Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Not In Colour

"It's October, so it's raining. Only 50 yards walk fast, faster, trotting, running jumping, made it. The train ticket wasn't an option and the barrier's only 4 feet high. Money for drink now and that drink will be in Chamber Street tax dodgers union where The Freeze will play an encore longer than a set - it's always the way.

I'm on the guest list because I've got a car, shit I've got a car, why did I catch the train! I meet Billy and go to the pub first, Ramones on the jukebox, "Go Mental", so we do. One hour to Freeze time, a slow walk, more pubs on the way. Two pubs from Chamber Street Billy remembers he's late getting home, should've been back in June. Truth is he won't go to the Freeze because he auditioned on keyboards and Gordon said he was bottom of the list, he was the entire list so an optimist might say top, he's still waiting for the call.

In Chamber Street I see Gordon, he's sitting in the corner, a finer display of undisguised indifference to the students who talk at him, I have never seen. He's obviously writing in his head. The sounds he writes may be for tonight or may be 20 years time, his concentration span is rather longer than that of most.
I decide to talk at him too. "What's Paranoia about?" "Can't say, figure it out." He never would explain that song to me but I know he's told everyone else, why, why them and not me, what's going on, am I the only one he won't tell? I'll work it out later, he will sing it at least twice, because he has to, if he doesn't the audience will rip him to shreds, so they all know.

The set will include BG123, I know that's a lift, Her Eyes, I don't know who she is, For JPS, Jean Paul Satre, Celebration, Louise Brooks and of course PsycoDalek Nightmares, doomsday.
The encore will cover the rest of an expanding repetoire. Fifteen minutes to go, the band disappear into the bogs to change. Bandages to be applied for a three minute opener during which bandages will be unravelled to reveal Gordon's face. The opening number is always the same and sets the tone, if I could remember the name of it I would share it, but I can't, if I could remember the words, I would share them, but I can't. I know the tempo, slow to fast put very before both. I know the chant it ends with, so I will share it, "you're gonna die, die die, die die, die, die, you're gonna die, you're gonna die. I know who died but that's private and tragic and still hurts us all.

The gig is over, time to break the news to Gordon that I forgot I have a car and we're going home by train. If we had the car he would sit in silence for the entire 30 minute drive back to Linlithgow, then I would stop at his house and he would talk for 2 hours. Last week he mentioned something called CindyTalk. CindyTalk would be his next venture. Named after Sindy the kiddies doll, you pull a chord in her neck and she would speak a randomly chosen inane, incomprehensible phrase, could you base a band on that, I didn't think so!"

Text by Andy Hutchinson,aka Plastic Orcadian


spaewaif said...

I had originally named this post "Freezing Fire",with the idea of adding The Freeze's "Baby's on Fire" cover to the player...but I am still thinking...

PO said...

This will no doubt lead to fame and as a consequence I will not be able to hang around this blog so much but I will remember you all fondly.

To demonstrate that fame hasn't changed me I have put a link to where you can print off my autograph. I've even left a space where you can fill in your own name to make it more personal. Many of you might want to print the story off and paste the autograph to the bottom of it. I'll leave it to you though.

spaewaif said...

Thank you so much!

Liz Hutchinson said...

Apart from my husband and Alasdair Gray are there any other brilliant writers with links to The Freeze \ cindytalk \ Gordon Sharp?

spaewaif said...

You'd be surprised!
Even best-selling ones like Scott Heim,
who apparently was inspired by Cindytalk
when he wrote "In Awe" and "Mysterious Skin".
Haven't read them though.

Heim's website music links

Beethoven said...

Is it true Hutchinson wrote all the lyrics for "The Wind Is Strong" album?

charleston said...

thanks andy... your writing about the freeze and cindytalk makes me remember my feelings when i was an even smaller youth and discovering cindytalk for the first time & how important and exciting it still is to me.

Mechanics Reunited said...

My God, is that you Russell?

PO said...

This is EXACTLY what I feared. I've only been famous for a day and suddenly a guy I went to school with (and he bullied me, I might add) comes out of the woodwork after 30 years of nothing. I can't handle this anymore, I don't want to be famous, I just want to go back to being me.

Spaewaif, you have ruined my life.

Plastic Orcadian said...

Charleston hits the nail on the head, Freeze to Cindytalk was an important and exciting crossover for me too, life shaping moments.

Whenever I find something new and wonderful my excitement is short lived because being a born pessimist I very quickly start ruing what I might have missed before making the discovery. I wonder if those who love cindytalk ever feel that pang of regret that they never saw The Freeze. I suspect many will.

The Freeze were very very special and attracted a hardcore of loyal followers who would turn up at nearly every gig whether it was 3 miles away in Bo'ness or much further afield in Fort William or Paisley. I think what set them apart from the many new start punk bands of the time was the singers charisma and presence. There were many small pieces in the jigsaw that when fitted together made them special. For example, them being the only band with a light show and we are not talking about a flash here and a flash there, it was choreographed, professional, rehearsed and like the music it was perfect in it's timing.

David, Keith and Graeme were good musicians but they all stood happily (I assume) in the shadows and never sought to provide any visual dimension to the performance. The focus was very much Gordon Sharp, an intelligent, warm, friendly and very humorous Scot with an emotional shield. Those who came close never got closer.

Many people thought Gordon was a bit of a Prima Donna at the time The Freeze recorded singles and played to larger audiences but I never thought this. If he seemed aloof I think it was maybe because he was in a different place mentally, always thinking, his mind seldom where his body was. I sat in my car for hours and hours and heard fragments of the ideas that would later come to fruition but I didn't know what I was hearing and anyway I was never meant to understand or offer opinion on what I was hearing. I wasn't a person Gordon would bounce his ideas off, no, I think he was saying his thoughts out loud so that he could hear them himself. Maybe he was developing ideas through a conversation with the only person he really trusted, himself.

When you see the foundations laid for a building, unless you are an architect and can spot small clues, you just don't realise that a beautiful building will follow.

spaewaif said...

Thank you again for sharing your thoughts,P.O.

cindy said...

i'm afraid i never bought into andy's illusion of my visionary forces within the freeze.i don't believe i was indifferent towards audiences whoever they were.in truth, i was most likely terrified of performing,or, i was struggling to remember my words,never been good at that - in fact that deficiency forced my eventual love of improvisation.the freeze was a band and i was the vocalist,i might have formed the band with david but it was a collective which included the occasional use of lyrics by manager alastair allison.so my reticence over the question of "paranoia",which was one of his,was maybe due to embarassment over the fact that i didn't really know exactly what he meant by it!!!

Plastic Orcadian said...

I hope my comments could not be construed as disrespectful to David, Keith or Graeme, not intended to be anyway. Whichever way you look at it, just a very good band and very good group of people followed that band around.