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SCENES DE LA BOHEME
Scenes De la Boheme was born out of adversity and an innate desire to create poetic, subversive pop music.
Having long been enamoured and influenced by electronic music, though never able to afford a synthesiser, I had in my musical travels come across people who could, whenever possible i cajoled and schemed to borrow low budget synthesisers here and there for a day or two and proceeded to make and record new songs.
In February 1982 the invented character Anthony Whistler Wilde Waites which I had concocted for myself and fellow Bohemian Seamus Fitzsimmons, both high on Diconal (Dipipanone Hydrochloride) headed south of the river to some southern suburb where a guy with an awfully patterned jumper had a recording studio in his bedroom. Four hours had been booked to record two tracks, using my beloved cherry red Hagstrom guitar and more importantly a longed for Roland Synthesiser and drum machine, I set about recording Act 1 Zara and The Tale Of The Butterfly.
In the commercial charts that week the top five consisted of The Jam, Stranglers, Soft Cell, OMD and Kraftwerk, further down you had The Human league, Depeche Mode, more Kraftwerk, Japan, The Associates, more soft Cell ie Tainted love and Modern Romance. Looking back now this was probably the apogee of a certain type of music. So is it any wonder I headed for a studio.
With the half inch recorded tape warmly snuggled under my arm, Seamus and I headed back to North West London where oblivion gladly opened the door to my studied London Bohemia.
Bohemian records was born, the artwork painted and labels designed, 150 copies were pressed and 100 copies given to some company found in the back pages of Melody Maker, who sent them out to local radio stations. In the first week three radio stations not only played the 7 inch vinyl but made it its record of the week.
No other promotion, hustling or scheistering was given to this venture, a few copies were sent to musical friends I had met in Paris and Munich who played in bands and that was it.
It was treated and conceived as a work of art, a one off. Wouldn't it be cool to make a record on your own label and make sure no one sent it off to John Peel , The NME, Beggars Banquet, or Rough Trade Records?
Was this Subversive and transgressive? Yes that was Bohemian records, one act only one single release of vinyl. That is what happened, the money for this artistic endeavour was kindly given by my parents as a twenty first birthday present, I never attempted to sell this record as this was not the point.
That was it, only years later the music on this record re surfaced as a highly sought after holy grail sound of Synth Pop, Cold Wave, minimal Wave call it what you will, many termed it a masterpiece of Synth something cool. So music can live on and fetch exorbitant prices in the process.
My aim if I continued this venture in 1981 was to create the complete perfect work of art, which would include dance, film, music, mime, art and ideas, what I termed at the time Zeit-Oper, I never got round to it, until now, now Scenes De la Boheme Act 2 is about to be released and realised in the form of an Opera titled "Going Mad In Turin" about Nietzsche, news of this Nietzschian Opera where Harlequin and Pierot narrate this Synth laden story will appear soon.