Record Duggie Chop's into, right this moment:

Record Duggie Chop's into, right at this moment: Muswell Hillbillies - The Kinks (1971)

Duggie Chop recommends:

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Tubular Bells - Mike Oldfield (2009 mix version)

The twisted bell, floating in the sky.

[then Duggie notices that the bent bell, on the cover of the new CD, doesn't ring true]

Hang about...It's a little too perfect!

[he walks over to the second hand LP section, selects an original, 1973, vinyl copy]

As I thought, the bell on the old album cover is a real one, with sawn off ends. You can see the saw marks...

[anyone listening to Duggie's thoughts would wonder why he wasn't thinking about the music]

...sort of spoiled it for me, that has.

[But, Duggie does think about the significance of Tubular Bells in his life...]

Mike Oldfield called Tubular Bells 'Opus One' while he was sketching out ideas in an old notebook. When I got my first car in the mid-'80s, I called it 'Opus One' - stuck the letters at the top of the windscreen, behind a green sun-visor, where people used to put 'Kev (on one side, usually the driver's and Tracey on the other.

Spun round the streets, window wound down, Mike Oldfield's 'Opus One', Tubular Bells pouring out of the speakers...everyone else was listening to 'Living In A Box' and 'I Want Your Sex' on cassette single.

[and does think about the music, eventually]

I liked the way he played all the instruments and was only about 17 when he started writing it.

I also liked Viv Stanshall introducing all the instruments, "Grand Piano" blah, blah, blah "And, Tubular...Bells!"

And the fact that his sister Sally was on vocals in the background. Had a thing about Sally, she reminded me of one of my teachers when I was about 5. A bit of a hippy. Had that minor hit with 'Mirrors' (1978). I remember buying the single as an 'ex-jukebox' single from the newsagent on the corner after seeing it on Top of the Pops a few months earlier.

Oh yeah, of course, being a teenage boy, I liked the bit at the start that they used for the banned - and most scary horror film of the era - "The Exorcist".

Then on Side Two you've got the floaty bit with mandolins and acoustic guitars, that you'd try and play along to on your own guitar, and it'd sound alright until you turned the music down and realised that what you were playing wasn't actually making any sound - just a click on the fretboard - because you didn't actually know what to play.

Then you've got a wind instrument bit, with a bit of finger-picking in the background and the girlie chorus (it's actually called that in a real touch of 1973 terminology).

And after that, a few drum rolls and a chugging riff and the 'Piltdown Man' starts growling, and it all goes rocky and then goes spacy, like the guitars are emulating seagulls flying and a church organ comes in. It ends in the cool arrangement of the sailor's hornpipe, getting faster and faster. Another one to imagine you're playing along to, when you're not really.

I remember reading somewhere that Mike liked loads of bits of other people's music and wanted to make a whole record like that. For ages I was totally into that philosophy. I mean, back then, Mike Oldfield was a total role model for me: gazing through a rain smeared window on the cover of 'Ommadawn' with a messiah-like beard and whimsical expression, hands in his pockets standing on the beach on the cover of 'Incantations', no beard, but wearing a cool ear ring. Man, what more can I say?

[Before he knows it, Duggie's taken the triple CD to the counter - triple because it's the 'Deluxe Edition' complete with 2009 stereo mix, 5.1 surround sound mix, original 1973 mix and a DVD - and he's going to buy it, despite the bogus bell on the cover]

"£19.98, mate" says the guy behind the counter. "Oi, mate." [Duggie's still in a trance. Driving around in his Fiat 126, in the '80s, listening to Tubular Bells.]

"I'm sorry," Duggie tells the guy, shaking his head like a dog running out of the sea, "I was day dreaming, what am I doing with this?"

[Duggie examines the CD in his hand. Pauses. And takes it back to the shelf.]

1 comment:

  1. Stevo,
    I don't really understand all this but it sounds pretty cool.