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hello, my name is al. i make music by myself and with a band called the fictive kinship. i work in an office in london on railway related stuff and cycle to work every day. i love cooking, swimming and riding my bike all over london. i try to eat well, write good songs and not drink too much. i don't always succeed.

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Goodbye Big Star

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Last summer I was lucky enough to finally get to see one of my all time favourite bands, Big Star playing in a tent in a sunny corner of Hyde Park.

I really can't tell you how much I love this band how much of an influence Alex Chilton's music has been on me. I almost hadn't dared to hope for as much, but they were absolutely amazing live. The band was made up of Alex and Jody from the original line up (co-founder Chris Bell passed away shortly after leaving the band in the late 70s) with the remaining slots filed by members of the Posies. And they were perfect.

As if that wasn't enough of a treat, afterwards while the rest of the crowd were all enjoying the "main act" (the criminally underrated Big Star were inexplicably supporting the Tindersticks) I sat myself in a deckchair in the sun to reflect on what i'd just witnessed, and who should I see ambling towards me but Alex Chilton himself.

I thought about it for half a second then decided i'd kick myself if I didn't take the opportunity to meet one of my all time musical heroes. I figured it would be fine as he was on his own and looking pretty relaxed. so I wandered over and said hello, shook his hand and had a brief chat. On seeing me make the first move a handful of other eagle-eyed superfans suddenly appeared too.... which was actually great because one of them offered to take a picture. So here's me and Alex. he was very gracious and sweet. I'm just so glad I got to meet him. I know it sounds daft but that gig and meeting him that afternoon really did make my summer.

The experience was given another level of poignancy for me because sadly, Alex died only a couple of months later, making this his last gig in the UK. He was only 50. I was more upset than i expected to be when I heard and listened to #1 Record/Radio City on a loop for weeks.

I've been an awestruck fan of his music for years but never really tried to do any of the songs myself (despite by old musical pseudonym "decemberboy" being a line from a Big Star song). It's the sort of stuff that you don't want to get inside in case it somehow loses some of it's magic. I don't want to know how it works, I just want to love it! But when Alex died it felt like the right thing to do to pay a little tribute so we played a cover of The Ballad of El Goodo at our gig the following week. I still play it at home and sometimes in rehearsals and it never fails to send a shiver down my spine and bring a tear to my eye.

Rest in peace Alex.

25th Nov 2010, 18:37  

Viv says:

that's a lovely tribute will do a bit of digging and find some of his music

29th Dec 2010, 08:29

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