You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever, Orange Juice
Polydor, February, 1982
Track Listing: 1. Falling and Laughing, 2. Untitled Melody, 3. Wan Light, 4. Tender Object, 5. Dying Day, 6. L.O.V.E. Love, 7. Intuition Told Me (Part 1), 8. Upwards and Onwards, 9.Satellite City, 10. Three Cheers for Our Side, 11. Consolation Prize, 12. Felicity, 13. In a Nutshell
When I think of the Glaswegian band Orange Juice I think of sweetness. Not sweetness in a sappy, poppy sense. But sweetness in an ironic and post-punk confection as in “Sweetness, I was only joking when I said I’d like to smash every tooth in your head” as Morrissey wryly sings. When I think of Orange Juice I think of a lost time when young kids found the courage to dress and act in whatever way they wanted to amidst a hard and conservative working-class environment. I think of a time when intrepid young bands put a thorn in the side of conformity and commercialism and ventured out to do things on their own. Press their own records. Distribute their own singles and albums. Explore new sounds and song structures. Draw in different cultural styles and musical forms. When I think of Orange Juice I think of a sugary playful time that went far beyond the snot-and-leather fury that was punk before it, but blossomed into something newer and better. Something more meaningful and exciting. But not forgetting the true spirit of its three chord predecessor.
“The king’s new clothes have fallen to the ground
But my ears are deaf to your bright new sound”
-from “Upwards and Onwards”
When I think of Orange Juice I think of a small indie label called Postcard Records in Glasgow that first signed the band back in 1980. I think of the fundless, self-declared ‘‘sound of young Scotland,’’ and selfless label that arguably gave birth to what we now call independent music. When I think of Orange Juice I think of hundreds of other small and brave independent labels such as Rough Trade, Factory, Stiff, Bomp, Good Vibrations, Slash and SST to name a few. I think of DIY fanzines such as Touch and Go, Punk, Sniffin’ Glue and Maximumrocknroll—all xeroxing themselves frantically out of the dirty holes and crannies of cities and suburbs everywhere. I think of all the messed up people who were a slap in the face to the dull commercial and shallow world around them. A pink flag high above the lackluster norm where only money and fame and big hair seemed to matter. When I think of Orange Juice I think of the pride of being different. Being odd. Being fresh and original. I think of the meek. The daring few who got beat up for their beliefs or shunned just because their hair and clothes were different. The sweetness of being weird. Strange. Outnumbered. The strength of the fearless few who didn’t care that they were peculiar or unusual, but utterly rejoiced in their uniqueness.
“I heard your bugle playing the sweetest music to my ears”
-from “Dying Day”
When I think of Orange Juice I jump 30 years later to Tom Hamilton and his Music from the Loft show on Celtic Music Radio high atop a lonely radio station building in Glasgow. 1530 AM. I think of Tom’s endless dedication to supporting new and unknown artists. People who might not have found airplay elsewhere. When I think of Orange Juice I think of all the beautiful and unknown singers and songwriters Tom has played on his show. Not played out of pity or for trying to pick cool new finds, but just played because he truly believes in and loves their music. And when I think of Tom I realize thirty years doesn’t change anything and people can still do things out of passion and love without being paid a penny or trying to become famous. Tom Hamilton. The man who makes the long trip to Glasgow every week from miles away after a long hard day of work just so he can play music that he loves and believes in on the radio. The John Peel of the north. The Donovan of the airways. Freshly squeezed and bright as the rising sun.
“Only my dreams satisfy the real need of my heart”
-from “Falling and Laughing”
When I think of Postcard Records I think of all the other independent Scottish music supporters I’ve had the pleasure to meet. McChuills Bar in Glasgow and the friendly owner Nicholas who arduously supports local and travelling bands every week. The Dalriada Bar in Portabello run by Terry, an Irish musician himself, who gives singers and songwriters a cozy and warm venue by the sea to perform at and meet others like themselves. When I think of Orange Juice I think of The Forest Café in Edinburgh run solely by volunteers who support all kinds of independent events. I think of The Monorail record shop in Glasgow that has possibly the best selection of independent music I have ever seen. When I think of Orange Juice I think of glorious sunshine, and above all Sunshine on Leith as the Proclaimers sing, and a small record and bookshop called Elvis Shakespeare in Leith. Its lovely and proud owner Mark and sidekick David. Their love of Leith. Their passion for music. Their continued support of bands and songwriters. Their dedication to a business of books and music when most businesses of books and music have all shut down. Hats off to you guys one and all.
“Push me and pull me
The blind lead the blind
I don’t have no money
Can I pay you in kind”
-from “In a Nutshell”
And when I think of Orange Juice I think of a very small label called Weak Records that was … well … doomed by its name from the start. They were not fancy and had no bells or whistles, but boy did they have a lot of heart. I think of the extremely gifted and talented bands and musicians they produced: The Jesus Taco. Tobias Thomhave. Bobby Vacant & The Worn. Such a gentle and sweet but fragile flower. How could they survive?
“Wan light surrounds my heart
Its chimes make light of this dismal plight”
-from “Wan Light”
So what does one learn from bands or labels that cease to exist? The answer is this: music is not about money or fame. Clicks or likes. Followers or fans. It’s about heart and soul. It’s about love. It’s about passion. It is unmovable and immutable. Music is immune to the dark tugs of time. Immune to destruction. Immune to ridicule or disdain. Above all, music is immune to any quantitative or monetary value whatsoever. It is love and spirit. It is pure. Golden. Fresh as as the first crack of dawn. A glorious and precious orange in the sun.