Friday, August 13, 2010

Laurie Anderson

Here's a funny thing. A couple of weeks ago Boy was telling me that he'd been given his grandparents' old hi fi cabinet, which had a turntable, and he'd discovered his mother's vinyl copy of Big Science. He was impressed.  I asked him when he'd first played the album and he told me it was around 7.30, a couple of nights before, a Tuesday. Anyway, where I was in South East London, 300 miles away, at about 9.30 that same Tuesday evening, Laurie Anderson came up in conversation where I was working, and I was thinking, I really must get a copy of Big Science and Mister Heartbreak again.

Anyway, I've now got my copy of Big Science on CD, the remastered version, (in the sleeve notes Ms Anderson herself is quoted as saying the first CD had lost "a lot of low end and much of its character").  

And it has Walking the Dog, the B Side to the single of Big Science, which I must have had back in the day, because I remembered it straightaway, though I had thought I'd stopped buying singles by 1981.  Apparently not.  

Wow man. I've listened to the album four times today. It's all great stuff of course, but the title track is an amazing bit of work. And then I realized how little I understood of the society I was a member of, back then. I didn't know the term neo-liberal until five years ago, and this was nearly thirty years ago.  I was a keen Marxist, of course, and aware of the theories.  But "this is the hand that takes" feels much sharper now.

You get a video of O Superman on the CD. It looks somewhat naive, but I doubt anybody could try to do something similar and call it retro, today, a tenth as well. Boy said, (tell me how to link to old tweets, someone?) he said she must have influenced bands like The Knife, which I don't know. I will check them out, but just now I'm still enthralled by my old mate Laurie.