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MR G AND RICH
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It's 2003. Let's say your band has been going for 8 years at this point. Whatever interest you may have had - because you were young, because you were new, because it was the height of Britpop, because it was before the internet and fanzines were a thing that you were good at, because you were part of an awesome local music scene to which you are no longer local - has now entirely dried up. You've just released a financially crippling album inventively packaged like a far-Eastern knock-off giant robot toy to total silence. There is a launch gig, but nobody comes.

Time to give up and accept you make fonts for a living right? Wrong. Time to rename your band and see if you can fool people into thinking you're something interesting again.





Even my adopted hometown noticed, though the reviews aren't worth including here, being fine examples of that well-trod Mr G and Rich trope, the review that halfway through seems to forget it's being positive and just rambles about how they wished we had a drummer.

Anyway. Briefly, we were the belles of the ball. I particularly remember someone who ran some other website being contacted by [some name] from [insert name of some record label, probably independiente], asking them to ask us to contact them. Why not just talk to us? Because they were dicks, that's why.
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Drunken Heart - last song from the final Dolittle gig at the Water Rats London (2013-10-26), which also served as the launch gig for our second album, The Irresistible Charm Of Baby Owls (PELVIS011CD). Genuinely - it was as much fun as the track sounds and picture looks. Also in evidence in the picture - the roof of the Water Rats had collapsed in the week leading up to the gig. Digging around a bit turns up that this gig was mildly promoted by Lamacq on 6music, and also oddly that it wasn't the last time we played together - for some reason we found ourselves at RMS, Putney Bridge, working on this (quite frankly awesome sounding) version of Tranquillizer a few months later, before winding things up as Eat reformed.

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A little playlist of some great songs you might not have heard.

Judy Speedway - Love Is Dead / Goosebump - Get Off The Phone / Tobermory - The Plagiarist / The Chaos Engine - Industry Standard Beauty / Belljar - Permafrost / Tribe Of Dan - In The Blood / WeKnowWhereYouLive - Made Of Water

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Potentially inaccurate dating puts this at July 1999, and I think the (acoustic) launch party for The Chaos Engine's Obstinate. WASPFAC001! The first Wasp Factory Recordings release - our own Data In A Hurry was WASPFAC002. I've been listening to Obstinate a lot recently - I always loved it, but it's given up a lot of new stuff to me recently. Also some degree of looking back in awe - that community, the sense that we'd all come out with something brilliant - had to, to keep up, to impress your peers - I miss.

I loved the incestuousness of it too. I'd completely forgotten I was on the final track of Obstinate. And I recently rediscovered this, both as a memory and audio proof - Lee from the Chaos Engine and I on local radio, the optimistically named CAT FM (the T stood for Tewkesbury, though I doubt the signal ever reached that far). Xmas, I think 1998, in a radio station run from a shopping centre, back in time when local radio with weak transmitters was a thing (note our reference to perceived rivalry with the longer established Severn Sound). The tracks we played appear lost to time, but not the jingle we wrote, arranged for acoustic guitar and omnichord.

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Dolittle rehearsal, Oct 2011, in the studio at the end of my garden. I kept a diary obsessively through 2011 but find I wrote little of any interest about this, other than that I was concerned to burn in newer (to Dolittle) songs like Guitar Is God and Tranquilliser, bothered that unlike the Hello To The Fortunate Few set they'd not been hammered in permanently by a proper tour. That studio - a log cabin, resilient bars, rockwool and a lot of plasterboard - was a joy, and I loved having Ange and Rich play with me in it.
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Theme From Nine To Five, recorded Oct 2017 with Pat Collier at Perry Vale studios. We were there to complete sessions for Terminal Window (recording and mixing Everything Only Ever OK, mixing Mild Comic Violence) and had a little time to record this too, a hangover from our wobbly post A Little Advice On Life And How Not To Live It period. I'd always thought it was a great pop song (in the Mr G and Rich sense ... one can easily identify a chorus at least) and I think this recording nails that, but then we were recording with the perfect person really, and fittingly too, given it was written under the influence of much Robyn Hitchock (a favourite linked).
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Very rare solo outing (because they're terrifying, frankly) at the much missed Axiom Centre, Cheltenham, on the eve of the Seattle WTO protests Nov 30th, 1999. Looking at what I played I had a serious case of songs in pocket - Data In A Hurry was 6 months from seeing the light of day at this point and I was already playing songs we'd work up together years after that. This song - [3/4 Song About Teeth] - was one of the last to be written for Data In A Hurry, and we never quite got it together in duo form for live. Amusingly rendered as 'three quarters of a song about teeth' (it's not, it's all there) in various places, I always loved this one, with its reference to troublesome gifts. I've decided the pitch wobbling transfer is charming, and probably the kind of thing you'd pay for an expensive VST to recreate the moment it stopped happening by accident.

Reviewed in the Cheltenham Echo, no less ...

"REVIEW: JOURNEY'S END, LAST TAXI & G SKINFLOWER, AXIOM, CHELTENHAM 30/11/99

Whilst the riots rage in Seattle, all is tranquil at The Axiom as G Skinflower takes the stage armed with an acoustic guitar and The Truth. One half of the criminally under-rated Skinflowers, G nervously plays a short set of beautifully poignant songs that take the finest elements of Radiohead (to whom Skinflowers seem doomed to comparison forever), prime era Bowie and Jeff Buckley, and gently mould them into heartstoppingly personal songs. The small crowd are patient and appreciative, and seem aware that they are witnessing a private revolution; like the scenes outside the World Trade Centre, something very important is happening without their permission."

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This is Terminal Window - 6 tracks recorded with various people (David Pick @ FFG, Pat Collier @ Perry Vale and L Stidson @ Spacewolf) through 2017 and released at the end of that year. Listening to it remains one of the best ways to engage with the Mr G and Rich experience. You can buy a copy here - £5 via PayPal - and here's Mild Comic Violence to listen to: