Tuesday, November 23, 2010


As I was in the kitchen, shuffling around getting cups and the teapot and milk and maybe some hobnobs to go with them, Lady Gaga came on the radio. It struck me that I quite liked the record. And I thought 'that's strange,' because modern music generally it makes me feel grumpy, bad tempered, and, worst of all, old. So  I wondered why I liked this music by Lady Gaga. Then it struck me. It was just disco music. These Lady Gaga records are just disco records. They wouldn't have sounded out of place at any disco in 1979.
So that's probably why I liked it. I always rather liked disco music. Not that I have ever been a great habitué of discos, you will not be surprised to hear.  But at the very end of the seventies and the start of the eighties I did used to go to Heaven, which was (and still is, I think) a large gay disco near Charing Cross.
As far as I remember, London didn't have any late night clubs at that time. Now there are late night clubs everywhere but back then the only places that opened late were small private clubs. So when this very large disco opened in the centre of town, it was quite something. Earlier than this I remember going to a gay bar in Brixton because it was the only place open late. Then when Heaven opened I'd sometimes go there because it was the only place open after midnight.
I trust I'm not being offensive here. Is there anything offensive about the image of the young Millar invading gay discos merely because he needed somewhere to get a pint of lager at two in the morning? Hmm. Possibly. But it's not like I indulged in any oppressive heterosexual behaviour while I was there. Like for instance trying to pick up any of the pretty young women who, for some reason, always also made up a small proportion of the clientele. Well actually I did go home with a really attractive woman I met at Heaven one night. But I didn't make a big thing about it. Maybe I bragged about it a little.
Anyway, I heard a lot of disco music at Heaven, and I always liked it. I can remember listening with interest to drum machines, and various electronic beats, which appeared in disco music before crossing over into more mainstream music. I certainly heard interesting electronics in discos before they appeared in these crappy eighties electro pop records.
I particularly remember Donna Summer's I Feel Love, though actually you didn't have to go to a disco to hear that as it was a massive hit and you used to hear it everywhere. In those days there were a lot of small record shops and outside in the street you could hear the music they were playing. I have an idea that close to where I lived there was one small record shop which constantly played the Sex Pistols' Pretty Vacant, and another playing Donna Summers' I feel Love. Though it's possible I've just invented that memory. Hmm. No, on reflection, I think that did really happen.
Anyway, Lady Gaga's music would not have sounded out of place at Heaven in 1980, it would just have sounded like another disco record, which I suppose is why I like her now.  

Saturday, November 13, 2010

High Winds, Werewolf Playlist

There have been high winds here recently, and after several dangerous trips to the shops I count myself fortunate to have escaped serious injury. Not only is there the ever-present danger of a tile being blown off a roof and landing on my head, there's the terrifying prospect of scaffolding collapsing. In this part of South London there always seems to be scaffolding around some old building and I'm nervous of it. And when I say nervous I mean I'm scared of it and cross the road to avoid it. I have a morbid fear of being buried under a pile of scaffolding. It's just so dangerous, all these heavy metal poles up there above you. There should be some safe modern version, like maybe scaffolding made of bouncy castle material.

I do have some reason to be nervous of winds, dating from my childhood. In 1968 there was a bad hurricane in Glasgow. I can still remember waking up in the middle of the night wondering what on earth was happening, as the winds roared around the house, and slates flew off roofs. It was so loud. I got up, and found the rest of the family also awake. We all sat downstairs rather nervously through the night, waiting for it to pass.

It happened as a complete surprise, without any warning. Hurricanes are not at all common in Scotland. By world standards, it probably wasn't that severe a hurricane, but there were people killed in the storm. So perhaps my great dislike of strong winds come from that.

In-between coping with this dangerous weather, I completed an interview for Largehearted Boy, comprising a playlist for Curse of The Wolf Girl, which you can find here. I like this playlist.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Outside View

Outside View

In March 1977 the punk band Eater released their first single, Outside View, which I bought, and still have. Last week I bought a t-shirt featuring a picture of the cover. I felt obliged to do this.

Why was I obliged to buy this t-shirt, you may ask? Well, oddly, there was an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer where Oz was wearing a t-shirt with this picture on it. I was very surprised at the time. I wouldn't have thought anyone in Hollywood would even have known what the picture was. Eater were quite a well known punk band in Britain for a short while around 1977 but I don't think their first single ever achieved global recognition.

But there it was, in Buffy. Ever since then I've had the vague feeling that if there had been a t-shirt in Buffy featuring a punk single I owned, then I really ought to have that t-shirt too. So I have a pleasant sense of completion having now bought this, from a 'Camdens Burning t-shirts' on Ebay.

I still listen to this single, though on itunes now rather than vinyl. It strikes me that after thirty years or so, I still can't make out all the lyrics. Some of them have defeated my best efforts at interpretation. Though generally I'm quite bad at understanding lyrics, and liable to comic misunderstandings. Here is the song on youtube, and here is my version of the lyrics. If anyone can fill in the gaps, I'd be pleased.

A Saturday night in the street
looking through the plate glass windows
outside view

There's a television standing on the floor (?)
??????????? ????????? ???????? ?????
?????????? no more (?)

I wanna come in cos I've got the blues
All that I am stuck with is this outside view

Oh! I'm running about (?)
Got my feet on the ground
??????? ????????? ?????????

Nothing to give (?) and nothing to gain

A cop comes along and says what's your name
(?) Said I am a girl and my name is Germaine (??!!!!)

He says you'd better come along I want (?) a word (?) with you
I will stay out here with my outside view

Oh! I'm running about (?)
Oh! Got my feet on the ground

Oh! ??????? ????????? ?????????
Nothing to give (?) and nothing to gain