IT’S GENIUS, I SWEAR – BENJAMIN SHAW ON NIC JONES’ ‘PENGUIN EGGS’
Blackpool’s Benjamin Shaw is one of those ‘I went to London with only a guitar and some songs and played in some pubs and recorded an album and LOOK AT ME NOW!’ types who on paper sounds dreadful. Thankfully, he has no plans to release any music on paper. Instead, he releases a really rather very good debut album, entitled There’s Always Hope, There’s Always Cabernet, on November 21st through Audio Antihero Records. He says you are more than welcome to listen to it providing you are not “a pharmacist or a Conservative Party enabler”. Sounds like our sort of chap – bloody pharmacists…
Here, he takes the time to explore the genius of his favourite overlooked record, an album called ‘Penguin Eggs’ by this Nic Jones guy he likes. See if you like it too.
There are few things in this life that make me proud to be associated with Great Britain.
The Union Jack, the Monarchy, fat and pale shaven heads, David Cameron, orange fake tan, angry beer bellies, casual punches in the face, men – none of these things really do it for me. There may well have been times when I have enjoyed a spot of casual racism or the throwing of a pint glass, but mostly I just feel disappointed. Penguin Eggs by Nic Jones is a strange reversal of that.
I only listened to this record for the first time this year, after a good and resourceful friend of mine stole a copy from his work. (Obviously, I definitely cannot name this person for legal reasons, but it is Jamie Halliday of Audio Antihero Records). It has fast become a deep favourite of mine and often an emotional crutch to get me through the commute to work.
The Britishness of this record shines through to me though. There is a relentless sadness that flows through the centre of the album, and like the greatest stories we are focusing on heartbreak, cross dressing on ships and my personal favourite, poverty.
“Fairwell to the gold that never I found,
Goodbye to the nuggets that somewhere abound,
For it’s only when dreaming, that I see you gleaming,
down in the dark deep underground.”
Also, much of the subject matter has been pilfered from the colonies, but the less cheered about that the better, I suppose.
What I enjoy most though, is throughout all these stories of hopelessness, there is still some faint glimmer of positivity, and even in some cases contentment. Hope from hopelessness. I’d like to think that with my new album I have created something similar, if not in quality, then at least in spirit.