This Album Changed My Life: PJ Harvey – Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea (2001)

Famous Seamus of the Lords of Strut on the album that became ‘set deep in my bones’

Lords of Strut. Photograph: Dara Munnis

Lords of Strut. Photograph: Dara Munnis

 

My metaphorical “first” album is PJ Harvey’s Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea. When I turned 21, I mainly listened to copied tapes of dance mixes, but, influenced through copied tapes of Stone Roses and The Pixies, my taste was developing beyond “Henry’s-esque” dance music. I was living with my girlfriend at the time on Shandon Street in Cork city, and circus was beginning to earn me a living. Life was on the up and up.

After hearing the review of the album on Rattlebag (a much-missed arts programme on RTÉ radio), I went out and bought it. The reviewers put the album into context, which put me in a very different listening position. For once I felt like I was hearing something brand new, and that was important for that time in my life. The album speaks a lot about time and place, but more importantly, I was listening with the context the reviewers had given me, and it completely changed how I heard the album. How I consumed that album changed how I consume art, news, politics. It’s all about context.

I didn’t own it for a few years – I have a suspicion that I lost it in the break-up that followed a year later – but when I rediscovered it, the harsh guitar riffs, the melodious screams of PJ, were set deep in my bones. When she sings about the New York skyline, my own memories fill with the Shandon skyline of Cork city, and the excitement of my early 20s, flavoured with the years that have passed because it’s all about context.

Cormac Mohally, aka Famous Seamus, is one-half of the comedy duo Lords of Strut. Catch them leading the synchronised swimming in the indoor pool at It Takes a Village festival, Trabolgan, east Cork on May 12th. ittakesavillage.fm

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.