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Baker's Dozen

Like Choosing A Lover: Viv Albertine's Favourite Albums
Thomas Hasson , April 18th, 2013 10:07

Always forthright, the great Viv Albertine discusses her favourite albums with Tom Hasson. T-Rex, Chris Watson, Don Cherry, Beefheart, Barrett, Kate Bush and.... The Slits all feature


Syd Barrett - The Madcap Laughs
Syd Barrett. Everyone thinks he's so cool now but I thought he was cool at the time, which is quite a big thing, I think. I was only 15 or 16. But it was quite the thing to be listening to alternative music back then. There was a gang of us, I was at art school, it wasn't the most unusual thing in the world to be listening to unusual music and of course Pink Floyd were massive. But they were seen very much as the establishment when Syd Barrett was kicked out. And were all sort of waiting with baited breath to hear what he did.

I can honestly say that it's one of my favourite albums of all time. Again, he's androgynous and delicate, and very honest about his feelings which was kind of a new thing for men at that time, to be delicate and pretty. Men were running the country and the world. Men still wore bowler hats and walked across the bridge to the banks and to have these delicate, broken men talking about how much they needed a woman and how fragile they were, not keeping up that macho mask, was revolutionary, and incredibly appealing.

To me, every song on this sounds like a single. People think it's obscure but every song on here sounds completely like pop music. Beautiful, fragile, guileless pop music. My favouite tracks would be 'Terrapin', 'Golden Hair', Love You'. The beginning of 'If It's In You' is so beautiful. And in a way, punk takes from that sort of thing. He was a very talented musician, he didn't have to sing, he did that because it was exposing himself. He wasn't scared of exposing himself and I think that's something that everyone could take with them through life. We're all so scared of failing and falling and exposing ourselves, and I think he did that on that record so very beautifully. So that's a massive, massive record for me. And not to be trendy, I was 16 at the time.