Tuesday, March 10, 2020

[Roll Your Own Life] The Music That Shaped Me (part 7)

The Sisters of Mercy - Floodland (1987)

Confession time. In my late teens, my music taste was pretty crap. I listened to pop. Shiny, happy, bubblegum pop. I got a bit adventurous when my hormones took control and I realised that someone I like-liked at school listened to something - the main reason why I started listening to stuff like Meat Loaf, Phil Collins, or Black. Otherwise, I listened to pop. Johnny Hates Jazz, Tiffany, The Christians. I hadn't really found myself musically. Even though I'd left school by now, I hadn't really progressed with my music tastes. Sure I still listened to Talking Heads, or Mike Oldfield, but it wasn't until one fateful evening watching Top of the Pops that my life was changed.

You have to imagine boring old me, sitting at home watching Top of the Pops when on come The Sisters of Mercy. I'd never heard anything like it. I remember talking to my friends the day after and we were all in the same state of awe. I think three of us went out and bought Floodland that week, and it was just a matter of time before the previous album, First and Last and Always, and all of the original EPs, became household items in everyone's life in our group.

Black leather jackets were the norm (though I never had one, strangely), and by the time I went to art college in Hull I'd gained goth biker boots from the coolest place in Hull (Function 1 - back when it was hidden on the other side of the city above a warehouse, behind a secret door marked "Beware of the Leopard"... okay, I may exaggerate the last bit, but it was a strangely secret place). A great place for some really cool black shirts with single colour prints of Sisters EP covers on the back...

The Sisters of Mercy was just the start. It was a gateway to The Sisterhood, The Mission, Bauhaus, Fields of the Nephilim and All About Eve (more on the Eves later).

Floodland really spoke to me - it was dark, bleak, epic, doom-laiden and kinda summed up my late teens perfectly. Still a great album.

I signed up to The Reptile House, the Sisters fan club, and got the long sleeved t-shirt, and even the rude t-shirt with the lyrics from Driven Like the Snow ("F*** Me and Marry Me Young") that I had to cover up when I was at art college. The Reptile House longsleeve still fits and I wore it to the advance screening of the first half of Edgar Wright's "The Worlds End", as I knew Simon Pegg's character (Gary King) wore one in the movie. It prompted Edgar Wright to come over and have a chat with me about The Sisters, and asking Andrew Eldritch if he was okay with them using the t-shirt and one of the songs in the movie.

I managed to see The Sisters of Mercy play on one of their more recent tours. Andrew Eldritch and Doktor Avalanche with a host of other musicians you couldn't really see for the smoke machine. Eldritch hopping about the stage in an ice hockey jersey still had the energy and bite after all this time. I just wish he'd record something new.

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