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Jane's Thoughts

 

 

 

Nag's Head - Jane

It's highly likely that I could sing before I could talk, certainly my earliest memories revolve around my Mother's Robert's Radio and just listening to the wonderful sounds that came out of it. The first song I can remember hearing? Obladi Oblada, The Marmalade version which Google tells me was released in 1968, 3 years after my birth.

The next tune to have a major influence on me was The Sweet's Blockbuster a couple of year's later and then began a weekly appointment with Top Of The Pops. My childhood was the Glam years which may go some way to explain my love of dressing up. As soon as I could, I begged my parents for my own radio so I didn't have to listen to Radio 2 anymore. My parents weren't big music lovers, my father is tone deaf and my mother's favourite artist is Bing Crosby, I have no siblings so I had no-one to gently point me in the right direction, I had to find it all myself.

When I was 7, it was decided at my primary school that I had a musical bent so I was signed up for violin lessons which I kept at for the next 5 years ultimately achieving Grade 5. I was very lucky in that my local authority had a good musical heritage and funded several borough orchestras and a Saturday music school which I attended. I also had one of those once-in-a-lifetime primary school teachers who also was hugely interested in music. He ran the school orchestra, built himself a pipe organ and made his own Renaissance musical instruments - the crumhorn anybody? (that old Gryphon favourite - Jem)- which he taught a select group to play and we formed an Early Music subset of the borough organisation.

While still at Primary school I was able to take part in a magnificent project. Commissioned by my local authority, Explorers had its premiere in St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle. Consisting of orchestral and choral sections, Explorers charted the lives and difficulties of various explorers through the ages. My Early Music group was chosen to man a separate-from-the-main-orchestra percussion section and I remember banging the glockenspiel and various loud things with great gusto. Other highlights of this era included a turn up and play version of the 1812 Overture staged in the middle of Uxbridge precinct one Saturday afternoon with real cannons!  What must the Saturday shoppers have thought?

Puberty hits us all in different ways and with me it was boys (of course) and a taste for the dramatic. I knocked the violin on its head, joined a local theatre, The Compass Theater, Ickenham and soon graduated from workshop performances of drama and movement - all Kate Bush swirly arms and teen angst - to bona fide theatrical productions. Again, I was hugely lucky in having on my doorstep a council funded establishment that allowed us a lot of freedom. We made our own programme, wrote, directed and performed in our own cabarets and floor shows, staged plays, musicals and pantomimes. I tended towards the more musical productions and played parts in, amongst others, Grease, Pal Joey, Godspell, Oh What A Lovely War and twelve, count 'em, twelve pantomimes where I eventually specialised in animal roles playing the cat in Dick Whittington and the panda in Aladdin twice!

The local council eventually took more of a management role in the theater and our resident group was ousted leaving me with a bit of a void in my life which I quickly filled with gigging. I'd always squeezed in the odd gig when time allowed, my first being Gary Numan on his first tour at the Hammersmith Odeon when I was 14. I was completely familiar with the old Wardour Street Marquee long before I could legally drink in it but somehow managed to miss the heyday of neo-prog there, having more of a straight ahead rock and metal taste in those days. I do recall well the NWOBHM and saw many of the smaller bands, Angelwitch and Tytan spring to mind, in scuzzy local dives and clubs.

The pivotal prog awakening moment came though when a friend in whose bedroom we ritually gathered to listen to the Radio 1 Rock Shows on a Friday and Saturday night, said to me after I'd missed a previous show, 'I've taped something I think you'll like.' That song was IQ's War Heroes and that moment set me on a path I've never tired of treading.

It took me a good few years after that to fully come out as a prog fan. One day I just realised that all the music I seemed to prefer fell under that banner so I stopped fighting the inevitable and started exploring the prog world as best I could. Then (the early 90s) there was no internet to speak of and albums were hard to track down so my inroads were partial at best. I also had a bit of an alter ego as a goth/indie chick and frequented several London indie clubs. Schizophrenically seeing bands like The Wonderstuff and Pop Will Eat Itself one night and then doing prog gigs like Galahad the next.

Having my son in 1994 put the lid on going out for a good 8 years and my musical wanderings were limited during this period excepting for the annual IQ gig somewhere and the odd must-see event such as Pink Floyd at Earls Court. I lost touch with many of my musical touchstones in this era. The breakup of my relationship with my son's father afforded me the possibility of starting it all again and I jumped right back in with both feet flying, much to my friends' amusement.

During the intervening years the internet had come of age and I had started to network with fellow prog fans discovering new bands almost weekly. It was a hundred times easier to find gigs to go to and I soon became a fixture at most London prog concerts.

Earlier this year, a fellow IQ fan and I bit the bullet after talking about it for a number of years and began a musical collaboration entitled The Coffee Fairies (named after a work running gag). At this stage my part is mainly singing for it, my fellow Fairy, David having more than enough songs in his back pocket to keep us going for a while. Ultimately we will write together and hope to get out performing before the end of the year.

I'd always enjoyed writing pieces and reviews about music and often did so purely for my own enjoyment. When the opportunity came last year to document the North American IQ tour for HHH, I grabbed it and thus here I am. Full of opinions and with a feminine perspective, I hope to be able to offer a differing slant to the usually masculine world of Prog.  

My Indispensable Albums 

Alan Parsons Project - Tales Of Mystery and Imagination

Ark - Spiritual Physics

Ben Folds Five - Whatever and Ever Amen

The Buggles - Living In The Plastic Age

Bugsy Malone - Original Cast Recording

Coheed & Cambria - In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth:3

Cutting Crew - Broadcast

Michael Moorcock & The Deep Fix - At The New World's Fair

Diamondhead - Am I Evil

Dream Theatre - Images & Words

Enuff Z'Nuff - Strength

Faith No More - The Real Thing

Front 242 - Tyranny For You

Genesis - Foxtrot

Genesis - Nursery Cryme

Hipsway - Scratch The Surface

IQ - All with the possible exception of the song Shooting Angels

It Bites - The Big Lad In The Windmill

Led Zeppelin - IV

Led Zeppelin - Houses Of The Holy

The Lens - A Word In Your Eye

Love/Hate - Wasted In America

Mansun - Six

Mother Love Bone - Apple

Muse - Absolution

Nine Inch Nails - Pretty Hate Machine

OSI - OSI

The Oysterband - Alive & Shouting

Pallas - The Sentinel

Pink Floyd - Animals

Pink Floyd - Dark Side Of The Moon

Placebo - Black Market Music

Pop Will Eat Itself - Box Frenzy

Queensryche - Promised Land

Roger Hodgson - In The Eye Of The Storm

Rush - Grace Under Pressure

Secret Machines - Now Here Is Nowhere

Spock's Beard - V

Steve Earle - Jerusalem

Supertramp - Crime Of The Century

Transatlantic - Bridge Across Forever

Twelfth Night - Fact & Fiction

If you think that's a long list, you should have seen the ones I took out!

 Jane Vincent 

    

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