“And I would rather be anywhere else but here today”. Pop music is a universal language. And history’s for exploring. Let’s celebrate what’s out there. The world’s your oyster and pop’s your passport. Come on let’s go ...
The shot featured here is from a clip of Algerian high school girls dancing to the pioneering rai pop track Ya Salah by Noureddine Staifi. It’s one of the most joyous pieces of footage you could ever hope to find, and for me it sums up what is so great about the YHO spin-off project Anywhere Else But Here Today ... The methodology remains very simple, really. It consists purely of me bumbling and fumbling around on YouTube looking for fantastic examples of vintage pop music from around the world. It is all made possible by enthusiasts diligently uploading glorious clips of pop made in their homeland at some point in time. There are all sorts of questions that could be asked about how on earth some of these pieces of film have survived or were ever made, but the whole point of the project is to let the clips speak for themselves.
The vagaries or precariousness of YouTube means\ that clips can disappear, leaving gaping holes in the project, but even a cursory glance at what survives reveals so much evidence to challenge prevailing notions that pop music made by the UK/US axis is somehow superior. What it is somehow easy to forget is that all the clips posted as part of this project are from films, TV performances or specifically made promotional footage. The cover of this thirty-third edition of YHO, for example, features a still from a fantastic piece of film featuring the Argentinean singers Leonardo Favio and Carola.
Some of the explorations in this global pop adventure led to enthusiastic attempts at putting together mixtapes of music from certain countries, like Portugal, Greece, Japan, Iran, and South Korea. Each of these mixtapes featured wonderful covers, designed by Per-Christian Hille and I am enormously in his debt. The mixtapes themselves can be found on the homepage of the YHO site here.
The Anywhere Else But Here Today ... site can be found here.