I found this the other day while digging through the archives I was able to rescue when google took down the old blog without any warning.  It was a lovely reminder that for a long time now I’ve been very fortunate to have such fantastic feedback and contributions from folk who drop by.

It was posted originally on Tuesday 7 September 2010

I received a very nice email the other week from a reader in Germany – Sven Deurkhop – along with a very nice attachment (more about that later).

In thanking Sven, I asked if there was anything he’s like to see featured on TVV. In reply, he said:-

A post or even a series about The Housemartins or The Beautiful South would be nice.

I think, especially The Housemartins are often overlooked when it comes to British 80s music. If there wouldn’t have been Morrissey I’m sure that Paul Heaton were considered the most talented and witty lyricist in British music of the last 25 years.

Take for example gemstones like “The light is always green” (“We dig our models with the brains the size of models”) or the sheer and blunt political statements like in “Get Up Off Our Knees” or “The People Who Grinned Themselves To Death”. All those angry and sharp lyrics well-clad in harmonious and highly addictive pop-tunes – what’s not to like?

The same with “The Beautiful South” – especially their first two albums. The pure beauty of “Let Love Speak Up Itself”, again the wrath of “I’ve Come For My Award”, the irony of “Straight In At 37” or “Love Is” leave me amazed again and again. Paul Heaton has just finished his second solo record and toured the UK by bike (!) last spring. He played only pubs, which made me (again) regret not to live in the UK.

It is quite strange that while the cupboard and shelves have both of the original LPs released by The Housemartins and the first three CDs by The Beautiful South, I’ve not really given them much exposure on TVV. Can’t really offer up a reason why other than I did get a wee bit fed up with TBS after a while, and stopped listening to them. I haven’t even put much of their stuff onto the i-pod. But the 1988 Housemartins compilation Now That’s What I Call Quite Good is something I give the occasional listen to – especially on long bus or train journeys as it seems to pass the time away quite quickly. But I cant bring myself to listen to the acapella smash that was Caravan of Love. Hated it then. Hate it still.

But Sven is quite right to praise the talents of Paul Heaton. He enjoyed a barrow load of hit singles and albums in the 90s, and I’m guessing that if that hadn’t been the case, he would be one of those songwriters bloggers would be writing about every day. Instead, we ignore him because he was a friend who became successful. And as someone else once wrote, we hate that….

So looking back over the stuff that I own by both bands, here’s five tracks that I still enjoy:-

mp3 : The Housemartins – Flag Day
mp3 : The Housemartins – Get Up Off Our Knees
mp3 : The Housemartins – Five Get Over Excited
mp3 : The Beautiful South – Straight In At 37
mp3 : The Beautiful South – I Think The Answer’s Yes

And to round things off, here’s the attachment Sven sent over:-

mp3 : The Beautiful South – Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now

Enjoy. I certainly did. And if by chance you’re reading this Sven, once again a huge thank you.



mp3 :  The Nubiles : Tatjiana (all over me)

The Nubiles for those of you who have never heard of them or, like me, forgot they ever existed, were formed in 1993 in Oxford, when Tara Milton, former bass player with Five Thirty (nope, me neither) joined forces with some other faces from Oxford bands. Their sound can best be described as indie with a slightly punk edge, in that their songs sneer a little bit. Their website stated that they displayed the kind of primal energy not seen since The Who. To be honest, that’s pushing it a bit. These Animal Men, perhaps, but certainly not The Who.

They split, (combusted if I remember rightly) in 1998 after releasing, one relatively well received album Mindblender on which this song features.  Tatjiana is their best song by a country mile (that country being, the size of Brazil). They reformed briefly in 2007, but quickly realised that they all hated each other still and that the tunes sounded even less like The Who than they did in 1995. They are apparently on ‘a hiatus’ at the minute. Oxford is slowly weeping into its Pringle sweaters I would imagine.

Now Tatjiana is a great two and a half minutes-ish of music, listen to it, you will hum for the rest of the day I guarantee it. It’s a sneering ode to the five knuckle shuffle (sorry). It contains the immortal lyric,“Just a Dream and a Tissue and you are all over me”. I mean what’s not to love about that.

BUT (it is a big one) the problem is, that as everyone knows, the only timeless song about er, bashing the bishop, is Orgasm Addict by Buzzcocks (come on name another one – JC – here’s another series for you – “songs about wanking” and no I Touch Myself by The Divinyls doesn’t count). In this case, The Nubiles are trying really hard to be The Buzzcocks, and if they tried that instead of the nonsense about The Who people might have got it a bit better.

Note From JC

Two songs from the New Wave era immediately sprung to mind:-

mp3 : The Vapors – Turning Japanese

mp3 : Squeeze – Touching Me, Touching You

Then there’s a song from 1990:-

mp3 : The Beautiful South – Tonight I Fancy Myself

Billy Bragg has also referenced the act:-

mp3 : Billy Bragg – St Swithin’s Day

I’m sure there’s a few others out there….I once heard it argued that Pump It Up by Elvis Costello & The Attractions was about wanking but I’m not convinced.

All yours dear readers…..