I'm really looking forward to taking part in the Ripped & Torn event in Mono this evening with Tony D, and my pals Michael (Apostille) and Becky Marshall. I'll be be playing some of my favourite punk and DIY records. Ripped & Torn was an important part of my teenage landscape as I tried to find my own path through the records and styles that were changing my life. Ripped & Torn was one of the highest profile fanzines of the time, and in the end maybe the most important. The writing was personal, heartfelt, sad, funny, sometimes bitchy. Originating in Cumbernauld (pre-Gregory's Girl), Tony Drayton was a first wave punk who ended up in London, part of the squat scene, with an in to Adam & The Ants, Siouxsie & The Banshees & Crass. Every zine was the epitome of cutting edge printing and the layouts still look bonkers and great. Amongst the early contributors were Eddie Collins & Steven Daly (pre-Orange Juice) shining a light on Glasgow record shop culture and the music hippies who were lingering on. It ran for 17 issues when Tony went travelling, leaving the 18th to Vermliion Sands (Angry Young Women). With a new anthology on Thurston Moore's Ecstatic Peace imprint, this feels like the right time to re-examine its incredible culural impact. Poster by Musheto Fernandez. http://www.monocafebar.com/events/ripped-torn/
A few words for The Guardian about Pete Shelley. Thanks to Laura Snapes for asking me to take part. At 15 /16 I was ready for the change that punk was bringing, ready to move on for a while from my Beatles / Bolan love and get into something a little more current. In the shock of the times, Buzzcocks bacame my thing, their already amazing catalogue of songs, the way their records looked, their muted styles, their everything. Pete Shelley, the modest magician frontperson became a sort of hero to me. I was fascinated by him, how could he write so many amazing songs, sing and play them the way he did and make it look so easy. My parents said I was too young to go and see them with Subway Sect but they relented when they came back round with Joy Division. They always had amazing supports, they were up for the challenge. I loved them so much, even considered trying to go out with this girl, probably totally unsuitable for me in every way other than she had a Love Bites poster on her wall. I stuck with them when people stopped going to their shows and in a way they became more accessible to a smaller audience. I always come back to them, to their deceptive simplicity, the brilliance of it all, the thrill. They were great and they were a great gateway too, to Can and other musics. They were the way into punk and the way out of it. I loved them, I loved him. Thanks Pete. https://www.theguardian.com/music/2018/dec/07/pete-shelley-tributes-glen-matlock-pete-hook-jon-savage?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other
Looking forward to playing the National Museum Of Scotland this Friday with our pals, Sacred Paws. It ties into their excellent Rip It Up exhibition and is part of the Lates season. Here's a preview piece by Henry Northmore for The List... https://www.list.co.uk/article/105071-stephen-pastel-the-national-trait-is-to-be-slightly-self-deprecating-but-there-have-been-so-many-incredible-records-from-scotland/L
Our Suse is on a double shift tonight. She's on ace bass for us and our pals, Tracyanne and Danny. We play at 8.45, Tracyanne and Danny at 7.15. That Spiegel Tent is the driest spot in town and the music is the best. Monorail Music still have a few tickets and there might be a few on the door too. It's almost sold out. Come to the dance. https://www.thespree.co.uk/event/tracyanne-danny-pastels/
Extremely proud to be playing Leith Theatre next Friday 17trh August as part of a stellar Neu! Reekie! extravaganza for the Edinburgh International Festival. With Linton Kwesi Johnson, The Vaselines, Molly Nilsson and djs Andrew Divine and Chris Geddes. Poster by Annabel Wright. Tickets here... https://www.eif.co.uk/whats-on/2018/neu-reekie-2
Looking forward to the upcoming series of Teenage Fanclub vinyl reissues, my excellent colleagues at Monorail decided that we should, each of us, talk about our relationship with the group by way of one of the records. I think it’s a really nice idea and I loved what everyone else came up with. My own piece is on Thirteen. I guess it’s never been quite as popular as the albums either side of it but Thirteen’s a total gem. It was pivotal, they started in a hurry and finished at a speed of Teenage Fanclub (which is, ok, I admit faster than a speed of Pastels). In between I think they mapped out their own future, maybe rejected quite a few easy things that would have made them a bigger, less personal group. What can I say about this time? They were away an awful lot after Bandwagonesque and that probably influenced them to book CaVa studio in Glasgow, just off Kelvingrove Park. It was a big old space and they certainly used it very well, made themselves at home with a subbuteo room and other comforts. Norman's obsessions at the time - cheese, olives, chess. This would have been unusual for Creation to deal with. They were still young, Brendan was on drums, they were a rock group with amazing, heartfelt songs and a slightly rough round the edges charm. I remember the first time I heard The Cabbage at a party (Stuart Murdoch’s) and thought, this must have been what it was like to hear an early version of a Beatles song. Other songs were just as good too, Gerard had become as prolific as Norman and there was really nothing to choose between them as writers. Raymond was a slightly darker horse but it was his sometimes wild playing that made the group. Andy Macpherson (who'd worked with The Who) engineered it, his impassive face the very definition of a seasoned pro. Tony Doogan, then a youthful tape-op on one of his first big sessions was more forthcoming... “The take goes out on bar 126 and comes back in on bar 130”, he once announced, marking himself out as one to watch. Work on the record eventually moved to Manchester, months later. Maybe in the end it was only Gerard there or they were by now doing it in relays. It was about things being right, not perfect. As it always was with them. Still not sure why some people don’t love it the way they do Bandwagonesque, maybe it’s timing, transition, things like that. I think it’s one of their best. Stephen Pastel Glasgow, July 2018
Here's some words I wrote about Alan Dimmick's photography and a new book which spans his work 1977-2017. Christopher Isherwood: “I am a camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking. Recording the man shaving at the window opposite and the woman in the kimono washing her hair. Some day, all this will have to be developed, carefully printed, fixed.” It’s hard to think of Alan Dimmick and not think of Alan Dimmick and his camera. "Alan was there…”, but when was Alan not there? Somehow he’s always been there, over almost 40 years documenting something important or something peripheral that he’d spotted that might become important. His combination of foresight, diligence and brilliant talent has made him the pre-eminent documenter of the 'Glasgow Miracle’, the wave of prize winning artists associated with the city. Cathy Wilkes, Christine Borland, Katy Dove, they’re all here, either at work or just out and about. It often looks quite casual or unguarded, and it is. Alan is as much about reportage as beautiful portraiture which he will do when commissioned. Like Alan, many of these artists had one foot in the parallel music scene, and Alan moves fluently between the two - photographs of Roddy Buchanan and Alasdair Roberts confirm that they belong in the same world. Lucy McKenzie, Ross Sinclair, Roxanne Clifford, photographed for their music or their art or because they look interesting? It’s all of these. Most of the most memorable images are of people we don’t know or don’t know well - there’s an important message in family members and friends usually stealing the show by just being themselves. It seems to say we all belong. I don’t know Alan’s politics but it seems to clearly reflect our city’s socialism. 40 years is a lot of time, the book isn’t chronological but you start to notice changes. I look at the photo that Alan took for The Pastels’ Songs For Children cover in my bedroom at my parents house and realise that it was so long ago. Why did we work with him? I ask him, neither of us can quite remember. Because he’d photographed Orange Juice or because Justin from Del Amitri said he could do it? I don’t know, I’m glad we did, he was there, he was always there. An essential collection of Alan Dimmick’s photography mapping out Glasgow music and art scenes from Orange Juice / Gregory’s Girl times through to the present day. From secondary school sports days to Jim Lambie floors, important and peripheral moments take centre stage as the scruffy, unbroken style of Glasgow and its bohemian crowd shines through. Epic, modestly epic. https://www.monorailmusic.com/album/a28c2e3f-72f9-11e8-9211-22000b754a1f/Photographs_1977-2017_.html
Playing the beautiful Mackintosh Church, Queens Cross on June 1st with Modern Studies and Andrew Wasylyk. Part of a series of Museum Of The Moon shows. Poster by Annabel Wright. Printed by Risotto Studio. Tickets from Monorail Music and Tickets Scotland... https://tickets-scotland.com/artists.html?event_method=viewevent&event_id=6ec9a94e-2eb0-11e8-9211-22000b754a1f
We're really excited about our Cafe Oto residency which is this weekend. There are still a few (as in hardly any) tickets left for the matinees and the Sunday evening show. Saturday 14th, 2.30pm - Snails. Pastels promo films, Q&A with Gideon Coe and Stephen Pastel. Saturday 14th, 7.30pm - The Pastels. Ela Orleans. Sunday 15th, 2.30pm - Comet Gain. Pastels promo films, Q&A with Gideon Coe and Stephen Pastel. Sunday 15th, 7.30pm - The Pastels. Ela Orleans. https://www.cafeoto.co.uk/events/pastels-two-day-residency/
This time last week we were invited to play some of our favourite tunes by Weekend festival. From the box that we had in Cologne we chose these, all on 7"... Maher Shalal Hash Baz - Unknown Happiness (Geographic) Sly & The Family Stone - Runnin' Away (Epic) The Wake - Clouds Disco (Factory Benelux) The Wailers - Love Won't Be Mine (Island) Bettye Swann - Make Me Yours (Mojo) Ennio Morricone - L'Assoluto Naturale (Cinevox) Maureen Tucker - Will You Love Me Tomorrow (Trash) Television Personalities - Magnificent Dreams (Rough Trade Japan) Spinning Coin - Albany (Geographic) Jacno - Rectangle ( Dorian / Celluloid) https://www.mixcloud.com/WEEKEND_Festival/week-end-mixtape-12-the-pastels/
So sad to hear the terrible news about our friend Patrick Doyle. He wasn't an angel but he was a sweetheart. We used to see him around and smile at him before he finally said hello. He was a shy boy but when the bravado arrived it was spectacular and funny. He talked me and Katrina into releasing The Royal We record on Geographic even though the group were clearly dysfunctional and already about to split up. No regrets. Thanks Patrick xx Photo by Stuart Reidman.
A Pastelist Otopia :) We're playing 2 days at Cafe Oto in April with Ela Orleans, Snails, Comet Gain, Gideon Coe, and we'll be screening some Pastels promos too... https://www.cafeoto.co.uk/events/pastels-two-day-residency/
Hey! Support trans equality in Scotland? We do - we've responded in support of Equal Recognition - please do the same if you can before 5pm today! It's easy and quick, and you can answer as many or few of the 16 questions as you want. It's here: https://consult.gov.scot/family-law/review-of-the-gender-recognition-act-2004/ and you can see Scottish Trans Alliance's guidance on each question if you scroll down this page: http://equalrecognition.scot/consultation/ Oh yeah, and you can respond to it from anywhere in the world! ✊
Very much looking forward to seeing the new Agnes Varda film, Faces, Places. Here's something we already love, Agnes Varda by Annabel Wright. There was a mid 90s Varda retrospective in the Glasgow Film Theatre which she attended. Annabel met her but said she wasn’t too impressed with a back of envelope sketch she’d made of her. This painting was part of a later show Annabel had in the GFT cafe bar. We're generally using Instagram for this kind of thing these days... https://www.instagram.com/pastelsthe/ Annabel is on Instagram too... https://www.instagram.com/awri6ht/
This year's Four Tet album was so good. We played it constantly in Monorail and were all into it. I was sad when Four Tet left Domino, it always felt like a big part of the label's identity. That said, I'm so full of admiration for the way Kieran makes things work. His label, Text has released some great music. It's probably a more modern way of doing things and Four Tet keep getting stronger. Well played.
Hey, we weren't meaning our popup shop to be quite so blink and you'll miss it. Circumstances intervened. We'll have it back up at some point next year with some different stuff. We've managed to pack all existing orders and they're shipping now. Meanwhile if you want to get our Slow Motion Boats tote you can get it from our friends at Monorail... http://www.monorailmusic.com/album/eab7dbd2-e0d1-11e7-9ba4-22000b2080a0/Boats_Slow_Motion_Boats_Tote_Bag_-_Black.html
Pastels popup shop! We've got loads of new and vintage tshirts for adults and kids, posters and other stuff! www.thepastels.bandcamp.com We've had to take this down for now - something important came up which we're having to deal with. Hoping to ship out all existing orders this week and we'll let you know when it goes back up.
This evening we're celebrating 15 years of Monorail, 15 years of Mono, with an open to all party, til all the tickets go. I have to say I've found so much great music through being part of the shop, met so many great people. Everything's overlapped and somehow made sense. I think it's maybe a little bit like this song by Molly Nilsson from my favourite record of 2017, Imaginations. I'm imagining she's playing at our party. She is.