Last night I watched a documentary, called Gouge, about the Pixies.

I love the Pixies.

Bizarrely, of all the talking heads they wheeled out, the only person
who really seemed to love them too was Fran Healy from Travis. And
Kristin Hersh. But then you'd expect that. 

David Bowie and PJ Harvey spoke eloquently and knowledgably about the
technical side of it. I saw David Bowie's eyes light up when he talked
about Debaser. Bono, apparently genuinely, said that when Surfer Rosa
came out he realised that, despite having just returned from conquering
America, he wasn't cool. 

I want to be able play guitar like Joey Santiago. I want to be able to
drum like Dave Lovering.

Kim Deal was barely in it, bizarrely enough. She was described
spontaneously by Tim Wheeler as "an ice cold bass goddess". When she
sings Gigantic I get a cold rush of  whatever that cold rush is when you
listen to a good song.

There was lots of footage of the 1988 Mean Fiddler concert with Throwing
Muses (described as "the finest double act since the Romans decided to
put the Christians and the lions on the same bill"). They looked ...
awkward. It was until Bone Machine that Black Francis stopped being
embarassed. I guess that's the right word for it. About as embarassed as
a man standing infront of a thousand people, shouting about penises
falling off after catching the clap from a whore, can look. Joey looked
like a stock broker at the company picnic. Or a born again Christian who
know's that their Jesus Rock is driving more kids away from church than
your average fire and brimstone sermon would. The bass looked too big, too
unwieldy, for Ms Deal but it didn't seem to matter. Despite Dave
Lovering's manic arm waving, for all the world like Animal from The
Muppets, the bass and the drums never wavered. Not once. It would seem
inhuman if it didn't sound so organic. 

Black Francis. Frank Black. Charles as I suppose he was known then
reminded me strongly of Arp. I mean that in a good way. Not the Black
Francis now who was relaxed and bald and looks like WWF Wrestling
character or a Hell's Angel. I'm not quite sure what it was - sure they
look a *little* similar but ... I dunno. The more I think about it the
more difficult it is to pin it down.

[ and breathe ]

The documentary seemed to follow the liner notes(*) from Death to the
Pixies (an album I've bought twice and been given a review copy of once) 
even down to David Bowie parroting the line from the end which compares
The Pixies to The Velvet Underground - "not a lot of people bought their
albums, everyone who did started a band."

The rest of the talking heads dutifully proclaimed Surfer Rosa as their
best album, a credible choice and one that says "I liked them even
before Doolittle"  but given a choice I'd pick 'Death to'. It's a cop
out but it has all their best songs on and it seems to be crafted as an
album rather than a collection. I've got a weird boxed set of it with a
second live album and liner notes splattered with gold paint. I still
listen to it a lot and there's not a single song I ever skip over.

They made five albums and then stopped. The last two - Bosanova and
Trompe Le Monde are arguably not as good as the first three but they are
no means bad. If they weren't the last two Pixies albums I don't think
they'd work, but they are. So they do.  

Similarly the songs. As Thom Yorke said - you could never really do a
Pixies cover. Although, in my mind at least, Fell In Love With A Girl by
The White Stripes sounds like it could have been.

In the end I'm glad they split up. Kind of like the end of a good book
when you know it should finish now, that dragging it on any longer would
spoil the whole but you know that you'll miss it. I haven't had the guts
to buy any of Frank Black and the Catholics' albums in case I'm
disapointed. I've been listening to Title Tk, the Breeder's new effort,
and I haven't really been able to get into it. Although I haven't given
it much time. Similarly I bought Chris Robinson's solo album. It has
moment's of Black Crowesishness but nothing to rival 'She talks to
angels' or 'Remedy' - most of the songs seem to be about Kate Hudson. 

It's got sunny outside again so I'm going to go for a swim - take
advantage before I fly back home on Thursday. Nothing says Happy
Birthday better than getting a year older mid way through a 27 hour
flight but it couldn't be helped. hey, maybe I'll get an upgrade out of