Tag Archives: Lupen Crook

A Medway Christmas Alphabet: The Full Story

A-Z

You can blame a chap called Philip Kane for this. Back on 1 December, he posted on Facebook the social media version of the old chain letter thing that went as follows:

“So the idea is to fill facebook with music, breaking the monotony of nasty, divisive headlines and images on our news feeds.

If you ‘like’ this post, you will be assigned a letter for a musician, band, artist, song, track or dj to post to your time line with this text”.

I liked it. He came back to me with the letter R. I came up with Rodrigo y Gabriela & C.U.B.A.’s ‘Santa Domingo’ – as you do – and before you know it I’d committed myself to the idea of stealing the whole concept and coming up with some music of Medway origin (or, if you will, MOMO) for each letter of the alphabet.

26 blogs later and I can finally move on with my life.

It has actually been fun – not least because there’s been the opportunity to focus on individual songs in a way you might not otherwise. Being an alphabetical list, there’s been less need to focus on continuity and history.

One day we’ve had a song by Balance Lost (a current band), the next we’ve had a song that’s had two outings: once in the early 1990s and then just a couple of years ago. Then, the day after that, we’ve had a song from 2010 which expresses its boredom with Medway bands from the 1980s.

It’s meant there’s been a wide variety of styles and sounds which all goes to show what an amazing melting pot of ideas this small collection of towns in the north of Kent is.

If you missed any of the blogs, not to worry: here they all are listed for your convenience – in alphabetical order, obviously.

A – The Singing Loins – ‘Alien’

B – Funke and the Two Tone Baby – ‘Bella’s Kiss’

C – Stuart Turner and the Flat Earth Society – ‘Call Me Dave’

D – Brigadier Ambrose – ‘Decembered’

E – Thee Headcoats – ‘Every Bit of Me’

F – Wheels – ‘Forget It’

G – The Dentists – ‘Gas’

H – Bob Collins and the Full Nelson – ‘Holy Man’

I -Theatre Royal – ‘I Believe in Father Christmas (Don’t Get Me Socks)’

J – Wolf’s Head and Vixen Morris – ‘Jump at the Sun’

K – Frau Pouch – ‘Krakthulu’

L – The Claim – ‘Losers Corner’

M – Broken Banjo – ‘Might As Well Be Hell’

N – Hand of Stabs – ‘The Night Had No Terror For Us’

O – The Daggermen – ‘One More Letter’

P – The Prisoners – ‘Pop Star Party’

Q – Wild Billy Childish and the Musicians of the British Empire – ‘A Quick One – Pete Townsend’s Christmas’

R – The Ambience – ‘Rome’

S – Balance Lost – ‘Shield Against the World’

T – The Kravin’ “A”s/Suzi Chunk – ‘Tripwire’

U – The Love Family – ‘Up in the Air’

V – The Flowing – ‘The Voyage’

W – Lupen Crook – ‘World’s End’

X – CTMF – ‘X-Craft on Tirpitz’

Y – Bear vs. Manero – ‘YRANYRBYM’

Z – KILL RPNZL – ‘Zombie Midwife Afterbirth Squad’

Find out more about many of these bands and artists – and many, many more, in my book: Do it Yourself: a History of Music in Medway.

A Medway Christmas Alphabet: W is for ‘World’s End’

‘Tis the festive season of advent calendars and countdowns to Christmas. To mark the occasion, what better way than to have a completely non-festive A-Z of Medway songs.

Lupen Crook - Pros and Cons

My introduction to Lupen Cook came in the form of songs like ‘Dorothy Deserves’ and ‘Lest We Connect’, songs which revel in a macabre disarray and manic chaos.

And there’s much to like in the songs: fantastically, imaginative tunes full of fast moving musical ideas and lyrics spat out with machine-gunfire rapidity.

But for all the allure of the havoc and disorder, it’s the songs which slow down, pull back and mull things over which make the more lasting impression.

Certainly this is the case with the songs from Waiting for the Post-Man which Lupen Crook recorded as a solo, largely acoustic project – a means by which to grieve over the loss of his close friend, Matthew Stephens-Scott. It’s a beautiful, beautiful album, openly honest with its heart carved out on its wrist.

‘World’s End’, from that album’s predecessor, The Pros and Cons of Eating Out, comes from a time before Stephens-Scott’s death; he even contributed a lyric to another song on the record. But, amidst all the whirlwindery of ‘Dorothy Deserves’ and ‘Lest We Forget’, it too gives itself time to meditate – to take a break from all the disarray and discord.

The song is a reflection on the chaos. ‘It’s just here I realise the beast I have become,’ he admits at one point. He’s been ‘thinking dark and desperate things’. Elsewhere, there’s the realisation that he’s been ‘missing out on the best years of this life’. Most telling are lines speaking of how:

One day I’ll find the heart
And with the aid of only madness, wonder when that day will start
A storm so revealing that my thick skin might shed.

Such lyrics betray a quest for sanity: the need to be at peace. Later in Lupen Crook’s catalogue of songs, would come the realisation that being ‘perfectly imperfect’ (‘Note to Self’ from British Folk Tales) might be something to accept and move on with.

But here, in ‘World’s End’, the search has not yet finished. It has, though, uncovered some beautiful gems along the way.

Find out more about Lupen Crook and plenty of other Medway musicians in my book, Do it Yourself: a History of Music in Medway.

You can buy ‘World’s End’ from iTunes. Find out more about Lupen Crook’s current project, The Lost Film Foundation on their Facebook page.