Single #12 appeared in September 1986.

As usual, I bought the 12″ version.  Took it home and played it and found myself a tad underwhelmed.  It seemed a tad flimsy and basic compared to some of the most recent work.  There were bits of it sounded OK but it just didn’t hang together all that well.  It also sounded strange to hear New Order try to make something of a political statement:-

mp3 : New Order – State of the Nation (12″ version)

Flipped it over to the b-side, and judging by its title was anticipating a remix, which is exactly what it proved to be:-

mp3 : New Order – Shame of the Nation (12″ version)

I actually got more out of the slightly longer b-side with its more clubby production and the addition of female backing vocals – something that hadn’t worked with Sub-Culture a short time previously now seemed to make sense.

It was only a few years later when playing both sides of the single again to see if I was now any more fond of the a-side that I spotted something about the credits.  State of the Nation is attributed to New Order while Shame of the Nation is the work of New Order and John Robie.

I still think the b-side would have made a better a-side if that makes sense, and would probably have gotten higher than #30 in the singles chart….it was a big drop in sales from Blue Monday, Confusion and Thieves Like Us, and while everyone at Factory would say they weren’t all that bothered, it must have irked the band and their entourage somewhat that they were beginning to be written off by some of the music press.

I picked up the 7″ not too long afterwards as it was one that ended up quickly in the bargain bins.  These are heavily edited versions of those found on the 12″:-

mp3 : New Order – State of the Nation (7″ version)
mp3 : New Order – Shame of the Nation (7″ version)

According to wiki, the 7″ version of Shame is only available via this piece of plastic or as the b-side to a subseqent Australian single.

Not one that I return to all that often….it’s not their finest moment.



from wiki:-

The Fratellis are a Scottish rock band from Glasgow, formed in 2005. The band consists of lead vocalist and guitarist Jon Fratelli (born John Lawler), bass guitarist Barry Fratelli (born Barry Wallace), and drummer and backing vocalist Mince Fratelli (born Gordon McRory). They have released four studio albums and thirteen singles since their breakthrough in 2006. They won in the category Best British Breakthrough Act at the 2007 BRIT Award.

It is fair to say that they arrived with a bang as debut LP Costello Music sold over a million copies in the UK thanks to a range of catchy sing-along tunes that captured the imagination, in particular, of the boozed up festival crowds.

I actually didn’t mind the band too much to begin with, although like just about everyone else, I got heartily sick of hearing Chelsea Dagger on TV, radio and as the accompaniment to goals being scored at football grounds up and down the country. Mrs V was a fan and so I accompanied her to see the band play on a headlining tour that included a gig at the Corn Exchange in Edinburgh, probably my least favourite location to see any singer or band thanks to its dreadful acoustics and sight lines. The Fratellis, I’m sorry say, were pretty lousy that night – even Mrs V was disappointed. Neither of us have paid much attention to them since – indeed I thought they had broken up a while back but there’s news of a new album and tour in early 2018.

I listened again to snippets of the songs on the debut album. It hasn’t dated all that well…..this is one of the better ones.

mp3 : The Fratellis – Cuntry Boys and City Girls




The background to this post is that, in June 2009, I had been seeking a way to write a critique of why I really detested the hit single I Kissed A Girl by Katy Perry, but somehow never quite got down what exactly I was looking for as my words made me look like a real music snob while they also veered uncomfortably towards homophobia.

And then I discovered that Coxon Le Woof, of the now very occasional blog To Die By Your Side, had nailed it with a great piece of writing:-

Sometimes music isn’t just about music and lyrics.

It’s about context.

You could easily dismiss ‘I Kissed A Girl’ as little more than a catchy pop song.

The question is, should you?

Is music just entertainment or should it have some kind of social or moral responsibility? Now, I’m more than aware that last sentence makes me sound like an old fuddy duddy and spits in the face of everything that rock and roll is supposed to stand for but hey, maybe I am. Maybe I’m overanalysing it. Taking it too seriously. Either that or I’m a closet Daily Mail reader in disguise and this post should simply read ‘Ban This Filth!.

You see, while it may attempt to pass itself off as some kind of lesbian liberation anthem, I can’t help but find this song insulting and derogatory. Sung by the kind of social tourist that Pulp lampooned so well in ‘Common People’. Yet we’re supposed to accept that or ignore it because it comes wrapped in a slick, shiny bubble gum pop wrapper. We’re meant to accept it because flirting with lesbianism has been deemed cool. We’re meant to accept it because Katy Perry is an attractive, non threatening female. And we’re meant to accept it because she’s straight. I mean, imagine if she actually was gay. But then why waste your time imagining that?

Oh wait, no, that’s what we’re supposed to do isn’t it, because the whole thing is cynically designed to titillate us. So long as we remember that she’s not actually gay. This is the same kind of faux lesbianism that floods the insides of so called lads mags. The media constructed myth that lesbians are okay so long as they’re attractive to men. A lipstick lesbian cliche. Besides, we all know they love a bit of cock really, right guys?!?!

Wrong. This song does nothing to advance the acceptance of gays and lesbians in society. It trivialises an important issue. Mocks it. Leaves a series of outdated attitudes in it’s wake while strengthening stereotypes and doing lord knows what damage to both gay and feminist movements. But then what do I know? I mean, I’m not a girl and I’m not a gay girl so what do I know? Why should I worry? Why should I care?

Well I care because I worry what this song says to the kids it’s aimed at. In the same way that I worry about the over sexualised lyrics and imagery that a band like The Pussycat Dolls portrays to impressionable young girls. What are vulnerable girls supposed to take from this? That this is how they have to behave to attract boys? And what of those who are questioning their sexuality? Are they supposed to assume it’s just a phase? Won’t it just add to their confusion? Or am I missing the point? Maybe it is just a bit of fun?

Like I said, it’s all about context. If this song were written and sung by a lesbian then yeah, maybe it would be a proud, defiant anthem. A celebration. But it’s not, it’s about context.

And if you don’t believe that context alters a song, listen to this version by Travis. It’s the reason why I’m ranting a year and a half after the song came out and I think you’ll get a whole different take on it. No strangers to interesting cover versions, here Travis give the song a treatment that manages to start out seemingly innocent, coy and sweet yet somehow ends up seeming strangely creepy and sinister.

mp3 : Travis – I Kissed A Girl (live in session)

That final sentence, composed in the summer of 2009, describes the horror for any actress or starlet who had the misfortune to be offered career opportunities by Harvey Weinstein.




Glasgow’s very own Urusei Yatsura are one of those bands who really should have been far more famous than they turned out to be. They were largely an out and out pop band with a sound that was influenced by so many others….Sonic Youth in terms of the guitars….a hint of Pavement in respect of weird lyrics…..glam-rock as evidenced by the Glitter Band style chants……the buzz and feedback of the Jesus & Mary Chain…..and the delights and harmonies of Teenage Fanclub…and yet, they somehow always semed to make distinctive records.

They were particularly productive between 1994 and early 1998, but then problems linked to their record label, Che Trading, going bust had led to a near two-year hiatus just as they were really getting a head of steam. Well, just the other day and much to my surprise, I came across a mint copy of their comeback record from late 1999, released on Beggars Banquet, in a second-hand shop.

Consisting of 2 x 7″ singles (on white vinyl no less), I am delighted to bring you the Yon Kyoku EP:-

mp3 : Urusei Yatsura – Kaytronika
mp3 : Urusei Yatsura – Still Exploding
mp3 : Urusei Yatsura – Nobody Knows We’re Stars
mp3 : Urusei Yatsura – Mother of the MBK

To all the acts that I mentioned in the pre-amble, I think I’ll now add Jimi Hendrix, as the first few seconds of Kaytronika remind me an awful lot of his Foxy Lady….

It’s a great wee EP – Still Exploding is akin to the sort of songs that the band had been turning out a couple of years earlier, but tracks 3 and 4 are a bit different and indeed unexpected. Nobody Knows We’re Stars is the bitter and melancholic sort of lyric and tune I’d expect from Luke Haines, while Mother of the MBK, with a slow build up to something approaching a wall of noise, is along the lines of what would emerge a few years later in the sounds of The Twilight Sad……



Tomorrow will revisit an old post from June 2009, the closing line of which sent a shiver down my spine in connection with one of the main new stories to emerge in 2017.



Take a close look at the sleeve, and in particular the bloke in the foreground. Vaguely familiar?

Yup, you’re right……it is top comedian Ricky Gervais.

Back in 1982, during his last year at University, Ricky, together with his mate Bill Macrae formed a synth-pop duo called Seona Dancing and set out to take the world by storm. Signed to London Records, the duo got no further than a couple of flop singles in 1983, neither of which troubled the charts. But they must have got played on the radio, as I wouldn’t have bought their debut effort without having heard it beforehand:-

mp3 : Seona Dancing – More To Lose (extended version)
mp3 : Seona Dancing – You’re On My Side

I’ve done a bit of research and discovered that More To Lose was classified as reaching #113 in the charts (I didnt know the numbers stretched that far), while follow-up Bitter Heart did marginally better, reaching #70.



The posting back in 2009 wasn’t the first time that I’d mentioned this synth-pop duo and it was triggered by an episode of Flight Of The Conchords when the boys changed their image thanks to hair-gel and I immediately thought of Ricky’s first efforts at stardom as can be seen from the promo to Bitter Heart:-

I was quite stunned when I went to Discogs to get a copy of the sleeve to accompany this posting to discover that a mint 12″ copy of this single, which mine almost is, can fetch about £150. Either there are a lot of folk looking for this piece of history or Ricky is buying up all available copies and destroying them!


Bummed, the album released by Happy Mondays in 1988, is, by any definition a classic of its time that has aged rather well, partly as a result of the quality of the songs but also the great production from Martin Hannett.

One of its tracks, Lazyitis, was remixed and given the new title Lazyitis – One Armed Boxer.  This version featured Karl Denver, a Glasgow-born singer (his real name was Angus Murdo McKenzie which is about as Scottish as it gets), who had enjoyed a string of yodelling hits in the UK at the beginning of the 60s.

mp3 : Happy Mondays feat Karl Denver – Lazyitis – One Armed Boxer

You have to admit that the cast who came together alongside the Happy Mondays to compose this song – Lennon/McCartney, David Essex and Sly & The Family Stone – is fairly impressive!

It’s here today as 26 December is known as Boxing Day in the UK…and there was no chance that I’d feature the Morrissey song about that sport, so Happy Mondays it is (even though it is a Tuesday)