130mm x 180mm, 140pp, perfect bound, hand stamped cover, includes a risograph printed bookmark, open edition, 2019.
New project from our own Matthew Walkerdine: The Grass is Green in the Fields for You. A small press publisher investigating the unsung corners of music culture, its participants and subculture fandom. Releases shun exaggerated self-opinion instead favouring collaboration, community and conversation.
In the early 1980's, in the small town of Rugby in the centre of England, three teenagers began melding early blues with feedback, one-chord drones, booming drums, smashing cymbals, gospel, Turkish Saz and two-note melodies. Natty Brooker, Pete Kember and Jason Pierce were Spacemen 3. On 3 August, 1985, they played a gig in the backroom of the Black Lion pub on St. Giles Street in the nearby town of Northampton. All these years laters, it is still the best gig I’ve ever seen. It is also the gig that led directly to the band’s first-ever recording deal.
As a teenager growing up in Rugby in the '80s I saw Spacemen 3 play in many pub backrooms. They were, and remain, an incredible band and over the years, their reputation has spread far beyond those sticky floored, fag ash filled, grubby backrooms. Sometime in the early part of the 21st century, in a house in the south of France, I rediscovered a shoebox filled with photos, posters, tickets, flyers and cassettes from the mid-'80s and I tipped the lot out onto the floor. In among the ephemera were the photographs and cassette recording from that gig on 3 August 1985, the earliest Spacemen 3 gig for which there was a recording and photographs. And I wondered: where were all the people who were at the gig that night? And did they remember it too?
This is a really beautiful little book that captures the ephemeral magic of attending gigs as a youngster. Holliday looks back to his childhood in Northampton and particularly a scene that swirled around the hype of the brilliant cult band Spacemen 3, members of whom went onto form Spiritualized. At a time when musicians are struggling and venues are closed, this is an essential read to remind yourself why there’s no substitute for live music.