Tuesday, 16 January 2018


Simon Morris Creepshots (2017)
For anyone who didn't notice, Simon Morris has been the driving force behind the Ceramic Hobs for the last couple of decades, and in case that doesn't help much*, the Ceramic Hobs were described as the last true punk band - although I can't remember where or by whom, possibly Robert Dellar - beyond which there's probably not much point trying to quantify them or even describe their sound. The Oz Oz Alice album sounded like ELO fed into a blender, or at least it did to me, a simile which I offer as a recommendation for both the record and as a means of preventing further crimes against music on the part of Jeff Lynne.

I mention this principally as an indication of where Simon Morris is coming from, because otherwise this isn't one of those guy in a band writes book deals. He's not fucking about here.

Creepshots takes the form of a lengthy letter addressed to someone called Ecka, rambling autobiographically from one train of thought to another in the manner of a stream of consciousness, but more lucid and with a greater sense of purpose even if the thrust of that purpose isn't exactly clear. He's following strands of memory around the inside of his head, trying to make sense of them, and so there's a strong element of the confessional, and not so much a sense of regret as reassessment, almost of disbelief at having been through all this and come out in one piece without turning into an arsehole; and not turning into an arsehole means something given the history of death, shit, madness, betrayal, drugs, and squelchy transactions in bondage clubs reported without the sensational tone you might get from someone who was just making this stuff up. Without having any particular mission, Creepshots seems to be mostly about the gap between that to which we aspire and the unfortunate sweaty reality, expressed most vividly in the middle section contrasting self-involved art gallery bullshit with grinding homelessness. Without having any particular mission, at least not so far as I can tell, Creepshots gives you one fuck of a lot to think about - as opposed to just making the right sort of noises - being written with the kind of intimacy which sucks the reader right into the author's head and has us looking out upon the most awkward and uncomfortable parts through his eyes; then concluding with a prelude to its own publication which nails everything to the real world, as in the one we're all lounging around in at this very moment.

That made sense in my head, but some of the content appears to have settled during transposition from brain to page. Easier just to read the thing, I suppose. Ecka may be some vaguely Biblical recipient of important letters, although Google's identification seems unusually vague, and for something which spends quite a lot of its page count getting drunk with minor members of the Fall, Creepshots feels similarly important because such graphic honesty is rare and is seldom expressed so well, and with so little vanity or showboating. Yes, I liked it a lot.

*: There's an interview with himself on this very subject in the latest issue of The Derek 'chucking a guitar down a fire escape' Bailey Appreciation Charivari the Wire (issue 408, February 2018) which - coincidentally - used one of my photos without asking, cheeky fuckers.

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