OK….he got some help from his two mates, but I couldn’t resist using this particular photo.

The lads from Woking defeated the Bard of Barking by 17-13 in a surprisingly low-scoring final in which both held the lead at various stages.  I didn’t think back at the Start!, given that The Jam ICA was comprised solely of album tracks, that would they could win the whole thing but the result does go to show just how well their songs have aged and that they still have a special place in the hearts and minds of many of you.

I can’t thank enough all of you for getting involved so much these past few months – the quality across the comments section has been astounding – and of course a very special shout-out to jimdoes who came up with the initial idea. I’m planning, all being well, to having a second ICA World Cup. most likely in 2020 and featuring teams whose ICAs are from #151 and onwards.

But…..and here’s where your voice will really matter, I’d like to run some sort of competition in 2019 along similar but different lines if that makes sense.

It’s an idea which has been mulling around my head for a few months and I have shared it with the likes of Aldo and Jacques, neither of whom were moved to talk me out of it.

Everything to do with the 2018 match-ups came via random selections amd with the use of a coin and a dice. Next time around, I’d like readers to be more involved.  I’m looking for folk to volunteer themselves as managers of a squad   Once I know how many folk are interested, I can start to flesh out the idea in more detail with those concerned.  If nobody is interested, I’ll quietly drop the idea….and wait till 2020 for the next tourney.

If it does go ahead there will a need for a lot of e-mails to kick back and forth and so I’m likely going to set up a separate account for it all as and when the time comes.

In the meantime, I’d be delighted if any of you wanted to give an indication, via the comments section, of your willingness to be a manager……

In the meantime, both of our finalists get to close things off:-

mp3 : Billy Bragg – That’s Entertainment
mp3 : The Jam – That’s Entertainment



Yup…..The Jam pulled off an almighty shock last week and knocked out The Clash by 22-18. Here’s the roads that the two finalists have gone down in this tourney.


Round 1 – St Swithin’s Day : 33-10 v The Faces
Round 2 – Tank Park Salute : 23-12 v The Pixies
Round 3 – Greetings To The New Brunette : 26-15 v Prefab Sprout
Round 4 – Love Gets Dangerous : 25-12 v Half Man Half Biscuit
Round 5 – Levi Stubbs’ Tears : 26-12 v The Smiths
Semi Final – Between The Wars : 18-16 v Pulp


Round 1 – Happy Together : 34-10 v T.Rex
Round 2 – Billy Hunt : 37-6 v The Detroit Cobras
Round 3 – Thick As Thieves : 35-6 v Daft Punk
Round 4 – Saturday’s Kids : 23-4 v The Jesus and Mary Chain
Round 5 – Man In The Corner Shop : 23-11 v Lloyd Cole & The Commotions
Semi Final – To Be Someone (Didn’t We Have A Nice Time) : 22-18 v The Clash

Every tie thus far has seen the songs matched in randomly thanks to a combination of tossing a coin and rolling a dice. The advantage is very much with Billy as he had two ICAs (#36 and #37) and still has 14 tracks for selection: Northern Industrial Town; World Turned Upside Down; Deportees; Take Down The Union Jack; A New England; Cold and Bitter Tears; Walk Away Renee; Which Side Are You On?; The Space Race Is Over; The Saturday Boy; The Short Answer; Everywhere; Brickbat; Waiting For The Great Leap Forwards

The Jam had one ICA (#52) and therefore have much fewer options: Art School; Little Boy Soldiers; Boy About Town; The Gift, none of which really stand a chance if certain of Billy’s come through……

Please have a listen and cast your votes for one of the following songs:-

Brickbat v Little Boy Soldiers

Intriguing and fascinating, with Billy being represented by one of his love songs from the LP William Bloke, inspired by the changes in his life in settling down and becoming a dad while The Jam have the new-wave equivalent of Bohemian Rhapsody around which Paul Weller planned but didn’t quite pull off the idea of Setting Sons being an anti-war concept album.

Feel free to take your time on this one…..The closing date for voting is midnight on Sunday 22 July with the result being announced the following morning – the reason being that next weekend sees me on my annual pilgrimage to Westport in Ireland and I’m not taking the laptop with me.




It appears that there is an actual football world cup causing much excitement across parts of the planet, but surely it isn’t anywhere near as important as the competition which has been dominating the Saturday pages of this little corner of t’internet these past few months……………it’s perhaps a pity that neither The Wannadies or The Cardigans had an ICA eligible to begin with…..just imagine the fun we could have had if they had been still standing at this stage and ready to play today against one of the titans of late 20th century contemporary England……

You all know from last week that The Clash and The Jam are going to square up for place in next week’s final….and I’ll get to that in just a moment. First of all, here’s the outcome of the first semi-final in which Babies was pitted against Between The Wars:-

Pulp 16  Billy Bragg 18

It was a titanic struggle. One in which nobody was ever more than three ahead at any time….and going by the responses, many of you had a real tough time with your eventual choice in a match-up that would have made a great final.

Dirk (aka Sexy Loser), not for the first time in this tournament, perfectlly captured the dilemma facing many of you:-

This sucks. And it’s a bit like when someone asks you “Would you like to have a glass of ice-cold beer, a German one, or one from Belgium – not a British one? Or would you like a glass of real good Shiraz from Australia instead”?

The point I’m trying to make is: you cannot compare the two drinks, can you really? Personally, I’d like to have BOTH of them, in exactly that sequence! Then again I say that about almost every alcoholic drink being offered to me … but, if I HAVE to choose, at the end of the day, the decision would depend on the mood I’m in, I think.

The very same is true for the two songs in question. Let’s say Bragg = beer and Cocker = Shiraz. And as it’s already 30 degrees Celsius in this bloody office (and it’s not even 11 AM my time!), I’d currently favour the cold beer …

Follow that Joe/Mick/Paul/Topper/Paul/Bruce and Rick……..


The home side have long been seen as the firm favourites for the overall tourney while the away side have, in some ways, defied incredible odds to get this far given that the ICA selections are restricting them only to album tracks as the 45s had been featured in their entirety in a separate series. However, the home side may have one weak spot in an otherwise stellar line-up of songs and it may be exploited in this semi-final.

Capital Radio 2 v To Be Someone (Didn’t We Have A Nice Time)

The Clash track was used to close the ICA. In doing so, I wanted to find a way to bring out the humorous side of the band and to demonstrate that the very best ICAs aren’t always the greatest or most admired 10 songs but the tracks which hang well in a particular sequence. Capital Radio 2 was the fourth and final track on The Cost Of Living EP. The original was something that I only had on tape….and it was a poorly recorded low-quality effort straight from the radio. I loved the idea of getting my hands on the new version which is why I was desperate to but the EP the day it hit the shops….indeed I played this track before any of the others.

As I said in ICA 12, the fact that it came with an outro that spoofed the sort of ads you could hear on the actual radio station was, to my ears, a stroke of genius. I spent a few hours back then wondering whether this or Train In Vain should close the ICA….if it had been the latter and it was your option today, then I think it could edge towards a landslide win. As it is, this is perhaps the one song which might not appeal to everyone, especially considering the opposition.

The Jam had to wait until ICA 52 but this was down to the fact that they had been appearing each week via a singles series. As I said at the time, it was self-indulgent to pull together an ICA without any of the songs that ever appeared on the 45s and extending that to excluding songs which had been live tracks on b-sides (thus no appearance for Away From The Numbers). The quality of the album tracks has been such, however, that the band has fairly coasted to this stage, albeit they have had a fairly kind draw….so you could say they are doing it the quintessential English way!

This track was slotted into the ICA following on from Saturday’s Kids and in advance of Man In The Corner Shop. It did seem strange to have it slightly out of context with it not being preceded by the title track of All Mod Cons, but it worked perfectly as far as I was concerned. I still find it incredible that this was written by someone who was barely out of his teens at the time with the world at his feet and not by some crinkly, ageing old has-been who was jealous of the new wave who were breaking through. I hung on every word Paul Weller was saying at that time….and if he was warning me that there was a huge downside to being famous and rich, then I was going to take heed.

So there you have it….two incredibly personal songs that I wanted to, needed to and ultimately did include in two early ICAs. Which one will take their performers into a match up with Billy?



This has been fun hasn’t it?   But now we are getting into the really serious part of the competition.

The result of the final game in Round 5 was:-

The Jam 23 Lloyd Cole & The Commotions 11

The score doesn’t quite reflect how decent a contest this was and it really is quite amaxing that Weller, Foxton & Buckler are still going despite their ICA featuring just album tracks and no singles or b-sides.

Here’s who is still standing….Billy Bragg, The Clash, The Jam and Pulp.  Not too shabby a line-up and I’m thinking that many of you will have had initial thoughts that they could all go a long way depending on the vagaries of the draw…talking of which…..

Semi Final 1 : Pulp v Billy Bragg
Semi Final 2 : The Jam v The Clash


Babies v Between The Wars

Blimey……this offers a tough choice between two very different types of songs.

The Pulp ICA was compiled by Tim Badger

After about ten years the wilderness, Pulp emerged with this tale of teenage tea time obsession. It begins innocently enough with Jarvis talking about afternoons with girls in bedrooms – before he goes well a bit perverse and then delivering this withering punchline “I only went with her ‘cause she looked like you!”

and the track on offer from Billy was on an ICA stitched beautifully together by Walter.

With no backing band but his own electric guitar, Billy Bragg sang ‘Between the Wars’ as a first-person narrative of a miner hoping his hard work would be rewarded by care from the government his efforts helped support. Another song about the miners in the 80s and maybe one of his most emotional ones.

Both are outstanding pieces of music and very representative of what made both acts such essential listening. Which one are you prepared to give the nod?  A place in the ICA World Cup Final is at stake…



As ever, we’ll start things off with the result of last week’s tie. The winners established an early 5 point lead which was then wiped out come Tuesday morning.  The winners, however, found a second wind as the week went on and held on despite a late onslaught from the Scousers.

Echo & The Bunnymen 19 The Clash 22

Three down; one to go..  Here’s jimdoes with this week’s tie.


Man In The Corner Shop v My Bag

I’ve never had any friends who were big fans of The Jam – and as a youngster, very much like The Clash, they passed me by. My only recollections of them are ads for Jam shoes and Jam ties in the back of Smash Hits – and seeing the video for Funeral Pyre on Top Of The Pops. It wasn’t enough to turn my 12-year-old self into a mod – I was busy listening to Adam and The Ants and arguing with friends that they were better than Madness. I’m almost 50 and I’ve mellowed slightly but I still like a ‘heated debate’ about X band being better than Y – I do try and base my opinions on actually listening to said bands these days which is definitely a change from when I’d slag off bands based on whatever was written in the music press. I even take this as far as to listening to the godawful rap that my teenage son listens to – and I sometimes catch myself sounding just like my dad “That’s not music etc etc”. None of which particularly relates to The Jam – I’ve seen Weller a few times at festivals and generally enjoyed his music but I don’t hold him in the same light as Joe Strummer or Mick Jones, he’s not my hero.

Lost Weekend on Top Of The Pops was where it began. I still know all the lyrics and it’s still a song that I’ll occasionally play when I DJ in my local pub. I was late to Lloyd Cole – it seems like a recurring theme – I guess it was in my teens before I discovered the delights of the NME and Melody Maker. I bought Easy Pieces and played it to death – and it means more to me than Rattlesnakes. That’s not so say that when I discovered Rattlesnakes I didn’t love it, but I guess I loved my first infatuation that little bit more. Anyway, I only discovered Rattlesnakes thanks to the Sandie Shaw version of Are You Ready To Be Heartbroken – a shocking admission! My younger sister was a big Lloyd Cole fan – especially Mainstream – and she came with me when they played Wembley Arena – a band very much in the wrong venue – their songs sounded lost in such an echoey hanger and convinced me that smaller venues were better – and to this day I try and avoid the big arena tours – most bands are lost to me once they get that big.



If the score from last week’s result appears underneath, then I was thankfully able to update this draft using my phone while in a hotel room in Leeds.

The Housemartins 16 Pulp 20

That’s two off your semi-finalists sorted out.  Here’s jimdoes with this week’s tie.  It’s the pick of the bunch…..


Never Stop (Discotheque) v Clampdown

Written in biro on a desk at school. That was the first time I heard of Echo and The Bunnymen. All the cool kids at school were in to them – and I most certainly wasn’t one of the cool kids – I was only just looking beyond Top of the Pops to discover new music on my own. Maybe that’s why they’ve never been a favourite of mine – I like them but they were always too cool for me. I know the songs and I’ve seen them at festivals a few times but I never loved them. Having said all that – out of all the bands left in the ICA World Cup, they are the band that I listen to more than any other – only because Seven Seas is one of my favourite songs ever so I play it all the time.

(JC adds….just to provide some more words so that it is similar in length to the second contribution….here’s what Echorich said when I posted the 12″ version of Never Stop as the stand alone post “LAY DOWN THY RAINCOAT AND GROOOOOOVE…” back in October 2013…

A Pete De Frietas Tour De Force! The percussion, multilayered over a driving motorik beat, mixed with the strings was the first warning shot of what would come to full fruition by Ocean Rain.

Back to jimdoes……

I was too young for The Clash. And not having an older sibling to point me in the right direction, they kind of passed me by. In my house the 70s meant Joan Baez, The Manhattan Transfer and Terry Wogan’s Floral Dance. Punk certainly never happened for me. But I do remember seeing my first punks – on my way to my cousins in Romford around the time of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee – they seemed impossibly exotic and otherworldly to my young eyes. The first I knew of Mick Jones was E=MC2 – which I loved. By the time I went to art college I was a proper indie kid – The Wedding Present, The Smiths, Pixies, The Cure, and The Primitives were my band t-shirts of choice (in fact I’ve never owned a Clash t-shirt). This is where I met Julyan and Tristan – we’d go to the pub – they’d put The Clash on the jukebox; we’d carry on drinking at home – they’d play their battered Clash records; we’d go to parties – Julyan would always have a Clash tape on him (for emergencies) – it would be his favourite Clash songs but he’d re-record it almost weekly. I quickly knew all the words and acquired my own copies of the albums. None of us ever saw The Clash (They aren’t even the band I’d go back in time to see – that’s Prince and The Revolution on the Purple Rain tour) but we went to countless BAD shows and saw Joe Strummer a few times. I still listen to London Calling about once a month, so they are very much a part of me.


PS : That leaves the final quarter final as Lloyd Cole & The Commotions v The Jam.  You’ll need to wait seven days for the songs though…….


Memo to self……..if going out for what you know is going to be a long and drunken Friday evening….switch ICA deadline so you don’t fuck things up with the scheduled posting.

My head hurts.  This, by my muddled reckoning, was the final result from last week….

The Smiths 12 Billy Bragg 26

That’s the first of your semi-finalists sorted out.  Here’s jimdoes with this week’s tie.


Flag Day v Do You Remember The First Time?


Amanda never liked The Housemartins. So I’m fairly sure I’ve never kissed a girl while Flag Day has been playing. I probably first heard of The Housemartins when they played the video on The Chart Show – one of the rare weeks where they did the indie rundown. My best friend Nick’s mum worked with Norman Cook’s mum so she got our records signed by the band (My signed Happy Hour 12″ was in the box that I lost in a house move years ago). Nick and I went to see them when they played Brixton – you can see my ticket here: We bumped into Amanda in the street before we got on the train and we had a bit of a row – she wasn’t impressed by the purple shirt I was wearing (hey I was at art school). It was probably the first gig where I was down the front in the moshpit for the whole show – the shirt got ruined but I had a fantastic time. I loved both Housemartins albums but they are another band that I haven’t listened to in years – I’ve seen Fatboy Slim a few times which is always fun, but I was never a fan of The Beautiful South.

The first time for me was the early 90s – queuing up to get in to Camden Underworld, given a flyer with Pulp’s name on. Shortly after I was backpacking around the world for a year – my friends having given me cassettes of essential music to listen to whilst away. Nicks tape had Babies on it (and a lot of Beastie Boys) – I listened to it over and over – it will always remind me of sitting in the back of pick up trucks driving around Zimbabwe – probably not what Jarvis had in mind. Amanda was long gone by now – but I hope she likes Pulp – maybe it’s an indication of who I hang around with, but I haven’t met a single girl that doesn’t like Pulp. They are a band that whenever I DJ, I can pretty much play any song by them and guarantee people dancing with abandon.