• Rob Butterfield


How the concept for an album became a self-indulgent retro blog.

Elswick Kids, 1978 by Tish Murtha

‘Upstarts and Oligarchs’ was initially a concept for a compilation album. A collection of material from musicians who, as 70’s teenagers (like me), wanted to be the next big thing but sadly never made it. ‘Upstarts and Oligarchs’ was an idea to celebrate the music of those unsung heroes, re-recorded today by those same artists.

The title ‘Upstarts and Oligarchs’ was just a combination of words with a certain syntax that pleased me. It was also perhaps representative of the contrast of my youth and society today. Born in 1962, the 70’s and early 80’s saw me grow from boy to man. Those years represent a time that is embedded in my soul, they’re part of my dna, they make me what I am today. They also represent the foundations on which today’s troubled world has been built. I’ve seen the world change; whether it’s for better or worse is an ongoing debate. I’ve grown, I’ve changed… but I feel an unbreakable attachment to my formative years.

Whilst pondering on how best to get this idea off the ground the idea grew. I’ve embraced modern culture and the incredible technical advancements of life with a vice-like grip but I’m also guilty of falling into bouts of nostalgia for the music, cars and lifestyle of my teenage years. And I’m not alone. It’s no coincidence or quirk of fate that there are many, many people who share my passion for ‘the good old days’. It was also conceivable that they may be interested in a website/magazine/blog full of my literary meanderings of things that resonate with ‘people of a certain age’. So, the idea for my blog 'Upstarts and Oligarchs' was well and truly born.

So, here it is - it’s a moveable and developing beast and we can never be sure where it may take us, but I know the journey will be fun. Enjoy!

Oh, one last thing. The initial concept of that album? It may still happen. Why shouldn’t it? It’s a bloody great idea if I say so myself. Watch this space!

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