‘celebration’ – the ‘japan’ renaissance of 2015


Remember 1982?

If you do, then you will recall that this was the year of the seemingly, never-ending glut of Japan-related paraphernalia. As Hansa went up against Virgin in the ‘coining-it-in’ stakes, releasing single after single from the band’s pre-1980 back catalogue (and confusing many a  new fan along the way…) it seemed as if every magazine editor in the land had just realised that sticking Sylvian’s face on the front cover would guarantee fabulous sales. And not just the ‘serious’ music press, but a whole host of magazines; from Jackie, to Pink, to My Guy and beyond, they were slapping the South London boys’ seriously ‘made-up’ faces all over the place, accompanied by some truly unimaginative sub-editing; just how many “Cantonese Boys”, “They Just Want a Quiet Life”, and “Turning Japanese” banner-lines were published that year, one wonders?  However it was, it has to be said, brilliant for us fans, wasn’t it? All those lovely things to spend our hard-earned cash on.

Well, I don’t know about you, but over the last few months, it has started to feel a lot like 1982 again, round these parts…….thanks to KScope, we have seen the release of the Jansen/Barbieri live album ‘lumen’, as well as the on-going releases of Mick’s back catalogue on vinyl.  Steve contributed 3 new tracks to a download version of the 2001 ‘kinoapparatom’ which was released in March, and he also composed a truly beautiful piece of music as part of the ALMA ‘music box’ project, where artists created melodies from the notes of a dying star.  Utterly sublime.

And in a couple of weeks’ time, we have the absolute thrill of a new Jansen/Barbieri collaboration, when 1995’s ‘stone to flesh’ gets a new haircut and is sent out to face the world again. Re-mastered, with updated artwork and a new track ‘map of falling’ – it doesn’t really get much better than this, does it?

Or so you’d think.

'stone to flesh' re-issue
‘stone to flesh’ re-issue

For then, there are the books……

I can’t begin to express how pleased I was to discover that Steve was releasing a book of his photographs. I suppose the fact that I have dedicated quite a lot of time over the last year, writing this very blog, and waxing lyrical about his photos, may suggest that I am a bit of a fan of this side of his work? And I am not alone. There has been an absolutely wonderful response on the Japan/Jansen forums of late, with people getting their knickers in a right old twist about the glut of fabulous new shots the book contains.

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And a week after ‘Through A Quiet Window’ was released, the first copies of Anthony Reynolds’ magnum opus, ‘Japan – A Foreign Place’, began thudding onto the doormats of homes across the globe. Cue even more excitement and (literally) thousands of almost identical photos of the book, lovingly displayed in sitting rooms and on coffee tables from Osaka to Oklahoma (and all points in between).  And, as if this wasn’t enough; next month sees the long-awaited publication of David’s ‘Hypergraphia’ – a culmination of some 3 decades-worth of lyrics, photography, artwork and writing.

Good grief, I think I need to lie down in a darkened room.

my copy of 'japan - a foreign place' (with obligatory brew and crumpet)
my copy of ‘japan – a foreign place’ (with obligatory brew and crumpet)

I had planned to do a series of blog posts about both Steve and Anthony’s books; but I am aware that some folk are still waiting for their copies to arrive, and I don’t want to ruin the absolute joy of turning a page and coming across a previously unseen image…….so, let’s give them another week or so, before we spoil it by revealing all.

However, until then……here is something a little bit special.

Richard Heraghty has been a Japan fan since he was knee-high to a grasshopper and he has very kindly shared a couple of his photos, and some of his memories, with us. For once, the Jansen Photography Blog turns its focus away from photos *by* Steve, and instead looks to photos *of* Steve. I’m pretty sure none of you will complain too loudly about this?

Over to you, Mr Heraghty

“So, after meeting the band several times after various gigs …we were starting to wonder if Mr Jansen really existed outside the vicinity of a drum kit? David & Mick always seemed to travel together in 1980. However, in 1981 when following several dates of the Art of Parties tour, it happened at the Leeds Tiffany’s gig. Mick came into view in the underground car park under the hotel there were staying at with …Steve!  Linda (my girlfriend at the time) & I jostled to get near him first without drawing too much attention to ourselves (there was no one else present except another friend). I managed to pass Steve my copy of ‘Quiet Life’ to sign, which the rest of the band had already signed the previous year at The Venue, London.

I enthusiastically mentioned to Steve that he was the only member not to have signed it & that we had been trying to meet him for some time. Steve then seemed to hesitate & asked in a seemingly pleasantly surprised way ‘what’s your name’ then added my name to his autograph. After signing various items (which didn’t require Mick’s involvement again) we requested a picture …& like our merchandise …we’d already got Mick’s picture several times before so Steve was our target. But Mick being the nice person he was, joined us in the pictures we took.

We were too polite to bump him out of the pictures……but it was all about STEVE that day!”

Mick, Steve and (other) Richard
Mick, Steve and (other) Richard
Steve - May 1981 Photo by Richard Heraghty
Steve – May 1981
Photo by Richard Heraghty

Information about all of Steve’s latest projects is available on his website here:

http://www.stevejansen.com/

Anthony Reynolds’ book ‘Japan – A Foreign Place’ is available to purchase from Burning Shed:

https://www.burningshed.com/store/artrock/product/492/6875/

With thanks to Richard Heraghty for the photos and memories.

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3 thoughts on “‘celebration’ – the ‘japan’ renaissance of 2015

  1. Brilliant story and pics, and a worthy addition to the blog. It really DOES feel like 1982 again with releases of something Japan-related every month or so. This does, however, bring on a melancholy as I know, just like in 1982, that it won’t last.

    Like

  2. Nice article! I am still waiting for my copy of A Foreign Place in softcover to arrive in the next few weeks hopefully. Gutted I missed the first printing ( I was out of the Japan fan scene for a bit).

    Like

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