X-RAY AUDIO: A BOOK BY THE REAL TUESDAY WELD
Well sort of. They say everyone has a book in them and ‘X-Ray Audio: The Strange Story of Soviet Music on the Bone’ is mine. It is the flowering of four years of research and travels to Russia on the trail of a strange and wonderful story.
Go get it HERE. There is a special edition which comes with a special bone flexi-disc containing music by an original bone bootlegger and a specially recorded The Real Tuesday Weld track ‘Skeletons in Waiting’
In the cold war era, the Soviet recording industry and permissible musical repertoire were ruthlessly controlled by the State. But a secret and risky subculture of forbidden recordings arose. Incredibly, bootleggers built homemade recording machines and found an extraordinary way to copy banned gramophone records – they recorded onto used X-Rays clandestinely obtained from hospitals.
The book tells the secret history of these ghostly records and of the people who made, bought and sold them. It is a unique story of forbidden culture, bootleg technology and human endeavour. The book is hardback and lavishly illustrated with images of discs we collected in Russia. There are contributions from Russian musical commentators and interviews, including one with the last bootlegger standing.
In a time when songs can be copied in an instant and when streaming services provide virtually infinite choice and access, I think it provides a poignant reminder of the immense cultural value of music and the extraordinary lengths people to which people will go to listen to what they love.
You can buy it HERE.
To find our more about the amazing x-ray recordings go to our dedicated site www.x-rayaudio.com or watch the film beneath.
Full credit to my collaborator and friend Paul Heartfield. He was my traveling companion on recent research trips to Russia. He took all the original photographs in the book – and it is a beautiful thing to look at. He also shot the footage for the upcoming X-Ray Audio documentary and is my co curator for the x-ray audio exhibition and events. We have known each other for years and Paul has quietly become one of the best photographers in London. As well as photographing many, many bands (including TRTW) he is the portrait photographer for the Houses of Common and Lords. To see his amazing work, go HERE