Tag Archives: gag

GOD IS MY CO-PILOT/GAG: Grow Your Own Country Wide Primary School Band EP (7″, Guided Missile GUIDE 003, 1995)

God Is My Co-Pilot/Gag - Grow Your Own Country Wide Primary School Band EP

If you’re keen-eyed, you may spot the remains of a sticker on the front of this record’s sleeve. I tried my best to remove it, I really did, but it was stuck on with some kind of industrial-strength super-super-glue, and what you see that’s left is a pretty good outcome, I can tell you. If you’re very keen-eyed, you may recognise the sticker as the type put on when a record is put up for sale at a branch of the Record & Tape Exchange in London. Criticisms about their choice of sticker aside – why would they choose a type that a geekoid record collector couldn’t easily remove? – I love those shops. I’m not sure how many of them there are, but I’ve been most often to the main branch in Notting Hill, which has an Aladdin’s Cave-type basement that’s absolutely packed with racks and racks of records for sale. The joyous thing is that they price their records very cheaply, and they always seem to have a surfeit of impossibly obscure indie records amongst the racks. I can’t remember how much this record cost me exactly, but I’d be pretty confident in stating that it won’t have been more than twenty pence. ‘Word of warning,’ as that chap off of The Office would say; if you’re going in there for a ‘quick browse’, be totally prepared to emerge, bleary-eyed, hours later, with armfuls of records by bands that you’ve never heard of.

I’ve mentioned Gag on another post here before, so I won’t bang on about their extraordinary excellence again. God Is My Co-Pilot, though, or Godco (as they’re referred to on this record), I haven’t. I like them; they are crazy, and noisy, and nonsensical, and have wacky distorted guitars and a chaotic type of energy. I’m sure I have a tape somewhere that features John Zorn squonking his saxophone atonally over a selection of their songs – I should dig that out. Godco/Gog Is My Co-Pilot are one of those bands with around twelve thousand separate releases under their collective belt. I like it when bands that are completely unknown to even the more experimental ends of ‘the mainstream’ are, at the same time, extraordinarily prolific and popular in some weird underbelly of music appreciation. Admittedly, I did pick this record up for less than twenty pence after – I presume – somebody else had decided they didn’t want/like it, but more fool them. I’m not going to sell it on.

One final word about the Record & Tape Exchange. This, and other records I’ve bought from there, came with the original (and correct) inserts intact – lyrics and ‘thank-you’s from the bands, and a label release round-up. I like that. I’m not sure why. To me, they form part of the package and the record would be a lesser thing without them.

GAG/ABLE MESH: Condo 63/Mountaineer/Holiday Faces (7″ flexi, Audacious AUDACIOUS 2, 1993)

A brief meditation on the inherent problems in trying to order records, that feature more than one artist, on the shelf – such as in this example, which I’ve just spent ten minutes trying to find. What’s the best way to go, assuming an alphabetical ordering of records is the baseline requirement?

  1. Arrange in order of the first-named artist quoted on the sleeve?
  2. Arrange in order of the first-named artist to appear on the A side of the record?
  3. Arrange in order of the label name for the record?
  4. Arrange in order of the title of the record?

I use method number four as a rule, but the obvious problem with that is that not all multi-artist records have titles. So in those instances I use method number one as a backup. In the case of this particular record, however, I had decided at some point in the past that the title was ‘Audacious Two’ – seemingly because that was the largest text on the cover. So I’ve exposed a weakness in my system; a flaw: I was fully expecting this to be shelved under G for Gag and it took some time for me to realise otherwise. What to do, to counteract this kind of thing happening in the future?

  1. Give up on any kind of ordering system, and just make my shelves a free-for-all?
  2. Use another system, such as sleeve colour, date purchased, or something else?
  3. Throw all of my records away?

On reflection and after careful consideration, I can tell you with a calm sense of urgency that none of these three suggestions…

  1. Will ever happen.

So I’m stuck with my system and all of its wonderful foibles.

Anyway. I’ll never tire of records and fanzines with this kind of look – the single-colour printing and layouts made up of typewritten text and pasted-in imagery drawn from all kinds of sources (clip art, old comics and magazines, photographs, drawings). I remember that when I bought this flexi through the mail from the chap in Bedford who released it, I was immediately impressed with the idea of packaging a fanzine around a record. Not that it was a particularly original or devastatingly new idea, but it allows in this case, where the fanzine is in 7″-sleeve-sized format, for ease of shelving amongst other records. Despite the aforementioned problems that this may create.

The flexi is great, a clear sliver of plastic containing music from Gag, who were brilliant in a Captain Beefheart-gone-indie-pop kind of way. The fanzine is a decent read, too – stuff on Henry Rollins, bits about Gag and Able Mesh, some personal ‘slice of life’ bits of writing and a few reviews. I always like reading reviews in old fanzines as they remind me of all of the links and networks that used to exist. In this case, the reviews include opinions on a marvellous old fanzine called The Melody Haunts My Reverie and the first release on Imperial Recordings, whose releases I’m sure I’ll randomly come to on here at some point. There is much to say about that label and its releases, when I get to it.