60 ALBUMS @ 60 : #27


Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine – 30 Something (1991)

It’s quite exhausting trying to write about all these albums without feeling as if I’m repeating myself.  I’m sort of taking today off, as what follows is largely an adaptation of some words that were written about this album on the old blog back in 2011 and then repeated on the new version of TVV in 2015, along with a short postscript concerning Rachel (aka Mrs Villain).

February 1991 saw the release of 30 Something on Rough Trade Records. It was at this time that I got my first ever live experience of Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine with an incredible performance in the tiny space at Glasgow Tech Students Union (Jacques the Kipper was with me that night). I caught them live again later in 1991 and was once more amazed by the show. They were energetic, lively and hugely entertaining. And in 30 Something, they were promoting what I reckon is one of the best and most overlooked LPs in critics lists – one that has stood the test of time more than 30 years on.

Reputedly costing less than £4000 to record and produce, 30 Something is a masterpiece. From the opening snatched and oh-so accurate dialogue lifted from an episode of Red Dwarf:-

“When You’re younger you can eat what you like, drink what you like and still climb into your 26-inch trousers and zip them closed. But then you reach that age….24, 25…your muscles give up, they wave a little white flag and without any warning at all you’re suddenly a fat bastard” ….

….all the way through to the melancholy and sadness of the closing track, The Final Comedown, there isn’t a wasted moment across its entire 41 minutes.

There’s great passion, energy and humour in the lyrics even when they are dealing with really dark and serious issues such as alcoholism, racism, bullying, domestic violence and depression. There’s a great warning of the perils of consumerism which include the use of a sample of the voice of Joe Strummer and so many attacks on the state of UK society with the have and have-nots thanks to Thatcherism. For me…..it is the most punk of albums with an electronic twist. And as I say, one that today still hasn’t lost its ability to have me jumping around the room like an idiot (even if nowadays I do it in my head rather than in reality….)

mp3: Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine – Bloodsport For All

Also released as a single, that I was sure was a hit….but turns out it only reached #48.  It’s one of Rachel’s all-time favourite bits of music.  One that, when aired at that Barrowlands gig, led to an incident which, again, I’ve mentioned via the blog.

“There we were at a Carter USM gig at Barrowlands, Glasgow in the early 90s – me, Mrs Villain and Jacques the Kipper. Us blokes being experienced moshers felt it was just a bit too crazy with all those young folk being awfully lively down the front, so we were strategically placed just left-of-centre maybe halfway back.

Then the opening notes came through the speakers.


And before the same notes were repeated prior to the crashing guitars, Mrs Villain had gone….right down into the melee. I was gobsmacked.

But I left her to it – we hadn’t long drawn up wills leaving all our possessions to one another.

5 and a bit minutes later she came back, drenched in sweat but with the most fantastic grin on her face.”


7 thoughts on “60 ALBUMS @ 60 : #27

  1. Ace post. I must say this band never grabbed me the way they did others but love the thought of Mrs V disappearing into the pit as the guitars slam in

  2. One of the most under-rated records in my collection. Hmmm actually I have it on tape, now I think about it! Whatever medium, it’s a belter!

  3. An excellent album, although myself I’m more properly attached to “101 Damnations”. More important, as always, bang up job with your write-up. 💀

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