Gone but not forgotten

Jingle Jangle Mourning

There’s a great writer you may already be aware of and read and enjoy. If not, you must remedy that forthwith. Adam Turner blogs regularly at Bagging Area, a blog that’s been an internet sensation almost as long as Plain Or Pan. While the world twitches impatiently and slowly loses the ability to focus on something for longer than 3 seconds at a time, us elder statesmen and women of blogging (and there are a few of us scattered out there) fly the flag for words and a more genteel pace of online engagement. Adam’s blog contains the odd bit of crossover with the music that features here, but mainly Bagging Area is steeped in electronic music, new releases and remixes and things that bang and beat. There’s rarely a week goes by when I don’t find myself investigating further an artist that I’d previously been unaware of. Pay his blog a visit. Even if the music is not for you, I think you’d like it.

In the past 18 months, Adam has taken the brave – and clearly cathartic – decision to write about his son Isaac. In November 2021, Isaac lost his life due to complications brought on by Covid and Adam writes clearly and honestly about a life now steeped in grief; the anger, the rage, the black hole of helplessness, the sudden unexpected triggers of a Facebook memory or unanticipated postal delivery that brings it all to the fore again. Isaac’s death is an all-consuming thing, an ever-present in he and his family’s life – of course it is – and when Adam writes about his son, his words are nothing less than spectacular. Anyone who’s a parent will feel every nuance in the turns of phrase and dignity with which Adam writes, words that I’m not sure Adam would’ve thought himself capable of conjuring up a couple of years ago while writing enthusiastically about an Andrew Weatherall remix or another ACR Manchester show. I mean that as a compliment. Writing about frivolous stuff is one thing. Emoting plainly and matter-of-factly over the big stuff is quite another. Adam’s writing is unmissable.

I’ve written not long ago about musical triggers; songs or lyrics or riffs that set off immediate Proustian rushes and have me scampering back to a time, place and people that made me who I am today. True Faith and Mark, Baker Street and my dad, Age of Consent and Derek. Not long after I’d read Adam’s latest blog, I was foutering about the house, REM‘s Reckoning album playing just that bit too loudly as I busied myself with the bins and the washing and what have ye. Don’t Go Back To Rockville started playing and, man, stone me if another one of those memories didn’t gatecrash my evening. As Peter Buck leans into his Rickenbacker, it’s suddenly and quite unexpectedly 1991 and Derek Reid and myself are in Grant’s dad’s living room. We’re in the process of putting together what will be the definitive line-up of Sunday Drivers, the greatest band that never was, and Derek and myself are sussing one another out, aiming for common ground and a base upon which to build our (cough) twin axe attack. He’s showing me the chords to Rockville and as we fall into it together, Grant stands disgusted behind Derek’s Jazz Chorus amp and scowls at us. He says nothing though, not even when Derek pulls off the flashy riff after the chorus – and as it plays tonight, I’m seeing Derek – goofy grin, Marti Pellow hair, ‘what d’ye think a that?‘ look on his face as it flies from his lovely yellowing Telecaster. It’s one of the songs that was played as the room filled up for his funeral and I saw him then too.

REMDon’t Go Back to Rockville

Right,” says Grant as we run out of steam. “Jist tae be clear – ah’m no’ singin’ in a fuckin’ country-rockin’ jingly jangly band, right? Yous can stop that pish right noo.”

We stopped that pish right there and then, found our fuzz pedals and the rest was(n’t) history.

I don’t go looking for musical triggers, but when they creep up on you and slap you clean on the face, it’s strangely comforting and somewhat brilliant.

Now, go and visit Adam at Bagging Area.