The most recent two bands featured in the ongoing CD86 series – Pop Will Eat Itself and The Soup Dragons – enjoyed real chart success after moving away from the raw guitar sounds that had initially got them attention. As too did We’ve Got A Fuzzbox…And We’re Gonna Use It!!, a band I am very surprised were not included on said CD.

They were a four-piece all-female outfit from Birmingham and it was a label from their home city – Vindaloo Records – which signed them up at a time when two of the band were 17, one was 16 and the other was the ripe old age of 20.

Debut EP Fuzzbox almost provided them with instant chart success hitting the #41 spot shortly after its release in March 1986. The mix of distorted guitars, frantic loud drumming and tribal-style chanting got them a fair bit of attention as did their manifesto of ‘girl power’ a full decade before such a phrase became synonymous with The Spice Girls.

Six months later, follow-up single Love Is The Slug went ten places higher than the debut and the girls were snapped up by WEA. They spent a bit of time out of the limelight polishing up their act and removing the rough edges – the sort of things that had in fact made them so appealing in the first place. Come 1989, they were known simply as Fuzzbox, had a whole new sexed-up look and a sound that was pure pop based on female harmonies. They were, looking back on it, a prototype for the likes of Girls Aloud and other fully manufactured girl groups of the past 20 years or so.

This move into pure pop stunned a lot of folk who had championed the band in the initial indie days – they had for instance recorded two Peel Sessions and their earliest best known song, Rules and Regulations, was voted in at #31 in the Festive Fifty of 1986.

The changes worked and there were three Top 20 singles and a Top 5 album but then there was a bit of a bombshell dropped when lead singer Vicky Perks decided she wanted to go solo. The remaining three members – Jo Dunne, Mags Dunne and Tina O’Neill – quit the music industry altogether.  Vicky’s solo career never took off and soon they were all mere footnotes in pop history…until many years later when, like so many others, the idea of reforming and cashing in on the ever increasing nostalgia circuit of retro-festivals, proved too much to resist.

So, in early 2010 the band, with the exception of Tina, got back together and with the addition of Sarah Firebrand on bass and Karen Milne on drums, became a five-piece for touring duties before again calling it a day in the summer of 2011.

Just over a year later, Jo Dunne died from cancer a month short of her 43rd birthday.

Earlier this year, Vicky Perks and Mags Dunne announced the second reformation of Fuzzbox with three new members in the shape of Megan Burke, Sarit Black and Hannah Layhe on guitar, bass and drums respectively. There will be some who welcome it but I fear most will be indifferent.

The only thing I have in the collection is the debut EP which was released in a variety of sleeves – mine looks like the photo at the top of this posting. There’s four crackingly energetic songs all in, only one of which is longer than two minutes:-

mp3 : We’ve Got A Fuzzbox…And We’re Gonna Use It – X X Sex
mp3 : We’ve Got A Fuzzbox…And We’re Gonna Use It – Do I Want To?
mp3 : We’ve Got A Fuzzbox…And We’re Gonna Use It – Rules and Regulations
mp3 : We’ve Got A Fuzzbox…And We’re Gonna Use It – She

It’s a real shame they never ever came close to matching it.


PS : thanks to Jacques for correcting the dreadful error in the original post.  See what happens when you don’t proof read……


Just as last week’s lot (Pop Will Eat Itself) did a great job in reinventing themselves, so too did The Soup Dragons.

Named after a character from a weird and wacky children’s animation show that was hugely popular in the UK in the 1970s, the band formed in Bellshill which is a former mining town some 15 miles south-east of Glasgow. The fact that such a small place – its population is a smite over 20,000 – also gave birth to Teenage Fanclub and BMX Bandits gives credence to those who claim that it is the epicentre of Scottish indie pop.

The original four members were Sean Dickson (vocals, lead guitar), Jim McCulloch (guitar, second voice), Sushil Dade (bass) and Ross Sinclair (drums) and after no more than a handful of gigs and a demo tape their blend of loud guitars and pop riffs landed them a deal with The Subway Organisation in 1986. Their debut EP, The Sun Is In The Sky, was the second ever release on the label and is quite hard to track down nowadays unlike the follow-up Whole Wide World which sold in really decent enough numbers for an independent label and was re-pressed on a number of occasions. It is that single which appears on CD 86:-

mp3 : The Soup Dragons – Whole Wide World

They were enticed over to the RAW TV label on which there were four more terrifically catchy indie-pop singles…I’m a particular fan of 1987 release Hang-Ten….with which they caught the attention of Seymour Stein and his crew at Sire Records for who they recorded debut album This Is Our Art in 1987.

However, after just one more single they found themselves back at Raw TV which by now was aligned with Big Life, a label which had aims and aspirations towards the big-time. By now, Ross Sinclair had left the band and there was a significant shift into the indie-dance sound that was becoming all the rage – the Soup Dragons new sound fitted right into Madchester and it was no surprise that come 1990, their take on I’m Free, a relatively unknown album track by the Rolling Stones, hit the Top 5 thanks in part to a guest vocal from label mate Junior Reid who had previously come to prominence as lead singer with the reggae band Black Uhuru.

They maintained that sort of sound for the remainder of their career before disbanding in 1995. They also enjoyed a major hit with Divine Thing in the US in 1992 although it was a relative flop here at home.

I always felt The Soup Dragons had it in them to be pop stars and in all truth they should have enjoyed better commercial success with the earlier singles before they made they hitched themselves to the baggy bandwagon. They were good fun when they started out and they still seemed to be enjoying themselves when they broke up ten years on.

Here’s the b-sides to the 12″ version of the single on CD86:-

mp3 : The Soup Dragons – Pleasantly Surprised
mp3 : The Soup Dragons – I Know Everything

Just three more bands to feature before I unveil the fresh idea for a new regular series for 2016!!





I place a huge value on the ability of a singer/band to cut the mustard in a live context. It’s often the thought of going to see a forthcoming live performance that makes me go out and buy a new CD so that I’m familiar with the stuff. And almost just as often, if I catch a band live who I think have that something different or special, or indeed just seem to be working hard at their craft, I’ll buy a CD. What I’ve often found is that the CD doesn’t match the intensity of the live performance and it will soon be given a place on the shelf to gather dust….but that’s the risk of buying on one listen….

One of the best live acts I’ve seen in recent times is Maximo Park.

I first came across them courtesy of MTV2, and in particular on the shows hosted by Zane Lowe. I loved the early singles and indeed all of their debut LP, A Certain Trigger. And I made a point of buying a ticket for the next show in Glasgow which was due to take place at the QM Union, a student-venue. Such was the demand for tickets that the gig was switched to Barrowlands, which must have a bit daunting for the band. If they were nervous or had any trepidation, it didn’t show for it was a blinding gig.

And if I wanted proof that it wasn’t a one-off, then it came a few months later when they were part of an NME tour. As the biggest band of the four in terms of chart success, it was obvious they should be the headlining act – problem was that #2 on the bill were Arctic Monkeys, the most-talked about and anticipated act to come out of the UK since the days of Oasis. Most ticket-holders were there for the support, not the headliners. It would have been easy for Maximo Park to take the money and go through the motions – but they really upped the ante and showed that while Arctic Monkeys were exceptionally good on stage, they still had a lot to learn in terms of putting on a show.

Since then, I’ve fallen out of and back in love with Maximo Park. A third gig was a let-down as I felt the band, and in particular lead singer Paul Smith was now on the wrong-side of showing-off rather than entertaining. Nevertheless, the second LP, Our Earthly Pleasures, was purchased and I soon discovered it was an just as good a collection of songs as the debut. I was then really lucky to catch the band at a tiny venue in Toronto last summer (2007) and it was just like seeing them first time around again. It was a truly stunning, adrenalin-driven and energetic performance to a half-hearted audience largely unfamiliar with the band’s songs.

Outwith their own self-financed single, Maximo Park have released a total of eight 45rpm efforts, four from each of the two albums. All of them have been toe-tappingly catchy. In many ways, the first one I ever heard, Apply Some Pressure, could at times be the favourite. But in the end, in much the same way as Bedsitter by Soft Cell is my favourite of that particular beat combo, it all comes down to an equally strong second hit single that proves that they’re not a flash in the pan:-

mp3 : Maximo Park – Graffiti
mp3 : Maximo Park – Trial And Error
mp3 : Maximo Park – Stray Talk
mp3 : Maximo Park – Hammer Horror

You’re getting all these tracks because sometimes I fall for the marketing ploys and buy CD1, CD2 and the 7” vinyl….

It was a #15 hit in May 2005.


A guest contribution from Tim Badger

An Imaginary Compilation (Of Sorts) for the wife

This was supposed to be the B side to S-WC’s recent Imaginary Compilation on Carter USM. The journey home from Rochdale by the way was uneventful – nothing happened, there was no traffic jams, no arguments, no awful drinks stops at criminally unhygienic service stations. Nothing. It is kind of hard to write about how strangely normal it was.

The iPod on the way home gave us some fine tunes. The 11th track was ‘Kilamangiro by Babyshambles. This was an excellent choice, I am a massive Libertines/Doherty/Babyshambles fan – although to be honest I can take or leave his solo album. It was a close run thing as well as the 10th track was Elvis Costello.

mp3 : Babyshambles – Kilamangiro

So the next day when I got home I started to compile the Babyshambles album, I got to the end of the first side and then left it for a couple of days for the S-WC to add the tunes he wanted to it. He had until the weekend to decide whether he want ‘French Dog Blues’ or ‘Unbilotitled’ at the end. He will choose the latter and we both knew it but I humoured him.

It is now Saturday November 14th – the morning after Paris had woken up to the night before. Saturdays are usually a bit hectic in the Badger household. This morning is a but subdued as the shock settles in – normally I would go and do a run (Hi ‘Park Run Exeter’ if you are reading) and the wife does her thing. My wife is really into cycling – she runs an online cycle shop, maintains a cycle website and organises rides for keen enthusiasts. Today as it happens is the day of the Annual Dartmoor Bike Challenge. A bunch of them up on Dartmoor cycling between the western point to the easterly point, or something. It’s a long way.

mp3 : Mansun – Wide Open Space

I decide to meet S-WC in our favourite watering hole for a lunch time pint which would turn into three, after that my plan would be to fall asleep whilst watching repeats of The Big Bang Theory.

I’ll let you into a secret, S-WC and I are thinking of relaunching our blog, and we spend some time discussing this over a pint in the pub. We’ve had an idea called ‘One Song A Day’ – we are thinking of posting one song a day for a year (starting January 1st). There would be very few words on the blog, just a song chosen at random. Its work in progress I suppose and by progress I mean I’ve written down the words ‘One Song A Day’.

We are halfway into our second pint of Otter and are putting the finishing touches to the Babyshambles compilation at the end of side two – and I Told You!!!!!

mp3 : Babyshambles – Unbilotitled

We look at the compilation and then look at the television as news reports continue to show the disruption and chaos over in France and what we’ve done seems a little mundane and a little average and however hard we try it seems impossible to write about music right now.

Then my phone rings. It is George. George is a lady who helps my wife with the cycling stuff. She is crying. Shit. In fact double shit.

Man I hate hospitals. On reflection, that’s a silly thing to say. No one likes hospitals; they are full of sick people and illness. I’ve narrowly avoided three trolleys, two blokes walking round dragging a drip to their arms and a child carrying a huge ‘Get Well Soon’ balloon as I rushed from the car park to the ward (thanks S-WC for the high speed dash across town…).

mp3 : The Prodigy – Take Me to the Hospital

I see George and she rushes up to me and immediately starts crying and hugging me at the same time. On the phone earlier, George told me the story of what had happened. I’ll quote her directly here.

“It was the pony, I mean she saw the pony. She didn’t see the Landrover who was also avoiding the stupid fucking pony. It hit her full on and sent her and her bike flying over the hedge. Then the fucker drove off”. I kind of fell in love with George a bit at that point, she is 50 something church going spinster who I have never heard swear before. It dulled the shock. Guys, we got the blokes number plate, its alright. I’ll have him killed by the end of the month (for the benefit of the tapes and the Government – I won’t really).

mp3 : Swearin’ – Parts of Speech

Now, this being Dartmoor, the hedge was part wild thorny bush and part stone cob wall. She landed the other side of it, on her right leg and the bike came crashing down on top of her.

I braced myself as the doctor came over. He shakes my hand, never a good sign I find. He says some words which kind of go over my head. I hear ‘Unconscious’, I hear ‘Blood’ and I hear the word ‘Pelvis’. The rest sound like white noise. Ultimately she had a broken right leg and a fractured pelvis. Folks, I don’t know if any of you cycle, and I also don’t if any of you are stupid enough not to use one, but her cycle helmet almost certainly saved her from more serious injuries. I walked in the room.

The first thing that struck me was the blood.

mp3 : The Dears – Blood

I’m not squeamish at all but when it’s your nearest and dearest it’s horrific. I probably don’t need to tell you that. She is awake and obviously in a lot of pain. She has a bruise the size of Brighton on her right hand side and she can’t really move at the moment. But she is smiling. I realise that she is going to be ok when she asks me if “I’d taken the wood to the recycling centre”. No is the answer, but folks, I said yes.

mp3 : Passion Pit – I’ll Be Alright

The doctors, nurses, specialists, X Ray teams, the whole lot of them were fantastic, every single one of them is a credit to the our wonderful NHS, and whilst I shouldn’t get political on your asses, that is why, in England at least, you should all support the Junior Doctor Strikes. It’s also why we should lobby the government to remove that cretin Hunt from his position. Sorry. I’ve put the soap box away now.

The last week and a half have been pretty hard work, the wife needs constant looking after and help to get around, she didn’t want to sit in hospital – she wanted to come home. It was I think the Wednesday when I was sitting in the bedroom as she slept trying to write something about Babyshambles that I stumbled across this idea. I obviously need to make it ten songs, so the next three are for the wife. She does read this blog and I imagine that I should probably just tell her to her face, but she is everything to me, I adore her and am just so happy that she is ok.

The first two are songs that I know she loves by bands that she loves, the last one is from me to her. Thanks for reading this – if you have got this far – I apologise if I have gushed, or been soppy.

mp3 : The Horrors – Sea within A Sea
mp3 : Perfume Genius – Queen
mp3 : Caribou – Can’t Do Without You

Oh and this one is from S-WC……

mp3 : Hop Along – Waitress

Thanks for reading


JC adds…….

I’ve been in touch with Tim and I’m pleased to pass on the news that Mrs B is doing well and getting over what must have been an horrific experience.  Some of the songs within his own selection are personal faves of Mrs B and she seemingly does read this blog on occasion.

So here’ s to your continued speedy recovery….with some music to hopefully make you smile.

mp3 : Elvis Costello & The Attractions – Battered Old Bird

PS : I’m off on a 12-day holiday from tomorrow morning with Mrs Villain (Barbados since you ask…) but have cobbled together a few what I hope are reasonably entertaining postings in advance to keep things ticking over till I get back (including the ICA originally scheduled for today but shunted back to the middle of next week).  However, I’ll be unable to respond to any e-mails probably won’t drop in to respond to any comments you might leave in the interim.


I’ve given this a fair bit of thought, but in the end come to the conclusion that Side A of my Prefab Sprout Imaginary Compilation album has to be identical to Side A of the band’s sophomore album released in June 1985.  In the UK and most other places the album was called Steve McQueen but in the USA it went by the name of Two Wheels Good thanks to a dispute with the estate of the late American Actor.

If pushed, I’d probably say that Side A of that album is my favourite half-record of all time. That may sound like a strange thing to say – and it’s not that the songs on the b-side don’t do anything for me – but I just feel that we were provided with six timeless works of art, sequenced in the perfect running order, and which are among the best bits of music that the band, and/or Paddy McAloon in his solo guise, ever released.

What this does of course is turn this particular Imaginary LP into a 12-track effort as its B-side has to offer a proper balance.  But what to go for? After all there are other songs on the flip side of Steve McQueen that are more than worthy; likewise just about everything on debut album Swoon 1983 and there’s quite a few tremendous songs on each of the four albums released between 1988 and 1997 – I haven’t bought any of the releases since then so can’t offer any observations about them, although just about everyone else I know who are fans of the band have raved about 2013 LP Crimson/Red, But for what it’s worth:


Faron Young, Bonny, Appetite, When Love Beaks Down, Goodbye Lucille #1, Hallelujah

The early 80s was a great time to be a follower of new music in the north-east of England. Indeed with bands such as Hurrah, The Kane Gang, Prefab Sprout and Martin Stephenson & The Daintees all on the Newcastle-based Kitchenware Records, there was a scene that wasn’t that far removed from Glasgow and Postcard Records of just a few years previous.

It was Prefab Sprout who turned out to the most commercially successful of the acts, thanks in the main to the songwriting and tunesmith talents of Paddy McAloon, but also to the marketing men who pushed hard until the elusive breakthrough hit emerged.

The band came to prominence in 1982 with a couple of singles that were hits on the indie-chart, as well as a 1984 LP Swoon (short for ‘Songs Written Out Of Necessity’) that was well received by the critics.

By now, although the records were still coming out on the Kitchenware label, Prefab Sprout had the might of CBS Records behind them, and the band was pushed into the studio with a big-name producer for an album that was intended to be released in 1985.

There were many who predicted a disaster. McAloon was a fairly shy laid-back individual who was seemingly being put under immense pressure to deliver something that justified the large contract signed with the major label. There was also the fact that despite Prefab Sprout being a band known for melodic, acoustic-based songs, the producer was the electronic pioneer and chart-act Thomas Dolby, and no-one could imagine any chemistry between the two.

Against all the odds, a masterpiece emerged.

The first hint we all got was the release of a single – When Love Breaks Down – which kept all the majesty and magnificence of a McAloon tune but had some beautiful bits added courtesy of keyboards that were clearly the work of Dolby. Despite this, the radio stations didn’t really pick up on it, and the single failed to trouble the charts.

The album came out soon after. It had the strange title of Steve McQueen.

I thought at the time it was bloody marvelous. And I still do and I will argue long into the night and right through the next day after the sun has come up that Side 1 is perfect; the CBS record bosses obviously thought so too, choosing to release four of the six songs as singles.

With the exception of the opening track, which is a tribute to a long-forgotten country & western singer and chugs along like an express train being driven by Casey Jones, it is not an album to get up and dance to. Instead, it is one to wake up with on a Saturday or Sunday morning if you’ve had a memorable time the night before and take great joy in life itself.

mp3 : Prefab Sprout – Faron Young
mp3 : Prefab Sprout – Bonny
mp3 : Prefab Sprout – Appetite
mp3 : Prefab Sprout – When Love Breaks Down
mp3 : Prefab Sprout – Goodbye Lucille #1
mp3 : Prefab Sprout – Hallelujah


Don’t Sing (from Swoon, 1984)

I have no idea why this very jaunty opening track on the debut album has the title of Don’t Sing as those two words don’t appear anywhere in the lyrics.  Instead it seems to follow some sort of bizarre and crazy Spaghetti Western script with outlaws and whisky priests getting into all sorts of trouble….but whatever is taking place on no account have they to put any blame on Mexico.  Wonderfully catchy and surreal with a fabulous harmonica solo thrown in for good measure

Cars and Girls (from From Langley Park to Memphis, 1988)

The second half of the 80s were strange times for Prefab Sprout.  There was near universal praise for Steve McQueen in 1985 but the intended follow-up for the next year was shelved, only appearing in 1989….by which time they had unexpectedly enjoyed a Top 10 hit thanks to a very catchy but ultimately annoying chorus about hot dogs, jumping frogs and Albuquerque – anyone who bought parent LP From Langley Park to Memphis in the hope of finding a few more like The King of Rock’n’Roll in there would have been in for a shock.   The nearest would have been the earlier lead-off single which had reached #44  – I love Cars and Girls as much for the fact that having been subjected to intense record label pressure to come up with a catchy hit, McAloon delivered a blasting critique of the label’s biggest selling star without the bosses seemingly catching on……

Lions In My Own Garden (Exit Someone) (single, 1983)

This had first come to prominence as a self-financed release on Candle Records in 1983. In an era of a number of very clever wordsmiths fronting gentle-sounding guitar bands, McAloon clinched the crown as the cleverest of them all thanks to a catchy sing-along number that seems to make no sense whatsoever until someone whispers in your ear that the first letter of each of the words in the title spell Limoges, the city in France where the writer’s girlfriend had moved to live, breaking his heart in the process. All over a tune that was as Postcard-era Aztec Camera as any fan could have wished.  The Peel Session is included here for novelty value as much as anything (and because it lets me use more brackets – and I like brackets!!)

We Let The Stars Go Free (from Jordan : The Comeback, 1990)

Prefab Sprout hadn’t toured in five years but took the decision to go out on the road in support of their 1990 opus which had more than enough songs to have been a double album.  It was a brave move that backfired somewhat as the songs on Jordan : The Comeback being rich in arrangement across a range of genres and relying heavily on the tricks of the studio didn’t fare all that well in the live setting, even at a venue as sympathetic as Glasgow Barrowlands. The experience put me off the album somewhat and I didn’t listen to for a long time after, but there’s no denying that this, which was also released as a single, is as dreamy and ethereal as pop music gets (apart from perhaps Desire As from Steve McQueen which almost made it on at this point)

Life Of Surprises (from Protest Songs, 1989)

This was the album originally recorded and intended for release in 1986.  It’s still not clear whether the band themselves abandoned the project – some of the songs have more of a demo than fully produced feel about them – or whether the label just felt it had no commercial viability and was likely to lose many fans along the way.  The fact that it took another two years for the next album to appear – which as mentioned had a ridiculously catchy and unrepresentative pop single on it – makes me lean towards the latter.  As it turns out, Protest Songs does have a number of well-merited moments, not least this song which would eventually be issued as a single in 1993 to promote the label issuing an inevitable ‘best of’ LP when it became clear that a new full studio album was a long way off.

Real Life (Just Around The Corner) (from NME EP Drastic Plastic, 1985)

Part of a four-track EP given away with the NME in September 1985. This was the only studio recording on the EP as the others were live tracks from The Style Council, Lloyd Cole & The Commotions and The Robert Cray Band.  For a very long time, I was under the impression that the NME EP had been the place where the song had first aired but the rise of Discogs, with its encyclopaedic approach to the various releases reveals that it was in fact on one of the 12″ versions of one of the three separate releases handed to When Love Breaks Down.  The fact that I have two versions of the single but not the one containing Real Life will hopefully be an acceptable explanation for my mistake.

Anyways, Real Life (with its introductory nod to The Battle Hymn of The Republic)  might not be all that much of a stand-out song in the Prefab Sprout canon, but it was one with which I had a habit for a long time of finishing off compilation tapes for all sorts of friends on the basis that I was signing off with what I thought was an impossibly difficult to find track.  I just feel that now I’m dreaming up an imaginary compilation album there can only be one candidate to close off Side B…..but it is one that I think is more than good enough to have you want to immediately go back and listen to Side A which, after all, has the pick of the tracks from that very golden era in the band’s history.

mp3 : Prefab Sprout – Don’t Sing
mp3 : Prefab Sprout – Cars and Girls
mp3 : Prefab Sprout – Lions In My Own Garden (Exit Someone) (Peel Session)
mp3 : Prefab Sprout – We Let The Stars Go Free
mp3 : Prefab Sprout – Life Of Surprises
mp3 : Prefab Sprout – Real Life (Just Around The Corner)




A guest contribution from xxxjim


Hey JC

This is a change from an imaginary compilation, but I’m pretty sure I could do one for almost every singer/band mentioned – now there’s a challenge!

Anyway, a comment made a while ago got me thinking. It was on a Wedding Present / Cinerama related posting and it was along the lines of David Gedge being someone that the commenter, paulb3015 would most like as a friend.

I know it’s never a good idea to meet your heroes but I still think it would be great to spend an evening in the company of these musicians. I guess they all seem quite approachable to me and the sort of people that have a lot of stories and would be fun to be around.

So I give you the eight musicians I’d love to spend an evening with, be it for a beer or two or a meal all round a table, shooting the breeze. Eight seems about the right number – enough that you’d get to talk to everyone but not too many that no one can hear what anyone else is saying. And it would have to be the right mix of musicians – not too many egos.

They are not necessarily my all time favourite musicians or my favourite bands – in some cases they are – I just think they are all interesting people. One thing a lot of them have in common is that they like to tell a story when you see them live – I know that it can be the same story every night but as long as it seems like it’s off the cuff, I’m happy with that.

I haven’t worked out a seating plan but obviously there’s be two seats reserved for Mr and Mrs Vinyl Villain.

Kristin Hersh

Her music has been a constant in my life since I was about 18 – I’ve kind of grown up with her. I’m not an obsessive fan but I do try and see her whenever she performs. One of only two famous people to reply to me on Twitter (not that I use it very often), which makes her an all round nice person. (The other one was David Gedge)

mp3: Kristin Hersh – Sundrops (from ‘Hips and Makers’ LP)

Colin Meloy

Because he seems like a good bloke – a lot of The Decemberists’ songs are stories and he spins a good yarn on stage so I’m sure there would be plenty to talk about.

mp3 : The Decemberists – The Rake’s Song (from ‘The Hazards of Love’ LP)

David Gedge

I don’t need to explain this one – I’m pretty sure that every reader of TVV would want to have a beer with David Gedge.

mp3 : The Wedding Present – Give My Love To Kevin (acoustic) (from ‘George Best (plus)’ LP)

Leonard Cohen

I thought maybe Prince would be entertaining but I imagine everyone would just sit there dumbstruck thinking ‘Bloody hell – it’s Prince’ and no-one saying a word. Either that or he’d play ping pong with everyone and thrash them. But I thought it would be good to have an absolute megastar at the table, and someone much older – and someone who has been a hero of mine since my art student days. He’d bring a touch of wisdom to proceedings and his fantastic gravelly voice. And you never know he might feed us tea and oranges that come all the way from China.

mp3 : Leonard Cohen – Slow (from ‘Popular Problems’ LP)

Viv Albertine

A year ago she wouldn’t have been a dinner guest but her memoir ‘Clothes, Music, Boys’ is great – the best music book I’ve read this year – better than Kim Gordon and better than Eddie Argos (seriously). And she seems like a nice person – and normal. And because I love this song which is one of my favourite songs of the year (even though it came out a while ago, it’s new to me).

mp3 : Viv Albertine – Confessions of a MILF  (from ‘The Vermillion Borders’ LP)

Gruff Rhys

Because he took a puppet around America to try and find a Welsh-speaking tribe of native Americans. And he made a powerpoint presentation about it. And an album. And he weaves it all into a great story. And obviously because he is a Super Furry Animal.

mp3 : Gruff Rhys – Iolo (from ‘American Interior’ LP)

Holly Johnson

The first pop star that I really idolized – about 10 years ago I saw him in a shop and I was too star struck to go and say hello. His memoir is also worth a read.

mp3 : Frankie Goes to Hollywod – Relax (7” single)

Nicky Wire

The second Welshman – he’d make sure that it wasn’t all back slappery and coziness. Plus, if all else fails we can talk about sport – and he can give my daughter tips on applying eyeliner.

mp3 : Manic Street Preachers – Europa Geht Durch Mich (from ‘Futurology’ LP)

Anyway, I hope you like it – and it’s the sort of thing that fits in well on TVV.




I was someone who didn’t pay much attention to Massive Attack in terms of their singles. In an era when CD albums were in the region of £12-£15 and singles were usually £4, it didn’t make much sense unless you were something of an uber-fan to buy the singles.

I picked up a copy of the album Mezzanine not longer after its release in April 1998, partly on the back of having really enjoyed the previous album Protection, but partly as I adored what I thought had been its lead-off single Teardrop featuring a stunning vocal from Elizabeth Fraser.   The fact that there had been an earlier advance single as far back as August 1997 had totally passed me by and indeed until I saw a copy in a second-hand store a few months back I had always thought the record label had missed out on the chance of releasing what I felt was one of many stand out tracks from the album:-

mp3 : Massive Attack – Risingson

In fact, the single had reached #11 in the charts which really shows how little attention I had been paying.  The CD single came with two more than decent remixes along with a different track which was like finding treasure at the end of the rainbow:-

mp3 : Massive Attack – Risingson (The Underdog remix)
mp3 : Massive Attack – Risingson (Otherside)
mp3 : Massive Attack – Superpredators (The Mad Professor Remix)

My favourite Siousxie & The Banshees song is Metal Postcard…..and that’s the very song which is heavily sampled to make Superpredators.