Sunday, 11 September 2011

Dress

I see Polly Harvey has won the Mercury Music award for a second time. I just realised her first single is now 20 years old. That sort of thing happens to me a lot these days.



This doesn't sound 20 years old to me but then music dates in strange ways and only stuff which is steeped in the sound fashions of its time which does. I fell in love with Polly. Like her music, she was clever, strong and uncompromised. One of those moments where someone comes along with something new but you wonder why nobody had done it before. Yes, I knew of and liked Patti Smith but there was some extra quality to Polly's work. Urgency? Englishness? It doesn't matter, one can overanalyse these things and I don't want to do that with something which I love on a purely instinctive level. Maybe it's as simple as she was a girl who played damn good music.

For me, Smells Like Teen Spirit wasn't the record of the moment and Nirvana weren't the definitive band of the era. It was P J Harvey and Sheela-na-Gig:



I sort of fell out with her fourth album To Bring You My Love. I've heard bits and pieces of stuff she's done since but for some silly reason I've avoided investigating further despite having heard snippets of things which sound rather good. I know it's a huge insult to an artist to want them in amber doing only their early stuff but it's also OK if artists and fans go down different paths. What's nagging me is that I may have been missing a lot of wonderful stuff over the last few years just to keep my memories of one particular part of my life intact. I've failed in a little corner of my principles. Maybe it's time I bought her new album. It bloody well better be available on vinyl.