HAD IT. LOST IT (Parts 3 & 4)

I’ve been blown away by the rich and varied responses to the request for suggestions for inclusion in this series looking at those who had it and then inexplicably lost it. Thank you so much!

I think I can make five categories up from the suggestions:-

1. STICK-ONS FOR INCLUSION

This category is for those I had either already been mulling over or whose suggestion provided a light-bulb above the head moment:-

Rod Stewart
Simple Minds
UB40
Paul Heaton/Beautiful South
Mansun
The Kinks
Rolling Stones
The Strokes

2. YUP, BUT DID THEY EVER HAVE IT IN THE FIRST PLACE

These are those singers or bands who, on the face of it, should be included but there’s a debate to be had on whether they ever had it:-

Spandau Ballet (I think they did have it, and indeed have already drafted something for future posting)
U2 (who, if they did ever have it, actually managed to find it again and then carelessly lose it a second time)

3. GREAT SUGGESTIONS…..JUST A PITY I DON’T KNOW ENOUGH TO BACK IT UP…..SO HOW ABOUT BACKING UP THE CLAIM WITH A GUEST CONTRIBUTION???

Thomas Dolby
Depeche Mode
Dwight Yoakam
Yello
Midge Ure (solo)
Ultravox
Paul McCartney
The Who
Roxy Music
Lou Reed
Aerosmith
Ringo Starr
Robert Plant
Grace Slick (and thank you Moz for such a brilliant comment that made me laugh out loud!!)
Roy Wood
John Lennon
Erasure
AC/DC
ELO
Bob Dylan

4. NOT QUITE SURE WHERE TO PUT THEM…….

Wet Wet Wet

This was a very interesting suggestion from Mopyfop – I concur with his view that initially they had it with having caught the band live on a number of occasions in 1985 and 1986 thanks to a flatmate, who was from their home town of Clydebank, being very friendly with a number of the band. But outwith the excellent debut single, which has featured before on the blog, there’s nothing other than personal memories to back up the claim that that they ever had it….

Adam Ant

On the face of things, should be a stick-on; but I can’t quite find the words to back it up….maybe this should be a Cat 3 and over to postpunkmonk to tell us why.

Kate Bush

It’s a brave man or woman who suggests she lost it……I’m not up to that task!

Neil Young

It’s probably true that his recent material is nowhere near the quality of his 70s output, but could it be argued that he’s another who having lost it did manage to find it again for the MTV generation to pick up on him only to get careless in the 21st century? Probably best that someone offers up an ICA before condemning him to this particular series

Primal Scream

The C86 version of the band is so different from the Screamadelica era and beyond that there’s a question to be posed as to them taking their time to have it before losing it

5. DISQUALFIED SUGGESTIONS

New Order –their most recent album was a return to form

The Fall – may have shown signs of losing it on a few occasions over the decades but MES always seems to pull things back from the brink when you least expect it

The Clash – yes, they did lose it with ‘Cut the Crap’ but was it really The Clash without Mick Jones? And besides, they broke up once they realised it was a turkey

Echo & The Bunnymen – totally lost it in late 80s and did the decent thing by breaking-up; the majesty of comeback single Nothing Lasts Forever gives them a lucky free pass

Arcade Fire – only on the basis that I haven’t had time to listen to the new LP yet….the may move to a different category in due course

The Beta Band – agree that they never bettered the debut material, but that’s not to say they lost it. If the series was to look at singers/bands whose debut was their best ever effort, it would never end. See also De La Soul

You’ll therefore see that this is a series with huge potential, but in the same way that the ICAs took off and then endured, it will rely heavily on guest contributions. No words and sounds will ever be rejected!!!

I was surprised nobody mentioned Morrissey, but I reckon he’s another I’d need to disqualify on the basis that, like MES, he has an uncanny ability to release a great album when you least expect it, although he is currently sitting on two strikes right now as a result of his last album being a turkey and his offensive outburst in recent times.

I’ll offer up a controversial one today….and really this one is all down to personal taste and I’m not confident that too many of you will agree with me. It’s a short summary too rather than any well-argued case.

He had it big time with The Jam; held it together initially with The Style Council but lost it towards the end with the prosecution relying on the evidence that was led in 19-part singles series back in 2105/16; and in this one time fan’s opinion, he never ever got it back with his solo career that was just far too dad-rock for my liking (exception being the Wild Wood 45); oh and he was also responsible for the heinous crime of inflicting Ocean Colour Scene upon us.

The Good : The Jam – When You’re Young
The Bad : The Style Council – How She Threw It All Away
The Ugly : Paul Weller – Peacock Suit

Just after completing all of the above, an e-mail dropped in, courtesy of Walter of A Few Good Times In My Life fame: –

Hi Jim,

Many months ago I started an ICA about The Pogues but I couldn’t finish it. I always asked myself about the reasons and now I know it: they had it and they lost it. So I think it is the right time to write about them in your new series.

From the first time I saw them in a small club at my place back in 1982 I got a huge fan of their music and I liked the way they combined traditional Irish music with the punk influence of various band members. While Red Roses For Me was a rough gem where they tried to find their style the subsequent two albums were milestones in new music in the mid 80’s. Elvis Costello led them on Rum Sodomy & The Lash to the height of their career. Brilliant songs were also on the following record If I Should Fall From Grace With God and marked the end for me. The following records weren’t too bad but never reached the quality of the first ones. Probably because the leading figure of the band, Shane MacGowan got more and more problems with the booze they were no more able to make great songs again and playing live with the verve they had in their early days. Even Joe Strummer couldn’t bring them back to what they were once had.

I remember their last concert I saw, when Shane walked up the stage with a bottle of red wine in his hand, singing two songs and than falling on the floor. I felt sorry for him and Strummer had to sing the songs till the end of the concert. So here are some songs that had the magic that I listened to often:

The Sick Bed of Cuchuliann
Bottle of Smoke
Streets of Sorrow/Birmingham Six
Haunted

Hope everything is well in Glasgow. Have a good time

Walter

JC adds….a perfect example of what I’m looking for in guest contributions!!

INITIATIVE TEST (Part 2)…aka the 202nd musical posting on the blog

greatescapeattenborough

Grim and pale with (heavy) head in hands, I sat in Dan Van Samaritan’s apartment in Utrecht, central Holland on the Monday morning. It was 08.30 and I was due at work in south west England … hundreds of miles away.

Before I’d been shooed away at midnight by the be-whiskered Amsterdam Police; through a fug of tasty smoke, they’d given me the phone number of the British Consulate in The Hague. I pulled the scrap of paper from my pocket. “Right” thought I. “These Union Flag-flying fuckers will sort me out. No problem. That’s what they do, isn’t it?”

I called their number on Dan’s phone. No answer. The Consulate staff weren’t there. My life was already a Dutch Breakfast so I could well do without those lazy sods still nibbling on Gouda and pumpernickel reading their morning Expatica Express.

“Get thyselves sat beneath a portrait of The Queen and help this beleaguered countryman, you work-shy mandarin bastards” I chuntered to myself. I lit a Peter Stuyvesant and tried the number again. Still nothing. Perhaps they were out last night dressed in orange celebrating the first herring of the year, or something?

Half an hour later, I finally extracted a gruff ‘Hullo’ from a she-male voice at the other end.

‘Geertruyd here’.

It was the cleaner!

It transpired that Her Majesty’s Ambassador and all his merry civil service men were not in the office that morning due to what she called ‘a Training Day’. I vented my spleen toward the damduster-wielding dutchwoman. I was beside myself. (In-cand-escent and in-de-shit). She sympathised with my plight; understanding my acute frustration and desperation, but unable to offer any advice other than, ‘Continue to the port sir, and hope that your passport is there waiting’.

OK. South I go to bloody Belgium then. It can’t be that far from here can it?

By the way, the coach I had missed in Amsterdam had long since arrived in England. Unbeknownst to me however, my friend had been given a hard time by UK Customs at Passport Control. “And which one are we today then sir?” he’d been asked as he wielded 2 passports and a likely story.

Anyway, I got on a local bus full of Holland’s finest old cloggy women and headed towards the nearest motorway junction.

mp3 : Talking Heads – Road To Nowhere

Back on the main Highway, out came my map, anorak, thumb, and my metaphorical Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Benelux Blues. The drizzle lowered in the Lowlands. After half an hour, a car pulled over. It was clearly an ‘Ok ya, company car’. An unwashed black Audi with 4 tell-tale ironed shirts hanging in the back.

Herman the Sales Rep listened to my tale of woe. He was heading to Eindhoven for a Plastics Convention. A city I knew only as the home of a football team called PSV and the Philips Lighting Company. Herman seemed friendly enough. (But then, Jack The Ripper was probably a right charmer on first meeting). We chatted over the next hour or so and I told him my tale. He shook his head in disbelief.

I mentioned the beer, and the cold, the lack of ID and money, Amsterdam, and the missed coach home. I told him that I was serving in the Air Force and that my bollocks would be lightly poached as I was late back on duty.

mp3 : XTC – The Ballad Of Peter Pumpkinhead

Then, in a truly bizarre coincidence, as we passed Eindhoven, he had the most wonderful lightbulb moment!

The nearest RAF Station was not far across the Dutch/West German border.

“That’s it. That’s where we can go!” declared Herman.

In 1984, RAF Brüggen was a major NATO base in a Cold War world – where a certain apocalyptic Nuclear War was just around the next bunker. Two Tribes, Greenham Common, Threads, Reagan, Thatcher, CND, Protect and Survive, Cruise and Pershing missiles. Why, even painting the windows white and sitting under the kitchen table wouldn’t save you.

This Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) meant we were doomed – the lot of us. In fact, the only undecided thing was how you were gonna spend your final 4 minutes; prior to kissing your ass goodbye.

Aaah, happy days!

Anyway, I digress. Herman agreed to take me across the border into Germany and onto the RAF base. As a Sales Executive, he knew the way like the back of his leather-bound filofax.

‘If you don’t get home safely, I’m a Dutchman’ he vehemently declared.

“Aren’t you the funny fucker?” says I.

We crossed the manned National Border, with him flashing Fritz a Buisiness card and me a crazed inane grin – with thumbs up like Selwyn Froggitt.  On a road through a forest, we approached the sprawling air base, negotiating speed-calming barbed wire chicanes flanked by armed guards. We could see the Hardened Aircraft Shelters. Fierce German Shepherds prowled the perimeter fence. How ridiculous they looked with their crooks, dressed in their woolly waistcoats and leather shorts. (Only joking, I mean Alsatian-type dogs really).

At the RAF Brüggen main gate, Herman came into his own with sales waffle a-gogo. Thankfully, the airman on guard duty wasn’t the pointiest bullet in the magazine. His tin hat was on the wrong way round. (‘Must be a chef in his day job’ I thought). For all he knew, I could have been a Yorkshire-based Soviet Stasi SuperSpy. (I had no ID and he had no idea). With a salute from him and a weary wave from me, we were in. A high security top-secret base with the largest Tornado aircraft force in NATO had been infiltrated by a Dutchman saying, “I have come to check the vending machines in the NAAFI” and me – a scruffy youth in a borrowed lime green anorak.

By the way, This ‘oops’ moment had happened at RAF Brüggen earlier that year.

And so, now on the Camp, and en route to Station HQ, it was then very strangely that my ears began to bleed. Herman pointed it out to me as he parked up.  It had bever happened before (or since). Dan Van Samaratin’s rain jacket would never be the same again and my white ‘Tube Station’ T-shirt sported fresh claret blobs.  Herman passed me a wet wipe with ‘Currywurst’ printed on it.  With ears dribbling, I tried to compose myself and rehearsed my story in my fat head.

I introduced myself to a clot of a Corporal in Personnel Services. Seeing the blood, he quickly realised it was above his pay level and found me a Warrant Officer. And, if Rottweillers had hats then he’d be one. At this point, Herman motioned that it was time for him to leave. I thanked him – woefully insufficiently – and he was gone. Rotty with a blue beret took me to a room where I regaled him with bumbling tales of lager and London and Leeds United. Throughout my desperate report, I remember how he took phone calls about bonfires and sausages and fireworks. (It was the 5th of November). Here I was, at my tether’s end, whilst he considered the merits of a good Catherine Wheel.

So here’s the plan: Issued with a Temporary ID card and an Advance of Pay to cover costs home, I take a lift to Mönchengladbach in a mini-bus full of bonfire-going kids. There I catch a train through what’s left of Germany and across The Netherlands to the Hook of Holland. Overnight Ferry to Harwich. Train to Waterloo. Train to Salisbury. Taxi home. Bollocking from work. Re-union shag with girlfriend. Phone call to relieved mother. Two-way tales with passport-holding mate. Food. Sleep.

Through the damp suib of a German Bonfire Night, I hurries to the train station for the 19.30 Deutsche Bahn (that’s German for ‘a big train’), relieved that I had escaped the jaunty jabberings of a dozen excited under-10s eating sausages. (Bratwursts/Worstbrats).

I’d been given an advance of pay in cash. Exactly 138 Deutsche Mark – to cover the whole fare from Monchengladbach to Salisbury.

I asked for a ticket and the frau behind the counter told me the price …

“That is 143 Marks please”.

“Surely some mistake?” I argued.

“Nein. The price it has risen last veek”.

“Shit. Bollocks. Fuck”. A queue built up behind me.

“Can I leave you my name and address? I twitched. Can you take my watch instead?”

Sensing my desperation (along with the fact that if I were to throw myself under the train there would be an interminable delay – even by über-efficient German suicide-mopping-up standards), the woman behind me in the queue stepped forward and offered to pay the 5 DM difference.

“Oh, thank you. Danke, muchos” I babbled, as I went to hug her … but as she recoiled, I thought better of it!

I made it onto the train and felt like Richard Attenborough in The Great Escape. All I needed was the Trilby hat and a pair of specs made from old German milk bottles. The ‘funny look’ from the Guard as he checked my ticket added to the ‘squeeky bum’ moment. We shake, rattle and rolled all the way to the west coast port of Hoek van Holland

(Cue ‘Homeward Bound’ by Paul Simon you may be thinking? Too obvious, dear reader. We don’t just throw this blog together you know).

Unsurprisingly, I puked all the way across The Channel. So much so that I expected any chewy bit to be my own anus. The sea was as rough as an unkempt bear’s arse. (Is there anything worse than not having a cabin and clutching a pissy public porcelain pot for hours and hours?)

Anyway, I can see you glazing over at the back dear reader. Suffice to say, I continued across Britain in shabby vagrant style and arrived home to my accommodation block on the Tuesday afternoon in one piece.

Many were relieved to see me. (‘Cept the bloke next door who’d had his eye on my portable TV). Why,  I even went on to marry the girl waiting for me.  Aaaah!

mp3 : Paul Weller – In Amsterdam (By a strange twist of fate, this is from his new album!)

Dick Van Dyke, 16 May 2010

JC adds…

Almost four years on and I still can’t believe nobody has snapped up the film-rights to this tale.

Over the years I’ve asked DvD to consider becoming a regular contributor to the blog(s).  Hopefully one day….

 

AS SEEN OVER AT THE OLD PLACE : FEBRUARY 2007 (2)

I’m re-visiting this as much for the title I came up with as the posting itself:-

WELLER, WELLER, WELLER, OOOOOH (tell me more, tell me more)

R-381347-1230323155

In one of my earliest entries on TVV, I wrote at length about my love for The Jam, and how they remain the only band I’ve ever camped for overnight so that I could get concert tickets.

I didn’t go in a huff with Paul Weller when he broke the band up, and indeed I was soon more than happy to be buying records by The Style Council and going along to watch his new band playing live.

But somehow, I’ve never got into the solo stuff by the so called Modfather. I’ve just found most of it rather dull and dreary. Everyone tells me that his LP Stanley Road is one of the best of the 90s. I’ve tried listening to it a few times and it just bores me. There’s just nothing original about it.

I’m also a bit bemused by the re-writing of history when it comes to Paul Weller. He did not have a period in the wilderness from demise of The Style Council at the end of the 80s to his solo comeback in the mid 90s when the Britpop movement, and in particular Noel Gallagher, paid homage to him. There were a few attempts at re-igniting his career in-between, including this single from 1991:-

mp3 : The Paul Weller Movement – Into Tomorrow

If you have a listen, you’ll hear that it’s not much different from the stuff he would go on to release to great critical acclaim a few years later. It just wasn’t fashionable back in 1991……

Oh there is one Paul Weller solo single that I adore. If he had gone down this sort of route rather than re-hashing his love of the 60s, I might have remained a fan:-

mp3 : Paul Weller – Wild Wood

———————-ends————————-

2013 update

The other tracks on the 1991 12″:-

mp3 : The Paul Weller Movement – Here’s A New Thing

mp3 : The Paul Weller Movement – That Spiritual Feeling

mp3 : The Paul Weller Movement – Into Tomorrow (Original 8 track demo)

WARNING : ‘That Spiritual Feeling’ is more than 7 minutes of horrible instrumental jazz-funk that has dated dreadfully….