My Friend Mr Stevens (Echopet) recently gave me a book from the Bloomsbury 331/3 series.
331/3 is basically an ongoing series of books written by various authors about classic (or not so classic, its up to you really) albums. Wilson Neate's contribution to this series is Wire's Pink Flag. Pink Flag was not the 1st Wire album I ever got, my 1st Wire long play was the mighty 154 and before that I managed to get a few singles which I had heard on John Peel, (I am the Fly, Dot Dash and Outdoor Miner). So once I had 154 I decided it was time to get Chairs Missing and Pink Flag. Pink Flag is probably the most unique album to come out of the class of 77 punk releases. With 21 tracks its awkward jerkiness and at times ability to just stop (Field Day for the Sundays 28 secs The Commercial 48 secs) must have put even your average punk on edge. If punk is about attitude, change and breaking down barriers then Wire were basically more punk than most bands at the time, but they also seemed to have more art leanings than most so called art rock bands. At the time the band were signed to Harvest (Kevin Ayers, Pink Floyd, Roy Harper, Be-Bop- Deluxe to name a few) which probably never went down to well with sections of the punk elite, and at producer Mike Thorne's suggestion even used a flute on the track Strange. Wire's ability to deconstruct and lose interest in their own songs went even further with the next 2 albums. When playing live the band would hardly play any songs of the album they were on tour to promote (they had already been working on new songs and played them instead) If you want to know the the full details about the recording of Pink Flag, the song writing, equipment studio used and set up, then its all here. The end of the book briefly deals with Bruces Gilberts departure from the band in 2004 and the Three Girl Rhumba/Elastica issue. I ended up reading the whole book over 2 days and thought it was fantastic. Might read it again, but in the spirit of Wire maybe stop halfway through, or not at all. Who knows?????