About John’s query re: July 23rd 1994

John’s wondering just what we were doing that day, in relation to my comment below.

My answer: Uuuuuhh, I’m thinking Arbor Low I or II, but that could’ve been a coupla years earlier, thinkng about it…

This probably sounds desperately obscure to everyone else — let’s just say they were big “do’s” put on by the northern mob of a key group within industrial culture, at Arbor Low, which is an ace Derbyshire stone circle, not far from Sheffield. Some archaeologists call it “the Stonehenge of the North”. It’s a massive big weird place with huge recumbent (lying down) stones. I’ve visited a fair few times.

It just seems to me that getting the review on July 23rd, dawn of the dog days, with a lot of other interesting signifiers happening at the same time, might have some kind of resonance with celebration of the Sirius current. Some kind of pay off. It would be kind of appropriate. With the new baby coming soon — three weeks! — it’s likely that this is the last phase of musical activity for me for a while. Maybe ever. This could be the circle closing.

And more on Coil…

Simon’s judgement from waaaaaaay back : “Jon, awesome, on Coil.” As I said yesterday, Jon’s piece was the biz. Plus of course Martin’s breathtaking post. Having been, as I said in the Industrial Culture piece, a big time teenage Coil fan, it’s gratifying to find people saying exactly what I would say about the “band” (albeit filtered through their personal experience — which is exactly the way it should be). Kinda like blogging by remote control — other people do the writing! Interesting that a lot of this material is about records that came out after I’d shifted my attention elsewhere — i.e. after Love’s Secret Domain. Shit, I’ve got the limited edition of 55 copies hardboard-enclosed gold leaf version of Gold Is The Metal With The Broadest Shoulders — much sacrifice made to get that at the time — so a lot of the later stuff just didn’t have my name on it. Anyway, to take up some of Simon’s interesting points:

Like a lot more specific artifacts by them, without actually ever feeling like I’m a Coil fan. To be a fan, you need to love the “what they’re about”.
Ferreal. As I just implied, I feel like a Coil fan (FOREVER!) even while not liking a lot of their artefacts.

The Coil “what they’re about” is too bound up with esotericism. It’s geared around the select few; initiates.
Ahem. This is probably a big reason why it always had such appealfor me! The music was kinda secondary. Being into Coil was a cultural affiliation. The subject matter, the iconography, the style, were equally as important as what the music actually sounded like. Course that never stopped me skipping tracks or passing on releases cos I thought they were shit. More to the point, 99% of industrial records ever released were shit (like every genre — except for ragga jungle and 2 step UKG, maybe). Rightly or wrongly, I never bought a Current 93 record, despite their unique place in the firmament of industrial, and my liking of folk music. Never appealed to me. Heaven Street was OK, I guess, but I could never quite picture Current 93 getting down and dirty wth Sherwood on the knobs, and lets face it, if that’s not the ultimate criteria for appreciation of any record, what is?

Also, it’s so fucking content-heavy and concept-laden. The classic industrial hallmark where it’s almost like there’s a reading list attached to the record.

🙂 love it mate! Actually, industral can get badly indigestible if it wears its influences on its sleeve too obviously. “Not yet another record that’s got cut-ups, white noise and preachers on it!” Compare and contrast with Tackhead’s Mind at the End of the Tether. But I have to giggle at Simon’s remark about reading lists attached to records. I can remember responding very differently to records or tape depending on what was on their reading list (yes it did happen). And I have to assume he hasn’t seen the original vinyl cover of Coil’s Scatology. It’s entirely comprised of excerpts from key texts that relate to each track, like a sleeve of footnotes in an academic text — but kinda funky with it.

The intriguing question for me is why a group who came so close to the heart of visionary madness in rave culture, then veered away from it and … join in the whole darkside speedfreak moment… They should have joined the Reinforced crew!

I guess one issue to bear in mind here is how early they were into that whole scene. The story as I understand it (and no, this isn’t verbatim from Geoff or Sleazy) is that one of the first scenes where E was popular in the UK was in the gay party scene in the mid 70s, and I believe Sleazy at least was exposed to it then. I suspect Coil were some way ahead in the arc of their consumption of Reinforced et al… I could be wrong though.

In fact the logical thing for them do (if they had any interest in propagating ideas beyond a cult audience, that is) would have been to start their own pirate radio station (shades of the whole Psychic TV fantasy of counter-media).
LOL! Yes. I have to say that some of the greatest, most blistering acid DJ sets I ever head was at PTV shows in 90/91.