Paper Knife: title unknown (1996?)

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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.

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