This song, and indeed its cover, have both featured on the blog before. But a while back it hit me that the two versions deal with very different feelings and emotions and in the case of the cover raises highly relevant social issues that have been with us for as long as I can remember and which nobody in power has ever made it a priority to tackle. But then again, that would require imagination, resources and a willingness to support and empower those who are most removed from the everyday norms.

mp3 : Soft Cell – Bedsitter (12″ version)
mp3 : Carter USM – Bedsitter

Where the original brought home the emptiness of living alone in the single-room within a multiple occupancy flat, the cover is an angrier and rawer version. Where the protagonist in the original goes between the highs of being the party animal and the lows of another night alone in a cold and damp space, the protagonist in the cover is bitter at the way life has given him a bum deal but resigned to his fate as there’s no prospect of escape. Where Marc and David had fun but knew it was a false front, Jim-Bob and Fruitbat feel nothing but utter misery.

As for the politicians:-

mp3 : Chumabawamba – Mouthful of Shit



  1. The first time I hear the Carter USM version, I felt their version was sung from a place of mental instability. Where Soft Cell’s version certainly conveys a level of depression, Carter’s version is sung from a narrator much more unhinged by his lot. It’s a very strong interpretation.

  2. I love the Carter version. Largely because the a side bloodsport for all was ignored by the radio because of the gulf war so they played the B Side which was bed-sitter. It took a short while for anyone to realise that you can clearly hear Jim bob shouting “fucking arsehole bastard” as it ends. Glorious. Swc.

  3. What a great idea for a theme! I’d never heard the Carter USM version before. Soft Cell evokes memories of sitting in my boyfriend’s tiny damp bedroom, imagining what a bedsit would be like (probably pretty much the same!) It sounded sad, introspective… But Carter’s version is so bitter and angry as you say. I’m always intrigued when the whole mood of a song can change just down to its treatment but it doesn’t always work. It does here, though – great.

  4. I always loved both songs, but Carter USM sure had a way with their covers. For a year or two I bought every single of theirs I could and was never disappointed. The “Bloodsports” EP was a particular cover bounty with a take on The Monkees “Randy Scouse Git” a.k.a. “Alternate Title” in the UK.

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