Alternative TV - The Force Is Blind 7" (1979)

This is the 6th single by Alternative TV and, after 5 ones belonging clearly to punk-reggae area, this is the one that marked the divorce of Mark Perry with this movement. Similarly to Johnny "Rotten" Lydon, Mark "P" Perry decided to leave rock to Clash and 999, new wave to Wire and XTC, pop to the Buzzcocks and to look for something else. On the back of the sleeve, one can read "atv memorial single", and actually, there'll be no 7" released by Mark Perry under this name until the first reformation in 1981 with Alex Fergusson. To separate all his new stuff from ATV, he'll change the name in Good Missionaries at the end of the year, and with Dennis Burns, he'll try a really extreme approach of music, most of us found too difficult to follow at the times, and still not palatable enough today to be appreciated. This is not the case with this single, because "The Force Is Blind" manages to conciliate real experimentation with pleasant hearing (not for everybody I'll concede). There are not so many of song achieving that, and this strange piece of music never ceased to fascinate me over its issue, 30 years ago. This sounds as fresh (or rotten) today as it was then. The text (written on the cover but that I've rewritten below) seems to describe a police intervention during a punk meeting, but I'm not sure. The B-side ("Lost In Room") belongs to the classic Alternative TV style, with a riff repeated ad libitum, and Mark Perry, in a sort of maniac Peter Hammill or Kevin Coyne way, claiming his feeling of despair and madness with his idiosyncrasic spelling and voice. Both were recorded live but it's not so evident when listening to it. Once again, to tell you to enjoy it is maybe not so much appropriate but however, it's here.

The Force is Blind. Kiddies giggling playing with their toys. “Let’s play drummers make a lot of noise”. The thap’s running and they’re doing fine. The kids have energy and lots of time. Death defying moments of art against time. Kat’s had a vision just like mine. All this attention is strangling me. But the food’s hot and admission is free ! They came and stopped the fun. They stood us against the wall. They put handcuffs on the innocence. THE FORCE MUST BE BLIND ! THE FORCE MUST BE BLIND !



the saucer people said...

I must admit I was defeated sonically speaking when Mark Perry let it all hang out, so to speak. Thats not to say I subscribed to 'Action Time & Vision was alright, everyfing else was just f*ucking weird" , I loved the whole 'The Image Had Cracked' album...hearing this nearly thirty years later, its sounds so incredibly contemporary, as though it could have been released next Thursday and no-one would bat a retro eyelid. Music that is ignored at the time because it sounds too experimental never really imprints itself on the current socio-cultural gestalt and as such we cannot 'fix' it in absolute spatio-temporal co-ordinates, 'thats so 1967...' so its this floating quality that makes it sound eternally 'now'. On top of that I think my sonic aesthetic can more appreciate this now, so thanks for the link, an inspired post.

dk said...

Same for me. The Mark Perry music after ATV makes more sense for me today than at the time. This is why I try to give him the echo he deserves. Thx for the comment