STOP PRESS : WYRCA UPDATE

It’s just after 5pm on Thursday night and having just got in from work I’ve had the chance to look at the blog’s Inbox. There’s an e-mail arrived earlier at 11.16am from Tim Badger….except it wasn’t. It was from Lorna, his wife.

The contents of the e-mail reduced me to tears as the words were incredibly personal and went into some detail about events and happenings of more than 20 years ago that brought Tim and Lorna together. It also reflected on something else that happened recently that was incredibly stressful for them and was the beginning of a chain of events that led to the sudden ending of WYCRA.

Those of you who were fans of what was by far the best blog on the planet will know that Tim and Lorna have had a rough time of things this past 12 months or so, experiencing a collective pain that very few of us can begin to imagine. They’ve both also separately spent time in hospital recovering from injuries and illnesses during which they demonstrated courage and bravery that would certainly be beyond me. And all the while, they, along with SWC and KC, provided us with a daily dose of entertainment that in equal measures made us smile, cry, grimace and occasionally think that blokes can be twats.

I know I’m not alone in thinking that everyone involved in WYRCA, including the boys’ better halfs, can be considered as close friends, the type who you really care about, which is why there was a real cause for concern that it disappeared without warning.

It turns out that Tim and Lorna have decided that they need to get away and relax for a bit and so, in less than 48 hours, are off to Brisbane, Australia to visit relatives for a few months. When Tim broke this news to SWC, the latter was stuck at Istanbul airport waiting for a late flight. SWC’s reaction was that the blog had to come to an end as he didn’t want to write it without Tim being involved. It was SWC’s idea to delete it. And here he is to say why….

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WYCRA was Tim’s idea, and I’m not doing it without him. Its as simple as that. I should have perhaps have mentioned it on the blog, but to be entirely honest with you, it was easier to just press delete, far easier than I expected it to be. Tim told me yesterday that we should have responded to the comments on T(n)VV, yeah he’s right, we should have done, sorry. In my defence, I have been in court for three days trying to get some scumbag rapists locked up, but that’s not that important to be honest.

I won the Snakes and Ladders you know, it was close but KC rolled a two at the end and I rolled a six to triumph and in all honesty Square 100 was a massive anti-climax because it was

Urban Futuristic by Pop Will Eat Itself

Oh talking of KC, well here’s some good news. She’s getting married. That obviously was the last chapter in her chronicle. She’s marrying a lovely chap called Dominic. She’s known him for a few years now, she met him at the recycling centre where they argued over a cabinet that they both wanted. I wish I made that up but I didn’t.

This was to be the last song she chose alongside her pieces – please don’t hold that against her.

Run – Snow Patrol

The greatest second album ever was ‘Good Kid M.A.A.D city’ by Kendrick Lamar – it really is as well.

‘Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirst

Swimming Pools (Drank)

The Art of Peer Pressure

I suppose it falls to me to thank everyone – via the medium of JC’s blog for all the comments, good and bad, for bearing with us, for reading, laughing, sharing, and all that. I suppose I’ll be back typing at some point. I mean I’ve got two more boxes of CD’s in the loft that need opening.

Take Care everyone everywhere

SWC, KC and the Badgers

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JC adds……

I’ve put this together as quickly as I could and I’m also going to leave it at the top of T(n)VV for a few days so that as many folk as possible see it. I’m going to take a few days off and will return on Tuesday 1st August.

I do hope SWC is as good as his word and comes back here with some guest postings when he gets the inclination.

I want to pass on my warmest congrats to KC and Dominic and to wish them well for a long and happy future together. I also hope KC gets an urge to keep on writing as there will always be a place for her in this little corner of the internet.

Above all else, I want to wish Lorna and Tim a safe flight to Brisbane – the city that spawned The Go-Betweens and is on my bucket list of places to see – along with a very happy and relaxing few months putting everything back together.

I’ve a glass of wine by my side and I’m raising it……to WYRCA. Thanks guys for everything.

PS : SWC won the Snakes & Ladders? I can only imagine the celebrations that ensued………………

THIS AND THAT (2)

I knew that many of you would be sharing my worries and concerns re the WYRCA team and many thanks for your thoughts and comments the other day. I will, of course, post something up the minute I hear anything. In the meantime, I’ll continue for now with the ‘This and That’ series.

Davy Henderson is one of the greatest musicians to emerge from the Scottish scene in my lifetime. He was part of the initial post-punk surge of bands, forming The Fire Engines in Edinburgh in 1980 – the story of which he tells quite brilliantly in this equally brilliant documentary. From there he would chase pop stardom with Win before forming a third band of notable significance, The Nectarine No.9 whose mix of pop, glam, punk and occasionally all out rock attracted a fair smattering of fans for well over a decade without ever making the crossover to commercial success

Their most acclaimed album was Saint Jack, released in 1994 on the reformed Postcard Records from which this is lifted:-

mp3 : The Nectarine No.9 – This Arsehole’s Been Burned Too Many Times Before

Nowadays, Davy is part of The Sexual Objects and occasionally still gives this song an airing in the live setting.

I’m staying in Edinburgh today for the second half of the feature.

I’ve featured Hey! Elastica fairly extensively on the blog over the years. As I’ve said before, they were part of that glorious age of Scottish pop that rode on the back of the critical acclaim afforded to the likes of Orange Juice. Not everyone’s cup of tea but I loved them. And discovered many years later that so did my good mate Jacques the Kipper.

Four criminally ignored singles and one LP before Virgin cut their losses and dropped the band. Hugely energetic and entertaining live, if not, it must be admitted, the most accomplished. Here’s a b-side from their final 12″ single in January 1984:-

mp3 : Hey! Elastica – That Town

JC

CHARGED PARTICLES (9)

THE GUEST SERIES FROM JONNY THE FRIENDLY LAWYER

Who’s up for a little old-fashion synth-pop, 80’s style? Fire up that Yamaha DX-7 and break out the skinny ties:

Situation: Yazoo

Locomotion: OMD

Frustration: Soft Cell

Reunion : Erasure

Reputation : Heaven 17

Telecommunication : A Flock Of Seagulls

Sorry for not including Human League’s ‘Fascination’ but its actual title is ‘(Keep Feeling) Fascination’. Also sorry for going with Heaven 17’s ‘Reputation’ over the more popular ‘Temptation’, but that’s the one I like better. And synth-pop royalty Depeche Mode released a number of charged particles, but none from the 80’s I like. So, by way of a bonus, here’s a tune from 1978 that’s sort of a precursor to all of the above music:

Dislocation: Ultravox

 

JTFL

THIS AND THAT

The surprise disappearance/takedown of When You Can’t Remember Anything has disturbed and troubled me. I’ve previously had some advance e-mails from SWC or Tim letting me know when things are going a bit tits-up with one or other of them and warning that there might be a bit of turbulence at the blog. Just a few weeks ago, SWC advised he was going overseas to work but that Tim and KC would be looking after things. I noticed on their blog about 10 days or so ago that KC was unwell which meant things were being juggled around a bit and then last week, when I was across in Ireland, I noticed the blog had been removed by the authors.

I’ve dropped the boys a couple of e-mails but had no replies which I find very worrying. I’d be lying if I thought I could carry on here as normal making all sorts of pithy observations when at the back of my mind, and not too far back it must be said, I’m thinking about my friends from south-west England and hoping that everything is okay.

So for the next few days at least, things are going to settle into a bit of a dull routine here at Villain Towers. You’ll get your usual Saturday and Sunday postings and the occasional Charged Particles contribution from Jonny but the daily fare from myself will just be featuring two songs, one which begins with the word ‘This’ and one which has the word ‘That’ in its title. Sometimes by the same singer or band. There will be the usual boring background info supplied but nothing that is going to tax my brain too much as I’m really not in the mood for creative thinking just now.

mp3 : Sparks – This Town Ain’t Big Enough For Both Of Us (orchestral version)

It was a while back when I wrote about how I fell for Sparks when they appeared on Top of the Pops in 1974. All these years on and they’re still going, probably still known best for that big hit single. Back in 1997 the band released their 17th LP, Plagiarism, in which they offered new takes on old songs with Erasure, Faith No More and Jimmy Somerville drafted in to add their vocal and playing talents to some of the songs. There were actually two versions of This Town….put on the album – one that was quite rocky thanks to the contributions of the afore-mentioned Faith No More and the one I’ve posted today which is an orchestral mix on which legendary producer Tony Visconti worked with them.

mp3 : Tuff Love – That’s Right

Tuff Love are (or maybe were)* a great little indie pop-punk band from Glasgow. Consisting of Julie Eisenstein (guitar, vocals) and Suse Bear (bass, vocals) they first came to my attention back in 2014 when they not only released a debut 10″ EP entitled Junk but seemed to be on the bill of just about every gig I got along to that year. They were occasionally a bit hit n miss in the live setting but as time went on they got more confident, polished and accomplished. Two more EPs, Dross and Dregs, were released in 2015 before Lost Map Records pulled all the tracks together a single LP, Resort, that was issued in early 2016. I saw the band in Glasgow around that time and was well impressed, thinking they would push on from there but they’ve been quiet on the new music front although they were on a lot of summer festival bills later in the year.

Looking up a social media site, there’s a message posted back in February 2017 that says:-

Hello there, just to let you know we’re doing other things just now other than Tuff Love. Thank you for all the support so far/over the past few years. See you soon. Love from Suse and Julie xx

Whether that means the band is no more or there’s a temporary break remains to be seen.

That’s Right is taken from the Dross EP. And it’s 140 seconds of magic.

JC

SAME AS IT EVER WAS

One of the reasons I began blogging was to feature some great songs that were often hard to track down thanks to them only ever being released as b-sides on vinyl that was often long deleted.

Today’s offering is an example of one such track – a piece of music by The Go-Betweens that many other bands at the time would have loved to have been able to offer up as a single rather than something that’s almost a throwaway:-

mp3 : The Go-Betweens – Wait Until June

It first appeared in July 1988 as the b-side to the dreamy yet sinister Streets Of Your Town, which was about as close to a UK hit as the band ever got.

This song was once rare and difficult to track down. But, as would become increasingly common, later re-releases would see albums come back to the shelves and racks with bonus material, usually consisting of long-lost b-sides and live recordings from a particular era, and was the case back in 2004 with 16 Lovers Lane. Things have moved on even further with i-tunes, spotify etc. making just about everything in the back catalogue immediately accessible.

So technically, Wait Until June isn’t all that difficult to get a hold of nowadays, but there’s got to be something different about the mp3 being via a needle settling into the groove. Especially when it hits the bit that jumps and skips at the one minute mark (you’ve been warned!!!)

JC

THE XTC SINGLES (Part 20)

One look at the 7″ sleeve (pictured up top) tells me that I’m about to listen to an anti-nuclear song.

And sure enough, the second single to be released off The Big Express proves to be such:-

mp3 : XTC – This World Over

In an era when the protest song was again becoming hugely fashionable, XTC did things in a really understated way in which there was no rabble-rousing or sing-a-long chorus;  instead it’s a melancholy and resigned number that sadly looks back at the aftermath of the bomb dropping on London as a parent tried to explain the madness of it all. It’s very listenable and has dated ok, but I should add it reminds me a bit of later-era The Police.

The 12″ had an extended version of the song and was housed in a sleeve that disguises somewhat the subject nature as the sleeve uses an old-fashioned passenger request button once commonly found on buses.  But the ‘Push Once’ message is very clever and subversive:-

mp3 : XTC – This World Over (full length mix)

The same b-side was on both releases:-

mp3 : XTC – Blue Overall

It’s a bit meh… but I do accept it’s a bit unusual for a song reflecting on a relationship gone wrong.

In an era of an expanded singles chart, this one managed to find itself at #99 for one week before disappearing to the bargain bins.

JC

SATURDAY’S SCOTTISH SONG : #85 : EL HOMBRE TRAJEADO

From one of my indie reference books not too long after the turn of the century :-

El Hombre Trajeado in Glasgow in 1996 by vocalist Hubby, Stevie Jones and Stef Sinclair; Ben Jones was added after their debut 45 in the Autumn of ’97 Moonunit Manual. Translating the ‘smart’ name roughly as ‘the man in the suit’, this post rock outfit issued further special edition singles during ’98 before embarking on fully-fledged tours across the ocean with peers Sebodah and The Delgados. Not surprisingly, John Peel was impressed too.

They subsequently released their long awaited debut set entitled Skipaphone on Guided Missile Records. Tracks like Nofa displayed a visual genius through landscapes represented by staccato guitars, inane mumblings and – used to humorous effect – cowbells. Neoprene found its way onto the Glasgow EP which was shared with oyhers including Mogwai, Yummy Fur and The Karelia. Following a few delays, sophomore effort Saccade was released in 2000 on Human Condition.

Wiki, at its page on RM Hubbert, (the above mentioned ‘Hubby’) states:-

El Hombre Trajeado released three albums; Skipafone (Guided Missile Recordings, GUIDE33CD, 1998), Saccade (Human Condition Records, HCCD0031, 2001) and Shlap (Lost Dog Recordings, ARFF004, 2004) before disbanding in 2005. Although the band rarely toured, they supported artists such as Nick Cave, Sebadoh, Tortoise, Mike Watt and The Delgados around the UK. They recorded three radio sessions for John Peel on BBC Radio One between 1998 and 2001.

The band have since reformed and in 2016 played some gigs before releasing their fourth album, Fast Diagonal, on Chemikal Underground Records. Three of its tracks can be enjoyed here.  They are well worth 15 mins of your time.

For today though, I’ll go back to the Glasgow EP from November 1998:-

mp3 : El Hombre Trajeado – Neoprene

JC