BURNING BADGERS VINYL (Part 13): CUD

Burning Badgers Vinyl – The Lost EPs #3

Oh No Won’t Do – Cud (1991, A&M Records)

SWC writes……..

“He’s definitely still looking for us” I tell OPG, peeking out from behind the pillar behind the saucepans towards the security guard, who stupidly is looking the other way. If he turns around he will see my head looking at him. He doesn’t and I take cover again.

We are in Woolworths, the much-missed mish-mash of a store that sold everything from brightly coloured screwdrivers to the latest releases by Destinys Child. Woolworths also sold Pick n Mix, a hugely tempting collection of sweets in various flavours and wrappers. Woolworths in their wisdom stuck the Pick N Mix right at the front of their store. Meaning its perfectly possible to grab a handful of sweets on the way out of the store and leg it around the corner with your stolen booty.

OPG is not so subtle though. There is a reason for this. Neil. This is all his bloody fault.

Neil works in Woolworths. He and OPG have history. Sort of. In 1990 She got drunk on cheap cider at a Rotary club disco and snogged Neil outside the Salvation Army café in the High Street, before vomiting on his shoes. Neil apparently didn’t mind this though – OPG was his first love from the moment her cider stained lips touched his.

Neil has since asked OPG out some seven times and been rejected by OPG some seven times. This hasn’t stopped her using Neil’s vulnerable side to her advantage. Especially where the pick and mix are concerned. OPG simply wanders up to them and starts eating them right in front of Neil knowing full well that he won’t do anything about it. She does it every time. Only this time Neil wasn’t working, off sick with a cold apparently and as we stood there casually unwrapping our second or third green triangle and flicking through the music sections bargain bucket. I am just about to grab a 7 inch by The Candyskins when OPG whispers in my ear, “We need to move, now”.

The reason is that the security guard has been talking to one of the women who work in the store who has spied us gobbling down stolen bonbons, jelly snakes and the occasional fancy chocolate and is now on his way over to the music section. The obvious way out is blocked. Luckily for us, the Woolworths in Chatham High Street has an upstairs, housing a café and some toilets, so our plan is to hide in the toilets for ten minutes and then make a break for it. Which is what we do.

By the way, this is the second time (and last time) I’ve ever been inside a ladies toilet, with a young lady, the first being about a year earlier at a hotel in Rochester, at a birthday party, my girlfriend at the time, Claire, dumped me and ran into the ladies toilets crying. Then a lad called Danny (the same one who interrupted my first kiss) pushed me into the toilet so I could sort it all out. An act which did save that relationship for about a week. Both toilets were an odd shade of pink.

Anyway, I digress, there we sat, literally no one came in. Ten minutes past and we decide to make a break for it. The new plan was to get to the big pillar and starburst (if that’s possible in a group of two) out of there and meet up by the cinema in fifteen minutes. OPG went first, cleverly she spied an old lady coming out of the lift and ran over to it and leapt inside. The doors closed and she was gone. Now I was on my own, my hands were sweating, I felt like a criminal on the run.

Which I suppose I was.

I hold my breath and literally creep towards the stairs, an unsuspecting old couple provide me with a nice bit of cover before I dart behind the stationary shelving. There I pause, briefly noting the price of a New Kids on the Block pencil case, in case my sister wants one for Christmas (£3.99) before I walk out into the open. There is about 50 feet or so between me and freedom, I can smell it, although I reckon that the smell might be the KFC three doors up. There is a guard is to my right so I stay as far left as I can (good advice, in general, that) and edge closer and closer. I am twenty feet away when the guard looks up and shouts “STOP”.

Then the unbelievable happens.

A kid about five foot away, drops about a kilo of Pick n Mix and turns and absolutely legs it towards the exit, crashing through a display of plasticine related goods as he does. The guard looks at me, shouts “Next Time!” and legs it after the kid. I nonchalantly look around as if to see who the guard was speaking at and stroll out of the doors a free man and into the arms of the waiting OPG at the cinema.

All of which Bonnie and Clyde related shenanigans bring us to the third EP in the series of Lost EPs that I have found in Badger Big Box of Records. It is ‘Oh No Won’t Do’ EP the (I think) debut major label EP by everyone’s (well, nearly) favourite quirky indie band, Cud.

I’ve said before about how OPG loved Cud and in the late eighties and the very early nineties Cud were something like the best-kept secret in indie-pop. In the early 90s Cud, sort of emerged from the cupboard and were on the cusp. The band were somehow teetering on the edge of stardom. They went from making stupid (yet brilliant) indie-pop songs about ‘Prawns in Whitby to full-on pop classics like ‘Robinson Crusoe’.

Their fanbase had suddenly grown legs and the Top 40 was beckoning them like a Black Friday Mega Offer. The band signed to a major label (A&M) with one intention. Megastardom.

‘Oh No Won’t Do’ was supposed to set the groundworks for the band’s attempt at megastardom. It got radio play, it was released in a limited box set (more of that later) and a tour was launched to support its release.

But, this is Cud, and it didn’t happen. The EP stalled at around Number 50 and no amount of sales gimmicks and radio play was going to push it any higher.

Now back to that limited-edition box set. OPG owned the boxset I remember her playing it in her bedroom one night before we went to a party. The boxset looks massively different to miserable looking 7” than was inside Badgers Box. The limited-edition box set came in a little cardboard box. Inside the box was the 7”, a set of Cud postage stamps and a ‘Map of the World According to Cud’.

I sort of miss the nonsense you used to get with records. They were all blatant attempts by the record companies to sell you records. The cynical part of me used to think that if a record needed to add a map of the world to it to make people buy it then it probably wasn’t worth buying but some of them were fun.

I remember another Cud record (‘Through the Roof’ perhaps?) that came with one of those dangling mobile things that babies have above their cots. I used to own a Pulp CD that came with a free sewing pattern and the quickly forgotten Kent band, Airhead, used to produce a comic with every 12” they released. I’m not sure records come with all that sort of stuff anymore, which seems a shame.

Here are the four tracks from the ‘Oh No Won’t Do’ EP.

mp3: Oh No Won’t Do
mp3: Ariel
mp3: Profession
mp3: The Price of Love

SWC

10 thoughts on “BURNING BADGERS VINYL (Part 13): CUD

  1. Great story – In Woolworths I always made straight for the box of 7 inch singles of songs that had dropped out of the charts – you could pick up some real bargains there, or take a chance on stuff you’d not heard

    Records these days just come in an assortment of colours to entice and delight

    I’ve got a couple of Cud records – I’ve no idea why I was never a fan!

  2. Here’s a little inside info for you all.

    JC used to work in the record department in Woolworths and he would ask me to go in from time to time a buy a certain a album or 12 inch single and I’d walk out with the plastic bag stuffed with albums and 12 inch singles.
    My brother was a master criminal !!!!

    SC

  3. When I was growing up, Woolies was the best place to buy records. Barnstaple had no dedicated record shops, but Woolies, John Menzies and Boots all sold them. Strangely, the best place to buy those reduced former chart records was the Bideford branch, possibkly because they hardly sold anything that wasn’t uber-mainstream.

    Just to be pedantic – Through The Roof came with a cardboard insert to construct the House That Cud Built. I also had some Airhead 12″s and never had a comic. Was I ripped off?

  4. Another great piece of writing.

    I’m not aware I’ve ever heard Cud’s music before, although I was aware of the band, and distinctive logo.

    This is not at all how I thought they’d sound. Not a sound I’d describe as indie. Oh No Won’t Do sounded more like swamp-funk that anything else. I can’t say I like it but did enjoy knowing – after all this time – what they sounded like.

  5. What a wonderful post. I knew a girl who called Pick ‘n’ Mix
    ‘Pick ‘n’ Nick’ – so I think this pilfering you relate so well may
    have been a UK-wide activity.

    Just before Christmas, I witnessed a man being frogmarched from
    a Lidl store for having eaten one peanut (he claimed) from the
    ‘scoop your own’ displays they have there. World-class swearing
    soundtracked this event.

    Still in mourning for Woolworths.

  6. Great post, as expected. I don’t remember a candy bin, but the first record I ever bought with my own money was at Woolworth’s. (I’m assuming the US and UK stores were affiliated.) And I’m not ashamed to say it was ‘Moving Waves’ by Focus, because I was only 9.

  7. Where I grew up, the basic shoplifters’ apprenticeship covered the local newsagents, WH Smith and Woolworths. I wasn’t a prolific offender, though I definitely covered all three at some point. I wasn’t quite as lucky as SWC & OPG and was caught nicking back issues of comics from Forever People in Bristol as a 14 year old, which got me several hours in a police station cell and a caution. In 2009, I was working in careers guidance and was sadly part of a ‘rapid response’ to the mass redundancies when Woolworths went into administration. For so many people, it was the only job that they’d had since leaving school and the prospect of finding other employment was terrifying. Resonates with the current situation we’re in, which is devastating so many people’s livelihoods.

    Another brilliantly entertaining story, SWC, followed by some great music. I thought I had lots of Cud music, though it appears it’s actually just the Robinson Crusoe EP and Somebody Snatch My Action from Showbiz (another Opening Tracks ICA) contender. My friend was really into Cud, though, so this was a welcome reminder of their greatness. Never saw their records in Woolworths, though.

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