Blast From The Past – 12/Jul/2011

This Is Serious, Mum

When I was eight, I was given this album for a present.

It’s a Russian dude by the name of Leonid Kogan playing Tchaikovsky’s famous Opus 35 Violin Concerto in D. I randomly came across the page in Amazon the other week, and it set my mind racing, at first wondering if I still owned that LP – I did! – and whether I could get a CD of it. To the best of my knowledge, I think this performance is now re-packaged in this CD here.

It arrived today, and I skipped the piano concerto bit and went straight to the violin concerto, and sure enough it was the recording I thought it was. They even had the photo from the LP in the inner liner notes.

I’m not big on romantic period composers, but this record is an exception because of my own sentimental attachment. I don’t know much about Leonid Kogan except that he played a violin that was strung with steel strings right across, and that his technique has been likened to ‘heavy metal of violinists’, which I think it means, he had prodigious technique which he liked to flaunt. Certainly a fresh listen to this recording revealed that he had exquisite tone out of his 1729 violin, and played with amazing gusto. I have a Izthak Perlman version somewhere which is also played aggressively, but Kogan in this version supplies plenty of pyrotechnics. I don’t know how important a recording it is in the annals of classical recording buffs – I imagine it doesn’t rate that highly, but having revisited it after all these years, I’m very happy I managed to track it down.

Anti Everything, Don’t You Mean?

The other album I want to share with you today is this one, ‘We Are The League’ by the Anti-Nowhere League.

I was introduced to  recordings by the Anti-Nowhere League by a girl who was really into obscure crazy punk bands from the UK. It was white-bread milk-and-cookies rebellion, but it was rebellion all the same. Even back in the day it was obvious Punk was pretty silly in parts, and the Anti-Nowhere League certainly inhabited the silliest areas of Punk. Mind you, make no mistake, these guys were superlative bad-taste punk players. Their records are brimming with dissident energy and anti-social rants.

I always liked their song ‘So What’ because it lyrically echoed King Crimson’s ‘I Talk To The Wind’ while the actual sound was more or less Sex Pistols on ‘roid rage.

Well I’ve been to Hastings
And I’ve been to Brighton
I’ve been to Eastbourne too
So what, so what

Well I’ve been here
And I’ve been there
And I’ve been every fucking where
So what, so what

So what, so what you boring little cunt
Well who cares, who cares what you do
Who cares, who cares about you
You, you, you

Well I’ve sucked sweets
And I’ve sucked rock
And I’ve even sucked an old man’s cock
So what, so what

Well I’ve fucked a sheep
And I’ve fucked a goat
I’ve had my cock right down its throat
So what, so what
So what, so what you boring little cunt
Well who cares, who cares what you do
Who cares, who cares about you
You, you, you, you

Well I’ve drunk that
And I’ve drunk this
And I’ve spewed up on a pint of piss
So what, so what

And I’ve had scag
I’ve had speed
I’ve jacked up until I bleed
So what, so what
So what, so what you boring little cunt
Well who cares, who cares what you do
Who cares, who cares about you
You, you, you, you

Well I’ve had crabs
And I’ve had lice
And I’ve had the pox and that ain’t nice
So what, so what

Well I’ve fucked this
And I’ve fucked that
And I’ve even fucked a schoolgirl’s crack
So what, so what
So what, so what you boring little cunt
Who cares, who cares about you
Who cares, who cares about you
You, you, you, you….

I mean, how can you turn away from such honest, forthright, brutally frank, ugly sentiments? For years I would snigger through listening to Miles Davis’ track ‘So What’ off ‘Kind of Blue’ because the title reminded me of this song.

It took me a long while to track down this album too, but in the end I relied on Amazon’s third party seller to send me this number. I cherish it like I cherish my other CD by the Anti-Nowhere League, ‘Kings & Queens of Rock’n’Roll’.

Look, I’m probably the only guy to recommend both Leonid Kogan and the Anti-Nowhere League in the same entry, but that doesn’t mean I’m completely without taste.

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Filed under Classical Music, Pop, Rock

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