Aural Sculptors - The Stranglers Live 1976 to the Present

Welcome to Aural Sculptors, a blog aimed at bringing the music of The Stranglers to as wide an audience as possible. Whilst all of the various members of the band that have passed through the ranks since 1974 are accomplished studio musicians, it is on stage where the band have for me had their biggest impact.

As a collector of their live recordings for many years I want to share some of the better quality material with other fans. By selecting the higher quality recordings I hope to present The Stranglers in the best possible light for the benefit of those less familiar with their material than the hardcore fan.

Needless to say, this site will steer well clear of any officially released material. As well as live gigs, I will post demos, radio interviews and anything else that I feel may be of interest.

In addition, occasionally I will post material by other bands, related or otherwise, that mean a lot to me.

Your comments and/or contributions are most welcome. Please email me at

Thursday 14 August 2014

A Focus on 1987

August Bank Holiday 1987
At The Reading Festival

In March 1987 I turned 18. A fantastic age to be when a late teen starts to feel comfortable and confident about what and who he is. With the possibility of university just around the corner, all was rosy in Adrian's camp. Almost all that is. Margret Thatcher was still on the throne (the 1987 General Election was the first that I was eligible to vote in, which I did, despite wearing Conflict T-shirts at the time!). Although why I bothered to vote in Mid-Sussex is anyone's guess..... Tory party heavyweight Tim Renton was our MP and his majority was bulletproof.

The main candidates in the British 1987 General Election
(l-r: Neil Kinnock (Labour), Margaret Thatcher (Conservative), David Owen and David Steel (SDP-Liberal Alliance)

The iron will of the iron lady prevailed and it would be another four years before we could try to do something about it.... disastrously as it turned out!

One of the worst features of 1987 was the existence of the sociological nightmare that was the YUPPIE, to some Young Upwardly mobile Professionals, but to the majority a clique of city-based, cocaine fueled, champagne swilling, self-serving arseholes.

'Ya right, so what time's Eric on?'

I recall the following year seeing Eric Clapton at the Royal Albert Hall, having been given 5 box tickets by Gunta's then company (he was coming to the end of a month's residency, by which time all in the office had been). As gigs go, it was truly dreadful, save for renditions of 'White Room' and 'Sunshine Of Your Love', but it was jam packed full of YUPPIES with their 'mobile' phone batteries in tow. As if it wasn't bad enough that these people sneered as British industry crumbled under the influence of 'Thatcherism' they also lead to the rise of The Britannia Music Club!!

The Cold War was still on (Mikhail Gorbachev was still a few years from office at this point), terrifying public information shorts brought the reality of AIDS into people's homes (great news for an 18 year old.... thank you God!).

....... and the British music scene was dipping towards an all time low with Stock, Aitken and Waterman starting to establish their stranglehold on the charts.

In the summer, I took my 'A Levels' and did rather badly it has to be said. Funnily enough, as I write this on 14th August, sixth formers (or Year 12 as they go by these days) are collecting their 'A Level' results. As I think back 27 years to when I picked mine up I recall that the Deputy Headmaster commented, as he handed me the million dollar envelope that my results spelled 'NUDE', that was N (Chemistry), U (Practical Chemistry), D (Biology) and E (Physics). I still contend that they were harder back then! I responded by spending all day, from opening to closing time, in a number of Lewes's drinking houses before falling through the front door at midnight to face the wrath of two very disappointed parents.

Installed in a pub, not in Lewes, but the Junction in Burgess Hill in 1987

As indicated earlier, to my ears, 1987 was pretty bleak on the music front. and is not greatly represented in my collection. However, I have identified 10 to cover the year.

Birthday cake made for my 18th (you must admire the subtlety!)

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