Ripping Badger CDs – #6 – ‘Thunder, Lightning, Strike’ – The Go! Team

Purchased from British Heart Foundation, Newton Abbot for £1

It’s three am on a cold April morning, it’s a Thursday. Mrs SWC and I are sheltering in a stable waiting for a horse, in the stable next to the one we are in, to have a poo. As date nights go, this one takes some beating.

About five hours ago, my mother in law phoned, crying down the phone. Conker, her thirty year old, Welsh Mountain Pony, has been lying on the ground for about three hours, and is unable to get up. He might have colic. Mrs SWC suddenly looks all sad and tells me that, colic is bad, really bad, especially in old horses like Conker. The vet has been and given Conker some drugs, which, if it is colic, will make him comfortable. The vet told her that Conker needs to stand on his own and then have a poo. If he poos before dawn, he will be fine. The vet says that he will be back at 7am.

My wife tells her mum that we will be right up. Its only a mile or so. We then remember that we have a daughter sleeping soundly two rooms away, she is barely four at the time. Amazingly she doesn’t wake up at all, even when, twenty minutes later, I stand on a drawing pin in my mother in laws spare bedroom and shout “Jesus, Fuck” quite loudly. This is a good thing, because Mini SWC doesn’t know that daddy swears (she totally knows now).

The stables are in a field at the end of the garden, it is always muddy up there or at least I think its mud and there we sit, at first on an old bench and then as we realised it was too cold, we went inside the spare stable (that used to house Tarragon, the old Irish Draft who died a few years back and now houses tack and stuff). We have a couple of blankets, a flask of tea, a pack of biscuits, a lantern, a torch and my mobile phone. We sit. It’s pitch black until we rig the lantern up – we angle it so that we can see Conker, lying down, he doesn’t look at all comfortable, its heartbreaking, even more so when he whinnies at us, and we sit there, helpless, my wife cries at least twice, I put a supportive arm around her, but it feels like a pointless gesture.

About six weeks before this night we sat our daughter on Conker, and walked her and him around the small field that the stables sit in. It was the first time she had even sat on a horse. She looked so happy as she sat there, hat lopsidedly plonked on her head. Afterwards she groomed him gently with an old brush and fed him oats and an apple nicked from the farmers tree next door.

That night as she went to bed, she requested a story about a pony and made me change the name of the pony in the story to ‘Conker’. We’ve visited Conker nearly every day since that moment and the realisation that I may in about six hours have to tell my daughter that she can’t visit Conker anymore is a difficult thing to accept. I will Conker with every strength I have to stand up, “just stand” I whisper to him.

My wife tells me about Conker, he was named because he was born under a conker tree, he was also born in the middle of a thunderstorm, the owner wanted to call him Thunder, but changed their minds at the last minute. Conker is a much better name, than Thunder I tell her. She nods in agreement and the tears start again.

There is a grunt from the stable and a rustle from the hay. We turn, and see Conker on his feet, I drop the biscuits in surprise, and we stand there in complete silence, a smile forms on my wife’s face for the first time in about four hours. “This is good” she says gripping my arm so tight that I feel it going numb.

I’m not a vet but the fact that Conker can stand, means that his gut can relax more, and that means that his bowel can work properly and he can have a poo. Something like that. Its four am according to my phone.

“He still needs to poo” my wife tells me, “but he will”. She is utterly convinced by this.

Conker moved around an awful lot in the next hour or so, he’s a very regimented sort of horse and always goes to same corner of his stable when he wants to shit. Every time he wanders off to the corner, my wife and I peep tentatively around the corner, fingers crossed but nothing happens.

My wife and I sit and chat, we talk about getting our daughter her own horse and then across the field, as it getting a bit lighter, we see a deer leaping across the field into the woods at the end. A few minutes later, we see two foxes skulking around the chicken coops (I scare them off with a torch and a clap of my hands) as I do a badger runs off, its been sniffing around the compost heap.

“It’s like the Animals of Farthing Wood up here” I tell my wife and then just to reiterate the point an owl hoots away in the big conifer tree to our left. I look away and see the sun rising slowly on the horizon and just sigh at how breath-taking it is all is. I love nature and it might be the lack of sleep but I feel a bit soppy.

I wander over to where my wife is sitting intent on telling her that I love her, but she isn’t there, the stable door is open.

I break into run, my wellies slipping about in the mud. I reach the stable, my wife turns and smiles and points. There on the floor is a huge steaming pile of shite (and the cold means it is definitely steaming). She has her arms round Conker’s neck and she is smiling and crying at the same time. I swear the horse is grinning.

All of which Disney style endings brings us to “Thunder, Lightning Strike”, which is the debut album from Brighton six piece The Go! Team and it has no relevance to this story at all (apart from Conker being born in a thunderstorm and the brief sighting of a badger on a compost heap).

I know next to nothing about this band (the lead singer is called Ninja, so they are bound to be excellent), but put simply this a musical hotchpotch of different blends and themes, at times it sounds like the musical equivalent of children’s adventure cartoon, other times it sounds like an atmospheric Western. All it needs is a song about an all-girl gang fight and it would be near perfect. Until then lets start with a song about motorbikes.

mp3: Junior Kickstart

This is not sadly a cover version of the 80s TV programme which featured kids doing ridiculously dangerous things on a motorbike whilst driving over an assault course (incidentally, strangely popular TV ‘funnyman’ Michael McIntyre was series 6 Under 10 champion on Junior Kickstart). What it is though is as close as you can get to the musical equivalent of riding a 50cc trail bike towards the horizon with the sun burning into your back.

Next up a song that sounds like it was recorded in a playground.

mp3: Ladyflash

‘Ladyflash’ was the lead single from the album and is probably the bands most well known moment. It is incredible too. An aural sugar rush of a tune, one minute all Eastern style strings, then its has a kind of childlike chanting running through it, then some soul before descending into a full of 80s synth pop smash. Its bloody marvellous and you will all feel better for listening to.

Bloody marvellous as it is, ‘Ladyflash’ is not the finest moment on the album, but this is.

mp3: The Power Is On

Which I think is on some computer game soundtrack, although I will be way out of my comfort zone if I try and tell you which one. ‘The Power Is On’ is all horn samples, piano breaks and handclap after handclap and its just a brilliantly happy song. It will make you grin like a stupid person, which is no bad thing at all.

The last track I should mention is the one which sounds like it should be in a cartoon.

mp3: Bottle Rocket