Chimes sing Sunday morn
Today's the day she's sworn
To steal what she never could own
And race from this hole she calls home
Now you're at the wheel
Tell me how, how does it feel ?
So good to have equalized
To lift up the lids of your eyes
As the miles they disappear
See land begin to clear
Free from the filth and the scum
This American satellite's won
She'll carry on through it all
She's a waterfall
She'll carry on through it all
She's a waterfall
See the steeple pine
The hills as old as time
Soon to be put to the test
To be whipped by the winds of the west
Stands on shifting sands
The scales held in her hands
The wind it just whips her and wails
And fills up her brigantine sails
She'll carry on through it all
She's a waterfall
She'll carry on through it all
She's a waterfall
Squire / Brown
John Squire (guitar)
Ian Brown (vocals)
Gary Mounfield (bass)
Alan Wren (drums, backing vocals)
Waterfall (Silvertone, ORE T DJ 34, 12" promo)
Waterfall (7" version) / One Love (7" version) / Waterfall (12" version) / One Love (12" version) (Silvertone, 06192-10041-2, Canadian CD)
Released January 1992:
Waterfall (Paul Oakenfold / Steve Osborne Remix) (7" Edit) / One Love (Adrian Sherwood Remix) (7" Edit) (Silvertone, ORE 35, 7")
Waterfall / One Love (Silvertone, ORE ZT 35, 12" with print)
Waterfall (7" version) / One Love (7" version) / Waterfall (12" version) / One Love (12" version) (Silvertone, ORE CD 35, CD)
Waterfall / One Love (Silvertone, ORE C 35, cassette)
Released June 1992:
Waterfall (7" version) / One Love (7" version) / Waterfall (12" version) / One Love (12" version) (Alfa-Silvertone, ALCB-543, Japanese CD from Singles Collection boxset)
UK chart details:
Waterfall entered the charts on 11th January 1992, spending 4 weeks in the charts and reaching a highest position of 27.
Also available on:
The Stone Roses (4.37)
The Complete Stone Roses (3.36)
The Stone Roses (10th Anniversary Edition) (4.38)
The Very Best Of The Stone Roses (4.41)
First live performance:
The Waterfall artwork is from 'Waterfall' (1988), oil on canvas, 30" x 26"
In the early 1970s a new generation of youngsters in the north were transforming the old ballrooms and dancehalls of their parents' generation into citadels of the northern soul experience, creating a genuine alternative to mainstream British pop culture. When Ian Brown was 17, he and a friend from Salford used to put on a Northern Soul night at the Black Lion in Blackfriars Street, where they would hire a room for £15 and invite all their friends. Mani first met John Squire (via Mani's friend, Kaiser) in the Northern Soul room at the Pips club in Manchester, in the summer of 1979. With roots in the mod culture of the 1960s, Northern Soul was a dynamic fusion of fashions, dance moves and vinyl obsession. Spawning a circuit of all-nighters, it marked the birth of late-night dance culture in Britain. At its high point, thousands of disenchanted white working class youths across the north of England danced to obscure, mid-1960s Motown-inspired sounds until the break of dawn. It was a template for the Acid House explosion in 1988, thriving through an ad hoc, word-of-mouth network and a drug-fuelled underground dance movement. Swap speed for ecstasy and you've essentially got the same scene.
While Jimmy Page was the benchmark for John Squire circa Second Coming, Mick Jones was the biggest influence on the first-coming Squire (a Fourth Form Biology book is saturated with Clash slogans). These two figures would be in the audience to cast an eye on their guitar progeny when The Stone Roses played London's Village Underground in August 2012. Specifically, it was Joe Strummer's distillation of the punk ethos which served as the catalyst for Squire. He recalls a Clash interview on TV in which Strummer, when asked if he had any advice for the kids out there, turned to the camera in a very stoic move, saying: "Believe in yourself, you can do anything you want." Squire reflected years later, "That one went in and stayed." Ian had introduced John to the music of The Clash, bringing records - such as their debut LP, 'God Save The Queen' by Sex Pistols and 'One Chord Wonders' by The Adverts - to his house when they were in their teens. A week later, John had bought the first two of the aforementioned records and developed a strong interest in The Clash, following the band on their '16 Tons' tour. John did, however, miss out on an opportunity to meet his idols, due to other commitments. Ian Brown and Pete Garner heard that The Clash were rehearsing somewhere in Manchester. After some investigation, they made their way to the Pluto Recording studios in Granby Row, waiting expectantly outside. The Clash arrived to work on 'Bankrobber' and the two Patrol members blagged their way into the studios as part of the band's entourage. Though Squire missed out on this adventure, he did get to perform this very Clash track with Mick Jones at Manchester Ritz in December 2011. Pete Garner (who lived round the corner from Manchester Ritz) was also present at this 2011 reunion, having been invited by Ian Brown and John Robb via phone shortly before the gig. So, too, was Si Wolstencroft, making the event a Patrol reunion every bit as much as a Stone Roses reunion. Mick's drummer was late for the soundcheck and, with Squire and Brown needing a drummer to run through 'Bankrobber', Wolstencroft - formerly of The Patrol and very briefly, The Stone Roses - stepped up. Ian was unimpressed by the rock star persona of Joe Strummer at the 1980 Bankrobber rehearsal, describing the experience as somewhat of a disappointment: "He sat under this grandfather clock, clicking his fingers in time with it. I thought, what a dick !" (Ian Brown, Record Collector, 1998). This encounter would have further solidified Ian's preference for the Sex Pistols, of the two punk acts. John's interest in The Clash would continue to grow however. Brown and Squire were, unsurprisingly, drawn toward the strident individualism of the mod movement; of the two, Ian was the first to develop an interest in scooters - one that blossomed through his interest in Northern Soul. John only became serious after watching Quadrophenia, and soon after, would assemble his own Lambretta, rebuilding a GP200 from the frame. His scooters were duly emblazoned with Clash lyrics, such as "Too chicken to even try it" from 'White Riot'. Squire first became aware of Jackson Pollock through The Clash, who customised their stage gear with Pollock-esque paint splashes (although, of the Punk era, the Sex Pistols' Glen Matlock was actually the first to do it). He cites seeing one particular Pollock-themed photograph in The Clash photo book, by Pennie Smith, as the inspiration for his own incorporation of art into the medium of music. Being an obsessive fan of The Clash, John made a visit to Manchester's Central library to look for books on Pollock:
How did you get into doing all The Stone Roses' cover art ?
The Clash and Jesus and Mary Chain used Jackson Pollock a little bit and that was what got me interested. With the first two record sleeves - So Young and Sally Cinnamon – I tried to do my own thing. Then I started painting guitars and drums and did a shirt for Ian and then I went on to covers. After that I stopped trying to be original and started doing the Jackson Pollock copies.
(John Squire speaking to United We Stand fanzine in December 2004)
"A few punk albums used that drip paint effect on their covers. I seem to remember a single by Slaughter Joe and a few Clash posters."
(John Squire speaking to Fife Today, 8th July 2010)
John Squire, a self-taught artist, was the taciturn and introspective mirror to Ian Brown's outspoken bolshiness. He attended Heyes Lane Junior School, and passed his 11+ exam. Squire and Brown grew up on the same street, Sylvan Avenue, in the South Manchester suburb of Timperley and attended Altrincham Grammar School for Boys, where their polar-opposite personalities came together; the introverted Squire and gregarious Brown shared a love of '60s rock and punk music, and an interest in politics. Whereas Brown preferred the exuberant nihilism of the Sex Pistols, Squire’s interest was drawn more towards The Clash, an idealistic band, charged with righteousness and a leftist political ideology. He excelled in art classes at school and was often excused from attending P.E. so that he could develop his artistic talents. Squire obtained his first guitar at the age of 14 and spent many hours in his bedroom practising, at the same time developing a strong interest in modern art: "I picked up a guitar when I was 14 and I can distinctly remember sitting on the bedroom windowsill playing Three Blind Mice on one string, and thinking 'this is gonna take a long time...'" (John Squire speaking to Radio 4, 2007). Squire did reasonably well academically until leaving for college at 16, and formed a band, The Patrol. He worked hard on the guitar and used the art department after hours to make screen-printed posters and flyers for gigs. The band didn't make it, and Squire subsequently worked at Tesco, as a barman at the local, as a labourer at a market garden, and as a grease monkey for a roller shutter maintenance firm. Squire came from a family of artists - his brother could draw, his mother did ceramics and oil painting at night school, and his father, an engineer, made toys and go-karts for his boys - but he was the first to pursue it professionally. Despite failing A-Level Art, Squire gained a foothold in the art world with Chorlton-based children's TV production company Cosgrove Hall Films. Squire's cousin saw a programme about them on Granada Television and encouraged John to pay them a visit; he duly made a model of a little garden shed, put it on a little plinth and surrounded it with rusty spades and broken plant pots. He took it to a director and she said, 'Yeah that's nice, but you need to go to college.' On his way out, Squire had the fortune of running into the boss on the stairs, with whom Squire left his name. A fortnight later, the company - entering its golden age with the success of Danger Mouse - were overloaded with work and they started to give Squire freelance jobs; his first unenviable task was to make one hundred miniature onions, out of clay and paper. Squire created work for TV programmes such as Cockleshell Bay, The Wind in the Willows, and a pilot of Fungus the Bogeyman, based on the Raymond Briggs story. Raymond Briggs is one of the foremost creators of illustrated books for adults and children, including The Snowman and Father Christmas. When the Wind Blows, a 1982 novel by Briggs, inspired a song of this title by The Waterfront in 1983. Squire retained his position at Cosgrove Hall until 1984, the year of The Stone Roses' formation.
The genesis of John Squire's interest in painting was American painter Nancy Kominsky, as he revealed to The Guardian in 2007:
'Paint Along With Nancy' was a UK television programme made by HTV West in the mid-to-late 1970s, shown on the ITV network in a daytime slot - usually 12.30 or 3.30pm. The programme aimed to teach viewers - ostensibly housewives and sick school children (or in Squire's case, a school child playing truant) - to paint, following the instructions of Philadelphian artist, Nancy Kominsky, who would create a painting in twenty-five minutes. Initially, her 'assistant' was popular HTV West personality Alan Taylor. Starting with the ritual wash of burnt umber and turpentine, Nancy would then follow through with a set of grid lines (to place the subject) and roughly sketch in a drawing of sorts using a brush, before moving on to a palette knife. An unorthodox practitioner in the field, Nancy would implore viewers to copy from the Impressionists, "as they have distortion of form"; "Paint what you see and not what you know to be there." In response to a lady who asked her "Why paint ?", she replied, "I paint to match the drapes." Nancy had already done an earlier version, to facilitate 'the recap' at the end of the show, where the picture would paint itself in less time than even Nancy could manage. This sequence, (shot on 16mm although, curiously edited on VT) was always heralded by a luxurious chord on the harp. Titles of her work on the show included: 'Stawberries', 'Snow in Central Park', 'Twilight in the Cotswolds', 'Nasturtiums', 'Still Life - Vegetables', 'Yellow Tulips', 'San Juan Mountains, Colorado', 'White Daisies', 'Old Rome', 'Wind on the Adriatic', 'Last Three in Totterdown' and 'Red Apples'. John Squire cites artist Tom Keating as being an influence at this time also. Keating was an art restorer and famous art forger who claimed to have forged more than 2,000 paintings by over 100 different artists. Keating was born in Lewisham, London, into a poor family. After World War II he began to restore paintings for a living, though he also worked as a house painter to make ends meet. He exhibited his own paintings, but he failed to break into the art market. Keating perceived the gallery system to be rotten, dominated, he said, by American "avant-garde fashion, with critics and dealers often conniving to line their own pockets at the expense both of naive collectors and impoverished artists." Keating retaliated by creating forgeries to fool the experts, hoping to destabilize the system. Keating planted 'time-bombs' in his products, leaving clues of the paintings' true nature for fellow art restorers or conservators to find. For example, he might write text onto the canvas with lead white before he began the painting, knowing that x-rays would later reveal the text. He deliberately added flaws or anachronisms, or used materials peculiar to the twentieth century. Keating was finally arrested in 1977 and accused of conspiracy to defraud, but the case was dropped on account of his bad health. Through 1982 and 1983 Keating rallied, however, and though in fragile health, he presented television programmes on the techniques of old masters for Channel 4 in the UK. This step-by-step demonstration in replicating the art of the Great Masters would have made an indelible impression on a youthful Squire, who himself was to 'do a Keating' on the works of Jackson Pollock later that decade (See also Squire's very own 'Make your own watercolour' televisual piece, recorded at the Tate in 2010).
In his explanation of 'I'm So Bored With The U.S.A.' (Squire would perform a cover of this track by The Clash as an encore for his 2003 solo tour, in tribute to the recently deceased Joe Strummer*), Mick Jones, guitarist of The Clash, said that it was a criticism of the dominating influence of American culture on British life. The band went to an ice-cream parlour, bought ice-creams and wrote on the window with the ice-creams, 'I'm So Bored With The USA'. This Clash song made references to American support of dictatorships (something that was later elaborated on, on their track, 'Washington Bullets'), the over-riding dominance of American culture and the Watergate scandal, as Mick Jones explains:
In some 1989 interviews, Squire said almost those exact words about Waterfall. He explained how the song and accompanying artwork – the American flag overshadowing a British one - was a criticism of the influence of American culture on British life. With the increasing 'Americanisation' of the British landscape in the 1980s, the warning of Johnny Rotten on 'Anarchy in the U.K.' - 'Your future dream is a shopping scheme' - became a distinct reality. When Ronald Reagan became U.S. president in 1981, he repackaged the American Dream.
A detail of the original 1988 painting, 'Waterfall', was originally used in the insert of the Roses' debut LP (and spearheaded the album's promotion). John would revisit 'Waterfall' on two subsequent artworks: '15 Days' (2003) and 'gtr' (2004). In 2007, 'Marshall Artist' asked a select group of artists to design a t-shirt, with £10 from each one sold being donated to the charity of the artist's choice. The complete list of artists were: Amp Fiddler, Ash, Larrikin Love, Lauren Laverne, Mani, Nightmares on Wax, Paul Oakenfold, Rob da Bank, Roots Manuva, Shaun Ryder, The Mitchell Brothers, The Subways, and Trevor Nelson. Mani's contribution fuses elements of Squire's 'Waterfall' artwork, Ian Brown's 'money burning' shirt, Clash DIY typography and Jamie Reid's Sex Pistols artwork.
Growing up in the north during the Thatcher government's miner-crushing, at-war-with-Liverpool Council, imperialist phase was both a politicising and politically polarising experience. Ian Brown was, at the time, dismissive of the economic 'North/South divide' cliché: "We drive into London and we just turn off the motorway and we see people living under a bridge. What's it all about ?" (Ian Brown speaking to Melody Maker, 3rd June 1989). In November 1989, he would again address the debilitating effects of the divide and rule spirit of that era: "I don't recognise a North/South divide. There's poverty in London that would make your eyes bleed. There's poverty in Manchester, there's poverty in Glasgow. Poverty's poverty. Not everyone who lives south of Manchester is rich. Not everyone who lives north of London is poor. I don't believe there's a North/South divide at all. It's a media lie to divide the people. It's convenient and it's bullshit." ('What a Trip' interview, 22nd November 1989). Nonetheless, the mid-to-late '80s were a time when the major cities of the North of England - Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield - were significantly disconnected from both the central government and the popular media. In December 2011, previously secret government documents revealed that in the aftermath of the Toxteth riots, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was advised to abandon Liverpool to "managed decline" by her senior advisers. Geoffrey Howe, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, argued that enough money had been spent on the city and they should not expend all their resources "making water flow uphill." Government neglect of the North had obvious destabilizing repercussions, but it did serve to galvanize these cities (a Bailey Brothers t-shirt concept at the time read Just Say No To London). As a consequence, these cities and the surrounding towns - studded along a strip of motorway that later became the superhighway of the northern rave scene - were free to create and assert their own popular culture and political sensibilities. Manchester was placed as the UK's rave capital, and The Stone Roses, easy to dismiss at a glance as inward-looking '60s classicists, were right at the heart of this activity.
"This American satellite" in the third verse is Britain, and these lines convey a sense of determination that she will break free from America's dominance. The proclamation of victory here comes at sea; Britannia does indeed rule the waves. According to historian T.C.W. Blanning, the year 1917 has a good claim to be a truly pivotal moment in European history, for it witnessed a paradigm shift in world power; it was in this year that Europe lost control of its own affairs. The arrival of American troops both sealed the defeat of Germany and ensured that the subsequent peace settlement would be framed according to American interests. If the nineteenth century was the century of Europe - in which Britain was the leading overseas power, Germany the strongest on the continent - the twentieth century belongs to America.***
A wave rolled from the late '80s through to the late '90s; Britpop**** documentary 'Live Forever' (2003) opens with Waterfall, appropriate given its embryonic Britpop themes. Part of Britpop's manifesto was to roll back the dominance of the USA, not only musically, but also in a broader cultural sense.***** The Stone Roses had little affiliation with the course taken by Britpop, however, and had no desire to attach themselves politically to any party. The band were heavily critical of the previous Thatcher and Major regimes, but saw those taking over in 1997 as ineffectual: "Blair's got a massive landslide, the Tories smashed themselves and it was beautiful, but there's nothing to replace it. All the people who suffered through the Eighties... Blair wants to be everything to everybody, and he'll end up being none of them." (Ian Brown speaking to Uncut magazine, February 1998). The Britpop movement was characterised by a new-found pride in the Union Jack, and while Noel Gallagher had a Union Jack emblazoned on his guitar at the height of the movement, Ian Brown was furiously calling for one to be immediately taken down by a member of the audience at the 1996 Reading festival (One cannot imagine that Ian was comfortable either with the St George's Cross being waved in his direct eyeline during his Can't See Me Top Of The Pops performance). This anti-nationalistic fervour showed little sign of abating on The Stone Roses' reunion tour. During the segue between Waterfall and Don't Stop at NorthSide Festival, Denmark in June 2012, Ian became increasingly agitated by a fan waving an English flag and asked him to throw it onstage. The singer then motioned to spit on the flag and wipe his backside with it, before throwing it to the floor and stamping on it. During the verbal tirade that followed the end of Don't Stop, Ian paraphrased Banksy (Wall and Piece) in bluntly telling the fan, "People that wave flags don't deserve to have one." (In a classic case of life imitating art, Ian Brown was captured in this Banksy-esque frame while trying to avoid the limelight in spring 2014). He then delivers a line which has origin in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, later homaged in Blazing Saddles, when he says "We don't need no stinkin' badges !" In his youth, Ian Brown did have a Union Jack tattooed on his arm - which he later attributed to being "Fifteen, pissed and foolish" - but became fiercely critical of the flag's symbolism in his adult years. The closest that any members of The Stone Roses ever came to willing attachment to the Union Jack was arguably John Squire's unfashionable choice of boxer shorts here. Speaking to the NME in December 1989 about the band's wish not to be exclusively confined to the Manchester scene, Squire was critical of both patriotism and regionalism. The guitarist quotes Samuel Johnson, "Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel", before adding, "...and the same goes for regionalism." This Samuel Johnson quote is the last refuge of pseudointellectuals to stigmatize those who don't think of themselves as stateless citizens of the world. Johnson was not indicting patriotism in general, only false patriotism. He was condemning scoundrels, articulating that the most dangerous scoundrels are those who pretend to be patriotic, when in fact they are only being self-serving. Discussing his new series of artwork - 'Re-Engineered Garments' - on The Culture Show in 2008, with its common theme of destroying the past, Squire gives an explanation as to its possible subconscious exploration of national identity: "I wondered if that was more than just a personal trait. I wondered if it was to do with the national psychology, whether it spoke to those ideas of, those cliches about Englishness, of reserve, self-control, restraint, y'know, that kind of thing. I wanted to exaggerate that by incorporating fabrics into the work that were synonymous with certain ideas of Englishness."
While its follow-up, 1994's Second Coming, was a 'cocaine record', the debut LP was very much an 'Ecstasy record'. Such distinction can also be made in the releases of The Beatles in the 1960s from their drug of choice at the time, with the middle of the decade marking a more expansive outlook in the band's work: Preludin (Hamburg era), Amphetamines ('A Hard Day's Night'), Marijuana ('Rubber Soul'), LSD ('Revolver') and Heroin ('Let It Be'). Paul McCartney, the driving force behind 1967's 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band', used cocaine for a year in the creation of that album. The release could not be described as a 'cocaine record' in the vein of 'Second Coming' or 'Be Here Now', however. Speaking in 2004, McCartney describes how he also took grass to "balance it out", adding that he was "never completely crazy with cocaine." The French flag is turned upright, and positioned at the very left of The Stone Roses' debut LP cover, such that the eye reads it as an 'E' (more pronounced from the same era was Shaun Ryder's physical attachment to the 'E' of a Spanish 'HOTEL' sign, in the Happy Mondays' 'Step On' video...). In their early years, The Stone Roses experimented with speed and LSD, before moving on to weed in 1986. John Squire's first acid trip was in 1983, at his old flat on Zetland Road, in the company of Mani and Cressa. As the Second Summer of Love swept over England in 1988, the band started taking Ecstasy; Ian's once aggressive persona - of singing in people's faces, high-kicking, or kissing someone's girlfriend to wind their partner up - now mellowed dramatically. MDMA (Methylenedioxymethamphetamine), most commonly known today by the street name Ecstasy, is thought to be an invention by the famous German chemist, Fritz Haber, in 1891. The patent for MDMA was originally filed on 24th December 1912 by the German pharmaceutical company Merck, after being first synthesised for them by German chemist Anton Köllisch at Darmstadt earlier that year. The patent was granted in 1914 and two years later, Köllisch died, unaware of the impact his synthesis would have. Due to the wording of the existing Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, MDMA was automatically classified as a Class A drug in 1977 in the UK, and was classified as a Schedule I controlled substance in the US from 31st May 1985. Before then, it was used both as an adjunct to psychotherapy and as a recreational drug. MDMA began to be used therapeutically in the mid-1970s after the chemist Alexander Shulgin introduced it to psychotherapist Leo Zeff. As Zeff and others spread the word about MDMA, it developed a reputation for enhancing communication, reducing psychological defenses, and increasing capacity for introspection. See the beginning of Timothy Leary's 1983 lecture in Boulder, Colorado (on the question "Can you give us specific information about XTC...") for insight, just as the drug begins to enter the public consciousness. MDMA appeared sporadically as a street drug in the late 1960s (when it was known as the 'love drug'), but it rose to prominence in the early 1980s in nightclubs in the Dallas area, and subsequently in gay dance clubs. From there, usage spread to rave clubs, and then to mainstream society. The street name of 'Ecstasy' was coined in California in 1982. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Ecstasy was widely used in the UK and other parts of Europe, becoming an integral element of rave culture and other psychedelic / dancefloor-influenced music scenes, such as Madchester and Acid House. The hedonism of the drug culture and its inherent 'living for the weekend' mentality, allied with years of frustration under Thatcher rule, were its primary motivations. Thatcher, unwittingly, had provided the ideal setting for the Acid House movement as thousands of revellers gathered in disused warehouse and factory sites up and down the country. The Stone Roses' debut LP was recorded at the very moment when the left-field culture of warehouse parties and political dissent was being augmented into ecstasy-fuelled rave culture. As the Iron Curtain was pried open and nations were either reunified or blasted apart at the heady dawn of the 1990s, The Stone Roses' 1990 Spike Island festival was a feeling of space and freedom. Thatcher's decade-long reign, too, was shortly to come to an end. The reignited festival culture was a reaction against the Thatcherite ideology that there was no society. Here, on a polluted wasteland near Widnes, was proof for all to see that Acid House culture had swept through rock'n'roll completely, and the 1990s were underway. Booze was out; 'Puff' and pills were in. Ian Brown's loved-up placidity formed the spiritual counterbalance to Shaun Ryder's untrammelled hedonism, with Brown's high cheekbones and angelic countenance making him the pin-up of the scene. During the 1990s, along with the growing popularity of the rave subculture, MDMA usage became increasingly widespread among young adults in universities and later, in high schools. It rapidly became one of the four most widely used illegal drugs in the US, along with cocaine, heroin and cannabis.
Ibiza, a popular Mediterranean tourist destination, became synonymous with dance music and once word spread to Britain about 'Balearic Beat' and the ready supply of Ecstasy, a clubbing utopia was established. Sun-kissed euphoric parties held by DJ Alfredo at Club Amnesia offered a mix of rock, pop, disco and house music. This began to have an influence on the British scene and by late 1987, DJs such as Paul Oakenfold and Danny Rampling were bringing the Ibiza sound to UK clubs. The key ingredient of the 'Second Summer of Love' of 1988 would come from America, where a more sophisticated sound was evolving, moving beyond merely drum loops and short samples. New York witnessed this maturity in the slick production of disco house crossover tracks from artists such as Mateo & Matos. In Chicago, Marshall Jefferson had formed the house 'super group' Ten City (from intensity), demonstrating the developments in 'That's the Way Love Is'. In Detroit there were the beginnings of what would be called techno, with the emergence of Juan Atkins, Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson. The Stone Roses certainly were watching this scene with interest; their first choice to produce their debut LP was not John Leckie - the band had several others in mind before opting for him - including New Order's Peter Hook, and Sly & Robbie. Top of the list, Brown revealed to Mojo in May 2002, was Acid House supremo DJ Pierre (stage name of Nathaniel Pierre Jones), a Chicago born DJ, but he was unavailable. He helped to develop the house music subgenre of Acid House as member of Phuture, whose 1987 EP, Acid Trax, has been cited as the first Acid House recording. Philippe Renaud, a journalist for La Presse in Montreal, states that the term 'Acid House' was coined in Chicago in 1987 to describe the sound of the Roland 303 bass machine, which made its first significant recording appearance on Acid Trax. Manchester's Haçienda nightclub, founded in 1982 by Factory Records, soaked up all of these influences from overseas and became the focal point of the era. An indefatigable creative energy and entrepreneurial spirit permeated the city, with people inventing their own roles - DJs, graphic designers, clothes labels.
The late '80s marked a generational shift in cultural attitudes, according to Dave Haslam, when speaking to Uncut magazine in January 2009: "It did feel like a generational thing. The generation slightly older than us in town seemed much more Stalinist about what was and wasn't allowed. In terms of being very precious and tribal, London was even worse; I remember journalists like Paolo Hewitt refusing to allow that anyone could like both Public Enemy and the Smiths (and Morrissey appearing to agree with him)." The Stone Roses, in pulling together so many strands of inspiration, appealed to a much broader spectrum (ravers, indie kids, psychedelic rock nostalgists, the hip hop fraternity) than any of their Manchester forefathers and served as a nucleus for these previously disparate elements to find common ground with one another. There existed a thriving warehouse party scene in the UK long before it would be given the label 'rave', and in the Manchester area in particular, these parties in disused warehouses were incredibly musically diverse: '80s indie, punk, goth, new wave, northern soul and hip-hop. Importantly, also slowly emerging in this environment were two previously punk-banished strands: shameless disco-pop in the form of house music, and the retro psychedelic delights of Hendrix and Sly and the Family Stone. The Stone Roses were forerunners in establishing the alternative setting of this scene; never particularly keen on the standard gig format, the band staged the city's first warehouse party in July 1985, in a British Railways arch in Fairfield Street, behind Piccadilly Station (another would follow four months later). The Stone Roses, a motley crew at this point, with a speed-fuelled sound and a leather-clad Jesus and Mary Chain-inclined wardrobe were mistaken as a goth outfit. It was not until the latter part of the decade, consuming a heady brew of musical influences, that they would find their identity, exuding a fresh, insouciant verve. The timing of this radical transformation in the band could not have been better, given the fusion of dance and rock culture that was taking place; the band's components - Squire's chiming chordal style, propelling rhythms of fluid, soulful bass grooves and funky drumming, merged with psychedelic-tinged lyrics - all combined to enhance the appeal of what was technically a guitar pop band, to a dance audience. Appearing on The Jo Whiley Show in April 1998, Ian Brown outlined the Roses' design to inject movement in their live audience: "When we used to hit the stage, the intention was to hit the bass drum for the belly, snare drum for the head, hi-hat for the shoulders." Sam King, reviewing The Stone Roses' Manchester Haçienda gig for Sounds in February 1989, described the band as "a post-adolescent love trauma put through a psychedelic mangle and shot out at full volume." The spacey, psychedelic production of John Leckie on the debut LP was ideal for the vast sonic space opened up by ecstasy. Dave Haslam (Uncut magazine, January 2009) identified the Roses and Mondays in that era as having a clear sense of rhythm and space, a key factor distinguishing them from the confined conventions of contemporaries: "...compared to the indie bands of that era like the Wedding Present, say, where the music was very cluttered and uptight. With the Roses and the Mondays it was looser, and Reni was very important in this, a proper hero; he had funkiness." The Stone Roses were a conduit for the classic optimism of the Sixties to connect with the revolutionary idealism of the punk movement, in this new territory of Acid House. Waterfall can be identified as the point where Squire's sound began to metamorphose out of jangly English psychedelia, into its most accomplished form. The baroque breakdown (criminally omitted in the single version), where Squire dispatches a series of hypnotic two and three-note phrases before falling into sync with Reni's shuffling backbeat, is an example of those two players' synergy at its most potent.
The Stone Roses were savvy enough to hire their equivalent of the Happy Mondays' Bez, in the form of Cressa, in order to further the band's association with dance culture. Speaking to This Is The Daybreak, Ian Tilton describes Cressa's influence on the Roses' look: "Cressa's legs appear in the Baldrick's photo I originally took for i-D magazine. He and his mates were the first to re-champion the wearing of flares. Back in '86 they were still really uncool but they had the courage to wear them down the Hac." Manchester, large enough to support a cultural infrastructure, yet small enough to form a community, fused a heady mix of styles from Ibiza, Chicago and Detroit into something tantalizingly new. The age of the vinyl LP was coming to a close and the diverse strands intricately woven by The Stone Roses at this time conveyed a sense of: 'This is the beginning. This is the end. All rock 'n' roll roads lead here'. The band's debut LP served as a melting pot, fusing the spirits of two Summers of Love: the swirling psychedelia of The Byrds and Co, and the earthier escapism of Acid House. Where indie and dance had, in the main, previously mixed like oil and water, Happy Mondays and The Stone Roses were now soaking up American dance and electro sounds at The Haçienda, and taking on board new rhythms (New Order were a key act in this regard). According to Ian Brown (Record Collector, February 1998), he, Mani and Reni - but not John Squire - went to the Haçienda, the Thunderdome and various Acid House clubs in 1988, such as Spectrum, Shoom and Land Of Oz. In the second half of 1988, Mani was going to the Haçienda every night, whereas Ian was going just once or twice a week, in order to focus his energies on the band's debut LP. The Acid House movement carried with it a palpable sense of moral righteousness, of egalitarian zeal - and The Stone Roses fitted the bill: arrogant, anti-authoritarian, the embodiment of all that seemed bright and hopeful in British youth culture. The band's funky musical undercarriage and club-conscious credentials set them apart from most of their contemporaries who also chose the earlier strains of psychedelia for a base camp. The Stone Roses, at this time, were absorbing the Beatles and the Stones and a whole lot else (on which note, I recall a Record Collector interview in which Ian Brown acknowledges to Guy Chadwick the guiding influence of The House of Love's 1988 debut LP). Ecstasy, the hug drug, set the tone for inclusion rather than exclusion. Dave Haslam (Uncut magazine, January 2009) is keen to highlight the two-way relationship between the ecstasy and music of the era: "Maybe ecstasy created the audience for the music as well; even more people stopped worrying about what was acceptable and just trusted their instincts." Amid this dayglo lunacy of Ecstasy, The Stone Roses radiated a kaleidoscopic glow; so too did Primal Scream's heady sonic voyage of 1991, 'Screamadelica' (the front cover of which takes on the form of a damaged sun). Enlisting house DJs Andrew Weatherall and Terry Farley on production duties, the band managed to find common ground between the classic rock of the Stones and the ambience of the House music scene. Following the disappointment of 1994's 'Give Out But Don't Give Up', Primal Scream considered disbanding, but the acquisition of Mani on a free transfer in October 1996 revitalized the group. The bassist would later have the opportunity to tour 'Screamadelica', in 2011, for its 20th anniversary. Speaking in North London in 1989, Ian Brown was keen to see a breakdown of rigid musical barriers: "There is such a breed of people, these psychedelic people that are all walking about and all their record collection is just psychedelic music and they turn their mind off to anything that isn't psychedelic." Primal Scream's Come Together was that philosophy splendiferously set to music. Speaking on The Jo Whiley Show in April 1998, Ian Brown identified how Primal Scream picked up where the Roses left off, himself serving as proselytizer: "I watched them [Primal Scream] take their first Ecstasy one night in Shoom, London, and then they became like a baggy thing. Loaded was like a Fool's Gold dance beat thing." If The Stone Roses were on an Easy Rider trip with their debut LP, Primal Scream took that motorcycle on to the territory of The Wild Angels on 'Screamadelica' (and, after running out of fuel on 'Give Out...', adroitly switched to four wheels with 'Vanishing Point'). On this mindset, ahead of the 2012 Heaton Park shows, Mani was asked if he would play for both Primal Scream and The Stone Roses on the same night, to which he replied, "No. You can't ride two bikes with one arse." Ride sought to fuse the qualities of two eras with their blissful 1992 offering, Twisterella. Filmed in a pub in Levenshulme, Manchester, rave-era dance moves blend seamlessly into an I Can't Explain setting.
We learn that the vessel in which our protagonist sails is a brigantine, an appropriate mode of transport for someone 'stealing', given its connotations with piracy. Sunday morning, we discover in the opening verse, is the critical moment of that surge to life (Sunday morning brings the dawn in). As with the opening verse of Going Down, the Resurrection of Jesus on the Third Day (Sunday) is encapsulated with an immediacy here. "Chimes sing Sunday morn" gives an immediate biblical context - the Easter Sunday celebration of Jesus rising from the dead (April Come She Will indeed !). If Christ's persecutors had imagined 'victory' in nailing Him to a cross, Jesus triumphantly "equalised" with His Resurrection. Jesus lifted the lids of His eyes in this glorious moment, breaking what to that point had been the unyielding chains of death. So too does the 'Dover girl' (see below) leave her home, able to 'see' for the first time in a metaphorical sense, through her endeavour to explore. Squire's introductory guitar effect evokes the opening of a tomb, and is followed by a main guitar riff making the sound of Church bells. "She" who will "steal what she never could own" is Jesus, who 'stole' life after death, through His Resurrection. Jesus 'swore' that He would rise again:
Upon Jesus rising from the dead, the angel said to Mary Magdalene and the other Mary:
The rich lyricism of Waterfall recalls She's a Rainbow by The Rolling Stones. According to Ian, Waterfall is:
Britain trips on her love. Ian's presentation of a Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds landscape masks the religious metaphoric overtones of the work. In an interview with Chris Rolfe for a Canadian publication (26th January 1998), Ian reveals that particular effort was made to hide meanings within the debut LP material:
Jesus rose from His tomb - "this hole she calls home" - His temporal resting place. "This hole" works on two levels: Jesus' tomb and a derogatory reference to the previous residence of the 'Dover girl', seeking escape. After greeting Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, Jesus 'raced' ahead of the women and the disciples towards Galilee, to meet them there.
Waterfall moves in reverse chronology, from Resurrection to Crucifixion, from Easter Sunday to Good Friday, from the tomb to the steeple pine. Here is the church (of the Waterfall) and here is the steeple. Christ stands before Pontius Pilate, Prefect of Tiberius, in Palestine. Jesus was "soon to be put to the test, whipped by the winds of the West" - the Roman Empire. Here, through the machinations of the religious authorities, we have the power of the State being used against Christ, Caesar versus Christ. It is worth noting that the imagery presented in the song, the crucifixion of Jesus conflated with an attack on America, is not without very close precedent. The video for 'Kill Surf City' by The Jesus and Mary Chain, the b-side of their 'April Skies' single (April 1987), shows 'Jesus' taking shots at the Stars and Stripes.
The final verse evokes imagery of Judgement Day, where 'She', a Gnostic theme of the song, holds aloft the scales of Judgement. The "shifting sands" on which a Themis-like figure stands, conveys our Judge in an hourglass setting, an allusion to the sands of time running out until the day of Judgement.
Vermeer used potent symbolism in 'Woman Holding a Balance' (c.1664), in which a Madonna-like woman holds a delicate - and empty - balance; behind her hangs a painting of Christ's Last Judgement in a heavy black frame. The woman's head obscures the place where Saint Michael customarily would be weighing souls in the balance, while the figure of Christ appears immediately above her head. The central vanishing point of the painting occurs at the woman's fingertips, with the little finger of her right hand echoing the horizontal arm of the balance and picture frame. On the table before her lie earthly treasures, pearls (these can also represent purity) and a gold chain. Behind her, Christ passes final judgement on the human race. The mirror on the wall is symbolic of vanity or self-knowledge, while a soft light raking across the picture sounds a spiritual note. The serene, contemplative woman, dressed in the traditional blue clothing of Mary, and seemingly expecting child (those who argue against this interpretation emphasize that her costume - a short jacket, a bodice, and a thickly padded skirt - reflects a style of dress current in the early to mid 1660s), stands in the centre of all of this, calmly weighing transitory worldly concerns against spiritual ones. One of the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse carried a pair of scales, as portrayed in Albrecht Dürer's 'The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse' (1498). In Judgement, Jesus is depicted as "sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven." (Matthew 26: 64). Shown below are two portrayals: 'Christ the Judge' by Fra Angelico, and Michelangelo's portrayal of Christ in 'The Last Judgement' from the Sistine Chapel. Waterfall places Christ within the sand of an hourglass, in keeping with the scene of the song - the progression from land to sea by the boat of the 'Dover girl'. This idea would later be resurrected by Noel Gallagher on Champagne Supernova. One night, Noel and his then-girlfriend Meg Matthews returned to Meg's house after a date, and Noel noticed a peculiar sugar jar in her kitchen. This Alessi Gianni jar can be found in the CD booklet of '(What's The Story) Morning Glory ?', on the page containing the 'Champagne Supernova' lyrics. A small plastic man hangs from the lid, just above the level of sugar in the jar. While studying this figure, the lyric, "Someday you will find me caught beneath the landslide" formed in Noel's mind, and Champagne Supernova was quickly penned in Meg's kitchen. From the same Oasis album, the lyric from 'Hey Now !', "And time as it stands won't be held in my hands", I propose, is a re-write of this Waterfall lyric. As illustrated towards the end of this page******, such appropriation is a feature of various lyrics by Noel Gallagher, and I think in this instance, he is substituting 'scales' with a timepiece. On this note, I seem to recall Noel admitting in an interview that 'Up In the Sky' was formed around the Waterfall riff, only sped up.
Waterfall was recorded twice, firstly at Battery Studios, London - where John Leckie felt that it was a little too fast - and subsequently at Rockfield Studios, Wales (thus, there is another version lying around in the vaults somewhere). When asked at what point the band's standard of songwriting began to improve, Ian Brown cited Waterfall as being of great significance, telling Uncut magazine, "'Waterfall' was the first time we went, 'Wow, this is it.'":
The band's first live TV performance came in January 1989 at Granada Studios, Quay Street, Manchester. Here, The Stone Roses performed Waterfall on 'The Other Side Of Midnight', hosted by Tony Wilson, who had previously passed on the chance of managing the band. His introduction contains an admission of error for failing to recognise their potential earlier. Wilson's researcher had been urging him to have the Roses on the show, but he expressed no interest; this was until one night, backstage with the Happy Mondays in Chester, Gary Whelan played him Elephant Stone on a cassette player - and he was suitably impressed.******* Ian Tilton's shots from this performance were used by Squire for the sleeve of the debut LP.
'April Come She Will' by Simon & Garfunkel is another reference point, as Ian Brown explained to Q magazine in 2000:
'There Goes the Fear', from 'The Last Broadcast', The Doves' second LP, owes a significant debt to Waterfall. So too does the prominent throbbing bass on Kasabian's 'Processed Beats' (a mashup was subsequently made), from their Madchester-tinged debut album. Waterfall has featured in the films 'Green Street' (starring Elijah Wood) and 'There's Only One Jimmy Grimble' (starring Robert Carlyle).
* In his youth, Squire built a monument to Joe Strummer in his bedroom. A later piece, 'Rotten 2c' (2004), portraying Strummer's contemporary, Johnny Rotten (then appearing on 'I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here !'), would, from literal interpretation its title (Rotten to see), appear to express that Squire was unimpressed by the punk figure's venture into reality TV. Punk and indie's finest frontmen hawking products ranging from Adidas to Country Life butter. What next ? It's Keith Moon for Snickers...
** With the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of Communism in 1989, America's influence overseas was to increase further; Capitalism now had no ideological opposition. This is why historian Niall Ferguson argues in 'Colossus: the rise and fall of the American empire' that 11/9 (9 November 1989) rather than 9/11 (11 September 2001) was the real turning point in American foreign policy. Following the collapse of the Berlin wall, America had no identifiable 'enemy'. Saddam Hussein soon filled this void with his invasion of Kuwait on 2nd August 1990. He was to be the focus of two Gulf wars fought by America and her allies: (1990 - 1991) and (2003). While the previous century was characterised by the polarity of communism versus capitalism, the beginning of the twenty-first century has witnessed a ferocious escalation in Islamic terrorism, heightening tension between the world's two largest religions (Christianity and Islam).
*** T. C. W. Blanning, Short Oxford history of Europe: the nineteenth century 1789 - 1914 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), p. 247.
**** Britpop is the term given to the British alternative rock movement which reached its peak between 1994 and 1996. Characterised by bands drawing heavily upon '60s and '70s influences, its output created the soundtrack to the lives of a new generation of British youth. This period also witnessed the emergence of a multicultural British pop, focused firmly on the present rather than a gilded past. Drum 'n' bass, a genre characterised by fast tempo broken beat drums with heavy, often intricate basslines, broke through and the angst-sodden beats of Massive Attack came to reflect the millennial mood. The movement's 'capital' was Camden, where Noel Gallagher, Blur, Pulp and a host of other key figures from the scene would often congregate. Noel Gallagher, unlike The Stone Roses, was unconcerned about making it from Manchester and moved to London in 1993. His timing could not have been better, because Indie music's centre of gravity had shifted from Manchester to London, largely due to the impact of Suede. The Good Mixer, just off the High St in Camden Town, soon became Britpop's early HQ. The Stone Roses' work is distinct from the Britpop body of work in that Britpop's defining songs were marked by social commentaries, often ironic or cynical, such as Blur's 'Girls and Boys' and 'Country House', Oasis' 'Cigarettes & Alcohol', and Pulp's 'Common People'. In contrast, The Stone Roses' conceptually complex debut offering was imbued with innocent romanticism and hermetic idealism. To take the example of the aforementioned Oasis track, this showcased the appeal of cigarettes, alcohol, drugs and hedonism as a remedy to the banality of working class life; lyrics such as "Is it worth the aggravation to find yourself a job when there's nothing worth working for ?" tapped into the mood of British working class youth in the mid-1990s ('Girls and Boys' by Blur contained much the same message - "Avoiding all work 'cause there's none available.") The erroneous lump categorization of The Stone Roses with their immediate successors overlooks key inherent elements within the former: the songwriting partnership of The Stone Roses were (effectively) teetotal, one-time members of the Socialist Workers Party, immersed in text ranging from the Bible to Albert Camus. When Ian and John were asked in a 1989 Transmission interview, "What gives you the greatest buzz ?", a typically laconic John quips, "Sex", and a lengthy silence ensues. Ian then coyly remarks to John, "You're supposed to say Ecstasy though, John. That's what they want." Had this very same question been put five years later to the leading lights of the Britpop scene, one could predict with a strong degree of certainty the typical responses that would promptly fill such a void in conversation. A cartoonish version of Madchester would live on, in Oasis; the band's debut LP, Definitely Maybe, as Noel Gallagher was keen to remind the media, was about "shagging, drinking and taking drugs." Asked by Rolling Stone magazine in May 1996, "Are Oasis in fact hard-drinking, groupie-shagging, drug-snorting geezers ?", Noel leant back in his chair and smiled contentedly: "Yeah." The Stone Roses cast a long shadow over the hedonistic '90s, yet, all in their late 20s by the time of their debut album release, were more a product of the Spartan and politically embattled '80s. The halcyon period of The Stone Roses - from mid 1987 to the summer of 1990 - featured a blend of aching vulnerability and socialist revolutionary ire, largely absent from the bands who came in their wake. One would be inclined to venture away from the meat-and-potatoes rock of Oasis towards a band on the fringes of the anti-intellectualism Britpop scene, the bookish and politically hard left Manic Street Preachers, to find a band of distinct commonality with The Stone Roses. This vein of work contrasted greatly with an anthemic Britpop release such as Girls and Boys; Damon Albarn was inspired by a holiday in Magaluf to pen commentary upon the rampant laddish 18-30 Club Med culture of the '90s:
Blur, Girls and Boys (1994)
Britpop's commodification of rave and indie strands would engender the rise of unabashed lad culture (football, lager & 'birds'), exemplified by Loaded magazine and FHM. Speaking to The Face in March 1995, Ian Brown was keen to distance himself from this knuckle-dragging facet of the movement: "I think lad culture is really dangerous. What is it ? Just drinking beer and falling on the floor." The Stone Roses were very much going against the grain with this attitude, one which carried on from their own heyday: "Most bands are into it so as to have a license to get pissed and shout at girls from van windows. The whole idea of that appals me." (Ian Brown, Melody Maker, June 1989). Time seems to have rewritten the band's ethos, with the abhorrent 2013 Mat Whitecross film, Spike Island, crassly casting The Stone Roses' generation as uncouth Inbetweeners forerunners dressed like Oasis rejects. Spike Island for the Jägerbomb generation. The Shane Meadows documentary from the same year takes a wrong turn from the outset and never recovers, opting for a fandom-oriented kitchen sink realism more befitting of The Smiths. Just for anyone under the impression that Spike Island was a veritable Adidas-trackie-wearing 'oi oi' Lad Bible gathering, Chief Inspector Phil Cunningham said he "could not praise fans' behaviour enough" according to the reports of the day. If you wish to see a cringeworthy display of laddism affectation, observe Colin Murray's behaviour on the Oasis DVD, 'Lock the Box'. In the company of the Gallagher brothers, this oxygen thief morphs into an all-cursing (at gleaning one smidgen of information about Don't Look Back in Anger, Murray announces that he'll "have that spread round fucking Britain"), all-smoking, all-drinking lawd, with even the accent and cadence of his voice undergoing transformation. Murray's flagrant attempt at cutting it with the big boys had shades of Robbie Williams shaking a tambourine with Oasis at Glastonbury in 1995, in a desperate bid to gain acceptance into the rock 'n' roll fold. All of which begs the question: what mutation might we witness in the presenter, were he, theoretically, to spend an evening in the company of the Kray twins ? (But then nature didn't make him that way !). The Gallagher brothers personified lad culture from the outset, whereas Damon Albarn was motivated to shed his intellectual skin in order to fit with the times: "I started out reading Nabokov. Now I'm into football, dog racing and Essex girls." Underworld's Born Slippy .NUXX, featured on the 1996 'Trainspotting' soundtrack, became a defining hedonistic anthem ("Babes and babes and babes and babes and babes. And remembering nothing boy...Shouting lager lager lager lager"). The Acid House movement at the end of Thatcher's tenure has been largely credited with the distinct drop in hooligan activity in football. Whereas Thatcher was strongly at odds with football, given its association with hooliganism, the sport suddenly became credible among the professional and media classes. Many a politician hereafter would feign a Roger Nouveau-style football allegiance to appeal to the common man. In 1995, Tony Blair could be seen doing headers with Kevin Keegan and in 1996, the Labour Party leader drew upon England's Euro '96 anthem, 'Three Lions', at a Labour Party conference speech: "Seventeen years of hurt. Never stopped us dreaming. Labour's coming home". 'Girl Power' - a term appropriated by Geri Halliwell from the 1995 Shampoo single of this title - came to the fore with The Spice Girls' 1997 Brits performance of 'Who Do You Think You Are'. The Spice Girls were integral to instituting a change in the charts away from Britpop, towards out-and-out pop. They saw off competition from Oasis, who were nominated for Best Single with 'Don't Look Back in Anger'. Earlier in the day, Liam Gallagher said he would not be coming to the awards, lest he "chin one of the Spice Girls." Upon receiving their award onstage, Mel C (aka Sporty Spice) pointed to her chin and shouted, "Come and have a go Liam if you think you're hard enough", exemplifying an era of 'laddishness' in both sexes of pop music - the ladette was born. Only a year before, at the previous Brits, Oasis had delivered a similar put-down to Blur. Oasis were notorious for their Beatles fixation but it was to be Ginger, Sporty, Scary, Baby and Posh - and not the Gallagher brothers' outfit - who were to become the most widely recognised group of individuals since John, Paul, George and Ringo.
The majority of the Britpop movement played out under the premiership of the Conservative Party's John Major; keen to associate itself with 'Cool Britannia', Tony Blair's New Labour would ride the coat-tails of this cultural phenomenon into Downing Street in May 1997. Inspirational sparks flew from the synergy between pop, politics, film, art and culture and the phrase was quickly adopted in the media and advertising, seeming to capture the 'It' quality of London at the time. The movement exercised a brief period of cultural hegemony, with Trainspotting boasting a Britpop-centric soundtrack (featuring Blur, Elastica, Pulp and Sleeper). Locked out by the established galleries, younger artists looked to the acid house scene as a template, setting up shop in East London's empty warehouses. The YBAs (Young British Artists) co-opted much of their stance from British pop (in a meeting of minds, Blur's Country House video was directed by Damien Hirst). Blair's government was elected on a platform of modernisation and the Prime Minister's relative youth gave the idea fresh currency. Pictures of the Prime Minister with a Fender Stratocaster identified Blair with the movement, and his desire to infiltrate the culture was demonstrated further when a host of celebrities, including Noel Gallagher (above), were invited to Number 10 upon Labour's arrival in power. Those not adhering to script were quickly put in their place by the new regime; Damon Albarn, who refused an invitation to attend, questioned whether it was the right signal for a future Prime Minister to be sending his children to a grant-maintained school, and received a letter saying, "Don't talk about this." Albarn had previously flirted with Labour, having been summoned to the Commons to meet John Prescott and Tony Blair in 1995, but he was soon to become disillusioned with the realisation of New Labour's plans. Oasis were keener to attach themselves to this harbinger of a new Britain, with Noel declaring at the 1996 Brit Awards, "There are seven people in this room giving a little bit of hope to young people in this country", proceeding to name-check the five members of his band, Creation Records' Alan McGee and Tony Blair. "And if you've got anything about you, get up there and shake Tony Blair's hand. He's the Man." This relationship solidified further with the Oasis songwriter's visit to Number 10; each will undoubtedly have recognised the parallels with the relationship between The Beatles and then Labour Leader and Prime Minister, Harold Wilson in the mid 1960s. Wilson exhibited his populist touch in 1965, when he nominated The Beatles with the award of MBE. The award was popular with the youth in society and created the image that the Prime Minister was 'in touch' with the younger generation, cementing Wilson's image as a modernistic leader and linking him to the burgeoning pride in the 'New Britain' typified by The Beatles. Similarly, New Labour surfed the 'Britpop' zeitgeist cannily and were a skilful operator of the media. As far back as the 1980s, Neil Kinnock had tried to wrest the Union Jack from the Tories, to redefine patriotism as something other than Queen, country, stately homes and 'the heritage industry'. New Labour quickly realised that the new Anglo-centric pop climate was doing the job for them, and could help marshal the youth vote into the bargain.
'Cool Britannia' was to 'Britpop' what the catchphrase 'Swinging London' was to the early years of Wilson's Labour government, a cultural parallel best illustrated by the Vanity Fair headline (above) with Patsy Kensit and Liam Gallagher: "London Swings Again!". Chris Evans' weekly variety show, TFI Friday, part of the televisual arm of Britpop, used Ocean Colour Scene's 'The Riverboat Song' to introduce guests. 'Shooting Stars' utilised large 'Mod' logos as part of the set and featured many prominent Britpop musicians as guests. The leading acts of the Britpop era all drew heavily from the imagery and sounds of the 1960s. Patrick Macnee, the actor who played John Steed in the 1960s television series, The Avengers, made an appearance in Oasis' 'Don't Look Back in Anger' video, while Blur's Damon Albarn struck up a close relationship with The Kinks' Ray Davies, with the two performing a duet of 'Waterloo Sunset'. In this respect, Blur were key in introducing another critical element of the Britpop movement, a mod-influenced 1960s view of English life, portrayed through a clear lyrical narrative, which had been largely missing from the preceding 'shoegazing' and 'Madchester' scenes. Paul Weller had been an exponent of this approach a decade earlier (on tracks such as The Jam's 'That's Entertainment' and 'Town Called Malice'), and enjoyed a career resurgence in the Britpop era with his 1995 solo album, 'Stanley Road', and guest appearance on Oasis' 'Champagne Supernova'.
The Jam, Town Called Malice (1982)
Blur laid the blueprint for this as early as their April 1993 single, 'For Tomorrow'. The year before the single was released, the band reached their lowest point. They were prone to giving drunken and loose performances and being far outclassed by other bands such as early rivals, Suede. In this period, they embarked on a U.S. tour when the country was in the midst of the grunge era; audiences were unreceptive to their sound and the band detested the experience. Parts of England at the time were seemingly undergoing a mass Americanised refit, and caught in this curtural twilight zone, Albarn began to write songs in a classic English vein. 'For Tomorrow' was one such song, written on Christmas Day, 1992. The video, directed by Julien Temple, was filmed in a classic black and white style and opens with Albarn in typical British clothing, lying afloat in the Thames. Shot entirely in London, it switches between scenery from Trafalgar Square, Nelson's Column and Primrose Hill. One could weave a thread between the Dover girl at the wheel on Waterfall, to the "twentieth century girl with her hands on the wheel" on 'For Tomorrow', with each feminine figure taking on America. The single front cover of 'For Tomorrow', showing two World War Two fighter planes, added further a sense of Britishness and national pride to the release. The band's 'Parklife' album became the quintessential Britpop album: confident, upbeat, yet containing an inherent cynicism and knowingness about English life. It also defined Britpop's iconography; despite being a primarily middle class outfit, the band shrewdly drew upon imagery from working class life: dog tracks, ice cream vans and package holidays. This British pride was embodied in the Parklife video, which featured spoken verses by actor Phil Daniels, who had starred in 'Quadrophenia'. Sleeper's 'Inbetweener' video positioned the band in a supermarket (with a guest appearance by Supermarket Sweep's Dale Winton) and laundrette, while in Pulp's 'Common People' video, Jarvis Cocker is pushed around a supermarket by English actress, Sadie Frost (the single front cover featured the band in a greasy spoon cafe, eating establishments which became a badge of working class identity in this era). Blur, Oasis and Pulp were the premier acts of Britpop and Louise Wener aptly summarises the situation for those Britpop acts hanging on to the coattails of 'the big three'. Suede were close to this 'big three', but their admirable refusal to conform to a 'Britpop stereotype' in this era, hindered their chances of selling at a level on a par with Blur and Oasis:
"British journalists wanted this album to be this standard-bearer for British rock, but I'm not anyone's pawn. People always expect me to write songs about council flats and corned beef and living in Leyton in 1945 and other very British stuff. I just decided, well, I'm going to write about James Dean and Marilyn Monroe, which are the last things anybody expected me to write about."
(Brett Anderson speaking to The New York Times about Suede's second album, 'Dog Man Star', February 1995)
***** John Harris, The last party (London: Fourth Estate, 2003), p. xvii. The key 'anti-influence' on the Britpop movement was Grunge. In the wake of the American invasion led by Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden, British acts were thrown on the defensive. America threw down the gauntlet and Britain formed its response in Britpop. A generation of Brits came of age in the mid '90s, who harboured resentment that America had enjoyed this unchallenged cultural hegemony. The contrast between 1994's 'Live Forever' by Oasis and the Nirvana b-side of the same year, 'I Hate Myself and Want to Die' (a title which Cobain had previously considered giving to the band's third studio album, 'In Utero') could not have been greater. One important mainstay trait which Oasis carried on from The Stone Roses was a life-affirming positivity (Wake up ! There's a new day dawning). This had been embodied by the sanguine Stone Roses frontman, stating in a 1989 TV interview, "I don't have time for negative thinking. Positive thinking brings its own rewards", and latched on to by Noel Gallagher: "Live Forever was written in the middle of grunge and all that, and I remember Nirvana had a tune called 'I Hate Myself and I Want to Die', and I was like 'Well, I'm not fucking having that.' As much as I fucking like him [Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain] and all that shit, I'm not having that. I can't have people like that coming over here, on smack, fucking saying that they hate themselves and they wanna die. That's fucking rubbish. Kids don't need to be hearing that nonsense. Seems to me that here was a guy who had everything, and was miserable about it. And we had fuck-all, and I still thought that getting up in the morning was the greatest fuckin' thing ever, 'cause you didn't know where you'd end up at night. And we didn't have a pot to piss in, but it was fucking great, man." ('Lock the Door', Stop the Clocks bonus DVD, 2006). Cobain committed suicide in April 1994 and his image featured in the U.S. 'Live Forever' music video. Whereas the first Stone Roses LP emitted sunshine and colour, the second took on an altogether darker mood. This was wholly reflective of the band's fragmented state in the mid '90s, with a despondency setting in, particularly emanating from Reni. Not before 9T4 would he wear the Roses' hat again. Ian's focus has consistently been to uplift ("If you see someone falling, pick them up. Physically and metaphysically", Heaton Park 2012) and inspire (No one alive can lock the door to your dreams), and the dichotomy in outlook between himself and an adjacent downbeat Reni at The Stone Roses' reunion press conference in 2011 is fascinating to watch. The nervous energy is palpable, and at one point, Reni reports that Ian and Mani are sounding good in rehearsals, but John and himself are "pretty rusty". This is quickly disputed by both Ian and Mani, keen to give the impression that all four players are on form and fighting fit for their comeback. At another juncture in the conference, Reni again goes on a dispirited tract and Ian swiftly interjects, "This is a great day for all positive thinkers." This world of contrast between Brown and Reni is most pronounced in their sequence of overlapping answers given to the question from The Quietus at the conference. A communication breakdown between Brown and an increasingly erratic Reni, as detailed here, was critical in the chain of events leading to the band's disintegration. The personalities of each member of the group are wonderfully captured, almost caricature-like, in their walk-on entrance to Stoned Love, at Warrington's comeback gig of May 2012. Mani leaps onto the stage, with much 'Let's 'ave it' rousing of the crowd; Ian performs a nifty dance routine from side to side; an oblivious John strolls nonchalantly in a ghost-like fashion towards his side of the stage, while Reni takes his place on the drumstool, almost unnoticed.
****** Noel Gallagher has stated in interviews that "He lives under a waterfall," from Oasis's 'Supersonic', is a nod to The Stone Roses' Waterfall. In Paul Du Noyer's 'Liverpool: Wondrous Place' (p. 230), Noel reflects upon the Northwest's rich musical heritage: "Between Manchester and Liverpool, you've probably got it all in British guitar music: The La's, The Beatles, Oasis, The Stone Roses, The Smiths." You can taste the past in Noel's recipe, with the four accompanying acts that he lists here, his main ingredients. The Beatles are rigorously entwined in Noel's lyrical formulations. The songsmith had clearly ingested Ian MacDonald's weighty 1994 Beatles' tome, Revolution in the Head ("Fucking amazing book, man...Fascinating, totally"). Glaring evidence of this can be found in a couplet from My Big Mouth: "And as you look into the eyes of a bloody cold assassin / It's only then you'll realize with whose life you have been messing". MacDonald's book dissects the confrontational element of Lennon's cryptic lyricism, and how this fuelled the fixated, deranged minds of Mark Chapman and Charles Manson. The Beatles, at the fore of Sixties counterculture, fell under the influence of Bob Dylan as their lyrics became more personal and topical. Settling into a pot-pourri of fragments and allusions, this engagingly jumbled approach to writing encouraged clue-hunters and pseuds alike to pore over song lyrics. In the heady atmosphere of the '60s, the fascination grew into rumours and outlandish theories, most notably the Paul is Dead proposition.
A plethora of Stone Roses references can be found in Oasis's work, originally quite well disguised, but reaching a tiresome and blatant peak on their Be Here Now material:
In the case of 'Magic Pie', this appears to have been reciprocal; a John Squire lyric from Love Is The Law, "Oasis was a shop with shoes so hot, they were sure to blow your mind", considered alongside the Magic Pie lyric, 'I dig their shoes', reveals a mutual appreciation of 'shoes'. 'Shoes' equates to songs, with Squire acknowledging how Oasis took up the Roses' mantle, and Noel returning the compliment. ". . . they wrote the greatest songs of the late '80s. I've said this to John Squire - without that band there would not have been an Oasis." (Noel Gallagher, Uncut magazine, February 1998). Asked by Dave Simpson (Melody Maker, May 1995) to explain the meteoric rise of Oasis, Squire commented, "Songs. Have songs, will travel." While the Roses lose ground and rest on their laurels, Oasis make tracks; the Gallaghers put on their shoes and walk triumphantly down the hall of fame. This is a clever lyric by Squire which works on several different levels. Oasis was the name of an underground market in Affleck's Palace, and thus the word 'hot', taken in a fashionable context, can mean either stylish or hookie. Oasis had recorded their debut album, Definitely Maybe, virtually next door to the Roses at nearby Monnow Valley Studio, a former Rockfield rehearsal space. As to the origin of this wordplay, on interview tapes, John Lennon would sometimes speak of 'boots' in reference to material ("Pepper was just an evolvement of the Beatle boots..."). On this note, could the "blow your mind" facet of the Seahorses lyric point to The Stone Roses' December 1995 Select magazine cover: We've got to blow people's heads off !! ? Highlighted in bold in this sentence are the words 'blow' and 'heads'; a blowhead is a person that does copious amounts of cocaine. A champagne supernova is a martini glass full of champagne with cocaine on the rim, as salt would be on a Margarita. This reading of the Select cover is supported by the accompanying thought bubble from Mani, Zip it weedbrain !, also in bold. A zip is an ounce of marijuana (the amount that fits in a ziplock bag). These factors, when considered collectively, suggest that this magazine cover was a response from a band who were 'in the know' concerning Noel's 'spiritual riddle' (see below). Clearly on a Glass Onion ("Well, here's another clue for you all...") tip, Noel attempts to link his own songs in a 'riddle' with those of The Stone Roses, for example claiming that 'Sally', from their 1996 single 'Don't Look Back in Anger', is Sally Cinnamon and that (the figure) 'Lyla', their 2005 single, is "Sally's sister" (on this note, if you drop the 's', Lyla has close relationship to Sally too, in anagram form). Sally Cinnamon was very much a signature riff for Noel Gallagher at the height of Britpop. The guitarist could regularly be heard playing this riff at the end of 'Acquiesce'; listen to, for example, 'Live By The Sea', 'There and Then', The White Room performance (17/04/95), and Glastonbury '95. After Noel plays this riff at Glastonbury, Liam dedicates the subsequent song, Supersonic, to The Stone Roses, who had to cancel their scheduled appearance at the festival because of John Squire's mountain biking accident in Northern California: "This one's for my mates who can't be here because one of them can't ride a bike. But never mind. Supersonic for the lads." (Another dedication by the Gallagher brothers can be found here). In interviews, Noel describes hearing Sally Cinnamon for the first time as a defining moment for him: "When I heard Sally Cinnamon for the first time, I knew what my destiny was." Oasis take this formula and run with it. Click here to view an Oasis rehearsal at Manchester Boardwalk from 1992, with Noel running through the intro of Sally Cinnamon.
Question: Noel, you once said in an interview (Select) that all the songs in Morning Glory have a connection ! What is the connection ?
Noel Gallagher: It's all part of a very big spiritual riddle to which only I have the answers...
(Noel Gallagher, AOL webchat, 7th March 1996)
What's the story, morning glory ? What's the tale, nightingale ? What's the word on the street ? Speaking to Mojo magazine in Autumn 2001, Mani joked that, such was the sense of unfulfilled expectation, Second Coming should have been titled 'Premature Ejaculation'. In the wake of its release, it would be Oasis who were left to bask in morning glory. I would not take too literally, the hint from Noel that "the answers are all in Champagne Supernova". The eponymous La's LP ends with Looking Glass, which, at its blistering finale, features a cauldron of samples from the album, bubbling to the surface. I imagine that Noel perceives Champagne Supernova to be his 'Looking Glass', hence his wilful projection of the song as a key embodiment of the project (furthermore, Stop the Clocks is Looking Glass by numbers). Those who diligently unwind the melody c(h)ord of Noel's masterplan will un-dish-cover the fish. Dishcover the riddle and you will find the answers in (the) looking glass. The La's were a profound influence on both Gallagher brothers, with Noel declaring only days after the release of Oasis' debut single that his masterplan was to "finish what The La's started".
(Liam Gallagher, Eh La)
The Oasis track, 'The Importance of Being Idle' has a 'Clean Prophet' template, and has been dedicated by the band to Lee Mavers, in concert. Disgruntled at allusion to his reclusive status and Noel's pilfering of his work, Mavers responded, "Noel needs to realise the importance of being honest." (Clash Music magazine, March 2009).
"I am the key / Open the door..."
"I find the key that lets you slip inside...[behind the door]"
(I Am the Key / Roll With It)
"Even the words they fail me... / I never say what I want to say..."
"Take the time to make some sense / Of what you want to say..."
(Timeless Melody / The Masterplan)
Noel often remoulds and provides addendum to La's material - for example, the lifeless 'Stop the Clocks' xeroxes 'Looking Glass', with the "turn the world around" lyric a direct lift.
"In its lyrical content it's quite near to The Masterplan... it's only an acoustic demo at the minute."
(Noel Gallagher, Arena, 18th March 2003)
Stop the Clocks was debuted in 2003 at the Zanzibar club in Liverpool, a fitting place to air it, given its looking glass ties.
And they will dance if they want to dance
Please brother take a chance
(Oasis, The Masterplan)
Chess as metaphor for fate. Think like a grandmaster, planning victory in eleven moves. Wonderland is not a place. Wonderland is a state of mind. Experience another world more real than reality. To make sense of this world, the receiver forms a picture. I am receiving, to give you this feeling. Psychedelic: psyche (mind or soul), delos (to reveal or manifest). An acute perception doesn't make you crazy, but it can drive you crazy. This journey inside has driven people mad, truly insane. He is just a child with nothing to lose but his mind. Through the doors of perception, all things are one. Alice dreams that she sees the White Rabbit and follows him down the Rabbit-hole, into the Hall of Many Doors. Better run, rabbit run. Run into the sun. Leave the surreal, nightmarish underground world of Wonderland and explore the drug-dream undertones of Looking-glass house. Where the author is god of his own world, the possibilities are infinite and the infinite is a possibility. Slip inside this house, the mind's eye of true conception. You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Now you're doing time in the universal mind, in the deepest reaches of inner space. You might find yourself opening many doors on life's corridor of uncertainty. What Alice found there was a better place to play. There must be something in the water here. I think she's messin' round, I think it's LSD (Alice Dee). Liverpool is the pool of life. And the light comes from the water. Life is turned inside out, doubled up in a world of make-believe. I spend my time sittin' on the fence with a mate of mine. I'm tryin' to write the line of a story. Composed on a birthday of four and twenty, this trip to inexorable oblivion writes like a dream, a mirror of sight and sound into the world beyond. Our very sense of reality is challenged at every turn. High in a corner in a cupboard on a shelf. You turn a corner and walk into yourself. In Case Of Emergency Break Glass. Give me the hammer to shatter the dream, to get a way out of this. The quest for dream logic in the collective unconscious reveals a fractal pattern of infinite regress. The glass is smashed. What spiritual essence lies beyond the visible realm ? An offering to a higher power from the lost boy ? Tell me where I'm going. Tell me where I'm bound. Having a better purchase on truth, the wide-eyed child is lifted to the level of a spiritual seer. Then I shall know even as I am known. This dream brought with it a sense of finality. One could not go beyond the centre.
'Answers' to this 'spiritual riddle' on (What's The Story) Morning Glory ? can be found here, here, here and here. The skin and blister of She's Electric, trailed by an apostolic band of twelve, perhaps has relation here. I would not read too much, either, into this riddle having, bar the occasional gem, a 'spiritual' aspect of any significance to speak of. The Oasis cannon of work lacks the deftness of touch and intricacy of The Stone Roses' '88/'89 material (or the primal intensity and raw power of Mavers) in this regard. Now you understand that this is not the promised land they spoke of.
For an encapsulation of how the intellect of man has become woefully dimmed, see Noel Gallagher's 2012 appearance on the abominable RTÉ series, The Meaning of Life, hosted by Gay Byrne. Turns out that a man who spent his life's work undermining Catholicism is now considered by the average twenty-something in Ireland to be the embodiment of it. Abandon all hope, ye who enter here. When weighing up whether to appear on this programme, I can well imagine that Noel's thought process went something like 'I saw Bono do this sort of thing the other week. I'll give this a go. Can't be that difficult'. Gay Byrne's touchstone for the miraculous is immediately revealed in his opening gambit, an Abu Dhabi do. An expensively assembled football team scoring two goals in quick succession, thereby pipping an equally expensively assembled football team to the title - much like Ian Brown's slack-jawed impiety in worshipping at the feet of some ringpiece fooling around with a Coke can and a ten-pence coin, subliminal association at its most devious - is exalted to miracle classification. Noel's wholesale rejection of religion is prefaced with the perennial 'organised religion = war' canard.
After some comments about touching up his wife and the obligatory pantheistic babble ("God is in me, God is in everybody..."), Noel goes into full-Brent mode, declaring that "Growing with your wife is the meaning of life". Noel's second wife, we are dutifully informed, is a "real angel", because "she appeared out of the smoke in a nightclub" (by which reckoning, DJ Ray Von is a veritable god). The ultimate end of the whole divine economy is the entry of God's creatures into the perfect unity of the Blessed Trinity, but according to Noel, viewers shouldn't concern themselves about their destination (I would say the endgame is pretty much the whole point, you dork). Derp calling on derp, the grinning, buffoon-like host, with a face you would never tire punching, sits nodding at every morsel of pseudo-spiritual tripe thrown his way, asking, as the interview draws to a close, "What do you think Jesus was ?", as if Christ were some historical footnote. Both the choice of interrogative word (What) and the use of the past-tense (was) of that question should be screaming off the page here. Evidently, Christ has been consigned to the dustbin of history by this clampet. What you have straight from the tongue of this nitwit is a complete bastardisation of the question from Matthew's Gospel: Who do you say I am is now What do you think I was. Noel - whose theological preparation for this soulful exchange appears not to have extended beyond renting out a DVD of Godspell - responds, "Well, I don't know, I don't know. Jesus, if it's to be believed, was maybe the first rockstar. He had his band - twelve of them - and he had followers. And (affects an intellectual pause and concentratively closes eyes) ... the words of Jesus, if they are to be believed, really is just the preaching of right and wrong, y'know, and all the things that you should feel if you're a civilized human being." If it's to be believed ? Before you pitch your tent anywhere near Christ, let us be clear about a few things here. If Jesus is to be believed, then you have the Catholic Church, period. If Jesus is not to be believed, then you can look at Him through whatever spaced out secular prism you so desire. Jesus Christ is first and foremost a Saviour, not a glorified social worker or moralist on which to hook your befuddled conscience. This is Hell, nor are we out of it. Byrne's final question, carefully selective in its eschatological presupposition, brings this heinous hour to a fitting close: "Suppose, Noel, it is all true. When you get there to the pearly gates and he/she is standing in front of you, what will you say ?". If 'it' is true, and by 'it', I am assuming we are talking about some remnant shards of Christianity here, then why is Byrne transporting Noel (note the use of the word when, as opposed to if, in Byrne's question) to the threshold of these 'pearly gates' ? In the previous question, the host closed a dustbin lid on Christ and his interviewee, quite literally, did not know Jesus from Adam. Jesus is provided with a neutralized identity by Byrne (lest he offend any New Age feminist wackos who may happen to be tuning in), and note carefully who is standing in front of who, according to the construct of this question. Noel is not standing in front of Jesus, no siree, Jesus is standing in front of Noel. Furthermore, according to God's go-to guy, Noel will be the one guiding the conversation ("what will you say ?"). Feeding off Byrne's pandering to his ego, Noel affords himself another faux-intellectual pause and ends the interview thus: "I'd say, 'You've heard Don't Look Back in Anger' ? They'd say, 'Of course.' And I'd say, 'Well look, it's me. Let us in. I can play you a tune. I robbed some stuff, I took a lot of drugs. But I'm all right. I can write a song. Let us in. I can't play the harp though.'" Keep this shit up and you best get learning the hurdy-gurdy. If this guff is what passes for spirituality, then perhaps the strongest spiritual insight to be gleaned by the listener can be found on the very song he references at these pearly gates: "Please don't put your life in the hands / Of a rock 'n' roll band / Who'll throw it all away." The meaning of life ? You two numbnuts are butchering the author of life. I have not witnessed a more contemptible Irish/Mancunian collaborative hatchet job on Christ since Sinead O'Connor dueted with Ian Brown on Some Folks Are Hollow. Given the holiness, faith and humility with which Saint Augustine and Saint Thomas Aquinas (who themselves scratched their heads over a few things) read Scripture, what never ceases to amaze is the imbecilic helter-skelter interpretation of today, where Noel Gallagher and Ian Brown are looked towards by a godless society for spiritual guidance. A deplorable gravitation from the interpretive three-legged stool of Tradition, Scripture and Magisterium towards the fallacious whim of self-appointed spokespeople on theological pogo sticks. What next, Ozzy Osbourne provides a personal compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church ? Do not put your trust in princes, but instead look towards the great spiritual insight of Saint Augustine: "For Thou hast formed us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee." Note the triune formula applied here by Augustine ("Thou", "Thyself", "Thee" ... "till they find rest in Thee"); anyone who speaks of Christ in terms of feelings, or on some sort of buddy level - and both Noel Gallagher and Ian Brown comprehensively tick these boxes - is a Grade A bluffer.
Dawn: [interrupting] Was that originally about Princess Diana ?
Brent: Originally - but it fits perfectly, doesn't it ?
Dawn: Well, not the car crash bit.
Gareth: Your relationship with Lee is a bit like a car crash.
Dawn: In Paris ?
Gareth: City of love.
Dawn: You're right. It fits perfectly. Thank you.
Sometimes this shit just writes itself. On 22nd May 2017, a Muslim suicide bomber killed twenty-two people and injured over a hundred at Manchester Arena, following a concert by Ariana Grande. Quite why children as young as eight were in this den of immorality, brought to a pornographic performance by their fathers and mothers, I do not know. Wrist icicle, ride dick bicycle. Seriously ? EIGHT. YEAR. OLD. GIRLS. There will be millstones aplenty on the Last Day.
Minutes after the explosion, a Leslie Nielsen of a PA announcer set the tone for the weeks to come: "There's no problems [sic] here. Thank you for coming and having a good time tonight. Everything is fine." Dressed up like the Hatter, the Queen enquired of a young girl in pain: "You had enjoyed the concert, presumably ?". "Apart from that Mrs Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play ?".
A vigil held in the city centre was hijacked by Lydia Bernsmeier-Rullow (daughter of broadcaster Mike Shaft - now ain't that a coinkidink ?), double-barrelled in both surname and gut. Creating a black hole of cringe, this bouquet-cradling bint (no doubt a remainiac zombie) breaks into a 'spontaneous' rendition of Don't Look Back in Anger. Your neck is that fat, you probably couldn't look back even if you wanted to. Across the board, the mockingbird media were keen to push the narrative that the crowd, to a man, spontaneously burst into song here. A quick view of the video reveals anything but. Although three's a crowd, I suppose. This 'symbolic outpouring of Manchester's resilient spirit' is just what the British Broadcasting Caliphate et al ordered, with the likes of Emma Barnett (Al Beeb) and Josh Halliday (Guardian) on hand to gush at her feet. Was it possible that they could swallow that, after only twenty-four hours ? Yes, they swallowed it.
Looking for all the world like some leftover from a Princess Diana memorial service, the mascot of this media spectacle is patently flagging at certain points. [Enter, Stage Right, the ghost of Nigel Ipinson] "Come on, sing up ! ... Come on, louder than that ! ... You can do better than that !" ... "We love you Manchester !" ... "Rock on, Manchester !". And the crowd goes mild. Hear the ferocious Saxon war cry ! ISIS, clench your anus, you've got some tea headed right your way. Yes, I bet the jihadists were really shitting their pants in their council estates at the sound of this. This cuckolded white flag culture is displaying Stockholm syndrome of the worst kind. Keep cucked and carry on. Did not one person at this gathering have the backbone to speak up and tell this monstrosity to STFU ? Incredible how the sight of a bouquet is enough to hoodwink people into believing they are witnessing genuine grief. Just a quick heads up to all concerned - if anyone launches into an 'impromptu' performance of any sort at a service in my attendance, they will be promptly going the way of the deceased. That dumb shit only works on The Grinch. These cretins would try to pet a rabid bear. But hey, maybe we can just talk sense with them over hummus or something. Kumbaya my Lord, kumbaya. Oh Lord, kumbaya. This is a people parroting 'unity', whose identity has been drowned in multicultural rhetoric. Torrents of virtue signalling hashtags, a tidal wave of sugary platitudes, and PC tweets from leftist tw@ts like there's no tomorrow.
Singing pop music round the bodies of butchered children. This is the way the West ends. Not with a bang but a whimpering pop song. These sheeple are as much a problem as the Muslim terrorists. There Is a Light That Never Goes Out also got a brief rotation on this public square jukebox. Where there's music and there's people, and they're young and alive ? Not with Islam in the arena. Such elevation of pop songs to hymn-like status is precisely what happens when you indoctrinate an entire city with this 'Manchester Passion' bollocks. Might I suggest a different number, this one from the Manics: If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next. And you don't go on grief tourism in 2017. Grief tourism comes to you. Student guitarists and hipster buskers jumped on the bandwagon and duly displayed their fret skills at services all across the land. Go and get the guitar. If this is our anthem in the fight against terrorism, can we please send this so-called woman to combat the Islamic State with her vocal cords ? Hogging the media after the vigil, the fat-arsed wombat claimed that "Manchester will recover" - this transgendered Bruno Mars is a spokesperson for the populace of an entire city it seems ? Fatso wants to "drown out the fear and hate with beautiful voices" #duetobrexit #lovetrumpshate. Speak ye here on some triggered metaphysical plane ? Up until the point where you opened your ginormous pie hole, all I could hear was the sound of silence. Yes, the Two Minutes Hate must have been so overpowering. My God, the silence ! Apparently, Islam is the real victim here. Did you know that in practically 100% of these suicide bombings, the first person to die is a Muslim ? We have to protect them.
This looks staged as fuck. North Korea at least get their propaganda for free. But I can handle this; I'm the rhyme biter, crime fighter, caped crusader, takin' care of undeservin' lime lighters. Holy fake news, Batman ! This is surreal !
Indeed, the hard left are now, more than ever, openly hijacking public grief. At a 'vigil' the following day in Birmingham (the handiwork of Stand Up to Racism and 'anti-Islamophobia' group MEND), local Tory party and UKIP branches were informed their supporters were not welcome. CNN (Choreographed News Network), the citadel of fake news, soon raised this to the level of an art form, stage-managing an anti-ISIS Muslim 'protest' following the London Bridge terrorist attack. Meanwhile, two Asian officers tag team two Caucasian officers to facilitate the charade. Welcome to mainstream media in the age of urban terrorism. How's that homeless hero narrative working out for you chaps ?
A quick online search reveals that this attention seeker is host and compere of The Boi Zone, Manchester's premiere Drag King night, at which she goes by the name Dick Slick. I'm not making this stuff up, folks. This wannabe celeb has also appeared on Gok Wan's How to Look Good Naked [Insert your own joke here].
Knowing me, Nawl Gallagher, knowing you, Aria Grande, Salām. Listen, don't mention the Islamic war. I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it all right. Don't Attack In Raqqa ... Don't Nuke Daesh In Anger ... Speaking to Radio X soon after, a totes emosh Noel Gallagher basks in the glory of Dick Slick and the Manchester Thick singing one of his songs. He proceeds to skirt around the issue at large, avoiding any mention whatsoever of the Islamic ideology behind this attack (and tens of thousands more). Best to keep the aforementioned 'organised religion = war' card in your pocket here, lest you be drawn into specifics. Foremost in Noel's mind are the feelings and future plans of Ariana Grande, whose first name he can't even manage to get right: "I mean, I don't know what Aria Grande's gonna do". Yes, because the feelings and gig schedule of the Kabbalah-practising Ariana Grande truly are the most pressing of concerns here. This doughnut-licking airhead is still mourning Trump's presidential election victory. What will Ariana Grande do ? Gyrate in PVC pants to the next batch of 8-year-old girls coming along the conveyor belt I imagine. The heels just got two inches higher. Despite performing at the One Blub Manchester concert, Liam was equally in the dark as to the identity of its main performer: "Respect to everyone that got it together, man. And the girl. What's she called again ?" (3FM). Game girl ? Nohow ! Ya Allah, his mind is scrambled !
I wanna dance with some bobby. Young girls sacrificed in worship of a pagan god in the month of May; a policeman prancing around with conditioned children in circular parade, acting as if the victims never existed. It's like something out of the fucking Wicker Man. Ring a Ring o' Roses ? Shouldn't you be on the lookout for terrorists pal ? Doubtless feeling left out of the limelight, the Andrew Ridgeley of Oasis wasted no time in launching a solo career off the back of this manufactured emotional response, itching to christen Live Forever (vox: Liam Gallagher) as official anthem. Following the lead of (Muslim Mayor of Londonistan) Sadiq Khan's mantra ("Get Used To Terrorism"), a pandering Independent led with "There's only one way Britain should respond to attacks such as Manchester. That is by carrying on exactly as before." Moderate Muslims are "Uncle Toms", remember. "Normal business has resumed", proclaimed Aleem Gallagher before performing a few solo tracks. Good lord, the hubris. If a Liam Gallagher solo album is the answer, I'm not sure I want to know what the question is. Jon Snow of Challah 4 was despatched to the Court of Liam to test the reformation waters in a much-ballyhooed sit-down - the Stanley and Livingstone moment of our time. Announcing a Manchester Ritz gig, this weapons-grade chancer managed to compare terrorism to a malfunctioning vending machine, telling the Manchester Evening News: "It's just fucking out of order." Why am I getting flashbacks to Danny Dyer's measured assessment of 9/11 here.
"Right ! Get me on the front of this fucking paper before it all goes pear-shaped". No, that's not the leading line of a May 2017 Tweedle brothers feature courtesy of the NME. Contrariwise ! That's Noel Gallagher one day after 9/11 in conversation with said newspaper. Little has changed, except the fact that this shit has now landed on your proverbial doorstep and you are in line to make a killing.
A raft of Manchester 'faces' and miscellaneous trendies donned yellow ribbons for a DLBIA-soundtracked fun run (complete with marching band no less), so perhaps everything is going to be okay after all. Hold on ... I'm just hearing in my earpiece that ISIS are ready to lay down their arms and surrender ! Deep down, these politically correct elites were probably running all the faster in fear of another attack, Boston-style. Run on, Manchester !
Among the professional Islamic apologists on the run at this event was mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham. A grandstanding teary-eyed Burnham also found time to comment on the aforementioned fat mess clearing her throat: "That moment was something special. That's what you need to know about Manchester." These 'moments' are so cherished by cowards such as Burnham because they distract from his own shameful track record of Islamic appeasement (see his peddling of the Muslim extremists' narrative about Prevent).
Don't Cook Bacon (anger !) ... Don't Cook Bacon ('ang 'er !), I heard Youssef ... What's up ? ... What's up London ! No sooner had I finished writing this piece on the Manchester bombing than I read that London Bridge is under attack (Ramadan innit, bruv). No wonder where.am.i is getting his locale mixed up. The religious affiliation of the perpetrators is still unclear (Shintoists ? Jehovah's Witnesses ? Mennonites ? The mystery thickens...), but rest assured that out there, somewhere, Mick Jones is purposefully tuning up his six-string. Pass the teddy bear ! Bodies lie in pools of blood but once again, the feelings of Ariana Grande take centre stage. The Grief Thief Appropriation Unit at Peel Towers declare that her Muslim Lives Matter Manchester concert (soon to be broadcast by the Ministry of Truth) now takes on "greater purpose" in the wake of the London attack. Maranatha ! Not to worry - normal service will be resumed as soon as Liam Gallagher sobers up. Beeboids at your stations ! Arianators and Ariators assemble !
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to grief bingo. Eyes down for a full house. The interminable grief train reached Glastonbury Festival, with Nawl managing to coax the sheeple into singing Don't Like Blamin' Allah at a Q&A event. Liam had raised the stakes earlier in the day, taking victims of both terror and fire under his wing in dedicating the song to the Manchester attack, London attack, and a recent fire at Grenfell Tower caused by a faulty fridge-freezer. We're running out of elements here. I don't really know what's left. Victims of PPI ?
What of the Great British Conscience herself, Lily (the Pinko) Limpet. "Hope will turn to anger", warned the world-renowned fire safety expert and voice of the dispossessed, against a backdrop of the tower. Don't look back in anger, Lily ! All that's needed now is for Phillip Schofield to show up and defiantly self-immolate, to show fire we are not cowed. One Love comes to town, I'm gonna jump that train. Somewhat inevitably, U2 got in on the act, inviting Nawl on stage to sing Don't Knock Allahu Akbar at London's Twickenham Stadium in July. Tweetledee's litany of grief levelled the score with Tweetledum: "For the people of Manchester, Grenfell Tower, LONDON BRIDGE !!!".
Every time you sing, we win. A Paddy Power brainstorming session would struggle to come up with anything as crass. After the reopening of Manchester Arena, Nawl jollied in the city's collective hangover in conversation with the Brexit Bashing Corporation: "We think that we honoured the victims properly and then we had a great time afterwards." Who says Islamic terrorism has to be depressing ! Nawl goes on to eulogize Fatty McFatface for "breaking the silence", as if we are in Dostoyevsky territory here. Entertainment is being weaponized like never before. This is Bono at Live Aid on steroids. For the record, this thing now has a bigger back end than Hattie McDaniel. Every time you sing, ker-ching.
Time now for a game of Guess the Speaker:
Donald Trump ? Nigel Farage ? Marine Le Pen ? ... Noel Gallagher, April 2016 ! Coward. Edmonds. Gordon. And now Gallagher. What a difference a year makes ! As you fucking were.
******* Tony Wilson, a journalist for Granada Television, founded the record label Factory Records and the Haçienda nightclub in Manchester. A semi-fictionalized version of his life and of the surrounding era was made into a 2002 film, '24 Hour Party People', which stars the comedian Steve Coogan as Wilson. Wilson often overplays the merit of Factory's Happy Mondays, on occasion claiming them to be a more important band than The Stone Roses, and hailing vocalist Shaun Ryder as being on a par with the great English poets and lyricists of the past ("the greatest British poet since Yeats"..."the greatest lyric writer since Dylan"); of his contemporaries, Morrissey or Shane MacGowan would be much more deserving of any such appraisal. Adopting the 'Cemetry Gates' model of a plot division along lines of literary merit, if Keats, Yeats and Dylan are on one side, then Shaun William Ryder is very firmly on the other. In a BBC Factory Records documentary ('From Joy Division To Happy Mondays'), Wilson stretches things a tad too far in crediting Fool's Gold to the Happy Mondays: "We now remember The Stone Roses, quite rightly, for things like Fool's Gold, which is the rolling Acid House rhythm that the Mondays invented six months before." Happy Mondays can certainly be credited with second-guessing the prevailing cultural wind of an acid house upsurge, but this new musical direction taken by The Stone Roses in November 1989 was galvanized to a much greater extent by a Warrior breakbeat record obtained by John Squire. Furthermore, Happy Mondays did not invent a rolling Acid House rhythm (that invention process took place across the Atlantic). This somewhat inflated opinion of his own act is, I would suggest, an attempt to compensate for the one that got away (two, if we were to include The Smiths). Andy Couzens states that Wilson tried everything that he could to prevent the Roses' progression, and his thoughts are echoed by Stone Roses manager, Howard Jones:
"I thought it was disgraceful. But, I understand their reasons for doing it. They were trying to say: "Manchester, the Tony Wilsons of this world, fuck you mate. Y'know. People are gonna know we're here."
(On the same programme, Howard Jones speaks about The Stone Roses graffitiing the band's name on Manchester's monuments. Ian and Reni were responsible for this, with each taking turns to spray a wall, such as the side of the library in St. Peter's Square, while the other looked out for police)
Happy Mondays, while being a key facet of the 'Madchester' movement's aesthetic, were not in the same league as The Stone Roses, artistically or musically (to my knowledge, a Happy Mondays LP has never topped - or came close to topping - a best ever British LP poll). In a 'Wired' Joy Division documentary in 1988, Wilson also makes the very challengeable claim that The Buzzcocks were "the greatest punk group".
Modal analysis (by Steve Davidson):
This song has a modal change but retains the same Root note. It starts out with the verse chords essentially a Gb power chord, but the tonality implies a Gb major chord. Then there is a descending melody in the bass of the following chords: Cb major, Gb major/Bb, Ab minor. The second time, it goes up at the end like this:
Cb major, Gb major/Bb, Db7sus4.
So all these chords belong to the Key of Gb Ionian. Here are the notes:
Gb Ionian scale (Gb Ab Bb Cb Db Eb F Gb)
Some of you may prefer to think of it as F# Ionian. In which case the notes will be F# G# A# B C# D# E# F#. As it goes to the chorus, the 2nd descending melody in the bass is different. The chords this time are:
Fb major, Cbsus4/Eb, Dbmin7
The tonal centre is Still Gb but it shifts slightly by way of the Fb major chord (otherwise known as an E major chord) to Gb Mixolydian. Here are the notes:
Gb Mixolydian scale (Gb Ab Bb Cb Db Eb Fb Gb)
It's perhaps easier to think of it as F# Mixolydian, which hosts the same notes but in a slightly friendlier fashion:
F# Mixolydian (F# G# A# B C# D# E F#)
In this case the last 3 chords would read like this: E major, Bsus4/D#, C#min7. It returns to Gb Ionian again for the verse riff. Then the fast bit. Here the tonal centre shifts again to the Ab Dorian mode. The chords are Ab minor, Cb major, Db major. The notes are the same as the Gb Ionian scale, but the emphasis is on the Ab minor chord during this section.
And finally, the end section. We're back to our Gb power chord which again implies a major chord. This time, Squire stays with the Gb Mixolydian mode throughout to give it a more moody feel.
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