Friday, 16 March 2012

Another Artistic Type: Andy Dog

I'm slowly replacing my old vinyl collection with MP3's. It's a process that feels simultaneously soulless and yet rejuvenating as I find myself being reacquainted with albums that provided the soundtrack to my formative years. Without going through the process I wonder if I would ever have listened to these records ever again.

One such example is The The's second album 'Infected', released in 1986. I remember this playing during our A-Level art classes and the whole group strategically coughing so that the teacher wouldn't hear such lyrics as "She was lying on her back with her lips parted, Squealing like a stuffed pig..." (Out of the Blue (Into the Fire)). It just feels right to have this album playing in the studio again now I earn a living from what I used to do at school.

The artwork above is taken from a free poster that came with the album. I bought the limited edition photographic 'torture' sleeve copy so I'm not sure if it came with all copies of the album. The painting was done by Andy Dog - the brother of The The's Matt Johnson, for the cover of the Heartland single. The artwork captivated me back then as it adorned my bedroom wall and in many ways it still resonates as strongly now, especially when you consider the following lyrics against the backdrop of last years riots and David Cameron's scathing response.

"So many people, can't express what's on their minds,
Nobody knows them and nobody ever will,
Until their backs are broken and their dreams are stolen,
and they can't get what they want, then they're gonna get angry!
Well it ain't written in the papers, but its written on the walls
The way this country is divided to fall,
So the cranes are moving on the skyline

 Trying to knock down this town
But the stains on the heartland, can never be removed,
from this country, that's sick, sad, and confused."

So it occurred to me that whilst events like the riots are cyclical, so to is the music that inspires me (albeit in electronic form rather than disc). And what became of Andy Dog? It appears is that he became somewhat disillusioned with the whole scene sometime in the early nineties. You can read more about Andy Johnson on his website Seeing Things.

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