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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Saturday, September 21, 2002
    Wire blog
    I enjoy The Wire dropping onto my doormat, monthly. It's not that I'm in any way an expert in new and experimental music; not even that I really like a great deal of the artists featured as I can't take too much uneasy listening, though maybe I can take more than the average Atomic Kitten fan.

    But I like the 'otherness' of the music world which The Wire opens up. It's refreshingly non-mainstream. I find it takes me interesting places, like Probe and Piccadilly and, when in London, Rough Trade. It introduces me to interesting people, like Jimmy Carl Black, who with Eugene Chadbourne is The Jack and Jim Show and who posted me from his home in Germany a copy of their live show Reflections and Experiences of Jimmy Hendrix, a very original take on some Hendrix classics (using a lot of banjo), including Zappa's Hey Punk.

    (Soon I shall be emailing Chunky Records to order my copy of Gimme Dat Harp Boy, an album of classic blues etc which 'influenced' Captain Beefheart).

    And following the hints and tips of The Wire means I have in my collection stuff which (I keep telling myself) will one day be useful for sessions of 'experimental worship'. The classic in this genre is Every Tone a Testimony - An African American Aural History, a fantastic collection of spoken word and music, speeches, poems, performances, by historically renowned African American musicians, writers, and activists.ÊIt's a rich resource, enjoyable and deeply moving.

    In this vein my next purchase is The Fire This Time which "utilises narration, samples and contemporary music to deconstruct the Gulf War and illustrates the devastating effects of sanctions on Iraq. Featuring exclusive tracks from Aphex Twin and Orbital among others..."

    And another one a bit like that which I already own is Random_Inc's Jerusalem: Tales outside the Framework of Orthodoxy, a kind of history-by-electronic-sound of that most complicated city. I was fascinated by it but Linda, who is by no means an average Atomic Kitten fan, and whose judgement I ought to trust, she having been in that city with Christian Aid recently, said it was just a noise to her. That's the world of The Wire for you.