Wednesday, June 06, 2007

plink plonk pink punk

Pussycat Trash - Plink Plonk Pink Punk

For a period in 1993 every record I bought came in a plastic sleeve and contained a home made insert covered with kisses and punk rock invective. I just picked up this old record by Pussycat Trash, and read the following inside:

"untamed is my aim. difficult to understand, YOU BET. slippery out of the grasping hand heroines of heart-swoonability proud to be HER shape swimming in underground caverns. hipswing because it's fun not cool unashamed NAKEDITY not apologising hearts brimming unafraid understand is not needed. girl because i am. ARE YOU STILL SITTING ON THE FENCE?"

When I was about the same age I had a band called Merge, with my friends Dan, Dean and Lee. We were pretty awful, probably, but we did two or three pub gigs around North London and played very amateurish indie rock which came across kind of like a cross between Nirvana, Huggy Bear and Suede (who I was secrety enamoured with, despite the fact that Huggy Bear has been offered a contract with Nude Records and had said yes on the condition that the label drop Suede simultaneously). We thought we were punk, but I think I wore a leather jacket onstage at one of our gigs, for which I eternally ashamed.

At the time I thought that the talent gap between ourselves and the likes of Pussycat Trash was unbridgeable. They had proper records out! They filled their 7" single inlays with electric proclamations. "There will be a constant source of agitation and violent unrest until this issue is addressed", they pointed out. They had the confidence to call themselves a freeform jazz-punk beat combo. We weren't on that level in any sense.

Actually, looking back, the difference wasn't really so great. They must have been five years older than us, and they probably knew about six more chords than we did - not so very many. They doubtless didn't have to go to school all day and probably rehearsed more than once every two weeks. I wonder if, if we had been more diligent and self-confident, we couldn't have got a record out too. On balance, perhaps I should be glad that we didn't, because I can't now bring myself to read back the punk rock rhetoric which I wrote at the time to go on the inside of our demo, so the thought of other people doing so fills me with horror. That said, I wonder if anyone still has those tapes! I suppose a few people will. What a strange thought.

So, the Pussycat Trash single. It's good. Frankly, I still love any record with bombastic riot grrrl rhetoric scrawled inside it, good or bad. But it is really good, slow sugar sweet melodies tied to bits of feedback and grungy noise, with a spare, amaterish sheen.

According the world wide web, Pussycat Trash got a lot heavier subsequently and actually went on to be quite popular in the DIY indie scene, and it's funny that I completely lost track of them after this release. I'm glad I rediscovered it though.


Anonymous said...

i love the way you have to respect a record, that you have to delicately set down the needle and to protect them from scratches. by extension you respect the music more? because it is not a mobile format, that it cant be played on the move. that you sit down to listen to them. cds are placed with a clatter, and with a push of a button withdraw from view into an ugly black box. a record is played on full view, and that you can see it play seems to give it something more.

x y y z z z x y y

jonathan said...

Hello Ant!

Yeah, it's a much more physical and satisfying process; there's an action in the room when a record plays - almost like music is being made, not just played back. I like the interaction too, setting down the needle, switching the speed, having to turn it over. And we lost a lot by losing the idea that records had two sides. I hate CDs.

Anonymous said...

and i love the little photocopied bits of paper you get inside the sleeve listing the labels other releases. its like being given a secret list. only for a small number of people. personal. everything feels closer and more intimate.

z z z x x y y z n n y

jonathan said...

Often inserts are more beautiful and interesting than covers - someone could do a nice blog collecting together photos of the more interesting ones.

Or is that the worst idea ever?

Anonymous said...

i think then you would lose the context. perhaps theyre not necessarily interesting or beautiful in their own right but become so only because they are part of something. to look at them through a computer monitor ... i dont know, seems a bit cold and seperate. they'd look lonely!
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