Graham Reid | | 1 min read
At some time in the mid Nineties while in Tokyo I ambled through Yoyogi Park where the Fifites rock'n'roll stylists slick back their hair and dance to old Elvis, and girls and boys alike dress like manga-mad characters.
It is a vibrant and slightly circus-like atmosphere -- and that was where I saw Paper Knife, two young and slightly uncomfortable guys with guitars and a beat box of drum samples.
To the almost complete indifference of everyone -- they were up against girls dressed like psychedelic cats (with whiskers) and boys who looked like they'd caught the Bay City Rollers bus back from Mars -- they played their sweet, short and rather divine Bacharach-Beatles, sometimes samba-influenced, pop.
I was entranced and afterwards bought all three of their cassettes, each of which came in handmade cartoon covers with cute drawings and what I guess were lyrics.
Near my desk I keep a photo of a couple I saw in the vilage of Hoi An in Vietnam in '97. She sang with a passion into a handheld microphone and lead her blind brother (playing a battered electric guitar) around by a lead. They were very poor and made the most achingly beautiful music.
I keep their photo close because it reminds me -- as do Paper Knife -- that sometimes, very often in fact, the best music catches you off-guard and comes from people who have never, and may never, see the inside of a record company or something called a contract.
They just make music.
For more one-offs, oddities and songs with an interesting backstory see From the Vaults.