It has been six years now since the passing of Kirsty MacColl. I am beginning to realize what a great tragedy her untimely death was.
Kirsty was, like many others music discoveries, someone who I found by accident. I read a review of her 1993 album "Titanic Days" in Rolling Stone and was absolutely intrigued by her. The album only received 3 out of 4 stars, but as I have come to learn I prefer a little bit of imperfection in my music, any album that I have ever purchased that has received a perfect review has rarely been a listen to over and over favourite.
The actual act of purcashing Kirsty's album was an event in and of itself. I was going to Toronto for a taping of the show Kids in the Hall. I was unable to find the album in Peterborough, and as i hated waiting the three weeks or however long it took for the special order to come in. I decided that I would use this episode as an occasion to utilise all that Toronto has to offer in terms of cultural availability (A thing I treasure to today and am thrilled that I live here now). I went to Sam's, immediatly found a copy of the album for 16.99, which was cheap back then and purchased it. No special order, no waiting for me. I also bought a bottle of Guess cologne that day, and so every time I listen to Titanic Days I think of that smell. The two will be inseperable for the rest of my life.
I fell in love with Titanic Days. Her songwriting skills were amazing, to the point that when I listen to her today I still get new things out of her songs. It amazes me that she is so subtle and careful in her songwriting capabilities. I then ran out and purchased all of her other albums that were available in North America, those being Kite and Electric Ladyland. I fell in love with both of those albums as well.
The strange thing about Kirsty was that at this point in my life I was very heavy into the alti/indie scene. If it did not have a grungy guitar and an angry girl singer I usually did not care. But with Kirsty I found her adult contemporary song stylings to be beyond the norm and that her sharp tongue and turn-of-phrase to go beyond any yelling that could have been listened to. The point being that I was won over by her extreme talent and abilities. I then found out that she had worked with many other musical greats, The Pogues, The Smiths, Morrissey, Johnny Rotten, the woman was very influential for someone who seemed so demure and adult contemporary in her abilities. She was even friends with French and Saunders and appeared on their show which impressed the hell out of me.
She then released her greatest hits, which thrilled me as I got access to all of those early songs that were not available in North America. I was thrilled, and the two new songs were also impressive. I was so enamoured with her. Then I went off to university and was exposed to much other musical stuffs. I never forgot Kirsty, but only pulled her out once in a while when I was in a Kirsty mood.
One night at work I was bored and decided to surf the net to see what she was up to, it had been 6 years since an album of new material and I was curious. I was then horrified to find out that she had been run over by a boat while scuba diving in Cuba. I found out about her death a month after it had happened. I was shocked! In a horribly ironic twist, her death allowed for her new album to be released in North America, which had not originally been planned for.
I went out and purchased her last album of new material Tropical Brainstorm. I once again fell in love. She had a much more cuban influence on her work this time, but she was still delightfully mean spirited in her tonality and her views on life. I loved it. I introduced many friends to it and they also fell in love.
And now I am waiting to get her anthology. Which has many rare tracks that I can not wait to hear. I am very sorry that the music world has lost a true gem that most people did not even know they had. It is always a shame when someone who was so talented did not get the recognition that they deserve, but I have feeling that she was more interested in the art than in being famous. Good for her.