…154 was always my favourite! I remember when I was in dire financial straits selling it to some lucky pushy bastard for a mere £1.50 (I didn’t mean to – it was actually in my pile of must not sell under any circumstances records, but it was 8.30 on a Saturday morning, I did need that money and, anyway, somehow at that young ‘n impressionable age the name of Wire never slipped easy off my tongue like the Buzzcocks! The Slits! the way it should have done.
It wasn’t until several months later when I’d forked out the full amount for it all over again that the yearning gaping hole left by its absence was finally filled once more. I had Outdoor Miner (oh! So sublime! So soaring, twisting, captivating beautiful!) to tide me over (what, no white vinyl? How ridiculous!!), but still…
I never listened to Peel either, so it wasn’t until the summer of ’84 I finally heard I Am The Fly in a car on the way up to Scotland and was instantly bowled over. “What’s this?! What’s this!?”I kept screaming – my companion looked flabbergasted. “You mean you don’t know…I AM THE FLY I AM THE FLY!” Awegasmic, absolute, extreme! Yeah!
…and 1-2-X-U (who’ll ever forget…?) and Lowdown (you’re telling me!) Dot Dash! Map Reference 41°N 93°W!!! (Oh oh oh give it to me one more time kids, give it to me one more time)…Mannequin! – all sublime, all intoxicating. All in the class of perfect perfect perfect pop. Open touching bittersweet uplifting intelligent poignant wondrously crafted bewitching perfect pop.
Please please please don’t make the mistake I nearly did…remember, Wire!! Wire!!!! Buy this record (it’s not meant as a comprehensive guide – you want comprehension? Get back to school! – more as a guide for comprehending) and forever treasure its moments close to your heart.
(sleeve notes to PINKY 7 Wire Play Pop)
… in my lowest, most wounded moments, I’m almost convinced that Everett True, or Jerry Thackray, or whoever, is a flat-out genius, and this might say more about me than it does about him. And in those same moments, I feel like Simon Reynolds is an opportunistic hack, and that says very little about Reynolds and a great deal about me. On most days lately I feel like I’m living on this weird precipice with elation on one side and annihilation on the other. Most days I feel isolated and lost. The Electrical Storm speaks to these parts of me; it makes me feel less alone. And a marketplace, to say nothing of a criticism, that deems Reynolds’ book essential and True’s book superfluous, is one that believes value is something that can only be measured in money.
Shock and Awe is, by any objective measure, a good book. It’s informative and entertaining. It is, to quote NPR, a great read. But The Electrical Storm is special. It’s as wise and moving a meditation on persona and personhood—the story of a man who served as both Dr. Frankenstein and the monster—as I’ve read in a long time. It’s as raw and broken, as filled with errors both narrative and grammatical, as life itself. And it deserves to make Jerry Thackray more famous than his alter-ego ever was.
Please buy the book: Grunge, My Part in its Downfall