Ladies and gentlemen we are floating in space

September 3, 2009


I’m not sure I really approve of the fad for bands to do gigs (well, probably concerts actually, as they tend to come with a ‘we are serious musicians’ attitude) consisting of all the songs from one of their albums in the right order.

But when I found out that Spiritualized were going to give ‘Ladies and gentlemen we are floating in space’ a live spin, it only took me a couple of seconds to get over myself and snap up a couple of tickets.

The album came out in 1997, when me and my friend Nicki were sharing the tiniest of flats in a beautiful white-pillared street in Notting Hill. We painted the walls a cheery yellow and our old college friends would come and hang out in our miniscule living room under the Wong Kar-Wai poster (“The world’s most exciting film maker”). We’d thrill to the crazy new sounds of Radiohead’s OK Computer and chill to the blissed out world of Ladies and gentlemen we are floating in space. It had been a good few years since we’d left university, and here we all were again – only now in London! With jobs! And money! And nice clothes! Going to cool bars! And clubs! In London! I still sometimes get a thrill from just being in London, but back then I got it a lot more.

In fact it was during that time that the inevitable cracks in our cosy circle of friends finally started to appear. Tensions and fallouts and schisms that I wasn’t directly involved in, but that freaked me out nonetheless, though in hindsight it’s all for the best that we transformed from a single many-headed organism into a collection of individuals. And for me the album remains associated with the happy bit just before all that.

So tonight I decided to dig it out and stick it on the iTunes so me and it could get reacquainted. And it’s impossible to do that without taking a minute to admire the packaging.

The whole thing is done as if it’s a pack of medicine. I didn’t splash out on the deluxe version pictured above in which each track is on a different CD, sorry tablet, in a giant blister pack. Instead I got the next version down which had just the one tablet in the one blister. Inside was a medicinal-looking leaflet with details of the contents (track listing), active ingredients (band members) and a whole host of other information (What is Spiritualized used for? Spiritualized is used to treat the heart and soul.) You can read the whole thing here.

Every detail has been obsessed over by design studio Farrow until it’s spine-tinglingly perfect. They even released this photo to show that it had been packaged under ‘strict pharmaceutical conditions’ (though I reckon her nails should be a bit shorter if so). My favourite bit of verbiage is on the back of the box: ‘For aural administration only’.

One Response to “Ladies and gentlemen we are floating in space”

  1. evolkween Says:

    This a freaking awesome record!

    “I think I can rock and roll,
    Probably just twisting”

    Spiritualized were awesome when I saw them at the ATP festival this year. And I actually like the idea of bands doing a selection of shows where they play a particular record in its entirety. Watching Sonic Youth play Daydream Nation from start to finish was mind blowing…..

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