Wednesday, October 17, 2007

All I Need is Cigarettes and Sonic Noise

My Bloody Valentine - Cigarette In Your Bed
My Bloody Valentine - You Made Me Realise (Live in Vancouver)

Smoking in bed is a filthy habit. Dangerous too. Still, I’ve laughed in the face of danger and indulged. When you're a smoker you don't really question the places where you smoke, you just light up when the mood takes you. I fondly remember sharing cigarettes in bed with once-significant others and my true love; wondrous post-coital ciggies, body and soul still humming with joy, and Nick O'Teen ramping up the feel-good hit. Sometimes even a fag wasn't enough. "Woke up - skinned up!", I wrote to my brother after my first morning in Halls of Residence when I'd just left home. The exclamation mark suggests glee, like I'd achieved something meaningful...

...something meaningful, like my love for Bilinda Butcher. Ahhhh, Bilinda, with an 'i'. Bilinda with the eyes. I'm sure I wasn't alone in thinking I was in love with her. Of course it was just another silly, teenage crush that was always doomed to be unrequited. But when you've stood in a room watching My Bloody Valentine play live, and witnessed an audience leaving in their droves because the volume is steadily increasing to ear-drum rupturing levels as the band hold steady on that single chord from 'You Made Me Realise', and Bilinda’s just standing there, nonchalant, looking like she's waiting for the bus rather than a sonic noise terrorist driving people insane through distortion. Then you know you're not dealing with any ordinary girl. Listen to her sing, cooing sweet nothings that mask threats of violence - "Scratching your eyes out, with a smile" - then, gloriously detached on the sweet 'doo doo doo' outro of the song.

I'm a reformed smoker now and I'm in love with a real person. I don't really smoke at all, let alone in bed. These days I'm far more interested in the really important things, like how fucking great the drums are on 'Cigarette in Your Bed'. That trebly, almost drum machine sounding quality, with fantastic rapid fills from Colm O'Ciosoig. And before Trading Standards get on my case, let's actually revisit some white noise, with the aforementioned 17-minute live version of 'You Made Me Realise'. Nearly 20 years on, still nobody does it quite like them.

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My Bloody Valentine on Wikipedia