Architecture and Ceramics
This is about Gruff Rhys, and why he is my absolute favourite musician ever, and probably always will be.
The first single I ever bought was ‘Something for the Weekend‘. I had no idea what it was about.
I used to love going to Woolworths and getting the latest SFA single, from ‘GOD! Show Me Magic’ to ‘The International Language of Screaming’, then ‘Radiator’, the album. This is really showing my mid-90’s indie roots here!
I used to listen to Radiator over and over again… on tape of course.
My uncle bought me ‘Mwng’ for my birthday. The thing I loved about SFA was their brilliant lyrics [Marie Curie was Polish born but French bred. FRENCH BRED!] which of course i couldn’t understand a word of on Mwng because it’s in Welsh. My uncle wasn’t too keen on an album in Welsh, truth be told, as he once passed a dreadful week there in his youth. Still, he did the decent thing and got me what I had asked for.If anything this cemented my belief in the three minute pop song.
SFA were ridiculously prolific in the late 90’s, and I basically wasn’t flush enough to buy everything they put out, which made me feel like a rubbish fan.
I carried on listening to the early albums and recent singles through university, in fact they played the Corn Exchange the first week i arrived in Edinburgh. My every instinct was to buy two tickets and try and find someone within the first 24 hours in a new city to come with me, but I was too scared to do that. Gruff would have been ashamed!
The first time I saw SFA live was in 2006, with F at Electric Picnic in Ireland. In the front row were four guys crammed into a wendy house, Gruff sang through his Power Rangers mask… it was everything I thought it would be.
At Connect Festival in 2007 I had just turned down [what I thought was] a very lucrative job offer, which in hindsight was the best thing I could have done. That night i danced to SFA, and especially this song
OK, so I haven’t even got to Gruff’s solo stuff, or collaborations. Suffice to say Neon Neon, Gorillaz, and his solo albums Candylion and the new one Hotel Shampoo are my favourite favourite music and I can [and do] spend entire days listening to nothing but Gruff Rhys’ music.
What is it about Gruff? He’s prolific, a talented instrumentalist, obviously good at drawing out the best from his band, just disgustingly good at everything he turns his hand to. I will leave you with this clip of Gruff making art from the flotsam of 15 years on the road
Gruff’s solo slot clashes with Beyonce at Glastonbury this year, and I am absolutely gutted. I’m hoping he will turn up somewhere else during the weekend, maybe DJing or acoustically, and I will get the chance to see him again.