Back on 8 October 2011, I started a series called ‘Saturday’s Scottish Single’.  The aim was to feature one 45 or CD single by a Scottish singer or band with the proviso that the 45 or CD single was in the collection. I had got to Part 60-something and as far as Kid Canaveral when the rug was pulled out from under TVV.

I’ll catch up soon enough by featuring 5 at a time from the archives..


(21) Blood Uncles – Let’s Go Crazy b/w Shake : Virgin  7″ (1987)

Consisting of Big John Duncan (ex-Exploited), John Carmichael and Colin McGuire, their debut EP on a local indie lable attracted the interest of Virgin Records.  Their career consisted of two singles, including a frantic cover of a song by Prince, and one LP, none of which got near the charts.  Big John would later be part of the live act that was Nirvana…..


(22) Bloomsday – Strange Honey b/w Night Storm : Island Records 7″ (1990)

Chris Thompson is one of the great lesser-known talents of the Scottish music scene.  He first came to attention via Friends Again and has made a number of very different albums under the guise of The Bathers.

Back in 1990, he took time to form Bloomsday.  This was a very talented group indeed.  As well as Chris, you’d find Neil Clark on guitars and Stephen Irvine on drums – both had been part of Lloyd Cole & the Commotions.  All songs on the one LP the band released in 1990 – Fortuny – are joint compositions. Oh and for good measure, the bassist on all the records was Mark Bedford of Madness.

It’s a very fine record, albeit parts of it have dated a wee bit.  One day I’ll get round to featuring it on this blog.  In the meantime here’s the one 7″ they released. It was on a major label too – Island Records:-


(23) BMX Bandits – Kylie’s Got A Crush On Us b/w Thinkin’ ‘Bout You Baby b/w Hole In My Heart (demo) b/w My Generation : Creation Records CD single  (1993)

Read more about BMX Bandits here


(24) Botany 5 : Love Bomb b/w Satellite : Virgin 7″  (1990)

Botany 5. consisting of Gordon Kerr, Steve Christie and Jason Robertson entered into the studio with the Blue Nile’s Callum Malcolm. The resulting ‘Into The Night’ (1991) was preceded by two well-received singles, ‘Love Bomb’ and ‘Nature Boy’, the group’s mellow meditative soundscapes bearing comparisons with the likes of Talk Talk, The Orb and Animal Nightlife. Before being lost forever to the music business jungle, the Botany 5 trio completed a series of acclaimed live shows aided and abetted by former Orange Juice drummer Zeke Manyika


(25) Bourgie Bourgie  – Breaking Point b /w Apres Ski: MCA Records 7″ (1984)

Click here for one of the most lovingly put together websites on t’internet.  You can read more about Bourgie Bourgie and everything else that Paul Quinn has ever been involved in here

Readers of old will know just that (25) remains one of my all time favourite pieces of music.


A brilliant educational posting all the way from New Zealand…..


Hey JC, like so many others I’m rapt you ‘got back up again’, thought I’d offer a submission for your favourite/memorable political protest song series.

I grew up listening to a lot of punk music so have many faves from the likes of Crass, Conflict, Blitz, Anti Pasti, Stiff Little Fingers, Dead Kennedys etc, but didn’t think many were really vinyl villain material… considered Orange Crush by R.E.M. and My Brain Is Hanging Upside Down (Bonzo Goes To Bitburg) by The Ramones, both of which are great, but have decided on something perhaps you and most of your readers wouldn’t be familiar with.

Culture by The Knobz came out in 1980 as a response to the then NZ prime minister Rob (known as ‘Piggy’!) Muldoon’s refusal to lift a 40% sales tax on recorded music (he thought pop music was “horrible” and had little or no cultural merit)

Probably considered one hit wonders (think they put out a couple of other singles and maybe an album) it’s a pretty catchy song and did quite well in the NZ charts, tho I doubt it got heard much outside of NZ.

The line “I can buzz around like a beehive boy…” refers to politicians – NZ’s (newer) parliament building in Wellington is known as the beehive because of its shape.

Probably more ‘memorable’ than ‘favourite’, hope this might be of interest to you, all the best with the new blog

Cheers, Craig

mp3 : The Knobz – Culture


Today’s posting is courtesy of Jules whose excellent blog is Music From Magazines


A couple of weeks ago went to the Tolpuddle festival; union banners, Tony Benn and more socialists than you could shake a stick at all in sunny Dorset. Oops nearly forgot and Billy Bragg.

Between The Wars is probably one of the best folk/protest songs for decades (hells teeth it can make grown men cry)

But at the moment my top protest song is a cover of NWAs Fuck The Police.

As a middle aged white bloke I have no excuse apart the fact that it makes me smile.


mp3 : Kevin Davis – Fuck The Police


Today’s contribution is courtesy of James from Appetite For Distraction.  I’m really pleased about this as James has been a great friend to me and many others in the blogging community for as long as I can remember.


One of my favorite protest songs is Blood-Red, White, and Blue by Rise Against. The lyrics appeal to common sense, they’re angry and yet also pleading. Oh and the guitar solo rocks. And that’s important.

I’m realizing that I started responding before I even THOUGHT about the songs of NOFX. I’ll say that their album The War on Errorism is chock full of great songs about the specific ways America was fucked up in 2003.

Oh and Anti-Flag! The Terror State is kind of like that NOFX album in terms of material but without the sarcasm.

Agh! And the Suicide Machines album A Match and Some Gasoline!

But seriously. That Rise Against song is great.

mp3 : Rise Against – Blood-Red, White and Blue



A recent post featured Nick Heyward while today’s has the talents of David Sylvian, two of the faces you’d find most regularly in the pop magazines aimed at teenage girls in the early 80s.

While Haircut 100 never got any critical acclaim due to being just too pop-charts orientated, the initial crime of Japan was  that of making music deemed unfashionable. Three LPs released on Hansa Records in 1978 and 1979 were seen as rip offs of the arty side of glam, with Roxy Music and mid 70s Bowie no longer in vogue as punk and new-wave came to the fore.  A move into Eurodisco working alongside Giorgio Moroder also brought nothing.

But to the surprise of many, Japan were snapped up by Virgin Records in 1980 at a time when the label was seen at the cutting edge of the new wave movement.  The sound and feel of the band was different to what had gone before and the marketing men at the label were not slow in exploiting the good looks of Sylvian pushing all sorts of profiles into the magazines.  And coming just as the New Romantics were bursting onto the scene, the look, feel and sound of new Japan was in the right place at the right time.

Chart success, and then some, followed thanks to the hits on Virgin and the shameless exploitation of the back catalogue by Hansa Records who seemed hell-bent on issuing a new single every few weeks.  This time round, the radio stations lapped it all up, and thanks to effectively being on two labels at the one time, Japan enjoyed eight Top 40 hits in a little over a year, including a re-released remix of a 60s cover:-

mp3 : Japan – I Second That Emotion (extended remix)

It went all the way to #9 in the charts and was their second biggest hit of all behind Ghosts.

This was the b-side:-

mp3 : Japan – Halloween

Yet another single picked up for pennies during a rummage.




David comes out on bare stage with acoustic guitar and portable cassette player which provides rhythm. During ending, David does spastic dance which uses the whole empty stage. Tina’s bass rider is wheeled out. Stage crew are all black overalls. Drum riser is wheeled out…

Chris joins at drums. Jerry joins playing guitar. A keyboard riser is wheeled out. Ednah and Lynn sing backing vocals. Steve comes out….plays bongos. David does a ‘duck’ dance. Percussion riser wheels out. Alex joins playing guitar. Rear projection screen comes down very slowly. Bernie comes out. David does knock-knee dance at end.

Second keyboard riser has been wheeled out. Bernie begins song. ‘Jogging’ dance and #Indian-snake’ dance. David runs around the stage at the end of this song. Red slides with words…..

That’s the description to the opening sections of the movie Stop Making Sense provided within the booklet which accompanied the 1999 CD re-release.  It remains the only concert-movie that I’ve ever made an effort to go and see at the time of release, doing so at the Edinburgh Film Theatre in 1984….why I chose to see it in Edinburgh rather than Glasgow I can’t remember.  What I do know is that I was so mesmerised by it that I went back to see it again the next night in my home city.

It was a concert film unlike any other.  No close-up shots of the audience nor of  the musicians playing solos. No attempt to hide the fact that the road crew were an important an integral part of the show.  The band re-arranged a number of the songs and in doing so turned them into what many Talking Heads fans consider to be the derivative versions.

One unforseen outcome however, was the attention focussed on the parts played by David Byrne at the expense of those other long-standing members, a situation that was to lead to ever-increasing friction and the effective break up of the band within five years.

Thirty years on from its filming in Los Angeles in December 1983, Stop Making Sense remains a highly impressive piece of work.  And some of soundtrack still hold up well today:-

mp3 : Talking Heads – Psycho Killer

mp3 : Talking Heads – Slippery People

mp3 : Talking Heads – Girlfriend Is Better



00386120Hi JC,

Hope all is good with you. Glad to see you bouncing back in such a positive manner.

Political protest songs, jesus where to start. Growing up in the 80s,  of a left wing persuasion and a member of CND I have tons of them. Some subtle, Shipbuilding, some not so subtle Tramp The Dirt Down and not to mention all of the 60s songs that the older hippies I hung about with were into. But the one I would choose and which is very pertinent up here in the north of the UK with the referendum coming along next year is No Gods and Precious Few Heroes by Dick Gaughan, a man known for his political songs, you have to hear his version of World Turned Upside Down, it knocks Billy Bragg‘s version into touch, not an easy feat.

No Gods was written by Brian McNeil of The Battlefield Band, but it’s Gaughan’s voice and the abuse he inflicts upon his guitar that make this song so special. It’s kind of hard to pick an outstanding lyric from the song,  as the whole song is so incisive  but if I had to it would be “try going doon the broo wae yir Claymore in yir hand and count all the princes in the queue”. Anybody thinking about voting “yes” in next year’s referendum should listen to this song and in the words of another sung by Gaughan, they should think again.

So there is my contribution JC.

All the best


mp3 : Dick Gaughan – No Gods And Precious Few Heroes

Bonus song:-

mp3 : Dick Gaughan – World Turned Upside Down

PS from JC : For what it’s worth….at the risk of maybe alienating a few readers… sentiments re the ballot scheduled for September 2014 are similar to those expressed above by Drew.


Excuse the absence of the Saturday singles posting… will return next week.  Instead I wanted to round off  the nostalgia fest with the posting from the old place when I realised that the TVV readership was largely made up of folk who liked to wallow in nostalgia rather than have me offer opinions on new and emerging music.  It was from this point on that the blog went 95% retro:-

21st May 2007


Thanks to everyone who took the time to leave comments over the past few days – seems that most folk prefer when I do postings featuring songs from the 80s and 90s rather than more modern or recent music. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ll try and do requests as well, but obviously won’t be able to over the coming weeks.

Today’s posting features some different versions of one of my favourite songs of all time. It originally appeared on the LP The Correct Use Of Soap that came out in 1980 (an LP that is sure to be featured in greater depth in the not too distant future on TVV), although I’m offering the Peel Session version that was broadcast on 7th January 1980:-

mp3 : Magazine – A Song From Under The Floorboards (Peel Session)

There’s been a couple of cover versions that I’m aware of, the most fanous of which appeared on a b-side of the 2006 single, The Youngest Was The Most Loved:-

mp3 : Morrissey – A Song From Under The Floorboards

The other version is by a man behind this particular cover version was part of an 80s act called Jellyfish, of whom I have a couple of songs on tape:-

mp3 : Jason Falkner – A Song From Under The Floorboards

I’m delighted at long last that Magazine and Howard Devoto are getting lots of critical praise. They were one of my favourite acts of the early 80s, and remain the one band that I regret never having seen live – I had a couple of opportunities but it just didn’t happen.


2013 Update

Little did I know that less than two years after writing the above post there would be a Magazine reunion and I’d see them play in Manchester, Glasgow and Edinburgh inside a six-month period.

mp3 : Magazine – A Song From Under The Floorboards (live 2009)

By now I should be back from Canada.  I’ll hopefully get back into the groove of posting some stuff that has nothing to do with the old place.  Thanks for bearing with me this past couple of weeks.


I thought a nostalgic look at a famous Manchester band would go down well today. Originally posted on 15th May 2007:-



Outside of Glasgow, my top city in terms of music has to be Manchester. The Smiths, Joy Division/New Order, and Magazine are among my all-time list of great bands, and I’ve a soft spot for The Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, James and Oasis. And of course everyone likes Mark E Smith and The Fall….. Don’t they???

And then there’s Buzzcocks (although a close friend from Manchester will always insist, and rightly so, that Buzzcocks are from Bolton, a substantial town of its own merit some 20 km outside of the northern metropolis)

Most music aficionados will know that the Sex Pistols were in the inspiration for Howard Devoto (vocals) and Pete Shelley (guitar) to form Buzzcocks in the summer of 1976. The other members of the band were Pete Diggle (bass) and John Maher (drums).

In January 1977, the true punk DIY ethos was followed to the letter with the formation of a brand new record label specifically to record and release the band’s debut, an EP called Spiral Scratch. Just two months later, and at a time when every major record company on the planet wanted them to sign on the dotted line, Devoto dropped the bombshell that he was leaving.

The news however, didn’t deter the others from carrying on. Shelley took over the responsibility of being the main songwriter, as well as lead vocalist, Diggle moved to guitar, while a new bass player, Garth Smith was recruited. By August, they had signed to the United Artists label (part of EMI who had of course dropped The Pistols), and debut single Orgasm Addict came out in October. Not surprisingly, this ode to teenage masturbation was banned from radio play across the UK and didn’t trouble the charts. By the turn of the year, the band had fired bassist Smith (seemingly he just wasn’t a good enough player) and brought Steve Garvey into the fold. The new line-up was to conquer the UK in 1978 and 1979 thanks to a run of incredibly good singles that were released at roughly two-monthly intervals.

And it is these 8 singles, and their b-sides, nearly all of which last no more than two and bit minutes at a time, that make up one of the most listenable bits of vinyl ever to be let loose on the world.

Ostensibly, it’s a greatest hits collection, and from recollection, was the first of its type from a punk/new wave band. Singles Going Steady came out in September 1979, and it featured everything bar tracks from the debut EP.

01. Orgasm Addict – released in October 1977 but didn’t chart
02. What Do I Get? – released in February 1978 and reached #37 in the charts
03. I Don’t Mind – released in May 1978 and reached #55 in the charts
04. Love You More – released in July 1978 and reached #34 in the charts
05. Ever Fallen In Love? – released in October 1978 and reached #12 in the charts
06. Promises – released in December 1978 and reached #20 in the charts
07. Everybody’s Happy Nowadays – released in March 1979 and reached #29 in the charts
08. Harmony In My Head – released in August 1979 and reached #32 in the charts.

Tracks 9-16 were the b-sides of each single.

The chart positions might not look much to anyone nowadays, but you had to sell tens of thousands of singles to make the Top 40 in the late 70s, and the band managed this with ease. The record were also magnificently packaged, with covers and labels being colour co-ordinated (usually with the use of bright and cheerful day-glow colours).

Then, all of a sudden it all went pear-shaped. In October 1979, the band embarked on a major tour of the main concert venues across the UK, including the 3,000 capacity Glasgow Apollo. Every night they were blown away by the support act who were something fresh, new and fronted by someone unlike anyone we had seen before. Their support act was Joy Division.

Before long, the music press had started to turn against Buzzcocks. The reviews of the late 1979 tour were full of praise for the support act and full of venom for the main act who were now seen as has-beens. Having been constantly in the limelight with single and after single after single, and tour after tour after tour (not to mention 3 LPs in the space of two years), they disappeared for much of 1980, emerging in the Autumn for a tour which hardly anyone bought tickets for, and an album and two singles that no-one bought. Six months later, Shelley dissolved Buzzcocks.

The band did reform again almost a decade later, but that is perhaps a tale best left for a future posting.

For a short period in my life when I was 15/16 years of age, Buzzcocks, along with The Jam, could do no wrong in my eyes. They made great records that sounded magnificent on the radio, giving us a perfect combination of punk/new wave and pop. Singles Going Steady is glorious in all aspects except for having a lousy sleeve that was completely different in style to the works of art that had accompanied all the previous releases. Most of the lesser known b-sides are every bit as good as the singles themselves.

It was a real dilemma selecting the tracks to actually post, but in the end, I’ve gone for the flop single, the single that didn’t have Pete Shelley singing lead vocals and two more than worthy b-sides:-

mp3 : BuzzcocksOrgasm Addict
mp3 : Buzzcocks – Harmony In My Head
mp3 : Buzzcocks – Oh Shit!
mp3 : Buzzcocks – Noise Annoys

This is a record that every collection just has to contain. A re-mastered copy with loads of extra tracks is very widely available and cheap to boot.

A couple of boring facts to end.

(a) John Maher was the drummer in Buzzcocks. It is also the real name of another Manchester musician who went on to achieve fame, fame fatal fame a few years later. To avoid confusion with the famous drummer, this young, handsome and talented guitarist changed his forename and surname ever so slightly to Johnny Marr.

(b) The lead track on the Spiral Scratch EP was called Boredom. And it was name-checked by the god-like Edwyn Collins who penned this lyric:-

“You know me I’m acting dumb-dumb
You know the scene is very humdrum
And my favourite song is entitled Boredom’

From Rip It Up. A song one or two of you might just be aware of.

PS : The title on the posting is a quote from a different P.Shelley, but it kind of sums up why I blog……..


I’ve jumped straight from March to May as looking back over the postings from April 2007 didn’t show anything that I feel worth repeating here.  Thinking back, April 2007 was a very busy time at work…loads of hours being spent in the office building up to an important set of elections at the beginning of May 2007….and that would explain why a lot of the posts were hurriedly written and posted just for the sake of it.

And so onwards to May 2007….and another self-indulgent post which will hopefully provide you all with a little more of my DNA if you’re interested:-



Fil at the blog  ‘Pogo A Go-Go’ was the first person I saw have this little bit of fun.

Then it ended up with Crash at the blog ‘Pretending Life Is Like A Song’.

And because Crash didn’t want to be Johnny no-mates that he couldn’t pass the chain onto, and I’m an all-round nice guy, I volunteered to be next. So he sent me five questions,…..

Q1. Alerius C of Tralfamadore likes the cut of your jib, and empowers you to revisit specific live performances of five songs whenever you choose. What five performances do you choose, and why?

A. How joyous to find that someone at last, after almost 44 years on this planet, likes the cut of my jib.

I have no idea how many live gigs I’ve been to since 1979 – and lord knows how many live acts I’ve seen. I could go through the record collection and work part of it out, but for every one of them, there will probably be two acts that I’ve never bought any records by.

But enough of the gibberish – it’s time to face up to the question.

(a) Joe Jackson – Is She Really Going Out With Him?

Glasgow Tiffany’s 1980. Joe Jackson had enjoyed his chart success and was about to enter into a few years of oblivion before Stepping Out went Top3. The venue was maybe 70% full and I got right down near the front for the first time in my life. This song was the encore – and Joe turned it into a masterpiece lasting the best part of 10 minutes, starting it off as a piano-led ballad before bit by bit the rest of the band (who had been in top form all night) joined in. By the end it was an angry rant keeping in spirit with the true meaning of the song.

(b) Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – The Curse of Millhaven

Glasgow Barrowlands 2001. Mrs Villain’s favourite Bad Seeds number and one neither of us thought we’d ever see live. Another one kept for the encore and so rare in the live canon that Nick needed idiot boards to get all the words correct. The band thrashed away and Nick ranted and raved about murders and Prozac. A few weeks later he did the same again in Lyon, France and the results can be seen on the live DVD God Is In The House. But being there in Glasgow was even better.

(c) Paul Quinn & the Independent Group– Will I Ever Be Inside Of You?

Glasgow Film Theatre – October 1994. A one-off gig in a cinema. the band played as movie montages unfolded behind them. A quite incredible night topped-off when a singer from Scottish Opera hotfooted it from her performance on stage some 500 yards around the corner and provided backing vocals, still dressed in her operatic outfit, for the title track of Paul Quinn & The Independent Group‘s second LP. Truly beautiful. Truly breathtaking. And the last time that i ever got to see Paul Quinn perform on the stage. Sigh

(d) TindersticksJism

Edinburgh Jaffa Cake late 90s. The hottest gig I’ve ever been at in my life. A tiny attic room that was part of an Edinburgh Fringe Festival venue more akin to hosting comedians and staging plays by undergraduate theatre groups. I’ve no idea just how the fire authorities were able to let so many folk in. So hot that the band removed their jackets. I know I’m likely to go to hell when I die – and it will be a dawdle compared to surviving that August night without passing out. The roar that greeted this epic number would have graced the winning goal of any cup final.

(e) The Smiths – Hand In Glove

Glasgow QM Union 1982. The first time I ever saw them live. The first song I ever heard them play live. A life-changing moment.

Q2. Tell us about the high points and low points of a typical working day.

The high point is lunchtime and the moments that I’m able to spend in any one of a number of half-decent (Avalanche, Fopp, Missing) or indeed rubbishy (Virgin, HMV) record stores in Glasgow city centre.

I don’t think about the low points – if I did I wouldn’t make any effort to come in. But they’re usually the result of something happening outwith my direct control but which ultimately will end up at my desk requiring immediate fixing.

Sorry it’s a dull answer, but there’s little really exciting about working in a huge bureaucracy.

Q3. You’ve been convicted of the murder of the football commentator who said they’ll be dancing on the streets of Raith tonight, and your final appeal has failed. It’s time to choose your last meal.

I wouldn’t be settling for a last meal at this point. I’d be mobilising the troops, with hopefully comrades like Toad, Colin, Simon, Liz, Crash and everyone who has a modicum of love for me (that includes you Mrs Villain) organising last minute petitions to the top brass explaining that it was a mercy killing as all football commentators on British television deserve to be garroted.

But I guess you guys will get nowhere. So I would demand, as my last request, a bowl of pasta from a magnificent Milanese restaurant called Da Ilia– to be washed down with a bottle of Valpolicella Amarone red vino. Failing that, a bowl of Kellogg’s Frosties – after all, on the eve of my execution, I will no longer be worrying about its effect on my waistline.

Q4. It’s 2012 and Scotland is to be retired in order to pay for the London Olympics. You’re responsibility is to preserve ten Scottish songs for posterity. What do you choose.

I could refer you all back to a series of earlier postings that appeared on TVV in which the choices of the personal Top 10s of myself & Jacques the Kipper for the poll at Jock’n’Roll were aired and discussed. I was only allowed one song per artist, and my list featured Orange Juice, Sons & Daughters, Bronski Beat, Bourgie Bourgie, Associates etc, etc…

But if Scotland is to be retired, then the lawmakers will inevitably deem that all good things associated with the country must be outlawed forever in order to prevent a revolutionary uprising. So all my choice of songs will come from a prescribed list of such crap that the authorities will thereby ensure that no-one in their right mind would ever want to be part of a nation once again….

Andy Stewart – A Scottish Soldier;

Neil Reid – Mother Of Mine;

Jim Diamond – I Should Have Known Better;

Darius – Colourblind;

Simple Minds – Belfast Child;

Aneka – Japanese Boy;

Wet Wet Wet – Goodnight Girl;

Gun – Word Up;

Lena Martell – One Day At A Time;

Runrig – Loch Lomond.

Ten stinkers I’m sure you agree.

Q5. We all need a bit of direction in our leisure time. What should we be watching on the telly? Something current, something from the last few years and something to buy and enjoy on dvd.

The only long-running thing really worth watching is The Simpsons. Need I say anymore?

In terms of recent stuff no longer with us, I think it has to be Our Friends In The North– the last thirty seconds of which had me blubbering away like a big southern jessie.

On DVD – make sure you get every episode of The Sopranos. It can be watched over and over again as small details emerge each episode as hugely significant for the future.

If I was to choose a DVD movie, it would be High Fidelity. I want to be as cool and handsome as John Cusack, and I want to own a record store but only if I could afford it to run at a huge loss as I would only sell records which I liked…..

So that’s what I’ve got to say in response to Crash’s five questions. If you’d like to play along, send me an e-mail and I’ll get some probing stuff over to you. Go on…you know you want to.

Oh, I suppose I better put up an mp3 given you’ve got this far:-

mp3 : TindersticksJism (live, Bloomsbury Theatre)

Oh and here’s another while I’m at it. Sorry it’s not live:-

mp3 : Paul Quinn & The Independent Group – Will I Ever Be Inside Of You?


2013 Update

Q1 : I’m still happy enough with the five live renditions selected, although I know for certain that the rendition of Felicity by Vic Godard & The Independent Group just a couple of months back when they were support to the one-off reformation of Jazzateers would get in.

Q2 :  Have changed job since May 2007.  No longer work in Glasgow city centre, so browsing round record stores no longer the daily highlight.  Truth is, walking out of train station and into the front door is the highlight as it’s the last time I will be in full control of the situation as I’ve no idea what the day will bring.  Low Point?  Any unexpected phone call from a journalist bringing news of an unforseen problem….

Q3 : The troops mentioned in the original answer were the small group of like-minded bloggers who were providing all sorts of support and advice on a daily basis at a tine when TVV was in its infancy.  Today, I’d be confident the troops that I could muster in support would be bigger in number.

Q4 : It wasn’t the Olympics that bankrupted us….it was the fucking bankers.

Q5 : Since then, box sets like The Wire, Deadwood, Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire and Six Feet Under would be added to the list….

Oh and I have no idea who it was I passed my own list of questions onto.

Suppose I better add some more mp3s as you’ve got this far……

mp3 : Elvis Costello & The Attractions – High Fidelity (Peel Session, March 1980)

mp3 : Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – The Curse Of Millhaven (live, Lyon)

mp3 : The Smiths – Hand In Glove (live, Glasgow QMU)



An example of the blogging fraternity in action. From 19th March 2007:-



Dear Reader,

Among my CD collection is a compilation, released in 1995, that I picked-up second-hand. It’s called A Flavour of the Label 4, and it seems to be a promo for acts who recorded, at that time, for Capitol Records and EMI Records.

I’ve heard of most of the acts on the CD, which include Supergrass, Foo Fighters, Blur, Radiohead and EMF. However, the 14th and final track is a total mystery:-

mp3 : P – Michael Stipe

Now to make it quite clear, its someone called P singing a song called Michael Stipe. Not the other way around. The scant information for the track says:-

Composer : P
Publisher : Mr Cigar Publishing
Producer : Andrew Weiss

Can anyone supply anything more?

Kind regards

Yours sincerely

aka The Vinyl Villain


The replies were numerous and very prompt.  Within just an hour I had learned that P consisted of:-

Gibby Haynes…Vocals
Bill Carter…Guitar & Bass
Johnny Depp…Guitar & Bass
Sal Jenco…Percussion

Yup…..that Johnny Depp.

I also discovered that an LP had been released on Capitol Records in 1995.  It included this cover version:-

mp3 : P – Dancing Queen

So there you go…..


I was thinking of posting this song up anyway without recourse to the archives, but using the words typed on 22 March 2007 tells the tale from my youthful days:-


What were you all doing in 1979? I know that some, indeed, many of you probably weren’t born. I imagine that others would be running around dressed in nappies and looking for a feed from a nipple (but what you did, and do, in the privacy of your own home is no business of mine).

1979 was a momentous year in my life. I was 16 years of age and I had passed a whole bundle of exams that would let me go back to school to take more exams that would let me get to university. Over the summer months, I got a full-time job for six weeks which gave me, for the first time, a degree of financial independency. I was able to buy loads of singles and albums, but more importantly, tickets for gigs at the Glasgow Apollo to see loads of new wave/post-punk bands.

1979 was also the year that I fell in love for the first time. But the problem was that me, and hundreds of thousands, possibly even millions of others, were in love with the same person. And she didn’t really love us back. Not when she was shagging the guitarist in her band.

Debbie Harry. The voice and look of Blondie. Sigh.

So when the news came through that Blondie were to play a UK tour at the tail-end of 1979, including a gig on 31st December at the Glasgow Apollo, it was all systems go to obtain a ticket. And that meant getting out of bed at 5am and getting my dad to run me into town where I joined the queue of those who were sleeping out overnight outside the front door of the box office at the venue. It was a long drawn-out five hours with only a small radio, and a mate from school to keep me company. But we got our tickets. And from memory they were £5 which was way way more than I had ever paid for a concert ticket in my life up to that point (bear in mind, my wages in the summer job had seen me take home £26 a week…)

A couple of weeks later, the BBC announced that the Glasgow gig was to be broadcast live on television and radio as part of the special programmes for Hogmanay. I took a fair bit of stick at school, and at home, for seemingly wasting my money on something I could now be watching on the telly….but nobody seemed to understand just how important it was to actually be in the audience gawping at the love/lust of my life.

The gig was all that I looked forward to for months on end, and I played and wore out all of my Blondie singles and albums, learning every note and every word so that I could fully sing-a-long.

The night itself started off brilliantly, as I ended up speaking on Radio 1, for about 5 seconds. Millions of listeners would have heard a squeaky-voiced adolescent say he was ‘Jim from Sandyhills who wanted to wish his mum, dad, his brothers and all his mates a Happy New Year’. I’ve no idea what record was played as I was shaking with excitement at the fact I had just been live on the biggest radio station in Europe. I thought I was a star….

That turned out to be the highlight of the night, for the gig itself was a huge disappointment. The sound was poor – it was incredibly loud which I think was to try and disguise the fact that Blondie were an appalling live act. Debbie’s vocals were lost amidst all this, and the gig wasn’t helped by the fact that part of the way through the set, there was a lengthy pause to allow the TV network to come in on cue.

But until now, I never admitted any of that to anyone. To the world and its auntie, the Blondie gig was the ‘best I’d ever been to’. Thinking back on all this, it’s hardly a surprise that I have spent a large part of my working life in the dark and unsavoury world of political spin….

So here, all the way from 1979, and courtesy of a winning bid on e-bay last week, are two tracks from a 12” single, the cover of which was sellotaped to my bedroom wall.

Was it really almost 28 years ago????

mp3 : Blondie – Heart Of Glass (12″ version)
mp3 : Blondie – Rifle Range

2013 Update…………’s now coming up for almost 34 years since said gig!


I’m re-visiting this as much for the title I came up with as the posting itself:-

WELLER, WELLER, WELLER, OOOOOH (tell me more, tell me more)


In one of my earliest entries on TVV, I wrote at length about my love for The Jam, and how they remain the only band I’ve ever camped for overnight so that I could get concert tickets.

I didn’t go in a huff with Paul Weller when he broke the band up, and indeed I was soon more than happy to be buying records by The Style Council and going along to watch his new band playing live.

But somehow, I’ve never got into the solo stuff by the so called Modfather. I’ve just found most of it rather dull and dreary. Everyone tells me that his LP Stanley Road is one of the best of the 90s. I’ve tried listening to it a few times and it just bores me. There’s just nothing original about it.

I’m also a bit bemused by the re-writing of history when it comes to Paul Weller. He did not have a period in the wilderness from demise of The Style Council at the end of the 80s to his solo comeback in the mid 90s when the Britpop movement, and in particular Noel Gallagher, paid homage to him. There were a few attempts at re-igniting his career in-between, including this single from 1991:-

mp3 : The Paul Weller Movement – Into Tomorrow

If you have a listen, you’ll hear that it’s not much different from the stuff he would go on to release to great critical acclaim a few years later. It just wasn’t fashionable back in 1991……

Oh there is one Paul Weller solo single that I adore. If he had gone down this sort of route rather than re-hashing his love of the 60s, I might have remained a fan:-

mp3 : Paul Weller – Wild Wood


2013 update

The other tracks on the 1991 12″:-

mp3 : The Paul Weller Movement – Here’s A New Thing

mp3 : The Paul Weller Movement – That Spiritual Feeling

mp3 : The Paul Weller Movement – Into Tomorrow (Original 8 track demo)

WARNING : ‘That Spiritual Feeling’ is more than 7 minutes of horrible instrumental jazz-funk that has dated dreadfully….



Interesting that this month saw me chastise myself for spending so much time writing live reviews and featuring stuff on CD singles.  The purist in me came up with a week-long series entitled going back to my roots which would be vinyl, vinyl, vinyl all the way Here’s a summary version of each post :-

Monday 5 February

From The Cost of Living EP, a re-working of the song Capital Radio along with an additional 45 seconds tagged on at the end…..a little Clash-mercial pleading with everyone to get down to their nearest Clash showroom

So here’s all 04 minutes and 05 seconds of:-

mp3 : The Clash – Capital Radio (Cost Of Living EP version)

Tuesday 6 February

Looking in the vinyl cupboard for something to show that there’s more than just twee-pop bands and the collective works of lesser-known Scottish geniuses living in there. And I found a 12″ single which, in the true spirit of TVV, put up a fantastic remix version that was available only on the reverse side:

mp3 : Senser – Eject (Over Zealous Mix)

Wednesday 7 February

Back in 1992, I bought a 12” single from a clearance/bargain bin in a record shop in Edinburgh for 99p. While it did reach No.32 in the charts, it was a record that was deleted shortly afterwards, never to appear again. It wasn’t included on the 1993 LP Modern Life Is Rubbish, nor was it included on the CD of the Greatest Hits package Blur released in 2000.

mp3 : Blur – Popscene

Thursday 8 February

So many things were going on in my life at the end of the 80s and beginning of the 90s that I wasn’t able to keep up with much new music.  Jacques the Kipper, aware of my fondness for what became known as Madchester, would periodically throw in my direction a rectangular box containing a cassette tape (young people – activate your google search now). Said cassette tape contained 90 minutes worth of songs, many of which I became very fond, not least today’s offering.

Fast forward to January 2007. A work colleague, on learning that I had started the blog, handed over around 15-20 records that he no longer wanted. Tucked away in the middle of the pile was this, and on the small indie label the band started out on:

mp3 : Paris Angels – All On You (Perfume)

Friday 9 February

I’m up late cos I can’t sleep. I never can when Mrs Villain is working away overnight. Right now she’s in Manchester on behalf of her company for a presentation to an important client just 24 hours after a previous presentation to a would-be client here in Glasgow who are likely to turn her down. Bastards.

So I thought I’d end my five days of postings from the original vinyl with the one song that always make me think of her.

There we were at a Carter USM gig at Barrowlands, Glasgow in the early 90s – me, Mrs Villain and Jacques the Kipper. Us blokes being experienced moshers felt it was just a bit too crazy with all those young folk being awfully lively down the front, so we were strategically placed just left-of-centre maybe halfway back.

Then the opening notes of today’s song came through the speakers.


And before the same notes were repeated prior to the crashing guitars, Mrs Villain had gone….right down into the melee. I was gobsmacked. But I left her to it – we hadn’t long drawn up wills leaving all our possessions to one another.

5 and a bit minutes later she came back, drenched in sweat but with the most fantastic grin on her face.

So this is her song.

mp3 : Carter USM – Bloodsport For All



Back on 8 October 2011, I started a series called ‘Saturday’s Scottish Single’.  The aim was to feature one 45 or CD single by a Scottish singer or band with the proviso that the 45 or CD single was in the collection. I had got to Part 60-something and as far as Kid Canaveral when the rug was pulled out from under TVV.

I’ll catch up soon enough by featuring 5 at a time from the archives..


(16) Belle & Sebastian – Legal Man b/w : Judy Is A Dick Slap b/w Winter Wooskie : Jeepster CD Single (2000)

Read more about Belle & Sebastian here


(17) The Beta Band : Dry The Rain b/w I Know b/w B+A b/w Dog Got A Bone : Taken from Regal EP compilation (1998)

Read more about The Beta Band here


(18) Big Country – Fields Of Fire (alternative mix) b/w Fields of Fire b/w Angle Park : Phonogram 12″ (1983)

Read more about Big Country here


(19) The Big Dish : Miss America b/w From The Mission Bell To The Deep Blue Sea b/w The Town Celebrity :East West 12″ (1990)

Read more about The Big Dish here


(20) Bis – Kandy Pop b/w Secret Vampires b/w Teen-C Power b/w Diska : Chemikal Underground 7″ (1996)

Read more about Bis here



Here’s a piece I’m still proud of:-

BILLY MacKENZIE : 27 March 1957 – 22 January 1997


I’m anticipating that many a blog will be commemorating the fact that today is the 10th Anniversary of the sad death of Billy Mackenzie. I don’t know that what I’ve got to say will be all that different, but I’ll offer some facts, and then I’ll offer some thoughts.

Billy was born in Dundee, Scotland and it was just outside that city that he took his own life with an overdose of prescribed sleeping pills. As a musician, commercial success and recognition didn’t happen overnight, and when it eventually did come, it was for an all-too brief period. By 1997, he was largely irrelevant except to a loyal fanbase. As is often the case, it took death for a reappraisal, and Billy is now regarded by many critics as one of the greatest musical talents of the late 20th Century.

His life-story is told with affection in The Glamour Chase by Tom Doyle (since updated and re-issued in September 2011)

it’s a thoroughly honest, entertaining, engaging and balanced biography. The author is very obviously a fan, and yet the book is never sycophantic for the sake of it. It recognises that Billy was often his own worst enemy and far from perfect.

I mentioned above that Billy wasn’t an overnight success. It wasn’t until the release of their 10th single and 3rd LP that Associates finally had a hit. But Party Fears Two and Sulk became instant classics.

But in what was the first of many strange career moves, Associates at their most successful split-up almost immediately but while Billy maintained the name but he was more or less a solo artist with backing musicians (in the same way that Aztec Camera was simply a vehicle for Roddy Frame).

Some more singles and albums followed, but no hits. Some of his post-Sulk songs were great, some were average, and some were disappointing. There were fall-outs with record companies and unreleased LPs. In frustration, Billy dropped the moniker of Associates and started to record and perform under his own name as well as work in collaboration with other artistes. The world still didn’t pick-up on his talent.

To those of us who were long-time fans, the end was a huge shock. Billy had been completely out of the limelight for a few years, and it was almost impossible to find any Associates records as they had been long-deleted by record companies. But we had been reading that he was on his way back having just signed a contract with a new label and was busy in the studio.

It’s since become clear that a series of very sad events, not least the death of his mother, triggered-off a bout of very serious depression for Billy, but it was an illness that he hid from those who were closest to him.

Billy’s death was sad and tragic. But I think, having read The Glamour Chase, that it was an ending that was in some ways inevitable.

His legacy is a volume of work that has highs and lows, and one that is dominated by that 1982/83 era of Sulk. Even if that had been the only LP he had ever made, Billy would still be a legend in pop music.

I’m trying to give a truly honest appraisal when I say that while Billy MacKenzie was a reasonably talented writer, his best songs came when he wrote with others.

But what he did posses, without any doubt, was a singing voice that was unique. He also had attitude and a fierce streak of independence. Sadly, he lived in a period when all that mattered were record sales and a willingness to bow-down before the powerful record industry moguls and do what you’re told.

It’s impossible to guess what the past 10 years would have been like if Billy was still alive. He might have found the magic touch for another hit out of the blue (a la Edwyn Collins and A Girl Like You). Most likely however, is that he would still be recording albums to be bought by just the hard-core fans, for it took his death to rekindle interest in his work and the re-release of most of his material. But as I say, we just don’t know.

I haven’t found this the easiest set of words to put together since starting up TVV. Nor did I find it easy choosing some songs to post in memory.

In the end, I’ve gone for a pre-Sulk recording, a track from Sulk, and a post-Sulk recording, together with a cover version Billy recorded in 1982 at the height of his commercial success. I apologise for the poor quality of the cover version. But I think it captures Billy’s voice at its grandest.

mp3 : Associates – White Car In Germany
mp3 : Associates – Skipping
mp3 : Associates – Breakfast
*mp3 : Billy MacKenzie – It’s Over
(from the 1982 LP Music of Songs & Distinction by British Electric Foundation)

(* far better quality copy of his incredible take on the Roy Orbison classic than I’ve previously posted on the old blog!)

If you haven’t read Tom Doyle’s book, I urge you to do so. It’s one of the best music biographies ever put to paper.


2013 Update

I have it on very good authority that work is at an advanced stage of producing and issuing an Associates boxset….


Looking back at my own contributions in January 2007, I can see myself growing a lot more in confidence in terms of my writing and I also started to feature songs that were outside my comfort zone of the 80s indie, jingly-jangly stuff. Like this……



… taking steps to reach your heart.

Yesterday’s title for the Edwyn Collins posting (it was headed ‘Put The Needle Into Your Groove’) was lifted from a great hip-hop record released back in 1989, which itself is the subject of today’s posting.

Three schoolfriends from Long Island, New York formed De La Soul n the middle of the 1980s. At a time when gangster-rap was in vogue, De La Soul were something totally different. Relying very heavily on samples as well as lyrics that talked of life and love rather than life and violent death, they very quickly became radio favourites on both sides of the Atlantic.

Their debut album, Three Feet High & Rising, (its title being a playful pun on a Johnny Cash song) sold by the bucket load and spawned a handful of hit singles. But the group got mired in a number of legal battles in the wake of their success – the idea of sampling was relatively new and lawyers were crawling out of the woodwork demanding royalties for their clients.

A thoroughly disillusioned De La Soul changed direction for their second album in 1991 – De La Soul Is Dead – with less reliance on samples and lyrics that were socially aware of circumstances without ever advocating the use of violence. It was critically acclaimed, but radio stations didn’t play the singles, and the album didn’t sell anything like as well.

And that was indeed the story of the 90s for the group – constant critical acclaim but ever-decreasing sales. But against all odds, De La Soul kept on recording throughout that decade and into the 21st Century, and were often quoted by many new rap acts as having been a huge influence on their development.

In 2005 they made another appearance in the UK charts thanks to their fantastic vocal contribution to Feel Good Inc by Gorillaz.

Someone who has reviewed the release of a Greatest Hits package back in 2003 has said De La Soul are hip-hop’s Prince, widely praised for things they did years ago, with their new work subjected to unfairly slanted comparisons with their debut. I think that’s pretty accurate.

And here in all its 12″ glory, is one of the fantastic singles from the debut album

mp3 : De La Soul – Eye Know


2013 update.

The full title of the a-side is Eye Know (The Know It All Mix).  And here’s the other two tracks on the b-side not originally featured on the original posting:-

mp3 : De La Soul – Eye Know (The Kiss Mix)

mp3 : De La Soul – The Mack Daddy On The Left



I was clearly enjoying myself.  41 posts in total during January 2007 but not all from from my own fingertips as Comrade Colin agreed, having killed off the very blog that had inspired me to get things going, to dip his toe back in the water with contributions to TVV.  That was the next stage of what has become a very important friendship on my part…one that began with exchanges of e-mails for a long long time before we finally met up…but that wasn’t to be for a further 12 months despite the fact we lived and worked in the same city.  But I’m getting ahead of myself now.

Colin contributed four posts during the month, all penned in that singularly idiosyncratic style of his.  He featured Delta 5, Airport Girl, The Hair & Skin Trading Company and The Apple Scruffs.  Here’s one of said posts;-

Alex: After you drink to love and happiness forever!


Oh, here we go. If I don’t start with something I’ll end with nothing. Me, embarrassing myself again. It’s late, I’m kind of drunk on cheap champagne (a ‘ This Life +10′ thing – insert a massive-fucking-sigh about here – did it make u cry as much as me?) and I’m nostalgic for a time I can’t really remember (’79-’81). So, a perfect moment, really, to post my first song at TVV (my humble thanks to our host, JC, for inviting me to ruin, shame, spoil and depress all things TVV (1).  More words and songs later, from me, when I’m a bit more capable (that is, more drunk, more sober, more ‘me’). But, for now, some Delta 5… where, exactly, did they get to? Was it traffic? Honestly, I can do contemporary as well, but when the past is this good why not bring it back to the land of the(neo-liberal, late-capitalist) dead? Punk-funk-fucking-tastic I say! (*collective-cringe*)

mp3 : Delta 5 – Anticipation

(1) My contributions, my remit, for TVV is an open one so expect: a) lots of sad songs, b) lots of Scottish songs, c) lots of words that may encourage you to switch off, d) lots of black and white pictures of a colourful world) and d) nothing but the honest truth, m’lud.


2013 update.  It took a while, but some love and happiness did come Colin’s way in due course.  More than once – the first time was short-lived but now it looks like the full-blown thing…

Delta 5??  Read more here….



It’s being away on holiday that has prevented me featuring more of the excellent contributions from readers.  But I promise they will all get an airing in due course.  Here’s another:-

Hi Jim

thenandnow.jpg large

Not only have the government been sending a billboard around London saying ‘darkies go home’…

borderpolice.jpg large

,,, they’ve also deployed officers of the border agency police to carry out spot checks on people of colour in London train, bus and tube stations.

I thought I didn’t do this kind of thing any more but sometimes things still force your hand.

Of course the right songs to play with this are the protest songs of the far right – the National Front’s take on the ‘Oi for England’ movement of the late 70s and early 80s, but this will do too – quiet despair might be all there is left.

mp3 : Billy Bragg & Hank Wangford – Deportees




WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? (Slight change of plan)


I got bored copying those 2006 postings so it must be worse for you guys reading them.  Time methinks for a quick change of tack….

In one of my recent rummages around places where there’s second-hand vinyl I found this poptastic hit for just 10p:-

mp3 : Haircut 100 – Love Plus One (12″ version)

It’s a slightly extended version from that which was all over the radio stations in 1982 when it hit #3 in the UK.  Dismiss it as lightweight pop all you want, but this wasn’t far removed from the sort of sound that the record bosses were trying to get out of Orange Juice and many other of the Scottish pop bands of the day.  The fact that singer Nick Heyward was a teeny-bop pin-up idol meant that most musos dismissed this and the other hit singles as disposable and having no depth, but I’ll willingly hold my hand up and say I love it.

I’m sorry I can’t bring you the b-side on the 12″ as it was badly damaged. Looked as if something had been spilled over it and taken out some of the grooves.