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Time to upload some Poly stuff methinks...Just wanted to mention it was sad news to hear of Gregory Isaacs and Ari Up both passing in the last few days; hope they’re jamming at the great gig in the sky. I was fortunate to have seen them play and always enjoyed their music and still do!
Gregory was way past his “Cool Ruler” days, and it seems , like so many reggae artists then, as now, succumbed to more than just lickin’ a spliff ;combined with a hard and tough life that seems to be the Jamaicans’ lot, the life expectancy there for many artists is “limited”, for want of a better word. I.ve always loved that music but have never wanted to go unless I could do the romantically notioned idea of doing the “Grand Tour” of all the legendary studios. I know people who have. Gone to get dub plates made and wadded up with U.S dollars while well known artists hustle to get in a studio and get paid.......never got the idea of reggae music been a stoner, sitting on a beach ,peace and luv sort of a thing. It’s not it. Anyway Gregory in “Rockers”: Universal Tribulation, The Border, Front Door, the beautiful “Cool Down the Pace” (on a 10”...only time I ever heard the dub come before the vocal),and countless others: respect due.....
There’s not too many bands from the punk era days I’ve opted to see ; usually think a good memory is the best memory. I did go and see The Slits again though about two years ago. I only saw them once, about 1980 with Don Lett’s Soundsystem as the support, and still one of the most enjoyable and memorable gigs I’ve ever been to. It was the only time I ever jumped up on a stage (along with about 50 others! ) and tried to sing/shout down the mike to “Heard it Through the Grapevine”....ace. Afterwards we tried to get backstage ( which we often did just to see if we could; for the craic more than for the bands); and some dread guy with the group telling us basically to piss off.....”Rastaman not a circus!”.....fair enough....
What I remember about the band this time, was not so much the music (which , of course was a joy and so inimitably theirs) ,but the warmth coming from the stage between those old friends. Ari , as well as being more than slightly left of left field, was a natural story teller and probably spent half the gig just having conversations with members of the audience and members of the band (under normal circumstances a very annoying thing), but I don’t think they’d actually played together for many years....She was also naturally very funny; just laughing at and with her.....mad, mad mare.....
What particularly struck me was the amount of young girls in the crowd who were so into it and even seemed to know the words to a lot of the songs. In these days of Britney and whoever else, it was good to see girls looking for a good, strong roll model of which there could be few better. Funny thing about a lot of those old punk gigs, despite all its “ruff, testosterone” portrayal , even though there were a lot of women in bands: Siouxsie, Pauline Murray,Nina Hagen, Lesley Woods, Modettes and so on ;you’d rarely hear that old chestnut “get yer tits out....” etc; the height of heckling wit in the '70s. Besides it going down like a lead balloon ,The Slits had already done it on their first album cover anyway! Great band, great singer; one of a kind. Another good ‘un missed and gone.For "Fade Away", Chaka's "Some Love" and all the other sweet melo-days...God bless ya Ari!
Aaaanyway back to the Poly (Cavendish, Art College; call it what you will); a veritable home from home; spent a goodly portion of me yoof there, no doubt hearing the above and many more on the dancefloor....
Artefact added : 27th October 2010
by dubwise-er
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