This week Tracey Thorn is reading from her excellent sounding biography on BBC Radio 4's Book of the Week. According to today's excerpt, when she first went to Ben Watt's shared student flat in Hull and ran the rule over his record collection, she was pleased to find that he had both of her then favourites: recent releases by Vic Godard and Vini Reilly's group The Durutti Column. What fine taste they had in 1981 - no wonder they bonded! Roll on 30+ years and it's hard not to contrast Vic's situation with Vini's. Vic seems to be having a rare old time, playing celebratory gigs all over the country to adoring audiences and working with a succession of friends and admirers. Vini, on the other hand, has gone through a series of sobering, difficult timesalthough, thankfully, the most recent update on his situation was more upbeat. Hopefully, somebody will do for Vini what Paul Kelly did for Lawrence Hayward and provide a focus to bring his music back to some kind of prominence so that he, too, can feel that he has a future and an immediate connection with his audience. I wonder if in 1981 they both imagined that they'd still be part of the music industry three decades on. I'd be surprised if they did; pop seems like such a young person's game when you're young. I bought Vic's new single in Monorailat the weekend. At a tenner it wasn't cheap (it's an import on Spain's famèlic) but a) IT'S VIC and b) it's great and a lot of fun, especially "(Oh Alright) Go On Then". I wonder, too, if Tracey's still listening to Vic and Vini's records. I hope so as, for my money at least, the music they're releasing and re-releasing now deserves it. I'll be reading Tracey's book, for sure and it was a lovely surprise to hear even the briefest snatch of Marine Girls' sublime music on the radio during my commute to work - it felt like spring had truly arrived.
Tracey Thorn appears in Glasgow at Aye Write! on the 12th of April. Full details here. If I can arrange it, I'll be there.