I first heard Nick Parker’s ‘Down With The Yoof’ on Fresh On The Net’s Listening Post. Most weekends, I really enjoy taking a listen to the 25 or so new tracks that appear on there and voting for my five favourites. It’s a great way to discover new, upcoming acts.
Sometimes, bands that I’ve voted for will get in touch with me by E-mail, thanking me for the support I’ve shown or kind words I’ve written. Nick Parker did just that and offered to send me his forthcoming CD, Besta Venya. I’d enjoyed the humorous story-telling in ‘Down With The Yoof’ so much, a tale of a Dad trying to remain cool and failing badly as he traipses around charity shops in pursuit of that double denim look, that I jumped at the opportunity.
The CD promptly arrived – and with it came Nick’s brief biography. I was drawn to one line in it.
“Glastonbury based Nick Parker started gigging in his early teens playing mandolin and singing in folk/rock/skiffle band ‘Why?’, and spent the next 10 years bouncing around on stages at hundreds of venues and festivals around the UK and Europe.”
So Nick had once been a member of Why?. Why could I remember their name? What was it about the band Why? that rang my bells?
(Click onto page 2 as my brain becomes less addled)
Regular readers of Sonic Breakfast will know that i’m a sucker for tunes that invoke memories. It’s all the better when they focus upon loss in a romantic, reminiscent, sort of way.
Regular readers of Sonic Breakfast will also know that I open posts with the words ‘regular readers of Sonic Breakfast’ when I can think of no other way to start a piece. But’s that’s irrelevant right now.
A couple of days ago, I was sent the video to a new track by The Van Susans. It came my way via one of the best PR people I know. Julia at EvansAbove takes time to get to know the sort of stuff I’m likely to appreciate and, as a result, I’ll always open mail that she sends even when there is inevitably a backlog elsewhere.
This Van Susans track, Seagulls, is no exception to the general strike rate. After last year’s escapades in Brighton for The Great Escape festival (review here), I’ve grown quite partial to the place. And so, any video that features shots, old and new, of the town and the beach is great in my book. In this pretty emotive video, an urn containing ashes is carried around the town as memories of the past are drawn upon; happier times of childhood and adolescence extracted from a collection of old home movies. As the track builds, we realise that the ashes are about to be released to their final resting place – thrown into the sea in cathartic conclusion.
Loss is inevitably distressing. The way it’s dealt with can also be uplifting. Forgive The Van Susans that the vocal delivery in this powerful track veers a little too close to Frank Turner for comfort (I jest – I hear he’s quite popular) and allow yourself to get carried away in the windswept woe of it all. You’ll be all the happier for it.