Louder Than Words festival, day 2

10:30am – I arrive in Manchester, the city that saved music (although that title is often attributed to Seattle). This is the home of Joy Division, The Stone Roses, The Charlatans, Oasis, The Smiths, The Chameleons and New Order, to name the obvious. I am stoked to say the least.
11:00am – My fellow student Abi and I have a social media debriefing with our handy, Internet-savvy guide, Alex. He gives us a tour of The Principal, the impressively ornate hotel the convention is taking place in, which seems far bigger than it actually is. Luckily for us, (mostly) everything is happening on just two floors.
11:15am – Abi and I begin laying out LDN mags neatly (no more than three at a time) on various tables dotted around the complex. The minimal tactic works, as we quickly notice copies left opened having been browsed. Abi takes the reins of the magazine’s Twitter, posting enticing updates to whet the appetites of would-be journalists, music fans and industry insiders alike.
11:30am – I watch Mr. Everett True preach about his book Ed Sheeran Is Shit. Refer to my flattering review on this site for further information.
12:15pm – John Robb (music writer, icon, Membranes frontman) talks with opinionated photographer Kevin Cummins about Morrissey. The session begins with a 10-minute video on the controversial frontman, with spoken poetry accompanying delightful photographs of him on a slideshow. The narrator fades out and is replaced with ambient music, which fits in an almost ironic way to the borderline sarcastic images of Steven Morrissey’s shit-eating grin. Cummins talks about bands finding their photographical selves. He’s snapped them all, especially Joy Division – he’s the mastermind behind the iconic snapshot of the group on a snowy Manchester bridge. The session comes to an end in the form of an amusing anecdote about The Fall frontman Mark E. Smith, following a question by an audience member. The story is of a time when Cummins walks into a pub to find Smith talking to a local hardman, who has asked Smith if he’s in a band, to which the singer responds, “I might be.” The conversation appears to go south, with the unknown man asking “Would I have heard of you?”, followed by “What’s your band called?”. Smith replies, “The fucking Beatles.” Fair enough, mate.
1:15pm – Abi and I break for lunch. We eat at McDonalds – something that Mr. True does too, occasionally. I notice dozens of metal fans – evidenced by the multitude of Death, Ingested, Slayer and Lamb Of God T-shirts – and I wonder why they’re all here. Are Slayer playing in Manchester tonight or something? I saw them last Saturday in Wembley, so it wouldn’t be too far-fetch’d to assume they came up here too. EDIT: Slayer played
2:15pm – The highlight of the weekend, at least according to panelists/combatants Daryl Easlea and Simon Philo. Easlea (Prog) and Philo (Glam) fight for their respective genres in three-minute short burst rounds via justificated rambling which is based on, but not limited to, the following aspects: personalities, legacy, artwork, live performance. Philo is irked that Easlea keeps referring to a gatefold LP which unveils a pop-up badger to sway the audience. Glam ends up winning by a single vote, but Easlea’s homemade, ‘gold’, ‘prog’ cape is still a sight to behold nonetheless.
3:30pm – Mr. True once again speaks snippets of literature to anyone who will listen in the book room, only this time it’s from his biographic The Electrical Storm. I read it all yesterday, so I am delighted to hear the same stories causing a few gasps and laughs from the audience when I already know what’s coming. I feel like I’m in on it that way. True tells about a show in Camden’s Underworld in 1991 that saw dozens of punters donning “Fuck Everett True” T-shirts, as well as being stuck in Seattle during that fateful period in 1994. He even tells of the time his wife turned into Courtney Love – not to mention the sense of a pure personification of evil that came with it.
4:15pm – Jeannette Lee and Geoff Travis tell all about growing up, Malcolm McLaren & Vivienne Westwood’s infamous shop, Sex, as well as the founding of Rough Trade Records. Travis talks about listening to pirate radio stations quietly in his bed to avoid his parents hearing him, stating that the whooshing sound of the radio trying to find a signal not only stuck with him but also is what inspired Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine to incorporate a similar effect on the danceable ‘Soon’, the final track on the band’s magnum opus, Loveless. Lee reveals the dance clubs she used to frequent in her heyday, and how women used to get into venues even after hesitation from bouncers. She tells the audience how herself and Travis have worked together for over 30 years – that’s nine more than I’ve been alive for.
5:15pm“Out of my brain on the five fifteen.” While I’m not catching a train (nor trying to seriously utilise The Who’s lyrics in a coincidentally-timed entry), I do feel out of my brain, to an extent. I’ve been up since 6:00 am and I know I won’t be leaving here til midnight. I grab a Red Bull – one of the big ones – from a Sainsbury’s round the corner. I get ID’d at the self-checkout. Since when was concentrated caffeine and sugar such a danger to youths that a fucking robot has to ID anyone buying it?
5:45pm – Chris Salewicz shares excerpts of his book Jimmy Page: The Definitive Biography, with those loitering in the book room. The writer is brief, but it’s all white Rolls-Royces and rock’n’roll from here on out. He also reveals that he was present when Robert Plant first uttered those magic words during a rehearsal, “There’s a lady who’s sure all that glitters is gold, and she’s buying a stairway to heaven”.
6:10pm – I jump on the Louder Than Words social media accounts. To be honest, I have no idea what I’m doing. I use my initiative though and type a few tweets, as well as an Instagram post and story. Can’t say that I’m a social network guru just yet, though.
6:15pm – David Stubbs tells Martin James all about his book Mars by 1980. His book sheds light on the history of electronic music. Stubbs covers Daft Punk, authenticity, cheesiness, Kraftwerk, and the post-Space age. I ask him at the end where he stands on synthpop’s influence on industrial. I mention that Ministry started in 1983 with their largely enjoyable (yet now loathed by frontman Al Jourgensen) debut, With Sympathy, a jolly and bouncy pop album with fake English accents to boot, yet ended up as an industrial metal band in 1990. I also namecheck Depeche Mode and how they were already utilising ‘industrial’ sounds on their brilliant 1984 album Some Great Reward. I finish by finally getting to the point; “The common link between bands like Nine Inch Nails, Fear Factory, Ministry and the like is Gary Numan. Do you agree, or would you suggest somebody else was the main, influencing factor?” Fortunately, he agrees.
7:30pm – I continue writing notes for this report. I secretly pray nobody else begins reading their book out loud in the book room – not because it isn’t interesting to hear stories, mind you – but because I keep trying to write and instead get distracted by anecdotes on Keith Richards or John Bonham or whoever.
8:15pm – I sit down in the largest room, the Director’s Suite (not very punk rock, is it?) to watch a film: Punk & The Pistols. I like the Sex Pistols, but I don’t like that I’m learning about Malcolm McLaren’s interest in nude photographs of 10-year-old boys smoking cigarettes, leading him to having the aforementioned subject printed on hundreds of T-shirts, and how this all somehow led to the band’s name. To quote Steve Jones’ insult to TV personality Bill Grundy: What a dirty fucking rotter. The film is intriguing and largely informative, but I think I’ve heard ‘Anarchy In The UK’ enough times now to last a lifetime.
10:00pm – I retreat to the bar to meet Abi and True. I go to video the liveliness of the venue for my girlfriend, but accidentally camera flash the guy waiting behind me right in the eyes instead. Shit. He takes it well though, and asks me not to sell his photographs to The Daily Mail, or The Sun. Point duly noted.

One Comment Add yours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s