Falling Leaves: the Ardes blog

Archives filed under "Music"

Manchester Punk

Ray Drainville

Frank Owen has written a wonderful personal account chronicling the violent emergence of Manchester’s punk scene in the 1970s. A mixture of reminiscence, social history, chronicle & photo essay, it’s a gripping read about a febrile moment in musical history.

The Manchester scene exploded after a handful of now-legendary performances by the Sex Pistols, with sometimes 20 or fewer attendees. But those attending the shows went on to become members of Joy Division, the Buzzcocks, the Fall & included even bloody Morrissey from the Smiths (who was already cultivating his young fogey persona).

As a transplanted American, I have a doubtless skewed take on British punk, skewed still further by my own personal tastes. Most Americans will think of British punks as the blokes with the multi-coloured, spiked hair you’d see strolling around London back in the day. Not me: Manchester was the place, partly because my musical interests lean more towards post-punk, and Manchester was instrumental (ha ha) in its development. Intellectual & arty in a way that London punk was not, Manchester punk held greater appeal.

I still recall when I first moved here & a colleague of my wife’s was talking about Manchester. I remarked to the man (a young fogey himself) “Ah, what a legendary music scene”, to which he responded “Mmm, yes, the Hallé Orchestra”. How can you reply to that?


Ray Drainville

There’s an interesting phenomenon on t’Internet of taking songs & rendering them in 8-bit games console styles. It’s an interesting mix of nostalgia of taking the entertainment d’un certain âge & combining them in an unexpected way. Below we have a version of the Talking Heads’ “This Must Be the Place”:

Another example is this version of the Smiths’ “This Charming Man”, which they charmingly call “Super Morrissey Brothers”

Favourite Songs

Ray Drainville

Tom Waits’ “Altar Boy”, a minor classic that the artist deems an “orphan bastard”. How glorious:

Guitar picks

Ray Drainville

I started learning the guitar a few months after my son did. Whilst I enjoy it thoroughly, I’m not nearly as good as he is. But I’ve been raising the boy right, and it’s clear that he would greatly benefit from the use of Star Trek guitar picks: