Unrest in London

by James Greer

 l-r Phil Krauth, Bridget Cross, Mark Robinson
Had I a better sense of timing, or any sense at all, really, I would have posted this photo during the late unpleasantness in London. And even though it wouldn’t have been funny then, either, at least it would have had some kind of topical relevance. The joke, I mean, not the picture. The picture’s just a picture. It’s the band Unrest taken in London. In July 1993, as the date-stamp helpfully points out. Usually I hate date-stamps on photos, but there’s no way on God’s blue marble I’d have correctly placed this picture without the date-stamp. Date-stamp! Is that even a word? I’m almost certain that Unrest, who had recently signed to the 4AD label back then, were in town to perform at a 4AD shindig at the ICA. I remember that I was busy transcribing painstakingly a story on the Smashing Pumpkins for Spin magazine from my computer screen to pen-and-ink paper, because though the world was sufficiently advanced to provide me with a laptop in 1993, it had not yet invented or at least perfected email, and neither I nor the hotel had a Mac-compatible printer, so the only option was to actually copy the story from the screen like some medieval monk, for Saint Peter’s sake, and then send my manuscript across the Atlantic Ocean on the radio air using a device we used to call a fax or facsimile machine. You can probably find an example of one of these in the Museum of Jurassic Technology.

I’m posting this photo not so much to mark an occasion or make a point, but to remind myself that Unrest were one of the greatest bands ever, of all time, and that their record Imperial f.f.r.r. was a high-water mark in something or other. If you don’t own it, go outside of your house RIGHT NOW and track it down, and if you have any sense at all (unlike me), you’ll look for it in a non-digital or digitized format. In other words, on vinyl. The way God and Mark Robinson intended (Mark and I were both raised as Christian Scientists, but please don’t hold that against us. Or at least him.). I don’t know if any of the Unrest or Air Miami (Mark’s post-Unrest 4AD project) physical product was stored in the Sony/DADC warehouse along with a pile of PIAS-distributed independent label music, and which burned down in the August riots, but even if not—and I know times are tough, but—it would be an act of double-edged benevolence on your part to explore and purchase not just Unrest/Air Miami but anything on any independent label affected by the fire. A list of which you can find here. Your benevolence would be double-edged because not only would you be supporting independent artists, who could use your help, but your life will become immediately at least 3.7 times better than it is. I am not very often right about many things, but I am right about this. Probably.

Mark also ran and still runs the Teenbeat label, home to so many items of lasting musical value that it beggars the imagination. I urge you to check out their website and browse their catalog. If you are a fan of Twitter, you can follow Mark at @Teenbeat463