See the buildings start to really burn!

Term time has once again stolen upon us. The evenings have started to close earlier, the mornings start a little later, and I’m on the point of putting away my shorts for the season. Summer’s promise has faded.

It’s a little sombre, for sure, but pretty soon the good things of the Autumn will start to kick in properly (not least of which is the start of the rugby season, one that promises much this time round…)

In the meantime, this is brightening up my life…

The Move


I can only imagine the skill and craft required to pen something as flawless and keenly focused as this, and Roy Wood’s colourful genius can be summed up in these peerless two and a half minutes. Effortless and exhilarating, innocent and knowing, mainstream and off-centre, all in one and the same breathless passage.

It’s a great song that I’ve played to death since I bought the first Move album as part of my London haul. The whole record is a treasure (“Cherry Blossom Clinic”, “Flowers in the Rain”, “Kilroy Was Here” and a Moby Grape cover are amongst the other highlights) from a band I’m afraid I’ve under-appreciated over the years. Wood-less years I’m never getting back…

The clip’s notable not only for Wood’s down home accent and gleaming talent (not to mention his gleaming chin) but also the fact that I think it’s live, (although if you told me it’d been pre-recorded I’d believe you straight away, so close is it to the sound of the record).

The more I watch it, though, the more my attention has started to drift towards poor old Carl Wayne, for whom the writing must’ve been daubed upon the wall, in great technicolour (Kilroy) letters. Rarely has a lead singer looked more redundant. For most of the song he is reduced to backing vocals and novelty “ooh”s, although Wood graciously allowed him to sing the bridge. For the rest of the song, he furiously clicks his fingers and does his best to look as if he cares not one jot for his reduced circumstances. In figure-hugging white slacks and black open-neck shirt, he is starting to look like the cabaret singer, Eurovision hopeful and future star of Crossroads he would later become.

All of which is a bit unfair on the man – by all accounts he was a brilliant and attention-holding front man in the earlier days, with a great voice and a genuinely rough edge.

I found this wonderful clip from 1966 which certainly complements the sophisticated flair of the Wood vehicle of the later sixties. The first half of clip is an interview which you can skip (till about 5:30) but is notable for how young the band look and sound (although I’m pretty sure Kefford’s not actually 14), but also for the fact that Wayne is clearly the band leader at this point.

The second half of the clip is the thing though – some pretty raucous footage of the band playing a gig, in full-on auto-destruct performance art in the style of the Who or the Creation – a speaker appears in flames at one point and in best Pop Art tradition Wayne takes an axe to a TV… Happier times, I’d imagine.

Hoarse chaotic brilliance.