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Thursday, June 8, 2017

Sparks - "Islington N1" CD Single, Special Edition, 2008 (Lil' Beethoven Records)


Perhaps my most prized music object.  The very limited edition of Sparks' "Islington N1."  Not sure how many were made.  I got one because I got the Gold Ticket to their series of concerts that took place in Islington London in 2008.   I wrote all about it in my book "Sparks-Tastic."  Which is more of a memoir of a Sparks' fan than a Sparks bio - but it does cross that line within the book.   Besides having such a special CD, the song is one of the great tunes from Ron Mael and Russell Mael.  It's dramatic, it's funny, and somewhat moving.  Perhaps because it is a song dealing with a real time, with respect to the area around the concert hall where these concerts took place.  It's a snapshot of a time and place, and anyone who received this CD at that particular time, it's very much like watching an event on Live TV.  Listening to it now, it brings back memories of all the shows and even what my mood was like at that time.   On another level, it's a drag that this song is not more available to the masses.   You can find the recording on YouTube, but the time of its release (or giveaway), it seemed no one posted it on the Internet.  Which was unusual, because everything gets posted as soon as possible.  It seemed that the fans who did receive this CD pretty much kept it to themselves.  

The song is brilliant.  Lyrically it's in the Noel Coward/Cole Porter world.   No one writes songs like Sparks.  I often mentioned it (maybe too many times) but their music harks back to a literate world - especially in songwriting.  There is nothing abstract in their writing, nor is it realistic. It's impressionistic that people can tie themselves into the narrative or wordplay.   I have come upon music that is inspired by Sparks, and even some imitated them, yet, their originality is unique and of course, rare.   Sparks is an endless amount of interest for me because what they do is delicate like eating sashimi with chopsticks, not stabbing food with a fork.  It's music that is sensitive and perfectly balanced.  I often wonder how they can keep it up.  In one word: Genius.