We’re really pleased to host a joint event with our friends at Monorail on Wednesday November 16th at 7pm to celebrate the launch of Psychocandy by Paula Mejia. Paula will be joined by Douglas Hart, we’d love to see you there.
We have a guest blog from Paula and a brilliant Spotify playlist from Douglas featuring ten songs The Jesus and Mary Chain were listening to around the time of Psychocandy. Over to Paula…
Back in early 2014, when I was writing up the proposal for what would become my 33 ⅓ book about The Jesus and Mary Chain’s Psychocandy, two things drove me: One was my love for this band, and the second was their strangely sweet debut album that shook the pop world upside-down. With Psychocandy, this group had subverted the pop canon while becoming a standard, and I was curious to understand how that happened.
Once my pitch for the book was accepted in the spring of 2014, going to Scotland became a priority. I’d never been before, and, to me, seeing where the Mary Chain hailed from was critical to understanding the context for the album’s creation. I wanted to walk the streets where the band once roamed, staking out how they would become the perfect pop band. And the fact that the band had just announced the first leg of their Psychocandy shows, which would pass through Glasgow and London later in 2014, was more than serendipitous. I booked a ticket almost immediately.
In Glasgow, I let myself be taken on a tour by a friend and local, Finn Maclean, who was studying there at the time. We were blessed with unusually good weather for November, and with him, I went on winding walks throughout the city, to pubs, dives, small venues, record stores, comedy clubs, and a cèilidh. I spent perhaps a bit too much of my allotted travel money on records at Monorail, but it was worth it. On my own, I made pilgrimages to George Square, where the likes of Bobby Gillespie and Rose McDowall danced and reveled at the short-lived (but massively influential) Splash One party back in the mid-1980s.
My trip culminated with a venture to the stunning Barrowland Ballroom, where the Mary Chain performed Psychocandy in full. Under that starry ceiling, where the likes of luminaries like David Bowie and Blondie had once strutted, the Mary Chain performed the album top to bottom, with the crowd going mental to cuts like “In a Hole.” It wasn’t as, erm, eventful as their early shows. But the mood was festive, and it felt like a kind of homecoming. I was lucky have been a part of it.
I’m floored to have the chance to come back to Scotland again to chat with the band’s former bass player, Douglas Hart, about how the album came together, and its resonance now. It’s happening at Monorail at 7 p.m. on November 16th—do come out!