here are the young men ... Ally Robson photos by Lee McPhail

Whilst most of the Scottish post punk bands of the early 1980s were all doing their best to be the new Velvet Underground at their most whimsical, a few bands worked in less explored sonic territories. Visitors were one of these
bands. Like one of their contemporaries, Joy Division, the bleak seriousness of their appearance and sound was more a
reflection of their commitment and hard work ethic, rather than a contrived image. Who wears old man clothes as a statement ?
   It is often said that some of the best music is very simple, a fortunate juxtaposition of melody and rhythm.Other pieces
are like precious minerals that must be found and retrieved from uncomfortable, hard and dark and dirty places. These places are usually located in the mind. There are always casualties along the way and we all lost a few friends to that intensity.
  Poets End, the retrospective collection of Visitors singles and other tracks is a reliable diary of those times. There are of
course other similarly brilliant albums of that time (I won't list them.......I don't do comforting lists) but they were available at the time, and that's the difference here. Even in saying that, I suddenly realise that, as wonderful as it is that this record is,
we are still a Visitors album short. The one they should have recorded at the time. One was underway, I hear.
Or don't hear, to be precise.

Where are the young men ? These days ?
Visitors at their most prolific would have been about 20 to 22 years old, which is the norm for up and coming bands in
breaking, new musical genres since the 1950s. But where are the modern day equivalents ? I can't see them and I certainly
don't hear them. Of course, they think they exist, in their software driven digital worlds but it just doesn't seem to work in
the "real world". Yes ! it still exists.. The machines themselves are designed to sound good, you don't have to put much in.
Now, I don't know what that really means, there are of course some exceptions to every rule, but if there were that many
"valid" new, interesting bands around, why have so many of the old guard resurfaced ? Like the Pop Group, Gang of Four,
PiL, Wire ...etc. It's surely not to fill a commercial opportunity but more to try an fill an ever growing psychological void.
A void that digital matter just cannot fill.
Now, calm down.
I use a lot of digital equipment myself, and it is amazing, and I have a great time making music with it, but it removes
something from the process and simply leaves a description of what you did. A very good description indeed, and improving
all the time, but never the real thing. It's a virtual world. Think about it. Or don't. that's up to you.
How seriously do you take someone who spends a lot of time playing virtual world games ? Or produces virtual art ?
( especially the 3D stuff - everything I look at is already 3D, isn't it ? ). The exceptions rule applies again, get used to it,
I recently listened to a "mix" by a DJ I know, and though it was pleasant enough, it sounded like a demo programme
playing on a new Roland keyboard, with "Dance/Electronic Functions". Nothing more, nothing less. In fact, it's very
pleasantness is part of the problem.
Why is this ? I don't know....  
  
......and neither do you. 
I think it may be something to do with a false sense of equality that has become part of our larger society and nobody wants
to upset anybody else anymore. The equalisation process that has occurred has made it impossible for a counter culture to
survive. There can be no alternative to actual freedom. Of course, none of this has really worked out as perfectly as i suggest.
Blame yourselves. Now, we can pause and look at that last statement, and wonder why would anyone want to upset
somebody else in the first place. Well, because that's what rock 'n' roll is ! That's the history of all " youth" culture movements.

"What are you rebelling against ?"
"What have you got?" THE WILD ONE
-Marlon Brando

If your not upsetting someone, traditionally the old guard, or your parents and their generation, then your doing something
wrong. I don't even think it's a particularly intentional act, it's more of a by product, just what happens in the difficult birthing
of new, vibrant, valid and exciting forms.
This
Visitors album, Poets End, makes me think about these things. This is their art.
These are some of my favourite songs of all time.






old article from SOUNDS 1980
looks like they have got John and Derek mixed up in the photographs
,

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