Monday, 7 September 2015

The Shining - Green Dragon 2/8/84 (1984) C40

I don't really know much about this lot, but they were a local Stratford-upon-Avon band whom I saw live a couple of times. The line up at the time of this gig was Penny Green (vocals), Dave Browning (guitar), Henry Probert (bass), Jackie Lowe (sax), and I'm pretty sure the drummer was called Jim. Apparently they changed their name quite a few times and had previously been known as That Statue Moved after a song by Slow Children. Anyway, my diary first acknowledges their existence as the Shining in an entry dated to Friday the 30th December, 1983 as follows:
Sarah and Penny, who is also in a band called the Shining, came over to do some recording. Jez came over too a bit later. We watched Grez's Agfa video tape of various pop videos. The Devo one was great. Sarah and Penny did their track. I like Sarah. She is really sweet, and not one of those Bauhaus types at all. The same goes for Penny.

Yup. I fancied my best buddy's girlfriend something rotten, and it all ended in a terrible mess, none of which really relates to the Shining whose activities were next recorded in my diary on Tuesday 3rd April, 1984: 

I went to see The Fab Eight, The Shining, and Trees Kill Two at the Green Dragon with Jez, Eggy and the delightful Sarah. What a nice lass she is. I also saw Martin, Andrew Bird and some others, and I might have joined a band. I'm not sure. Glenn Wallis phoned while I was out at the gig. The Shining were great by the way.

I've a feeling the Fab Eight were some sort of conceptual side project involving Henry Probert, Dave Browning and six cabbages arranged around a microphone like backing singers. You probably had to be there, and I was, but I can't really remember what happened. Anyway, on to Saturday 12th May 1984...

Today I had a letter from Maidstone: I'm in! I also had post from Gordon Leitch and also from Doublevision who want to see my video work! Later I went to see the Shining and the Fab Eight at the Green Dragon, which was ace. Jez, Martin, Jane, Grez, Louie, Eggy and Sarah were also there. I sold Sarah a copy of Five Track Compact Cassette. I will be supporting the next time the Shining play live. The Shining are fucking good.

Yeah. It was all happening for me, apparently. Five Track Compact Cassette was a tape by Do Easy, the name under which I had been recording vaguely underwhelming experimental music for about a year, and by this point I was beginning to think about the possibility of gigs. Word of this got back to Dave and Henry of the Shining who promptly offered to help out, and thus, following something you wouldn't quite call a rehearsal at my house, aided in my vaguely improvising some sort of noisy efforts, initially at college in Leamington Spa - no Henry, but with Jim banging bits of washing machine (yer trendy metal percussion at least beating sodding Depeche Toad to the party, if admittedly no-one else); and with Jez playing guitar because I hadn't yet pissed on my chips by entering his girlfriend.

This was Monday the 2nd of July, 1984. Jim is wearing the plaid shirt as Dave bashes something powerfully and Jez rocks out on the right. Those paintings of life size cut-out figures in the background are by my famous friend Jason Pierce of Spacemen 3 and later Spiritualized. He was on my art foundation course, at my college, and he wasn't at your college, therefore nyer. One day he said to me, 'I would like to form a band, but I don't have any inspiration. What would you recommend, Lawrence Burton, my close personal friend and mentor?'

'Have you tried that skag?" I quipped.

He seemed thoughtful. 'I'll look into it, but I can't very well form a famous pop band without a name - that's my other problem.'

'How about Spacemen 3,' I suggested, smiling beatifically.

That's how it happened, or would have done except I didn't know the guy and apparently he was asleep for most of the year. Henry, Dave, and Jez - but no Jim - augmented my pitiful Genesis P. Orridge impersonations at another Do Easy performance, this time at the Green Dragon on Monday the 6th of August, 1984, the recording of which will probably be digitised and posted on this blog when I really start to run low on decent stuff. This was, I suppose, a sort of postscript to Thursday the 2nd of August, 1984:

Today was the usual shit except that I saw the Shining supported by the shitty Magus weak disco. The only good records they played were Killing Joke's Eighties and the first Public Image Limited single, and it kind of spoiled the night. It was the last Shining gig, which is a great pity. I saw Jez, Grez and Sarah - who cheered me up with a letter. I hate cult weirdos.

I think this last reference, along with the one to Bauhaus types made earlier, comes from a general dislike of fashion victims, this being before anyone had coined the term goth. The Shining would probably have been described as goth had they endured, but at the time I never really thought they required whatever descriptions were available - either post-punk or positive punk or whatever it was that month. They reminded me a little of a couple of bands I already liked, notably Siouxsie & the Banshees, yet had something of their own thing going on, particularly with that wonderful saxomaphone, and I still think the lyrics were great. I'm guessing this tape was from the last gig. For some reason I never bothered to write the date on the cassette inlay card, but I probably wouldn't have thought to tape the first one I saw back in April, not having any idea what they sounded like, and the first thing you tend to notice about any cassette recording made in the presence of Eggy is the aforementioned presence of Eggy gurgling and squeaking away next to the microphone, so I doubt it was the May gig.

Thanks to Penny for this pic...

Anyway, I've derived much pleasure from this recording over the years, not least whilst drunk and melodramatically inclined; and it's been a very pleasant surprise to revisit this thing and to realise what great quality the recording was; so er... you've probably never heard of them, and none of this will mean anything, but this be some good shit. Enjoy.

...and also this one.

1 - The Back Room
2 - Twentieth Century

3 - Infatuation
4 - Embarrassment
5 - My Cindy Doll is a Transvestite
6 - Whispering Blades
7 - Oubliette
8 - The Girl

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