Relatable struggles, anecdotes of pints in chain pubs and a focus on the distinctly average aspects of life in inner-city Britain make The Streets’ Original Pirate Material, for me, the best album of the millennium.
Original Pirate Material came at a time when everything was fine in the UK, nothing was particularly interesting - Brit Pop stars were paying off rehab bills while major labels were getting a garage beat into every charting song, signalling the genre’s downfall. Original Pirate Material is an observation of exactly what it’s like to be young, skint and bored in the UK; hangovers, overdrafts and failed loves included.
Sheffield-based Illustrator Lew Currie recently released It’s Too Late, a zine based entirely on a single track from Original Pirate Material of the same title. From meeting at the gates at 8 to the everyday geezers’ stare and the wind, rain and hail, the self-released zine has a playful way of taking you through the haphazard, forever late journey of the song.
"I had the idea to do this for a while, but I just had a revisit to the album so thought I’d do it while I was back on it. It was actually done over the period of a week in my ice cream van too! This song in particular is one of my favourites of all time and in terms of making it a comic, it just worked as a story, chronologically." - Lew Currie.
It’s great to see someone honing in and creating a book around a three minute song alone, picking up on little bits and odd words to create a great visual piece. It uses the same sort of attention to detail that make The Streets’ songs so great, but instead of the subject being the inside of a greasy spoon or something, it’s a song by The Streets.
Considering the subject of Lew Currie’s latest zine is a sombre story of break up, he manages to make each drawing bright and visually light-hearted, which juxtaposes nicely with the reality of the track, especially when you listen with the book in hand. Lew has done a fantastic job of paying homage while creating something truly original, which isn’t easy when you’re referencing a song so heavily.
You can pick the zine up from Lew Currie’s web store or check out more of his work on Instagram.