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Interchange 1

Press/Orga: Interchange

Year: 1981
Country: United Kingdom
Format: Mag/Lit
lmtd. 122/230, Nurse with wound, Nocturnal Emission…
INTRODUCTION TO ISSUE 1       The debut issue of Interchange took over two years from its inception to completion. It was started before I left London (in late 1980) to go to university in Newcastle. I had written (I had no ‘phone) to various people asking for information and interviews, the latter of which were mainly done via post. The exceptions to this were the Nurse With Wound and Nocturnal Emissions pieces which were done in person.       I remember the Steve Stapleton (N.W.W.) interview very well as it had something of a surreal prelude. I must have written to him suggesting a particular day (a Sunday) but had not received a reply. I decided that this did not really matter and that I would make the journey from Southwest to North London and just turn up. It was a roasting hot day and a long walk to Brackenbury Road in the sweltering heat. As I approached the stretch of road where I guessed the house to be I could see that there were crowds of people milling about a garden and spilling onto the street. As I got closer it became apparent that all this was happening at the house I wanted. I obviously had no idea what was going on but worked my way through the crowd asking various people 'where Steve was'. Eventually I found him and was informed that I was crashing a family birthday party (his mother's?) and there would obviously be no time to chat. He suggested I visited his studio in central London a few days later.       The studio was a tiny room (perhaps 15’x 10’ in size?) in a small street (I forget exactly which) just south of Oxford Street. It was near the infamous Virgin Basement on the north side Oxford Street (the mall it was situated in was a junkie hangout and quite sleazy) which I knew of because it always seemed to carry odd stuff such as United Dairies and even Come Organisation records, the latter banned from Rough Trade for their (supposed) facist links. It was not until many years later that I discovered the reason that particular branch of Virgin carried them was because Jim Thirwell (Foetus and occasional N.W.W. collaborator) worked there.      The studio itself was quite dark and spartan (not at all 'slick' or 'modern', I don't even remember a 'proper' draughtman's table) but there was a cassette player and a few shelves of tapes. One was playing as I arrived. It had a solid rhythm - 'Chugga chugga chugga'. The next track seemed to be the same 'Chugga chugga chugga' but played backwards. It sounded great! I had no idea who the band was, it didn’t sound like Nurse, so I asked. “It’s 'Neu!' Haven’t you heard of them?” I had to confess I hadn’t. Kindly, he made no comment on my being unaware of one of the greatest ‘Krautrock’ bands of all time, and immediately gave me the tape. Such gestures were typical of the generosity of almost everybody that I had dealings with at that time. We then drank tea and recorded what I now believe to be the first N.W.W. interview.       Sadly, I have only the haziest memories, possibly false, of the Nocturnal Emissions interview. Some years later, they reminded me that I had actually stayed overnight at their house, which I adamantly refused to believe I had done. I can only apologise at my shocking memory. Even more years later (I still ponder this!), I think I had perhaps confused their place with that of The Bow Gamelan Ensemble’s Paul Burwell. Who'soever house it was, I do remember it being in a dangerous state. I am pretty sure I was told it leaked and seem to remember the bathroom didn't have a wall to wall floor, or possibly it was a ceiling. As an utter innocent this was probably my first experience of anything resembling a squat.      The magazine was originally to have been produced using a Gestetner duplicator which I had somehow (I have no idea how!) come to possess. I also have no idea why I ever thought it would be a good idea to use one in the first place, as even in the late 70’s it was an obsolete piece of messy technology that produced poor results. One had to cut the stencils for it by typing directly onto them and there was, in theory, a carbon copy made on the backing paper. I used an old manual typewriter (probably my mother's, so it was probably pre-war), and the quality of the stencils and carbons was appalling. Of course the duplicator itself was never used and when I moved north it was abandoned.      Fast forward to 1982 (ie: two years!) and I was in the throes of dropping out of Uni, where I was 'studying' (if I ever turned up) agricultural economics (don't ask!). I had also fallen in with a group of local ‘freaks and weirdos’ who I had met via a tape swapping advert in a local record shop. These included Paul and Jude of ‘The Adventures of Twizzle’ and John of ‘Metgumbnerbone’. Zoviet France lived just along the road. I was still technically a student and so had a grant, but virtually everybody else was on the dole. Despite that everyone seemed to have some sort of creative project on the go except myself, and so the magazine idea was revived. I needed new pieces to bring it up to date, the main one being the 'The Final Academy' review. I wasn't keen on reviewing gigs in the magazine because they were things you could only experience in person, but this one seemed special, not least as it ran for four days and was 'multi-media'. Oooh!      During this time I had got to know a lot of people by mail, and had even met a few of them. 'The Final Acadamy' bought everyone out of the woodwork. I spent time with Gordon Hope of Flowmotion/A Mission records, the R&D 28 gang (Rock Wilson, John Sanders and Mick Gaffney) and Vittorre Baroni (of Art Postale/Trax) who had come over from Italy for the event.       I made the almost obligatory trip to the B2 Galley in Wapping to see Gysin's 'Dream Machine' in action. You left the tube station to find yourself surrounded by Victorian warehouses and what looked like (and possibly was) a WWII bomb site. I was too shy to try and blag my way to meet Burroughs and co, but did bump into Brion Gysin in the Brixton Academy foyer. He saw my cassette recorder, I was, as always, recording any gig I could smuggle it in to. “Are you recording these?” he asked. When I admitted I was, he kindly took a cassette cover, scribbled ‘without permission’ on it and added a signature.      I retyped all the old carbons on a (slightly) less crappy manual typewriter. In principle if I spotted a mistake as I typed I would 'tippex' it out and type over it when it dried. Looking at the masters today there seems to be precious little evidence of any 'tippex'. I don’t even think I knew what the term ‘proofreading’ meant. Probably I was sick to death of typing it all again and just wanted it done; although it would have been nice to have spotted and corrected the multiple use of the term 'United Daries'.       Once done it was photocopied in the limited edition of 230 (of course!) A5 in London at a resource that Larry Peterson of 'Cause for Concern' tapes turned me on to. I boxed up the printed sheets and hauled them across London to Victoria coach station to be taken back to Newcastle (a seven hour journey) where they were finally folded and stapled up. I then sent issues to all of the contributors. I was so embarrassed and ashamed at having taken so long to repay their generosity that after having sent out their copies I could not bear to bring myself to write to many of them ever again, a piece of stupidity I still regret.      I cannot remember what proportions I gave away, swapped or, possibly, even sold, but was amazed that they seemed to disappear quite quickly and that it received some good reviews. Thoroughly fired by this turn of events, I began plans for issue 2…