Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Shop Assistants

The Shop Assistants were an indie pop band from Edinburgh, Scotland, formed in 1984, initially as Buba & The Shop Assistants. The original line-up was Aggi (Annabel Wright, later of The Pastels), on vocals, David Keegan (guitar), Sarah Kneale (bass), Laura MacPhail (drums) and Ann Donald (drums). This line-up released one single, the now highly-collectible 'Something to Do' which was produced by Stephen Pastel. Stephen Pastel also contributed backing vocals.

Aggi left to be replaced by Alex Taylor. Soon after, the name shortened to simply 'Shop Assistants' and the first release under their new name was the Shopping Parade EP in 1985, whose track All Day Long Morrissey described as his favourite single of that year. This was followed in early 1986 with Safety Net, the first release on Keegan's 53rd & 3rd Records, which topped the UK Indie Chart, and the band recorded national radio sessions with John Peel and Janice Long of BBC's Radio One. The exposure they gained from the sessions enabled the group to have two songs to be voted into John Peel's Festive Fifty in both 1985 and 1986.

In 1986, they were featured on the NME's compilation C86 with one of their slower songs, It's Up To You, taken from Shopping Parade. Also in that year, they signed to Chrysalis Records's sublabel Blue Guitar for another single, I Don't Wanna Be Friends With You as well as their first and only LP album, The Shop Assistants. This spent one week at number 100 in the UK album charts, which gives the band the distinction of being the (joint) least successful act ever to hit the national charts. The LP album was re-released on CD in 2001, although it is now very hard to find.

The band split early in 1987, when Taylor left the group to join The Motorcycle Boy. After a two-year hiatus, the band reformed without Taylor in 1989 with Kneale on vocals and MacPhail on bass and the addition of Margarita Vasquez-Ponte of Jesse Garon And The Desperadoes on drums. With the new lineup they released Here It Comes and Big 'E' Power in 1990 before splitting again, Keegan joining The Pastels.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Ad Reinhardt

An Artist, A Fine-Artist or Free-Artist

An artist, a fine-artist or free-artist,

An artist-as-artist,

Has always nothing to say,

And he must say this over and over again.

Especially in his work

What else is there to say?

In work or words

What in hell, on earth, or in heaven, is an artist up to

when he says he has something to say?

All artists-as artists say the same thing

The post- historic artist is the timeless artist-as artist.

The artist-as-artist is the post-historic artist.

The post-historic artist is the

artist aware of himself as artist,

aware of art-as-art,

aware of everything that is not art in art,

inside or outside art.

The only way to say what an artist- as - artist is

is to say what an artist- as - artist is not.

A fine artist by definition is not a commercial

or industrial or fashion

or applied or useful artist.

A fine, free or liberal or abstract artist

is by definition not a servile

or professional or meaningful artist.

A fine artist has no use for use,

no meaning for meaning,

no need for any need.

A fine artist has nothing to use,

has no need for any meaning,

and would not use himself or his work for anything

A fine artist by definition

does not use or need any ideas or images,

does not use or need any help,

cannot use or help anyone or anything.

Only a bad artist thinks he has a good idea.

A good artist does not need anything.

From Art as Art, The selected writings of Ad Reinhardt (undated)