What a fantastic idea.
“BBC4, can we please get Goth Britannia made?” is a Facebook campaign – a year old this week – imploring the beautiful BBC to make “Goth Britannia”:
We’ve had Soul Britannia, Prog Britannia and Synth Britannia and others, but surely there is a snakebite & black sized gap in the schedules for the daddy of ’em all… GOTH BRITANNIA.
Excellent news… especially for the seemingly hundreds of people interested in getting hold of high quality versions of the Cure’s early BBC Radio One sessions (for John Peel and Kid Jensen).
The Cure early BBC sessions bootleg (reviewed here) has some pretty good versions of many of the early sessions, but the BBC website currently has the Cure’s John Peel session from January 1981 in all it’s digital purity – a real treat. I have no idea how long this is going to be around for.
ARCHAEOLOGISTS have located what they believe is the fabulous tomb of the late John Peel.
The giant vault, located underneath the BBC’s Maida Vale studios, is said to be crammed with sumptuous music-related ephemera, including jade masks of the Bhundu Boys and Ushabti figures depicting all 324 members of The Fall.
Workers have yet to excavate the entire area, but already the haul includes an ivory-handled vinyl brush depicting Dawn of the Replicants, a gold amulet in the shape of King Crimson, a solid silver Liverpool FC shirt, and spectacular wall paintings of Autechre, Kanda Bongo Man, and Half Man Half Biscuit.
Archaeologist Dr Helen Archer, who discovered the tomb entrance under a pile of unlistenable demos recorded on C90 cassette tapes, said: “This is a hugely significant find.
Back in April I posted this review of a Cure BBC sessions double bootleg, and I am pleased to say that here is our very first guest blogger on Gods & Alcoves, so please welcome Simon’s review of the very same Peel-fest – thanks Simon!
For some time now many Cure fans been wishing that the BBC would bring The Cure into line with so many other great bands of the post-punk era and release the unavailable archives of their BBC Radio session recordings. There have been online rumours that such a release was being curated – and with so much material on tape it would likely be something along the lines of the Banshees at the BBC which was very extensive and featured both Radio 1 sessions and concerts. The Banshees fans were also well served by the Nocturne DVD release, which include a fantastic pair of A Kiss in the Dreamhouse songs (Melt & Painted Bird) performed on the BBC’s Old Grey Whistle test in 1983. Ironically both of those featured Robert Smith on guitar. The Cure’s first Peel session was released on Strange Fruit way back in the day but there is so much more unique material gathering dust somewhere on a BBC shelf – here is an exhaustive list of everything recorded for the BBC (and elsewhere).
The BBC radio archives are an absolute treasure trove for goth, alternative and post-punk, (among many other genres) – especially from the seventies and eighties. Recording professionally in those days was expensive and bands did not enjoy the freedom of running a full recording studio in a laptop, so any high quality recordings from this period are to be treasured.
And of course John Peel along with David “Kid” Jensen and Richard Skinner provided many, many “sessions”. Bands recorded and mixed quickly and mainly live, and the result is raw, stripped down versions of tracks, often exposing their inner workings. Many bands would experiment with material in early formats – often entirely different song structures or lyrics.
Because out there the snipers work the ridges,
Building bombs and blowing bridges,
Out there on a darkened road,
The lines are dead and the cars explode.
But in here, there’s nothing but the good things.
This track – Good Things, by the Sisters of Mercy – is the very fabric of goth itself. Black fabric, of course. Fuck knows what Eldritch is trying to say here (if anything at all, but it checks all the necessary post-industrial, post-apocalyptic, death/gloom/despair, military boxes necessary for any archetypal goth epic), but man, this is my kind of song.
If you like the Sisters, you probably know the Alice EP intimately. It was recorded before Wayne Hussey joined, and the sound was spikier, more angular, more urgent. Good Things was never released officially, although it did appear in their debut 1982 Peel session, and this, for many reasons, is the best version. The Sisters’ Radio One sessions (Peel and Kid Jensen) have never been released officially, but this session was re-broadcast by Radio 6 via DAB (digital radio) and was sucked up by the vast internet MP3 Hoover.
I came across the “BBC Music Showcase” website today, which is an archive for BBC recordings. It lists which recordings are available to listen to currently, e.g. here’s a list of their current rock & indie selection.
The link I found was a Siouxsie and the Banshees John Peel session for the BBC, broadcast 10th February 1981 – and it’s a cracker.
The tracks are from the Juju period (Juju was released in June 1981), but the third track is a Creatures track taken from their first (double 7 inch single EP) release “Wild Things” although it seems that the Banshees used to play this track out as well.