04 November 2007

Baby I was not the one, I guess you know that now, but I kept you real distracted for awhile….

He’s the distinctive voice of Del Amitri and if you either know me personally or have been a loyal reader of this blog than you know they are one of my long-time favourite bands and Justin Currie can write no wrong. I can’t explain it, but there is something in his voice and his writing that has touched me deeply and kept me inspired as a writer for as long as I can remember.

I think it all dates back to the Del Amitri debut release, Waking Hours, with “Kiss This Thing Goodbye” in 1988 and came full force with 1992’s, Change Everything, from which came “Always The Last To Know”, “As Soon As The Tide Comes In” and my favourite, “Be My Downfall”. But the album that gets me the most and has shaped me more than any other is Twisted. There are too many great songs on this collection to list but I will mention one tune, a tune I actually dare to cover, “Tell Her This” (see the video below). The song in so many ways embodies how I am in my relationships (sad, I know), how I feel about the world and what I aspire to be as a songwriter – devastatingly honest – though when it comes down to it I can rarely open myself up to that level; I am not as brave as I should be and thusly fail miserably at being that songwriter. I am not Justin Currie, but I sure wish I were.

It is with great excitement that a couple of weeks ago I downloaded his solo release, What Is Love For? As with his work with Del Amitri these songs are personal, catchy and at times heart wrenching all the while being romantic and yet bitter like warm piss beer in a dirty pub. Though I think the title of the CD is lame, (the original title, Rebound, is far less cheesy), I can get past that and dive into the music. Because no one writes heartache like Justin Currie.

“What is love for? What do I do with love I can’t use for her anymore? Where do I put this beautiful suit another memoir? What is love for?” (from “What Is Love For?”)

“I’d love to hurt you without you ever knowing. I could desert you without you ever seeing me gone...” (from “Where Did I Go”)

“…but Only Love makes killing time so cruel. So many things that you must get ‘round to, a dripping tap amongst mail to sort through, if you could just get your mind to clear, but it’s Only Love and it keeps you waiting here….” (from “Only Love”)

“My keepsakes have their places at the back of drawer or slipped between pages and stuck on a shelf. But I’m still in love, I’m still in love, I’m still in love with nothing but myself…” (from “Still In Love”)

And my favourite song on this CD:

“When you dance and your baby’s dancing too, than I will walk through you…when you wake in the silence of your room than I will walk through you.” (from “Walking Through You”)

If you’re looking for a dance record, this is not it. The production values are more mellow pop/rock than hip, teenage one - hit - wonder dance crap. Of course, you have a lot of electric guitars, beautiful, haunting piano, drums and the occasional orchestral movement with harp-infused brilliance. Make no mistake, this is not a sleepy collection of tunes, this is music that enhances as opposed to drowning out the thought-provoking lyrics. If you turn your head you might think this is just another Del Amitri CD with less rock and less roll. That’s ok….he is afterall the main songwriter for a band that has reputedly broken up, or has it?

Either way, Justin’s voice shines clear and his point is never lost. Love sucks. It’s hard work. But we stick around because it takes us to places we can never go without it. Love is good. Love is in everyday places and no matter how you feel – you need it. Like that warm piss beer in a dirty pub and the woman you can’t drink away. www.myspace.com/justincurrie & www.delamitri.com

If you’ve been following my blog than you’ve heard me mention the decimation of this once-quaint nieghbourhood. In a few short years we’ve gone from homey, two story four-plexes to monstrous five story, double lot, thirty-five unit blocks of ugliness. Councilman Jack Weiss and The City of Los Angeles, seeing green and reportedly being bribed by developers, who also reportedly bribe the city inspectors, have told their constituents that they were ‘cracking down’ on over-development and hearing our complaints about more traffic, more smog, less available street parking, and thusly because of the thousands more people in the area, more noise. Bullshit. They have done nothing to slow anything down and in fact things seem to be speeding up.

It’s very sad to see this quiet neighbourhood disappearing and of course, being duped by that A-Hole Jack Weiss, makes all this sting even more. This is a man who came to our neighbourhood meetings (United Neighbors for Responsible Development), shook our hands, and promised us that he was ‘on our side’. He told us he was ‘listening’ to us, reading the traffic reports, the noise reports, and he would do everything he could to protect our way of life in this little corner of the city. Of course he never told us he was saying the same thing to the Developers.

He played us. Hard. Many people are very fed up and have made considerable efforts to effect change – of course, not the people who have moved in in recent years, but those of us who have lived here a long time and came here because of the quiet, ‘you’re not in a city’ feel to these few blocks of concrete that are nestled between Hollywood and Beverly Hills. I could go on and on but I won’t; if you’d like to read more about the efforts to rid our district of this scum-sucking, dumpster licking low life go to: www.recalljackweiss.com

The reason I bring all this is up is because I’m not just fed up with the noise and the dirt, I’m fed up because I’m tired of getting leered at by the construction workers every time I leave my house. It’s an odd thing. Don’t they have better things to do with their time, like, say, I don’t know, working, than ogle a woman as she goes by? Why, just the other day I hopped on my bike to run an errand and no less than three guys stopped what they were doing to watch me ride by – I’m not kidding and I’m not exaggerating. Where do they find the time? No wonder the building never seems to cease.

Now that it’s cooling down enough to run outside, and now that I’m not working and thusly running during the day, I actually have designed my run AROUND the many construction sites (there are no less than FIVE in a two block radius of here) that are currently on operation. I can’t believe I have to do this but to be honest, I don’t want to feel like I’m on display when I go out for a run. I don’t want to feel eyes on me.

The thing is, I never used to mind, but lately I do. As I feel that this area is being invaded by large machines, disgusting, trash-dropping, pissing in public loud music playing workers who yell all day I feel my nerves being pushed over the edge. I don’t find the attention of these guys flattering in the least. It’s an annoyance. I mean, it’s not like I’m the prettiest girl around, either. I can only imagine when a REAL pretty girl walks by. I mean it’s bad enough that guys shout at you from a car on occasion – and not always nice things, but to have to deal with this when you are just going about your business and doing your thing is a real pain in the ass and I can’t wait for this shit to slow down…if it ever does.

Thanks for tuning in…Until next Sunday….CHEERS!!


Gasp65 said...

Lara--you wrote:

"I think it all dates back to the Del Amitri debut release, Waking Hours"

Uh, Lara. That's not their debut. I know the first Del Amitri album (1985) doesn't sound much like the rest of the oeuvre, but still...

Anyway, it's been reissued with bonus tracks and all that, so you might want to give it a listen to hear a very young Justin!

Lovely post, by the way. I lean more towards Change Everything than Twisted myself, but hey, it's all good.

Lara said...

Hey There...

Thanks for pointing out my misstep - I stand corrected - the first Del Amitri album was indeed their eponymously entitled 1985 release. Usually I'm much better about my research....thanks & I'll have to check out the reissued version!

As for Twisted and Change Everything - very tough some days to pick a favourite - I love them both!

Very glad you liked the post and thank you for taking the time to write - it's always great to hear from fellow Del Amitri fans - a band that is completely underrated and deserves much more credit than they get.

Cheers GASP65!!!


haydn watson said...

I have been following Del Amitri ever since I heard Nothing Ever Happens. They are the best thing that has ever happened in the last 30 years. I have seen them some 5 times and I have all their music. Rock & Roll Justin, your solo CD is brilliant.

Haydn Watson