18 Jun 2004
Sweetly acerbic 
Stephin Merritt (The 6ths, The Magnetic Fields) answers another one of those questionnaires (in fact the same one Vini Reilly did a while ago) in Time Out. Here is a selection of his answers:

Have you ever sung karaoke? I haven't. When occasionally my friends ask me to sing karaoke, I have a great excuse, which is that I sing for a living. No money, no singing!

So, do you live on takeaways or eat out? I eat out. Everyone in New York eats out - we don't really have kitchens here.

Who's the most famous person you've ever met? John Lennon. I was at the Syracuse Children's Museum in the early 70's; he and Yoko Ono were having a show there. I walked up to him just as he was taking a chisel to a block of ice and asked him what he was doing. He said, 'I'm carving an iced tea' - and it turns out he was in fact carving a large letter 'T'.

What's your favourite animal? My dog, Irving. He's a five-year-old chihuahua.

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A Certain Ratio

"Manchester, 1978. In the beginning there were four: Jez Kerr (bass), Martin Moscrop (guitar/trumpet), Peter Terrel (guitar/effects) and Simon Topping (vocals/trumpet). Four thin boys with a name borrowed from a Brian Eno record, the intense, drummerless quartet initially drew influence from Wire, Eno, the Velvets and Kraftwerk, and gained a manager in Anthony Wilson of Factory Records.

"May 1979 saw the release of their first ACR single, the dark All Night Party, although the sound and musicianship of the band would be transformed by the arrival of funky drummer Donald Johnson (DoJo) in August. Over the next few months the band gigged widely, often with Joy Division as part of Factory packages, and recorded demos with producer Martin Hannett as well as a Peel session. Their support slot with Talking Heads on their UK tour in December 1979 set David Byrne on a new course, and provided the compelling live half of their chic cassette package The Graveyard and the Ballroom. Post-punk, ACR now reflected the influence of Funkadelic, George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, The Bar Kays and James Brown."

- intro to ACR Biography by James Nice (LTM)

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