The second ever single released by The Monochrome Set was entitled Eine Symphonie des Grauens, which translates as ‘A Symphony of Horrors’. It must be one of the few, if indeed perhaps the only, indie-pop classic that’s written from the perspective of a vampire falling head over heels for the beautiful young thing he is about to seek his fangs into:-

I’m dead and dank and rotten
My arms are wrapped in cotton
My corpse loves you, let’s marry

Get smart, once – Every night at sleepy time
Get smart, twice – I hang my skin out on the line
Get smart, sing – Oh, darling, would you be, be mine

I’m in love, I think I’m in love
I’m in love, I think I’m in love
I’m in love, I think I’m in love, oh ho-ho-ho

I’m caught in a mesh of veins
My fingers and flesh and brains
My skull gives head, so let’s wed

Get smart, once – Every night when all alone
Get smart, twice – I drape my flesh around the phone
Get smart, pray – Oh, darling, would you be my own

I’m in love, I think I’m in love
I’m in love, I think I’m in love
I’m in love, I think I’m in love, oh oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh

Don’t cry, beautiful, it’s just a phase
To the father and the son and the holy ghost
I chant and I pray, I love
You know, God works in mysterious ways
To the father and the son and the holy ghost
I sing and I pray, I love

I’m soft and slightly stinking
My arms are small and shrinking
My lips kiss dirt, oh, let’s flirt

Get smart, once – Every night at half-past-one
Get smart, twice – There’s a little taste of things in come
Get smart, chant – Oh, darling, can I be your son?

I’m in love, I think I’m in love
I’m in love, I think I’m in love
I’m in love, I think I’m in love, oh oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh

Don’t scream, baby, it’s just a coma
To the father and the son and the holy ghost
I chant and I pray, I love
You go to heaven, I go to Roma
To the father and the son and the holy ghost
I sing and I pray, I love

mp3 : The Monochrome Set – Eine Symphonie des Grauens

The song title, and indeed its entire premise, is based on Nosferatu, a silent horror film released as long ago as 1922. Widely regarded as a masterpiece, the film had the full title of Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens, and was the first ever adaptation of the Bram Stoker novel, Dracula, that had been published 25 years earlier. The only problem for the filmmaker F.W. Murnau was that his work was unauthorised and led to Stoker’s widow successfully suing him and the production company with part of the court ruling being that all copies had to be destroyed. It didn’t quite materialise and indeed an existing copy made its way to the USA where it was released to much acclaim in 1929.

But enough of the cinematic stuff….this is a music blog after all.

Eine Symphonie…..is an absolute belter of a single, coming with an infectiously catchy sing-a-long chorus riding its way along a tune that just screams to be danced to. I’d love to say that I picked up on it when it was released on Rough Trade in 1979 but this was a band I didn’t really begin to listen to until they were brought to my attention by a flatmate. The late 70s saw many amazing and often unheralded bands forming in the immediate aftermath of the punk/new wave explosion and this London-based combo slipped well under my radar. I think it would have been a different story if I had lived in that part of the country instead of Glasgow….

Here’s yer jaunty instrumental track that was on the b-side:-

mp3 : The Monichrome Set – Lester Leaps In




This is loosely adapted and then expanded from a post over at the old place back in February 2010.

One of the minor reasons I ever started a blog was to bring attention to otherwise unavailable or difficult to find very fine records that had only ever been placed on the b-sides of long-deleted singles and while there is a growing tendency for album re-issues to bring together such tracks and label them ‘bonus’, nothing beat finding bits of vinyl with the crackly old originals.

One of the songs I really loved from my old vinyl days but had missed for many a year was Goodbye Joe, originally recorded as a b-side to a 1979 single :-

mp3 : The Monochrome Set – Goodbye Joe

It begins as if it is a live track, and one that is of poor sound quality at that. You can hear some crowd sing-a-long at the outset in what is clearly a small venue, then some cheering as a guitar as struck. After just under 50 seconds, lead singer Bid utters the words ‘Let’s Have Some Decorum’ and suddenly we switch to a quite gorgeous and moving studio track.

It’s about watching a film performance of this bloke here in case you were wondering.

Oh and for the record, the song was later recorded by Tracey Thorn, and again was consigned to obscurity on a 1982 b-side :-

mp3 : Tracey Thorn – Goodbye Joe

The original posting also featured the A-sides of the singles which, in Tracey’s case was also a beautiful piece of music:-

mp3 : Tracey Thorn – Plain Sailing

In the Feb 2010 posting I mentioned in passing how both of Tracey’s songs had featured heavily on compilation tapes in the era of 82/83/84 as a way to demonstrate to would-be girlfriends that I really did have a sensitive side but it never ever worked all that well. Seems I wasn’t alone in that failing as my good mate Dirk from Sexy Loser left behind the comment:-

“Yeah, mate: those tapes, ey?! I only wish I still would own a few of the dozens of them I made up back then with all my passion, heart and soul … instead I gave them away to girls who didn’t give a fuck. Literally.”

I remember that as being a genuine ‘splutter the tea all over the monitor’ moment when I read it. Still makes me smile………

And while I’m here, I just can’t resist:-

mp3 : The Style Council – The Paris Match (LP version)

Days of skinny-ribbed hooped t-shirts, a headful of perfectly coiffured hair and a devil-may-care attitude to life that I thought would last forever. How the fuck has Johnny Marr changed so little since those days???????

mp3 : The Smiths – Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want




Three songs came up in a row on random shuffle the other week. I closed my eyes and imagined that instead of sitting on a train heading to work  I was at my favourite indie disco where 50-somethings can still go along and not be frowned upon as making fools of themselves as they try to relive their halcyon days.

A bit like the photo above.

mp3 : The Wedding Present – Brassneck
mp3 : Talulah Gosh – Talulah Gosh
mp3 : The Monochrome Set – Jet Set Junta

Every one a classic.