It appears that there is an actual football world cup causing much excitement across parts of the planet, but surely it isn’t anywhere near as important as the competition which has been dominating the Saturday pages of this little corner of t’internet these past few months……………it’s perhaps a pity that neither The Wannadies or The Cardigans had an ICA eligible to begin with…..just imagine the fun we could have had if they had been still standing at this stage and ready to play today against one of the titans of late 20th century contemporary England……
You all know from last week that The Clash and The Jam are going to square up for place in next week’s final….and I’ll get to that in just a moment. First of all, here’s the outcome of the first semi-final in which Babies was pitted against Between The Wars:-
Pulp 16 Billy Bragg 18
It was a titanic struggle. One in which nobody was ever more than three ahead at any time….and going by the responses, many of you had a real tough time with your eventual choice in a match-up that would have made a great final.
Dirk (aka Sexy Loser), not for the first time in this tournament, perfectlly captured the dilemma facing many of you:-
This sucks. And it’s a bit like when someone asks you “Would you like to have a glass of ice-cold beer, a German one, or one from Belgium – not a British one? Or would you like a glass of real good Shiraz from Australia instead”?
The point I’m trying to make is: you cannot compare the two drinks, can you really? Personally, I’d like to have BOTH of them, in exactly that sequence! Then again I say that about almost every alcoholic drink being offered to me … but, if I HAVE to choose, at the end of the day, the decision would depend on the mood I’m in, I think.
The very same is true for the two songs in question. Let’s say Bragg = beer and Cocker = Shiraz. And as it’s already 30 degrees Celsius in this bloody office (and it’s not even 11 AM my time!), I’d currently favour the cold beer …
Follow that Joe/Mick/Paul/Topper/Paul/Bruce and Rick……..
THE CLASH v THE JAM
The home side have long been seen as the firm favourites for the overall tourney while the away side have, in some ways, defied incredible odds to get this far given that the ICA selections are restricting them only to album tracks as the 45s had been featured in their entirety in a separate series. However, the home side may have one weak spot in an otherwise stellar line-up of songs and it may be exploited in this semi-final.
The Clash track was used to close the ICA. In doing so, I wanted to find a way to bring out the humorous side of the band and to demonstrate that the very best ICAs aren’t always the greatest or most admired 10 songs but the tracks which hang well in a particular sequence. Capital Radio 2 was the fourth and final track on The Cost Of Living EP. The original was something that I only had on tape….and it was a poorly recorded low-quality effort straight from the radio. I loved the idea of getting my hands on the new version which is why I was desperate to but the EP the day it hit the shops….indeed I played this track before any of the others.
As I said in ICA 12, the fact that it came with an outro that spoofed the sort of ads you could hear on the actual radio station was, to my ears, a stroke of genius. I spent a few hours back then wondering whether this or Train In Vain should close the ICA….if it had been the latter and it was your option today, then I think it could edge towards a landslide win. As it is, this is perhaps the one song which might not appeal to everyone, especially considering the opposition.
The Jam had to wait until ICA 52 but this was down to the fact that they had been appearing each week via a singles series. As I said at the time, it was self-indulgent to pull together an ICA without any of the songs that ever appeared on the 45s and extending that to excluding songs which had been live tracks on b-sides (thus no appearance for Away From The Numbers). The quality of the album tracks has been such, however, that the band has fairly coasted to this stage, albeit they have had a fairly kind draw….so you could say they are doing it the quintessential English way!
This track was slotted into the ICA following on from Saturday’s Kids and in advance of Man In The Corner Shop. It did seem strange to have it slightly out of context with it not being preceded by the title track of All Mod Cons, but it worked perfectly as far as I was concerned. I still find it incredible that this was written by someone who was barely out of his teens at the time with the world at his feet and not by some crinkly, ageing old has-been who was jealous of the new wave who were breaking through. I hung on every word Paul Weller was saying at that time….and if he was warning me that there was a huge downside to being famous and rich, then I was going to take heed.
So there you have it….two incredibly personal songs that I wanted to, needed to and ultimately did include in two early ICAs. Which one will take their performers into a match up with Billy?