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

Sly Stone: Just Like a Baby (1970)

Sly Stone: Just Like a Baby (1970)

If we think of the great Sly Stone at all these days it's the celebratory guy leading the Family Stone at Woodstock and then great albums like Stand and There's A Riot Goin' On. But flick back... > Read more

Lil Johnson and Black Bob: Press my Button, Ring My Bell (1932)

Lil Johnson and Black Bob: Press my Button, Ring My Bell (1932)

When Anita Ward scored a big disco hit with Ring My Bell in '79, the saucy yet somewhat lyrically bland song was in a long tradition of "ring my bell" metaphors in popular music. As... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Joni Mitchell, Blue (1971)

Joni Mitchell, Blue (1971)

In his 2006 book The Seventies -- excellent digressive but interlocked essays about the cultural and social movements of that volatile decade -- the London-based writer Howard Sounes namechecks... > Read more

Larry Carlton. Bruce Mason Centre, Auckland. June 6 2014

Larry Carlton. Bruce Mason Centre, Auckland. June 6 2014

There's an old joke about jazz promotion: if you want to make a million bucks, start with two mill. The amorphous audience is the great unknown. As some promoters have found, you can... > Read more