I just watched a programme I recorded a few weeks back – BBC archive footage of bands from the early nineties. I don’t care what you say, 1989-1994 was THE best short period of music in the history of my life. They featured The Stone Roses, Ride, early Blur, Massive Attack, Nirvana, REM. The Nirvana performance was the notoriously bad one where Kurt sings in some strange quasi-choral way, but even that was tremendous as you can see his disdain for having to pretend to play his chords on TOTP. If they’d added The Lemonheads, early Suede, Portishead, maybe even stretched it to show Beck perform ‘Loser’, something from The Bends by Radiohead, and the beginnings of Oasis, I probably would have gone to bed tonight (this morning) a very happy man.
The REM performance was from The Late Show – I remember watching it in my bedroom on a tiny portable TV my dad had hung from a bracket on the wall, sound turned down low because my parents had already gone to bed. Anyone else remember The Late Show? Best cultural arts programme ever. I remember seeing Jeff Buckley play live on it (luckily I saw him in the flesh in Manchester soon after), throwing his arms up in the air in despair when the presenter mentioned he was the son of Tim Buckley. They did a piece once on a New York cab driver (who I’m still trying to track down) that took these amazing black and white photographs of people in the back of his cab. And they did an hour long special on Grunge which was called ‘But not Nirvana’ or something like that which featured Pearl Jam, Rage Against the Machine, Alice in Chains and a load of others (including, bizarrely, REM who really weren’t Grunge) live in their studio, with the exception of Nirvana who must have turned it down.
In some ways I wish I was 18 again. I wish The Late Show still existed. And I need to go to bed before this nostalgia trip turns even more sickening that it has already.