Thanks again to everyone who voted in this year’s survey – voting was down to less than half of the previous couple of years – I guess I didn’t harass people as much as usual. 62 people voted, on the plus side this does mean that you all had a better chance of being picked out of the hat in the draw – sadly it still means that only one person can get lucky and they’ve been emailed so if you haven’t heard from me your name wasn’t pulled out.
Thanks also to all the lovely things said about the web site, it gives me a warm glow. I was going to quote a couple here but it would seem a little vain – rest assured they were all very much appreciated!
Penthouse once again topped the list of favourite Luna albums with Bewitched giving it a run.
23 Minutes in Brussels was, as always, the favourite Luna song although it wasn’t as comfortable as usual at the top, with Indian Summer hot on its heels.
Damon and Naomi
Damon and Naomi’s first album More Sad Hits has always topped the poll but as years progress it becomes clear that folk are digging into the rest of Damon and Naomi’s catalogue. With Ghost was in a very healthy second place.
Surprisingly jumping out of mid-table to top the poll for favourite track was Laika
Dean and Britta
Dean and Britta’s first album L’Avventura once again tops the poll, with only one vote separating the other two albums in the chase.
Once again Night Nurse is the favourite Dean and Britta track scoring twice as many votes as its nearest rival.
Dean Wareham’s first year in the poll as a solo artist saw both of his albums polling well, with this year’s eponymous LP taking top spot.
I think we’ll all be glad to know this is the last part of my 20th birthday celebrations!
16: Net, Blogs and Rock and Roll
In September of 2006 Galaxie 500 list member, David contacted me with an intriguing (and rather bizarre) proposal …
I’m writing a book about how people discover music online – particularly in the age of Last.fm, wikis, blogs etc. […] It’s called Net, Blogs and Rock’n’Roll. One of the things I’m covering is fan-generated information and fan communities. […] I was wondering if I could steal an hour of your time at some point to chat over your 12-year experience with the Galaxie 500 website and email list.
So a short time later we met in a pub in Shepherds Bush for a chat, I wittered on not convinced that I really had anything to say but it was a nice evening and after it I headed home. In August 2007 the book was published and is a fantastic and insightful look at online and digital music (and re-reading it recently it’s still has a lot of relevance seven years on in a fast moving world. Chapter 3 is called “Fans as creators” and has a fascinating assessment of the value of fans in the online.
[Fan communities] develop a shared way of working together, what leading theorist Etienne Wenger calls a “shared repertoire of resources: experiences, stories, tools, ways of addressing recurring problems.” In the case of the Galaxie 500 community, this would include when (and how) to use the server, experiences of previous “flame wars” on the email list and how they were resolved, the ethical codes of what is and is not legitimate digital copying, together with shared memories of meet-ups at gigs and which albums have topped the fans’ polls over the years.
I’ll throw “Dear Paulina” in here but I’ve sort of milked that to death over the years – so go here to see the story (and hear the single).
18: Luna’s Last Waltz
When Luna announced their last shows in NYC I resigned myself to the fact that I wouldn’t be there – there were plenty of reasons, none of them were that good, the best was the miles and the cost. The fact that they were coming to London on the farewell tour was the clincher. Members of the mailing list decided differently and a collection was started and a lot of lovely folk contributed and plans were afoot to go.
On 26th December 2004 there was a undersea earthquake off the coast of Sumatra, the ensuing tsunami killed hundreds of thousands, left millions homeless and put many at risk… and what the west had that these people needed was money… and what I couldn’t contemplate was spending money on myself when this was happening. After consulting the donors I took their money, added a chunk of my own, and decided that the last London date would be the last time I’d see Luna.
I love that these friends cared enough to try and get me over – and it does worry me that my not going was rude – but given the scale of the disaster I felt it was the least I could do.
I lived Luna’s final shows through the internet, and through my friends who were there. Of course I should have been there. Luna’s Last Waltz
At some point someone on the mailing list suggested we do a tribute album and so I took it upon myself to organise that – but, as previously mentioned, I couldn’t really organise a piss-up in a brewery, so almost two years later – a half-arsed CDR with a laser-printed paper sleeve finally made its way into the big-wide-world. It deserved better… much better. You can listen to (and download) the whole album over here. Here’s one of the gems… Watoo Watoo’s lovely bossa cover of Luna’s Chinatown
20: Baby my head’s full of wishes
So… A Head Full of Wishes moves into its third decade with a new Damon & Naomi LP in February, a Luna reunion in April, and hopefully, more opportunities to meet fans at gigs and festivals, in pubs and coffee shops, online and offline. It’s been a treat – and while meeting the band members over the years has been a thrill meeting other fans has been brilliant – sometimes awkward – but always brilliant.
Some more nonsense oozing from my head… it’s getting to the stage where I wish I hadn’t decided to pick 20, partly because they might be getting a bit boring … or worse… self-indulgent.
11: The Galaxie 500 box set
From the earliest days of the web site and the list there were rumours about a Galaxie 500 reissue as the albums had been out of print since Rough Trade’s collapse. Around ’95 there was a lot of talk about Sub Pop putting them out but eventually Rykodisc released them. Andrea Troolin, who managed the box set release had got in touch with me, it was probably the first time that I realised that the web site was recognised as more than just being something that kept me and a few fans out of trouble. Andrea sent me a few emails, most long since lost in the Yahoo->Gmail move, I remember one was discussing the tracklisting of a promo CD for the box-set. She also sent me the first freebies that AHFoW had managed to provide – a copy of the previously discussed promo, and a ride the fiery breeze poster signed by all three members.
12: A very angry email
Another sadly lost email was the one I received from an angry man called “Dallas”, he was a very, very angry man. What made Dallas angry was that anyone could have the cheek to name their band after such a classic car. This was apparently a disgrace and I, should be utterly ashamed of having a website that celebrated this atrocity. I wrote back suggesting that most names were not particularly inspired with originality, his own for instance. I never heard any more.
13: An end to my 7″ free existence
At some point in the early 2000s I found myself periodically actually talking to band members… at some point in talking to Damon & Naomi I had let slip that my Galaxie 500 collection, while full of LPs and 12″ (and CDs) was missing all those lovely rarities that came out on 7″. Some time later, completely unannounced, a package arrived at from the US containing all those missing singles and this lovely note…
I think that I’m very lucky that the band I fell in love with are all such lovely people (and most of the people I’ve encountered because of them have also turned out to be lovely).
14: A trip to NYC
In 2001 I convinced Hazel that we should spend a few days in NYC, the fact that it happened to be a weekend where Luna where playing two nights at The Knitting Factory might not have been a coincidence. We stayed with long-time (and oldest) list member Bob, who I’d first met in Boston a few years before, and again in London where we went on a road trip to see Damon & Naomi in Brighton. Another good friend that the Internet and Galaxie 500 had made for me.
We had a great weekend, two Luna gigs, lots of walking around, eating, and then being stuck on the snow-covered tarmac of JFK airport for a few hours. There’s another story from that trip that I’ve trotted out before.
15: A get together
Over the years I had half-heartedly tried to organise get-togethers at gigs, it would often end up as just me and one or two other folk – mostly because I’m not actually that good at organising anything (there’ll probably be more on that in part 4). For Luna’s last London show it peaked at four or maybe even five of us. This year we had a rather lovely get-together in a cafe before Dean’s gig at the Islington Assembly Hall. It was lovely meeting folk in a nice relaxed atmosphere – and it was the beginning of one of the more memorable AHFoW evenings of the last 20 years. I did manage to not take a picture of us all. I regret that! But thanks to everyone who turned up. It was a pleasure.
Actually, thanks to everyone I’ve met over the 20 years… you all know who you are.
Issue 14 contains:
A Letter from Damon & Naomi
The Poet in my Heart, by Kim Gordon
time again to start again, by Jim O’Rourke
Fortune, by Naomi Yang
Goodbye, by Bill Knott
Postscript to no. 14, by the Editors
Forgive my indulgence as I post another little nostalgia trip to celebrate 20 years of A Head Full of Wishes
6: Tell Me Do You Miss Me – the UK premiere
In 2009 John of Dream Machine records got in touch and told me that he would be putting on the UK première of Matthew Buzzell’s splendid Luna documentary Tell Me Do You Miss Me in a pub back room in Brixton. After an initial postponement it finally happened on a cold December evening. I’d tried to drum up interest but I didn’t have too much pull (just David!) and it was a sparsely attended. After the film John and the Dream Machine All Stars put on an lovely and enjoyable set of Luna favourites. Here they are romping through 23 Minutes in Brussels
7: Jesus made me do it
After the web site had been running happily for a few months I had been contacted by a few fellow fans, and it was suggested by one of them, Jesus, that I should maybe set up a mailing list. So in early July 1995 the first post of The Galaxie 500 Mailing List was sent out, it started “OK, so far it’s just the four of us…”. By the time of the first survey in December of that year there were 124 of us. Now most of the social-interaction happens on Facebook (where the page has over 1200 “likes”) and Twitter.
The mailing list is still ticking over and sporadically bursts into life over here.
9: Watching us watching them
I haven’t found the interview but some time in the mid/late 90s Dean made an oblique reference to the Galaxie 500 Mailing list, I think it was something about how he looked at it for a while but stopped because he couldn’t correct mistakes. The first band member to actually post to the list was Matt Quigley who replaced Justin on bass for a short while… you can read about his time in Luna here (make sure you read Matt’s comments too). Britta became a regular and very active member of the list after she joined the band.
10: 28 seconds from Brussels
OK, I’d decided never to share this because frankly it’s probably a bit weird and stalky to share answerphone messages, but I’ve referred to it so many times over the years, and it’s now 17 years old (Dean if you read this and are bothered by hearing your message to me just shout!). The first time I spoke to Dean was after a show at the Astoria in London in 1997 – he was squatting at the side of the stage, he signed my ticket and took my phone number to let me know some more upcoming dates. A few days later this happened while I was out…
It may all sound rather innocuous… but it did (and still does) blow my mind!