Lovely day out today in Soho for me and the child (seen below rocking the New Era) at the Independent Label Market. This one was conceived by our friend Katy from Bang On PR (she’s the one doing the thumbs up at the bottom), and a friend, to celebrate independent record labels. The idea was that the labels themselves took stalls in Soho’s Berwick Street Market (with the odd florist and fish stall placed in between which was great) selling their own music. Labels taking part were Rough Trade, Heavenly, Peace Frog (soon celebrating their 20th anniversary), Moshi Moshi, Domino (who even even had a credit card machine), Mute, R&S, Wall Of Sound, Soul Jazz, Bella Union and XL.

Apparently at 10am the collectors were out in force and this carried on throughout the day. Mute’s stall was one of the best with great cakes, Daniel Miller signing copies of The Normal’s ‘Warm Leatherette’ and a coveted Mute synth (£50 to you guvnor) which one of our mates picked up. It was great to be able to buy a record from XL boss Richard Russell, Daniel Miller of Mute or Jeff Barrett from Heavenly and in general it showed a nice demand for the UK’s independently released music. Fair play to Katy and co for getting it together and fingers crossed it’s on next year.

[Apiento]

Edwyn Collins

In music documentary terms, triumph over adversity usually refers to someone getting over a drink or drug problem of their own making. For Edwyn Collins, much loved for songs like ‘Falling And Laughing’ and ‘Rip It Up’ with Orange Juice and for his standalone 1994 hit ‘Girl Like You’, his triumph was a real one. This documentary, first screened last year by Artworks Scotland and voiced by Alex Kapranos follows Edwyn as he recovers from a brain hemorrahage and stroke in 2005, learning to read walk, and talk again – and incredibly to write new songs and eventually to make his way back onstage. The film culminates with his performance at the BBC Electric Proms in 2007 and if you can watch him perform ‘Home Again’ without welling up then you’re made of stone. But it’s the final shot that’s the real killer. Asked what he misses about his old life (which incidentally, he doesn’t really remember), Collins pauses for a long time. “Nothing,” he says eventually. “Nothing at all.”

Postcard Records Logo

‘Home Again’ is available on the BBC iPlayer until Friday 25th September 2009. Watch it. Also available is the Caledonia Dreamin’ documentary covering the history of Scottish pop music and in particular Postcard Records.

[Emma Warren]

Island Records

If you missed the Island Records documentary on BBC4 it’s well worth taking a look. From the early recordings of jazz artists, Blackwell’s move to London to import ska for the Jamaican communities and eventually the mods, the birth of the pink label and the folk years and his work with Grace Jones and the B-52’s on to modern Island – it’s all pretty well covered. Interviews include Blackwell, Sly and Robbie, Joe Boyd and many of the early employees of Island. There is also some great footage of London in the 60s. It’s interesting seeing how the label worked giving the artists creative space in their own Island studios combined with Blackwell’s eye for the visual aspect of modern music. Not sure how long it’s live for but if you missed it it’s here. As before with the Rough Trade documentary the BBC have also compiled an hour of Island artists playing over the years – check that here.

As a perfect accompaniment here is a mix by Paul Williams (Balearik Soul) of his favourite Island Records/Nassau moments taking in the Thompson Twins, NYC Peech Boys, Wally Badarou, Grace Jones, Roxy Music and Black Uhuru along the way. It’s world music as it should be.

Tracklisting follows.

Island Records Mix By Paul Williams
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[Apiento]

roughtrade

He did. Whilst pogoing to some daft record playing in our office. And he’s also on this great documentary about Rough Trade by the BBC. From the shop to the label, the creation of the Cartel (the UKs independent music distribution network), bankruptcy, getting back on their feet thanks to The Smiths, bankruptcy again, getting back on their feet thanks to The Strokes, this is a great story with early footage of The Normal, The Raincoats, Scritti Politti, The Fall and others.

As Geoff Travis says, ‘It’s kind of flattering that people are interested in what happened in the past and what used to happen, but that’s not really of much concern to us. We live in the present and the only thing that’s important is what happens now and what happens next’. Seems to be a reoccurring theme with the future makers.

It’s available on the BBC iPlayer until 20th March and is highly recommended. Also available until the same day is a ‘Rough Trade artists at The BBC’ compilation hour.

[Apiento]

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