In September 2009, the late Nick Talbot of Gravenhurst wrote an impassioned post on his blog, The Police Diver’s Notebook, pointing out the unfairness in the way Slowdive had been treated by the UK music press.
As a fan of the band, it was a subject he felt passionate about; he once described it in an email to me as “fucking class war — self-loathing middle class journalists attacking perceived middle class musicians”.
The blog was prescient. Earlier that year, Nick had finally played alongside Slowdive’s Neil Halstead at a show we put on at St Giles-in-the-Fields Church in central London. Neil played a version of ‘40 Days’ and it seemed like the tide was turning, with various band members coming to terms with their pasts. Add to this an ever-growing fanbase around the world, keen to settle scores after arriving at the band via different routes (electronica, indie film soundtracks), and the stage was set for a victorious reunion.
Here is the blog post in full:
Blasting out Slowdive’s ‘Machine Gun’ really fucking loud while on gruelling, unremitting hold to the National Insurance Contributions Helpline For The Self-Employed, I looked up the numerous and touchingly pollyannaish interpretations of the song’s impenetrable, delay and flanger-soaked lyrics. I once interviewed Neil Halstead; he couldn’t remember them. (I have now had the pleasure of playing shows with him; naturally, he still can’t remember). I briefly met Rachel Goswell while interviewing Mr Halstead; she couldn’t remember. And if ‘Machine Gun’ is a challenge, try ‘Souvlaki Space Station’. Slowdive are clearly very strong candidates for Band Holding The Most Unequal UK Music Press Vilification To Enduring Fan-Adoration Ratio, awarding them a perversely righteous honour. They deserve more. Director Gregg Araki is a massive fan; he has used their music on his films throughout two decades, from his underground days pioneering the New Queer Cinema to his mature work such as the astonishing Mysterious Skin. The excellent Morr Music released Blue Skied An’ Clear an interpretative tribute album of Slowdive ‘covers’. Writer and promoter Nat Cramp champions them; his Sonic Cathedral is subtitled ‘The Night That Celebrates Itself’, knowingly co-opting a tired old press criticism of the shoegazing ‘scene’. And obviously, for what it’s worth, I love them too. Slowdive were treated so unfairly and viciously by the UK music press that it hurts. But the young generation of fans have grown up and are settling old scores on the band’s behalf. And we will win you know.
We now know, of course, that Slowdive came back, playing their first show in 20 years at our 10th anniversary party (Nick was there; it was the last time I saw him before he died; they dedicated ‘When The Sun Hits’ to him at one of their Forum shows later that year) and going on to tour and release an incredible new album a few years later to unprecedented critical acclaim. We really did win, you know.