I’ve always been drawn to water. My mother told me that even as a crawling baby she would take me to the beach and I would eagerly and immediately bolt towards the ocean. Her day was spent running after me, removing me away from danger to the back of the sands and then repeating the whole process like a lost scene from Groundhog Day.
I live near the sea now and one day hope to live somewhere where I can open my door and see the coast line stretch out in front of me, but in the late 90’s I lived on a houseboat on the River Thames (pictured above), just outside Windsor. It was on this boat that the very beginnings of Breaking More Waves were created. Sat in my bedroom, as the tourist boats sailed by whilst the seemingly always angry ducks quacked outside my window I would stare across an open field to Windsor Castle and hammer away at my computer at a rate of knots to form a paper fanzine. This was a far greater labour of love than any music blog ever was.
The title of this home grown publication was Breaking Waves. I wrote it under the name The Boy on the Boat. The first issue featured nothing more than a rather comical diary of the 1997 Glastonbury Festival. It was 38 pages long. I printed enough copies to give out to friends and sold a few to drunk strangers at gigs.
Issue 2 contained the more typical gig reports, discursive articles, single reviews and my first ever interview – with the drummer from Idlewild. Issue 3 turned into a somewhat gargantuan boozy review of an indie compilation album called Snakebite City. The Greatest Snakebite City and Alcopops Review in the World Ever was 16 pages long, with 20 songs from the album reviewed, plus 1 bottle of alcopop also being described and drunk / rated with each song. Here’s a sample (after 19 bottles) of my review of the band Mascara and their song V Sign “Do you know I once walked up a mountain in Greece with bare feet and nothing but a banana for company and when I came down I was so dehydrated that I drank 3 cans of iced tea down in one. Amazing.” My mind wandered a little under the influence. However, looking back at the one ragged copy of the fanzine that I still own (the others sold out) I can see that I haven’t changed much in that time.
The writing is still very much my personality now. It’s maybe a little more surreal and comic than this blog but it’s very much me. A review of The Verve at Brixton Academy had just 1 line “Dull. I’m not wasting any more space on this. OK?” I asked the BIG questions. “Why do we eat popcorn at cinemas?” “Who actually buys Simply Red records?” and “Has anybody invented strawberry flavoured glitter body paint?” I named Kate Winslet as my ultimate fantasy woman (she still is) and the bands that I recommended included The Beta Band, Mogwai, Broadcast, Arab Strap, Disco Pistol and Ultrasound who were all new at the time. But the group I was most excited about at this point, was an unsigned group I’d seen play in Camden. I was convinced they’d be globally huge. They were called Astronaut. I described them as having ‘melodies that dazzled.’ Of the lead singer I said ‘girls believe me, you will want to shag the pants off this man.’ Nobody ever heard of them again.
So as you read this, almost 15 years later, remember that the template was set a long time ago. I’m still discovering bands that nobody will remember in fifteen years.
It says it at the top on the right on this site “Once this blog was a paper fanzine. Then the internet changed everything.” But I think I’ve stayed pretty much the same. Here’s Astronaut.