The Engflsh beat

The Band of I IolyJoy‘sJohny Brown may be one of the more articulate lyricists in new British music. but his conversation is peppered with the phrase ‘blah blah blah‘. perhaps as a kind ofshorthand meaning ‘Iill in the Usual journalistic phrase‘.

‘()bviously. there's a bit of anlishness in us. but it's English beat music. as in James. The Smiths or‘l‘he Kinks. or [)exy ‘s Midnight Runners. and of course. with the accordions. we‘ve got a great love of French chansons a Jacques Brel. Piaf. blah blah blah. so there's a bit of that there. And we‘re very aware ofwhat‘s happening in Europe. having travelled round for the last five years. we‘ve got friends in Italy. France blah blah blah. y"know. European literature. as opposed to


'l‘hings settle down a bit when we go further afield to the USSR. where the band. . . blah blah blah . ..

‘I think they were quite impressed.

the cream ofsociety out there. all the middle- aged mums and dads had bought tickets. 1 think fully expecting ’l‘he Beatles. But Moscow was wild. All the hippies and punks down the front. rolling joints and what have you.‘

They were dumped by the Moscow promoters - ‘cowboys. on the hustle. y‘know‘ btit there‘s talk ofthem going back. The Lithuanian promoters met with their approval. and the bands stay there ended on a sad note. the tanks rolling in the night they left.

‘I don‘t think I'm a very good writer.‘ he concludes. before ringing

maybe American literature blah blah

ln Archangel it was weird because all




. Any first-time opera-goer uncertain of where to begin could do a lot worse

. than be broken in with Scottish Opera’s

- new production of ‘Salome'. It's short

for a start- only one-and-three-quarter hours-it's a Iamiliarstmy and, best of

all, it has a superb score, given full iustice by John Mauceri and the Scottish Opera Orchestra. Andre

- Engel‘s production is a bit difficult to

V place, but Herod’s uncomfortable cigarette as Salome performs her dance of the seven veils, and the odd assortment of costumes, would suggest some time this century. The set. however, is Moorish in its dark browns and intricate lattice work. The pseudo-temple sounds at the beginning were out of place and ditiicultto lathom. Likewise. the

.billows of dry ice were an

1* unneccessary gimmick to herald John

: the Baptist. the orchestra capable of providing all the atmosphere necessary. Salome is a role which

\x“ ‘1

Cynthia Makris has sung several times, maybe explaining hervery meticulous pacing, letting Salome grow as the opera unlolded. Her dance was subtle, reminiscent of the first photographs of Princess Di showing her legs through a thin skirt. The cast is an excellent one vocally, Greer Grimsley a strong John the Baptist and Eduardo Alvares and Elizabeth Vaughan as Herod and Herodias doing much to bring out the ugly sexual relationships of the opera. But perhaps more striking than the production itself is the confirmation that not only in 1990, but permanently, Scotland has a valuable international asset on its own doorstep. If Glasgow 1990 was to do nothing else, it would have done well to bring this point home. (Carol Main). Salome is atthe Theatre Royal, Glasgow on Fri 11, Thurs 24 and Tue 29, and the Playhouse Theatre. Edinburgh on 28 June.

Toby Mangle has left Ramsay Street. Iraq, apparently, has enough parts to build a ‘supergun'. Trying to ‘vogue' like Madonna often results in groin strain. to these times of despair. unease and pain, people need a

elevate them to a place on high where the sun always shines and personal ' hygiene problems are a thing of the

Agutter pres

'2 I]

saviour- someone or something to lift them out of the depths of bad vibes, and


fashionable to be a scally then. We‘re not part of that scene.‘ Indeed not. ‘Reunion Wilderness' was Wigan‘s finest sons' debut mini-album on Factory, and established their mark as purveyors of pure and perfect pop heroism. Sensitive boys with sensible haircuts, the bediellows of The Smiths and Aztec Camera, but somehow better. If music is sex, The Railway Children are the ultimate passion, but without the damp bits.

Three years on, after an near-classic album on Virgin, ‘Recurrence‘, the imminent ‘Native Place‘ is the band's Third Coming. In the meantime. here’s ‘Music Stop’. a single full of chart-bound promise. ‘There’s not so much janeg guitars on the new stuff, it‘s harder sounding,‘ avers Newby. ‘I think it‘s a progression on all counts. It's a different direction.’

But still The Railway Children's brilliant cornerstones are there: honey-rich vocals, tunes to change the world. and massed ranks of flowing



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off. "l'here‘s too much bollocks . past. Come on down, The Railway guitars. ‘People say guitars have gone ::¥6:m::fl°§fo"‘g" there. too much bullshit. Maybe in a ' Children. out, but people will always go back to July. wmem Bunk" ' few years .‘ (Alastair M :lhhtill ) i ‘We used to do a lot of gigs early on l them - 60$,psychedelia.12.strings. Konémel. 7 July.

_ y y with Happy Mondays.’ says There‘s only three good sounds you can . someone" GEORGE “W 30ml 0/ I W." IMP/‘1." (I! I he a too-handsome-ior-his-own-good- get outoia guitaranyway.’ (Craig SOOARETHEATRE Venue. Edinburgh. on Fri 4 and on (he git vocalist and chief engineer Gary McLean) MDZSIKGS & "am

their mm a! King 'l’ur‘s H'uh with I In: 5 New)”. ‘When “Reunion wademess" The Railway Children play King Tut‘s Sebestyen. 2 June (call 031 «m Sm 5. l Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow on Mon 14. “759°3'°"°""‘l-

came out they were nothing. It wasn't I

54 lhel.ist~1 I7 Mav 1990