This 45 from 1981 was, unsurprisingly, included in my stab at an Associates ICA. I don’t think I can better my words from that occasion.

A moody, majestic and magical few minutes to open things up, it demonstrates just how important both Alan Rankine and Billy Mackenzie were to the sound and feel of this band. My first exposure to the Associates, and one that was suggested by someone thanks to my love of Magazine – the eerie horror-movie soundtrack keyboards are akin to those of Dave Formula and the seemingly nonsensical lyrics would be the stuff Howard Devoto would have been proud of. Name-checking Aberdeen, Dusseldorf, Zurich and Munich in the opening few lines and giving us the wonderful rhyming couplet of “Anonymous as bathrooms, Androgynous as Dachshunds”. All albums, ICAs or not, should open with something as memorable as this.

I’ve plucked out White Car In Germany to commemorate the fact that, in the company of Rachel, I’m off to Munich for a few days – it was our Christmas present to one another. I’ll be going back to a city that I haven’t visited since 1995 when Raith Rovers played the mighty Bayern Munich on the UEFA Cup while Rachel gets to cross somewhere she has long wanted to go.

There’s actually a football element being incorporated into the trip with us taking in a game on Saturday. Not for us the glamour of the Bundesliga, with Bayern having an away game. Nor are we going to seek out any other teams in the immediate vicinity of Munich. We will be making our way to Ingolstadat to watch a third-tier game, which just happens to be against the second-string of Bayern. The link comes from the town of Ingolstadt being twinned with the town of Kirkcaldy in Scotland, and Kirkcaldy being the town in which Raith Rovers play. There are long-standing connections between the Ingolstadt and Rovers fans and we are meeting up with a big group of locals and spending the day with them. Ingolstadt, on the banks of the Danube, looks lovely judging by the pictures – the team is currently battling for a spot at the top of their league for promotion to the second tier of German football, in the same way the Rovers are here in Scotland. I’m so looking forward to it.

I’m also very hopeful that this won’t be my only visit to Germany in 2020. All being well, I’m soon to take my leave of work, leaving me with a considerable amount of free time in which to enjoy myself. I haven’t forgotten the efforts made by Dirk, Walter and Brian to come to Glasgow for a Blogger’s get-together a few years back and I’m determined to make my way to their parts of the world in the not too distant future. The UK-based bloggers can also expect to hear from me soon enough – life is too short to put off the things you’ve always really wanted to do.

White Car in Germany is a great example of how only Billy Mackenzie was truly capable of singing his lyrics without sounding like a total prat:-

Aberdeen’s an old place
Dusseldorf’s a cold place
Cold as spies can be

Lisp your way through Zurich
Walk on eggs in Munich
Rub salt in its knee

I’m not one for surgery
Premature senility
White car in Germany

Anonymous as bathrooms
Androgynous as Dachshunds
Try them out and see

If some brat annoys you
Do what’s felt impromptu
Kick them in their own

Is this your infirmary
On the road to recovery
White car in Germany

White car
White car
White car in Germany

mp3 : Associates – White Car In Germany

Here’s your b-side of what was a flop single.

mp3 : Associates – The Associate

Oh, and while I’m here:-

mp3 : Editors – Munich

See you all when I get back – in the meantime, there’ll be a few postings to keep you amused.



  1. A fantastic track by a fantastic group.
    I hope you don’t end up in facing games played to empty arenas once in Ingolstadt.

  2. The Associates – what to say, what to say … a band that fully explored drama within their sound; a magnificent pop band afflicted by schizophrenic tendencies.
    No, I don’t know what it means either, but it sounds right.

    The theremin-style synth that ‘mimics’ Mr. Mackenzie’s vocal (White Car in Germany) is just stunning, then, later when he begins his primal screaming behind that sound, wow!

    Lyrically, I always found them to be bonkers but they provided some of my favourite and most enduring Scottish records.

    A wonderful way to start the day.

    If Walter is correct and the game has been rescheduled have you thought of a pop-up Associates disco in Ingolstadat?

  3. Yup….words were written up a while back…been too busy to update them.

    As Walter says, football game has been rescheduled.

    Waiting to catch flight at a ridiculously quiet Edinburgh airport. Am guessing Munich itself will be less busy and frantic than anticipated…which is no bad thing!


  4. Very sorry for your football event, Jim, I hope you find something else to do on that afternoon. Also I hope you get out of Munich airport quickly later today, apparently some security bloke has been tested positively on Corona earlier today …

    Either way, enjoy your trip! Rachel surely will, now that Walter and me were told NOT to attend …. 🙂

  5. The first Associates song I ever heard. I saw the “Popera” CD in the used bin. I picked it up. I put it in the CD player for previewing titles. I decided the last track on the disc had to be the first one I heard, Just from the title. Astonishment!

    Also astonished that you are flying to Germany! I was all set to see the Heaven 17 show where they played the first two Human League albums next week, but threw in the towel yesterday. I suspect the event will be cancelled/rescheduled and I might not be able to get back home from the UK on the 24th! Damn it!

  6. Have a wonderful time in Germany. Be safe and smart.
    I will be in London as of 18, March for a week – not letting COVID-19 dictate my entire life just yet. Like PPM, my focus for the trip is Heaven 17 playing Reproduction and Travelogue. If the show is cancelled, I have no problem hanging with my friends in London and enjoying small group fellowship, some great food and drink for a week.

    Now as for White Car in Germany – it has always been my belief that Bowie and maybe even Eno probably took some very long sighs of resignation upon hearing this instant masterpiece. In this one song Associates remade and remodeled Glam, Motorik and Post Punk with the grandest of gestures and confidence.

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