Tag Archives: 2005

I’m From Further North Than You

The first time I heard this song was on a Cinerama bootleg from early 2003 when it was called ‘Edinburgh’ and I was living down South. Piecing together in retrospect it may have been its first live airing at The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen. There were some shrieks in the crowd upon its debut which is quite unusual as new songs usually take a while to warm to but I can understand why it got that reaction. It’s a special song and the band clearly thought so too as it was carried forward upon the transference to The Wedding Present and was the second single pulled from Take Fountain.

There’s the lovely way the song throws you straight in the middle of a conversation. What is it that led to someone having to explain where they are from and why were they mistaken in the first place. But the song, despite its anthemic shout-along moments has its dark alleys. It’s a song about a failed relationship. One that you look back upon and shake your head and wonder why on earth you stayed in it for so long. But there are lighter moments. I mean, any song that can have a verse that contains the phrases ‘weird pornography’, ‘counting planets’ and ‘red bikini’ is clearly a work of genius!

When I started experiencing the song live for myself I noted that, two-thirds of the way through when the guitars kicked in to that growling riff, that it sounded a bit like the old Weddoes sound. I recall hopping up and down to that refrain at the Garage in London in April 2004 and not even dreaming that just ten months later I’d be at the first gig of the ‘reformed’ Wedding Present playing the same song at the Spring and Airbrake in Belfast.

Just this past Summer I saw the song played again at the annual Gedge festival in Brighton and funnily enough he now lives down there in the South and I now live near Leeds. It’s funny that one of the first times I spoke to David, it was after I’d spoken to his then-partner Sally and I remember saying to him that I couldn’t understand her Northern accent. He pointed out that actually she was actually from down South and I realised that I’d just assumed she was a Northerner. She was actually probably from further South than me.

Questions and Answers with David Lewis Gedge:

This was originally titled ‘Edinburgh’. What inspired that title and why the change to how it is now?

DLG: The original title was suggested by the story in the lyric… i.e. that the narrator had met someone with a Scottish accent but had initially mistaken them as being from the south of England. Edinburgh has always been one of my favourite cities and so I decided to use that as being where the other person was from. I think it sounded quite romantic to me. But, later, I decided that, firstly, I wanted the title to be more literal but also, I wanted to reference that pride of being northern that would cause a northerner to feel appalled if someone mistook them for a southerner! Hence the outrage implied in “No, I’m not from the south, I am from further north than you!”

It’s a well-loved song and is enjoyed as a celebration but the song lyrics are actually quite melancholic. Do you have any thoughts about songs that are treated in ways that are different to their original feeling?

DLG: I suppose you’re right that it’s melancholic but my intention (as is often the case) was to inject some humour into an unfortunate situation. It’s one of our poppier songs, after all. The turnaround between “I admit we had some memorable days” and “but just not very many!” still makes me chuckle.

Do you feel different in living in different places? Does north/south or east/west mean anything to you anymore?

DLG: It does, yes. I get a distinctive feeling whenever I’m in a different parts of these islands and I still feel like I have returned ‘home’ whenever I’m in the north of England. That’s not to say any one place is better then another… but now I live in Southern England I’m acutely aware of a different mind-set in the people here.

The video for the single was filmed in Edinburgh. This involved a bit of acting, was it something you enjoyed?

DLG: It didn’t come instinctively to me, no! You’d think it’d be easy to just play yourself but as soon as the camera is rolling I find it incredibly difficult to even portray myself in a natural way.

This was chosen as a single. Any stories behind this? Were there any other songs that could have followed ‘Interstate 5’?

DLG: While we were recording Take Fountain both this and ‘Interstate 5’ screamed ‘single’ to me for different reasons. ‘Interstate 5’ had this huge, slightly ominous, sound which, to me, signalled a new Wedding Present album on the horizon whereas, this, as I say, just felt like pop music to me. I say ‘just’ but I love pop music, of course!

Just to confirm, the noise at 1:19 is Simon Cleave on guitar, not a dog, yeah?

DLG: It’s actually me… revving up to play my overdriven guitar part with a flick of the plectrum. There was a dog recorded during the Take Fountain sessions but it’s not on this track!

This got to number 34 in the single charts at the time when Top Of The Pops was still going. Was there a call-up?

DLG: Did it? Pretty impressive for a record label run from a rented flat in Newhaven, huh? But, no… no Top Of The Pops invitation for this one, I’m afraid!

Take Fountain brought the name of The Wedding Present back and there was a return to many of the sounds that fans associated with older tracks. This song, even in its Cinerama days, gave glimpses of what was to come. Did you think back, when writing this song, that it could be part of what was to come?

DLG: Not at all. We wrote this in early 2003 when our band was Cinerama and we had no thoughts of it ever being anything else other than Cinerama! Maybe that’s why it has a lighter feel… it’s rooted in a kind of Cinerama style indie-pop rather than something like ‘Interstate 5’ which was written a year and a half later.

Official Lyrics:

And then you said “No, I’m not from the south,
I am from further north than you!”
And with that you kissed me full on the mouth
And that was when I knew you were either drunk or you wanted me
and, you know, either way I wasn’t going to disagree

But how did one crazy night turn into six weeks?
How can we be ‘going out’ if neither of us speaks?
I think we’re the same in many ways and I admit we had some memorable days

But just not very many
I just think we both need more and we cant ignore how unhappy we were
I’d been abandoned by her and you needed a friend

All right the night we walked into the sea; I guess that was okay
And when we bought that weird pornography, yeah, that was a good day
The first time I saw your red bikini I just couldn’t help but stare
And when we counted planets in the sky, I was just happy you were there

Yes we’re the same in many ways and I admit we had some memorable days

But just not very many
I just think we both need more and we cant ignore how unhappy we were
I’d been abandoned by her and you needed a friend

Written and published by Gedge / Cleave [whose publishing is administered outside of the UK & Eire by Kobalt Music except for North America where it is administered by Superior Music].

Studio Versions:

Single version [ScopitonesTONE 019]] TIME: 3:30
Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Simon Cleave (guitar); Terry De Castro (bass); Kari Paavola (drums); Steve Fisk (producer)
Released 14/02/2005

Klee remix version (appears on 7″ version of the single as well as compilation Search for Paradise [Scopitones / TONE 023]) TIME: 4:00
Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Simon Cleave (guitar); Terry De Castro (bass); Kari Paavola (drums); mix by Klee
Released 14/02/2005

Acoustic version (from Search for Paradise compilation) TIME: 2:17
Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Simon Cleave (guitar); Terry De Castro (bass); Charles Layton (drums)
Recorded at Yellow Arch, Sheffield
Released 29/05/2006

John Peel session version (on Season 3 CD as well as the Cinerama Complete Peel Sessions boxset) [Sanctuary Records ‎– CMXBX1526] TIME: 3:27
Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Simon Cleave (guitar); Terry De Castro (bass); Kari Paavola (drums)
Recorded 08/05/2003; first transmitted 04/06/2003

Take Fountain

Live Versions:

Live in New York (Cinerama): Recorded at The Knitting Factory on the 28th of June 2003 [Scopitones ‎– TONE 031] TIME: 3:17

Shepherds Bush Welcomes the Wedding Present: Recorded at Shepherds Bush, London 20th November 2005 [SECRET RECORDS – CRIDE81] TIME: 3:26
Performed by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Simon Cleave (guitar); Terry De Castro (bass); Simon Pearson (drums)

Live in Leeds (The Wedding Present): Recorded at Leeds Metropolitan University 6th June 2006 [Scopitones ‎– TONE DL 032] TIME: 3:29

Shepherd’s Bush Welcomes

Video:

The promo video as directed by Tim Middlewick and starring David Gedge and Annie Bergin, filmed in Edinburgh.

The song also appears in live performances on the DVDs for An Evening With The Wedding Present which is the DVD version of the Shepherds Bush live CD and also Drive, a DVD compiling the band’s 2005 North American tour.

Live: 

First played in 2003 by Cinerama when it was called Edinburgh. It was then played extensively by The Wedding Present upon the release of Take Fountain across 2004-2006. It returned to the set in 2011-2012 and again in 2017-2018.

Perfect Blue

2005 saw the rebirth of The Wedding Present. For some, including, it seemed, the band itself, there was little difference in the semantics. As Shakespeare wrote “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” but there was something special, something primal and tribalistic that was awoken when that change happened. The band from my younger years were back – even though they’d never really gone away.

On that return tour that would last 16 months, the band decided to end their set with the song that was ending the new album, Take Fountain. It was a beautiful song – a love song without any irony or bitter sweet taste. Just a song of innocent, wide-eyed devotion, pure and simple.  The lyrics include touches of lump-in-the-throat deprecation (“I’m not sure just what I did to deserve you”) and deadpan humourless conviction (“Because, when I’m away from you, it’s like something’s missing/That sounds drippy but I swear it’s true”). David Gedge even drops his voice to speak that middle phrase – just to emphasise how much she, and therefore the song, mean to him. As alluded to below, this song is real, it was not written for the sake of a needing a ballad to close an album, it’s from the heart. And as anyone who has ever been in love (or maybe still is) knows, when you feel this way, you don’t care who knows about it and you don’t care how it might look.

The song begins quietly with just guitar and vocal, with an aching silence after the “you’re staring” line. On the album, it gently builds picking up instruments along the way until by the halfway point, strings and horns are joining in. It ends in a gorgeous crescendo of noise that stays with you even after the needle lifts from the groove. Live, the song took on another life. Occasionally the band would attempt to mimic the orchestral feel of the original but most of the time, they set aside those thoughts and just filled the gap with guitars. Lots of noisy guitars. So, for many of the gigs in that period (and I went to a lot of them), the sets ended with several minutes of heart-surgingly powerful guitars. Gedge and co would take the song up several ratchets in their attempts to burst our eardrums and twang at our heart-strings. At the end of each gig, the fans were left exhausted but with massive smiles on their faces. Perfect.

Questions and Answers with David Gedge:

This debuted live as a Cinerama song in 2003. Did it go through any changes between when it was written and when it appeared on Take Fountain?

DLG: No, because, as you know, when we started Take Fountain we all thought we were making the fourth Cinerama album and so that’s how it was recorded. I think we decided it was actually going to be a Wedding Present album during the mixing.

I think most people assume this song was written about your now-wife Jessica. Can you break your usual wall and say if that’s so? If yes, what does she think about having such a beautiful love song written about her?

DLG: I will just say that Take Fountain is one of the two most ‘personal’ albums I’ve written… the other being George Best. Take Fountain essentially tells the story of the end of one relationship and the start of another and Perfect Blue, along with its ‘sister’ song, Queen Anne are the optimistic closing tracks at the end of what is otherwise quite a melancholy journey.

The lyrics (especially the last verse), as are often the case, suggest a lot of self-deprecation. Is that really how you are as I find people have very differing opinions on your real personality?

DLG: Ha, ha… maybe I’m just a complex kinda guy. Talking of the lyrics… when we were sound checking this song at The Leadmill in Sheffield once the monitor engineer came over to me after I’d done the spoken “it’s like something’s missing” line in the second verse and put his head close to my monitor speakers as we continued to play. He thought I’d paused during the singing to complain about the mix he’d given me.

Halfway through, the song changes into a long instrumental for around two and a half minutes. On the record it goes from guitars into an orchestral coda. Live, of course, it was usually just performed with guitars. Both versions are magnificent but I know that a lot of fans loved the live version as it allowed them to dance wildly in the same way songs like Kennedy and Flying Saucer did with their noisy outros. I think the album version sounds more romantic and the live version more frenetic and exciting. Which do you prefer? How much do you love playing it live especially the last minute with the extra roaring guitar? Can you try and get a live version onto a nicely recorded official release please?

DLG: It’s difficult to say which I prefer. In the studio you have the luxury of being able to add extra instrumentation, correct mistakes, fine-tune the production… and all that appeals to me because I’m a perfectionist! But then there’s nothing quite like playing a song live to ramp up the intensity and the excitement in the arrangement. What we’ve always tried to do in The Wedding Present, of course, is capture that live power in the studio. With a song like Perfect Blue we wanted to create a huge dynamic shift from the beginning, where it’s just guitar and singing, to the end, where all the guns are blazing but there’s still room for a solo french horn to cut through with the final melody.

As music lovers, a lot of songs get intrinsically linked with our own real life events and of course that is why we hold them so dear and feel quite protective over our love for them. Do you ever feel protective over songs, for example ones which may hold particular personal significance? Playing Devil’s Advocate here – would you let Adele cover Perfect Blue?

DLG: It’s an odd thing… I feel very protective of the songs while they’re being written but once we start performing them or recording them I do feel like I’m letting them go in some way. It’s as if by that point I’ve done all I can to prepare them… now they have to fend for themselves in the outside world! And I’m always interested to hear other people’s interpretations of my work, yes.

Official Lyrics:

And when I turn round to glance at you, you’re staring
And your eyes are such a perfect blue that I can’t look away
Did I get shy?
Maybe I didn’t make it clear, but, darling, I think I’ll always want you near

Because, when I’m away from you, it’s like something’s missing
That sounds drippy but I swear it’s true
You just appeared and, no, it wasn’t rehearsed, there really was no warning
Now you’re the first thing in my head each morning

And the more I have, the more I want you
The more you smile, the more I know that I’ll never make you sad
But I should warn you that I just might never let you out of my sight

I’m not sure just what I did to deserve you
I’m not complaining, God forbid, I just don’t understand!
Tell me why haven’t you had enough of me?
How have I managed to you make you love me?

The more I have, the more I want you
The more you smile, the more I know that I’ll never make you sad
But I should warn you that I just might never let you out of my sight

Written by Gedge / Cleave and published by Gedge [whose publishing is administered outside of the UK & Eire by Fintage Publishing BV] / Complete Music.

Studio Version:

1 – Take Fountain version released 14/02/2005 TIME: 5:31

Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Simon Cleave (guitar); Terry De Castro (bass and backing vocals); Kari Paavola (drums and percussion); Jen Kozel (violin); Stephen Cressswell (viola); Lori Goldstone (cello); Don Crevie (french horn); Jeff McGrath (trumpet);  Producer/Engineer/Mixer/(other instruments): Steve Fisk
(Recorded in the USA in the Summer of 2004)

Live Version:

1 – Live in New York by Cinerama released 18/01/2010 (Scopitones, download-only) TIME: 6:30

Recorded by : David Gedge (vocals, guitar); Simon Cleave (guitar); Terry De Castro (bass and backing vocals); Kari Paavola (drums and percussion)
(Recorded on 28/06/2003)

Take Fountain51UCbkBBLHL._SL500_AA280_

Live:

As mentioned above, the song started off as a Cinerama song in their 2003 gigs and by the time 2005 arrived and the band had changed name back to The Wedding Present and embarked on a long tour, the song had become a firm live favourite. It reappeared in setlists in 2007, 2011-12 and 2014.

Videos:

No official video for this song although in 2011 MVDvisual released Drive [MVD5208D], a documentary and live video collection of 2005’s North American tour so there is a version of Perfect Blue on there which isn’t on youtube. Instead, here are a few versions. First up is the album version with a straightforward non-video.

Perfect Blue – album version

Next is an example of the noisier, more guitar-driven live version despite a guitar change halfway through the coda by Chris McConville.

Perfect Blue – live, Hamburg 2007

Lastly, an acoustic recording of the song which has had a video created for it.

Perfect Blue – acoustic by Gedge/Cleave, Amsterdam 2004

[Special thanks to Tracy Hopkinson & Hick Hallworth]