A GUEST POSTING FROM TIM BADGER
Just two guys Mucking Around 2016 – Part 2 : An ICA written Live
Yet again we find ourselves sat outside SWC’s house waiting for track ten to finish. Track Ten is ‘Bulletproof’ by La Roux, one of the tracks off of SWC’s safelist, although I have no idea why, it’s a perfectly good record. The music on the way home had been pretty good, some Cornershop, followed by Drugstore, Idlewild, Julian Cope and FKA Twigs. SWC has been slightly grumpy since he had Elbow chosen for him by his own iPod. Its not that he minds Elbow, its just that he finds them slightly uninspiring. Track 11 starts, its Teenage Fanclub.
Immediately SWC looks at me and says “I’ll give you ten quid, if you swap.” I give it some serious consideration, but then I say “No, thanks” and smile. He swears at me and then suddenly out of nowhere he says “I suppose it’s for the best, because you get tell the tale of when you sang this song to that girl you fancied.” This song, track 11, is ‘Tears Are Cool’ from the ‘Thirteen’ album and I once did indeed sing it to a girl I fancied. I’d forgotten I’d told him that. “You told me on the trip to Crewe, it came on the iPod. We almost swerved into the path of that Fiesta because we were laughing so much” he says picking up on my blank look. “I may not include this song” I say and with that we get out of the car.
I spend the next day listening to Teenage Fanclub, and have nearly decided on my ICA, when I bump into SWC at the local Spar Shop. We have a chat and he tells me that he had written the Elbow ICA, but had done it live, letting the iPod pick all the tracks for him – apart from the first one, which was already decided as it was the 11th track. He then says “You should do the Teenage Fanclub one the same way”. I reluctantly agree – largely because I’d left the window open in the car and it has started to absolutely roar it down. When I get back in I realise that of course, this means that I have to start my ICA with ‘Tears Are Cool’ and that means telling this story, or it means SWC telling it for me. Sigh…
Tears Are Cool – Taken from Thirteen
So, there’s this girl, we’ll call her Aerosmith Girl, actually let’s call her Sally, and she was lovely. I had a massive thing for her in the early to mid nineties. She drunk in my local pub – where I lived at the time. I ignored the fact that she loved Aerosmith because she was so lovely.
Anyway, one night in the pub, I saw her crying, sitting there on her own, crying. I went over and spoke to her, turns out her cat had died (to be honest, she should have just stayed in – the attention seeker) anyway, after about five minutes, I said “its ok Tears Are Cool” – taking it from the song that Teenage Fanclub had released on their most recent album.
On Saturday night it was Open Mic night, when a few people turned up with acoustic guitars, played for fifteen minutes and then sodded off to claim two free pints. That night, for the time ever, I got up to play – I mumbled my way through an acoustic version of a Levellers song and then something in my head went “This ones for Sally” and I looked straight at her and did a little fist pump. I know. Sorry.
Then I sang ‘Tears Are Cool’. When I finished she wasn’t even sitting where she was when I started it. Twenty minutes later I saw her outside eating chips with a bloke called Gavin. Chips. Gavin. I’d sang my heart out in there and she fucked off and bought some chips. I never sang in that pub again. Come to think of it I don’t think I’ve ever sung live again.
Anyway – lets go on with the ICA, the next nine songs picked by the ipod will make up the ICA – I have 68 Teenage Fanclub songs, so here goes….
God Knows Its True – Peel Session 12”
What a place to start! The Peel Session version of this is exquisite, full on proper guitar onslaught. There is an argument that this is their finest moment, certainly the Peel Session version is I think heavier than the 12” version. It wonderful
Radio – From Thirteen
Another single, we are doing well here. Thirteen was not the breakthrough that the response to ‘Bandwagonesque’ had suggested but its every bit its equal and in ‘Radio’ was a song as clean cut and ready for the erm, radio, as they ever record. Its simply wonderful.
Starsign – From 12” single
Another single! I’m not making this up folks, my iPod has a habit of doing this. Some of you will remember wives week on WYCRA when the first three songs where by three of my favourite bands – anyway, ‘Starsign’ is again, wonderful, even if it does sound more like Swervedriver than the band would ever admit.
Everything Flows – From ‘A Catholic Education’
Wow. What an A Side – if you ignore the nonsense around “Tears Are Cool” then tracks two to five are as about as much fun as you can have without taking your clothes and finding a pot of fromage frais in the fridge. At the same time. Side Two will be a let down folks. Face it.
Don’t Look Back – From ‘Grand Prix’
‘Grand Prix’ is my favourite Teenage Fanclub album – and sorry I refuse to call them ‘The Fannies’ – just because. The musical template is pretty similar to the rest of their stuff, but its this album that is lyrically wonderful – especially the ones that Gerard Love wrote for some reason. ‘Don’t Look Back’ is one of those tracks and as it happens its one of my favourite tracks. I love the line ‘I’d steal a car/to drive you home’ its wonderfully soppy.
Start Again – From ‘Songs from Northern Britain’
This was one of the standout tracks from ‘Songs From Northern Britain’. This was a song I remember owning of 12” – long since vanished from the Badger household I’m afraid. It had a tremendous B Side if I remember (perhaps with Jad Fair?) but the single is excellent but I think we all know that. It’s a musical road trip full of jangley guitars and Beach Boys style harmonies. I always found the line ‘I don’t know if you can hear me’ as sung in this somewhat ironic and the public inevitably ignored it.
Hang On – From ‘Thirteen’
A strange thing happened in 1993, Teenage Fanclub were on the cusp of superstardom, they were loved by the press and their fanbase was growing. So for some reason they decided to embrace grunge but were in all honesty to brilliant to do it. They couldn’t do it. ‘Hang On’ starts a bit like something by an American Grunge band – its sounds a bit like Pavement as it happens – before it slides into white noise and strings. Its ace but feels uncomfortable getting there.
About You – From ‘Grand Prix’
Has there ever been a band so democratic in its songwritng duties as Teenage Fanclub? This one was written by Raymond McGinley and it’s a catchy as a cold. Its another one of my favourite tracks. ‘About You’ is sung by all three of the bands songwriters and seriously you’ll be singing it for weeks after playing it. The fact that this was overlooked as a single for (the not quite as good) ‘Mellow Doubt’ staggered me then and still staggers me now.
Sparkys Dream – From ‘Grand Prix’
Ok I’ll keep this one short – this is one of the best pop rock songs ever written. Its another Gerard Love one and that bluesy slide guitar intro is divine and nearly every band I can think would kill for it. One I definitely would have included anyway. Decent end to a decent album that.