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    Paul Lester should be getting a royalty cheque for just over 10p as I've become the second reader to borrow his depressing attempt at a book 'Lowdown (Some of) the Story of Wire' from Manchester City Library.

    I'll borrow a quote from Colin Newman as a review, in much the same way that Lester has been too lazy to describe much of Wire's music and has relied on old press cuttings: "It became very, very depressing. It was absolutely awful." When Lester does describe the music or the sleeves he gives a bad impression, so perhaps its best he's relied so heavily on Jon Savage and Simon Reynolds to do a better job!

    As Wire themselves have pointed out the book is full of errors, but I was still amazed at how scantily researched most of what he's written is, outside of a few rather repetitious interviews with those who were part of the history. Having spoken to Bruce Gilbert, one would assume that Lester would have realised that it is him reading the story about the black horse fighting and not Graham Lewis, who Lester credits as vocalist on The Other Window.

    Were you there?
    Paul Lester was not, it seems.

    Even the back cover blurb is specious, and if I were Kevin Eden I'd be thinking about writing to Omnibus to get all copies withdrawn and corrected. How arrogant to imply that the books by him and Wilson Neate don't count. Both are way better than this hacked up / recycled tome.

    I'll be sending Omnibus a letter asking why the quote from Colin Newman on page 113 has not been credited to the original Bastard interviewer. Permission has not been given for the quote to be used by the webzine in question, perhaps? Or does Lester feel that the name of a webzine is not something anyone would want to know?

    Perhaps we can help Lester if he decides to correct the book. I thought I'd start a thread where Wire fans who know more than the author can post information that might help him out in the unlikely event that Omnibus ask for an updated reprint.

    The discography omits any mention of Githead, despite the fact that there are photos of them in the book. The utterly essential Immersion albums Low Impact and Oscillating are likewise omitted despite getting a passing mention in the text, and the ominous Opening Sweep by Ocsid has also been overlooked. Bruce Gilbert's Gilbertpossstenger collaboration warrants no first or last letters, The Haring never made it out of the box and Ordier might as well just be a nice place to put cigars...

    In the Pink is listed as a live album, but is actually a compilation of tracks from the first three Wire albums. I think it might have been compiled randomly by a teenage lobotomy sticking pins in album sleeves, unlike the superior Here It Is Again, which at least included tracks from the singles that weren't on the albums.

    I was curious about one item in the discography, 154 Pink Chairs, as I have never heard of it. Does anyone know if this compilation exists? If so what is the track list?

    As I typed this I was listening to Bastard for the first time in way too long and I'd forgotten what a great album it is.
    Here are seven more good excuses to employ a proof reader...

    P101 Piano Tuner (Keep Strumming Guitars) is mistitled Piano Tuner (Keep Strumming Those Chords)

    P102 Our Swimmer is refered to as Wire's last ever single. Strange that Ahead, Kidney Bingos, Silk Skin Paws, Eardrum Buzz, In Vivo and Twelve Times You slipped Lester's mind! Maybe they were even less memorable than the songs from Pink Flag, all of which he patronisingly writes that you would need to hear many times to remember. I guess I must have a better memory than him as I'm sure I could hum the tunes to Ex Lion Tamer and Mannequin after one listen.

    P138 'Newman and Lewis respectively' are unfortunately listed the wrong way round making it seem as though Lewis sang the song Newman sang and vice versa.

    P140 Lewis refers to a lost tape. Could this be the extended Ambitious released as the second disc of Coatings? Lester is not intrigued enough to ask about it...

    P151 'Bruce Gilbert's throbbing bass.' I thought Graham Lewis played bass! Did Bruce play bass on Kidney Bingos? I suppose he might have done.

    P152 A Public Place lyric is wrong - "private hedge pissers" should be "privet hedge pissers." The lyrics are on the inner sleeve!

    P152 Hooray! Graham imparts a tiny morsel of information I never knew before, that Eels Sang Lino is supposed to be an anagram of Los Angeles... but there is no "i" in Los Angeles!

    P157 "The dance hall butcher's third rate mix" is quoted as a lyric from Life in the Manscape, but on my vinyl and on my CD it appears on Goodbye Ploy. I guess Manscape is even less memorable than Pink Flag!
    "I was curious about one item in the discography, 154 Pink Chairs, as I have never heard of it. Does anyone know if this compilation exists? If so what is the track list?"

    A fantastic discography, despite not having been updated recently (since The Third Day, it would seem)
    I suspect Lester gleaned his 'The Other Window' vocal information from the NME review of 154 which made the same error. If so we should be glad he got the album title correct as the NME reviewed it as 159

    On the subject of 154, has anybody else ever noticed that in the film Taxi Driver, Travis Bickle gives the false address '154 Hopper Avenue' to the secret service man, and that taxi number 154 pulls up to take Betsy away from the porno cinema after her disastrous date with Travis
    If it wasn't so sad, it would be funny.

    Perhaps we can make up our own facts for the second edition... "After Bruce left, they changed the name to IRE." etc

    Trivially, I always thought the bass on the studio versions of Kidney Bingos was programmed (and so might be just as much Colin-y as Graham-y).
    Perhaps we can make up our own facts for the second edition...

    You've opened a right can of worms there!

    Bruce later denied pink was a colour, claiming to hear pink noise...

    "Bruce launched a side project in the 1980s with a female vocalist, called Mariah Carey."
    "Dome sprang out of Gilbert & Lewis' mad, passionate affair which began sometime around Chairs Missing. Colin became mysteriously jealous (though no one was quite sure of who), Robert shrugged, and 154's odd tension grew out of their uncanny emulation of the Lennon/Ono mystic-love Get Back-era power dynamic."
    "Wire's Pink Flag-era preoccupation with fish (sturgeon, tuna, sprat, mackerel, etc) was so deep that Graham actually played bass on several tracks."
    All the bands love Wire, except The Clash who were too busy checking out early hip-hop in New York long before Colin Newman got into it to notice. Here are their recommendations from the back cover of the forthcoming compendium of warped memories "Objection 69" :

    "Wire clearly had several ideas, but I asked them not to tell me what they were." Brian Eno

    "Like all the best bands, Wire recorded albums." Mike Thorne

    "Hey kids, Wire are the hip thing to swing to." David Bowie

    "Wire might have influenced my old band, but I'm not sure." Johnny Marr

    "I stole the riff from 'Three Girl Rhumba' in the hope that it would inspire ugly young men with acne to put posters of me on their walls and jerk off looking at my smug face." Justine Frischman

    "Wire shown me 'ow to do right proper chirpy cockney, guv." Damon Albran

    "We stole all their beer and they didn't even notice. Barney even took a jar of gherkins because he thought they looked like willies. And people say Joy Division had no sense of humour!" Peter Hook

    "I was but an oik from a northern slum. I had no idea bands could get gherkins." Barney Bubbles

    "Listen cock, I had a Yank bird flappin' about on guitar in 1984! They all rip off the Fall!" Mark E Smith
    “Pink Flag” was originally to be titled “Pink Oboe” a reference to Gilbert and Lewis' affair.
    “Chairs Missing” was named after a traumatic visit to mfi.
    “154” converting the title to chords A E D the only three used on the Album.
    Did MFI exist in 1978? Only in a parallel universe perhaps? Meanwhile in another one...


    Before they began, Colin Newman climbed through a window so that he could listen to the Beatles faster, Graham Lewis instigated the baggy movement, Bruce Gilbert made come silly noises and Robert Gotobed was a Snake. They knew the MC5 had kicked out the jams but that seemed old hat by 1976, so there was just one thing left to do: kick out the George. Described by their Bitchin' former frontman as "a Bunch of Cunts," the BC in BC Gilbert was often mistaken to stand for Biggest Cunt. These admirable examples of the female genitalia were often asked by dyke journalists to choose a favourite colour and they'd often go for pink. Gilbert would later deny that pink was a colour at all, claiming to be a pink noise sculptor. This was old hat by 1985, as The Stranglers had already heralded the advent of Aural Sculpture.

    Wire inhabited a world of their own: WIREWORLD.

    P'o, Dome, Nice Klive and Gotobed had many adventures in every city before Gotobed got fed up with programming computers and turned grey.

    "We've got no heroes," announced Newman reverting to his family name during punk rock week before he was dubbed an ice warrior and had to fight Dr Who on tame TV.

    "Except God, if he even exists," elucidated Gilbert to a webzine which I can't be bothered to credit.

    Wire saw through all of that stuff, thanks to X-Ray Spex, who were the future of music for five minutes until Colin destroyed them for rolling upon his day.

    "You could see what The Jam really were," recalled Lewis, "They were going underground to start a funeral pyre down in the tube station at midnight in a strange town. That's entertainment, but we wanted to do some art."

    "Wire was based on things we didn't do. I was never very good at lecherous cavorting," confessed Colin, "So that was out!"

    "Prancing narcissism had been done to death so we tried not to do that after I lost my elegant beret, Bruce broke his shades and Joy Division stole Colin's shoes," continued Lewis.

    Gotobed decided organic farming was more interesting than rebel posturing. "Colin asked me to drum. It seemed absurd not to, but life is often quite funny so I made an effort to drum."

    Newman strummed some tunes, Lewis wrote texts and
    Gilbert combined punk with minimalism, but soon got fed up with it.

    "We didn't want to be thrown into the punk thing at all," stated Gilbert emphatically, prefering to glide gracefully into the pink noise thing. Throughout the next couple of decades, Gilbert proved this on Mute, Dumb and Def albums that I am really too busy to listen to, such as Do You Diddy Wah Diddy?, The Piddling Man, Out Gliding, In Utero, Ad Nauseum, Old Filler, and The Funny Bunny Thing.

    "People had always seen pink as a colour but it was a just a noise to me. It had all become old hat by the eighties so I made a noise and smoked cigars in a shed whilst a precocious girl pranced and cavorted in a veil. However I suspect Colin's childhood adventures will be of more interest to your readers."

    "The only way I can begin to rationalise the way Bruce tried to hide in a shed and smoke cigars is that he was frightened of my imaginary pet horse," pondered Newman, making a clicking noise.

    "He lied on his side," added Lewis cryptically whilst enigmatically videoing EMI employees queuing at chart return shops with a camera concealed inside a black tubular mask.

    "Actually it was Colin's provisional pet fish that used to worry me more," corrected Bruce by email at a later date, "Always gliding with no actual motion. I sprayed the bastard black but I soon got fed up with it."

    Mindful of the journey's end, they read again the letter from the former manager.
    More Lowdown Errata / Omission:

    The Drill was released under the name Wire, not Wir. Put away your jingle jangle Smiths singles and read the cover of the album you 'sub-editor' dope. WIRE is in very big letters!

    P92 In a rare moment of having an opinion of his own rather than relying on old press cuttings to tell him what to think, Lester opines that Map Ref is a song about a cartographer. To my ears and mind it sounds more like a song about someone using a map to locate their destiny.

    P93 In a blinding flash of Revelation, it dawns on him that the first three Wire albums seem like a triptych. If this is so it seems odd that he hasn't noticed a couple of other possible triptychs from the eighties / nineties, then again no one listens to those albums much do they? Too busy mooning over The Smiths?

    Tryptich 2: I Feel Crappy/Bell Jar Zen Car/Don't Start Me Up
    Tippletickle 3: The Mill/Fannyscape/The Last Number

    The implication could be that a third triptych is forming,
    quite bright as the filament burns...

    P96 PL's analysis of Two People in a Room seems fanciful. Bruce Gilbert told Kevin Eden that it was a painting he never painted. It seems to me to be about a couple drifting apart as they slowly lose whatever attracted them to each other and have little left to communicate except an unspoken antagonism. Lester opines that this is Gotobed&Newman / Gilbert&Lewis, but at least doesn't go so far as to theorise on who is the man and who is the lady.

    I don't think Two People is about Wire, but The Fifteenth could be.

    More likely to my mind is that
    ONE OF US is directed at Paul Smith and
    CIRCUMSPECT is directed at Gilbert?

    ...but Lester neglects to cover the recent albums in more than a rather perfunctory manner in his rushed copy .

    P99 Remove For Improvement is given the classic bootlegger dyslexia rendering Remove On Improvement, which one feels would be a good motto for this dismal book.
    "P152 A Public Place lyric is wrong - "private hedge pissers" should be "privet hedge pissers." "

    Correction to correction: the inner sleeve has the word 'private' printed but it definitely sounds like Colin sings 'privet' and this lyric was discussed by Bruce in Kevin's vastly superior book, which deserves to be updated and reprinted to nix this piece of crap.