Thursday, October 02, 2008

Howe Do Squire?

I've been on my sickbed and been listening to The Ultimate Yes. Prog Man would be proud of me.

It's a great primer for a great band. Except, of course, for the deeply shit Trevor Horn/Trevor Rabin stuff.

Can anybody tell me why Trevor Horn is so lauded?

You probably know by now my historical association with Yes. My teenage years were dominated by them. I formed school friendships on the basis that those spotty boffins were fans of the band. I wonder how many of those old chums supported Yes through the 80s?

Then came a new wave of pub rock. Graham Parker and The Rumour, Dire Straits, Elvis Costello, Any Trouble. These were my new kings. Skinny white men with balding pates. Yes were consigned to the back burner until...

A few years ago I saw Prog Man wearing a Yes t-shirt. All those teenage yearnings for complicated guitar work and nonsensical lyrics came flooding back. I fell back in love with Jon Anderson's Lancastrian eunuch burr, Steve Howe's flights of fancy, and Chris Squire's liquid bass.

Yes were the soundtrack to my teenage years. Everybody's got one band or artist. Who were yours? Were there others at your school with similar tastes? Did you bond with them? Or were you an individual, piping up for your own personal Be Bop Deluxe or Al Stewart? And how do you feel about them now? Did you go off them or have you stayed true to the cause?


  1. A friend bonded with me because of our mutual love of Frank Zappa as well as his desire to get into my knickers.

    He never did get to first base but we became great friends.

    I've stayed true to the cause long after FZ's death.

    I'll refrain from quoting him here which is usually what my next step would be.

  2. It was a bit difficult to bond with anyone over Ronnie Aldrich and the Squadronnaires, but I still carry a lone candle for the Ray Ellington Quartet. I fell deeply in love over Haydn's 'The Seasons', however.

    Sorry about the sickbed. Weekend coming up. Things usually clear up magically.

  3. Trevor Horn is lauded for "Video killed the Radio Star". We can't rewind, Geoff, we've gone too far!

    Funnily enough, I was a big fan of Al Stewart (and John Martyn) in the London Folky scene in the late 60's. Bedsitter Images in Maze Hill. Wandering around in an Afghan Coat with a guitar case under my arm never feels the same these days, and I get followed by the Special Branch.

  4. Blues - John Mayall style - I never got into prog stuff (concentration span problems).

    Eric Clapton was a passion for a long time until the "Enoch Was Right" speech.
    Why do they have to spoil things?

    All my friendships were based on this until I met the jazz fan :(

  5. I'm with Murph. 'Video...' is a stonking platter. Add The Lexicon of Love, the Frankie singles, some bits of The Art of Noise, Belle & Seb.

    But he does have a penchant for foolish spectacles.

  6. MJ - If you'd been at my school you'd have been on your own. Maybe you could have bonded with the one Queen fan or the one AC/DC fan or the one Jam fan? No, I don't think so. You were officially too cool for school. Though I know you love Yes and would have been part of our gang. You don't mind all boys, do you?

    Christopher - At least there was a chance of meeting girls if you were a fan of big bands. With the bands I went to see there was absolutely no way. I refused to go to the school discos so I couldn't fall in love to Le Freak, either. I'm out of bed now and storming the office, thank you.

    Murph - John Martyn was someone I'd wish I'd discovered in the 70s. I loved Year Of The Cat at the time but have hated cats ever since. You don't see many Afghan coats and guitar cases these days. More head cases than guitar cases.

    Kaz - I would say you'd need more concentration to listen to Blues. It's a more cerebral and pure form of music than prog. Prog's just ridiculous. I think Eric Clapton's on the George Harrison jams on All Things Must Pass. That's what I kept saying to myself listening to the jams. From Slowhand to Jazz Hands, eh?

    Tim - It's all a bit stuck in the 80s, like Max Headroom. It seemed okay at the time because everything else was so shit. I didn't know he produced Belle & Sebastian. I know very little about them.

  7. Most of my friends in high school were boys.

    You and I would have bonded over YES.

    You would have introduced me to proper football.

    I would have dissed all your girlfriends until you found Betty.

    Instead we meet many years later over a mutual Coronation Street addiction.

  8. You wouldn't have dissed all my girlfriends, you would have kept saying "Isn't it about time you got yourself a girlfriend? I despair at you, Geoff, I really do!"

    You have to be over 65 or an "individual" to like Corrie where we live. It's all EastEnders, innit?

  9. Anonymous7:22 PM

    I was into the Beatles when all my peers were getting into the Damned and the Pistols. I met my best school friend because he hated punk/new wave, too. He decided to distinguish himself from me by getting into the Stones. I was glass he bought all the Brian Jones Stones records, because it meant I got to hear them and realise I hated them.

    I bonded later with my best university friend because we (a) both owned the same Fender acoustic guitar and (b) both liked the Beatles, Velvet Underground etc.

    Never did get into Prog, though I did once go to a Hawkwind gig. I also heard a lot of Prog on Radio Caroline Personal Top 30s, though some of the swirliness was lost in the swirliness of late night AM radio signals.

  10. There weren't any fans of any of the Beatles, the Stones or punk (except for one Jam fan) at our school. The kids were very blinkered and took their own narrow paths, ignoring the 60s and new music. A few of us did get to see the Only Ones as they were "real" music. There were a few George Clinton fans but then they also liked Spyro Gyra.

  11. I've come down with your Man Flu.

    Will spend today catching up on missed episodes in a Coronation Street marathon.

  12. Who would win if the actors in Corrie ran a marathon?

    My money's on Marcus (though he's just left in the UK).