The Ron Kane Files

Writing About Music

Friday, February 20, 2009

Magazine


2-20-09 Magazine


Howard Devoto & Co. In light of the fact that a re-formed Magazine are playing in England, I thought I’d update my thoughts about this wonderful British new wave band. We must mark the passing of John McGeoch.


12" ABOUT THE WEATHER VIRGIN UK VS 412-12

1981 4 TRKS with pic sleeve

7" ABOUT THE WEATHER / IN THE DARK VIRGIN UK VS 412

1981 2 TRKS with pic sleeve

LP AFTER THE FACT (Collection) VIRGIN UK VM 1

1982 10 TRKS Collection

LP ALTERNATIVE USE OF SOAP, AN (Collection) VIRGIN CAN V 2156

1980 10 TRK Collection

LPx2 BACK TO NATURE pirate CENTRIFUGAL 12CENT-10

1982? 12 TRKS pirate, LIVE 8/79

CD BBC RADIO 1 LIVE IN CONCERT WINDSONG UK WINCD 040

1993 6 TRKS LIVE '78

LP CORRECT USE OF SOAP, THE VIRGIN UK V 2156

1980 10 TRKS UK original issue

CD CORRECT USE OF SOAP, THE re VIRGIN UK CDVR 2156

1980 14 TRKS (4 x bonus tracks) ('07 issue)

7" CRIME AND PUNISHMENT pirate PIRATE UK ?

1978 4 TRK EP; with pic sleeve, Pirate '85

7" GIVE ME EVERYTHING / I LOVE YOU YOU BIG DUMMY VIRGIN UK VS 237

1978 2 TRKS with pic sleeve

12" LIGHT POURS OUT OF ME / CUT-OUT SHAPES promo VIRGIN US VIDJ 1

1980 2 TRKS no pic sleeve; promo-only

LP MAGIC, MURDER AND THE WEATHER VIRGIN UK V 2200

1981 10 TRKS UK original issue

CD MAGIC, MURDER AND THE WEATHER re VIRGIN UK CDVR 2200

1981 12 TRKS ('07 issue) (2 x bonus tracks)

CDx3 MAYBE IT'S RIGHT TO BE NERVOUS NOW (3CD boxed set) VIRGIN UK MAGBOX 1

2000 45 TRK Collection (70's/80's recordings)

CD PLAY VIRGIN UK CDV 2184

1980 10 TRKS LIVE 9/80

LP PLAY VIRGIN UK V 2184

1980 10 TRKS LIVE 9/80

LP REAL LIFE VIRGIN JPN VIP-6922

1978 9 TRKS insert, autographed

CD REAL LIFE re VIRGIN UK CDVR 2100

1978 13 TRKS (4 x bonus tracks) ('07 issue)

7" RHYTHM OF CRUELTY / T.V. BABY VIRGIN UK VS 251

1979 2 TRKS with pic sleeve

LP SECONDHAND DAYLIGHT VIRGIN UK V 2121

1979 9 TRKS autographed

CD SECONDHAND DAYLIGHT re VIRGIN UK CDVR 2121

1979 13 TRKS (4 x bonus tracks) ('07 issue)

12" SHOT BY BOTH SIDES VIRGIN UK VS 592-12

1983 4 TRKS with pic sleeve

7" SHOT BY BOTH SIDES / MY MIND AIN'T SO OPEN VIRGIN UK VS 200

1978 2 TRKS with pic sleeve

7" SHOT BY BOTH SIDES / RECOIL VIRGIN JPN VIP-2632

1978 2 TRKS with pic sleeve

7" SONG FROM UNDER THE FLOORBOARDS VIRGIN UK VS 321

1980 2 TRKS with MAGAZINE SLEEVE

12" SWEETHEART CONTRACT VIRGIN UK VS 368-12

1980 4 TRKS Magazine sleeve

7" SWEETHEART CONTRACT / FEED THE ENEMY VIRGIN AUS K 8019

1980 2 TRKS with pic sleeve RED VINYL

7" SWEETHEART CONTRACT / FEED THE ENEMY VIRGIN UK VS 368AB

1980 2 TRKS

7" THANK YOU FALLETIN ME BE MICEELF AGAIN VIRGIN UK VS 328

1980 2 TRKS

7" TOUCH AND GO / GOLDFINGER VIRGIN UK VS 207

1978 2 TRKS with pic sleeve

7" TWENTY YEARS AGO / SHOT BY BOTH SIDES VIRGIN UK VS 368CD

1980 2 TRKS

7" UPSIDE DOWN / LIGHT POURS OUT OF ME, THE VIRGIN UK VS 334

1980 2 TRKS


I saw Magazine two different tours – in May ’79 @ The Whisky and a year later at the Urgh! Show in San Francisco. I remember Howard’s shoes and mic technique – which I saw Julian Cope steal wholesale a short time later (Teardrop Explodes, again, at the Whisky).


Before music videos were commonplace, I got film of some Magazine clips, “Feed The Enemy” and “Cut Out Shapes”. I remember showing them at a party, where a lot of people in attendance were as yet undecided about whether or not to embrace the new wave.


I happily purchased re-mastered British CD’s for the first four studio Magazine albums. I did not go for the Japanese little paper album cover (kami sleeve) CD’s, however – I never saw them for less than full retail (on my last visit to Japan). If I found them here for a good price, I’d probably go for ‘em. Aesthetic value, and all.


I have not kept up with all of Howard’s guest appearances – Bernard Szajner, This Mortal Coil, Mansun etc. I did enjoy the two Luxuria albums, however – and I got to see Luxuria perform live. And I love the Momus (Nick Currie) quote, “You think I’m under-rated, what about Howard Devoto?”


And doesn’t Howard just steal the whole movie when he appeared in the “24 Hour Party People” film?


The popular opinion always leans toward “The Correct Use Of Soap” as THE album by Magazine, but for my money, it’s “Secondhand Daylight”. And “Real Life”. I will never ever forget my reaction to hearing “Definitive Gaze” for the first time. The world shifted. One ignored Magazine at their peril. And I feel the same way 30 years later. Yes, I like them better (more) than Ultravox (I saw at least 4 shows by the John Foxx vers. of Ultravox) and XTC (only ever saw XTC live once).



I hope the re-formed Magazine make it to L.A.! As the French say, “Merci, d’exister!” – Thank you for existing, Howard.

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Jim Donato said...

PUOS is undeniably a great album and was a heck of a starting point for me. It was the first Magazine album released in America on the (doomed) first stab by Virgin Records where they teamed up with Atlantic for US distribution in '79-'80. I have to say I preferred the US coloration of the wondrous Malcolm Garrett cover design. I was dismayed when I got the 1st pressed UK CD ca. '86 or so.

But when Magazine first got a CD release, I bought them all en mass. I previously has all US LP pressings, including the excellent US version of "After The Fact" with all of those non-LP cuts! It was the first time I had heard "Real Life" or "Secondhand Daylight." Of the two I am strongly of the opinion that "Real Life" is Magazine's magnum opus. Had they produced nothing else, their place in history would be assured. "Secondhand Daylight" is a "difficult" album for me. It sounded difficult for all involved, actually. "Permafrost" is one of the strongest songs ever, but the album doesn't gel for me. Nor does their 4th, "Magic, Murder & The Weather." Unlike Star Trek films, the odd numbered albums are the big winners for my ears.

I have the TMC recording, but not the Bernard Szajner LP. Bernard's 80-81 albums are now out on CD by the wonderful LTM label, so one can hope.

On Magazine VS Ultravox, that's a toughie. I have to admit that if pitting "Systems Of Romance" against "Real Life" I would have to opt for "Systems." Foxx is a far less negative artist and the playing and production of "Systems" trumps even the wonderful spectacle of Magazine at their best. Fortunately, Magazine and Ultravox joined forces to make the studio dance band Visage! Unfortunately, Steve Strange was the vocalist! But the result was hellaciously good ear candy with duff lyrics/vocals. But why not make the comparison... Ultravox = postpunk beatles. Magazine = postpunk stones. Who amongst you would disagree?

XTC? Love 'em, but not even close. They go on a different shelf.

8:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PUOS???!! I meant TCUOS.

8:03 AM  
Blogger chas_m said...

I've always liked Magazine, but I always thought of them as a singles band somehow -- maybe it's that relentless rage -- but "Real Life" is surely a masterpiece -- I was unaware there was a 2007 remaster!

Some time back I captured and passed on to Jim a BBC Radio documentary about Mr McGeoch, you should get a copy from him (or me) if you're interested. Talk about an unsung hero!

6:34 AM  

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