i watched Later with Jools Holland a couple of months ago for the first time in ages. i’d been purposely avoiding the show for ages (it always felt to me that this was the show you watched when you entered the phase of life where you stopped going to gigs and started staying in as it was comfier). i tuned in after i heard the continuity announcer say that Gillian Welch and björk were on the show. i bloody love both of them and i was two glasses of (pretty cheap) red wine into the evening.
björk was amazing. so amazing that i felt that i had to dust off this chronic old blog and add to it (and, yes, I just found this in my drafts folder having cleverly forgotten to post it at the time).
now, it’s in no way newsworthy that björk is amazing. björk has been consistently amazing for a long time now. in fact, i just realised that björk has been making new, challenging and truly fecking great music for all of my adult life.
i vividly remember the first time that i heard björk’s voice. it was on a saturday morning sometime in late 1987 on The Chart Show . they were running down the top ten in the indie chart (back in the days when charts made sense and actually seemed to matter a bit) and they played Birthday.
i had never heard anything quite like it before.
i ‘d be 17 then. idiotic, badly dressed, long-haired and skinny. voraciously consuming music (and lager when i could get it). that night i remember going out drinking in Dumfries ( the nearest halfway decent sized town to where I grew up) with a bunch of my mates, drinking the three lagers it took to get us absolutely shedded and us all walking down the road doing impressions of this crazy Icelandic girl we had all watched on telly that morning.
24 short years later and i’m back in front of the telly again, looking at the same crazy Icelandic girl (who this time looks like she’s been suspended upside down in a candyfloss maker).
and she’s still brilliant.
not only that, but she’s still difficult. and tricksy. and it’s that that is wonderful.
i’ve seen björk a few times over the years. i saw the Sugarcubes in 1988 at the Fife Aid Festival at Craigtoun Country Park. a weird festival (possibly the brainchild of David Bellamy) that made little sense on paper and even less when you actually got there. old punks (Captain Sensible), old hippies (Julie Felix), dodgy Scottish bands (Runrig) and my favourite band of the time (Marillion, yes, I know, please feel free to mock) headlining. and the Sugarcubes on in the middle of the Saturday afternoon.
The Sugarcubes played a great set of proper craziness and left the audience of sluggish Fifers bemused / amused. I’ve always had a soft spot for bands with a cute female singer and a mad male shouting person (Prolapse anyone?) but the combination of björk and Einar Örn Benediktsson for me was a formidable one. There was no going back now, I loved them.
The Sugarcubes didn’t last though. Nothing that crazy ever does.
but björk was only getting started. and 24 YEARS LATER she’s still going. and she’s still difficult and challenging and abrasive and annoying and frustrating.
and an inspiration to old duffers like me.
*runs off and starts making / writing / recording stuff*