man and Boy, a model shop in Chatham High Street. Going to the cinema in Chatham and calling into Pat's for sweets first. Pat looked a bit like Peter Sellers. Haircuts in Long John's. My Nan's shop - Jaydee Newsagents on the corner of Wyles Road and Dale Street.

3) What's your favourite Medway building? Chatham Town Hall, now known as the Brook Theatre. The day the Council threatens that one is the day I raise a people's army.

4) Where's your parish? Rochester, Chatham, Gillingham? Elsewhere? Chatham.

5) Have you some favourite bands or solo acts from past and/or present? (Medway Acts)? Too many. From the past, The Claim, The Dentists, Swinging Time, Men From Memphis. In the present, Didi Bergman, Lupen Crook, The Lovedays and anything Chris Austin does. And the Singing Loins.

6) Any great memories of wild nights out to share? I fell in a ditch at one of Judith Mullarkey's parties once. And there was the night in 1987ish when The Drunken Popes played at the Blue Lagoon and some twats came in and started a fight. The bouncers were crap, but our bass player Sean wasn't. He threw all of them out in seconds flat. The police were called after they smashed the window, and Sean had to go with them to identify the aforementioned twats. The Dentists were there, minus Mick, and played an impromptu covers set until Sean got back and the popes could play. Bob broke most of my strings, but it was a great set.

7) What's your favorite pub? (clubs and bars do count)? The Barge, The Nag's Head and The Britannia. I used to love the Command House too, when it was a pub.

8) If you were to show a visitor around Medway for a day...where would you take them? Casa Lina in Rochester, circa 1997, and then a few architecturally or historically interesting pubs.

9) Is there a landmark that you instantly think of for the towns? Well, you see the castle and cathedral as the train pulls round the bend towards Rochester, so it's them I suppose.

10) If you could live in any building in Medway where would you choose? A renovated Spemco building on Desolation Row.

11) Any particular shops that you think are worth a mention? Sound and Vision (Sounds Perfect) in Chatham is a proper old fashioned record shop, and I enjoy a rummage in Baggins Book Bazaar from time to time. I quite like the Tulip shop in Chatham for pickled things and flatbreads too.

12) Which famous people...real or fictional...do you immediately associate with Medway? Rod Hull.

13) What's your very earliest memory of being here in these towns? Being in my mum's pale green Austin 1100, being taken to play school. I used to sing Gary Glitter songs into a hairbrush there, and I once got into trouble for poking a cake. (Curator's Note: Haven't we all?)

14) Any sad memories of Medway? The day they took the snail thingy out of the Pentagon. The bulldozers destroying the Theatre Royal.

15) What's your favourite local music venue...past or present? The Barge and the Nag's Head. I thought the Underground was a cracking venue, but it didn't last for long.

16) Do you enjoy the current Medway Music Scene? I do, and I always have. Medway has always had more than its fair share of talent. It's the water.

17) Do you think the towns will change drastically...on the entertainment front...over the next 20 years? In terms of the areas I'm involved in, I hope not. Some of us have been doing our thing for over twenty years, and it's still as fulfilling now as it was when we started.

18) What would you change about Medway if you had the chance? It would be responsibly and democratically run by people who put the interests of the towns and their populace before their own, and PCSOs would receive adequate training.

19) If you were asked to design a snappy logo for the Medway Towns....perhaps for an ultra-modern coat of arms...what items or items would you have on it? A crack whore in Dickensian costume in a large brown envelope.

20) Lastly...on the tail of the last question...what would be a great SLOGAN for The Medway Towns? Local Towns For Local People.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Medway Mortal Musings...Reavsey




Here comes Reavsey....prolific Urban Punk Folkist...with his musings on the Medway Delta.
Tonight, Reavsey wears a cropped satin Care Bears T-Shirt with Cheesecloth trousers and winkle-pickers....he dreams of World Peace..and would love to work with animals.

1) Please tell us a little about yourself and about how long you've been associated with the Medway Towns?

I have been in the Medway towns since mid 1990’s

2) What's your favourite memory of Medway?

Not one in particular..always look forward to coming back over Rochester bridge when away.

3) What's your favourite Medway building?

Not really a building, Rochester High Street late at night/early hours when all is quiet. I still have the ability to see past the commercialisation which on occasions casts a shadow on the beauty of this area. There are still times when you can appreciate the atmosphere of the old place and sense the ghosts from times past.

4) Where's your parish? Rochester, Chatham, Gillingham? Elsewhere?

Rainham

5) Have you some favourite bands or solo acts from past and/or present? (Medway Acts)

There are many great bands past and present of course but The Singing Loins are my fave

6) Any great memories of wild nights out to share?

Probably a party the night I bit my cousins dog (It was only a playful nip) it’s a long story...that and the many nights watching bands of course.

7) What's your favourite pub? (clubs and bars do count)

The Barge

8) If you were to show a visitor around Medway for a day...where would you take them?

Rochester High Street and then some of the Music Venues in the area. Around the many nice river walks etc

9) Is there a landmark that you instantly think of for the towns?

Rochester Castle/The Naval War Memorial – Chatham/Rochester Bridge

10) If you could live in any building in Medway where would you choose?

Eastgate House - Rochester...or many of the old buildings in the historic area or Rochester or some of the old buildings in Chatham Historic Dockyard.....

11) Any particular shops that you think are worth a mention?

The Candy Bar Rochester High Street..if you like quality sweets etc (curator's note: I hope that's not a dig at my rotundity)

12) Which famous people...real or fictional...do you immediately associate with Medway?

Dickens and his creations

13) What's your very earliest memory of being here in these towns?

Coming from London originally the greenness, the laid back atmosphere and the lovely people ;o)

14) Any sad memories of Medway?

Spending so much time in Medway Maritime hospital due to illness and of course some of the old Medway that has been destroyed to make way for some town planner’s vision.

15) What's your favourite local music venue...past or present?

The Barge

16) Do you enjoy the current Medway Music Scene?

Yes a great deal

17) Do you think the towns will change drastically...on the entertainment front...over the next 20 years?

Yes there will be less individual places/venues/pubs with character which will be replaced by bland multi outlet establishments appealing to the lowest common denominator. I believe...The shopping Mallisation of Medway will then be complete probably full of mass market outlets like the wonderful and interesting "Dockside" we all flock to of course...

18) What would you change about Medway if you had the chance?

Stop adding new white elephants; concentrate on the gems that are here instead of destroying them.

19) If you were asked to design a snappy logo for the Medway Towns....perhaps for an ultra-modern coat of arms...what items or items would you have on it?

The Naval Memorial/The Castle - Rochester/and a Burberry Cap on top of a Silver Cross Buggy


20) Lastly...on the tail of the last question...what would be a great SLOGAN for The Medway Towns?

Medway, it’s the bollocks!

Hope you don’t mind this addition

21) What is your favourite place in Medway?

The marshes in and around Rainham where I walk my dog...especially in bad weather you can walk for ages without seeing another person, the harsher the weather the better...makes you feel alive...LOL


Cheers

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Medway Mortal Musings...Simon Bunyan



Simon Bunyan, frontman for 80's bands 'Men From Memphis' and the deliciously named 'Robert Underwater' is our first Medway Mortal to Muse for the Medway Music Museum. Thanks to Simon for helping to keep some of the Medway memories alive:

1) Please tell us a little about yourself and tell us how long you've been associated with the Medway Towns? -
Simon Bunyan, 44, sagitarius, 31 years

2) What's your favorite memory of Medway? - Gillingham's play off win 2000

3) What's your favourite Medway building? - Marconi House

4) Where's your parish? Rochester, Chatham, Gillingham? Elsewhere? - Rochester

5) Have you some favourite bands or solo acts from past and/or present? (Medway Acts) - The Claim, Swinging Time, LP3, Vandebilts, Kris Dollimore

6) Any great memories of wild nights out to share? - ???

7) What's your favorite pub? (clubs and bars do count) - The Nags Head, Rochester

8) If you were to show a visitor around Medway for a day...where would you take them? - The Dockyard

9) Is there a landmark that you instantly think of for the towns? - Rochester Castle

10) If you could live in any building in Medway where would you choose? - Troy (art deco house bottom of City Way)

11) Any particular shops that you think are worth a mention? - 99p land

12) Which famous people...real or fictional...do you immediately associate with Medway? - Lortd Haw Haw, Oz Clarke

13) What's your very earliest memory of being here in these towns? - the Green Sheild Stamps shop on New Road

14) Any sad memories of Medway? - no

15) What's your favourite local music venue...past or present? , The Nags

16) Do you enjoy the current Medway Music Scene? - yes i do

17) Do you think the towns will change drastically...on the entertainment front...over the next 20 years? - No, the sixties will never end here !

18) What would you change about Medway if you had the chance? - the date

19) If you were asked to design a snappy logo for the Medway Towns....perhaps for an ultra-modern coat of arms...what items or items would you have on it? - The Victory,, a traffic light, a high speed train, and Primark

20) Lastly...on the tail of the last question...what would be a great SLOGAN for The Medway Towns? - "wake up"

Medway Mortal Musings

The Medway Music Museum is proud to announce that the Curator's Room...from which the questions are expelled for the Curator's Q&A...has been renovated and is now back in line with 'health and safety' standards. The unfortunate incident with the heavy trunk of reel-to-reel tapes can now be consigned to the past....and the Museum did provide the vinegar and brown paper to treat Phil Dillon's damaged head. Andy Export (The Curator) apologises profusely for that.
Moving forward...Andy has revamped the Q&A structure and will soon be presenting Medway Mortal Musings. This is an exciting new feature...which will see Andy seeking out the views of noted locals. The questions will be the same for each person...but the answers will, no doubt, fluctuate recklessly.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Medway Mortal Musings

The Medway Music Museum is proud to announce that the Curator's Room...from which the questions are expelled for the Curator's Q&A...has been renovated and is now back in line with 'health and safety' standards. The unfortunate incident with the heavy trunk of reel-to-reel tapes can now be consigned to the past....and the Museum did provide the vinegar and brown paper to treat Phil Dillon's damaged head. Andy Export (The Curator) apologises profusely for that.
Moving forward...Andy has revamped the Q&A structure and will soon be presenting Medway Mortal Musings. This is an exciting new feature...which will see Andy seeking out the views of noted locals. The questions will be the same for each person...but the answers will, no doubt, fluctuate recklessly.
Here are the questions. They will be sent out to random Medway Folks.
Watch This Space!!!


MEDWAY MORTAL MUSINGS

1) Please tell us a little about yourself and about how long you've been associated with the Medway Towns?

2) What's your favorite memory of Medway?

3) What's your favourite Medway building?

4) Where's your parish? Rochester, Chatham, Gillingham? Elsewhere?

5) Have you some favourite bands or solo acts from past and/or present? (Medway Acts)

6) Any great memories of wild nights out to share?

7) What's your favorite pub? (clubs and bars do count)

8) If you were to show a visitor around Medway for a day...where would you take them?

9) Is there a landmark that you instantly think of for the towns?

10) If you could live in any building in Medway where would you choose?

11) Any particular shops that you think are worth a mention?

12) Which famous people...real or fictional...do you immediately associate with Medway?

13) What's your very earliest memory of being here in these towns?

14) Any sad memories of Medway?

15) What's your favourite local music venue...past or present?

16) Do you enjoy the current Medway Music Scene?

17) Do you think the towns will change drastically...on the entertainment front...over the next 20 years?

18) What would you change about Medway if you had the chance?

19) If you were asked to design a snappy logo for the Medway Towns....perhaps for an ultra-modern coat of arms...what items or items would you have on it?

20) Lastly...on the tail of the last question...what would be a great SLOGAN for The Medway Towns?

Friday, 7 August 2009

Medway Music Museum (an update)


HELLO EVERYBODY...THIS IS AN ANNOUNCEMENT TO SAY THAT I HAVE ENJOYED ASKING THE Q'S IN "CURATOR'S QUESTION TIME"...FOR THE "MEDWAY MUSIC MUSEUM"
THERE'S NOT A LOT OF THOUGHT...AND MUCH LESS SKILL...THAT GOES INTO THE QUESTIONS. THE AIM IS TO HAVE A LITTLE FUN AND TO GATHER UP SOME LITTLE BITE-SIZE PIECES OF MEDWAY MUSIC HISTORY.
YOU'LL FIND ESTABLISHMENT AND DIS-ESTABLISHMENT ON HERE.
I WISH YOU WELL...AND FEEL FREE TO POST A LINK TO THE "MEDWAY MUSIC MUSEUM" WHEREVER YOU SEE FIT.
THANKEEEEEEEEES
ANDY EXPORT


and for my next trick...i give you...Q & A with IAN SMITH

Curator's Question Time with IAN SMITH



























Ian presented as a casually dressed man who made little eye contact during the course of the interview. His speech was normal in rhythm, rate and volume. There was no evidence of thought disorder, hallucinations or delusions as I picked away at the fortress-like mind of Medway skins-man extraordinaire, Ian Smith.

Ladies and gentlemen...let the questions and (more importantly) the answers...tell the story.

Q How did you get into drumming? Was it the first instrument you took up?

I always wanted to be a drummer. It's the only instrument I've ever taken up. I'm tone deaf and don't understand the structure of music - chords, notes, time sigs, progressions, keys - Which is a shame because I love music and would love to be able to create some. I got a drum kit in Oct 1979. I've never had a drum lesson either. For 6 months I had not a clue what a drummer was meant to do till my friend Michael told me that it was to keep time like when you tap your hands on your knees to a song. That nugget of info gave me something to build on. It still took me ages, years, to get to any degree of competence

Q What, for you, makes a great drummer?

Ha, good question. You'll get a very different answer from a 'musician'. Enthusiasm and a desire to do something unusual or interesting (like Keith Moon)! To give the music some 'colour'. In latter years I have come to realise what a genius Charlie Watts is, who on the face of it merely keeps solid time, but with every song, no matter what style, he makes it 'swing'.

Q People around the world know you for your beats with The Dentists and Armitage Shanks. Who else have you worked with?

Dentist Bob and I had a band called Ye Ascoyne d'Ascoynes for about 4 years (late 80s/early 90s). We were good but playing powerpop in the wrong pre-Britpop era. We were hopeless at getting gigs too.
I played for Sexton Ming's Auntie Vegetable. We were a prog supergroup, again completely out of kilter with the times, though it was tongue-in-cheek.
My first band were called The Rubberman 12. They were good too, but Michael bailed out at the top! (our story will be told one day). I also play in a blues trio with my good pal Tony Zemaitis Jr called Spitfire IV. Oh, I also played on an album for the London-based artrock combo The Ken Ardley Playboys. That was great fun.

After the Rubberman 12 and before working with Mark and Bob I drummed for Medway Legend Tim Webster and his Outer Limits (initially with that other legend Plug aka Ian Bell, though he soon left - This reminds me is Darren 'Beast' Green still around?)

I was also drummer in the most recent line-up of Gregory 'Razorcuts' Webster's Sportique. This little-known band had done 3 Peel sessions before I came along. We gigged for a year before fizzling out in 2006. I never recorded with them though we had some new material. Check 'em out - If you like quirky punky indie a la Buzzcocks, Wire, Swell Maps Sportique may be for you.


Q On your MySpace page it says that are compiling CD's for Rev-Ola. What's that all about?

It's an extension of my enthusiasm for music and a way to write about it and earn some pocket money. An old pal, Andy Morten, set up the company with Joe Foster to reissue great discs that slipped through the net. Rev-Ola is a subsidary of Cherry Red. They put out the Dentists Some People album on CD and specialise in folk, rock, pop and psychedelia. I've put six together for them (mainly blues comps) - thoroughly researched. Very proud of my Leadbelly, Paul Robeson and Jacques Brel comps.

Q You recently had your book "Taking Candy from A Dog" published on Blackheath Books. Did you have fun writing it? Can you tell us more about it?

Well, it wasn't really written as a book. It's more a collection of blogs that I've put on myspace over a period of a few years. They chronicle 'things' that have happened to me influenced by my admiration for Keith Waterhouse (Billy Liar), John Fante and latterly, Larry David. Geraint, who runs BB, likes my material (I'd written a few little books of short stories a few years ago) and asked if I'd put it together for his press, which I was very happy to do.
Ha ha, I've just re-read the question - forget the above. It relates to 'Vic Templar does his Chunkers' which was published in Feb this year. Taking Candy from a Dog is a novelised memoir of my childhood which I am very very close to finishing, having been working on it on-and-off for nearly 5 years (though some of it was written in 1989!).
TCFAD will be published around the end of the year (ideal Christmas present). It's meant to be funny and is a collection of episodes as a boy goes from his earliest memories through to going to gigs and parties (i.e. drinking) on the verge of adulthood. It chronicles the difficulty kids have in deciphering the ways of grown-ups - their weird ways and sayings. It's not only my thanks to my family for giving me a great childhood, but I've also realised quite recently that the book is my apology to the kid I once was for the way I've turned out!!
In a similar vein - I've just read Billy Childish's The Idiocy of Ideas. This also chronicles a childhood, but one that was a polar opposite of mine. It is a harrowing but also very funny book. His best, I think.

Q Do you collect drum-kits like guitarists collect guitars?

No. I've had three kits, but only ever one at a time and have had my current puke-yellow Trixon since 1983.

Q Do you have any great drumming disasters...from live shows...to share with us?

Er, three spring to mind. Falling off the kit Spinal Tap style at a shanks gig c.95. The kit was perched on a 'riser' barely big enough and stepping onto my stool and then onto the bass drum at the gig's finale proved a giant leap for the fragile kit and me! I was merely bruised but one of the bass drum's legs was irrevocably bent out of kilter.
My last ever Dentists gig was a disaster. You'll have to ask someone else about that. I don't really remember it.
I also broke a finger playing football in January 1992 (or 91?) which prevented me from playing the drums. This was the month that St Etienne recorded their debut album Fox Base Alpha and Bob Stanley had asked if I would play on a couple of tracks.

Q If you could drum for any one band....past or present...which band would you plump (thump) for?

You mean which band do I love and would willingly make worse by playing with them? This cuts out The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Stones, Kinks, Milkshakes. I played a couple of numbers with The Prisoners once - as an encore. I'd have liked to be good enough to play drums for Elvis or Sammy Davis Jr. I'd have liked to play in a 60s American garage punk band like We The People or The Seeds or I'd have liked to be in Pulp, Blur or Supergrass. I think I could have made a good fist of those.

Q Vic Templar? What's the story...behind the name?

Ah, I'll decline that question - it's explained in a chapter entitled 'Treasure Hunt at Wick Ferry etc' in TCFAD

Q Got any new music projects lined up?

In a word, no. Unless you mean continuing the legacy of the Shanks. We've just recorded some material at Jim Riley's studio, which was a very enjoyable experience (I normally hate recording). We plan to release 12 singles on 12 different labels over the next year

Q Are you proud to be known as a part of the Medway Music Scene?

Of course! Very priviledged to have seen The Milkshakes, Prisoners and Gruffmen so many times. Not to mention the Claim, the Herbs and Swinging Time (among others). However, I don't think that 'coming from Medway' has ever helped a Medway band.

Q How did you start working with The Dentists? Were you all friends? Did you audition? (did Bob really try to kill you with a cheap pen-knife?)

No, I didn't audition - I was the star - I'd been in the Rubberman 12! It started with the aforementioned Rubberman 12. Mark Matthews and I had been at junior school together and though he'd left Rochester for Rainham as a 10-year-old we stayed in touch (quite unusual don't you think?). Mark was the Rubbermen's number one fan and at the same time he was learning bass guitar. He had an enigmatic pal called Brady who was going to be an Enoesque keys wizard and also a pal called Bob who could play guitar. I immediately bonded with Bob, who loved The Kinks, Stones and Beatles as much as I did. Brady fell by the musical wayside, but Bob, Mark & I stuck together. The Bunnymen and Doors were the two chief influences plus Velvets, Kinks, Orange Juice, Buzzcocks, XTC and Love.
We gigged under a few names (it's all chronicled by Bob on the official website - he knows all the dates and significant milestones) before Murphy came along. He was instantly 'right' for us. His idiosyncratic personality and talent for melodies was ideal. Considering what pop junkies Bob and I were (and to a marginally lesser extent, Mark - he was less 60s orientated than us), Mick knew next-to-nothing about pop history, but girls liked him!

Q Are you interested in any of the current Medway bands?

No, unless Pete Molinari counts. Like him very much. I'm very out of touch (I moved to London last year). I'm friends with Dan from the Long Weekend though I gather they've split up(?) However, I wish all local bands the best of luck.

Q Any favourite Medway venues?

In the olden days? The legendary MIC Club was the best. Good Companions Club, the room above the Crown had a great sound, room above the East End pub, the function room behind the Eagle, the bandstand (!), The Good Intent in Rochester holds particularly good memories for the Dentists.

Q Finally...are there any sites/links/info-pages you'd like us to see?

I write daily for www.popjunkietv.com

You can learn a little more about my novel on www.candyfromadog.co.uk

If you require acupuncture (London-based) www.deborahgreenacupunctur
e.com

www.myspace.com/theearmitageshanks

I'm not much of one for surfing the net, but there's another music-based site which is invariably very funny and well worth a read.
It's called Electric Roulette.

You could add a link for Shindig who I also write for:
http://www.shindig-magazine.com/
Cheers
ian

Monday, 6 July 2009

Dymaxion...Curator's Question Time





The Curator of the Medway Music Museum....that's me actually...Andy Export from the indo-european jazz-punk leather-influenced Unlucky Fried Kitten...has sharpened up his pencil. Today....a hot summery day in early July...2009...I talk with Lee Pattison from the 80's band Dymaxion...previously featured in the Medway Music Museum. So...without further ado...I give you......question time.
*Above Are Some Dymaxion Pictures...Best I Could Get them....Click To Enlarge First one*
Q. Lee…thanks for  dropping in. Can you give us a retrospective
introduction to the Dymaxion band-members….to remind us of the line-up
and
instrumental set-up?
A.It was Me, Brian and Steve, I was responsible for most of the
recording work in the demos at the time doing keyboards , Guitar and
vocals, with Brian Page switching between Bass and Keyboards , Steve
Moral was mainly working in the visual area but also did backing
vocals and helped out with Studio production in recording
sessions.Although guitars were present there was never any effort to
pronounce them in the sound.

Q. How much did you rely on using backing tapes for your live shows?
A. Backing tapes were every bit as important as the songs were written in
the studio, and this let to them all being very different and nearly
impossible to recreate live. These days I would not agree with that
totally but I think its OK, Depeche Mode and many other electronic
bands rely on them whether people realize it or not, All the same you
still need to do your part .ie. vocals etc if the drums or effects
are on tape or computer. The preference comes depending on how fussy
you are with your live show in recreating your sound live or doing a
live version, I believe in both ways these days, but didn't back in
the 80's

Q. I hear that you are the only band member (of Dymaxion) still
playing
music. Is that correct?
A. Well maybe , I havent spoke with Brian in years as we didn t part
on the best of terms, but yes I am still into it all ;

Q. How has your own music evolved?
A. Its hard to say, but I guess the influences have matured some what
and are more diverse and these all affect what you do , but many are
still electronic, Ie Goldfrapp, Depeche John Foxx Bowie etc. its
still very mechanical but I work more with classical formats these
days, ie another influence , John Barry. I think too many people rely
on sequencing in recordings these days so I do as much as I can by
playing it in live on the recordings, after all it more fun and if you
can play it you may as well play it.

Q. Dymaxion was a suitably futuristic-sounding name for a band playing
your style of music. Can you tell us more about the source of the name?
A, That was a name I came across when at college in 82, I was studying
interior design and there was an Architect, philosopher called
Buckminster Fuller who sort of invented the word back in the 1930's or
1940's i think, basically it is short for Dynamic with maximum
efficiency or thats one of its alleged meanings, I just liked that
tongue in cheek slant, however we weren't interested in his work, Its
Ironic though , how an old name can sound futuristic.

Q. Ah..well..with a slight pun on that…given that there was a Dymaxion car...
did you decree that Dymaxion's
striking image was a vehicle for the band’s music? Or was the music a
vehicle for the image?
A, The Image was the vehicle, I think we were trying to be anti
conformists as much as possible in those days , I didnt even want to
sing like a traditional singer.

Q. Who else have you worked with within the Medway music environment?
A, I started out with Stuart from 88 Bam, when we were kids at school,
I remember us both getting our first synths together.

Q. How cute. I believe that you played keyboards for someone on Gary Numan’s
label.
Is that right? How did that come about?
A. I worked with Steve Braun doing keyboards , we did some live things
and lots of recording, A tour was planned as support to Numan but It
all fell apart with the collapse of Gary Numan's label. I still speak
with Steve from time to time.
Q. Gary turned up at one bash you played in London. Can you tell us
more
about what happened?
A. Well at the time it was the best thing that could have happened to
any young lad in a band, After all he was our musical hero I guess, I
expect Gary would have felt the same if Bowie went to see him play.
However it was all arranged by our manager at the time being Peter
Gilbert and he knew him personally .At the end of the evening after
the gig we chatted for an hour with him and I have very fond memories
of that night 24 years ago.

Q. Have you kept up with Numan’s music…with what he’s been doing with
Ade
Fenton etc…or have you migrated to a new musical landscape?
A, Unfortunately I havent followed Garys work closely, Although I have
a rough idea what he's been doing musically;

Q. What recording set-up, if any, do you have now?
A, I have a Studio full of gear, the recording is done in apples logic
and I use also many vintage type keyboards both analogue and digital.

Q. How much of what’s going on in the music scene now do you like?
A.Well, its all OK, Most commercial tracks are written with teenagers
in mind, and other than that Im not over excited but there has been
some great music in the electronic thing from other areas in the
world, ie Mesh (UK), Devision, (Europe), State machine ,(Sweden)
and things like that.

Q. Do you follow any of the Medway music proceedings these days?
A. I have to admit no.

Q. Have you ever been tempted to reform Dymaxion? Ever come close?
A. No it could never happen, But using the name is happening, I'm
working on an album now going out on that name .Its all new stuff but
may plan to pluck out something old and do it up in some form.

Q. For a band that were once “futuristic” isn’t it rather ironic that
you
don’t have any songs or videos on YouTube?
A. Yes I guess it is , we do have some stuff that could go out but
never felt the need to do it, some of it is bad quality from those old
fashioned video cameras that needed 2 suns to light up the room.,
maybe one day if I feel nostalgic or brave I'll do it. some of that
old stuff is best safe in the attic.

Q. Thanks for sharing tea and biscuits and a few memories, Lee. Any
final
links or news or websites that you’d like to chip in with?
A. I have a web site under construction and will keep you informed
later this year on its launch

Ladies and Gentlemen...that was Lee, from Dymaxion


Thursday, 11 June 2009

Phil and Lisa Dillon




The Curator's Question Time is in full swing again.
I am Andy Export...I love to ask the questions.
Today....I find Lisa Dillon and Phil Dillon.
They afforded me the pleasure of talking to them....both of them...for the purpose of finding something about the "world" of photography...in the Medway towns.
On my part...it is a way to talk to people I have known in the Medway scene. I will get back to Phil...regarding his various bands (Drunken Popes,Somersault, Gin and others)
Today I am hearing the thoughts of Lisa and Phil.
Lisa and Phil are unique in that they champion, appreciate and inspire many others. They also give much credence to the people around them...to the point of modesty.
I hope you enjoy their thoughts. I also hope to meet some of the people that Phil and Lisa talk about in this revelatory expression of our dear Medway scene.




Q How did your interest in photography start? At what age?
Lisa: My dad was very into photography when I was a kid. He bought me my
first camera when I was 10. That's long gone now, along with a few others
that I've had along the way. I became less interested as I got older and
didn't own a camera again until I became a mum, just over 10 years ago.
When Phil got into photography, I rediscovered my photo mojo.
Phil: In my thirties, when I could actually afford a camera with a decent
lens in it. I got into the habit of snapping my walk to work every day and
learned about the light at different times of the day and year. Then I
found a bunch of archive shots of Medway online from roughly 1900 to the
present day and set about recreating them. I've got a Chatham Then And
Now<http://www.flickr.com/photos/thepaisleycravat/sets/72157594502164271/>set
on Flickr, some of which were exhibited in 2007.

Q Mixing music and photography with Medway…tell us some of the bands and
solo acts you have captured?
Lisa: I love local music. Traipsing out to London to see big bands can be
a soulless experience sometimes, and all well and good if you've got
tonnes of money to spend. Going to local gigs is a much more realistic
option for most people. The atmosphere is better, the price is definitely
better and, in Medway, we're lucky enough to have loads of fantastic
musicians - more talent per square inch than anywhere else on the planet.
I'm always saying that, but it's true.
Phil: Too many to name them all. One favourite subject is Ben Jones of The
Lovedays <http://www.thelovedays.net>. He's a very expressive performer,
and I never know what he's going to do next. I also like to photograph
Burn Paper Tigers <http://www.myspace.com/burnpapertigers>, because Chris
Austin moves in a very angular and unique way. It goes without saying that
I love both bands' music.

Q Is it easier to work with a solo performer or with a band…for
photo-shoots?
Lisa: I think there are pros and cons with each. Obviously with bands
there can be more conflict if ideas vary too wildly. The ease of a shoot
depends far more on how set in their ideas the musicians are. Some have no
idea where there image should be because they've been focusing on the
music and that can make it hard to decide what kind of photos to take.
Some have very strong ideas which can sometimes inhibit the photographer.
It's swings and roundabouts really. Ultimately, they do the music, I do
the photos. They can tell me how to take photos when they invite me into
the studio to master their sound.
Phil: For bands, the dynamics between the individual members help a lot.
With an individual, the trick is to stop them feeling self-conscious about
being in a location and then, if you can, make them forget you've got a
camera. This is probably a good place to point out that I dislike studio
photography and always shoot on location. At very reasonable rates ;0).

Q Do you get more scope with a band?
Lisa: You can generally do a lot more with a band, and because they can
bounce ideas off each other it tends to be a lot more fun and usually much
more productive.
Phil: Yes. That's what I meant about the dynamics, only Lisa said it better.

Q Live concert shots or photo-shoots? Which do you prefer?
Lisa: Live is great because the music is the soundtrack of your shoot, but
there are obviously limitations with lighting, but that's just an added
challenge. It always amazes me how such hot lights manage to be so
ineffective in illuminating the stage. Photo shoots can be much more
leisurely, but lack the dynamic elements of live music. So I guess I
prefer live. That's not actually the answer I thought I'd give.
Phil: Live. Live. Live.

Q Have you ever seen a picture that one of your local peers has
staged/taken….and thought “Oh…I wish I’d come up with that” ?
Lisa: Not really. I see a lot of photos I love, but they don't tend to be
of things that I normally photograph. One of my favourite local
photographers is Rew Oates <http://www.rewoates.co.uk/>. He has great
ideas. I'm more about the ideas than the technical aspects of photography
so I really appreciate his work.
Phil. Rew is one of my favourites too. I also really like the work of Alex
Turner. He's on Flickr as Monaxle <http://www.flickr.com/photos/monaxle/>.
Check him out.

Q Never work with children and animals. What about punk rockers?
Phil: I've never been asked to do a butter
advert<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mSE-Iy_tFY>,
unfortunately.

Q Who influenced you?
Lisa: Everyone, I guess. I'm inspired by people who are passionate about
what they do. I don't really strive for a style in my photography. When
I'm processing, I tend to do whatever works best for that particular
photo. There are photographers I admire though; Bill
Brandt<http://www.billbrandt.com/>,
for instance. His work has great variety to it, although his subjects were
fairly consistently working-class people. He had soul and humanity and a
huge sense of social responsibility. He was passionate and brilliant - how
people are supposed to be. I also love the documentary photography of
Henri Cartier-Bresson <http://www.henricartierbresson.org/index_en.htm>.
It's real broad stroke stuff, very impressionistic. In real life, Phil
constantly amazes me by being totally brilliant. He has a great eye for
composition and a real knack for reading the light at gigs. It's all very
intuitive for him now, which makes his gig shots the best I've seen.
Phil: Henri Cartier-Bresson, Keith
Morris<http://www.keithmorrisphoto.co.uk/>, Mick Rock
<http://www.mickrock.com/>, Linda
McCartney<http://www.amazon.com/Linda-McCartneys-Sixties-Portrait-Era/dp/0821219596/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1244735642&sr=8-1>,
Eric Hands <http://www.erichands.com/>, Kevin
Cummins<http://www.kevincummins.co.uk/>.
I'm not hugely influenced really.

Q Is there such a thing as “photographer’s block” ?
Lisa: Sometimes I lose my mojo, but that usually happens during editing
and not while I'm actually taking photos.
Phil: No. Mind you, I haven't finished a song in eight years.

Q How much do you use “photoshop” in the final process?
Lisa: I don't use Photoshop at all. It's too technical and I'm more of a
curves person. Details are less important to me than the over all feel of
the image. I use Picnik and Picasa mostly to get the effects I want on my
photos. I think it's important to remember though, that you need to take a
good photo in the first place. No amount of tweaking can bring a fuzzy
photo into focus. Some people try to polish up things that really ought to
be abandoned. I used to do that, but eventually it's something you grow
out of. Phil: What Lisa says. I will often underexpose a shot on purpose,
in low light, in the knowledge that I can tweak it during processing.

Q Any interesting “missed opportunities”? (Changing the film when a
drummer exploded? Leaving the lens cap on whilst snapping Morrissey
munching on a Rodeo Burger?)
Lisa: I've yet to get a good picture of Ben Jones doing one of his jumps.
One night I watched him jump three times, each time checking where his
head came up to on the wall behind him. I waited and waited, then I knew
he was about to jump and my camera was waiting. The bugger leapt a foot
higher. And I cut off his head. I'll catch him one day though.
Phil: I've only really got one picture of Didi
Bergman<http://www.myspace.com/didibergman>that I think really looks like
her, and she says she doesn't recognise
herself in it!. That's not what you asked though. I sometimes miss shots
where the light is too low for the camera to automatically pick out a
focal point. I try to focus manually, and this fails because a) I really
need glasses now and b) cider.

Q Phil, cite three great Lisa photos?
Phil: Red Meat <http://www.flickr.com/photos/sweetfannyadams/2502633227/>
is genius. Slap Alice at Sounds of
'67<http://www.flickr.com/photos/sweetfannyadams/3223572119/>is just
beautiful. Close
Encounters <http://www.flickr.com/photos/sweetfannyadams/2052618645/> is
really well seen.

Q: Lisa, cite three great Phil photos?
Lisa: Punk's Not
Dead<http://www.flickr.com/photos/thepaisleycravat/2732630125/>,
The Lovedays at the
Barge<http://www.flickr.com/photos/thepaisleycravat/2683804652/>and Girl
On A Swing <http://www.flickr.com/photos/thepaisleycravat/2856066593/>.

Q Any memorable accidental successes to share with us?
Lisa: There's this
one<http://www.flickr.com/photos/sweetfannyadams/2310274242/>,
taken from the back of a taxi. I had to post it on Flickr just so I could
give it a terrible pun name.
Phil: Nothing as good as the time my daughter, then a toddler,
accidentally photographed her own hair. We used that for an EP cover.

Q Do you accumulate cameras like a guitarist will often collect guitars?
Lisa: Er, yes. We have lots, most of them old film cameras.
Phil: Yup. Guilty of both, I'm afraid.

Q Any favourite Medway venues for capturing bands in full swing? (past or
present)
Lisa: Most venues have awful lighting, and neither of us are fans of using
flash, but The Barge <http://www.thebargepub.co.uk/
> in Gillingham is
great. It's a proper pub with a lovely atmosphere. That's why we have most
of our gigs there.
Phil: The Barge is Medway's best venue by a mile. Best sound. Best
lighting. We love Tim. The Nag's Head will always have a place in my
heart, and I'm glad they're putting on gigs again, and that Simon Bunyan
looks after all that.

Q Medway Eyes <http://www.medwayeyes.co.uk>? What’s all that about then?
Lisa: It started last October when Phil was offered two exhibitions. He
decided to use one of them for a joint project, and Medway Eyes was born.
We ended up exhibiting 19 photographers, we did all the PR ourselves, and
it remains the most visited exhibition they've had at The Brook. We felt
proud that we'd achieved that without any outside support. We feel that
support and funding for the arts in Medway is repeatedly channelled into
the pockets of just one or two places; where dwell the art elite, leaving
others to fend for themselves. These "others" are often unable to do so. A
disabled group called Art for Life were recently turfed out of their
central premises by the council to make way for one of the elite. What
happens in situations like these is that, even if offered new premises,
many of the group won't go any more, because to them it's just too
different; too much change for them to cope with. So a group that relies
so heavily on art as a means of making sense of the world; as a kind of
therapy or just an exercise in social interaction just ends up missing out
to make way for another career vehicle. Arts funding should be available
to all those who want it, not just a privileged few. Medway Eyes doesn't
want funding. We do everything on our own terms. We're fans of the DIY
punk ethic. It's not about careers. It's not about money. It's about art
and music and giving a fuck about where you come from.
Phil: I'm certainly not going to let anyone tattoo Made In Medway on my
arse and then hang it in the Emperor's New Arts Centre. Let's put it that
way.

Q Have you had good support from some of the people of Medway? Any
opposition?
Lisa: People have been very supportive. The musicians have come up with
the goods every time we've asked them. We've had a good turn-out for every
event so far, and had some great feedback from the public and the venues,
so we must be doing something right. And thanks to all of them, we've even
managed to raise a bit of money for Oxjam. We're working on a project at
the moment called Desolation Row, it's an ongoing thing, involving lots of
creative people. It's a sort of protest about the ill-conceived
regeneration plans for Medway and shows that we all care about our towns;
care enough to do something. We know deep down that it won't change
anything, but none of us are afraid to try, and if you don't make yourself
heard, you can hardly complain if nobody listens. We've had a few
bewildered expressions thrown our way when we've turned down various
collaborations; as though we should be grateful for even the gnarliest
bone, but we haven't had any opposition. Not yet. I suppose if the council
finds out about us, they might bring out the demolition crew to knock us
down. They're good at that.
Phil: We've been fantastically well supported. Just look at the Artists
page on our website. It's astonishing.

Q What are the hardest aspects of photography?
Lisa: That depends on the kind of person you are. The technical aspects of
photography don't interest me much, so although I know the theory, I tend
to ignore it and just go for the feel. I think the technical stuff can be
taught, but if you don't have an eye for composition, you're basically
fucked. There are some that do put a lot of emphasis on 'mastering' the
camera, technically I mean, and would totally disregard my views about
needing to have a good eye. I say man made the machine, he should expect
to master it. A camera cannot be subjective, that's where the eye comes
in. Photography is a human endeavour, not a scientific one.
Phil: There's quite an art to being unobtrusive at gigs, finding places to
stand without being in the audience's way for more than a minute or two at
a time. I try not to invade the performers' space, too. I will only use
flash if I absolutely have to.

Q Do you see a social value in photography?
Lisa: Absolutely. Taking photos is a way of reminding the world that you
were here; that you lived and you saw. It makes us real, even after we're
gone. Looking at old photos gives us a sense of nostalgia and security. It
makes the past solid, which seems to give us hope that the future will be
too. Documentary photography really does it for me so I think photography
has enormous social value.
Phil: Which is why you shouldn't naturally assume that the photographer in
the street is a terrorist, even if he's got a beard.

Q Name three famous rock pictures that made you go “Wow”?
Lisa: We're kind of known for our music photography but it's only a part
of what we do. I don't tend to look at other people's music photos and get
wowed, although I do think Phil's are excellent. I'm more likely to be
impressed by something I don't do myself. One of my favourite photos is
Nick Ut's "Vietnam Napalm" - the image of the naked little girl running
away from a napalm attack, a very famous photo. It's terrifyingly potent,
and makes me cry every time. I'm not sure I'd have the guts to take
something like that. My instinct would be to pick that girl up and run,
run, run. Yet, without photos like that, the world could never know of the
horrors people have to suffer for the misfortune of being born in the
wrong place at the wrong time. That knowledge is very humbling.
Phil: It's not usually music photos that grab me, but to give you a
straight answer: Pennie Smith's photo of Paul Simenon on London
Calling<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_Calling>,
Annie Liebowitz' photo of Pete Townshend with a buggered
hand<http://www.rollingstone.com/artists/thewho/articles/story/6478110/behind_the_cover_pete_townshend>,
and Alex's down-the-barrel shot of Lupen
Crook<http://www.flickr.com/photos/monaxle/3235936797/>
.

Q Shooting from the hip? Any good results?
Lisa: Haha. That's always a bit hit-and-miss. The
Fisheye<http://www.flickr.com/photos/sweetfannyadams/sets/72157619107552673/>is
good for that though. It doesn't have a proper viewfinder so you have to
guess.
Phil: Sometimes. You get better at it the more you try it. It's a
technique you should practice on a digital camera before you try it on
film, of course. Here's
one<http://www.flickr.com/photos/thepaisleycravat/2497241877/> .

Q If you could be invisible for one day…with your camera…where would you
go? (distance no object)
Lisa: Easy. And entirely predictable. Harry Potter film set. *whispers*
And dressing rooms.
Phil: The past. I'd like to see Hendrix at the Marquee, or hang about in
The Grapes in Mathew Street, Liverpool. Maybe Blondie at CBGB's in the
late Seventies. Of course, I wouldn't need to be invisible if I had some
sharp togs and a nice Leicaflex <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leicaflex>.

Q One piece of good photography advice please?
Lisa: Work on your composition. Try to forget that cropping tools exist -
they're bad for you. Frame your shot properly. If composition isn't your
strong point, take a little frame out with you, the kind artists use to
frame a view and just fanny about with it. Sure, you'll look like a pleb,
but you'll take better pictures.
Phil: Learn how your camera works before calling yourself a photographer.
And don't limit yourself to one style. That's two pieces!

Friday, 22 May 2009

CURATOR'S QUESTION TIME - BOB COLLINS





Before I go on with the show I would like to point out that I snagged these pics from Bob's MySpace page. If anyone objects to me using any of these pics let me know.
1. is of Bob and his wonderful £10 guitar
2. is a shot of Bob at CBGB's in 1991
3. is Bob in full flight shot by Sweet Fanny Adams who's magnificent work can be found on flickr.com
4. is Bob in rehearsals for The Dentists in 1985
Thanks to all for the pics.

So....the Medway Music Museum is proud to present the interior of the mind of Bob Collins.
Andy Export Questions...Bob Collins Answers

Q. Bob…to start with the basics…at what age did you first pick up a guitar?
A. Age 15 and I started with a bass because I thought that must be easier - fewer strings obviously.

Q. Which bands made you want to play?
A. Everything good that was around in 79/80. The Jam, The Clash, Joy Division, the Bunnymen are the ones that spring to mind first.

Q. It’s clear that the guitar is a passion for you but what else enthuses you in life?
A. Football, Cycling, Maps, Films, History, Politics

Q. How do you feel about the fact that there is now low-cost recording technology available…has this affected the craft of song writing?
A. The availability of low cost recording technology has got to be a good thing. If nothing else it has hopefully punctured the myth that you have to spend tens of thousands in a posh studio to be credible. Having said that it doesn't matter how sophisticated or primitive your technology is, you still have to know how to use it right. I really don't know if it's affected the way people write songs. Never thought of it that way.

Q. A producer once said that you were one of the best 3 guitarists he worked with. Can you throw light upon that one, please?
A. The producer was Mike Hedges and I wasn't there when he said it so it's second hand, but I think he said that Gary Moore was the best, followed by me, Bernard Butler and John KcKeogh as equal second. That made me very chuffed because I admire those two chaps immensely. On the other hand he may have been pissed and talking out of his arse :)

Q. So…what are you doing now?
A. As far as music goes I do what I can in between working for a living and raising a family. I've just started to perform as a solo artist. I've got a huge backlog of half written (and some complete written) songs that I've never used. And I'm still writing new ones. I've always thought I must do something with them but have not got off my arse and done so until now. I don't have a master plan and I'm very happy to keep it low key but I'm still thinking about whether I want to do something radical like make an album!

Q. Out of anyone/any band in the music scene at present…who would you crave to work with?
A. Tough one. I don't really crave to work with anyone particularly. I want my own way too much!

Q. What have been your favourite and least favourite venues?
A. Least favourite. The one that sprang to mind was this place called Bottoms in Folkestone, which was so very aptly named! A dank sweaty cellar at the arse end of everywhere! Favourite? From the Dentists days the basement of the Hammersmith Clarendon was our home from home in the 80s. Always a fantastic gig. The majority of other London venues were pretty dire.

Q. How do you compare being in a band to being a solo performer?
A. There are lots of plus points about being solo. Write and arrange songs exactly how you want them. No arguments about who drives the van, no humping of gear, no arguing over set lists etc etc. On the other hand you're very exposed and 'out there'. It's very weird to promote yourself as a solo artist. You're effectively saying "come and pay money to watch me sing and play" which is very different from just saying "come and see my band". You have to think "what makes me so special, what do i do up here to justify myself? what is my 'act'?". Not sure I know the answer to that yet :) I also enjoy the fact that I'm stretching myself. My comfort zone is playing guitar in a band and contributing some tunes. But singing and being a performer is something I have to work much harder at.

Q. Do you think it is difficult for the independent record companies and publishers to establish themselves in the music business today?
A. I honestly don't know. I'm way out of touch with the music business. And quite happily so. It certainly shouldn't be difficult. The internet still hasn't revolutionised the music business anywhere near as much as it should have done by now.

Q. The Dentists’ first single “Strawberries Are Growing In My Garden” was named runner-up single of the week in Smash Hits magazine. Any other low points?
A. I think the guy that did the singles that week (William Hurt) wanted to make it No 1 single of the week but the editor wouldn't allow that accolade to go to an unknown unsigned band. God I can't remember what it was that pipped us, but I do remember that it was also the same week as Raspberry Beret by Prince came out and he said we pissed all over it (not the exact words).

Q. How do you look back on the American adventure? (2 Albums…many live shows)
A. With great affection. Fantastic memories, fantastic adventure. Met lots of good people and good friends. I absolutely loved New York City especially. And we discovered that we had fans over there that had been waiting 5 years for us to play to them. That was quite astounding. Also I found the whole music scene over there so far far healthier than it was back home. That goes for bands, venues, press etc. etc.

Q. When Eastwest and The Dentists parted ways…was this a major sway on your decision to leave the band?
A. Yes, in that it was at that point that I knew we'd peaked and that it would be downhill from then on. If it was ever going to happen for us big time then that was our moment, and it passed.

Q. What do you think about being a big part of the Medway Music Scene for so many years?
A. Well it's been a good thing to be part of. But I don't really feel like I've played a big part other than just turn up and play. In the early days of The Dentists Mark was the one who had all the energy to make things happen and to put gigs on and start a label etc. The rest of us were pretty passive. It's only in the last 3 years that I've actually promoted things and made any effort to do anything other than my own music.

Q. Any big local influences?
A. When we were first starting out The Milkshakes and The Prisoners were massive massive influences, not so much musically but for the instilling of the Medway mentality. First because of the raw energy that they put into their performances, and secondly their whole attitude to equipment and recording. Stuff like recording drums to sound live, using valve amps, which was anathema to most people in the 80s but now widely accepted.

Q. When a stranger asks “What kind of music do you play?”…what do you say?
A. I make a face like I'm trying to get a pineapple out of my bottom and say "er..... i don't know..... kind of... indie guitar rock" then go and wash my mouth out.

Q. What’s your ringtone?
A.The one that sounds most like a 'proper' phone.

Q. Are you resigned to staying solo now (nothing wrong with that) or is there a chance that we could see Bob Collins in a 4 or 5 piece rock band again?
A. I'll never say never. I really enjoyed playing with Groovy Uncle last year. Gary Robertson is talking about us doing something together and there's constant chatter about reunion gigs for other bands I've been in.

Q. How can fans-to-be gain access to your music? Any web-sites, pages, links etc that you can share with us? (you-tube, MySpace, Medway happenings etc)
A. My solo stuff is on www.myspace.com/thebobtapes

Q. Is the national music scene as exciting as it once was?
A. No idea. I think these things go in cycles, you have periods where things are shaken up a bit and then get a bit stale. There are certainly a hell of a lot of popular bands at the moment who are very dull, derivative and with very little character or originality. Honourable exceptions School of Language/Field Music, British Sea Power, Comet Gain.

Q. Any last comments?
A. It's 1.10am and I'm going to bed.

The Medway Music museum would like to thank Bob for the chance to use him as a guinea-pig. Please feel free to leave comments about the "interview"

Curator's Question Time


The Medway Music Museum will be introducing a few new features....the first of which will be Curator's Question Time. In Curator's Question Time...the Curator (Andy Export) will be asking Questions....er...at a certain Time. That's why we have called it Curator's Question Time. Clever stuff, huh.
We aim to find out what some of the people and bands in the Medway Music Museum are up to now. Find out the favourite colours of some of our local artistes. Absorb yourself into the intricacies of our subjects minds. Maybe one of them is a serial killer now? Who knows...one may even have a scholarship to Sandhurst?
The question sessions will not be limited to those featured in the Museum...and will not always be tied to the past. The Curator will interview current acts too...and this will not compromise the purpose of the Museum...as it will be conducted in the Gardener's Hut at the back..near The Duck Pond. (with capitals because we have imaginatively named it The Duck Pond...got it's own sign and everything...but no ducks...working on that one)
So...please have a look.
Our first victim....I mean...subject....is the very ineffable (God...I wish I knew what that word meant) and charming...Mister Bob Collins. See next post...ThankYou
The Curator

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

88 BAM



I'll be putting some of the cuttings for this lot on soon. Here's a few old pics to keep you going. Stop that sniggering at the back of the museum ;)

A Little Message From Meeeeeeeeeeeee


I've had some interesting letters from some nice people...concerning the MedMusMus...including some updated news from Lee Pattison from Dymaxion...who tells me that he's the only band-member still active in the music scene. I'm asking Lee to forward me some more detail as he said he has some more info including some magazine articles from around the time he played in front of Gary Numan himself. I'm looking forward to that and I shall no doubt be sniffing out some of Lee's up-to-date material.
Lee also gave me some more info on the John's Best Girl and Better Than Sex bands...reminding me that they were totally seperate bands...one fronted by Garrick and the other by Stuart....which OMG...leads me onto a band called 88 Bam...who are also linked. Incestuous Medway, eh? I'll be up-dating soon.

An 80's follower of Medway Music....named Jane Price...has also commended the worth of 88 Bam to me with a particularly eloquent letter regarding the 80's Medway Scene. I do have some 88 Bam cuttings...so I'll give them a page...starting with two very "of the time" photographs that Jane has sent to me.

So...keep sending those bits and bobs in...and let's unravel some mysteries...and find out what some of these bands and acts are doing now.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Dean Hammond



Dean was always a lot of fun. I don't know where he is now or what he's up to....so give him a nod if you see him.

Many apologies for the quality of the cutting. This is in a book I rescued fromthe shed....a very spooky place for old cuttings to resides.

If anyone knows any songs about old sheds...please get in touch ;)
I'M ONLY JOKING !!!!

Godfish



Here's an interesting little piece I dragged up on The Godfish. I'll need to find out more about them but the Andy in question in the headline...though bizarrley not in the picture...is our fine musician, Andy White. I'm going to find out if there are any old Godfish recordings about....wish me luck.
Whilst I wait for my net to fill with scraps of Godfish...I'll leave you with this thought. Fish is supposed to be brain food, yeah? People tend to eat it a lot on a Friday...agreed? So why do they do the most stupid things over the weekend? Answers on a coastguard.........