Paper Knife: title unknown (1996?)

 |   |  1 min read

Paper Knife: title unknown (1996?)

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.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   From the Vaults articles index

Dread Zeppelin: All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth (1990)

Dread Zeppelin: All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth (1990)

Christmas is upon us. And in the spirit of the day here is one of the funniest bands ever. Whoever thought pulling together reggae rhythms and Led Zeppelin riffery was an odd fish . . . but... > Read more

Gene Pitney: A Town Without Pity (1961)

Gene Pitney: A Town Without Pity (1961)

Because many of us used to read album covers with something approaching an obsession when we were first buying records, we got to know the names of songwriters (Charles and Inez Foxx always sounded... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

PERE UBU REISSUED, PART ONE (2016): On a thin wire dancing above the abyss

PERE UBU REISSUED, PART ONE (2016): On a thin wire dancing above the abyss

In his 1974 philosophical narrative Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, the American author Robert M. Pirsig writes of being at the home of some friends where there is a constantly... > Read more

Chinatown, Singapore: Life in the lens

Chinatown, Singapore: Life in the lens

Among the trinkets and souvenirs at the Chinatown Heritage Centre in Singapore the photograph caught my eye: a lone boatman, standing up in his small craft, is rowing between some other vessels as... > Read more